A mixture of anger and sadness intermingles with my blood as I sit on a snow-covered rock. In front of me Jason is pacing around our circle, watching every one of us. His eyes are searching and his brow is furrowed. His hair is back in a tight, short ponytail and the sides of his mouth are twitching uncomfortably.
Alice is sitting beside Matt, but unlike every other day they aren't kissing or touching. Meetings are sacred and we all have to respect them. When the pack leader is in the centre, the rest of the pack must devote every inch of their attention to them. Even if the pack leader is quiet.
The anger in me is slowly overtaking my sadness and a growl escapes my throat.
Jason looks at me sharply, then his face eases into a look of concern. He knows.
"There have been some murders in Toronto these past few months," he finally says and Charlie shrugs.
"What does that have to do with us?" she asks, looking directly at Jason.
"They have been vicious attacks," he answers quietly, watching the nervous fidgeting of Emily, the new pack member. "Ones that appear to be done by a werewolf."
Alice and Charlie gasp and Emily pales. "How do you know?" Matt asks in a soft voice.
Jason regards him for a moment, thinking through his answer. "Because I have seen the deed of a murderer before."
This makes me uncomfortable. If he knew these things were happening, then why didn't he tell us sooner?
"Unfortunately, this person has killed several people and several others that... we know." I bare my teeth, another growl escaping my throat. "Relax MC, I know it's painful."
"Then you know damn well what I want to do," I respond, taking in shallow breaths to stop from shifting.
"Yes," in a second he is in front of me, his hands on my knees. "But we can't. Our pack is too small and my reason for living is keeping it safe. Understood?"
"--Understood?" He cuts me off, grabbing my face with his large hands. His eyes plead with me but I shake him off.
"My cousin is dead because you didn't tell us sooner," I spit out. "I could have saved her. I could have reached her in time or warned her. Jason, I could have--"
"--DONE WHAT?" Jason yells, showing me his teeth. They're already changing and the effect makes them look longer. "GOTTEN KILLED?"
I push him away from me and he easily regains his balance. Jumping up, I tear my coat off and arch my back, ready to change but Jason is quicker, grabbing me around my neck and pressing me against a nearby tree. "Calm yourself, MC."
"Screw you," I say, spittle flying between us. "My cousin is dead, she was my family and you want to stay here and do nothing?"
Jason closes his eyes and I can hear the anger in the growl growing in his throat. "Well, this is my family." His voice is barely recognizable as it fills with anger and he presses me harder against the tree trunk and frowns. "The dead are gone, but the living need to live."
I grab the hand that's around my throat and again push him away from me. Jason turned only a year before me, which explains why I'm the second-in-command because we are nearly even in our strength. "This pack can continue living if you want, but my cousin is dead and unlike cowards," I look pointedly at the rest of the wide-eyed clan members that are sitting on large protruding rocks, "I will find who did this and stop them before they ruin any more lives."
Jason freezes, watching me earnestly. "What?"
"I won't put your pack in danger," I move towards the path that will lead me back to my house. There are birds chirping above us, high in the pine trees and the sun glares off of the glittering snow.
"MC," Jason takes a step forward, but I step back from him. "Don't do this."
I shake my head in anger. "It's already done, I'm done." With these words I turn around and shift into my wolf form, escaping the confines of the family that I no longer belong to.