Seduced By The Rogue Alpha

By: Amira Rain

Shifter Shorts Series

A soft, summer evening breeze blew through Annabel’s golden hair as she strolled through the green sea of pasture. Only the faint tips of forest trees to the west, and her farm cottage to the east, were visible . A vastness surrounded her. She saw herbs, quaint shrubs, peppered by the sight of all manner of flowers, including her favorite, daffodils. Here, she heard the songs of the wind, the chorus’ of birds in trees, and saw canvases of color and shadow. In this sanctuary, her mind found refuge from the grim realities of her everyday life and the savagery of the wild Wood beyond.

Out here, she was emancipated from the mundane routine of daily chores she was to perform. As soon as the sun rose, she was to sweep the stables, milk the cattle, clean the coops, collect eggs, let loose the horses and a series of other tasks all while her mother viciously chided her. Here, she relished the small reprieve out of the drudgery of simple farm life.

Her task was to gather herbs, berries, and medicinal roots into her woven basket, but out here, she had liberty to imagine, to freely love the good earth, and to escape the most horrid of all words. It wasn’t a word to be used with a dark curse or place an arcane hex; it wasn‘t a word that induced a spell, at least in the conventional sense; it was a word far more potent, one that Annabel that had been repeated to her since she was young: ‘normal’. While not particularly queer, Annabel had always been a little odd. While not dumpy or misshapen she had always been somewhat rotund, a trait which her mother Beatrice had always reminded her of with a bitter sneer.

“Young women should be thin and dainty, not corpulent and buxom,” she’d constantly chastise.

Even when Annabel was very young, unusual proportions were evident, not due to gluttony or sloth as others in the village suspected, but something innate within her. It was as if her body simply wanted to be bigger, as if it wanted to stand out from all the slender girls her age. At least, that’s what her father told her. He had told her to be proud of whom she was, rather care how others saw and thought of her. He also warned her to not be fooled by the form of a person, no matter how fair and elegant, but instead, look at their merits.

“Don’t be deceived by the faces people wear,” he warned, “they act like masks designed to hide their true character.”

“Then how will I know what they’re really like and what they want?” Annabel asked.

“Look at their actions,” he’d reply, “their actions and their eyes.”

That was some of the oldest, but best advice Annabel’s father had ever given her before he passed seven years ago. It was one of the few memories left of him now, that, and the knowledge of the herbs and wood he had passed down to her.

When he died, Beatrice tried to rid the farm of everything that would trigger a memory, to escape her grief. While cathartic and soothing for her mother, Annabel thought it was horrible, even cruel, to try and purge the memory of someone so dear.

Beatrice began to see Annabel as a reminder of her late husband and therefore grew detached. Rather than acting as a mother, she became an overbearing nanny, always throwing out criticism and judgment. She had doubled the regimen of chores Annabel was to do and did away with all but her most necessary, proletariat possessions. All of her dolls, fancy brushes, even her personally made bottle of perfume were tossed out.

“You can’t hold on to these childish attachments, you‘re becoming a woman now and in this world, women are only good for two things: finding a suitor by their prettiness and poise or by their ability to maintain a man’s household. And you certainly aren’t going to able to achieve the former.” Beatrice had said this over and over again, always with the same scorn. At first, the mantra hurt, but then, Annabel learned to smile and ignore the insult. Instead, she resolved to be who she desired to be, as well as, to be with the person she wanted. She didn’t care if she wouldn’t be wed to the most charming blacksmith’s son or the wealthiest heir in the village. She wanted a boy, no, a man, to be as gallant as the greatest of all the kingdoms’ knights, yet still wild and ferocious.

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