Therianthropy: After Burdened

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Accidents Happen: Ben

Backing into the wall in shock was a kind reaction compared to the news Shara was trying to explain to me. We’d only been at this for two weeks and already this kind of stuff was happening! My eyes kept flickering around the room even as I reached for my bag, exclaiming “what the hell happened?”

“If you find out, let us know” Shara snapped “but for now, we got to get out of here.”

“We have to wait for Evan” Chase quickly cut in, his eyes darting to the door and the keys, his expression clearly saying he’d snap a finger if someone said otherwise. “He’s the one that got us out of that mess.”

Al came jogging into the room then, his and Shara’s bags on his shoulder and glancing at all of us in surprise as he asked “what are we waiting on?”

Before Chase could angrily repeat himself, we all heard the high screeching of tires coming to a quick stop. I knew everyone’s mind at once jumped to the same thing as mine, ‘they found us already.’

Al made the leap and snagged up the key ring, shouting “come on, we’ll find Evan I promise, but for now we’ve got to-”

There was a clattering of rushing feet coming up the stairs, I could already feel myself tensing and feeling fangs begin to elongate from my normal teeth, when Evan came barreling into Al and nearly fell back on his butt, a pair of glasses half falling off his face in the process.

“Oh thank god you guys are all here” he breathed, quickly looking around, and already running back “come on, I got us a ride.”

“What about my car!” I yelped, already sprinting after him, but stopping to turn off the lights and close the door as I was the last one out. I knew Chase and Fiona must be down and returning the motel keys, but it still felt impolite not to at least do that.

I was the last one into the parking lot to spot the black van everyone else was getting into, haphazardly stalling in the middle of the street with Al getting into the driver’s side.

Fiona saw me hesitating and snapped “this is bigger, now get your ass in here or we’re leaving you this time.”

I groaned but acquitted and jumped in the back as well, slamming the door shut behind me as Al took off at high speeds, and I fell into the doors I’d just closed with an ‘umph.’

“Sorry” I heard him mutter, taking a sharp turn and nearly throwing me into the next wall, along with everyone else back here.

“Okay, maybe this was a bad idea” Chase groaned, trying to keep himself pressed into the back of one of the seats to keep from sliding around. “More legroom, but less seat belts. How’d you get this thing anyways” he called back towards Evan, who’d still somehow managed to keep his place in shotgun.

“A friend” he said back with a careless shrug, his grip white knuckled on his seatbelt as we ran two red lights in a row. “Speaking of, can’t you just call that friend you did last time Ben, get them to grab your car for you again?”

“Well yeah” I groaned back “but he doesn’t appreciate it, running across the country just for my car.” It wasn’t until Al finally made the highway and the ride smoothed out at least a bit did the rest of us stop feeling like the inside of a kids backpack did I ask “where’d you get the glasses?”

He turned around in his seat this time so he could look back at us properly, and I got a full view of the wire rims. “I’m supposed to wear them all the time, just had to wait for a friend to get them to me is all.

“Is that where you disappeared to?” Chase demanded with a smirk. “You were embarrassed about needing those.”

He hesitated a beat too long before saying “yes.”

I kept frowning at him, vividly picturing Shara’s story about how he’d apparently conned some guy into giving up this van and then driving away with it, giving them an opening to run, but still questions lingered about him. He was clearly hiding something, and that was a pretty risky move for him to have pulled, though I supposed the others were too grateful to say that just yet.

Chase snickered for a bit but I didn’t see how that was funny, so I instead asked “did you find Erma?”

“Nope,” Fiona frowned. “Never did find that Shapeshifter who was supposedly in town, though we didn’t get long to look. With the commotion we caused today though, her or whoever is probably long gone, if anyone was even here at all.”

“I feel kind of bad” Shara sighed “I’ll bet she was perfectly fine until we showed up and caused this. Now the Hunters are probably going door to door in that little town checking for our kind. And what if she didn’t get away? What if she gets taken away because of us?”

“With all that ruckus we caused” Al tried for a soothing tone “I’m sure she got out just fine.”

“Speaking of” Evan jumped in “how did you guys do that howling thing?”

“What?”

“You two had to be the only ones howling, but it sounded like there were more then you guys.”

“It’s a thing wolves can do,” Shara shrugged. “Howl in different tones to make it sound like there’s more of us then there really are, they do it in the wild all the time.”

I grunted without enthusiasm at the news, wanting to get back on topic but trying to work out how to ask the most important question, what had happened? Evan beat me to it, having no issues with turning his look on Chase and Fiona and asking “what happened out there? Why did you guys change in the middle of the street?!”

He was trying for an accusatory tone, but he just sounded more confused than anything.

Any other minor conversations came to a halt as well, we all clearly wanted to know this. Chase started to look angry at once at the tone, moving himself so that he was as close to Fiona as he could get without squishing her and giving Evan a stinging glare, while Fiona just ducked her head so that her abundance of unruly tangles fell into her face and still no one answered. This was the first time I’d seen her with her hair down, and it somehow made her look smaller without her stacked crown.

Shara tried this time, managing a much calmer tone “we’re just worried is all, if one of you can’t control you’re shifting yet it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We just need to know is all-”

“We can control ourselves just fine” Chase snapped, rounding on her and the black of his pupils already beginning to change his hazel eyes.

“Okay, chill” I soothed, deciding Al would probably crash the van on purpose if Chase lost his temper on her.

Evan looked like he was going to take another go when Fiona spoke up. “It was my fault, I’m sorry, he startled me.” I frowned in concern as her voice shook, she was still speaking into her lap and half into Chase’s chest so if the lot of us didn’t have supernatural hearing we wouldn’t have heard her at all. She tried to keep going “I, I just flashed back to-”

I watched Chase’s arm tighten all the more around her, he bent down and whispered something in her ear that I really couldn’t hear. Then he glared up at the rest of us, the challenging look not needing words to say he’d pull out someone’s tongue if we kept pushing her about this.

Whether thankfully or not, anyone was saved from speaking further by my phone going off. I dug it out of my laptop case where it had quickly been shoved, if anyone had cracked my computer by tossing it in here along with the rest of our bags I was going to be the next problem, but felt still more confusion and anxiety when I saw who the caller was.

“Hey Dennis, what’s up?”

“I was going to ask you the same thing” his voice came through perfectly clear, but the strain making a crack. “Are you okay?”

“I doubt I could answer the phone otherwise” I returned, stalling and trying to make a joke instead of what I really wanted to say, but then I really caught up and demanded “how would you even know anything was wrong? It happened like, minutes ago.”

“One of our field agents reported Hunters arrived in the area you were sent to” he sighed back, and I could practically hear him fidgeting with a pen over the line. “None of you got caught did you?”

“No” I reassured at once, my eyes flickering around to everyone else as I carefully added on “there was ah, an accident, but it got handled.” Since I still wasn’t even sure of what that accident had been, well I really didn’t feel right blaming the whole thing on Fiona when I had no idea what had happened to her, so I hoped Dennis would just leave it for now.

Thankfully he did, moving on and grudgingly saying “okay, well, Glenna’s been informed of what happened, and she said so long as everyone’s okay to stay on target and go to the next person. She wants a full report of what happened emailed to her, and how the contact with the Shifter went.”

I grumbled something under my breath about how that was going to go for me, but was startled from making a real reply by Al slamming on the breaks and saying something I wouldn’t normally want to repeat. Dennis must have heard that though as he asked “what was that?”

“Al’s driving” I sighed “and he’s not happy about something.”

“That” he repeated said word “cut me off!”

“You know for a pretty easy going guy, I’m sensing some road rage,” Dennis said with some amusement now.

“Yeah, speaking of cars though, could you get someone to send for my car, again.”

“I thought you said you were okay” Dennis switched back to concern at once.

“I will be when I know my car’s not going to get towed” I sighed. “We had to make a quick getaway, and Evan found a van, and apparently it’s supposed to be better for us, and I got outvoted.”

“I’m going to want to hear that full story” he laughed now, which meant I must have finally put him at ease. “Alright yeah, I’ll take care of it. Let me know when you hit the next town.”

“Will do” I promised before saying goodbye and hanging up. I informed the others that we were still set on track and told Al the next city we should be heading for, while Fiona pushed her hair out of the way and gave me a grateful smile for not ratting her out.

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