I reacted immediately to the three werewolves, moving my body in front of Vivian’s as my left hand reached for my pistol. I had a holster sewn into the cut under my right arm, so I could draw and fire while riding if needed. I wasn’t the only one, hands reached for weapons all around the tables, and a few of my brothers stood up. None of us pulled them, we were in a public place and the three had stopped coming towards Vivian. Gabriel and his men didn’t even twitch, their hands were visible, and their postures were not threatening at all. They just looked like three fellow bikers coming to join their friends.
Maybe they were.
Viper stood up and walked towards them, stopping in front of Gabriel. He extended his hand. “I’m Viper. President of the Northwoods Riders.”
I was getting a bad feeling about this as they shook hands. “I am Gabriel, President of the Knights of the Moon. My Vice President, Michael,” as the man to his right stepped forward and shook Viper’s hand, “And my Master at Arms, Abaddon.”
While they talked, Hammer and Moose had taken positions behind Viper. “This is my Vice President, Moose, and my Master at Arms, Hammer.” The men exchanged handshakes. “Now, you’re making a few people nervous, so perhaps it would be best if the six of us sat over here and talked for a bit.”
“I understand completely, you don’t trust us yet.” His men turned and walked over to the empty table, our leaders followed them. “I wouldn’t either, too much has gone on in the past seven years. I’m glad she has found protection and a home with you. We wish her no harm, in fact we are offering our help in protecting the Doctor and her daughter.”
“Why? What is she to you?”
“She holds the last hope of our people,” he said gravely.
“And how do you know that?”
“The Goddess told me in a vision.”
I rolled my eyes, this was all we needed, a werewolf biker gang on a mission from Luna. We had enough people out there to worry about. I heard my cellphone ring, it woke Vivian up. I pulled it out of my pocket, it was Teri. “Teri? Everything all right?”
“Mom’s out front, there are two wolves outside the fence! We don’t know where Viking is, and Mom has the rifle out!”
“Hang on.” I yelled over. “Gabriel, are any of your men near Eve?”
“Of course, three of my men are patrolling outside the game farm now. They won’t go any closer than the fence, though.” I put the phone back up. “Meghan, they’re friends. Tell Teri not to do anything unless they get inside the fence.”
“Thank God,” she said. “I’ll tell her.” I heard a door open, and Eve was fussing. “MOM!”
“BANG!” I flinched at the noise.
“MOM, they are FRIENDS.” I could hear Teri curse in the background. “Snake, one of them is hit. It looks bad.”
My face paled as I looked back to the leaders. “One of them has been shot,” I said. “Teri didn’t know.”
“Give me the phone,” Vivian said. She now was wide awake. “Meghan, I need you to go out there and help. My kit is in the back of the car. Load him up and get him to the Clubhouse, bring Eve with.”
“OK. I’ll call you back.”
“We have to go,” she said. “The only chance to help your man is to get him to the clubhouse, and we’re ninety minutes away. Those rounds had silver in them.”
“Take my bike and her, I’ll right back with you guys,” Gabriel said as he tossed me his keys. “Michael and Abbadon will go with you.”
“Moose, you go too.” We took off for the motorcycles. Gabriel had a nice ride, but only one helmet which I gave to Vivian. Luckily, it had a microphone and speaker built in she could use to talk on the phone. I fired it up and pulled out of the parking lot as soon as her arms wrapped around me, and we were off.
We’d be there in under an hour.
I ran out to the car, grabbing her first aid kit before I jumped on an ATV to drive out there. When I got to the fence, I parked the ATV on the side before hitting the button to open the gates. The wolf was lying on its side, bleeding from his stomach, and in a lot of pain. The other man was kneeling naked by him, his hand over the wound. I kept my eyes away from his male form as I set the kit down next to the wolf. “Do you have a car?”
“Motorcycles,” he said.
“Run to the house, put some clothes on and bring my Mom and Eve out here in the car. I’ve got this.” He took off, and as his hand moved I saw the entry wounds for the bullet fragments. There were two, so the bullet must have hit the fence and broken up before it got to him. I called Vivian back and described what I had as I kept pressure on the wound with one hand. By the time I had rinsed my hands in alcohol, put on gloves and poured the alcohol on his wound, which caused him to pass out from the pain, Mom was back with the car and Viking. “Mom, leave Eve with Viking, I need you.”
She came up next to me. “Oh God, I’m so sorry,” she started to cry.
“Later. I need you to hold pressure on these while I draw up a syringe.” Vivian talked me through drawing up the sedative and how to inject it on the foreleg of the big wolf. “This would be so much easier if he was human,” I complained.
“Can’t shift with silver inside,” she said. “He won’t wake up now, and we have to get the fragments out.”
“Put the headlamp on so you can see and use a pair of forceps. There is a disposable scalpel In the top center, you’ll need that first.” The man’s friend, who said his name was Maalik and the injured wolf was Zephaniel, pulled out the headlamp and put it on my head while I got the knife. “Open the entry wound to about three inches wide with the scalpel. You’ll need to cut through the tissue carefully and use a retractor to hold it so you can see. There’s a handheld suction unit, have Teri use that to keep the blood clear while you work.”
We got the equipment out and Mom started to suction the wound as I worked my way past the skin and muscles of his stomach. “I feel like I’m going to get sick,” Mom said.
“Just focus, he needs you. You break it, you bought it, right?” I laughed a little at I used the retractors to hold the muscles apart. I used my finger to search around for the fragment. It took about twenty seconds to find it by the intestine. I used the forceps to pull it out and toss it aside. I didn’t see anything else, so Vivian told me to go to the second entry wound.
“Don’t I have to stitch this up?”
“Just pack it with gauze for now, I’ll have to follow up anyway,” she said. I did so, and repeated the action on the other wound. This time I found the main bullet, at least more than half of one. “Good job,” she said. “Pack it up, keep pressure on the wounds, and get moving.”
While we were working on him, the third man arrived on his motorcycle, thankfully he was fully dressed. His name was Urial. “We’ll follow you,” he said.
“Viking, you drive. Fold down the far back seats and put the blanket down, I’ll go in the back with him.” The guys quickly prepped the car, then two of them picked their buddy up and set him in the back of the Expedition. I packed the kit back up and set it on the back seat, next to the car seat that Eve was strapped into. I crawled into the back with the injured wolf as we pulled out, Mom sitting next to Eve.
“We’re on our way, Doc.”
“Good job, Meghan. You kept your cool and did what had to be done, I’m so proud of you,” she said. “Now we are an hour out, tell Viking not to get pulled over because we don’t need to explain a huge, injured wolf.”
It took us forty minutes to arrive at the clubhouse, in the meantime I had started an IV and figured out how to use a blood pressure cuff on a wolf leg. Mom had called ahead, and a stretcher was waiting for us when we arrived. We got him up to the clinic room and on the exam table about the time Vivian’s motorcycle was crossing the river at Hudson. “Does anyone know his blood type,” she asked.
They didn’t, but she had shown me how to type and cross blood. Wolf blood was similar, but different, it had to be another wolf, not a human. I did the test and it turned out Urial was a match. “I’m going to get you started on donating a pint, but I’ll wait for Doc to verify my match before I use it,” I said. I had him lay down on the desk and I had just inserted the needle when I heard the commotion.
Vivian rushed in, going immediately to the injured wolf. She lifted the gauze, looking at the wounds. “Nice job,” she said.
“I need you to check his blood type match,” I said as I left Urial. She nodded. “As soon as it’s full we’ll hang it, now I need you to set up for surgery while I scrub in. Sterile tray, light, suction, monitor.”
“Are we going to do this in wolf form?”
“No choice, that shot you gave him will keep him down for two more hours.” I went to set things up while she quickly changed into scrubs and scrubbed in. The blood pressure cuff was tricky, but I got it to work. I set the surgical instrument tray on a stand by the bed, and pulled the ceiling lamp over and aimed it at the injury site. I had the suction machine ready as well. “Put on my gown and scrub in,” she told me. I helped her put her arms through and tied it in back before I went over to change and scrub up.
By the time I had returned to help, she was already inside, starting to suture up the wounds to his intestines. “He’s lucky you were there,” she said. “See this burned tissue? That’s what silver does. The longer it stays in contact, the more damage, and he can’t heal with it in him.” She sewed up the wounds, at one point having to cut out a damaged section of intestine before sewing it back together. When she was done, she started carefully working her way down. “This is called running the bowels. The intestines are difficult to check, and a single little nick can cause a deadly infection if not corrected. You work through methodically until you have verified no other damage.” When she was done, she used sterile saline rinse to clean the cavity, again to prevent infection. The surgery took us ninety minutes to complete.
Once he was sutured up and stable, we pulled off the gloves and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. We transferred him to the hospital bed, and she took the monitors off. “Why not leave them on?”
“He’s bound to shift as he starts to wake up, and you don’t want a tight blood pressure cuff on when he does,” she explained. We took off our surgical gowns and tossed them, then busied ourselves cleaning up from the surgery. “You’re going to be an amazing Doctor someday, Meghan.”
I just blushed. “I was scared to death the whole time, if you weren’t talking me through I don’t know if I could have done it.”
She pulled me into a hug. “It was a lot to ask, it was more than med school students see before their second year. You kept your cool, you saved him, and I’m so proud of you. Now go out there and tell everyone that he’s going to pull through, he’ll be healed up fully in a week now that his werewolf healing can kick in.”
“Shouldn’t you do that?”
“You do it, you’re the one who saved him. Enjoy the moment, Meghan, a good save is the most fulfilling part of this job. Just change out of those blood-soaked scrubs first.” I giggled and did so, while Vivian sat down next to the bed to monitor Zephaniel.
I walked outside, Viper and Snake were waiting along with a tall, muscular man I didn’t know. Snake just gave me a hug before going into the room to see Vivian. “Zephaniel is going to be fine. He took two bullet fragments to his abdomen, both laced with silver. The fragments have been removed and there will be no permanent damage.”
The stranger looked at me, relief clear on his face. “You’re the one who helped him?” I nodded. “You’re just a child…” He knelt down so his face was closer to my level, he was a tall man, and kind of intimidating at first.
“I turn thirteen next week,” I said as I put my hands on my hips. “I’m more than I look.”
“I can see that.” He pulled me into a hug. “Thank you for saving him.”
“It’s what I want to do,” I said as I hugged him back. “I’m Meghan, I’m Hammer’s daughter.”
“I am Gabriel, President of the Knights of the Moon, and I am in your debt,” he said. “May I see him?”
“He’s still asleep and in wolf form, but you can go in. Doctor Vivian is watching him.”