This chapter was inspired by the prompt: Include a terrible storm in your story.
I was right. Mom wanted that guy out of his cell and somewhere more comfortable as he healed. Deke wouldn’t let him anywhere near Kraig, and I didn’t want him anywhere near Ritch. Thankfully, Christian stepped up and offered his guest room—and a twenty-four hour guard. It was hard to think past my desire to kill Trein for his trespass against our streak.
Against all werekin.
Deke was calmer than me. He updated the alphas and the convocation was going ahead that evening as soon as everyone arrived. We’d lost the chance to interrogate the prisoners, but we knew where to find more information. But it would take a concentrated effort to attack another werekin’s clan.
It had to be done, but I’d relish it.
“Did he think he was going to get away with it?” I asked. Deke had called for every able-bodied member in the streak, not just the guards, to convene at his house. We stood on the porch waiting for them.
“Maybe. Not every streak has embraced technology the way we have. The security cameras are well-hidden, and the computer was tucked into the desk. They probably thought Jackie was dead when they knocked her unconscious.”
Ritch was silently standing next to me, his arms crossed defensively over his chest. Trein had abused him, used his body, treated him like he was nothing. I ached to make him feel safe, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. Not yet, at least. When Trein and his cronies were dead, then he’d be safe.
“Trein doesn’t like technology. His streak is old-fashioned, mostly tradesman jobs and apprenticeships. The girls are married off and then stay home to raise more kids. Most of them don’t own computers or have more than basic TV service.” Ritch shivered. “The strong males take what they want, and the rest of the streak just tries to survive. Most of the time I was kept locked up, but I saw things when Trein paraded me around to show off his superiority.”
Deke stiffened. “He did what?”
He’d told them part of what he’d endured, but when Deke had questioned Ritch before, he’d focused on what he knew about the doctor and the experiments he’d done, not the life Ritch led among the streak after his own alpha had basically sold him.
“He’s a sadistic bastard, but he’s not that smart. I don’t think he’s behind the experiments, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s allied with the people who are. Someone needed muscle, and they went to him.”
“If the doctor was in your herd’s territory before, I bet your old alpha was part of it too. This is even more widespread than we feared.” Deke ran a hand over his bristly ruff. “How will we hide an all-out war from the humans?”
“I don’t know.” Thankfully, that was going to be Deke’s problem. My problem was finding Trein and taking the bastard down. I was eager to start; I cast a glance over the crowd of murmuring males standing in the yard, locking down on my need to leave immediately. I was the beta, I had responsibility I wouldn’t abandon, no matter how fierce my desire for revent. “Everyone’s here.”
Deke stepped up to the edge of the porch. I positioned myself to his left, next to Kraig, but Ritch stayed near the house. I didn’t push him to come closer for now.
“We have been attacked, and the loss of two of our streak will be felt keenly.” Deke put a hand on his chest and the link between us throbbed. A terrible storm swept through the males in front of us, sorrow and rage a heavy mix of tension. I watched the crowd as Deke informed them of the impending arrival of the alphas and the upcoming battle we faced, a dark niggling in the back of my head, worry that my father wasn’t alone in his betrayal.
“This is the most dangerous threat our society has faced in a very long time. These traitors are angling for power, and they’re not above torturing and killing innocent werekin to get it. Our society needs to change, but not like this. If we don’t stop them now, the risk of humans finding out about us is almost certain.” Deke squared his stance and lifted his chin. “Either outcome is intolerable. The guard will be needed, so a secondary line of defenses will be erected by the remaining able-bodied members of our streak to protect the elderly and vulnerable.”
“For how long?” someone asked.
“The alphas will make the decision on how to respond to the attack on our streak and the experiments we uncovered. Trein will pay for his trespass. My home is open to those in the outlying areas of the streak’s property. Kraig will remain here and be my voice in my absence.” He swept the crowd with a firm look. “His word is mine.”
“Yes, Alpha.” Our streak wasn’t like the others, and Kraig had been raised among everyone. Despite what that bastard had done to him, he was one of us. They wouldn’t reject him, even if he wasn’t the mate of the alpha.
“Please keep your phones close. We will send out alerts as soon as we have more information. In the meantime, please be aware of your surroundings and stay safe. Thank you.”
They slowly dispersed. We went inside, and Kraig went into the kitchen. He started pulling things out of the fridge. “What are you doing?” Deke asked.
“Making stuff for the alphas. Mom isn’t here to do it this time.”
“It’s hardly a social occasion,” I scoffed.
“They are traveling here from a distance, and the reason is stressful. Tempers will already be short and being hungry and thirsty will only make that worse.” Kraig shot a look over his shoulder. “Any more questions?”Deke and I shook our heads. Kraig went over to the counter. “How can I help?”
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