The God Eater
Charlotte passed me a cup of hot brown liquid.
“It’s a tea that is infused with several herbs and a hint of my healing power.”
I took a small sip, it was hot, but it made me feel more awake.
“Thank you. And…..I’m sorry. About last night.”
I felt sheepish and in my sleeplessness I had concluded several things. And my apology to Charlotte was one of them.
She had been nothing but helpful and kind. And I had snapped in the bath. It wasn’t right of me and I needed her to know it.
I also needed more information out of her, so I could start acting on the other agendas I now had.
Charlotte just looked at me as if my head was melting. Her face tilted, eyes wide, mouth open slightly.
“You’ll catch flies if you stay like that.” I joked. Hoping to change the subject and avoid the awkwardness.
“HA! Ahahahaha! No, no, no.” She burst out laughing.
When I dropped my smile and started to turn away she stoped me.
“Thank you. It means a lot to have you say that. I just have never heard someone, who’s station is so high above mine, actually apologize. Not even to equals, let alone a Eta like myself.” She smiled genuinely and offered to refill my cup. I let her, it was good.
“What’s an Eta?”
“Its my ranking, in the hierarchy. I’m part of a seventh in line command. We deal with the injured and sick mostly. But we all have skills that allow us to serve our betters and masters in any way they desire.”
“Seventh? How many are there?”
“Twenty-four in all. Including the outcasts and renegades.”
“So if J, is Alpha, your Eta, what am I?”
“Well, since this is J’s ship, and his pack, your a Gamma. Third in line. All of the Beta’s out rank you in every way. But, if this were the old worlds that still lived the original pack way, you’d be a Beta/Alpha. Second only to your mate who would be Alpha. You would’ve held supreme rankings over every wolf that entered, or was a part of your territory.”
“So I’m basically getting a fancy title here, but no real power?”
“Correct. However, if J allows you to actually become his bride and rule next to him, you would the be the Alpha/Beta. Never being the same rank as him, but having command over everyone else who would bow to your strength. That’s how his society works.”
“That seems like a backwards society, if what else I know about it is true.”
“And yet, nothing can be done so long as J holds the Alpha title.”
“What would you do if you were Alpha, Charlotte?”
She opened and closed her mouth a couple times. Her eyes darting to every corner of the room.
“I would never even try to become alpha, that would be treasonous.”
Her words were sharp, almost as if she thought someone was listening and we were about to be punished for speaking.
“Isn’t this your personal space? I thought we were alone here?”
“It is. And we are. But you will never know when someone is listening. We all have extremely acute hearing. You should know just how well you can hear things when someone doesn’t know your there.”
I did. And she’s right, anyone could be listening from just outside. Unseen and undisturbed.
“Why don’t I show you my other rooms. I think you’ll like them.” Her smile had returned. It’s beaming warmth making me feel welcome.
I finished my third cup of Charlottes tea now and got up.
“Right then, where to first?”
“I know just the place.”
We slid open the door to the hallway, leaving her pile of blankets and pillows behind. From the looks of the desk, she hadn’t slept much.
There were more papers stacked there now, then when we entered. And her pillow was still sitting neatly on top of the pile of planters she had grabbed.
Charlottes hand was holding mine, her touch was cool, but firm. She lead me to the next set of doors down the other side of the hall from her room.
As we passed the corridor connecting us back to the rest of the ship, I swore I saw a shadow move.
“Is there anyone else down here? I think I just saw something move over there.” I pointed down the side hall, a small single flame burned and it’s light flickered slightly.
“I don’t see anyone. I can’t sense anyone else’s presence but our own either.”
“I must just be seeing flickering shadows and spooking myself.” I tried to reassure myself.
We kept walking. It wasn’t very far until Charlotte stopped and turned toward a blank panel in the wall. Most of them had electrical read outs or ventilation duct openings.
This one was a single sheet. Nothing on it. The drab grey was a bit brighter on this panel.
“This room is special. Only I and things I hold can enter. Please understand that this room is the only one off limits for that purpose.”
I just nodded. Charlotte started walking again. The end of the hallway turned to the right and there were more doors. Two on the left wall, one on the right.
“So…” A deep rumble from behind us. “Is this the vital treatment a dying patient always receives?”
A ground shaking footstep. I could already feel the sweat running down my whole body. I breathed in sharply. Allowing my senses to focus and hone in on the massive Alpha behind me.
His energy was now radiating out in thick waves. I had never been able to sense it before, but now I felt like I was going to puke.
I could smell the terror it produced. Taste the defeat, like I had tried to swallow ash. My ears folded in against the screeching and whining they perceived.
I clenched my fists, without my notice I had already started to shift. Long black claws began to unsheathe. The fur starting to grow out of my wrists.
“Forgive her. It was not her doing.” Charlotte was kneeling and had her head to the ground.
“Her. I would never think she would be so clever as to hide with you on her own accord.” J swiped his giant paw down across her back.
His claws tore open her clothes and left giant gaping wounds in her back.
“Argghhhh!” Her scream was high pitched and drawn out. She fell limply to the ground and didn’t move.
“You bastard!” I screamed.
His aura wasn’t gonna hold me back anymore. I wasn’t gonna let Charlotte die like that pup. If I didn’t fight for them, no one would.
I had already decided J would die. I might as well do it now. I felt the shift happening this time. Clearly. I understood just what my body was doing now.
The hardening skin, the expanding muscles, the clarity of my senses. Suddenly I could feel more. Not just my own physical self. It felt like I was in that tub again.
But this time I didn’t lose my physical senses, they just became more acute. And now they included a new sense.
Something about the air around me. I instinctively read the energies. Now I could see the real J. Not just a beast. But a monster. A true terror.
The darkness that swirled around him was being sucked into where his heart should be. It came from all around him.
“Why! She did nothing wrong!” My voice was a growling roar. Shouting was all I could seem to do now.
“She’s my toy. I don’t share.” Was the low rumbling reply.
He killed her out of jealousy?
“Seriously? That’s how low you are?” I spat the insult at him.
Every time I had attacked first he had anticipated it and blocked me. Even when I managed to strike him it didn’t seem to effect him.
Maybe if I baited him into attacking first I could dodge and play defense until I figured out how to actually hurt him.
I didn’t look forward to the beating I knew was about to happen, but I was beyond upset now. My resolve just firmly locked itself into fighting him every step, every moment.
“You couldn’t even give her a fair fight. Just slashed her while she was trying to beg. Why would any one ever follow someone who kills their underlings so casually.”
“Hush girl. Before your next.” His threat cut me off.
His right arm came at near blinding speed. If I hadn’t seen the swell of darkness just before he moved I never would have stopped it.
Darkness seemed to cover my entire vision, J’s body at its center. I leapt away after taking the blow with both arms. I was sent flying again as J ran up to kick where I landed.
I held onto his leg as tight as I could, using his momentum to flip him over. I moved back a step, my right hand on my side.
That kick probably broke something again, I couldn’t tell. It just hurt.
As J stood, he unleashed a roar, the darkness stopped flowing into him for a brief second.
Why would it stop flowing?
I wish I knew what that energy was. Being able to perceive it did me little good for understanding it.
My eyes widened.
It was expanding one moment, and as soon as it started flowing back into J, it all winked out.
The darkness was just gone.
His body flashed to the right, I turned to follow him, but he moved faster than I could follow. And soon he was gone.
I closed my eyes and focused on smell and sound, but nothing.
Then a blow to the back of my head. I fell to my hands and knees.
I could sense the second blow coming, I darted forward. Dodging just in time.
“Your learning!” He bellowed. A third blow following my escape path.
“But your slow!”
He connected his left fist with my back. The blow laid me flat on the ground. The steel surface giving slightly.
I coughed, a spittle of blood coming out. The bright red a contrast to the grey of the rest of the hall. I tried to roll over, but J’s foot caved in my rib cage.
I coughed again. More blood coming out.
“Your lesson can end here. Just snap the neck of that waste laying next to you.” His sneer was so apparent I could hear it in his words.
“N..no..” I choked out the word.
I can’t. I won’t give in to him. This was the other resolve I had committed to.
If I couldn’t beat him, I would never join him.
And I wouldn’t be his slave.
I would rather die.