Prompt Short Story: Alpha



Lee Hulme

She gripped the rim of the chipped and rusted porcelain sink and tried to steady her hands, feeling the bass flow through her fingers and bare feet. Looking into her sunken eyes, she shuddered slightly.

“One last time,” she whispered to herself.

That she had said this before, and would no doubt say it again, meant nothing. In this moment, it was as true as she could make it.

One. Last. Time.

The volume of the music was lowered, and she stepped back out of the bathroom, letting the torn shower curtain which acted as a door drop closed behind her. On this side of the curtain was a large, mostly bare, room. Graffiti covered the walls, messy tags and colourful murals fighting for space. A large sliding door took up half of one wall. The only objects were the stereo system, and the tray of needles. Outside there was nothing but woods for miles, perfect for the pack to play in.

Angelique felt the moon rising beyond the confines of this space, felt the longing rise with it. To run, to howl, to hunt. To feed. She adjusted her robe as a trickle of sweat ran down her spine, feeling the pre-change begin.

Soon. But first (and for the last time, she told herself again), the ceremony.

She took her place in the circle of a dozen other lycanthropes, each showing their own reactions to the moon. Some twitched, some stared longingly at the ceiling, some scratched tiny prickles on their skin. One, their leader, Alpha, stared around at the faces of her pack. She had fought for them, hurt for them, would die for them, would kill for them – or kill them. But she must also control them, and this was the way. The short ceremony that would bind them to her further each time. Wolven instinct plus a carefully combined cocktail of amphetamine and hallucinogen. No human could take it, but her wolves would revel in it and once experienced, the normal change could not compare.

Alpha raised her hands and quiet fell instantly around the circle. She took the tray and raised it, as if offering it as a blessing to the moon, then moved around the circle, handing each of her pack a needle filled with a shimmering silver liquid.

Each pack member turned to their left and, one at a time, went about the process of finding a vein, tying a tourniquet, cleaning and then injecting. By the time the circle was finished, the first recipients were feeling the effects.

Alpha went to the back of the room and slid open the door to the outside just s the moon entered the sky, watching her pack, Angelique in particular, as the only other female.

Angelique rose quickly and exited to the woods, before the drugs held her down. She felt the floor crackle beneath her feet, the familiar scents filling her human nose. She dropped her robe and urged the change to begin. The rush soared through her, increasing the effects of the drugs even as she staggered into a tree and slid to the ground.

Bones cracked and changed, thousands of sharp pricks made her jitter as dark brown fur sprouted, peppered through with ginger. As her skull began to change, the pain overwhelmed her and the world went grey. Then it was gone, and the world returned as an explosion of smell and sound.

She sat up and howled her pleasure, the sound echoing through her drugged brain. She shook her head and bolted into the woods, seeking the food she could smell on the light breeze. The drugs caused a synesthesia in her advanced wolven brain. Smells hovered on the air currents, shot through with colour. The moon hummed in her ears and the trees sang along. She ran, following the trails that led her to the hunt.

Later in the night, full of meat, the drugs wearing off, she sat on her haunches in a small clearing, licking blood from her fur. One of the pack circled into the clearing, snuffling in her direction. She turned away, uninterested in his advances, only to see a second wolf, and then a third.

She growled a warning but they moved closer, snarling at her, their intent clear.

Angelique swallowed down her fear and bolted, looking for home, looking for Alpha to offer protection. She followed Alpha’s scent, the trail the same dusky salt and peper grey colour as her leader’s fur, taking the pursuing wolves on a desperate chase.

Alpha was gorging herself on a deer she had downed and looked up as Angelique skidded to a halt by her, the three pursuers close behind.

Alpha took in the situation and bared her teeth in displeasure. The other she-wolf had come to hide behind her. She was not the future leader Alpha had hoped. But neither would she allow the three male wolves to rape or injure a she-wolf. They had forgotten who their superiors were but the rest would be reminded.

Alpha lunged, sliding sideways and undeerneath the head of the first male wolf, locking her jaws his neck and tearing out his throat before the others could react.

As she stepped back, the two remaining males hesitated for a moment beforerolling over, showing their bellies in the hopes of mercy.

Alpha looked to Angelique then indicated one of the males. Together they tore into the exposed soft flesh.

Angelique looked back at Alpha, teeeth bared in pleasure at the revenge exacted. But Alpha’s decision was made. She took no joy in this, but the pack must remain strong, and controlled.

Alpha nodded for the other wolf to move on and Angelique made a bow of deference, and turned to find a new place to lick away the extra blood.

Alpha crouched, calculated, and sprang, taking Angelique down and snapping her neck with strong jaws, ending her as fast as possible.

Appetite gone, she left the deer and dragged th bodies, one by one, back to base, leaving them outside where the other wolves could not miss them. Later, in human form they would be returned to the woods to be taken by the animals within.

Alpha took to her mattress, cleaning fastidiously before curling up to sleep until the pain of the change back to human woke her, already feelig the aches the change brought to a woman of her age. Before the next ceremony she would find a new she wolf to bring into the fold, then take her on the next night that her wolven self ran free. After that, she could easily replace the males. The pack would remain strong and, if the new she-wolf proved worthy, Alpha would be able to relinquish her leadership safely, and finally be ready to die, taking the run out to the forest one last time.

Writing prompt used:


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