We Get Caught
“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning indispensable.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower
My pack and I stalked towards the massive gates of the camouflaged compound. Dom and I flanked Anna, keeping our eyes trained on the guards outside patrolling the grounds. I stopped in my tracks at the sight of them as I got closer.
How old are they? I asked, squinting at the small-statured boy. Kid looks like he’s fourteen.
I think that’s because he is. Anna said. I wonder if- shit!
We’ve been seen!
My blood ran cold, and I flattened myself to the ground. Sure enough, the kid had locked onto us, but rather than sounding the alarm, he did something strange. He briefly glanced up at the adult guards on the roof of the building, who hadn’t spotted us yet due to the thick tree canopy. The kid returned his gaze to us and subtly put a finger to his mouth as if to say: Stay quiet.
Is he… is he helping us? Finn queried.
Elsa mentioned allies before. I wonder if she meant him?
The boy pulled out a radio and said into it, “Hey, anyone want to bring me another jacket? It’s so cold out here, I practically need a fur coat.”
“I’ll get one to you, Brayden,” a girl responded. “How long can you wait, though? I’m in the middle of something.”
Brayden made eye contact with us once more. “At most, ten minutes. The snow is pretty deep, so it’ll be an effort to get here.”
“Lovely. Well, I’ll do it. Who’s all out there, by the way? Do they need a jacket too?”
“Thanks, Miriam. There are sixteen of us, including me. The rest of the kids and I are on the ground patrolling the four sides. The adults are on the gates.”
Dom cocked his head. Did he just give away the location of all the guard positions?
Brayden winked at us, giving us our answer. “Hey, let me know when Ice Princess is ready to go. I’m itching for a good fight.”
They’re talking about Elsa! Anna exclaimed so loudly that Dom and I couldn’t help but flinch. That was Caleb’s nickname for her!
“She’s a little tied down right now, but I’ll let you know when she’s ready,” Miriam promised, now sounding out of breath.
“Working on cardio?”
“Kline thinks he can beat me in a race. I’m about to show him he’s wrong.”
Brayden snorted. “My money’s on you, Miriam. Good luck.”
“You too. Stay warm.”
“I’m trying.” Brayden shoved his radio away. He hunched up his shoulders, almost burying his mouth in his jacket. In a whisper, he asked, “Wolves, nod if you can hear me.”
“Awesome.” Brayden broke out into a grin. “Listen carefully. The kids and I are all on your side. The adults don’t know we’re about to lead a mutiny. See the right-angled tree behind you?”
I nodded again.
“There should be uniforms for all of you along with weapons. Put those on, and you’ll blend right in. You shouldn’t have too much trouble getting into the compound with those on. We’ll help, of course. Got it?”
Brayden watched as Rey and Finn went to investigate. A few seconds later, they confirmed the existence of the uniforms.
I have an idea. Anna said, quickly going over it with us while we changed into our uniforms. It was risky, but it’d be a great distraction and potentially more time for us to get into the compound without being shot first thing. Dom shifted into human form and motioned for Brayden to come over.
“Sweet!” Brayden breathed before pulling out his radio and saying, “Hey, I just realized I dropped my wallet in the woods when I was patrolling earlier. I’ll be right back.”
“This is the third time this has happened, Cadet Messi,” a man growled in response. “You realize you must face a penalty for your carelessness.”
Brayden sighed, rolling his eyes. “Yes, sir.”
“Report to my office after your shift.”
“Yes, sir.” Shaking his head, Brayden pocketed his radio and trudged into the woods, pretending to look for his wallet. When he neared us, he quietly asked what was wrong. Dom told him our plan, and the Shadow grinned. “Hang on.”
He whipped out his phone and typed madly onto it. The phone repeatedly vibrated as people responded to whatever message he wrote. Reading all of them, he slipped back into his pocket and said, “We’re a go. When you approach, say you’re transfers from the Australian compound. We’re expecting some. Just wait until I return and piss off my supervisor.”
“Is Elsa alive? Is she Ice Princess?” Dom inquired, grabbing onto the kid’s arm.
Brayden stood stock-still, seemingly terrified to move in the grip of the Shifter. “I was hoping you’d catch that. Yeah, she’s alive. Not necessarily well… I won’t lie to you. I’ve seen what they’ve been doing to her. She’s going to be in shit shape when you find her, and she’s going to need a lot of rest and patching up.”
Anna and I shared a worried look. Dom released Brayden. “Thanks for the information and for helping us. We appreciate it.”
“No, thank you. We might actually escape this hellhole because of you. See you in a sec.”
Brayden scampered off, happily telling his supervisor on the radio his wallet had been on him all along and that no reprimanding was necessary anymore. The supervisor told him he’d still be getting one, but Brayden shrugged it off, muttering a string of impressive curse words describing the man.
Anna rolled her neck and took a deep breath. “Ready?”
“No. I hate this idea,” Dom replied shortly. “Why can’t it be me?”
“Because if anyone sees me dressed up as a Shadow, they’ll immediately know this is an insurgency. It has to be me. It won’t seem suspicious that Elsa’s identical twin and Elsa’s boyfriend are out looking for her.”
Dom sighed, hanging his head. “Don’t bring logic into this.”
“Sorry.” She patted his arm. “Ready?”
“No, but yeah.” Dom put on his helmet and handcuffed Anna’s wrists. I’m leaving them loose so you can slip out of them when you need to.”
“What about mine? Mine are tight.” I said.
Dom stared blankly at me. “Yeah. So?”
I scoffed. “What if I need to break out of them?”
“You can just rip it apart.”
“I mean, yeah, but why waste my strength? Why does she get the easy handcuffs?”
“Because I like her, and you’re my brother.”
“Really? I never noticed.”
“Would you two shut up and get going?” Rey hissed, slapping Dom and me upside the head. With that, we listened. Finn and Killian grabbed ahold of my arms in death grips to make it look realistic as we marched to the front gates. I’d probably have bruises on my arms later.
“Who goes there?” Brayden demanded, aiming his weapon at us, although his finger remained off the trigger.
“We’re transfers from Australia,” Dom responded in a flawless accent. I couldn’t help but peer around my ‘captors’ at him with a ‘where the hell have you been hiding that talent’ expression. “We found these two abominations spying on the compound.”
Anna and I were shoved to our knees, and I let out a snarl when Brayden approached, which genuinely took him aback. Regaining his wits, he asked, “Have some identification?”
Dom dug around in his pocket, pulling out an ID. The picture looked nothing like him, especially considering the person was a six-foot-seven woman with blonde hair and brown eyes. However, Brayden nodded and handed it back to him, checking the other IDs and approving them.
“Welcome to the UP Compound! Who do we have here? Know their names?”
“You’re in for a doozy, lad.” Resting his hands on mine and Anna’s heads, he said, “We have a Laroche and a Stark, and not just any Laroche and Stark, but the twin of the one you have prisoner here, and her rogue alpha boyfriend.”
Brayden whistled. “Well, I’ll be damned. Come on. Let’s get these two in the compound. I’m sure they have interesting things to tell us.”
Brayden motioned for us to follow him, and without any resistance, my pack and I entered the gates to the Shadows’ compound.
“Hey, sir!” An adult guard shouted when we were halfway across the courtyard. “You dropped your-”
He froze, looking at the picture, his eyes slowly trailing up to Dom. I saw my brother blanch, and I realized our gig was up. Breaking out of my handcuffs in one swift motion, I shifted and charged the guard. He barely had time to point his gun at me before I chomped down on his head, crushing his skull.
In the distance, I heard an alarm blare. The battle had begun.