“Why would a human werekin do this to me?” Kraig said.
“I bet I know.” Park’s nostrils were flaring. “We’ve heard the jokes and the biased bullshit about human werekin, but I don’t think any of us in this streak know how bad it is. Ritch told me stories… he was given away, sold, to another man.
“Before that, he was the lowest member of his streak. In the new group, he was even lower than that. He was a slave, a plaything. They could beat him, starve him, do anything they wanted. That’s the life of a human werekin.” He clenched his hands into fists.
“But that’s insane. It’s helpful to have human werekin loyal to the group. They can be the face to the humans. It’s not their fault they were born that way.”
Park snorted. “Apparently that sort of attitude is pretty rare. Because their spirit didn’t attract an animal soul, they’re viewed as defective. Weak. Unwanted.”
Kraig was breathing raggedly. I moved over to his side and pulled him close to me. “I didn’t know,” he said softly. “My life….”
“Has nothing to do with what they suffered.” I wouldn’t let him feel this guilt. “And just because someone tortured them doesn’t mean they can take it out on someone else. You can’t go around hurting people because they have a better life.”
He squeezed my hand and nodded.
“I don’t know how your dad got involved, but when they snatched you it was to test if a human werekin could be changed and take a bonded werekin’s soul. You had a good life, were young, happy, and healthy.”
“A prime candidate,” Park growled.
“Yes. But Kraig would be driven out of any traditional streak even with the animal soul bonding to him because he has two. That’s why he wasn’t useful to them anymore.”
“What good will it do for human werekin to become bonded werekin? Their clans already know what they are.”
“I’m not clear on that part, but I think it has to do with why Dr. Brynter was testing my blood. I thought he was making another werekin into an alpha, one more powerful than me, to take over the streak.
“I’d never do that!” Kraig said.
“Well you and I know that. He obviously didn’t. This is just part of it. I think a lot of what he was doing was testing the chemical markers that have to do with bonded werekin. That’s how he came up with the serum your dad used on you to trigger your cheetah soul to go feral.”
“Controlling their animal, making them more powerful than existing alphas… if this works on human werekin, would it work on humans?”
“I don’t know,” I said. Those were my fears, though. “If they’re stronger than even an alpha bonded werekin and they have legions of changed humans behind them, they could take over.”
Kraig’s eyes went wide. “There’d be no way to hide a war from the humans. We’d be exposed.”
“Maybe that’s their goal?” Park suggested.
I rubbed the heels of my hands against my eyes. “I don’t know. I don’t.” I took a deep breath and let it out. “I think it’s time to gather all the evidence and call for a general counsel. I don’t want to do it, but even those bigoted bastards need to know what danger we’re in.”
“What if news gets back to them? They might have accomplices like my dad, people who could warn them.”
“They killed him, so I’m sure they already know we have a lot more information than they want us to.”
Park sighed. “I’m going home so I can check on Ritch.” He stood up. “Do you want me here when I make the call?” It had been a while since Park acted as my beta officially, but I wanted to make a show of strength.
“Yes. Bring your mom and Ritch once Cameron gets back, and I’ll have Uncle Radford come over to present what he knows. I’ll reach out to the Alphas via Skype to submit our proof and demand a counsel session.”
“Goodnight.” Park gave Kraig a hug and squeezed my arm. “We’ll convince them.”
“I hope so,” Kraig said softly. “This is so messed up.”
“Don’t worry. I won’t let anything happen to you, no matter what those other alphas think.”
Kraig shook his head. “I never realized how sheltered I was. People being bought and sold, forced to do things.” He shuddered. “Just because they were born. We didn’t do anything.”
“I know it’s wrong. My father was working on changing the minds of the older alphas, bringing more groups into the modern world, but after I took power they basically ignored me. Too young. Don’t know what I’m talking about. Would take humans in if I could since I obviously loved their world so much…” Ugh. I made a face. “I heard all their excuses why our society didn’t need to change. Well maybe now they’ll see exactly why their archaic, bigoted bullshit needs to end.”
“That’s not going to stop these werekin, not if they’ve figured out how to steal a soul and make themselves stronger. What if they attack?”
“We’ll defend ourselves,” I said grimly. No one was going to hurt Kraig ever again. Not if they wanted to live. “Let’s try to get some sleep. I’ll send Uncle Radford a text in the morning after I check on Cameron’s progress.”
Kraig glanced at the bed, but I led him into the bathroom. A hot shower—together—was exactly what we needed.
I can see a lot of drama in the future with hidebound leaders too entrenched in their own power! More next week but you can still read more flash fiction today.