I walked out of the back door of the bar, locking the door behind me at ten in the morning. I didn’t know if they were following me, so I didn’t go home last night. The couch in my office was good for more than quickies with Moose when I was working late.
I turned around and almost bumped off of the big guy from last night, a matching goon like him on each side. “Shit, you scared me,” I said. I wasn’t lying, they weren’t here when I looked out the video camera and I didn’t hear them approach while I was locking up. Moose would have been pissed, he was always after me to pay attention. He worried about someone attacking me in the late nights that I ran my bar. Of course, he was nowhere close now.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you,” Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome said. “Are you ready?”
“Let’s see the cash first,” I said. He pulled a bank envelope out of his pocket and showed it to me; it was a $10,000 bundle of hundreds. I flipped through them to make sure it was legit, then he put it back in his pocket. “So how do we do this?”
“I’ll ride with you, and these two will ride behind me. Once we verify she’s where you say she is, I give you the envelope and you drive away.”
“And we both forget we ever saw each other,” I said. “I don’t need this getting back to me, my girl doesn’t need to know I sold her Mom out. Try not to break anything, her Mom is nice, and I don’t want to hear cops are looking into it. She needs to think Vivian just left.”
He smiled as we reached my car, his buddies already gone. I was glad he didn’t search me, I had a couple surprises for them if they decided to back out on the deal. I had a baby Glock 9mm in a Flashbang holster under my boobs, the loose button-up blouse easily covering it. I had full-size Glock in a holster under the seat, a pepper spray in my purse, and bear spray in my door. All my ammunition had a silver core; Moose had modified existing rounds and coated the silver with a layer of lead so even Vivian couldn’t smell it. She told us the bullets would work as normal, with the added effect on werewolves that the silver would retard healing and prevent shifting. I didn’t really want to test it.
We got on the road, driving east on I-94 into Wisconsin. We were in rolling forests, heading north on 63 towards Turtle Lake. He didn’t say anything to me and I didn’t feel like talking, so I just left the radio on KQRS and drove. His buddies were behind us, and I could have sworn I saw more than just them. I was a little nervous as we turned onto the county road that led to the remote cabin.
The cabin belonged to Hammer’s cousin, and had been chosen because it wasn’t your normal cabin. His cousin had been a masonry contractor, so the home was built of poured concrete with applied river rock facing. The roof was steel, as were both of the entry doors, and to prevent it from burning in a fire the windows all had steel shutters that could be locked in place from the inside. It was the very definition of a defensible position, sitting atop a small rise above a large pond, the forest no closer than fifty yards away from the garden. “This is the driveway leading to the cabin,” I said as we passed the fire sign. This area was well away from the lakes and rivers, so there weren’t neighbors on the dirt and crushed rock trail leading in. I kept driving another half mile, then pulled over, the trail car stopping behind me. “There is an ATV trail here that goes fairly close to the house.”
He nodded and got out, going to talk to the other guys. One of them took off down the trail at a jog. “He’s going to verify she’s here, if she is, we’re done.”
I turned off the car and got out, making a show of stretching my body. He and the remaining guy were standing by the trail car while I walked around. We only waited ten minutes before the runner returned. “She’s there,” he said. “I saw her in the kitchen.”
“Then our business is done,” I said. He nodded, pulling the envelope out he handed it to me. I quickly checked it, then tossed it in the passenger seat of my car. “Pleasure, boys. Don’t ever stop in my bar again.” I got in and drove away.
I hope to hell my guys are ready for what’s coming.
I didn’t like this, not one bit.
We were set up in a neighbor’s cabin we had gotten permission to use. Twenty club members, all heavily armed with ATV’s and vehicles, were standing by while we watched the cameras on the television. Mitch, a prospect who started the process two months ago after a few years as a hang-around, had set it all up. His day job was to set up alarm and surveillance systems for a local company, and had access to the latest wireless cameras. Sixteen of them were set up from the road all the way to the four sides of the cabin.
“Food’s here,” Crash said as he opened the door. Two of the prospects came in, carrying stacks of pizza boxes. The table was soon covered with them, and bottled water and Cokes were brought out of the fridge. I stared at the television in between times walking back and forth in the living room, watching the three men by the side of the road where Sheri had left them.
Moose had met her outside town, taking her to lunch so she could settle down. She’d done what she needed to do, leading them to us. We had been here since early yesterday morning, and I was already sick of the wait. “Eat some food,” Viper yelled to everyone, “And get some rest if you can. They might come in ten minutes, ten hours or ten days, and we need to be ready.” He walked over to me and pulled me towards the table. “You too. Vivian is fine, we’ve got a camera in there and Mitch has eyes on. A mouse can’t move out there without being seen on camera.”
“I’m not hungry,” I said.
“I don’t care, boy. Have some pizza, dammit, you’re wearing a path in the damn floor.”
I nodded and walked over, taking a couple pieces of sausage and mushroom and a Coke. I sat next to Mitch, where I could see his computer screen with the sixteen cameras all on split screen. “How do you know what to watch?”
“I keep four screens up on the main screen all the time. The road where the men are, the front of the house, the back of the house, and the last one is set for any camera sensing motion.”
I chewed on the pizza, not really enjoying anything right now. I was feeling the same as I did in the Sandbox when we were waiting for the call to go into Kuwait; the knowledge of danger combined with the boredom of the unknown. I was just about done with the second piece when I saw motion on the camera. “Cars approaching,” I said out loud.
The noise stopped, and everyone gathered around the monitor. Four SUV’s had pulled in behind the three men waiting. Mitch made the camera full screen as we watched. “Too bad we don’t have sound,” Viper said. The doors opened, and I counted another sixteen men. “Jesus, these guys aren’t taking chances. Nineteen guys to bring back one female?”
“Never go out in less than platoon strength,” I said. “Let’s get her out of there.”
“Too late,” Mitch said. I looked back at the screen, the guys were tossing their clothes into the cars and shifting. Twenty seconds later, a pack of wolves was assembled at the edge of the road. They split into three squads, one moving back down the road towards the driveway, one to the ATV trail, and one cutting through the woods straight for the house.
I grabbed the walkie-talkie. “Vivian, they are coming. We counted nineteen, all in wolf form. Close it up and wait for the Calvary,” I said.
“Got it.” I watched the camera inside the house, she was going around closing and locking all the shutters and windows. The front and back doors had been left closed, sliding deadbolts in three places secured to keep them from being kicked in with werewolf strength.
“Load up, boys, we’re going in behind them.” Three men took off in a Jeep, heading for the vehicles they had left on the side of the road. They would disable them, which should be easy since the guys left the keys in there.
The cabin we were in was about a quarter mile away from Vivian’s, and the wind was in our faces. We spread out, we were going to encircle them at a distance of about three hundred yards. We didn’t want a fair fight, we wanted a bloodbath. Our hunting rifles and AR’s were more than capable of putting down these mangy mutts.
“They are breaking into the clearing,” Mitch said over the walkie-talkies. Viper, Hammer and I each had one, with an earpiece and microphone, so he could keep us up to date. “They’ve stopped at the treeline, they are taking up positions to surround the house.”
I passed word along to the guys with me. “Keep it quiet, we don’t want to spook them until they get their surprise.” I couldn’t wait, Shakes couldn’t either. He had laid out the charges yesterday, hiding them in flowerbeds at the base of the home. The eight charges were a marvel of improvised explosive engineering. Created from a foot-wide, eight-inch-high piece of curved steel plate, he had coated the convex side with a thin layer of homemade plastique explosive. Then he pressed real silver beads and buckshot, a small fortune worth, into the surface. Add a blasting cap, a thousand feet of wire and a handheld detonator, and he was a happy man. He explained that by putting a charge at each corner of the house, angled slightly up and out, he would catch anyone close to the house in a hailstorm of death.
He seemed so happy when he talked that way, he was a little different, but I’m glad he was on my side. We moved into position, the wolves well ahead of us had moved closer to the house. Shakes moved to his hide where his detonators were placed, and I crouched next to him. “Close enough yet?”
“No, they need to be between ten and thirty feet away from the house for maximum effect,” he said.
I pulled out my portable binoculars and scanned through the trees. The wolves were circled around the house, making escape impossible. The leader, the same one who had talked to Sheri, shifted to his human form and walked forward towards the cabin. “Doctor DelMara, we know you’re in there,” he said. “Come out quietly and you won’t get hurt.”
“Fuck you,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere with you.”
“Fucking you is the whole idea,” he laughed. “You have been promised to me, and I fully intend to take you. Come quietly and we can do it in private, I’ll make it nice for you. Resist and I’ll claim you and fuck you on the picnic table in front of my men.”
I didn’t know If I could wait. “Can we do it now?”
“No, the explosives will spread out too much at that distance. They need to be closer,” Shakes said.
The other wolves stayed in place while the naked asshole walked to the door. Knocking three times, he stood there with his arms crossed. “I’m starting to lose patience with you, dear. Surely you don’t want to spend your honeymoon bent over a picnic table being spitroasted by me and one of my buddies.”
“I don’t do mercy fucks, and don’t call me Shirley,” she answered from inside.
He shook the door, finding it locked he stepped back and gave it a kick. That was a mistake, he must have damn near broken something. “Damn, that’s one good door,” Mitch said over the radio. He backed up a few steps, running into it with his shoulder to no avail. He waved to someone, two wolves shifted to human form and walked up. Both were big and muscled, and they started taking turns trying to break down the door. The thuds of their impacts echoed through the woods, but so far it was holding.
“I don’t know how much longer we can wait,” I said. “The door is strong, but it’s already bending.”
“Something is happening,” Mitch said over the radio. “Thirty, maybe forty wolves are coming in at high speed from the north.”
“Stay back,” Viper said, “let’s get them in close so Shakes can take them out.”
I watched as the wolves thundered into the clearing, taking the waiting wolves by surprise. The newly arriving wolves tore into the others with ferocity and skill, and soon the woods were filled with the sounds of injured and dying wolves. I kept my eyes on the three at the door, closest to my wife, as they shifted and joined the fray. Eight wolves quickly surrounded them and tore them to shreds. “What the fuck,” I said to Shakes. “Be ready.”
“I was born for this, Snake. They aren’t close enough.”
The howls and sounds of combat ceased, and a quiet came over the clearing again. We watched as the new wolves lined up a good thirty yards from the front porch, sitting down with their tongues lolling out. Their leader, the biggest wolf, was jet black. He shifted into human form, turning into a man of about thirty, looked like an NFL linebacker. He walked until he was about ten feet from the front door, then went down on one knee, his right fist over his heart. When he did, all his wolves laid on the ground with their heads bowed.
“Blessed One,” he said, “I am Gabriel, my men and I are at your service. These men, they are Alpha Stanton’s?”
“Yes,” Vivian said from behind the door. “They killed my sister’s mate when he went to pick up blood from their Pack. He has no honor.”
“Few do these days, Blessed One. His threats will be dealt with, harshly. If we can be of service to you again, just let us know.” He drew something in the dirt. “We thank Luna for your daughter, the Promised One. The Knights of the Moon have taken a sacred vow to protect you both. We will never be far away.” With that, he shifted back into his wolf and howled into the sky. He started to trot back the way he came, his men all following him.
“Do I blow it?”
“No… they aren’t hostile,” I told him.
“Dammit, Snake, I never get to have my fun.”
The leader stopped, turning his head looking right at me. I froze, my hand gripping my rifle. He lowered his head, almost in a bow, then ran off into the wolves. A few seconds later, we were alone.
“What the HELL just happened?” Viper’s question was exactly what I was thinking, and I had no idea.