Chapter 14: Isolationism
I made a new appointment with the hand surgeon for the coming Friday, and we put our plan into place. I handed the keys to my truck over to one of the Pack warriors, and he pulled it up to the front of the Pack house while I watched from my room. One of the female warriors had been in my room for the past two hours, having her hair dyed and styled to match mine and wearing my clothes. The resemblance was good enough to fool people who didn’t have a long look, especially behind the tinted glass of the back seat as she got in.
The truck was followed by a panel van filled with another eight warriors, and every one of the people in the two vehicles was heavily armed. They were on high alert as they left the Pack lands; the last attack had included ten wolves and a human, and if they were to try again it might be more. The human involved knew nothing of werewolves; he was a member of a motorcycle gang in Denver and had been recruited to play a part. For a price I paid, he spilled the beans on everyone that he had seen and what he had been told to do. They had given him two autoinjectors filled with wolfsbane and sedative, enough to knock both the men taking him out without them being able to mind link a warning. When they were out, he had called 911 back and called off the ambulance, saying the man was refusing treatment. He had been paid $25,000 for his help, and I gave him more to get his confession recorded.
From his description, I knew who the ringleader was now. Stephen Tanner, first son and Alpha heir of the North Shore pack. I hadn’t seen his wolf, so I couldn’t tell if he was the mysterious black wolf or not. If he was, I had no idea why he didn’t kill me; I wasn’t his mate, he already had his, and he knew I was human. If it wasn’t him, then he was dead and Alpha Scott Tanner had lost all three of his sons to me. I couldn’t believe he let his own son be skinned and burned with our garbage; the man truly had no honor.
Something about that made me smile inside. The man who ruined my life in the search for power now may have no heir. I hoped that was the case, because he would ruin his own daughter’s life now. She would be forced into a mating, with someone her Father picks from another Pack, someone who could take over as Alpha. I wonder who would hold their hand over her mouth while her mate bites her against her will, then takes her virginity?
That would be poetic justice after what she did to me.
Two other vehicles were then prepped in the garage, and I was snuck down into the back seat of an older Ford Explorer with Remi, Renee and Doug. A second panel van would follow us, filled with Pack warriors. We were about ten minutes behind the first two vehicles as we headed for Billings, and the drive was uneventful. If there was anyone out to get me, they weren’t doing it now. I smiled as I thought back to the conference call where Doug put the fear of Luna into the four alphas.
We pulled into Billings in the early afternoon, stopping for lunch at the Bull Mountain Grille. The food was good, but I missed the days when I had a werewolf’s metabolism; the days of the 24 oz Porterhouse were over for me. I had a very good New York Strip, cooked medium rare as I couldn’t stomach a bloody steak any more either. Stupid pregnancy hormones.
The appointment with the doctor didn’t take that long. I had scanned and sent him my records earlier in the week, so he knew what had happened. He checked the wound and verified it was healing up and showing no sign of infection. He had me try to move it, but that was still beyond my ability, as was being able to sense pain, heat or cold. “Don’t worry about that, it all takes time,” he said. “The surgery attempts to bring the nerves together, but they will take time to reconnect. You are likely to have phantom pains, muscle twitches, and difficulty moving it for the next year or two.”
“How long until I know how much function I’ll get back?”
“We’ll have a better idea in six months. Your thumb was pretty chewed up, I’m not as optimistic as I am when there is a clean cut. Dr. Andersen did a good job, but we’ll just have to see what happens.” I was crying in Remi’s arms as he left; we waited until I was cleaned up before we returned to the rest of the family in the waiting room.
We headed to the Mall to get some shopping done. Renee had begged me to help her with her Christmas shopping, so we (along with some trailing security escorts) hit the stores until we had found the perfect gifts. I asked one of the guys to take the bags back to the car while we waited in the food court for everyone else. After some pizza and ice cream, I turned Renee over to her father while Remi and I went shopping for maternity clothes and gifts for her children.
We finally headed for the Big Horn Resort, and as soon as we had our rooms Renee was changing and begging me to take her down to the small waterpark. We had adjoining rooms with her parents, and the rooms around us were filled with our Pack warriors. I was glad the Doctor had pronounced my wounds healed enough that I didn’t need a bandage, but I still had a protective plastic splint over my left hand and thumb. I changed into my suit and was about to knock on the door when Renee stopped me. “Don’t bother,” she said, “they are busy.”
“Well, I’m just going to invite them to come.”
She laughed. “Oh, I think they’ll both be coming soon, and without us.” I turned a little red, clearly she could hear what I couldn’t. “Come on, our escorts are waiting.” We stepped out into the hallway and the three male and one female warrior were dressed and ready to head down. We turned more than a few heads along the way as the well-built adults escorted us down. Two hours later, I dragged myself back to the room as Renee was carried back, falling asleep, by one of her guards.
The next week was busy as it was leading up to Thanksgiving and I had schoolwork to catch up on. The free time I had was spent on research; I set up files on each of the Alphas on my list, along with Olivia and Carol, as they were my main targets. Sub files on each folder I set up for their children, Pack leadership, business and properties. I searched government records, company statements and property tax bills. Then there was the personal stuff! You would be amazed at what information was available on the Internet, and then what people would put on Facebook and other social media. Pretty soon, I had a list of their friends, business associates and neighbors.
An idea came to mind, and when I talked to Doug about it he was happy to help me. We set up a conference call with all the Alphas and Lunas who had borders around the four Packs who I was targeting. The mates were included because the Luna’s authority included mating and the women and children of the Pack. When they came on the screen, he introduced me. “Gentlemen, you may have heard something of the events that led to the dissolution of the Belden Pack and the killing of their Alpha pair. Since the behavior of these Packs may affect you, I’ve asked you here so you can hear directly from one of the victims what happened and ask her questions. What you do with that information is up to you. May I introduce Ella Grey, daughter of Mitch and Emma Grey.”
He stepped aside and I sat at his desk; the Alphas were all there. “Good afternoon Alphas, Lunas and other Pack leadership. I am Emma Grey, and a few weeks ago I traveled with my parents to the land of Marvin Goodwin and the St. Cloud Pack. His sons Hunter and his mate April, and son Curtis were hosting. The visit was to build relationships and to get permission for me to attend college in the Twin Cities and travel through their lands back to my Pack. Also attending was Michael Anderson, his sons Matthew and Nathan, and daughter Olivia; Alpha David Lewis of the Grand Forks Pack; and Alpha Scott Tanner of the North Shore pack, along with Luna Kayla, son Stephen and mate Kim, sons Frank and David, and daughter Carol. The weekend started innocently enough, after introductions and a barbecue in their backyard, I went to the lake with Carol and Olivia for some water skiing while my parents met with the other Packs. A few hours later, things started to get weird.”
“How so?” It was Alpha Charles Jennings of the Vermillion pack.
“Well, in talking with Olivia, I found out that her father had arranged for her to be mated with Alpha Lewis, even though he was twice her age and they weren’t mates. The arrangement included land transfers if she bore him a male heir.” There was some shock among the Lunas, especially; taking a mate who was not your own was acceptable for older wolves who had lost their mates, but for a young woman to do it and not be out of love was frowned upon. “I linked my father, and he said that the negotiations weren’t going well. The four Alphas were pushing for an arranged mating with me to cement relationships between the Packs, and they were refusing that out of hand. They knew my thoughts on this, I was saving myself for my true mate. We took a break from water skiing, and Carol handed me a drink that was drugged. Before I lost control, I linked my father and he and my Mom fought to get out of there. Both were killed before they could leave the room.”
“Your parents died trying to get to you?” Alpha Roman Peters of the LaCrosse pack.
“Yes, I felt the bonds break. In the meantime, Curtis and Nathan had crossed from the other side of the island and held me up while David Tanner placed a mating bite on me. Something was wrong, I blacked out. When I came to, I was in a cabin with David, he told me that he was going to mate me then Alpha command me not to speak about how it happened. He said after the bond was formed, no matter how, my wolf wouldn’t allow me to hurt him.” I took a drink of water while they processed the information, Alpha Dennis Coleman of the Winnepeg pack was fisting his hands to calm down.
“The doctor gave me a shot of wolfsbane and I passed out again. The next day David was talking to the doctor about why the mating bite didn’t take. They realized that I had become Alpha before the bite, so I had to submit to him to make it work. He raped me, beat me, and threatened, but I didn’t give in. I managed to kill him, then bit my thumb off to get out of the handcuffs before the second shot of wolfsbane caused my wolf to die.” I showed them my thumb, having taken the brace off. Some of the Lunas were crying. “I escaped to the human medical system, and was transported to Minneapolis for surgery. While I was in the hospital, Alpha Marvin came to see me. He told me it was my fault, that if I had just gone along with it I would have an Alpha Male at my side to take over my Pack, and now I had nothing. He did negotiate a treaty for himself, though; I had to give him oil rights worth millions in order to leave his territory and free the members of my Pack his men were holding hostage.”
“Did the treaty protect you?” Alpha Nicholas Anders of the Battle Lake pack.
“No, as I was leaving the hospital I was accosted by another of the Tanners, their son Frank. He tried to kill me but I stabbed him first and got out of there. I fled to this Pack and my aunt and uncle. While here, I was attacked again. Ten wolves attacked me while I was traveling with Luna Remi and my cousin Renee. We killed nine and one ran off; I lost my Beta who had stayed with me. We later learned the ringleader was Alpha Tanner’s eldest son, and he is presumed dead. Alpha Johnson called them all, and none admitted involvement nor did they negotiate the release of the dead.”
The Lunas were all crying by now. “I am no longer an Alpha as I no longer have a wolf or a Pack. I cannot offer anything to you, nor do I ask anything. I’m telling you this because I don’t want these men to ruin the lives of other young women like they have mine. I beg you to protect your daughters from the plans of evil men.” There were a few questions that I answered before Doug took over. The Alphas talked for ten more minutes. There was general agreement that they should not allow females to visit, and many were going to cut off all ties with them. then all dropped off except one.
“Alpha Coleman, did you have a question?” I looked at him, he was still fuming.
“My daughter, Kim. She met Stephen Tanner in college, then a week later she calls me and tells me he is her mate and she’s leaving for his Pack. I thought it was weird because she was old enough to know immediately. Do you think… do you think he?”
I thought for a moment. “She seemed happy with him, I don’t know. Could you ask her? The Alpha command won’t stop the reaction, you’ll see the conflict in her eyes.”
He shook his head. “I wish I could, but she’s gone. Her mate died and she killed herself that night.”