It was lonely work, being the Alpha. Although I had the company of 100 people around me, all eating and talking together, I felt like responsibility put me in a position where I couldn’t truly talk to anyone; Will’s hesitant speech earlier had proved that. I had been thinking lately whether I was the best person for the post. I enjoyed the company of others but I didn't like being treated with high respect like I was with my pack. I had no one to open up to, apart from maybe Will, and everyone was a little afraid of my reaction to whatever they said to me.
Although I led them, I knew next to nothing about any of my pack.
A booming laugh emanated throughout the clearing from my pack’s Beta. Conall was a boisterous young wolf of only 16 and, like me, he volunteered himself to the werewolves in the beginning. He was very strong and his muscles stood out against his loose clothing. His short black hair was seemed to absorb the remaining light whereas his semi-permanent yellow eyes glowed with power in the dark. He could easily have challenged me as Alpha but, because I'm a girl, he says he can't fight me. (Gentlemanly or cowardly, he knew it saved dominance fighting.) His slightly wise head and confidence made him the ideal leader if I wasn’t here.
People continued to talk animatedly to each other once all the food had been eaten. The full moon started to peek out behind the thin cloud cover above me. Although the summer night brought on nippy wind that ruffled everyone’s hair, each person here was as warm as if they were at home in front of a welcoming log fire.
I stood up and instantly had the attention of all assembled. By now, every one of them was staring at me with glowing golden eyes, lighting me up like a hundred small spotlights. The excitement of my pack was buzzing through the air like an electric current and many of the younger members were fidgeting with energy.
I never started off this event with a speech. I, too, was eager to give myself to the moon. I paused for effect before shifting. Relaxing into my werewolf body was so much more powerful than changing skins; I gave myself over to my wolf instincts and I had the strength of ten vampires in my muscles. Standing on my hind legs, I watched as 100 people all shifted simultaneously. I lifted my muzzle to the moon and we all howled in unison.
I shuddered as the sound of wolves washed over me. A newfound hate of werewolves crawled its way up my back and made me shudder again. Enemy. But I wasn’t focused on this. I had only one sensation in mind.
Burning. My throat felt raw, my head was pounding and my hands were claws at my side as I looked at the humans. Some of them were my friends who I had lived and joked with for five years but that was of no importance to me now. I could hear their pulses; each one sounding as amazing as a cool stream does to a man in the desert. Their hearts beat a different rhythm in time with their pulses: da-dum, da-dum, da-dum. A mouth-watering metallic smell surrounded and radiated from the large group in the cage and I would have ripped the iron bars apart to get to them if I wasn’t chained to the opposite wall. I raved and snarled for two hours before I lost the will to struggle against the chains bound around my arms, legs and body.
Still, I could see, smell and hear the humans cowering in fear across from me and all my instincts were telling me to tear open the neck of the closest one to get at the rich fluid and quench my burning thirst. Burning. It hurt.