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-Three Weeks Later-

I rush across the street, trying to avoid the deep puddles gathering at the curb.

Persistent rain set in over a week ago, only contributing to my foul mood. I tilt my head down, holding a magazine over my head to keep as much of it off me as possible.

Things aren't very good at the moment.

I look down at my bag of groceries. There has been a food shortage, leaving me with a bag of half rotting, overly expensive ingredients.

Carran has tried to assure people that things will get better, although he's almost completely abandoned us.

Thankfully, though, he hasn't contacted me since...

I pause for a moment, looking down at a newspaper stand that the owners are desperately trying to pull undercover before they are entirely ruined.

As I give them a hand, I can't help but notice the headline written in bold across the front.

Will This Horror End? The Sickness that Seizes Lives Still Runs Rampant

I refuse to acknowledge my fear. The reality is, putting Sire back underground hasn't changed anything. It didn't cure people, and the curse still plagues the Pack, showing no signs of stopping.

"Scary, huh?"

I flinch, letting go of the table stacked with newspapers, some even slipping off to land in the puddles.

I look over my shoulder to see Hazel standing behind me, a bright red umbrella stretched out above her.

"Hazel...you scared me," I breathe before muttering an apology to the newspaper stall owner, sweeping down to pick up my bags of groceries again.

"You should be home. Being out is a risk," she mutters lowly, motioning down the street.

I nod numbly. The problem isn't that the sickness can be passed around - which most haven't yet figured out - but that people are so desperate and scared they have started lashing out at others.

"For you too," I remind her. "But what other choice do we have?"

There isn't anyone looking out for Hazel and I. She has a brother, but he is often in another part of the Pack for business, so she can't rely on him to get supplies for her.

"We have some choice, it seems," she says lowly, falling in step with me as I start off down the street, ducking under her umbrella for protection as we head off toward the forest.


I've been avoiding talking about Sire. I know I should be climbing that hill to free him, but something is stopping me...

"You can't keep ignoring this," Hazel insists.

I avoid her accusatory stare. "Why not?"

Releasing Sire means I could potentially face Carran's wrath. Also, Sire would likely move forward with his plan to 'punish me.'

Whatever that means.

"Because there is a man, no, your mate, who is stuck underground for no reason," she exclaims, her voice raising.

It catches the attention of a couple passing by, wgi give us a strange look.

"No reason? He is a risk to us all," I remind her.

Prior to my betrayal, Sire was impossible to control. He was planning his revenge, which would mean killing the Alpha that commands this Pack. I want to trust him, but I have no idea what kind of leader he would be...

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