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Slipping Silver

Milia of Moonlight, Book Two

Milia sat quietly watching dust motes swirl around the front room, dancing in and out of sunbeams. Outside, she could hear children playing in the streets, enjoying the last of their summer freedom. They’d start back to school in a few short weeks. For her, this would be the first year she wouldn’t have to worry about school since she began living in the company of humans three years before. At fifteen, she’d found herself facing the unenviable prospect of attending a public high school. Born outside of the protection of a pack, she had relied on twelve others who, like her, had been born beyond the safety and security of a pack. Those twelve, along with the Savant–a wolf who “knows things”–named Druge, furnished her with the trappings of a human life and enough of a paper trail that she was able to register for school and live amongst them for a time. 

She’d made some friends in school, despite her parents’ warnings against such a thing. She’d fallen in love with one, Marty, a shy, quirky Mexican-American with a Great Dane and a love of Jazz. It had been an amazing few months with Marty and her other friends. Then Christmas had come and Marty had disappeared. When they found him, he was dead. Tortured and murdered by a Monster, a rogue werewolf, whom the humans had mistaken for a serial killer. With the help of the Great Dane, named Cab Calloway after the jazz singer, Milia had hunted down the Monster, nearly falling victim to it just as the human law enforcement arrived on the scene. As with so many things, the press had not quite gotten the details right, and for months people kept showing up at her doorstep asking if the girl and her dog might help hunt down another serial killer. The last thing any werewolf needed was attention from the humans, and so, with help from Druge, they went into hiding without actually disappearing.

Milia’s notoriety bought her family a quasi-relationship with Druge’s pack who claimed a territory in a human city called Columbus, and they’d moved first to a small, one-room apartment on the edge of the warehouse district. They’d stayed for a time, moving often between apartments, Milia changing schools as they did so. After two years, they’d moved from the small apartment to a suburban safehouse  where they spent an entire year. Then, from there, Druge had arranged for her family to enter the city proper, hoping that time and the anonymity of the city would throw off anyone still interested in tracking down the girl and the Great Dane who’d killed a serial killer. With that move, they’d entered another pack’s territory, although they remained in contact with the Warehouse Pack and their alphas. If she’d been any younger, the neighborhood teens would have hunted her down and started asking questions. At eighteen, she’d grown into a young woman and other than the sweet elderly lady who lived next door, nobody had asked after her or her parents.

Today, her parents were both gone. Her mother had left in the early morning hours to hunt in the wetlands near the river, while her father met with Druge and one of the Warehouse Pack’s alphas, Bodi. Usually, Milia would have accompanied her mother but today she felt pensive. Her parents had successfully raised her to adulthood. Adult, she was ready to join a pack, if any would have her. The Warehouse wolves had shown some interest in the past. Hence, her father’s meeting with Bodi. Knowing what her father was discussing left her brooding and moody. “I’m Of Moonlight,” she kept thinking. “I don’t need a pack. I have a pack.” Even as she thought it, she realized how childish it sounded.

A timid, but insistent knock at the door interrupted her musing. Milia, who’d been slouching in the crook of the sofa sat up and glanced across at the plate glass window. Most people didn’t peer through windows after knocking on a door but she slipped silently off the couch and backed away, out of line of sight from the window…just in case. She waited and just when she thought the person had gone, a second knock broke the silence. 

“I know you’re in there, Milia of Moonlight, I can smell you,” the person…correction, Wolf, said. Recognizing the voice of the Warehouse District’s alpha female, Milia leapt for the door, sending an apology on the air before her. Being able to scent emotions cut down on a great deal of the unnecessary babble that humans insisted on when they tried to “express themselves.” The sweet lime scent of forgiveness greeted Milia as she pulled the door open and bowed her head in greeting. The tiny alpha female smiled at her. In human form, as she was now, the alpha stood shorter than Milia, well-built, toned muscles worked under her golden skin. She was the poster of ‘80s health. Her black hair had been pulled back into a loose ponytail. In wolf form, she was a creamy, tawny beige with black markings. She’d named herself Champagne early in life and now it was the only name anyone knew for her.

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