The Alphas prize

Chapter 30: The forest of the damned

We ran towards the woods, careful to watch our surroundings for anyone that would stop us. Finally, we reached the tree line and stepped into the dense brush, blending ourselves with the forest. We went further in and continued running for a few minutes before stopping. Gunnar and I had closed enough distance between us and the pack house that it was safe to stop now, but only for a moment.

Kneeling on the ground, I opened the bag Rose gave us and started pulling the contents out. First, I pulled out an old map showing directions to the forest and the willow tree. Then, I dug into the bag again, pulling out salt, a lighter, a flashlight, a pair of gloves, a compass and a silver knife. Although the knife was dangerous to us, it was also a threat to other supernatural creatures, but I was glad Rose had packed some gloves.

Gunnar knelt beside me, and we both started to go over the map, memorizing key points. “According to the map, it doesn’t seem like it's too far of a journey from here. We head South for about 10km, then East for 7km, and then north for 4km. There are a few markers along the way that will help to keep us on track, as well.” I said to Gunnar as we reviewed the map and directions that Rose gave us.

Gunnar looked at me, a severe expression on his face and placed his hand on my shoulder. “Are you sure you want to do this? Unfortunately, this mission will not be as easy as you hope, Freja. From what I’ve heard, those travelling to the forest don’t come back, and the journey there will test your limits.”

I looked back to the map, thinking over his words and considering the question of whether or not I wanted to do this. However, if I chose not to do this, then Cain would die, which was not a choice for me. But, no matter what comes my way or what challenges I face, I know I can do this, and I will face it all, like the brave warrior that I am, with my wolf at my side.

I nodded my head. “Yes, I want to do this, Gunnar. I need to try at least to save him.” If I didn’t try to save Cain, it would torture me for the rest of my days. He is my mate, and I am not ready to lose him.

He pursed his lips, and I knew he disagreed with my decision, but like the good man he is, Gunnar nodded in agreement. “Ok, then. We will get through this together.” Gunnar then stood to his feet and extended his hand for me to grab. “Let’s get going.”

Before standing to my full height, I packed everything back into the bag and grabbed Gunnar’s hand. I threw the bag onto my shoulder, and we followed the trail leading out of Cain’s territory, using the map as a guide to sudden doom, I mean to the cure.

Gunnar and I walked along the dirt path in silence, listening and watching for any dangers or unwanted guests. We were about 10kms into our journey now, almost halfway there, but the sun was starting to go down and soon it would be too dark to continue safely.

I came to a stop, grabbing Gunnar’s attention. “We should probably set up camp and get a fire going. Plus, we need to get some rest, and, in the morning, we can continue.” I suggested to Gunnar, hoping he would agree with me.

Gunnar nodded his head and gazed around us. “Yea, you are right; it will be safer to travel during the day.” He said, still looking into the distance. Gunnar pointed a finger towards a clearing that was just off the path. “We can make camp over there; it’s off the path and not so isolated that we can’t see.” We walked over and took a look around, smelling the area and making sure nothing had been here.

I looked to Gunnar. “I think it’s good; let’s get a fire going; I’ll go grab some wood.” I placed my bag down on the ground and walked off into the brush, searching around for firewood. I had finally found some decent wood to burn that wasn’t too damp and headed back towards the camp.

Upon my return, I noticed Gunnar had built a fire pit and was now kneeling in the dirt, piling brush together on the ground and creating what looked like a makeshift bed.

Gunnar looked up at me, then back down at his creation and shrugged, “I tried to make some beds.” He pointed at the second bush bed. “They won’t be that great, but it’s better than sleeping on the ground,” Gunnar said while rubbing the back of his neck, and I chuckled at him.

I shook my head and smiled at him. “They are perfect, and it’s better than nothing. I found some wood.” I placed the pile on the ground next to the pit. “Some of it is damp, but once we get things going, it should burn no problem.” I grabbed a few logs and placed them in the middle of the pit, and then walked over to my bag and grabbed out the lighter.

Gunnar was next to the fire pit, spreading dried grass around the logs. We finally got the fire going, burning bright, and warming the cool night air around us.