Moonrise Academy: The Headmaster by Wendy Rathbone

1

Toby

It was embarrassing to have the heat doctor come while I was still locked up.

I didn’t remember doing all the things they said I did like ripping off my clothes and shifting back and forth or hurtling my body against the barred door for an hour non-stop. But it must have all been true. My throat was raw from screaming. My knuckles ached, purple and bloody.

I always went to the heat rooms on the infirmary’s second floor one day a month as soon as I felt the slick begin. It was no big deal. It happened to all omegas. We were locked away for twenty-four hours mainly for our own safety. During that time, we couldn’t be around any alpha students. On campus fraternization during heats was against school rules. Moonrise Academy had strict policies about that.

Usually, my heats were easy. I always took my computer with me and got a lot of studying done. Tasty meals were brought to my door three times during the day.

The beds in the heat rooms were soft and clean. The attached bathrooms came with big, claw-footed tubs and I loved soaking in water as hot as I could stand to ease away the aches and longings that came with my heats.

If my heat arrived on a school day, it was like having a little mini vacation. When the urge to be filled got too strong, I had a vibrating plug that would make me come several times in a row. Every omega I knew used various versions of plugs.

I liked being an omega. We were treated with respect and consideration, unlike in our world’s troubled past when we had been treated like commodities and sex slaves. For the past hundred and twenty years, we had equal rights to alphas and betas.

Right now, however, I felt anything but equal.

I remembered being wrestled to the floor by several beta nurses, my ankles and wrists strapped to the heat bed. The heat doctor gave me a strong sedative to keep me from shifting into wolf form again.

I lay naked in my human form, squirming and fighting and crying out for what seemed like hours, with only a sheet covering me to my waist.

The doctor, who looked a little like my grandpa, kept coming in to check on me. He talked to me in soothing tones. When I started to come out of my heat and became calm, he told me I was okay and had a nurse bandage my hands. I learned I’d shifted over a hundred times and that I’d begged and screamed to be let out of the heat room.

In the two and a half years I’d attended Moonrise, I’d never had reason to see a heat doctor before. I could tell he was an omega by the O tattoo on the back of his left hand. It comforted me to know that about him. That he was like me.

In the last hour of my heat, I couldn’t stop crying. When it was over, my muscles finally relaxing and the shivers abating, the heat doctor returned. He had on a white lab coat, undone at the front. Beneath, he wore jeans and a green-flowered Hawaiian shirt. His face was serene and gentle, his dark hair slicked back and gray at the sideburns.

“Do you remember my name?” he asked.

I nodded. “Doctor Abast.”

“Good. How do you feel?”

“Terrible. Can I sit up?”

“I think that can be arranged.” He undid the wrist straps, then the ankle cuffs.

I pushed myself up, the sheet bunching at my groin.

A nurse came in with a neatly folded stack of clothes, the school uniform of black trousers, white shirt and black blazer with red ribbing. Clean underwear and socks lay on top. I took them, checking to see all of it was in my size.

“I need a shower.”

Doctor Abast nodded. “Your bandages are waterproof. I’ll wait.”

He turned away as I stood, tottering a little, and made my way naked to the bathroom. The shower stood next to the tub. I longed for a bath, but more than that, I needed to be out of here and back in my dorm room.

I took a quick shower and dressed fast. When I came out, hair still dripping, the room had been cleaned, the bed neatly made. The blood stains on the back of the door had already been washed away.

Doctor Abast stood with his tablet in hand and faced me. “Better?”

“Yes. But I don’t understand what happened.”

“Has this never happened to you before?”

“No.”

Abast glanced at his tablet. “We did a lot of blood tests today. You’re healthy, so that’s good news.”

I stared at him. I’d just been through hell. It didn’t feel like good news. “Did they show anything else?”

“They did.”

I waited, my heart pounding.

“Less than a fraction of one percent of omegas have your trait. Usually, it’s discovered early.”

“What trait?”

“You’re what we call in medical jargon a souperomega.”

“Super?”

He let out a single laugh. “Sounds like Batman or something, I know.” He spelled the word for me, then said it again. “Souperomega. From the Greek for super.”

“What is it?”

“You have an extra hormonal output during heats. A lot of extra.”

“But I’ve always had mild heats.”

“Until now. It’s a little late to show up at age twenty.”

“What does that mean for me?”

Abast swung his tablet down. “You may have some hard heats like this again. Not every time. But we have medications to help. You take a pill just as you feel your heat onset.”

“Like a—a sedative?”

“Yes. Like that.”

“What does this mean for my future?”

Abast’s eyebrows rose. “Nothing as long as you take the pills I prescribe before the heat’s onset. This condition is very rare. I specialize in heats and yet I’ve never had a patient with this before. I need to do some research before I can tell you more.”

I glanced at my bandaged hands. “Am I dangerous?”

“You hurt yourself because you were trying to get out. The mating urge took over completely. The heat rooms here at this school are for your safety. But after you graduate, you may want to keep using a heat room every month until you find a mate. I’ll have more answers for you after I read up on the condition some more. But from what you went through, I can say you need to take more care than normal. For your own protection. You wanted out to find a mating partner. But you were in no position to consent.”

My mouth opened in shock. This meant it would be easier for me to be raped by an alpha. I might not even remember afterward.

I had no idea where to find heat rooms off-campus. But I was one and a half years away from graduating, so I had plenty of time to adjust.

Abast told me my prescription for my next heat would be delivered to the academy infirmary. Then he gently shook my hand and left.

As I made my way back to my dorm room, it was early evening. The hallways were filled with students.

I kept thinking they all knew, that they could tell I was different now.

Pushing my backpack over my shoulder, I tried to hide the bandages on my hands by folding my arms across my chest. I couldn’t wait to get back to my room and look up souperomega.