Home > Choosing Her Alpha

Choosing Her Alpha
Author: Isoellen

Chapter 1

Sasha stood in the doorway of the darkened room, a wave of disgusting smells assaulting her. She tried to breathe through her mouth, but it didn’t help; the special blend of her mother’s sickness and insanity invaded her senses. As if opening the cold locker to find the meat inside had turned bad, it made her eyes water and her throat seize.

She entered and turned on the two lamps, avoiding the sight of the woman on the bed shoved up against the wall. Sighing over the lack of ventilation, she glared at the curtained window near the ceiling. It was too high to reach without a ladder. Sasha wished she could open it.

With the breakfast tray in one hand and cleaning supplies in the other, she prepared herself to face the dying woman. Stained floor and marred walls were easier sights than her own mother’s sickly face. Stiffening her spine, Sasha forced her expression blank and turned.

No one had been in here for two days. Maura had not changed positions in longer than that, and she looked worse than she smelled. A small, shrunken creature under a soiled blanket, her mother turned her head to see who had entered. Sweaty, filth coated hair stuck to her skeletal face. Each of her shallow breaths were a gasping battle for life.

At only fifty two years of age, Maura was still considered young, in her prime years. Sasha knew this, and she couldn’t stop herself from making the comparison between the mother she should have and the one who lay before her.

Her mother should have had thick, gleaming brown hair threaded with copper, gold, and red. Her shape should have been full and curvy. Instead, sharp bones pressed against her thin skin, creating seeping sores at her joints. Her cheeks were sunken, her lips had thinned, her gums were receding; all of this creating the death mask appearance of her face.

If one didn't see pain in her cloudy, violet eyes—if one didn't feel the heavy weight of oppression that spread out from her in a cloud of hate and despair—one could hear it. Maura, with her last breaths, would make certain of that.

"Get out," she hissed. "Don't want you."

Sasha was hardly surprised. Maura had never wanted her only daughter.

"You tell everyone to get out. Now look at you. You’re lying in your own feces, Mother. Merrick told me to clean you and the room up, and you know I can't disappoint your... husband."

"Get out, you fucking bitch, " Maura slurred, already louder, angrier. "Out!"

The violent death of Maura's first husband marked her being like a giant scar. Wearing her personal agony like a dress, Maura never concealed or softened her hatred. No, she let it all out. Every crazy, poisonous drop of it.

Sasha stepped outside the door and grabbed the bedding and towels she’d left in the hall. For two days Maura had been sending away the drone workers. She’d refused the doctor. Refused food and water. Even with her being dirty and ill, the poor human servants couldn't resist the desire to please and obey an omega breeder. They couldn’t go against her wishes even when she needed help.

In those two days this room had become uninhabitable. Sasha had no idea where to start. Clean the skeleton of a woman first? Change the bedding? Nothing was going to get the smell or stains out of that bed now.

Maura growled low and bestial. Her eyes were rolling yellow marbles in the sunken hollows of their sockets. "Don't touch me. Don't touch me! Why aren't you dead yet? Why aren't you suffering yet? Where is my knife? Where is Merrick?"

"You have to get better to kill me, Mother. I don't think you have the strength to drive a knife into my chest, or even to cut my finger. You have to eat. Merrick told me to come in here and clean you up, remember? Let me help you. After, you can get better and then try to kill me. Since my misery is your life's work, I'd think you wouldn't be ready to die so quickly."

"It should have been you. You know that, right?" she hissed as Sasha worked. "You should have died. You should be dead. You shouldn't exist."

Ignoring her, Sasha continued her task. Maura’s gown was a loss, as was the bedding. There was nothing to do but use an extra sheet. Laundry that would never be clean again. Rolling the emaciated woman back and forth, Sasha removed the dirty bedding and put a clean sheet beneath Maura while taking the soiled one away. Careful not to touch dirty to clean or get it on herself, she bunched that up and set it aside.

"Hate him. Hate him. He is in his grave, why not you too?" Maura continued to babble. She would work herself up good at this rate. She always dug deep into the vast recesses of her mind to find the cruelest words to spew at her favorite target. "You don't deserve to breathe. He killed my love. You killed my love. Sent away my sons. My lovely boys. Where are my real children?"

Now that Maura was on a clean sheet, Sasha set about washing her. Her mother’s skin was translucent, a spider’s web of purple veins where it wasn't stained with feces or vomit. Her feet looked clean, but everywhere else was damp and crusted.

"They will kill you, demon," Maura said. "My sons will fuck you to death and cut off all your hair—cut your face… Kill you! You stole my life. Why wasn't it you?"

Sasha wanted to take a deep breath to strengthen her resolve against the spite, but all the hate, the smell, the feces had her swallowing bile.

"Two of your sons died fighting. The other three are soldiers," Sasha said with forced patience. "It's not my fault they don't come to visit you. Every breeder bears the burden of giving up her sons to the king’s battle. Isn't that the law?"

The woman was nothing but an insane thing of raging animosity. Everyone knew it. She was a broken breeder; even the doctors said so. The death of her first husband, Bracken Klaus, the recipient of her life bond and blessing, had cracked her spirit. The death of two of her sons had split her open.

The Administration forcibly encouraged a marriage to a second male who was meant to heal her, but that only caused more trouble. Maura hadn’t wanted him. Finally, birthing Sasha eighteen years ago crushed the last of her spirit.

Instead of being joyful at bringing a valued Omega daughter into the world, Maura had a psychotic break and descended into a place of no return. Doctors warned she might never heal. They could either send her home or commit her to the Intersector Omega Institution. No medication or therapy would bring her back.

Sasha set aside the towels she’d brought and submerged a rag in the bucket of warm water. Holding her breath, she drew Maura onto her side. She tried to be gentle, but the bedsores were oozing through the fabric of her shirt and her bones groaned with every movement.

That noxious smell permeated the bedding, coating her skin like a damp mist. It would stay with her for days.

Living and working within a compound of human drones and hard living breeds, Sasha was accustomed to cleaning up all kinds of messes. Feces and vomit were a part of life, but she still gagged as she worked. There were no words for how disgusting this process was.

"You are going to get yours. Finally. Your time is coming, breeder girl. Your time is coming. Merrick promised me."

Merrick, Maura's third husband and Sasha’s tormentor, had come along after the death of her father and used the broken woman to his advantage. No doubt he had also contributed to her decline, encouraging an addiction to a drug called “shine” to get her out of his way while he did what he wanted with the household.

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