Chapter 13: Truth
I continued to stroke her hair as she slept, wondering how this was all going to work out. I was glad she was asleep, she had to be hurting. “Is she all right?”
I looked over at Crash, he and Doc had found some ropes and were pulling DeWalt’s bike out of the mud and muck. They had it nearly to the roadside, I could already see that the front forks were bent. “She’s resting,” I said quietly.
I heard some more noise, and saw Viper leading Dagger and Tiny out of the swamp. They had blood, mud and God knows what else on their clothes as they walked up to the Jeep. “Gather round, boys,” Viper said. They stayed by the door, knowing I wasn’t going to move. “Those bodies will never be found. First off, no one says a fucking thing about what we saw back there to anyone outside the Club. Ever. Got it?”
We all agreed, it was some wild shit. Who would believe me anyway? “Pres, I can’t even get Vivian to go to the hospital. She said that with what she is, she can’t let them draw her blood, she can’t get normal medical treatment. She wants to go to a hotel, she said she’ll heal up on her own.”
“She needs to be cleaned up, sewn up,” Doc said. “Hell, I’m shocked she’s still alive. Her body must heal faster than ours.”
“Fine, that’s our first priority. There was a motel at the edge of town, a block or so from where we turned off. Doc, you head there and get a couple rooms, something in the back out of sight. It will be dark soon, and I don’t need anyone questioning why we’re bringing a woman into a room looking like this.” He nodded. “Snake, you’re going to have to drive this Jeep there with her. When Doc is ready, get her into the room.”
“You want us to ditch the Jeep, Viper?”
“Yes, we need to get rid of both these cars. Crash, you take the Charger. Take it into town, park it somewhere and leave the keys in it. Doc can follow your car and give you get a ride back here to your bike. Tiny, I need you to head down to Jacksonville with the others. Get the truck and trailer, bring it up here to the hotel. We need to load up Snake and DeWalt’s motorcycles, since her ride is toast and she won’t be able to ride on the back of his.
I dug into my pocket and found the key, tossing it to Tiny. He caught it in his big hand and smiled. “I’m going to hit the road, it’s going to be the middle of the night before I get back.”
Viper thought for a moment. “We don’t have hotels up here, and we left half our club with the bill at that BBQ joint. Tiny, swing by there and pick them up, you may as well all head back to Jacksonville tonight. Get some sleep and be here by ten in the morning. DeWalt is going to need to rest anyway, no point in arriving in the middle of the night. Crash, you can meet them at the restaurant and head back south. Doc, Snake and I will stay here with her.”
Tiny started to laugh. “They’re going to be pissed at us, that was a big tab, plus she wrecked those people’s dinner.” Viper just shook his head. “What do I tell them?”
I thought quickly. “One of those guys was an abusive ex-boyfriend, that’s why she ran. She wrecked her bike and banged herself up, she’s at the ER with Snake now. You and the others are taking care of those assholes so they won’t bother her ever again.”
“That works,” Viper said. “We’ll be back to our hotel tomorrow. I’ll stay with Doc and Snake. Once she’s settled, Doc and I will come back and retrieve Snake’s bike. I assume you won’t want to leave her?”
I got angry just at the thought. “I’m not leaving her, not ever.”
Viper just laughed. “All right, let’s get going before we draw any more attention.” With that, Crash made sure he had his gloves on before he jumped in the Charger. Viper followed him, along with Tiny and Doc. I looked down at my girl, she was still oozing blood in several places, and was out cold. I scooted out from underneath her, making sure she was covered up, before I went around to the driver’s seat.
I took it slow on the way back to town, constantly checking the mirror in case she woke up. By the time I got to the motel, a 2-story strip by the road, Doc was waiting with one of the doors open. I backed into the space so the Jeep would hide her from the office side. I got out and opened the back door on my side, while Doc took the other. “Lift up with the blanket, not on her body,” he said. I grabbed the bloodstained blanket and lifted her feet and hips while Doc had her head. I followed him through to the other side, then into the room with the double queen beds. I looked at him as he kept going for the bathroom. “I need to stitch her up, these wounds need to be cleaned and dressed first,” he said. “You get her in the bath and cleaned up, I’ll head to the pharmacy and get more supplies.”
“Fine.” We carried her into the bathroom, setting the blanket down in the tub with her on top. “I got it from here.” He put his hand on my shoulder, squeezing it, before going outside. I heard the car doors close and then his Harley fired up and left. I looked down at my girl, I was glad she was out, this was going to hurt. I moved her gently until I could get the blanket out from under her, then I washed up and took off my dirty cut and clothes. Once I was cleaned, I got a couple towels on the floor to kneel on and and got the washcloths wet.
I started with her face and hair, gently cleaning the scratches and cuts. Luckily, the shower had a wand, so I was able to wash the blood out of her hair and clean it good. It was when I got to her shoulder that she woke up. “AAAAAAAHHHH,” she screamed, sitting up and then screaming more from the pain of doing that.
“I’ve got you, Vivian,” I said softly as I hugged her head to my chest. “Ride it, just let it pass.”
She cried into me for a minute before pulling back. She looked down, I think she was a little shocked at the extent of their injuries. “Damn,” she said as she saw her leg. “This is going to hurt. Do you have my first aid kit?”
“I can get it.”
“Do it, I’ve got some painkillers in there.” I left her with the wand, letting her wash herself with the warm water while I ran out to the Jeep. I grabbed it and brought it back in. She opened it up, finding a bottle and a syringe, she drew out a dose. “Morphine,” she said. “I won’t be worth shit to you after I take this, but at least I won’t feel it. Is Doc coming to stitch me up?”
“Yes, he went to get more supplies,” I said as I injected it into her thigh. “Just rest, I’ll take care of you,” I said. I could see the painkiller when it hit, her eyes got glassy and her face relaxed. I gently laid her back and when her eyes closed, I went back to work. I cleaned her front, taking extra time with the deeper bites and cuts. It broke up the scabbing, but it had to happen.
When I was done, Doc was just coming in. He had a whole bag full of gauze, dressings and tape. “How’s it going?”
“I need help turning her,” I said. The two of us carefully rolled her onto her side, giving me access to the wounds on her back, butt and legs. Working together, we cleaned her up then moved her to the bed. We tore all the covers off, laying her face down on towels on top of the bottom sheet that Viper had put in place. Using the stitch kit in her first aid kit, Doc started to close the deeper wounds while I used butterflys and gauze to cover the less serious one. When we were done, she looked like a half-done mummy.
“Time to roll,” Doc said. The three of us carefully picked her up and rolled her onto her back, removing the soiled towels. It took another hour to finish. Kelly had stopped by, leaving some clean clothes, and we put her into a T-shirt and a pair of sleep shorts. The rest of the club had left for Jacksonville. “With the morphine, she should sleep for a few more hours,” Doc said.
I went back into the bathroom and took my keys out of my shorts. “Don’t scratch my ride,” I said as I tossed him the keys. Viper walked him out, leaving his cut on the chair. “What, you don’t want people to know our club,” I teased.
“Not when I’ve got him riding bitch on another man’s bike,” he laughed. “It’s going to be a while, I want to leave the Jeep far from here after we grab your ride.” They closed the door behind them. I pulled the covers over her, settling in by her side. I held her hand as I fell asleep.
I woke up when Vivian started to move, she was crying softly from the pain. I looked at my watch, it was three in the morning. “I need to give her more morphine,” Doc said. He gave her the injection and she settled down. “My turn to sleep,” he said. “Can you watch over her for a few hours?”
“Sure, just let me get some stuff off my bike first.” I went out and got my latest read, Vince Flynn’s Transfer of Power. Turning on the light on my side of the bed, I sat up and started to read while Doc crashed on the couch. At five, I woke Viper; being an old guy, he was going to be up soon anyway. I caught a few more hours of sleep before Vivian woke up. “How are you feeling,” I said as I stared into her eyes.
“Better,” she said. “Bathroom.” I went around to her, helping her sit up and put her feet on the floor. “Do you want me to carry you?”
“I’ll make it,” she said. I helped her to her feet and stood by her side as she shuffled to the bathroom. I set her on the toilet. “I’ll call you when I’m done,” she said.
I stepped out, closing the door. I heard the toilet flush, and expected to hear her call me back in, or at least hear water running, but I didn’t. All I heard was… her crying. I knocked gently. “Vivian?”
“Leave me alone,” she said, her sobs getting louder.
“Let me help,” I begged. “I can’t bear hearing you like this.”
“Well, EXCUSE ME for being raped and almost killed in front of you! I’m RUINED now, nothing will EVER be the same, and now I’ve killed you guys too!” She started to sob even louder. I couldn’t take it anymore, I went in and knelt in front of her, taking her head and placing it on my shoulder. “I told you, it doesn’t change how I feel about you, in fact, I love you even more because you showed me how strong you really are.” She nodded into my shoulder, a minute later she stood up with my help and washed up.
“Thank you,” she said.
“I’m here for you, Vivian. Now we should get out of here, Doc is going to want to use this bathroom, and you don’t want to be in here after that happens.”
We went back out to the room, and I sat her down. Viper had been out already, there was a McDonald’s bag and some bottles of juice on the table by the window. I heated up a breakfast sandwich for her and grabbed her an orange juice before I got my own. We ate in silence.
Finally, Viper broke the silence. “Vivian, you said something in there about endangering us. I think it’s time we talked about what’s going on, since it will affect the club.”
She finished chewing her bite of food, then nodded. “It’s going to take a little time to explain,” she said.
“We have another hour before we have to get out of this room,” he said. “I don’t need everything now, just the highlights. We’ll have to have Church when we get back home and we can talk about it in more detail. For now, I need to know what you are, why those men were after you and why we are in danger.”
She took a drink, I moved my hand over, holding hers. “I guess I should start with me. As you saw, I’m a werewolf; I can change from human to wolf form at will. In my mind, I have a second personality, if you will, that of my wolf; we share this body. Our DNA is different than yours, that’s why I couldn’t go to the hospital. One blood test would show the difference. I’m a doctor, but I work on werewolves for my Pack and humans for the money,” she said.
“Your Pack?” I thought I knew the answer.
“Gone. All dead or missing.”
“They were in Zumbrota, right? All those dead dogs, they were your family.” God, what that must have been like for her.
“Yes. To protect our secrets, we normally burn the bodies. I piled them all in one of the houses and set it alight, then burned the other houses. However, I was working at a Pack up by the Boundary Waters. I have four years left on a contract to serve their Pack and surrounding Packs. They are the ones I was running from when I came to you.”
Viper started to laugh. “So, the cult we thought you were in is really a pack of werewolves?”
“Yes, it was easier to explain that way. Something started happening this summer, something terrible. I don’t know if it is a curse, an epidemic or biological warfare, but it attacks women in the middle of their pregnancy. It causes the placenta to detach, but worse, the mother’s arteries don’t close. I couldn’t stop them both from dying, every woman this year who was pregnant didn’t make it past 24 weeks.” She paused, tears running down her face. “The Alpha, he’s the leader of the Pack, his wife was one of the pregnant women. She died, he blamed me. I barely got out of there alive.”
“These three guys, they are after you for him? Shit, we’ll just kill him,” Viper said.
“That’s not all. It’s happening everywhere, I know of dozens of Pack doctors who have been killed or just disappeared. Not a single pregnant Werewolf female has survived this year. Packs are starting to attack each other, taking the women for their own, killing the men so they can mate us instead. That’s what happened to my Pack. Werewolf women of childbearing age have become the most sought-after thing in our world.”
I squeezed her hand. “Can’t they just turn humans like in all those stories?”
“No, our DNA isn’t compatible. You have to be born from werewolves to have werewolves. As the number of women drops, Packs become more desperate. No women, no future, and our wolves are driven to mate and have children.”
“That’s the real reason you said you can’t get pregnant from me,” I said.
She nodded. “Those men were what we call rogues, werewolves who don’t belong to a Pack. They smelled me, they knew just what I was, and they took me.” She leaned into my shoulder for comfort. “Just me being me is enough to place you in danger, they will do anything to get me. And, if they find out you know what I am, they’ll kill you for it.”
“I can’t take you anywhere,” I teased.
“I thought this would be all right, there aren’t organized Packs in this area. Most are from the Pacific Northwest through Maine, and across Canada. These rogues, they can be anywhere. It’s probably best if I stay out of sight.”
“You’re in no shape to go dancing, my love,” I said as I kissed her head.
“I’m healing already, we heal faster than humans. Give me a week and I’ll be good as new.” She pulled off one of the bandaids, showing how the small cut was already scarred over.
“Cool. Any more superpowers?” Doc was busy inspecting the healing wound.
“Night vision, great hearing, stamina, a wolf form and mates.”
“Mates? You mean like life mates?” My stomach was turning over.
“Yes. The Moon Goddess granted us soul mates, the perfect other half. It’s rare to find one, but it’s the best thing ever if you do. Most don’t wait, they choose someone they love, much like you humans do. When you find your mate, they bite you on the neck when you both orgasm while making love; it forges a bond that can only be broken through death. You can feel their emotions, you are bound together, your hearts beat as one. If one dies, the other often follows.”
I’d never have that with her, I realized. “I’m sorry,” I said.
“If I could, I’d choose you, love. Now I can’t, he took that away from me. He raped me, bit my neck as we came, and he bonded himself to me for the minute we both lived. He ripped away the bond, he took away any chance I might have of finding my fated mate, then he tore my heart out.” She started crying into my shoulder. “My wolf is howling in grief. Even though he was my rapist, he hurt me, he still formed that bond and I HATE IT. I hate that something meant to be so beautiful, so deep and meaningful, was done to me this way. I’ll never be the same. I’m going to have mood swings, depression, even suicidal thoughts. It’s what happens when your mate dies, and I can’t stop it. Plus, mating kicks off the heat cycle.”
“Heat? Like with a dog? Your parts swell up and every dog in the neighborhood starts hanging out outside your door?”
She laughed a little. “Not that far off. It only happens in the spring, and lasts about a week. Our sex drive is supercharged, my scent will call to other werewolves. Normally, you and your mate go somewhere remote and bang the shit out of each other, hopefully getting you pregnant. Now? Without relief, it’s horribly painful and difficult.”
“I’ll help you,” I said.
“Damn right you will. By the time I’m done with my week of heat, your boa constrictor will be a garter snake.” I laughed heartily as she smiled. “We can talk more about that later.”
I heard the sound of motorcycles outside, followed by a truck. Viper looked at the clock. “We need to load up the trailer and hit the road,” he said. “I got the gist of it. We’ll get you loaded in the truck, then you can stay in the hotel until it’s time to head back home. I’ll make sure we have a couple people around you for protection at all times.”
“Thanks, Pres. I’m sorry I’m all this trouble.”
He got up and walked over, kissing her forehead. “You’ve got nothing to feel sorry for, DeWalt. You’re family, and we protect our family.”
“And so do I,” I said as I hugged her head to my chest. “I won’t let you get hurt again.” I buried my nose in her hair. “Ever.”
Doc gave her another shot, not as strong this time. I picked her up to carry her outside, finding our entire group there waiting for us. “We already stopped to pick up your bikes,” Tiny said as he tossed me the keys. “Load up, let’s go home.” I carried her to the passenger seat, setting her inside. The others took a moment to talk to her or give her a hug as Doc was settling our bill.
“Let’s go,” Viper said as he mounted up. I followed behind them as we headed south. I looked over at Vivian, she was smiling as she fell asleep.
I was going to find a way to make this work.