Chapter 47: Three Strikes
We drove to the edge of town, and I saw we were low on gas. “Pull over into that Holiday station, Olivia. I’ll pump gas, you go in and grab some snacks and drinks for the drive.
She looked at the gas gauge, it was just under a quarter tank. “You don’t want to wait?”
“No, the longer we put it off the more we’ll stand out. Plus, I need some caffeine. It’s been a long damn day.” She laughed a little and pulled in, picking the diesel pump farthest from the station. “Anything special you want?”
“Twinkies.” She looked at me like I was nuts. “Trust me, now that you’re human they taste wonderful.” She made a face at me, so I told her to buy two packs just because I knew she’d want one.
I still have my sweatshirt on, so I wasn’t worried about my wound showing. I got out and put my credit card in the pump, then put the nozzle in. It would be a while, this thing has a HUGE tank. While I was waiting, I started to clean the bug spatter off the windshield.
I saw the car then. Police, on the side of the road, just a block or so short of the gas station. There was no reason to be pulled over there, unless…
I have to get away. Putting the nozzle back, I jump up into the truck and fire it up. Putting it into drive, I head back onto the road. If I’m wrong, I wait ten minutes and go back to get Olivia.
I’m not wrong, though. As soon as I’m back on Highway 52, I see the cruiser pull out behind me. He doesn’t turn on his headlights until he’s back on the road and he isn’t using his flashers, and he stays well behind me. If I hadn’t spotted him, I’d never notice him behind me as he matches my speed.
We leave the city behind and get onto the open road. I’ve had about enough of this; when I crest a hill, creating a short time where he can’t see me, I floor it. The space between us opens up as my truck pushes up to a hundred miles an hour, and when he sees me fleeing, it’s on like donkey kong.
If I had my wolf vision, I would have cut the lights and gone offroad, but I don’t have that. I’m looking for a way off the road, figuring my truck will handle the dirt roads better than his cruiser, when the road lights up. I look up, almost blinding myself, to see the helicopter illuminating me from above. Looking behind, I see another four vehicles have joined the chase.
My options all suck, I think. They all end in death, except maybe one.
Choosing this option, I slam on the brakes and stop on the shoulder of the road. Getting out, I face the rapidly approaching cops, then kneel down on the pavement and link my fingers together on top of my head. I pray to Luna for help, hoping they won’t just blow me away as soon as they come to a stop.
Two cars went around, blocking the road in case someone else was in the truck. The other two blocked the oncoming road. The spotlight from the helicopter cast shadows around me, and their headlights kept me from seeing them as they approached. When they got close enough, I could see they were all aiming rifles at me. “DON’T MOVE,” one of them yelled.
I stayed as still as I could. I heard someone approach behind me, then a hand clamped over mine as a handcuff was snapped on my wrist. My right arm was brought down, then my left was handcuffed to it behind my back. The officer held my shoulder, pressing a pistol to the side of my head. “Don’t even breathe,” he whispered to me.
Another officer walked up with a black light flashlight. Shining it in my eyes, he seemed almost shocked. “Nothing, Sargent. She’s human.”
“That can’t be!” The cop behind me pulled my sleeve up, exposing the battle dressing. Tearing it off, he shined his flashlight on the bite, which was now bleeding again. “Look, she’s been bitten. Why isn’t she a werewolf?”
They gathered around behind me, trying to figure it out. Finally, one of them spoke up. “Sarge, she’s human and she’s bleeding. We need to take her to the hospital.”
“No way,” he said. “Have you seen what can happen if one of these animals gets loose there?” He pointed to one of the men. “Get your first aid kit over here. We’ll leave her here until we get other direction.” One of the men came up and opened his kit while the others kept their guns pointed at me. I winced as he poured alcohol on the wounds, then cleaned them with a gauze pad.
“Can I at least sit down? My knees are killing me.” One of the men helped me sit cross-legged. “How did you find me?” I figured I’d make some conversation while we were waiting for a decision to be made.
“Cellphone video. People can’t do shit anymore without people whipping out their phones and recording stuff. We got your photos and your plate number from it.” He looked at the green truck. “Nice try with the paint job, but any Dually within a hundred miles was going to get pulled over just in case.”
“Damn. I dyed my hair for nothing then.”
One of the men brought me a bottled water and helped me take a drink. “So where is your buddy?”
“Why, she didn’t get bit!”
He chuckled. “Hell, I’d like to thank her. You two took out those guys like pros. Five werewolves, all running loose in our quiet little town.”
I laughed. “Just country girls. There was no way I was going to walk quietly out of that store to be raped or worse. Not while I could rock my Glock.” I stared him down. “And I have no idea where she is, and if I did I’d never tell you.”
“We’ll see,” Sargent said.
We all looked up as we heard a convoy approaching. They pulled up behind the police cars and stopped; a dozen infantrymen jumped out of the transport and surrounded us. The officer in charge walked up to the Sergeant. “I’m here for the prisoner,” he said.
“She’s not showing werewolf, Captain. You can’t have her.”
He shook his head. “I have Presidential authority here. Call your boss while we get her cuffed and stuffed.” I watched the battle between them, the Captain didn’t care, he was doing what he wanted. The Sergeant opened up his cellphone and made a call, moving off to the side of the road as he did.
A couple of MP’s came up, carrying a prisoner transport restraint. They cuffed my ankles together, a short chain would allow about a foot of movement but it would be more like a shuffle. In the center, a chain when up to another chain they locked around my waist. The two uncuffed me, then my wrists were each attached to the waist chain. I couldn’t get my hands to touch in front or back. Finally, they put a black hood over my head. “Really, guys?”
“Keep it down, lady, or we’ll pump you full of so many drugs you won’t wake until next week.”
I heard a vehicle approaching, it sounded like a big truck. I was hoisted up over someone’s shoulder; I heard doors open, then I was tossed onto a cold, hard surface. The doors slammed shut and I could hear them being locked from the outside. Other vehicles started, and we got on the move again.
I pushed myself over to the side of the truck where I could sit up. The hood wasn’t secured tightly, so I was able to get it off by sticking my head between my knees and pulling it off. What I saw didn’t give me any hope.
It looked like I was in an armored car; the floor and walls were solid steel, the glass to the outside was thick and bulletproof. The divider to the driving area was built the same; way too thick for me to get through. It was a rolling tank with me as the display, I thought.
I saw a soldier looking back at me from the passenger seat. “Hey! Where are we going?”
His voice came over the intercom. “Fort Detrick Army Medical Research Command. Congratulations, Miss Grey. You’ve just become a lab rat.”
I looked at him in shock. “You can’t do that! I’m a citizen! I have rights!”
He laughed, I mean gut laughed. “Rights don’t mean shit in a war, Miss. You got bit. You’re either a werewolf we get to study, or somehow you DIDN’T become a werewolf, and that’s even MORE reason to study you. Congress granted emergency powers, Habeus Corpus has been suspended, citizens and aliens can be detained without a warrant or charges. Technically, you’re not even a prisoner of war. Like I said, you’re a lab rat.” I glared at him. “Now, we’ve got about a twenty-four-hour drive ahead of us. There’s a bucket in the corner if you have to go, and a blanket and pillow on the shelf above you. If you behave like a good rat, you’ll get your cheese. You act up, and it’s going to be a miserable trip for you.”
I pushed myself up so I could get the pillow and blanket. Tossing the pillow into the center near the front, figuring that would be the best ride, I kept the blanket in my hand as I tried not so gracefully to lie down. It was even more awkward to try and spread the blanket over me the way I was trussed up.
The ride was miserable. The suspension was so stiff I felt every bump and ridge on the road, and the steel floor was cold. After a few hours, I gave up on sleep. I moved so I was sitting against the partitions with the pillow under me and the blanket on my legs.
All I could think about was what was happening with my Pack. They knew my name, my address. I was sure they were going to go after my house, and if they looked hard enough they would find those hidden in the safe room. Hell, even the contacts could be seen if you looked close enough. I missed my babies, I missed my mate, I missed them all.
I thought back to Olivia; what must she have thought when she came out and found I was gone? Did she get away, or did someone grab her too? She was fully human now, but that only mattered if they took the time to check.
I had a lot of time to think, and the more I thought, the more depressed I became. The best case I could come up with was that they had enough warning to take off… in an RV that was registered to me. For all I knew, they just leveled the whole estate instead. My tears dripped down my face as I watched the trees pass by through the little port on the back door…
We stopped about every five hours; I could hear the sirens and the escorts, so we were traveling in a convoy. The traveling nightmare eventually ended, and the sound changed as we pulled into a building. I pushed my way to my feet, my sore legs protesting, and looked out the small port on the door.
We were in a loading dock; the escorts were parked outside. I saw a half dozen people in lab coats come in with a gurney, it had leather and steel restraints hanging from it. Apparently, that was my future.
“Stand back from the doors and face the front, Miss Grey.”
“Or what?” I had to ask as I turned around.
“You get the fire hose.” No thanks. I shuffled forward to the divider; I heard the door opening, and then something stuck in my leg. I looked back, but my leg didn’t work anymore. I fell sideways, with my hands shackled I was unable to break my fall and I landed heavily on my left side and shoulder. I tried to roll over, but my legs and arms now didn’t work, I couldn’t even feel them. The numbness continued to spread, and my brain panicked when I realized I couldn’t breathe any more. My vision started to go, and the last thing I remember was someone yelling, “Just how much of a dose did you give her?”