Chapter 29: Survival
It’s been around eleven days since I left the valley, and I can honestly say, it’s finally beginning to get
easier in some ways, but not all. I was a fool to believe it wouldn’t be hard, on so many levels, and I still
can’t get my head around my own naivety. Knowing then what I do now, I don’t think I would have left at
It’s not just the survival factor that gets to you, it’s the isolation, the loneliness, the living in constant
high alert as you have to be aware of all that is around you, and the gnawing fear that sits in your gut
hour after hour. I’m on edge, hyper-aware at all times, and mentally exhausted with it. Unable to ever
really stop watching my back, and surroundings, always listening to make sure I’m safe, and afraid of
even the tiniest of noises or movement near me. There are so many enemies in nature that I was
oblivious to when living in the mountain bubble.
I rarely sleep, so tuned into the noises of the forests, and gulleys, and caverns, I have walked through
in recent days. Always listening for something to come out of the shadows at me, and have endless
dreams when I do, of vampires and monsters pulling me from my tiny crawl spaces before devouring
my helpless body. Every time I’m paralyzed with the same useless inadequacy as that day in the
orphanage, and completely unable to defend myself. I see Sierra often in my dreams too, my infrequent
naps, and that repetitive sentence she utters on her breath which always wakes me with a start. Always
the same damn thing.
I don’t understand why she haunts me still, and can only imagine it has to do with my broken heart, and
the dregs of Colton in my memory banks, that get through the steel door I’m trying to force them
behind. She was one of our last conversations and maybe that’s why she plays so heavily on my mind.
The first few days were the worst and thankfully behind me now, and I think it finally sunk in what I was
actually doing. The first night, looking for shelter, eating Doritos I had hastily packed in my backpack for
supper, and trying to find a comfy way to lie in a shallow hard floored dug out on a hillside that barely
concealed me. It was a shock to my system; having come from a lifetime of shelter and home cooked
meals I took for granted. Even being myself all those years, I was never alone, or without food and a
roof over my head, whereas now here I am, truly in solitude.
I didn’t sleep at all at first, everything swirling in my head and the cravings for not just Colton, but
Meadow, the sub pack, my room in the pack house, and the safety of the valley. It was all crying out to
me, reminding me that I was barely grown and only newly turned and still so vulnerable in so many
ways. I sobbed so much in the first few days, I thought it would break me and send me running back
with my tail between my legs, but it didn’t.
I weathered the storm, walking aimlessly south with no plan, and after getting the first few miles clear of
the Santo lands, I didn’t see a need to run anymore. With enough distance between us, and no chance
they picked up my scent to track me, because quite frankly, they would have caught up with me already
if anyone’s been looking. I stuck to the rural areas, stayed away from roads, and moved through forests
and woods, farmlands, and rougher areas to avoid humans too.
I can still the see the mountain in the far distance as it gets further away with every day I trek, but I’m
probably not even as far as I think I am. It just seems so much further because I took so long to get
here. I’m afraid to turn in daylight, in case I’m seen, afraid to travel at night in case I run across
vampires. I have to use human legs, and human speed, and without your heart and soul pushing you
on, progress is slow.
Day four was the worst day of my life, and it alone was almost what ended this adventure of mine. Just
when I didn’t think it could get any harder mentally, my heart already breaking with the need to see
another person, or hear another voice, I was side swiped by a pain that came out of nowhere.
I thought I was dying. It was like someone reached into my chest cavity and grabbed my heart in the
middle of my soul, twisted it around sharply and yanked it out, breaking every bone in its way. I
crumbled to the ground, gasping for breath, every part of my rib cage, lungs, and core, slicing in agony,
unable to catch air within me. Clawing at the ground as the pain shot through every limb and nerve
I ended up rolling around in the mud, clutching my chest and wailing like a wounded animal, as tears
flooded my vision and my brain near shattered. It was the single most terrifying moment I have
experienced, beyond the night the vampires attacked, and I was once again completely helpless.
If felt like ultimate betrayal, the severing of my soul, and the only thing I could connect it to was Colton.
The only logical answer to something so all-consuming, and yet for no obvious reason to its sudden
happening. He must have done something strong enough to our bond to inflict this kind of hell, as it
sure as hell was not his death, as I’m still breathing.
Only two things could really hurt your imprinted like that, especially from so many miles apart. Severing
the bond, which he couldn’t have, because I would be dead, or betraying the bond with an act that
cannot be forgiven.
Sleeping with Carmen and marking her.
It has to be that; nothing else can compare to this agony! The thing they taught us about in school,
about carrying that heartache when your fated mate destroys the bond. It all makes sense and for days
after, fighting the fatigue and desperation it makes me feel, even still, I barely managed to cover more
than couple of miles in total, before breaking down into a crumbling mess and sobbing all over again. It
felt like he had taken a knife himself, cut me open wide, and ripped everything out before setting it
alight. The emotional devastation was as bad as finding out my entire family was gone when I was just
eight years old and it still lingers like a shadow, weighing heavily, keeping me in the dark, even now. It
broke me. In so many ways.
Mentally, as I wore on over the next days, I became numb and my will to run far from the mountain died
a death. The reason I was going was primarily to outrun him and what he had to do. To try and not let it
get to me, to distance myself from the pain and leave him to walk his own path without me. And yet the
fates they delivered a blow that almost stopped me in my tracks completely, killing my will to find my
future at all. They left me with the heavy sadness that consumes everything and just won’t lift. There’s
nothing to run from anymore, it’s done. He did it.
I’m just going through the motions now, without really engaging any kind of effort under this black
cloud, my new constant companion. I walk, I find something to hunt and eat, I wash in rivers, I find
shelter, and I sporadically sleep through the dark.
The noises, the movement of nature all should bring me peace as a natural wolf, but it just serves to
remind me how very alone I am, and that a wolf, is a pack animal. We don’t thrive alone, and it’s
beginning to wear me down slowly. I can’t seem to ever really get any clear indication in my life about
where I belong, or what I’m meant to do. Just that discarded worthless kid who wasn’t good enough to
be mated, when even the fates imprinted me on someone. What hope is there for me?
I don’t have a reason to go back anymore anyway. Not even for the sub pack, who never really
belonged to me. Colton made his choice; I can feel it and we’re done. I need to push on and find
somewhere to settle, accept it, man up, and stop crying like a stupid child, but nowhere ever feels right.
On day eight I stumbled into an unknown dense dark forest at the base of a smaller mountain that was
relatively secluded, finally finding somewhere that seemed easy to defend, was pretty, and had a good
cave for a possible long-term dwelling. Nearby water source, dense enough to feel safe. Sheltered, and
a good supply of wildlife for the hunting. No humans around for miles, and no signs that any had been
there in forever.
It didn’t take long to be chased out by feral wolves who caught my scent in their territory though.
Natural wolves, not my kind, no, because my kind would probably have strung me up and gutted me for
straying there. Outside of Radstone the packs still have deep grained rivalry and feuds.
They chased me all the way to a cliff edge before I had to jump in the river below to escape unscathed.
I don’t think I could have fought off more than a dozen rabid wolves on my own, and I don’t have the
energy to turn and heal myself right now. I’m spent. I guess I’m not eating enough, not resting enough,
and all I do is travel from dawn to dusk half-heartedly and flop down again. Maybe it’s not energy, but a
lack of will power when I’m stuck in this mindset of hopelessness.
I had to find a quick place to build a fire and dry everything I owned that day and throw away the left-
over snacks I opened as they were soggy and inedible. The money Meadow gave me had to be laid
out in the sun, and her note was completely ruined, losing even her number on the back, because the
ink bled out and disappeared.
Eating raw meat isn’t sitting well with my human form either, which came as a shock, as I expected it to
be a natural transition, but I don’t feel great most of the time. It’s like my wolf side really isn’t all that in
touch with my body, and maybe it will take time to adjust. Like building stamina and trying to develop
Just more failure and I feel it’s all getting to me. The dark empty loneliness in my head, telling me I’m
not good enough and never will be. I don’t feel like being a wolf comes naturally, and somehow being in
human form is easier, which is probably normal considering we spend the first part of our life that way. I
just thought it would be a fluid transition, with few bumps, like learning to float by jumping in the deep