“LOAD UP,” I yelled as soon as the car carrying Vivian was out of sight. We ran to the remaining cars, turning around and heading back to the main road. “If they took Vivian…”
“We don’t know anything yet,” Shakes said, the light machine gut muzzle pointing up out of the window. “Let’s just get there.” I accelerated hard out of the turn, nearing a hundred miles an hour as we flew down the road towards them. We turned into the parking lot, there was one car there that wasn’t ours, and no ambulance.
I pulled to a halt, the other cars behind me went to the ends of the lot. Guns and flashlights in hand, we burst out and quickly realized there was nothing here for us. Some of the guys were hunched over Scrape and Stain, I could see their grief already. Hezediel ran around checking the wolves; he identified Urial and Maalik’s bodies, and told me the others were Sheridan pack. “What do we do, boss?”
I looked at Crash, he was devastated, Hezediel and Tiny were with him. “Load the wolves, including our two, into that car and have Hezediel drive it back to the Pack entrance gate and wait for direction from Gabriel,” I said. “Tiny, load Viking, Stain and Scrape into the back of one of our SUV’s, lay a tarp out in the back first. Make sure they are wrapped in a tarp and covered with blankets or something.”
“What should I do with them? They can’t be found here.”
I looked at Shakes. “We need them to die in a car fire or something. Shakes, you follow them, figure out a way to make it look like they crashed then the SUV caught on fire.”
“That sucks,” Tiny said as he looked at his buddies. “I hate having to do that to them.”
“Got a better idea?”
“I don’t know, but whatever we do, we better have the same story as the others,” Shakes said. “We need to find out where the others are.”
Hammer had a flip phone, I pulled mine out and called him. I nervously waited as it rang a few times before an answer, and it wasn’t who I expected. “Hello?”
“Meghan? It’s Viper. What’s going on?”
“I’m kind of busy, I’m driving the ambulance into Sheridan. Dad, Dagger, Snake, they’re all hurt bad.” I closed my eyes, thanking God they were still alive.
“Meghan, when they ask, say they were attacked by a bear,” I told her. “Act hysterical, don’t calm down, don’t answer other questions and don’t lead them back to the lot,” I said. “I’ll be there soon.”
“OK gotta go bye.” The call ended.
“Change of plans, we’ll keep it simple. Remove all traces of us and leave their bodies where they are. Leave their guns, all the casings around them, and leave one of the SUV’s here with the keys in Scrape’s pocket. Pick up anything else.” I looked up at the sky, it was starting to rain. “Perfect, that will help wash away evidence.” It only took us five minutes to cleanse the area, removing the evidence of the fight with supernatural beings that had just taken place here. The parking lot was open, near enough to the woods and the trees. I went into the SUV we were leaving, pulling the bag out with all the fast food wrappers from the trip, ripping it and scattering it on the ground. I grabbed the one from my vehicle and did the same near where the ambulance was.
“Good thinking, boss. We can just say the bear came after the food and they got in the way.” Crash put his hand on my shoulder. “Now what?”
“We go after our ambulance and get Meghan back. I will stay with the guys, I want you guys to park a few blocks away from the hospital. We can’t exactly explain a 13-year-old driving a fully outfitted ambulance to the hospital with three severely wounded people, so we won’t. We’ll just get her the hell out of there. I just hope she hasn’t said anything to the cops.”
We loaded up and pulled out, leaving our dead behind. It was going to be a long night.
I watched the life go out of Vivian’s eyes, her end came quickly, and I didn’t have a chance to properly say how I felt about her. She was the Blessed One, she cared for my men, putting herself in harm’s way to save their lives, and I couldn’t save her from a crazed teenage bride now dead beside her.
I shifted into my large wolf, sitting and raising my nose to the heavens, letting out a mournful howl. When I started the next one I was joined by my men, even most of the Sheridan wolves. They had lost a lot tonight; at least two dozen warriors, two Betas and their Alpha pair. When my grief was appeased, I shifted back to human form. “We aren’t done yet,” I said to the gathered Pack. “Luna has cursed our race with the loss of our females, as punishment for how we have forsaken Her ways and blessings. Chief among these sins against Luna is the practice of forcibly mating a female wolf. Every man who has taken a mate this way, step forward now and receive the quick execution you deserve.”
I didn’t know what to expect, I couldn’t Alpha command them, but a half-dozen men stepped forward anyway and knelt down before me. I nodded to Abaddon and Michael, they and four other men came up behind them. At my signal they grabbed their heads and twisted, breaking them instantly. Their mates screamed in loss as they died; several of them raced forward to their mates, two killed themselves. My heart broke for them, some were not even sixteen yet, and they were already widows, without hope of a true mate in their future.
I wasn’t done yet. “Are there any men here who didn’t go forward? Point them out.” The mates couldn’t do it, there wolves wouldn’t let them, but that didn’t stop family and friends from pushing them forward. Five men were dragged to me, forced to their knees. “You don’t have honor, and your death will not be quick or painless. Restrain them.” My men came forward, cuffing their hands behind their backs with silver that would prevent them from shifting. “Run,” I told them.
I watched as they got up and ran for the woods, the scent of their fear thick in the air. “Where do you burn your dead,” I asked one of the Elders. He pointed towards a clearing down the hill near the river. “Take who you need, those who do not seek revenge, and start preparations,” I told him. He started to gather people together.
“Now,” I told the gathered Pack, “The ones who raped and took away the choices of the shewolves are out there, running for their lives. Bring them to me in pieces, those who want revenge. The rest of you help gather the dead for the burning.”
There were howls as about twenty Pack members, joined by Abaddon and a couple more of my men, shifted and took off into the woods. The men hadn’t got far, and their howls of pain continued for several minutes before they finally ended. I saw wolves carrying arms, legs, even dragging torsos down to the burning area. “I don’t want them burned with those who died honorably,” I said.
“We will burn them tomorrow,” one of the men said, “With the garbage.” He spit on the ground, disgusted by what his Pack had become. “It wasn’t always this way, this used to be a good Pack.”
“Perhaps it will again,” I said. “Speak with the other Elders, come to me with someone who has honor and morals, who would be a good Alpha for you.”
He looked shocked. “You aren’t going to take over?”
“It’s not my destiny. Luna has given us a different task.”
I heard a car approaching, Hezediel told me it was him and he was bringing Uriel and Maalik. Michael and I met him as he stopped by the Pack House. Michael reached in and picked up Maalik’s wolf while Hezediel picked up Uriel. “They fought with honor,” he told me, “But there were too many.”
“We will honor their sacrifice,” I said. I picked up Vivian, her body limp in my arms as I turned. Tears were falling from my eyes as I as I joined the group going down to the burning area. The pyre had been quickly constructed from the dried stacks of logs of various sizes. It was a rectangular box construction with thick branches laid over the top, the bodies of the dead laid atop them. The men covered most of the pyre, the Luna and four other women who committed suicide after losing mates on the right. The center was for my men and Vivian; we laid them carefully on the pyre, all of us bowing to her before stepping back.
The center of the pyre was stuffed with smaller twigs and branches, and after the Elder said the blessing of the dead, torches lit the kindling. The fire spread quickly, its heat pushing us back as the flames rose thirty feet into the sky. The smell of burning flesh was in my nose as I cried for the dead. Vivian had ended the threat to her daughter, but at the ultimate cost.
We could not fail the Promised One.
It was a good thing this town shut down this late at night, because I needed all the room on the road I could get. I couldn’t blame all of my bad driving on my lack of training and experience, some of it was because I was scared to death someone was going to die on me before I could get there. The phone call from Viper ended just before I hit town; I saw the blue ‘H’ sign and managed to stop the ambulance in front of the Emergency Room without hitting anything.
It was the first miracle of the night.
I laid on the horn until the doors open and a few people came out. They opened the back, I heard them yelling for a gurney as I unbuckled my Dad’s seatbelt. “Dad?” I slapped his face lightly, trying to get him to wake up. His eyes opened, he looked around. “Can you get up,” I asked him.
It didn’t matter, the door opened, and a nurse yelled for another gurney. “He’s got a bad bite on his shoulder, he’s lost a lot of blood,” I told her. A man came up and the two of them helped him out and onto the gurney. Only a minute after I stopped, and the ambulance was now empty.
The back doors were closed, I pulled the passenger door closed then got back in the driver’s seat and buckled up. I knew we couldn’t be caught, we couldn’t explain the supplies and the blood, that alone could expose werewolves. I put the ambulance in gear and pulled back out, heading back to the parking area I had come from. They’d know what to do with this rolling hospital.