Kushiel and the other two had only been gone ten minutes, it would take them thirty to get back to the house from where we were. I was sitting with my men, far enough into the woods to give the two some privacy but close enough to protect them. “How long do you think they’ll be, boss?”
I just laughed. “It all depends on how good Adam is at doing math problems or sports scores in his head,” I said. “The knot works just like the erection, if you can keep your mind off it for a while it might go down. The problem is, they’re newly mated, and I can tell you that the sensation of being inside your mate is damn hard to resist. That’s why most new mates take days in the bedroom or the woods when they first come together, your instinct is to keep making love to her. All it takes is one move and it starts over.”
The mood of the guys was mixed; I could tell they were happy that the two had mated, but there were three questions we all were thinking but didn’t have the answers for. Why did our Pack link and bond dissolve? What do we do now? And will any of us ever have a chance to experience what Adam and Eve are having right now?
There was nothing to do but wait.
I watched Abaddon disappear into the woods as I dropped to my knees, my hands handcuffed behind me. I was worried, I’d be a fool not to be; Mitchell had gone over the edge of madness. His obsession with Eve had gone from creepy to unhealth, then passing quickly through self-destructive to rest solely in insanity. What the hell did he think would happen? Eve didn’t want him, she’d told him that. She was a werewolf, she was mated now, no human could compete with that.
I know I couldn’t. If there was another werewolf out there waiting for Abaddon, he’d Abandon me in a heartbeat. It’s the way they are wired, the way their instincts make them. I knew that, but I also knew I had no worries there. Eve was the only shewolf left, and she had found her mate. Abaddon knew it wasn’t him because he’d already found his true mate decades ago and lost her.
Mitchell was walking back and forth behind us, muttering and talking to himself. I moved a little closer to Alice, who was shivering and crying. “It’s going to be all right,” I whispered to her. “They won’t let him hurt us, I promise.”
She started to cry harder, and I sandwiched her between my side and Alan’s as he tried to calm her down. I focused on Mitchell, trying to figure out what he was saying to himself. It was weird, it reminded me of someone who was schizophrenic. I hadn’t spent much time in my psych rotation, just the minimum, but he seemed unbalanced and on the verge of a breakdown. “Mitchell,” I asked softly, “are you feeling all right?”
“BE QUIET BITCH!” He pointed the gun at me, his hands were shaking. He was sweating profusely, and his eyes were dilated.
“Mitchell, I’m a doctor. I can help you.”
“YOU CAN’T TAKE AWAY THE PAIN,” he shouted as his hands went to the side of his head. He closed his eyes, I could see the strain on his face. “Only Eve can take away the pain. She’s the only one who can save me.”
I looked at his face, blood was starting to leak from his nose. “You’re bleeding, Mitchell. Did you take anything? Are you on any drugs?”
He dropped to his knees, his hands still on the sides of his head. “I take it, but it doesn’t WORK. It hasn’t worked for weeks.”
“What did you take?”
“Five Percoset.” His hand holding the gun fell to his side. “I didn’t feel any different, it still hurts.”
“Take these off, Mitchell, let me examine you. I can help you, you shouldn’t have to feel like this.”
He looked at me, seeming to think about it, then his face changed suddenly to blind rage. “NO! YOU LIE!” He charged towards me, swinging his hand. The pistol caught me in the right cheek, I saw stars as the pain exploded. My hands bound, I couldn’t stay on my knees and I fell heavily to the ground. My shoulder hit hard, then my head. “I SHOULD KILL YOU!”
I looked up, I saw two of him as he stood over me, waving his pistol.
“Mitchell, that won’t help anything. She’s trying to help you. We’d all help you if you’d just ask.” Alan was talking softly, like he would to a scared animal, while I tried to get my brain under control again. “You have friends? Fellow Marines? What would they think of you right now.”
“THEY ABANDONED ME!” He moved away from me, kicking Alan in the stomach before standing over him. “I NEEDED THEM, AND THEY KICKED ME OUT!”
“Who? Who kicked you out?” Alice was brave enough to talk while her husband tried to catch his breath.
“Donuts. He was supposed to get me into the club, find a place I belonged. They don’t understand about me and Eve. She is the one who takes the pain away, I NEED her, and they hid her from me!” He sat down, tears streaming down his face. “They never understood that she is special, she is mine. That’s why we had to run, that’s why I need to take her now.”
My head had cleared up, and I could see the blood was flowing faster out of his nose. I saw him looking at the woods. “Where is she? She needs to be here….” I saw his eyes roll back, and he fell to the side.
“SHIT!” I rolled over onto my stomach, squirming around until I could get my knees under me. I shuffled over to where he way lying down. He was breathing, barely, and his pulse was fading. I was still handcuffed, I couldn’t do anything. I listened to his heart as it stopped, helpless to intervene.
When I knew he wasn’t coming back, I sat up, tears in my eyes. “He’s gone,” I said.
Alan had moved over next to me, he had pushed the gun away with his leg. “We need the handcuff key,” he said.
“I’ll try.” I turned and got up next to his body, leaning back I tried to work a hand into his pocket. It wasn’t easy, it took a couple minutes, but my fingers wrapped around the keychain and I pulled it out. I couldn’t see anything. “Can you see? Is it on there?”
“Yes, go clockwise.” I rotated the ring slowly, finally feeling the key in my fingers. I moved it around, finally finding the opening in my handcuffs. I heard a click, and I was able to pull my hand free. I quickly uncuffed my other hand, then freed Alan and Alice. They held each other tightly, she was in his lap, his arms holding her tight.
I reached into my Northwoods Riders cut, my phone was still in the inside pocket. I dialed the three numbers. “911 Dispatch, what is your emergency?”
“This is Doctor Meghan Jenkins, I am reporting a fatality,” and I gave them Alan’s address. “Based on the symptoms, it appears to be a brain aneurism. Subject was unable to be revived at the scene.” The dispatcher promised a deputy would be dispatched along with the County Coroner. “They should be here in ten minutes,” I told them. “We don’t need to attract any attention. Mitchell was a friend to the Club, he came here to visit with us and he had a sudden attack. There was nothing we could do. Understand?”
“Your friend came, he had an attack, there was nothing we could do,” Alan repeated.
“Perfect. Hide the gun. Go inside and get cleaned up.”
“You too, Doc, your face is bleeding.”
“I will, I need to bring the motorcycle up and bring Abaddon’s clothes inside. I don’t want to explain why his clothes are strewn by the forest.” I walked over and picked them up, putting them in the saddlebags along with our two pistols we had tossed. The key was still in his Harley, so I started it up and drove it to the front of the house, backing it in before shutting it down. I went inside, going to the bathroom and washing the blood off my cheek. It would bruise, so I went to the kitchen looking for an ice pack.
“How are you going to explain that on your face?” Alice was sitting at the table, a cup of coffee in hand.
“When people seize, their hands often move without control. As I was going to help him, I got smacked in the face,” I said. “The EMT’s will check it but I’ll be fine.”
“Abaddon is going to freak, though.” She looked at me with a smile. “You can’t fool me, he looks at you like Alan looks at me.”
I blushed a little. “I’ve known him my whole life, we just confessed our feelings for each other a short time ago. It’s weird, but a good weird. I love him, I think I always have.”
“If you have love, you can make it through anything.” She took my hand, I could hear the siren approaching.
The three of us got up and went out to the porch as the Deputy arrived, parking between the house and Mitchell’s body. We greeted the young Deputy, I introduced myself and showed him my identification, and briefly explained what had happened. As long as a whole bunch of wolves didn’t come storming into the yard and shifting to big naked men, we’d get out of this without suspicion.
It took another hour for the Coroner to pack him up and leave with him. I left him my contact information, asking for the autopsy results. I had a good idea what to expect, the head pain and the ineffective painkillers were key indicators. He must have been suffering a lot, at least his end was quick. Donuts told us he had been a good Marine, a good man once. He deserved to be buried that way.
I tried to tell Mouse that she needed to rest, that she should stay in the hotel room, but she’s as stubborn as I am. When she found out my daughter was in danger, she was up and grabbing her riding gear. “Are you sure? It’s a ninety-minute drive.”
“I’ll be fine, I’m sore, not broken,” she said. “I just got you, no way I’m letting you go by yourself. You know how hard it is to find a man like you?” I shook my head. “Trust me, I’m a lucky little Mouse. Now don’t forget your pistol, and let’s get out of here.” We didn’t have much to pack up, so I called the front desk and told them to check us out, then between the saddlebags and her backpack we had it all. Fifteen minutes after I had taken the call, we were on the road.
The drive was frustrating, I wanted to go fast but Highway 61 was busy with tourists. We worked our way to open road when we could, opening up the throttle when we got past traffic. I talked to Mouse the whole way, catching her up on my life and Eve. I couldn’t trust her to know of the werewolf side yet, just that she had turned eighteen and was up here with her boyfriend. Mitchell was an older biker who had seen her and became obsessed with her, even after she told him she wasn’t interested in him anymore.
We reached the turnoff, but there was a Sheriff’s cruiser in the road, getting ready to turn right. I waited as he pulled out, I waved at him, and the next vehicle made my blood run cold.
A coroner’s van.
As soon as it was out of the way, I turned into the driveway and drove faster than I should have towards the house. I could hear Mouse’s groans of pain, but she didn’t tell me to slow down. I was scared to death, and I needed answers.