Chapter 14: Reality
I woke up hungry as our group pulled into the parking lot of our hotel near Jacksonville. Snake put it in park and looked over at me. “Don’t move, I’ll get you,” he said. He had barely unlocked the doors when Teri, Katie and Taser were at my door, opening it up.
I assured them I was doing all right, and Snake gave Kelly his room key and asked her to run ahead and open things up. I winced a little as he picked me up; he was trying to be gently, but it pulled at the wounds on my back and butt when I moved. He stopped, but I just leaned my head on his shoulder. “Keep moving, it’s going to hurt no matter how slow you do this,” I said. He walked us across the lot, as I was surrounded by what had become my family. Kelly had propped the room door open and turned down the bed by the time we got there. He sat me on the edge.
Viper kept everyone else out but Doc, he came inside with his bag of supplies and my first aid kit. “We need to check the wounds, then I want to take a shower,” I said.
Kelly closed the door and went to go. “Kelly, please stay,” I said. “I’ll need help later.” She closed and locked the door as Snake returned with some towels. He laid them out on the bed, then helped me take my shirt off.
Kelly went pale. “Holy shit, I didn’t know it was this bad,” she said as she looked at the patchwork of bandages that was my body.
“Yeah, this is going to hurt,” I said. I had Doc open my kit, inside was a bottle of Tylenol 500’s with codeine. I palmed two as Kelly got me some water out of the fridge. “I don’t need the morphine any more, I need my wits about me,” I said. They started tearing off bandages, starting with the smaller wounds. If they were scarred over, they just left them alone. Kelly came back with some wet washcloths to clean up the blood that came with ripping off some of the scabs.
The deeper wounds, the ones that were stitched, were just starting to close up. “Shit, that’s fast,” Doc said. “Normally it would take a week to get to this point.”
“Like I said, healing is accelerated.” Kelly looked at me funny. “I’ll explain it all to the rest of the club soon.”
I couldn’t see most of my wounds, but Doc said they were good enough to take a quick shower. I asked Snake to go get me some lunch, I was going to need a lot of food for my healing. I also wanted to tell the rest of the Club what was going on before I was sleepy again. I had Kelly help me into the bathroom so I could do my business; she stripped and joined me in the shower, helping clean me because bending over would hurt too much, and I couldn’t reach my back.
I felt a lot better when I returned; Snake and Doc had left fresh clothes on the counter for me. I dried off and put on a robe, while Kelly got dressed. When I came out, the guys had sandwiches and cokes waiting for us. I kissed Snake and sat on his lap at the small table as we ate. “Everyone will be here in ten minutes,” Doc said. “Are you sure you don’t want me to dress your wounds first?”
“Yes, there’s something I need to do first.” The Club members started coming in as we were finishing, taking seats around the room until it was full. I made sure all the windows were closed and the doors were locked before I started talking. “First, I’m sorry I ruined your dinner,” I said. “What happened back there I didn’t expect. The three men who I was running from were after me, I knew it as soon as I saw them. They ran me off the road, then when I tried to run through the swamps to escape, they caught me. I was beaten and raped.” Snake held me tight in his lap as that news hit the others like a bolt of lightning. I could see anger, shock and sympathy in the group; Kelly jumped out of Doc’s lap and hugged me, followed by Teri and Taser. It took a few minutes to reassure the girls I was all right and to get the other men calmed down.
“The three men are gone,” Viper said, “So there is no one left to go after. Our little DeWalt here killed one in the fight, and another she stabbed in the groin and stomach with a combat knife. We finally caught up to her and killed the guy who raped her.”
That calmed things down a little, they wanted vengeance and they had gotten it. “Did you know the guys,” asked Kelly.
“No. I could smell them, and they could smell me. That’s why they went after me,” I said.
“What, your perfume set this off?” Kelly looked confused.
“In a way. I’m not like you, I’m a different species. I’m actually a werewolf.”
A few people laughed, while Rocket even asked if I was more Teen Wolf or American Werewolf in London. They didn’t believe me. “I can prove it,” I said as I pulled my arms out of the sleeves of my robe. “Help me up,” I said.
Snake helped me stand as I loosened the tie on my robe. “Should you be doing this?”
“Shifting will be painful, but it will help with the healing,” I said.
Viper’s low voice boomed through the room. “When she does this, nobody fucking moves or says anything. I don’t need the neighbors wondering what is going on. This is DeWalt, she won’t hurt you,” he said.
I shifted as I leaned forward, turning into my wolf before my arms hit the ground. The robe fell off as I walked forward a few steps; I was waiting for screams, but they didn’t come. People were shocked but not afraid. I moved over to Viper and put my head on his leg, he scratched my ears as my tail wagged. “This is how we saw her in the swamp, those three men were also werewolves.” I moved around the room slowly; I was bigger than a German Shepherd, grey in color with white and black patches.
“My God, you’re beautiful,” Teri said before I licked her face. “Ewww…”
I chuffed softly and moved around the rest of the room, making sure everyone got a chance to touch me if they wanted to. When I made it back to Snake, he covered me with the robe. “Guys, turn around,” he said. I shifted back to my human form and pulled the robe back on.
“Decent,” I said. I felt much better after the shift. “Now I know you must have questions.” I repeated what I had told the others yesterday; what I was, what was happening with our women and why the men were after me.
“So just how many werewolves are out there,” Rocket asked.
“I don’t know. Before all this started, I knew there were about five hundred Packs in North America, each with between ten and two hundred members. There are also loners, wolves without Packs, and rogues, wolves who were kicked out of Packs. Up north there were three smaller Packs the Alpha was allied to, all are gone, some of the survivors joined his Pack. Most of these raids, everyone is killed except the women who are captured and forced into mating. There’s no way to get a count now, but I know that there used to be about a hundred Pack Doctors like me, and there may only be a handful left now.”
“What about back home,” Tiny asked.
“Packs like having land to run and hunt in, plus being in close proximity to humans makes it harder to keep our secret,” I said. “That’s why they are in remote, rural areas. The smells and sounds of the city can be overwhelming. I have trouble being downtown too long,” I said. “So, I don’t expect to run into werewolves there, but you never know.”
“And any male werewolf is a danger?”
“Yes… if they don’t want me for themselves, females like me have become valuable. If they will wipe out entire Packs to get women, they will pay for them too, or trade.”
Viper stood up. “I can tell she’s getting tired, and she needs to rest. Snake will be staying with her, but I’d like at least one other Club member to be around as backup… armed backup, just in case.”
“I’ll stay this afternoon,” Doc said. “I still need to dress her wounds.”
“Sounds good. Everyone else, get ready, we’re rolling in fifteen minutes. We’re taking the backup run, back roads between here and Gainesville. Since you guys already rode all morning, we’ll make the Daytona Beach run tomorrow instead.” The Club spent a lot of time talking with local clubs and figuring out good routes and stopping places, and they always had extras.
“We’ll watch football and rest,” Snake said. “Have fun.” There was one more riding day on the second, then the next morning they all went back to the airport. The trip was almost over.
When they were gone, Doc had me lay down on the bed so he could check the wounds. He put dressings over the ones that were still healing, hoping to protect the stitches and scabs a while longer. “It looks better since you shifted,” he said. “Not as much blood as earlier.”
“I’ll need to shift twice a day until the scars are gone,” I said. “This is a pet-free hotel, so I can’t exactly spend a lot of time as a wolf.”
He put the clean clothes on me and tucked me in, turning the bedside light off. “I’m going to nap with her if you’re good,” he told Doc.
“Sure, I’ll watch the game.” I heard Snake pull his clothes off and felt him get into the bed behind me.
He wasn’t touching me, and that bothered my wolf. “Hold me?”
“Always.” He scooted over until his chest met my back, and an arm carefully laid over my waist. I rested my head on his arm and was instantly asleep.
I woke up to a knock on the door; Snake wasn’t in bed, but I could smell him in the room along with Doc. I heard Doc open the door and pay for the delivery, the smell of pizza was enough to get my eyes open. “Feed me,” I said softly.
“Good, you’re awake,” Snake said. “The others are back, there were thunderstorms moving in so they returned early. They’re all going out to a bar tonight, so dinner is just us.”
I sat up, the pain wasn’t as bad now. I took the pills on the bedside table and the glass of water he’d left for me before he handed me a plate of food. “A quiet night with you sounds good,” I said.
Doc left for a few minutes and came back with Kelly. “Since you’re feeling better, would you mind if Kelly stays with us tonight?”
“Not at all. Come over here, girl, they got us food and beer!” She sat on the bed next to me, and we had a great time getting to know each other better until it was time to sleep again.
The guys kept me close the rest of the trip. Crash volunteered to ride back with us as extra security, so we made room in the back seat for him. He and Snake would alternate driving, since I was still healing. Doc took out my stitches on our last night, allowing me to spend time in the Jacuzzi with Snake. I wasn’t very active, but we still had a lot of fun our last night in the room.
I had one last thing I wanted to do before we left, knowing that even if they traced the call, it would be too late to do anything about it. I called the clinic up at the Northwoods Pack, nervously waiting for an answer. “Hello?”
“Jessica? Is that you?”
She answered in a whisper. “Vivian? Are you all right?”
“I’m fine, Jessica, I wanted to see how you were doing.”
“Hang on a minute.” I heard a door close, then she came back to the room “Don’t say anything about where you are, there’s still an Alpha command out there to tell him if we find you,” she said. “He doesn’t want to kill you, he’s worked past that now. He’s frantic because we’re going to go into heat season again soon and he has no Pack Doctor. No one does, at least none that they will admit to.”
They probably wouldn’t tell, especially if the Doctor was female, I thought. “Not surprising, there may only be a handful left in the country. I am still technically under contract, but I don’t feel safe there anymore. My home Pack is gone, Jessica. My parents were killed, all the males killed, the women taken.”
“I’m sorry. It’s the same up here, we get stragglers sometimes, people looking for a new Pack because the old one is gone. Same story everywhere. The strong Packs are grabbing all the women they can before spring.”
“Well, in a way. We haven’t taken over Packs, but smaller Packs see the writing on the wall. Three have joined us already, and one more is in talks.”
I guess that was better than the alternative. “This heat season… we don’t have a cure, we didn’t even figure out what was causing it. Getting pregnant is a death sentence. Talk to the women, tell them they can’t get pregnant, no matter what their wolves say.”
“That’s a tough ask, but I’ll tell them. I’ve heard rumors, though.” I could tell she was nervous. “The senior leaders… they are going to take mates before the heats start. If they die, they’ll take another, even if they have to kill the woman’s current mate.”
My heart sank, how could they treat us like breeders? Killing mates in your own Pack? “If you ever feel threatened, Jessica, pack anything from the clinic that might be helpful and run. Make sure to bring the preemie unit and the drugs and blood. Make your way to the Twin Cities and go to Bill’s Gun Shop in Robbinsdale. Get a message to Moose, he can get a message to me. Don’t die on me being a hero,” I told her. She was like a little sister to me.
“I will. I have to go, you take care of yourself, and stay safe.”
“You too.” I hung up and Snake took my hand. “Let’s go home,” I said.