tagNonHumanSplendour In The Grass Ch. 02

Splendour In The Grass Ch. 02

byfavours©

She awoke with a start. Her eyes focused on what appeared to be a ceiling as she realised that she was lying prone on her back. Her spine sensed a softness beneath her, and her hands tightened to grab hold of the fabric that she lay on. A bed. But not mine. She forced her eyes to scan her peripheral vision before turning onto her side, ensuring that she was alone. She was. After listening for a few moments to make sure that everything around her was silent, she rose to her feet and looked around, quickly assessing her surroundings. The bed that she had been lying on was one of many in the room, which appeared to be some sort of barracks. It was built of logs in the style of a longhouse with a door on each far end, but all that it contained were neatly made single cots. There must be sixty beds in here. Did they do something to me? She looked down at her torso and legs. Nothing out of order, but still...

The room made her uneasy. She was still wearing the clothes that she had been wearing before... her eyes widened. The clearing! The wolf! She had only just remembered the chain of events that preceded her current predicament when she heard the door at the end of the room closer to her open and she turned to face the entrant. It was a man. A large man. His tall frame, blond hair and well- muscled body indicated an attractive man, but his scowl destroyed any attraction toward him that she felt she ought to have. Besides, she thought, he kind of scares the shit out of me. As he stalked toward her, she struggled to form a sentence.

"Where am I? Can you help me?"

The man snorted and walked past her to the bed next to hers. He turned to face her with arms crossed, and she noticed that his eyes looked exactly the same as those of the wolf in the clearing.

"You're in no position to be asking questions. Sit. It took you goddamned long enough to wake up." He barked the order out in such a way that she felt compelled to comply and began to sit down. She caught herself, though, and spat back at him in an instant.

"I'm not doing anything until I'm treated with my dignity. I have no memory of how I got here or where I am, and you obviously do, so forgive me if I'm a bit curious!" She finished, realising that her voice had risen in anger as she spoke. He merely sneered at her.

"Nice try. But I'm not falling for the whole 'I'm just a pathetic ignorant human' routine. In case you can't tell, I'm not exactly the type of man to be fucked around with. You're not getting anything past me, so just stop trying before I have to hurt you. And now that I've helped you understand, it's time you answered some questions. What were you doing with that deer, and why didn't you shift in the clearing? Better yet, whose pack are you? Even rogues have more sense than to challenge me like you did."

His words left her in a daze. What the hell is this guy talking about? She stayed speechless, her mouth opening slightly before shutting again. She hadn't the slightest idea how to answer him.

He sighed in frustration. "Look, what's your name?" He attempted to soften his face. Maybe he was pushing the intimidation thing too hard.

She hesitated, but spoke quietly. "Lucy Atwood."

He noticed that she maintained his gaze while speaking to him and was annoyed that she was not more frightened of him. He spoke to her then in a patronising tone as though he were trying to explain something to a child. "Well, Lucy Atwood, I'm Jonah Messer, and I'm a Beta. Are you pack?"

She ignored his tone and instead focused on his words. Her eyes narrowed before she responded. "Am I what? What's a 'Beta'?"

Jonah was getting very frustrated with her persistence in this charade of innocence and practically snarled his next words. "I said are you pack? As in, whose pack do you belong to? Are you Harrison? Stehle? Carmichael? I told you before not to fuck around with me."

Lucy let out an exasperated sound, clearly as frustrated as he was. "Look, I don't know what the fuck you're talking about! Tell me where I am and how I got here right now!" She was breathing heavily and her skin flushed in her anger. She had never met anyone so absolutely uncooperative and unhelpful. Christ, what if this freak kidnapped me and now he's playing mindgames with me just to get me to crack? I'm being held captive by a sociopath! She had reached her breaking point and walked out into the centre aisle between the beds, intending to leave through the door that the man had come in by. She took another step and before she realised what had happened, his hand grabbed her forearm and she was flipped onto her back with a thud. The room faded into blackness once again as she lost consciousness for the second time that day.

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Jonah couldn't believe that he had made the girl pass out again, Granted, he had flipped her pretty hard, but still. He'd probably have to repeat the same tiresome conversation with her when she woke up. But what was I supposed to do, just let her walk out the door? Jonah had no patience for liars. That didn't change that he was sick of dealing with this girl, though. Better to bring her to someone better equipped to extract answers from her.

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When Jonah reached the compound, the girl was still unconscious and draped over his shoulder. He passed through the main gates, gathering a few questioning glares from other pack members. He merely rolled his eyes in response, allowing them to think whatever they pleased. Probably better at this point to keep it quiet that I'm carrying the subject of an interrogation into their midst. He moved quickly toward the back building and deposited her in a holding cell. Pulling a cell phone out of his pocket, he summoned Levi, the pack doctor. It would be necessary to assess her injuries before continuing her questioning. It would also be unwise to underestimate her at this point... He alerted the guards to accompany Levi into her cell when he arrived. Satisfied that he was finished with her for now, he breathed a sigh of relief and left the back building, allowing himself to relax for the first time since having met Lucy. If that is her real name, he thought. She was feisty, he had to give her that. If she really was as ignorant as she claimed to be, he could imagine that she would be an interesting person to be around. If she weren't lying. Which, of course, she is, he reminded himself.

Jonah shook her out of his head and stripped in the yard before he shifted back into his wolf. After all this, I still haven't eaten. It was time to hunt.

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Lucy awoke in an unfamiliar location yet again. It was a cot, although in a setting far more dank than last time. She swung her legs over the side of the bed, ignoring the pounding in her head and studying the room for an exit. There was no way that she was sitting around to wait for that asshole to come back this time. Her heart sank when she realised that the reason that the room appeared so unwelcoming was because it was not a room at all, but rather something similar to a prison cell. The wall to her left was not a wall but a row of metal bars displaying a hallway made of the same concrete that comprised the entirety of her cell except for the cot and a small bench opposite, and a toilet in the corner of the room. God, now I'm literally imprisoned. Confusion and hopelessness overwhelmed her and she felt tears begin to form in her eyes before wiping them hastily away. Reality was becoming too much for her and she felt herself praying that this was only some sort of nightmare.

The sound of footsteps shook her out of her stupor and she quickly scurried to the edge of the cot furthest from the door. Please, God, don't let them torture me. I haven't done anything to deserve this. I just want to go home... I don't want to die. I just want to go home. It all finally became too much to bear and sobs bubbled up from the darkest place inside of her, wracking her terrified body as she began to wail incoherent pleas of deliverance.

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Levi allowed the guards to escort him to the captive's cell begrudgingly. Jonah had warned him that the girl may be a threat, but were guards really necessary? He was a doctor, not an interrogator. He just wanted to help in any way that he could.

Before they were even close enough to hear her cries, Levi and the guards could smell her complete and utter desperation. Being a naturally compassionate person, Levi was struck with the urge to comfort this poor creature. He dashed to her cell, pursued by the surprised guards who unlocked the door and hesitantly allowed him inside. Levi, however, did not hesitate. He wasted no time in approaching the hysterical girl and wrapping her up in his arms, allowing her to sob into his shirt for a good five minutes until her cries softened and eventually stopped.

Lucy looked up for the first time into the face of the person whose shoulder she had cried on. She was met with the soft eyes of an older man whose kindly face and presence set her immediately at ease. The man moved to take a seat beside her, staying close to her.

"Hello. My name's Levi. I'm a doctor and I'm here to help you." He smiled reassuringly, attempting to indicate that he meant no harm.

Lucy couldn't help but put the little trust that she had left at that point in the man. After all, that other man - Jonah, she recalled in disgust - had been so hostile. "H-help me." she begged Levi, who seemed to be her only hope. "Help me please."

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Fifteen minutes later, Lucy was on another cot. This one, however, was substantially more comfortable than the other two had been, and the journey here had consisted of taking an elevator up two stories to emerge into another long hall of beds separated by sliding curtains, like some sort of infirmary. She hadn't even protested when she had been changed into a hospital gown and placed in a bed and on an intravenous drip. She trusted Levi. I have to. He's the only one here who seems to be looking out for me. Everyone else that she had encountered couldn't seem to have cared less about her... although, to be fair, everyone else that she had seen was limited to Jonah and the two guards who were with her still, monitoring her, and Levi.

Levi reminded her of a fatherly figure. She had just met him, but had been put at ease by his presence and guessed that he could probably explain to her what the hell was going on, and get her home. But... do I want to go home? The thought occurred to her and before she could instantly discard it, she considered it carefully. Did she want to go home? Although she was confused, she was not happy at her 'home'. She was lonely.

Her bed was beside one of the large windows that lined the walls of the room and the view outside of it indicated to her that she was on at least the second floor. What kind of building has both a prison and a hospital in it? She filed the question away to pose to Levi, who had disappeared after he attended to her, promising to return shortly. The throbbing in her head had subsided, allowing her to admire the view outside and take in the bright sunlight that flooded the room. Outside, perhaps half a kilometre away, was a building large enough to be a small hotel. It looked to be five stories and was built in the style of a Victorian house. She could see people coming and going from various entrances, but was too far away to focus on them. The house was surrounded by a beautifully manicured garden in what she guessed was the back side of the building, the side that she was facing. In the distance she could see more buildings which appeared to be about houses of a similar style, though none rivalled the enormity of the main building. There was a path that looked like a road, though there were few cars. People mainly walked from building to building, and many looked to be playing around of relaxing in the grass. The overall impression she got was that of a small village. The entire area was surrounded by trees, and it occurred to Lucy that the area had probably been cleared long ago to make room for this little settlement.

It was then that Levi returned to the room, approaching her and smiling. "Feeling better?" He asked brightly.

Lucy felt a small smile form on her face. "Yes, thank you, but I really do need some answers."

Levi nodded understandingly. "Well, first, maybe you could tell me what led up to you being in that cell and I could clarify from there."

Lucy was silent for a moment, but then began to recount the events of that day. The wooded patch, the desire to find the smell, the clearing, the deer, the wolf... and meeting Jonah. Levi remained focused on her as she explained, silent but for a few interjections such as "Mhmm" and "I see". When she had finished, she looked at him questioningly.

Levi seemed unsure how to respond. He rubbed his face and sighed. "Lucy, are you aware of the existence of werewolves?"

He had phrased the question so bluntly that Lucy's first reaction was to laugh. Her outburst subsided, though, when she saw Levi's expression remained serious. "You're kidding, right?"

"I'm afraid not. You're currently sitting in the hospital ward of a building in a compound, which is where we live."

We. He said 'we'. Lucy started violently as she realised that the man before her was some sort of lunatic and that she had surely been kidnapped by some cult.

Levi noticed her reaction and sighed yet again. "I was afraid that you'd have a hard time taking my word for it. I would too. I need you - we all need you - to understand, so with your permission, I'd like to shift."

He had spoken bluntly again but this time his expression was pleading. Lucy made no attempt to respond. Please, God, tell me this is some sort of nightmare.

Levi rose from his seat and stood at the foot of her bed. "I'm warning you not to be frightened. Just know that whatever happens, I'm not going to hurt you." And with that, the Levi that she had met just earlier began to change. His torso was the first to be altered, becoming thickly furred with a silvery-white hair, and his arms and legs followed suit. His clothing shredded and landed on the ground in a tattered pile. Before she realised it, Lucy had watched his limbs crack and rearrange their shape as he landed on the ground on all fours, his skull now completely transformed as well. His ears had changed shape, his jaw had elongated, his snout... Snout. I'm looking at a wolf. Holy shit. Lucy said nothing but stared in shock as the wolf that used to be Levi sat back on his haunches and stared calmly at her. She knew that she should feel frightened, but she didn't. He wasn't like the wolf in the clearing, whose presence had been threatening. This wolf - Levi, she reminded herself - seemed as though, if anything, he merely wanted to comfort her.

Lucy stopped to think. Was she really about to accept the existence of werewolves? What was the evidence that this wasn't some kind of messed up scam? This guy changing into a damn wolf right in front of me seems like pretty irrefutable evidence, she thought. Maybe it wasn't so unbelievable. Stranger things had happened. Or maybe she was just in shock after having witnessed the most unbelievable experience of her life.

"Okay, Levi. I believe you. I get it. You're a werewolf. You're all werewolves." she said, looking at the guards who watched her reaction as intently as Levi seemed to be doing. She noticed for the first time that they had the same eyes as Levi, the same eyes as Jonah, the same eyes as the wolf in the clearing. Every werewolf that she had met had had the same striking amber eyes.

She gasped, an epiphany striking her. "Was that wolf in the clearing actually a werewolf? Is that why it didn't kill me?"

Levi, still in wolf form, opened his mouth as if to respond before realising the state that he was in. He trotted out of the room, leaving Lucy open-mouthed before he returned a few moments later wrapped in a towel. Oh my God, Lucy thought, how mortifying! He's naked!

"Sorry." he began. "I don't have a change of clothes. I wasn't really planning on shifting here." He didn't seem embarrassed and rather carried on. "To answer your question, yes, that wolf was Jonah. It sounds from your description of the events that he saw you, identified your scent, and though that you were challenging him for his kill. Once you passed out, he brought you back to an old barracks that we have around there to question you. I take it he didn't like it when you refused to answer him, and when you tried to leave you say he knocked you unconscious. Typical Jonah," he scoffed, "always responding to situations with more anger than is necessary." Levi was more of a peacekeeper, and believed that either conversation or medicine could solve almost any problem. He stopped then, a buzzing emanating from his pocket. he pulled out a cell phone and answered it. "Speak of the devil." he said into the device. "We're in the second floor hospital room now. Yes. Okay." He put it away and refocused his attention on Lucy.

Lucy took in what her new friend had just said. "So it was all a bit of a misunderstanding. But you said he 'identified my scent'. What did you mean by that?"

Levi prepared himself for what he was sure would be the most unbelievable part of all of this for her. "Lucy," he began, not quite sure how to phrase what he was about to say, "you're a werewolf. I can tell by your scent. We all can, including Jonah. That's why he didn't just frighten you away. That's why he expected you to know what he was talking about when he asked you those questions. I know that you're being honest. I'm a pretty good judge of character." he said, half-smiling. "But Jonah didn't know. He was understandably concerned and though that you were lying, so he perceived you as a threat and brought you here to our holding cells."

Lucy was calm for a moment. Too calm. Levi looked at her suspiciously, ready to comfort her but also unsure of how she would react. Suddenly, faster than he thought the girl would be able to, she sprang from the bed and past him, sprinting for the door. She was no match for the speed of the guards, who caught her in their arms before she could get there.

"I'm no fucking werewolf!" she snarled. "Let go of me! Let me leave! Let me go home, please! Fuck you! Let me GO!" When the guards held her she struggled even harder. Levi felt a deep sadness in his heart. He wanted to help her, but he didn't know how.

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Eli Lennox cracked his knuckles and looked up from the papers on his desk when he heard a knock at the door. Scenting Jonah, he relaxed slightly, sure that his friend's interruption would provide a break from his work. "Come in, Jonah." he commanded. The blond man entered, grinning as he saw his Alpha and best friend swimming under a mountain of paperwork.

"How goes the pencil pushing, sucker?" Jonah joked, striding into the room as though it were his own. Eli grinned. He and Jonah had known each other since they were pups, and Eli's parents had taken Jonah in when they found him abandoned in the woods near the compound. Since then they had practically been brothers, and although Jonah was Eli's Beta, he never hesitated to break the boundary of what would be considered taboo between the two ranks in another pack. They loved each other dearly, though neither would admit it.

"I'd rather be out for a run, but responsibility calls. Speaking of running, you smell like the woods." Eli could detect the forest on his friend beneath Jonah's natural scent, but below that, something else lingered... something sweeter, tantalising.

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