So I’m trying to be brave again this week and since I recently started re-drafting my ‘big project’ from the beginning, I thought, why not share the opening scene?
You can read the other post where I shared a random section of the story here.
This story still has no name because I figure it will come to me one day! So far it’s been saved under a nickname for quite a long time, which is after the main character, Holly, the story started with her and built from there, so it made sense at the time but now I really have no clue what to call it!
**also, explicit language warning, go away young’uns **
Anyway here it goes:
Holly scowled into the darkness, the moon had fucked off along with the streetlights and she was mad about it. She wasn’t afraid of the dark but tonight she couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something waiting in the shadows.
She sped up, the clacking sound of the stupid heels she was wearing echoing into the silence, reverberating around the sleeping houses in a way that caused goose bumps to crawl up her arms and the back of her neck.
“Get a grip, Holly.” She muttered to herself, shaking her head and slowing down again. Any attempt at nonchalance was ruined when her ringtone sliced through the night air and she threw her bag away with a shriek. Casting furtive looks to the surrounding houses, she scrambled for the phone, wincing at the clomping sound her shoes made in her haste.
“Hi, hello.” She answered, doing her best not to sound out of breath. “Yeah, I know, I’m sorry. I know I should have waited for a taxi, but they were taking bloody ages, it’s only a twenty-minute walk.” Holly sighed, turning to face the alley that linked this street to the one their flat was on. “No, of course I’m not taking the short cut, it’ll be pitch black down there tonight. Ah, no, technically, I didn’t break my promise. You said I could only walk home from the club as a last resort… no, I think I could make a strong case for this being a last resort situation… because I was ten seconds away from throat punching Jordan, that’s why.”
Squaring her shoulders, Holly began walking down the alley. “Look, I’m nearly home, why don’t you save this lecture for when you get back… if you’re coming home that is? I knew it!” Holly pointed an accusatory finger into the air before slapping a hand over her mouth, realising she’d yelled the last bit.
Something in the shadows behind her froze as she paused.
“Yeah well, I feel like you lost the moral high ground real fast just then.” Her smile changed to a frown, there was a strange sound somewhere in the near the mouth of the alley. “I’m going to hang up now. Enjoy your time with long John.”
Without waiting for her friend to reply, she closed the call and opened up the dial pad, quickly putting in 999 before swiping down to select the torch app on. Holly held her breath as the dazzling light lit the alley and she swung round to face the shadows behind her. She let the breath go. There was nothing there.
Then she heard the sound again and this time, she understood what it was. A low rumbling, the kind of low growl that vibrates in your chest. Logic told her that there was only one place the sound could be coming from, even as the sound felt like it rolled and echoed around her. Feeling like the worst stereotype in every horror movie, Holly slowly turned towards its source.
The torch light glinted of predatory eyes in the darkness, flashing just outside the pool of light. Too late it occurred to her that she should have just sprinted for the alleyway’s entrance, a fact compounded by the growling that now issued from both sides. One of the hulking shapes in the darkness prowled into the light. It was a huge dog, moving with the lazy, loping grace of a beast that knows its prey can’t escape. Not a dog. It was a wolf.
“What the fuck?”
She exclaimed aloud and a deep, stuttering grumble came in answer from the wolf’s mouth. Holly wondered if she was in shock because it had sounded eerily like a laugh. Before her eyes, its elongated nose began to shrink into a face that was rapidly losing its’ fur. Wolfish limbs extended as muscular arms peeled through the retracting fur, talons become nails and pointed ears turned into round pink ones. In mere moments she was faced with the crouching form of a very naked man. Holly obeyed the ridiculous urge to avert her gaze as he rose, looking up into his face instead. He still regarded her with a look that twisted her insides with fear, he might no longer be a wolf, but she was still prey.
“Well, chosen one, frankly, I’m a little disappointed.” He gave a chuckle, which was echoed in the same stuttering grumble laugh from hulking forms in the shadows both in front and behind. Holly swallowed, what on earth could she say in reply to that? His eyes left hers as he spoke to someone on the left behind her. “Any sign of him?”
Holy jumped as a human voice answered. “No, not yet but we don’t have long. He still has a lot of allies among the fey.”
Some small voice in the back of her head tried to dissect that sentence, as the rest of her brain shouted at her feet to move. To do something other than silently stand there. Her brain and limbs came to a compromise, eyes never leaving the wolf-man’s face, she pressed the green dial button on the keypad. It didn’t even finish the first ring before a hand closed over the phone and tossed it aside, plunging the alley into total darkness.
“There’s no one to help you, love.” Shivers burst across her skin as restraining hands backed her against the fence panel. She could just make out his face in the gloom, backed by the flashing of wolfish eyes in the darkness. He titled his head. “So, the rumours are true, you really don’t know anything do you?”
Somehow, she found her voice. “Strangely, real life werewolves are something that has never come up.” A grin spread across his face, glinting in his eyes and revealing elongated canines.
“Ah, I admire someone who can be sarcastic at a time like this. Anyone with that kind of coping mechanism is someone I can be friends with.” He grunted as Holly made a valiant attempt to break free of the hands pinning her to the fence. She tried to bring a knee up between his legs, but he blocked it, returning to slam her against the panel with renewed force. Once she was secure, he gazed at her curiously, head titled once again.
Someone coughed behind him. “Erik, we don’t have time for this. What’s the plan?”
He took a deep breath close to her face. “Seems a shame to kill her.” He drew back, catching her terrified gaze. “When she wouldn’t even understand what she’s dying for. So, what will it be Holly? Come with us quietly, or die?”
“Is there a third option?” She asked, eyes darting rapidly from side to side, trying to see a way out of this.
“’Fraid not, chosen one.” He turned as if to give an order before something above her caught his eye. “Shi…“He didn’t have time to finish the curse as a figure descended on him from above, succeeding in disentangling the wolf guy from his hold on her and flinging him away so fast that he bowled into the wolves’ beside them. A tall male figure drew up in front of her and as one being, the pack backed away from them, creating a little bubble of space around them.
“Stay behind me, Holly.” He commanded, backing up so there was little more than an inch between them. She had barely a moment before he spoke again to reflect that this mysterious stranger, just like the wolves, knew her name. “Give up now, Erik, we both know from experience who would win in a fight.”
The wolf- guy, or Erik if she had to guess, stood opposite them, backed against the parallel fence panel, giving them about three metres of space. “Yes, well, tonight the whole pack is here and the Master’s best little soldier is all alone.” There was no hint of humour in his voice as he regarded the stranger. “They’re all at Nightfall, aren’t they? The manor has fallen.” It was only because she was so close to him that Holly heard the stranger’s sharp intake of breath.
“Nevertheless, how many of your people would die before I would fall?” He replied, betraying no hint of surprise. Holly couldn’t help but feel that had been a pretty good answer, which was confirmed by the way Erik’s jaw clenched.
Amid the chorus of growls that followed, he turned his head to the side, so only Holly could hear him. “The exit to your street is only 20 feet away, if I made a gap, do you think you could make it home?” Fear causing icy spikes in her veins, Holly nodded. “Good, get your keys out now. Be ready.” In the time they had spoken, the pack had advanced on all sides. Hackles raised, ready to pounce.
“It’s not worth the retribution, Erik, you know what he will do if you succeed.”
“But I will have removed his two greatest weapons. We are willing to sacrifice ourselves for the good of everyone, not just the wolves.” Holly tried desperately to fumble for her keys without making a sound, letting her bag slip to the ground as she finally found them.
“You speak for the London pack and no one else, so let’s save the pretence of a noble sacrifice, it bores me.”
“Well, we wouldn’t want you to get bored, would we?” As though by some invisible signal, they attacked as one. Erik transforming in the space of a blink back into a wolf and lunging across the gap.
He pulled Holly from behind him and barrelled through the wolves ranged on their left. They hadn’t expected their prey to charge right at them and they scattered for a moment. It didn’t take long before they returned to the attack, launching themselves at the stranger. He shoved her ahead of him and Holly sprinted through the gap he’d made faster than she’d thought herself capable. Stupidly she glanced back to see him swipe at pouncing wolf, catching it in the air and throwing it away with enough force to crack the fence, just as another clamped its’ jaw around his calf. Holly didn’t dare look back again, but she knew they were gaining on her. Lungs already burning, she couldn’t believe such a short distance could feel so far. She wasn’t fast enough. A force like no other slammed into her side, forcing the air from her lungs as she was knocked to the ground.
Teeth tore into shoulder as they started to drag her back to her supposed saviour, who had been bought to his knees under the weight of the attack. She noted with a cold detachment how many wolves littered the ground around him, in varying states of consciousness. Her shoulder burned where the teeth gripped it. No. Her whole body burned. Where there had been icy panic before, suddenly she was filled with fire; a terrible, yet wonderful, sensation of power. Holly felt infinite. The seconds stretched and slowed, energy fizzling through her. She raised her hand, sending the energy plummeting from her fingertips in an invisible shock wave and the pressure of the wolf’s jaw left her shoulder.
Time snapped back into its normal speed and Holly found herself surrounded by immobile creatures, transforming back into humans as they passed into unconsciousness. Holly stared at her own hands in shock. Every single wolf was out for the count. There was small radius of space around her, like a blast wave. Her eyes met the gaze of her would-be- saviour as her knees buckled beneath her.
The muffled sounds of pained movement came from beside her. Holly didn’t have the space to feel embarrassed about looking like an upturned turtle. As the fire had left her, so had all her energy gone with it. A handsome, if grimacing, face appeared above her, brow creased in concern until he noticed that she was still conscious. Holly let out a breath at the sight of him and a reluctant smile tugged on his lips, as he half collapsed- half knelt beside her.
“Holly? How are you feeling?”
“Floaty.” She replied, grinning dazedly at the beautiful stranger above her.
“Can you move?”
Holly shook her head, trying to clear the cobwebs. “I don’t think so. What the hell just happened?” He didn’t answer her, instead he continued to examine her, lightly placing his palm against a cheek so that his index finger rested on her temple. He seemed to be listening to something she couldn’t hear before heaving a sigh.
“By the Rose.” The way he said it made it sound like a curse. Finally, he met her eyes. “I can’t move you to safety just yet but reinforcements are on the way.”
“I just need a minute to heal.”
Feeling very damsel- in- distress, Holly tried to fight back the numbness spreading through her limbs and sit up. This only made things worse as she cried out and gentle hands reach for her, pulled her back against his seated form that was suddenly behind her. He had bought her to rest against his torso, so she had succeeded in a least being upright, but she was horribly aware of his body against her back and the long legs bracketing her sides. To Holly’s deep embarrassment her face flushed, something which didn’t go unnoticed by him.
“My name is Alvis by the way.”
“Nice to meet you,” she replied, unable to stop the bubble of laughter escaping her at how ridiculous this was. “Congrats on the weird name.” She felt the chuckle in his chest rather than heard it.
“I’m not sure we can class that as the weirdest thing that has happened to you tonight but okay.” Alvis shifted slightly and she felt him wince. Holly forced herself to turn in the circle of his arms and legs so that she could see him. Blood ran from claw marks across his cheek, chest and shoulders. She could tell by the way the material clung to his leg that he had other injuries there too.
“Sorry.” She said, not really knowing why. His eyebrows drew up in surprise.
“Why would you be sorry? You saved us, not me.” She watched his jaw clench as he said it.
“Yes, well, as knights in shining armour go, you have been a disappointment.” Holly was fascinated by the way his expression shifted into surprise and then amusement.
“You shouldn’t have needed saving. I should be the one apologising.” She shrugged, a movement which sent spiky tendrils of pain down her arm.
“What? Like you’re in charge of keeping me safe from werewolves?” Sudden realisation jolted through her, forcing her upright. “They were fucking werewolves.” She tried to shift away from him. “Werewolves just tried to kill me and I’m sat here in an alley with some strange guy, ‘waiting for reinforcements’, like that’s normal.” Holly forced herself to stand, taking shaky stumbling steps away from him even as blackness clouded her vision. Alvis caught her before she fell, just managing to cushion her fall as his strength seemed to abandon him, bringing them both tumbling to the ground.
“Please, Holly. I will explain. I just need you to trust me for a moment.”
“Sure, trust a perfect stranger who just tossed a werewolf through a fence.” She tried to scramble away from him on her hands and knees but waves of dizziness swept through her and he was at her side again in less than a second.
“Please just rest a moment.” He panted the last sentence, collapsing next to her. He grimaced again and she caught a hint of elongated canines, just like the ones the werewolf had when he looked human. Holly tried and failed to pull away from him.
“You’re one of them too!”
“No, no, you don’t understand.”
“What are you?” Alvis seemed reluctant to answer her. “If you’re not a werewolf then what the hell are you?” It was then she noticed the way his eyes kept flicking to the trail of blood down her arm from the wound on her shoulder. “No, no fucking way.”
“Holly…” His tone was fearful as he looked at her with wide, pleading eyes. “I promise I will explain everything, once we are safe.” Alvis’s eyes flicked to the blood on her arm again, he was taking small shallow breaths, his jaw clenched. Holly wasn’t stupid, she could put two and two together. Pain was carving its way through her and she just wanted to go home, she had no choice but to trust him, for the moment. Marvelling at her own nerve, Holly held out her arm, wrist facing upwards, bearing a shallow cut there.
“If I helped you, could you get us away from here?” His breath hitched as though he held it. He tore his gaze, with pupils so wide and dark it made his brown eyes look black, from her wrist to look at her. Nearby, one of the wolves began to stir.
“Are you sure you understand what you are offering?”
“Yes, I’m sure.” He examined her stubborn expression, clearly having some kind of internal debate with himself. Afraid she was going to lose her nerve, Holly urged him on again. “Come on. Your turn to do the saving. Get on with it.”
Looking at her with an expression she couldn’t decipher, he carefully took hold of her wrist and brought it up to his lips, letting his sharp teeth graze her skin, as if to make it abundantly clear what he intended to do. All the while, his eyes had never left hers and he waited there, breathing heavily, that muscle working in his jaw again.
“Do I still have your permission?” He asked, his breath whispering against the sensitive skin on her wrist.
“Yes.” She whispered, in an irritatingly breathy voice.
Alvis clutched her wrist tighter and, in an impossibly gentle motion, considering what he was doing, he carefully sank his teeth into her skin. It hurt but not like she was expecting and after a moment, an incredibly feeling of peacefulness swept over her as he pulled her closer. Holly watched, dumbfounded as the scratches on his face healed over as though they had never been. Purple stars sparkled on the edge of her vision as blackness began creeping in again. As she slumped downwards, he released her wrist. The last thing she knew before passing out was him standing beside her and bending to gather her in his arms.
So, there you go… I’ve always been very precious about sharing this story because I love it so much and It would suck if people hated it but I have to let go some day, hey?
Would you want to read more?
Let me know!