Chapter 25: Attacked
Beta Charles’ POV
One Week Later
I stood behind and to the left of Alpha Clark as he addressed the pack early in the morning before breakfast. Denise was tucked into my side, we were leaning on each other because this could go wrong in so many ways. “Wolves of the Boundary Waters Pack,” the Alpha said as he stood on the rock so everyone could see him, “War has come to us. The Brainerd Pack has taken advantage of the panic and losses caused by this terrible plague to establish itself as the dominant Pack in Minnesota. Attacking Packs without warning, taking their women, killing the mated men and the boys. The grieving mates are lined up and claimed by unmated males, along with all unmated females down to age thirteen.” He had to wait for the anger to die down. “I’ve tried to reach out to them, to change their ways and follow our customs, but my efforts have been rebuffed.”
I mentally snorted, he had called once, and they didn’t answer so he didn’t call again. I stood, impassive and intimidating, behind him as he continued. “It is only a matter of time until he attacks us, and by then he will be stronger. I can’t risk our women, our future, on the behaviors of a rogue Alpha. As such, Warriors are joining me to take out this cancer on our species. We will be merciful where they are not; we will not kill those who surrender, male or female, and we will give the unmated every opportunity to take a choice mate.”
“At least if she makes the choice he wants her to,” Denise said to me.
“He wants the pack strong,” I answered.
“Let us pray for Luna’s favor for a swift battle and a safe return,” he said. Taking a knee, the Pack with them, they looked up at the setting moon, nearly full and just above the trees. We each said our prayers, mine was simple; survive.
When the meeting was over, the warriors ate one last meal with their families. By eight, we were loaded into a dozen vehicles for the four-hour trip across the northern part of the state. We had one female who had been part of that pack twenty years ago, and we used topographical maps and her knowledge to plan our attack. We would park the vehicles well away, leaving just drivers, and go over land to the Pack House. The idea was to come in fast, getting to the Alpha and taking him out before the defense really started. If they had a chance to rally, if they held off our assault, it was going to end badly for us.
I sent my final goodbyes to my mate before we were too far away. She was the senior werewolf left and would take care of the children and the ones who weren’t fighters. I looked out the window, something felt off and I couldn’t place it.
I held Jennifer in my hands, calming her after the indignity of another diaper change. She was holding her own; the feared infections hadn’t materialized, and despite vomiting several times a day she was starting to gain weight. Her lungs continued to improve, although we still had to keep her on oxygen, and leave her in the heated incubator. It would be five or six weeks until she could be out, if things went well.
“How is she doing,” Kelly said.
“Good, I just changed her and she’s ready for a nap again.” She and Doc had been great; when Jennifer made it past the first two days, they both pitched in and took over some of the care. I could go on little to no sleep for a while, but this baby needed care 24/7 and I was wiped. I couldn’t leave in case they needed me, and I was up every few hours.
“Go,” she said. “Doc is in the kitchen making you some breakfast. Eat it.”
“Yes Mom,” I teased. “Day care covered?”
“Yes, Teri and Katie have them this morning. Doc and I will head back before lunch, so get some sleep. Jessica will be back from classes, so she can relieve me, you can get a good four hours in.” Carson was escorting her to and from her nursing classes at the community college, and Snake was doing breakfast at the clubhouse so he wasn’t here to snug up to. It was all right, I needed the sleep.
I left her after one final check of everything, then I went to the break room. Doc handed me a plate with three eggs, toast and a rare-cooked steak. “You’re the best,” I told him as I sat down.
“How was overnight?”
“Slow,” I said. “I made Jessica go to bed by midnight and spent most of the time doing research in between baby checks.” I was making use of the medical libraries in the city, taking a crash course in neonatal care.
“Have you heard back from his father?”
“He asked if he could see her, if he could take her home. The answer to both was no. I explained why, but he hasn’t responded.” I put the eggs on top of the steak, cutting through both so the yolk ran over and combined with the juices.
“I just hope Snake scared him enough he doesn’t try anything stupid. We don’t have enough people to make this a truly secure location, and it’s too far away from the club for my liking. I’m glad Viper had those surveillance cameras installed, that helps.” He pointed at the television screen that showed the four sides of the clinic in split-screen. “I’ll be glad when we don’t need the clinic and you can be back at the clubhouse.”
I knew what he meant, I missed them, I missed the children, and I missed my Snake time. “Six weeks or so, but I’ll still come here a day or two per week for research. I’ll do most of it from the clubhouse clinic.”
I finished up my meal, wiping the remaining juices off the plate with the last piece of toast, then washing it down with milk. “You’re the best, Doc,” I said as I took the dishes to the sink.
“You’re the best Doc,” he replied. “Leave them, go take a shower and get to bed.” I did, and ten minutes later I was asleep.
My anxiety was growing with every mile. We were two hours away, and I couldn’t ignore it any more. “Boss, something’s wrong.”
“We’re almost there, Beta.” He looked out the window at the passing trees. “Everything is on track.”
“I’ve had this feeling since we left, and it’s getting worse. My instinct is to go back.”
He just laughed at me. “You’re nervous, that’s kind of funny. How many years has it been since you were last in battle? Ten?” I nodded. “You probably have the same queasy stomach that all the new guys in the last car have.” The warrior riding shotgun, a mated father of two named Robert, laughed a little at me. He stopped when I kicked his seat back.
A minute later, a scream startled the driver so much he almost went into the ditch. Robert was scratching at his mating mark while yelling for her at the top of his lungs. “Shit, something happened to Christine,” I said.
Two more howls of agony came through the bond. “Boss, we need to go back,” I said.
He nodded. “Turn us around and get home!” The caravan turned, but I knew it was too late.
The morning was going well, her vitals were stable, and she napped well. I could see her eyes following me, her little arms moving towards me as I smiled. “WE’RE UNDER ATTACK,” Doc yelled at me as he ran out of the break room, rifle in hand. “CALL THE CLUB!”
I ran over to the phone on the wall, quickly dialing the number. It rang twice before it picked up. “Northwoods Riders, Scrape here.”
“Scrape it’s Kelly, we’re under att…” and then the phone went dead. I hung it up, trying again, but no dial tone. “PHONE IS CUT,” I yelled towards the door. My husband poked his head in. “Did you tell the club?”
“I don’t know if I got enough out,” I said.
Vivian came running into the room just as the power went out. “Vivian, we’ve got people surrounding the building, I counted four before I left the room,” he told her.
“Cover the hallway,” she said. “Kelly, without power the CPAP machine won’t work. You need to monitor her breathing carefully, it should be thirty to forty per minute. If she is struggling, you’ll have to manually ventilate.” She handed me the mask and bag, we had practiced earlier how to do it. “Whatever happens, don’t stop. She’s too fragile to make it on her own.”
“I understand, Doctor. What are you doing?”
“I’m protecting her,” she said. She poked her head out into the hallway. “Doc, what’s happening?”
“I think they are at the back door,” he said.
“I’m going wolf then.”
“NO!” I saw him pulling her back into the room. “I know you want to protect her, but this isn’t the way. Stay in here.” He handed me his .45 Colt pistol. “This room is concrete walls, steel door. Lock it, barricade it and don’t come out until the club is here.”
“What about you?” I looked over at my husband, panic in my eyes.
“I’ll keep them back,” he said. “You stay alive, baby. I love you.”
“I love you too.” I heard the door close and lock as I focused on the baby. Counting her breaths, making sure the oxygen regulator was good, and trying to monitor her color. Vivian handed me a headlamp out of the drawer, it made things much easier. She pushed a cabinet in front of the door, then set to work piling other material against the wall. “What are you doing?”
“Just in case they try to shoot through the door,” I said. She was moving another cabinet, lifting it on top of the first one. “Who did you talk to at the club?”
“Scrape, but all I got out was ‘we’re under’ before the line was cut.”
She kept piling stuff against the door, just as we heard a loud crash. Doc was opening up with his rifle, growls echoed through the hallway and something big hit the door. They were inside.
I was going through some of the bills in my office when Scrape started screaming. I was up on my feet instantly, running downstairs to the clubhouse area. “What the fuck is going on?”
“That was Kelly, she and Doc are with Vivian at the clinic. She called, I think she was going to say they were under attack when the phone call dropped.”
“Did you call back?”
“No answer.” Fuck. “ALL RIGHT BOYS, GRAB YOUR GUNS AND LET’S GO.” Crash and Dagger were in the clubhouse, and I knew Trigger was in the garage. I went back to my office, grabbing my pump shotgun and a bandoleer of buckshot, along with my Glock .45 and extra magazines. I ran out the front, opening the doors to one of the panel vans. The boys were right behind me, jumping into the back.
Teri came out just as I was starting up. “Teri, call every member you can get ahold of, get them to the clinic and tell them to come strapped. Vivian’s in trouble.”
I pulled out of the parking lot, heading for the road. It would take twenty minutes to get there.
Twenty minutes she might not have.
I heard Doc screaming, and the sound of him being dragged. There was a thud in the hallway. “Doctor DelMara, this man is seriously injured and is bleeding all over the floor. He’s going to die if you don’t give yourself up.”
My jaw dropped, I started to cry. He screamed, they must have done something to him. She looked at me, then looked at the door.
“Listen, Doc, we want you alive. Come quietly and we’ll let the others live. Refuse, and he dies. He only has a few minutes left, I’d say, if he doesn’t get help.”
“NO DON’T DO IT AAAAAAAHHH!” There was a thud and he went quiet.
“ANDREW!” I started to move towards the door.
“Don’t,” Vivian said. “Go back to Jennifer.” She pulled some combat dressings out of the drawer. “When I’m gone, use these, apply pressure to stop the bleeding and wait for help.”
“You can’t give yourself to them, Vivian!”
“I can’t let you die, Kelly. They’ll still take me.” She pulled me into a hug, then walked to the door. “I’m coming out, I have to move stuff away from the door.”
“Don’t waste our time, Doctor, he doesn’t have much.”
She pushed the cabinets back from the door, creating just enough room to open it and get out. She unlocked it, and the door was immediately pushed open. A man reached in, pulling her out, and I heard the ratchet sound of handcuffs going on. “Ahh, the smell of unmated women,” the leader said. “Come on.” I could hear her walking down the hall.
“What about the woman, boss?”
I looked around in panic, there was nowhere to hide. A man leaned in, firing two shots, and I felt my chest explode in pain before I fell to the ground.