To Howl Alone

A Moons of Mystery Short Story

Take a peek into Michael’s past in this exclusive 1,000 word short story and the night that changed it all.

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Michael Howell felt empty as he stepped out of the forest. Before him loomed the plantation style building that he had visited every summer since he had been born. It was home to most of his best memories. Tonight though, he did not look upon the House with happy eyes. Ever since his parents had passed ten years ago, something dark had taken root inside of him. That darkness had spread over the years and he wasn’t the only one who noticed.

The sharp feel of dry pine beneath his bare feet hardly registered. Memory was all he had. The pack was his only family now, meant to guide and support him. He didn’t feel like part of their family. He didn’t feel like part of anything. And therein lied the problem. A wolf was nothing without his pack. Any day now Alexander was going to say something. Michael could feel it. He was a legal adult by every state law, every mortal law. He wouldn’t be permitted to stay. The question was, would he be permitted to live?

David bounded out of the trees a couple paces behind him. His best friend had only ever been energy. He knew something was off too, but he would die before admitting it out loud. “Dude, you didn’t wait for me. I thought we were gonna chase Vicky and Scarlett.”

Michael shrugged. “I’m not really in the mood for chasing tail tonight.” David’s face turned into a frown.

“That’s all well and good for you. But what about my wing man? Scar is something else. You know? What if she’s the one?”

Michael let out an aggrieved sigh. This again. “You think everyone is the one.”

“That’s not true.”

“Marissa?”

“Shallow.”

“Karen?”

“Snarky.”

“Lucille?”

David hesitated. Lucille had been his first love. He would have done just about anything for her. Right up until she dumped him for Calvin. Michael personally thought it was a poor choice. Strictly speaking, David was on the fast track to being the most imposing wolf in the pack. That kind of status brought perks.

“Puppy love,” his friend finally responded. It was the single most insulting thing your partner could accuse you of and it was what Lucille had called it.

Michael walked a few more steps and caught sight of someone as they stepped into yellow porchlight. He swallowed. Alexander Wolfsbane did not need David’s bulk to be an imposing man. His quick reflexes and sharp intellect had rightfully earned him his title.

“What do you say we go into town? Chase someone else for a change?” The suggestion immediately perked David up.

He pumped his fist in the air as he proclaimed, “Yes!”

Michael spared another glance at the man. His eyes glinted yellow in the darkness as he watched the two. Michael’s anxiety increased two-fold. He couldn’t help but wonder if he would survive this night as he walked away from the Alpha of the North Carolina Pack.

Chapter 2

Michael couldn’t stay focused on any of what David was telling him. He was too absorbed in his own miserable thoughts. It had been a mistake to run so far from the center of the pack; it only highlighted that he was different.

“I think I’m broken,” Michael said over David’s elaborate story.

“Everyone thinks that when they’re nineteen.”

“I’m serious, David. Something is wrong with me. I’m not—I’m not like the others.” David’s eyes tightened with anxiety.

“Don’t say that,” he whispered.

“Not saying it doesn’t make it any less true.”

“Look, things got rough for you when your parents passed away. I get it, I do, but…”

“Murdered,” Michael interjected. David stopped. “They didn’t just die in their sleep. They were doing His bidding and they were killed.”

“You don’t know that.” Michael speared him with a look. “Mike you gotta let this go.”

The salt shaker flew off the table to shatter against the wall. Other patrons in the café turned to stare. “I will let it go when he does something about it. He was supposed to protect them. That’s his job.”

David glanced around noting the attention they were gathering. “We should get out of here.” Michael’s chair squealed against the flooring and only David’s reflexes prevented it from crashing to the wood.

They walked in silence back to the House. There Michael insisted on being left to fume on his own. The rage he felt at his parents’ death consumed him any time he looked at the Alpha. A voice drifted from the tree line and Michael felt as if he’d been doused in ice.

“Michael Howell, I’d like a word with you. Walk with me.”

Michael seriously considered ignoring the command and making a run for it. The simple fact that he was able to consider the option at all was part of the problem. No wolf should be able to disobey a direct command from their Alpha. Still, he wondered how far he would get before someone in the pack caught up to him. The Howells were natural trackers, and even as the last of them Michael was no exception. Only one thing prevented him from turning tail and bolting as fast as his legs would carry him: the wolf that inevitably caught him would undoubtedly be David. He wouldn’t do that to his brother.

During Michael’s tense moments of indecision. Alexander remained perfectly still, patiently waiting for his decision. Michael couldn’t shake the feeling that this was some kind of test and he was failing miserably. He swallowed hard and turned to face the man he couldn’t respect as Alpha.

“Yes sir.”

The trees had barely closed behind them when Alexander spoke again. “You have lost the meaning of pack.”

Michael felt a stab of pain in his chest.

“I hope some day you can find it again.”

Michael glanced over at the stoic man at his side. “What?”

“I’m sending you to Raleigh until you can learn.”

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