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Chapter Seventy Six

I had to hold my breath as I ran for the Swag Pag's front door.  Somehow, that made it easier to hold back the changes.  I threw open the door, and the moment I was out of the moonlight my wolf stopped fighting to break free.  It was still restless, demanding I go back outside, but I could ignore it no.  I let my breath out, sighing with relief, and then ran further into the house.  I found D.K. in the others gathered in the living room.  It looked like they were getting ready to head outside.
“What the—" D.K. exclaimed when he saw me. “What're you doing back?"
“Sorry!" I shouted without stopping. “I've got to get Kimberly."
“Don't you ignore me, woman!" my alpha shouted just as I reached my bedroom.  The door was still firmly closed, which I took as a good sign none of the others had been in.
“Kimberly?" I called through it. “It's me.  I'm coming in, okay?"
I heard a faint mumble on the other side, and I turned the knob.  Before I could open it, though, D.K.'s hand shot out from behind me, holding it closed.  I spun around, and found him glaring at me, our faces mere inches away.
“I said do not ignore me!" he roared. “Now you tell me where you've…"
His voice trailed off, and his nostrils flared.  For a few seconds, he looked stunned.  Then his shock turned to anger— lots of anger.
“Who is it?" he asked, and for once he wasn't yelling.  This time his voice was quiet, and that scared me even more.
“Wh- who?" I asked, trying to not let how frightened I was show.
D.K.'s hand left the door, and struck me across the face.  I cried out, and fell to the floor.
“You think I'm stupid, girl?" he said, standing above me.  “I can smell him on you!  Who is it?"
Stark.  He could smell Stark.
“Just a friend," I answered, holding my cheek where he'd hit me.  “He was helping me."
“A friend?" D.K. grabbed my shirt and hauled me back up. “You don't got no friends, you hear me?  You don't got no friends unless I give you permission!"
Tyler and Kaylie were both standing in the hallway behind him, watching but doing nothing to stop him.  Tyler was frowning, like he wanted to say something, but kept his silence.
Help me! I silently begged them. Just this once, help me!
“You think I'm gonna let you bring some other wolf in here to take me down?" D.K. kept ranting, spraying spit in my face with every word. “You think I'm gonna let you take away everything I've worked so hard to get?"
“No, D.K.," I said, tears running down my face.  I looked at the door.  Kimberly was just on the other side.  I was so close.  I had to get to her!
“I deserve this pack!" he yelled. “I deserve to be in charge, and I…"
I stopped paying attention.  I couldn't just stand here listening to him, I had to help Kimberly.  I knew what I had to do.  I'd regret it in the morning, if I even made it till then, but it would be worth it.  For Kimberly…
I brought my knee up, driving it into D.K.'s crotch as hard as I could.
D.K.'s eyes went wide, and he let out a surprised grunt.  More importantly, he let go of me.  I pushed him out of the way, and he fell to the floor, rolling in pain.  Tyler and Kaylie were still watching, looking every bit as shocked as their alpha.  I ignored all of them, and ran for the door.
“Kimberly, listen!" I said, throwing open the door.  She was on her knees, hugging herself. “It's time.  I'm going to take you outside, and—"
“I'm gonna kill you!" D.K. screamed, and the next thing I knew I was face down on the floor.  My head throbbed with pain, and then D.K.'s foot came down on my neck.  “You stupid little freak!  I'll kill you!"
His voice trailed off again when he looked around the room, his brain finally catching up to what he was seeing.  Two beds, a dresser, a refrigerator, a bookshelf, and toys lying all over the floor.  Every bit of it ten times nicer than anything he owned.
“You little whore," he said, his voice going low again.  “You been holding out on me."
“Holy crap," I heard Kaylie whisper as she and her brother followed him in.
“D.K., listen!" I croaked underneath his foot. “I have to—"
“Shut up!" he yelled, pressing down on my neck even harder.  “Don't so you say a word."
He took his foot on my throat then and took a step back.  Before I could even take a breath, though, he swung his foot out again, kicking me hard enough in the stomach to flip me over.  Beside me, Kimberly screamed and ran to the other side of the room.
“I own this house!" D.K. shouted, and bent down to grab my shirt again.  He lifted me up and slammed me against the wall before hitting me again.  It wasn't a slap this time, either— it was a punch, and it would have knocked me down again if he hadn't been holding me up.
“I own everything in this house!" he said, and hit me again.
Stars erupted in front of my eyes.
“I own you!" he said, and punched me.
I think one of my teeth came loose with that one.  I wasn't sure, though, because shadows were creeping in around the edge of my vision.
“You want to treat me like trash?"
“You want to disrespect me?"
“You want steal my property?"
“I don't care if Majestic told me to take care of you.  I'm gonna kill you!"
D.K. drew his fist back one more time.  I knew that if he hit me again, I'd lose consciousness.  I didn't know if he'd actually kill me or not, but that didn't matter.  If I was out cold, then how could I get Kimberly out to Stark?  Without his help, the transformation could drive her insane.  Maybe even kill her.  I couldn't stop D.K., though.  I was all alone…
Suddenly, something big and fast blurred past my vision and grabbed D.K.  My alpha was yanked away from me, and I heard a bang when he collided with the wall across from me.  Without him to support me, I crumpled to the ground.
It was Stark.  He'd come in to see what was taking me so long.  I sighed with relief.  D.K. was no match for him.  He'd take me and Kimberly outside together, and we'd—
“Tyler, what the hell are you doing?"
Kaylie's voice cut straight through the fog in my head, and I snapped my eyes open.  It wasn't Stark that stood pressing D.K. against the wall, it was Tyler!
“No!" the huge man roared, and pushed D.K. away from him.  The alpha stumbled backwards, and then tripped over my bed.
“Tyler, what do you think you're doing?" Kaylie asked again, her voice high pitched with terror.
Tyler didn't turn away from D.K.  He raised his finger and pointed it at him. “No!  I'm not going to let you do this anymore, D.K.!"
Slowly, D.K. stood up, the glare he gave Tyler cold enough to freeze water.
“What did you just say to me, boy?" he growled.
For a second, Tyler looked like he was about to back down.  This was going completely against his nature, and I could tell he was struggling to keep it up.  Still, when his alpha stared him down, he stared right back.
“You're a terrible alpha, Dalton," he said, and everyone sucked in a breath when he used D.K.'s real name.  “You've torn this pack apart.  I can't let you do that anymore, so I- I challenge you for your position as alpha!"
“Tyler, no!" Kaylie shrieked.
D.K. was breathing heavily now.  I thought he was going to shift on the spot and the two of them would have it out right here in my and Kimberly's bedroom, but he just shook his head.
“You pretty stupid, boy, you know that?" he said.  “You think I'm gonna let some punk like you take what's mine?"
“You can just run away, Dalton," Tyler said, clenching his fists.  “I'll let you go.  You know you can't beat me."
D.K. snorted.  “Yeah, whatever."
Then, before any of us could react, he reached down into his pants and pulled out a gun.  Kaylie screamed, and Tyler had just enough time to gasp before D.K. pulled the trigger.  The bullet struck Tyler in the neck, and he flew backwards until his back struck the wall behind him.  His eyes went wide with terror and pain, and he grabbed helplessly at his throat.  A weird sizzling sound filled the room, and I caught the scent of burning meat.
Oh no.  Oh no…
“Silver freaking bullet, you ungrateful piece of trash!" D.K. yelled.  “Just like when I killed your dad."
“Tyler!" Kaylie screamed, and tried to run to him.  D.K. turned the gun on her, though, keeping her at the bedroom door.
“Don't you move, woman, or I'll do the same to you!"
On the other side of the room, Tyler's movements slowed down.  He gurgled, and then his hands fell limp by his side.  His eyes closed.  His breathing stopped.  Everyone in the room stared at him in silence as he… as Tyler…
“No," I moaned through swollen lips. “Tyler!"
I tried to stand up, but D.K. turned back towards me.
“This is your fault," he said, and raised the gun again.  It went off, and the bullet flew straight into my shoulder, spinning me around and slamming my face into the wall.  I collapsed again.
I thought I had been hurt before.  It was nothing compared to this.  I could feel the little chunk of metal in my arm— actually inside my arm.  If I tried to move, my muscles would rub against it.  It hurt so, so much.  I wanted to scream, but I couldn't draw enough air into my lungs.
I could feel the silver, too.  It didn't burn me like it did Tyler.  I was a Silverblood.  It tingled, making my muscles itch even through the pain, like I was having an allergy attack inside my body.  This was what Tyler had felt, except his had been worse.  D.K. had shot pure acid right into his throat.  How could he have done that?  How could he treat his own pack this way?
“Looks like it's just you and me now, Kaylie," he said, cocking the gun.  “You gonna make the same mistake the rest of your family made?"
Kaylie whimpered, and I knew she was still looking at her brother's body.  She had nobody now.  Nobody but D.K.  He was right about one thing.  Tyler's death was my fault.  If I hadn't acted so rashly, I wouldn't have offended D.K.  He wouldn't have lost his temper, and I wouldn't have led him straight into my room.  It was me.  Kaylie's family was dead because of me!
“We can't stay here," D.K. said.  “We gotta go somewhere else.  Move!"
When Kaylie didn't immediately do as commanded, D.K. stepped up and kicked her in the side.
“I said move, woman!" he yelled.  Kaylie couldn't ignore an order from her alpha.  Giving her brother one last look, she got up and stumbled back out into the hallway.  D.K. went after her, leaving me and Kimberly alone.
Dad… Mom… Kimberly… and now Tyler, too.  All of them were either dead, or suffering.  And Kimberly still needed me.  The full moon was out.  She had to go through her first change, or she'd die.
Everything I've done, I've done wrong, I thought to myself.  I haven't helped anybody.  I've only made things worse.  I've always needed someone else to come rescue me!
“Not anymore," I whispered.
It was the biggest effort I'd ever made in my life, but I managed to roll over and raise my uninjured arm.  My fingers found the bullet wound, and I stuck them inside.  Pain lanced through my shoulder, and I couldn't hold back the scream.  Still, my finger clenched around the bullet, and I yanked it out.  Blood splattered all over myself and the floor, but I ignored it.  I made a fist around the bullet, and then sat up.
“Not anymore," I said again, getting to my feet.  My legs were shaky underneath me, but I managed to keep my balance.  My shoulder was bleeding profusely.  It wouldn't take long for me to faint from blood loss.  I had to hurry.  I went to the bedroom door.  I tripped over my own feet on the way there, and had to catch myself on the wall with my injured arm.  More pain.  I screamed again.
“Not… anymore!" I growled, and pushed myself up again.  I walked into the hallway, and found D.K. and Kaylie both heading for the front door.  “Dalton!" I screamed, my voice sounding like I was possessed.
Both of them froze, and D.K. turned to look at me.
“What the hell?" he asked, his eyes going wide. “How are you not dead?"
I raised my fist, and opened it to show him the bullet. “I am… a Silverblood!"
I didn't wait for that to sink.  I pulled my arm back and then whipped it forward, hurling the silver bullet at him as hard as I could.  It hit him exactly where I intended it to: his gun hand.  He yelped in pain, and dropped the weapon.
I let out a howl that was more animal than human, and charged at him.  I ran into him, ignoring the pain in my shoulder, and slammed him into the wall.  He instinctively raised his hand to hit me, but I grabbed his arm and pinned it against the wall as well.
“Ow!" he gasped.  “Ah- ow!"
I didn't understand what was hurting him.  I hadn't hit him, I wasn't even gripping him that tightly.  But then I saw the skin on his arm starting to turn red and irritated.  Like an allergic reaction.  Right where my hand was.  Just the way Tyler had reacted when Kimberly touched him…
I was a Silverblood, I realized.
I had silver in my veins.
Silver was a part of me.
I knew what I had to do.  I turned to face him, still holding onto his arm— and then lunged.  My teeth sank into his throat.  They were human teeth, but I didn't care.  I was almost unconscious from blood loss and wasn't thinking straight.  Or, maybe, I had finally been pushed so far that I didn't care if I was human or an animal anymore.  D.K. needed to die, and that was all that mattered.
D.K. would have screamed if I hadn't bitten so deep.  Now, all he could manage was a gurgle, similar to what Tyler had made.  I bit harder, my teeth sinking deeper.  I could taste his blood, and it made the wolf in me excited.  Die, D.K.  Die, die, die, DIEDIEDIE!
I could feel his heartbeat through my teeth.  It was getting weaker with every second.  He tried to hit me, but he could barely raise his arms.  I felt him go limp, and then the only thing holding him up was me.  I let go and stepped back, and D.K. fell the ground, face first.  His blood soaked the carpet, but he didn't move.
He never moved again.
I looked up to see Kaylie staring at me in horror.  I don't blame her.  I probably looked demonic, standing there with blood on my face and… everywhere else.  She took a step backwards, and when I didn't attack her too, she turned and ran out the door as fast as she could.  I let her go.  I didn't care.  Kimberly was still in the bedroom.  Breathing heavily, I turned and went to get her.
It was time for her to change.
NEXT TIME: Tyler's dead… D.K's dead… No funny wisecracks today.  I can't.  Just… tune in next week.  I'm sorry.

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