The warmth from the sunlight streaming through the window woke Hayleigh up. She groaned, sat up, and rubbed her eyes. She flopped back onto the bed when she realized what she had to do that day. It wasn’t going to be a good day for anyone.
There was a knock on her door. She got up, opened it and motioned for her sister Stacy to come into the room. Hayleigh frowned it couldn’t be good if her sister was coming to see that early in the morning. Her sister never appeared before 10 am.
“What’s wrong now?” Hayleigh asked as she sat down on the bed.
“There was another attack last night. The sheriff called just a little while ago. He said he doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be able to keep townspeople from hunting the creature down themselves,” she said as she sat down in the chair across from Hayleigh.
“The last thing we need is for people to go hunting in the woods for it,” Hayleigh said.
“I told him it wouldn’t be a good thing. He’s going to try and keep people back if he can,” she said.
“Is everyone in the pack accounted for?” Hayleigh asked.
“Yes, including our brothers. Konner though was defensive when asked where he was and if anyone could vouch for him,” she said.
“It doesn’t surprise me. Konner has always been defensive when asked to prove his whereabouts when something has happened. Kaden-Scott is the more level-headed of the two,” Hayleigh said.
“I would say Konner’s adopted but since they are twins it’s not likely,” her sister said.
“Konner’s not all bad. He does have some good qualities about him,” Hayleigh said.
“Name one good thing or quality about him,” her sister said.
“He helped out with the festival last year when he didn’t have to. Mom had given him an out but he worked the festival anyway. Mom was so proud when he showed up to help,” Hayleigh said.
“He wasn’t doing it to be helpful he was doing it so mom wouldn’t be mad at him. He didn’t want her to make him feel guilty about it afterward,” her sister said.
“I’m trying to give him some leeway. He hasn’t had it easy over the last few years,” Hayleigh said.
“Stop making excuses for him. Things would have ended differently if dad hadn’t of stepped in and you know it,” her sister said.
“We don’t know that. You were there you know he was defending himself,” Hayleigh said.
“He was fighting the enforcer of the pack Hayleigh. He was out to kill him for no good reason. He changed while he was away,” her sister said.
Hayleigh had to agree with her sister about their younger brother. Something had happened to him while he was away for a year. When he had returned, he was defensive and shut everyone out. They had tried to get him to open up about what had happened but he refused.
She couldn’t help but wonder if her brother was behind the attacks. They had begun after he had returned to town. Hayleigh would have to deal with her brother later. There were more important things on the agenda for the day.
The council had called a meeting about the attacks. Everyone had to attend the meeting. Hayleigh would rather be hanging out with her friends.
“Why do we have to attend the meeting?” her sister asked.
“I don’t know other than they want everyone where they can keep an eye on them,” Hayleigh said.
“I bet they want to prove no on in our pack is the attacker. If everyone is in the same place at the same time and another attack happens while we are gathered together then our pack is innocent,” her sister said.
“Sounds like it’s the plan. There is a rogue wolf out there attacking not just other wolves but the townspeople as well. We can’t let it continue,” Hayleigh said as she finished getting dressed.
They headed over to the main house to meet their parents and brothers. They hoped Konner would be there. He hadn’t been part of the family meals since he had gotten back.
The girls walked through the foyer to the kitchen. Their parents and brother Kaden-Scott were already seated. They waved, grabbed plates and filled them up before sitting down.
“I guess Konner decided to be non-social again,” Hayleigh asked as she sat down across from her brother.
“Yeah, he didn’t get in until around 3 am this morning,” Kaden-Scott said with a cautious glance at their parents.
“Your brother needs to grow up and take his responsibilities to this family and pack more seriously,” their father said.
“Dad, he hasn’t been the same since he came back from the assignment you sent him on. You have to see it. He needs help or he’s going to kill or be killed by someone,” Hayleigh said.
She was tired of everyone doubting Konner and his sense of responsibility. He had been sent on a mission for the pack that had gone wrong for everyone involved. No matter what he was still her brother.
“We offered to get him help. He wouldn’t do it,” their mother said staring at Hayleigh.
“Can we not argue about Konner right now. We have to find the attacker before someone else gets hurt,” Kaden-Scott said.
“I agree. Can we have a peaceful meal for once?” Stacy asked glancing around the table.
“Your brother and sister have the right idea. No more talk about Konner or even about the attacker,” their mother said gazing around the table at each one of them.
Hayleigh and her siblings gazed down at their plates without muttering another word.
Konner listened to his parents and siblings talking about him. His wolf paced. He took deep breaths to calm himself and his wolf down. He left the house because he didn’t want to hear anymore of their conversation. They stopped talking when they heard the front door slam shut. Kaden-Scott sighed and left the table to go look for his brother. Konner had to stay within the pack compound today because of the meeting.
He hadn’t cleared the steps when he heard the shouting and scuffling. Kaden-Scott ran toward the sound. He rounded the corner of the house to see Sean and Tony trying to stop Konner from leaving.
Kaden-Scott entered the scuffle and grabbed his brother. He motioned for the two men to let him go. They released Konner after they knew Kaden-Scott had a grip on him.
“Sorry, little brother but you can’t leave. Did you forget we have a pack meeting to attend today?” Kaden-Scott said fighting to keep his hold on him.
“I don’t care about the meeting. No one around here cares if I’m here or not,” Konner said breaking out of his brother’s grip.
“Not going to happen. You’ll be put on lockdown until the meeting if you try to leave,” Kaden-Scott said.
“Fine, I won’t leave before the meeting but as soon as it’s over I’m gone,” Konner said slamming his palm against the wall. He turned and walked away before Kaden-Scott could say anything else.
Kaden-Scott watched his brother walk away. Hayleigh was right his brother needed help and soon. He was a ticking time bomb and it didn’t help he was a wolf.
His brother was headed down a dangerous road. He turned and headed back to the house. His parents were waiting for him when he walked into the foyer.
“Everything’s fine. Konner overheard us and was leaving but Sean and Tony stopped him. I explained to him why he couldn’t leave. He was upset but agreed to stay for the meeting. After it’s over he’s leaving and I doubt he’ll be back before tomorrow morning,” Kaden-Scott said his hands curled into fists by his side.
“Son, you did what had to be done. Your sister is right. He has to be dealt with before something bad happens. I just don’t know who to call or where to look,” their dad said glancing around the room.
“I think I know who we can call. It might be a long shot though I haven’t talked to them in a long time,” Hayleigh said leaning against the wall.
“Fine. Can they be trusted? We are wolves and have a reputation to maintain within the pack,” their dad said gazing at her.
“Yes, he can be trusted. I’ll begin trying to track him down after the meeting,” she said.
“Let me know as soon as you do get in touch with him,” their dad said.
“Yes, sir. Now, we have a meeting to attend and as the family of the alpha we can’t be late,” their mom said motioning everyone toward the door.
The family arrived at the meeting hall to find Konner outside with several of his friends. Their dad shook his head and walked in without acknowledging his son. Konner glanced over at them and waved. He was acting nothing had happened earlier. Hayleigh sighed and walked in behind their dad. Stacy and their mom followed after her. Kaden-Scott growled and walked over to him.
“Let’s go inside now. You can hang out with them later,” he said as he grabbed Konner’s arm. Konner jerked away from him.
“You don’t tell me what to do. I’m going to sit with my friends and we’re leaving right after the meeting’s over,” Konner said walking away with his friends.
Kaden-Scott believed Konner was going to do something to disrupt the meeting and embarrass their dad more than he already had.
He moved toward the door of the meeting hall and walked in. He scanned the room for his brother. Konner was in back with those troublemaker friends of his. Kaden-Scott strode toward the front of the room.
“Konner not going to grace us with his presence?” Hayleigh asked when Kaden-Scott reached them.
“No, he would rather sit in the back with his friends so he can leave as soon as the meeting ends,” Kaden-Scott said sitting down beside her.
“Do what you have to if he begins to cause trouble,” their mom told him.
“Yes, ma’am,” Kaden-Scott said.
Hayleigh glanced back to where her other brother was sitting. She shook her head and turned around to face the front. Kaden-Scott gave her hand a little squeeze. She glanced over and smiled. At least she could trust one of her brothers.
The meeting began and Hayleigh pushed all thoughts about Konner out of her head. She wanted to a clear head to listen to the council. The council members began with news about the attacks happening in the area. The attacker(s) were rogue wolves and had to be found.
Hayleigh wasn’t surprised by the news. She had deciphered from the clues at the scenes it was a rogue wolf behind the attacks. She glanced around the room eyes landing on her brother. Konner and his friends were whispering while the Alpha was going over the plan he and the council had decided on.
They were creating teams of 4 to go out and search for the rogue(s). There were groans all around the room when he announced no one other than the teams would be allowed to leave and return until the rogue(s) were found.
Hayleigh closed her eyes and muttered to herself. She hoped it would be on a voluntary basis. Next thing she knew her parents were pushing her toward the front after the Alpha had called her name for one of the teams. Kaden-Scott was chosen for one as well. Stacy was staying behind because she was still too young to go on hunts for rouges. She let it be known how unhappy she was.
Their mom glared at Stacy and she hushed. Kaden-Scott and Hayleigh were up front with the groups conversing with each other and several of their friends who were chosen. The meeting adjourned so everyone else could leave. The teams had to stay so they could be briefed on their assignments and areas to search.
The two returned to their parents house several hours later. Hayleigh wasn’t shocked to find Konner gone. Their parents and Stacy were watching a movie when they walked into the living room. The two let them know they would be leaving out the next morning and didn’t know when they would be back. They promised to stay in touch as much as possible. Stacy, Hayleigh, and Kaden-Scott left after saying good night to their parents. Stacy had to pack along with Hayleigh. She lived with her sister and when Hayleigh would have to go out of town Stacy stayed with their parents until she returned.
The next morning the siblings meet in front of the meeting hall. Their parents and sister were there to see them off like the rest of the pack. Konner and his friends were arriving back at the compound as Hayleigh and Kaden-Scott left with their respective teams.
“Let me guess they were picked for the teams,” Konner said wiping his palms on his pants.
“Yes, they did. You would’ve known if you had stuck around for a few minutes longer,” Stacy said glaring at him.
“I did but I don’t remember their names being called,” Konner said glancing between their mother and Stacy.
“Oh please. You and your friends were gone a minute after the gavel slammed down ending the meeting,” Stacy said before walking away.
“What’s with the attitude? I just stated a fact,” he asked his mom as Stacy walked away from them.
“She has a right to be unhappy with you. We all are. You need to grow up Konner,” their mom said and walked away.
He watched his mom walk away and enter the house. His dad leaned against the nearly tree.
“You have pushed your luck with your mom and siblings. I would say leave and not return for a long time but you can’t do that,” his dad as he turned away from Konner.
Konner growled and stormed away from the meeting hall. They were going to pay for treating him the way they did.
Hayleigh and Kaden-Scott got in touch with their parents as much as they could. They had been out tracking the rogues for several months. Kaden-Scott had been able to return home for some rest. Hayleigh was still out in the field. Her team was searching an area where a recent victim had been found.
Hayleigh glanced down at the bottom of a tree and saw an item that looked familiar. She could have sworn it belonged to Konner. It was a torn-up shirt with blood on it. She bagged it before anyone else could find it.
The team lead came up to her and was frowning. He pulled her aside and informed her she was going home for a few days. She wouldn’t have to wait to get Kaden-Scott’s help with the shirt.
She drove into the compound and parked in front of the meeting hall. Hayleigh got out of the car and noticed the deafening silence. Where was everyone? Her parents and siblings must have informed she was arriving.
Hayleigh walked into the meeting hall to check in with the coordinator and let them know her information from the search area(s). The few people who were in the hall stopped talking when she walked in.
“What’s going on? Why did everyone shut up?” Hayleigh asked.
“Go let Kaden-Scott know she’s here,” Sean said.
Tony took off out the door to find her brother. Hayleigh glanced around the room. She had the feeling something was wrong. She paced back and forth waiting for Kaden-Scott.
A few minutes later her brother walked in with Tony behind him. She rushed over to him demanding to know what was going on.
“Stacy was attacked. She’s going to be okay. She fought off the attacker and scratched him,” Kaden-Scott said.
“Thank God, she’s going to be okay. Does it mean we might have some DNA from the attacker?” Hayleigh asked.
“It does. It’s being tested now. We should know the results soon,” he said.
“Well, I have something that might be considered a clue in the trunk of the car. I found it in the last area were searching when I was told to return home,” Hayleigh said.
She spent most of her time waiting taking care of her sister to give their mom some time to rest. Although after a few days Stacy had healed enough that she didn’t need as much attention from her sister or mom.
The results of the testing on the blood had come back. No one was shocked when the attacker was revealed to be one of Konner’s troublemaking friends. What was worse and made Konner look guilty as well was he had disappeared around the time of the attack.
Kaden-Scott sat down beside Hayleigh on the porch swing their mom insisted she had to have.
“You know Konner’s innocent until proven guilty. I know how it looks though. He disappeared at the same time Stacy was attacked,” he said glancing at her.
“I know. I want to believe he’s innocent but part of me can’t. Given how he’s been acting since he got back from the mission dad had sent him on,” Hayleigh said.
“We’ll find him and clear his name,” Kaden-Scott said as he patted her on the leg.
“I’m going to search for him myself,” Hayleigh said.
“You can’t do that. He’s dangerous,” he said.
“I know but someone has to bring him in,” she said.
“It won’t be you. I already have one sick and don’t need the other one getting hurt as well.
Hayleigh didn’t say anything else. She went to her house to pack another pack of clothes. She needed to pack some extra weapons. After packing she went back to her parents’ house to say goodbye.
She got in her car and drove off the compound property. Her search would take her all over the place. Hayleigh’s mind wondered to a time when her family was happy, healthy and whole. She would find out what happened to her brother on his mission.
Several months after starting the search Hayleigh was returning home feeling defeated. She had found no more clues. At home she would regroup and begin the search again. Hayleigh smiled as she drove through the compound gates. It was good to be home even if it was a short period of time.
She had to applaud his efforts to stay hidden.
You won’t be able to hide for much longer little brother. I will find you and bring you home to get the help you need before facing the council and the possible charges of crime against a pack member. Until then keep playing your little hide and seek game. I know you are one of the rogue wolves. I just have to prove it. Goodbye for now little brother see you soon.
About the Author
Diane and her family live in the south with their two dogs and three cats. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in English. When she’s not writing, she can be found spending time with her family and friends, reading, playing video games, or watching some of her favorite movies and television shows. She is currently working on a Young Adult series set in a Witch Academy and writing the Junior and Senior Year stories for the Ytherynia: Gifted Blood Academy Set among other projects. More of Hayleigh’s story coming soon.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”