Chapter 41: VIPR
We didn’t say anything as we walked back downstairs to the safe room and back into the escape tunnel. What was there to say? Olivia had just watched her parents be shot to death in front of what used to be her Pack. I couldn’t imagine what she was feeling right now. She was trying to be strong, I could see that in her face, at least until we entered the tunnel and I pulled the hatch closed behind me. Then I was back to seewoling nothing again.
We crawled our way to the exit hatch and walked back through the woods to Craig’s car. I opened the door and got in the back seat, giving them a little privacy as he hugged her outside the driver’s door. I could see her legs collapse, how he held her up as she finally broke down.
I tried to pay attention to other things, mainly by turning the radio up. It was a news station we had been listening to. I got so involved I didn’t notice the police and military vehicles approaching until they were almost on us. Craig and Olivia dove into the front seat and we all hid from sight until they passed by. “What the hell are they doing out here in the middle of the night,” Mark said.
I handed the phone to Olivia. “Call your brother, they are going to attack.” She punched in a number and we all waited nervously for him to pick up as Mark drove away.
“Matthew, it’s Olivia. There is a convoy of vehicles approaching- SWAT, infantry, heavy weapons. They must have figured out where your father was located. You need to get out.”
I could hear him shouting instructions. Finally, he got back on the line. “It’s too late to run, Olivia. I’m sending the women and children out the escape tunnel, the rest of us will fight, try to hold them off.”
Olivia was crying. “No, you have to run now!”
“We’re already surrounded. A fight is the only way to distract them long enough for some of us to escape. Help them, Olivia. I love you.”
“Send them west through the woods, we will see what we can do. Destroy Dad’s office and computer, they will be after that Pack list. I love you, Matthew.”
She directed him to a side road west of where the exit was. We turned off the car and waited, and we didn’t have to wait long. A flare was fired high in the air, and it was immediately followed by the swooshing sound and explosions of rocket fire. We couldn’t see the battle, but we could feel it. The popping sounds of the M-4 rifles, the louder noises of the Pack’s rifles, and the explosions of grenades and anti-tank rounds. The sky was turned orange as the Pack house was set on fire, eventually stopping the firing.
Olivia went into shock as she felt the family bond to her brother break. Mark was holding her close as she sobbed into his chest. I got out and used a pair of binoculars to watch the direction from which the escapees would be coming.
Ten minutes later, there were shouts and sounds of gunfire from that direction. “Start the car and keep the lights off, Mark.” I continued to watch, but the noises were moving off to my right. I could hear sporadic gunfire, they were chasing someone.
I was so busy looking at the chase they were on top of me before I noticed. Two small, grey colored pups ran up to me and looked up, their little tongues hanging out the sides of their mouths. I quickly opened the back door and they jumped in. I got in and closed the door, telling Mark to start driving. They shifted into human form, they looked to be about five years old, a boy and a girl. “Where are the others?”
They looked at each other, then the boy looked at me. “The bad men found us after we got out of the tunnel. Mommy told us to run to you and not look back, they would lead them away.” The little girl was crying into his chest.
“Can you still feel Mommy?”
“No.” The boy started crying. “My wolf says she is gone. I can’t feel anyone except Tina now.”
I pulled the two into my lap as we drove away. “We have you now. What is your name, little man?”
“Tony. Tony Keller. This is my twin sister, Tina.”
“Well, Tony and Tina, my name is Ella. I’m an Alpha in North Dakota. You know Olivia?”
“Yes, she was in our Pack, I remember,” Tina said.
Olivia turned around, she had cried it out for now. “Hi guys. This is my mate, Mark.”
The two looked at her, then at me and Mark. “They’re human.”
I chuckled. “Yes, I am now, but I wasn’t always. I was a wolf until late last year. A bad man gave me a shot and took my wolf away. I’m still Alpha, though, and my mate is a wolf. Mark has always been human.”
The two naked kids fell asleep on me as we drove; Olivia reached back and covered us with a jacket. “We need to get them clothes soon.”
“I know. Mark, can you find us a Wal-Mart or something? We need to get supplies.”
We found one on the south side of Brainerd. I had Mark park in a darker section of the lot, away from other vehicles, and had Olivia switch places with me as the kids kept sleeping. We didn’t want her out of the car, she had taken a big enough risk just coming along. I made sure Mark had my burner cell number and went into the store.
I grabbed a cart and went to the kid’s section. The kids had nothing, and could never go back home. Their home was with me now, Matthew had entrusted me with those who survived and I would honor his sacrifice. I quickly loaded the cart with the basics, figuring we could get more back home. I also grabbed some kid-friendly snacks for the drive home. Everyone likes cheddar cheese goldfish, right?
By the time I got back to the car, the sun was rising. We stopped at a gas station with restrooms accessible from the outside so everyone could safely go to the bathroom, then drove through a McDonalds for coffee and breakfast. We had a bit of a drive ahead of us, so I took the wheel for a bit and let Mark rest.
We were approaching Detroit Lakes when I heard the news on the radio. There was a lot of talk about the raid on the pack in the Brainerd area; the press conference said that all werewolves had been killed, either in the fire or trying to escape. The talking heads were beside themselves, Minnesota wasn’t exactly the Rocky Mountains and this Pack was located near cities and vacation spots. Where was it going to end?
I should have been paying more attention. I passed the police and HUMVEES parked on the exit ramps, but it wasn’t until I saw the road ahead filled with stopped vehicles that I realized how much trouble we were in. The stopped traffic along the road ended about a mile ahead where a number of police and military vehicles were stationed. They were using the rest stop area to allow searches on a half-dozen lanes at a time. I poked Mark to wake him up.
“Police checkpoint.” We were at a stop now, and traffic was backing up behind us. Looking in the mirror, I could see the vehicles moving to ensure nobody tried to turn around or escape. I also noted soldiers stationed along both sides of the road, rifles at ready, about fifty yards apart.
“We should be all right, they won’t be able to tell who are wolves and who aren’t.” He got out the binoculars and started looking ahead. He watched for a few minutes before we noticed the activity in the rest area.
Police were surrounding a man who had just been pulled out of a car, weapons drawn. It looked like he was going to his knees, but he suddenly shifted into his wolf and bolted for the trees. All the officers opened fire, one hitting a fellow officer by accident, as they fired at the fleeing werewolf. It didn’t make it off the grass before it was cut to shreds by small arms fire. “Holy shit,” I said.
We moved slowly up towards the checkpoint, becoming more nervous with each motion. I watched as a policeman walked between the cars stopped in the two lanes, headed towards us. I rolled down the window as he approached. “Officer? What’s going on?”
“Viper checkpoint, we’re doing random searches for werewolves. Nothing to worry about, Ma’am.”
I smiled at him, like I was trying to flirt. “I’m too young for Ma’am, you know.” He came over and looked at me a little closer, my huge ta-tas were straining at the shirt I was wearing and I know he was interested. “How do you find the werewolves? Don’t they look human?”
He nodded. “Yes Ma’am, they do. We have a way, though. We found out that black light causes their eyes to glow. Pretty simple, so we’re doing what we can to keep you safe.”
“Well, I appreciate it sir.” I waited until he rolled up the window and moved on before I talked. “Shit. They found out.” Mark looked confused. “Wolves are taught to avoid black lights as children. Our eyes glow in it, like a cat’s eyes in dim light. It can’t be helped.”
Olivia’s voice was shaky. “We have to get out of here, they’ll figure us out.”
I looked back at her. “How? We’re surrounded. If you run, they’ll chase. They’ve even got a helicopter, if you shift they will shoot you dead and then come back for us.” I looked at the twins. “And those boys won’t be able to run fast enough to get clear.”
Mark looked in the mirror. “If we try to turn around, they’re on us.”
“We keep going, they’re on us.” I looked ahead, the checkpoint was a worse option than turning around. “Only a human can be safe.”
Olivia started digging around under the seat, we kept a well-stocked first aid kit in our vehicles when we traveled with wolves since we couldn’t use human hospitals for them. She pulled out three packages of hypodermic needles and a bottle. “I don’t have a choice, Ella. I can’t risk you all, and these kids deserve to live.”
“What are you doing?” She was drawing up liquid into the first syringe, then a smaller amount into two more.
“Wolfsbane. I have to kill my wolf.” She handed the first hypodermic to Mark. “You have to do it, Mark, there’s no other way we survive this.”
“Olivia, that’s permanent. I know. Your wolf is gone FOREVER.”
She nodded. “I know. At least I found my mate first.” She kissed Mark, then held out her arm. “Hurry up, it needs to be over before we get to the front.”
“Wait.” I took a T-shirt out of the Wal-Mart bag in the back; twisting it, I tied it around her head, gagging her and giving her something to bite down on. “The pain is horrible, we can’t attract attention.”
She nodded at Mark, and he injected it into her shoulder. She started to scream into the gag as the poison worked through her veins. She collapsed onto the backseat floor with the pain, kicking the seat as she went.
Mark turned around and pulled the twins, one at a time, out of the back seat and up with us. They woke up and rubbed their eyes and then I got their attention. “Tony, Tina, your Mom sent you to us to keep you safe, you know that, right?” They nodded. “There are men up there, men who will find out what you are and kill you for it. We can’t let you be found out, but the only way to keep them from hurting you requires us to hurt you instead. We have to take your wolves away.”
“NO! I WANT HIM!” Tony yelled, while Tina just held on to her brother and cried.
“I’m sorry. I’ve done this before, and Olivia is doing it right now. Your wolf will be gone, but you will continue to live. It’s the only way.” I kept their attention while Mark injected Tony; when he started to scream, I grabbed him and held him tight to my chest. Mark injected Tina right away and did the same.
For the next five minutes, my heart and ears were breaking. Their pitiful screams as their wolves were destroyed within them brought back too many memories, bad memories. I cried with them as we moved forward with the traffic. Olivia finally sat up, untying the gag and slumping back into her seat. “Fuck, that hurt.”
“Are you all right, baby?” Mark looked at her with concern; Tina had finally fallen asleep on his chest.
“I suppose. I feel… empty.” She closed her eyes. “Just in time, huh?”
“Yeah.” We were waved into the line at the rest stop; ten minutes later our car was at the front.
“I need all of you to step out of the vehicle for a search, please.” The badge and uniform were Transportation Security Agency, and he had a VIPR ballcap on. I guess with the airports shut down, they had plenty of screeners available for the roads.
We got out of the car and were lined up along the curb. Mark and I were each carrying one of the kids, who were shaking in fear. An agent with the TSA came up, holding what looked like a penlight. “I need each of you to look into the light, please. This won’t hurt a bit.” I was first; I was nervous because I’d never checked to see if my eyes still had any of their wolf nature left. He shined it in each eye, then motioned to Tony. He checked both his eyes, then moved on. Mark and Tina each were checked, finally Olivia. Meanwhile, other agents had checked our car and trunk, but closed it up.
“Thank you for your cooperation, have a nice day.”
We got back in, driving off as my hands shook on the wheel and the kids started crying. We had escaped, but at what cost?