Chapter 6: The Escape
I pulled the door open and stepped outside, stumbling a little on the way to his Ford F-150. The drugs, the blood loss and the shock of losing my wolf were all hitting me at once; I barely made it to the truck. Opening the door, I pulled myself into the cab while protecting my left hand against my chest. The pillowcase was already soaked through with blood, and it was dripping down onto my shirt.
I was in no shape to drive, but I had no choice. I started it up, put it in gear and headed down the dirt trail as fast as I could go with only one hand. There was no telling how long I had before his family and Alpha Goodwin’s pack members would arrive, and I had no doubt what they would do if they caught me.
I made it to a paved road. Decision time. I didn’t know exactly where I was, but I knew the territory was north of St. Cloud so I turned south. I used my teeth to tighten the sheet and grasped it with my fingers, then used my rink and pinky fingers to hold on to the panic grip, keeping the wound high. I needed to find help, human help, before I passed out. There wasn’t any traffic, so I drove as fast as I could, putting distance between me and them.
The road ended at another highway. The signs didn’t tell me which way to go, so I turned left. A few miles later, I found I was lucky- the road signs told me 24 miles to St. Cloud.
I needed to make a phone call. I put my knee to the wheel and picked up his iPhone, quickly realizing that it was useless without a passcode. I was about to throw it out the window when I looked at the controls in the center of the console. Pressing “Phone” I got a menu. I used the number keys to call a number I knew by heart, the sound going through the stereo speakers.
The phone rang five times before Darryl answered. “Darryl, it’s Ella. I’m in trouble.”
Darryl was my parents Beta, second in command of the Belden Pack. He was a good man, kind and willing to help, the kind of Beta you could have in an isolated pack without threats. “Ella? Is it really you? The bond…”
“I know. This trip turned into a real shit show. The Alphas, all of them, it was a trap. They were going to force mate me to one of their sons, when Mom and Dad found out they fought them. They were killed.”
“We know, we all felt the Alpha bonds break. How are you alive, we felt your Alpha bond break just a few minutes ago?”
“My wolf is gone.” I gritted my teeth against the pain. “It was David Tanner who did it, but all of the Alphas were in on it. They auctioned the rights to me off, if you can believe it. His family bid the most for me, so the other Alphas kept my parents away while he drugged and raped me. I fought back too much, I wasn’t going to be his without a fight. He injected me with wolfsbane when I hurt him, but it wasn’t the first dose and they weren’t far enough apart. He injected too much, it killed my wolf, but not before I killed him.” I gave myself a moment to thank my wolf. “Then I bit my thumb off to escape the handcuffs. I’m in his truck now, using his phone, but I’m weak and I’m losing blood.”
There was quiet over the line as he spoke. “I failed them. I should have come along, you should have had someone to watch over you.”
“Then you would be dead too, Darryl. These Packs aren’t like us, women to them are poker chips to be traded for favors.”
He paused. “I still should have done something. Your wolf is dead, you’re sure?”
“Yes, I felt it. She knew it was coming.”
“Then you should smell fully human. You need to go to them, go to the humans and get medical help. Surround yourselves with humans, they won’t risk exposing themselves.” I had to agree, it wasn’t like I could see a Pack doctor now. “You need to ditch the truck and the phone after you hang up, they can track them. Get somewhere public and get to the hospital. Have someone call for an ambulance if you can’t make it on your own. Do you have your wallet, identification, money?”
Everything I owned was back at the Pack house, either in my guest room or our Expedition, neither of which I’d ever be able to get to. “No, nothing. I’m wearing only his T-shirt.”
“You’ll need a cover story, it’s not like a half-naked girl missing a thumb shows up every day.”
“Well, I can’t tell them I was almost forced into mating a man who outbid the others for the right to my virginity, then I killed him and bit my own thumb off with my wolf teeth to escape. I guess that would be suspicious, right?”
He laughed into the phone. “Yeah, let’s find something a little farther from the truth. No matter what, we can’t risk exposing werewolves to humans. The toughest thing to explain will be your thumb.”
“A dog attacked me.”
“The rest? You don’t remember anything, you woke up to a dog biting you.”
“And I poked the dog in the eye and it ran away, I stumbled to where I was found.”
“You’re young and pretty, and they will find drugs in your system. They’ll peg you for an addict or a rape victim. Give them vague details, like your memory is foggy from tonight.”
“I can do that. Now let’s talk about you guys. I’ve put you in real danger.”
He sighed. “It’s not your fault, I wouldn’t fault any of our girls for doing what you did. What they did wasn’t right and you know it. They know you killed an Alpha’s son, right? Will they come after our Pack?” I could tell he was worried, the Pack had already suffered three losses.
“Yes, they will. This whole thing was all about money, about taking over the Pack business. If even one of the four packs here comes after you, they’ll wipe us out. We aren’t near as strong as they are, we don’t have near as many warriors.”
He paused. “How long do I have?”
“The Grand Forks pack is the closest, if they come it could be an hour or two. Maybe eight to ten if they leave from here.”
“I don’t know if we can rally any help to us in time. Ella, I’m not cut to be Alpha here, you are hurt, your parents gone… I don’t know if we can survive this. I hate to say it, but…”
I picked up his train of thought. “We need to do the emergency disband plan.” My father was big on planning, including what to do if the Pack needed to break up and disperse suddenly. Pack members all had relatives or friends to go stay with, and our human lawyers would break up the business and dispose of the assets. He knew our Pack couldn’t defend itself against a large attack, and wanted to make sure the victor didn’t get the spoils. “Do it. Tell everyone to leave, when they show up they’ll find nothing.”
“You got it, Alpha. I’ll take care of it. You get yourself healed up. I’ll have Tom Harris send an associate to find you and help you out. They’re all humans, they can travel freely. He can help you with bills, identification replacement, and arrangements for you and your parents.” Tom’s family had been our lawyers for three generations, they were good friends. They knew of us, but kept it quiet. I heard Darryl sigh, he was probably pinching the bridge of his nose like he did when he was thinking hard. “I’m so sorry this happened to you, Ella. You deserved so much more than this.”
“Their lives will not go unavenged. Not now, but I will have their blood. I promise you that.” I was almost to the outskirts of town, it was time to ditch the truck. “Tell everyone I’m sorry, I wish them well in whatever Pack they go to.”
“I will, Ella. Goodbye.” I pressed the button to end the call and focused on driving. I looked in the mirror, I was a mess. I used the bottom of the shirt to wipe the blood off my face and neck, but I couldn’t get it out of my hair. My hand was bleeding still, I used Kleenex to wipe it off my forearm as it dripped down. I couldn’t go long before someone saw how bad I was, not to mention how weak I was getting.
Soon the two-lane road became four and traffic lights appeared as I entered town. I pulled next to a flatbed truck hauling scrap iron; one good toss and David’s phone was in the back. I then found a small office park and pulled around to the back, parking under some trees. It was late on a Sunday, no one was in the lot.
I took the sheet wrapping my thumb out of the ice and unwrapped it. The flesh had turned blue, and looking at the torn part almost made me sick. I put it down, then unwrapped my bad hand a couple wraps before putting the thumb in it and wrapping it back up. I couldn’t lose it, not when there was a chance doctors could reattach it. I left the keys in the ignition and got out.
Behind the offices was a park that ran along a creek. I worked my way down the hill to it and waded in. I took a moment to rinse the blood off my face and body that hadn’t been removed earlier. My blood I could explain, but David’s blood was another matter. I carefully removed the bloody shirt and stuffed it under some roots, keeping it underwater so the smell couldn’t be tracked. The pillowcase followed, but I kept hold of my loose thumb in my injured hand.
I figured I would still have drugs in my system, they had rendered me helpless so I’d treat it as a date rape. I could say I met some guys who invited me to a party and didn’t remember anything after that. They would see the bruising on my legs, and there was other evidence of what he did to me.
I walked as far as I could along the creek before I went up the opposite site, into a residential neighborhood. The blood loss was getting worse, I was lightheaded and stumbling along the road when a woman screamed.
“Billy! Dial 911!” A middle aged woman rushed across the street, an afghan in her hand she probably grabbed off her couch. “Oh my Lord, you poor dear! What happened to you?” She wrapped the blanket around me and sat me down. “BILLY! CALL AN AMBULANCE!”
“I… I don’t know.” I felt myself falling, my head dropped onto her shoulder I started to cry.
“It’s going to be all right, dear, I’ve got you.” She pulled my hand away from my chest, it was bleeding again. She yelled for help, another neighbor came out and went to his car and got a first aid kit. He wrapped gauze around my injured hand, and put the thumb in a baggie. I don’t remember more, I must have passed out.
I woke up in an ambulance as they were opening the doors. They wheeled me in to the Emergency Room; the EMT handed the nurse the baggie with my thumb in it. “It’s in pretty bad shape,” he said, “it looks like a chew toy.” The staff was efficient, soon I was hooked up to an IV, on monitors, had been poked a number of times for blood tests and a Doctor was doing a head to toe check. He ordered a rape kit, which one of the nurses did after things settled down, and he left to find an on-call hand surgeon.
A policeman talked to me as we were waiting for the doctor to return. “Ma’am, we need a statement from you. Can you tell me what happened to you?”
“My name is Ella Grey, I’m from Belden, North Dakota. Today’s Sunday, right?”
“Yes, it’s Sunday night now. Can I call your parents?”
I gave him the number, it rang and went to voice mail. He left a message with the hospital phone number and to call immediately as I had been injured. “Is there anyone else I can call?”
“You can call home, our housekeeper may be in.” Same thing, he left a message.
“So last night, my parents were meeting some friends so I went to the mall. I ran into some guys, they were college students they said, and were on their way to a party. I haven’t been to a college party before, so I got a ride with them.”
“Do you remember their names?”
“Tom, Dick and Harry, I think they said. We got into his car, it was a white Ford Taurus, and he drove us to the house where the party was.”
“Do you remember an address? Anything about it?”
“I was busy making out with Harry in the back. The house? Old rambler, white with black shutters. We went inside, I got a drink, and that’s the last thing I remember until waking up.”
“When did the dog show up? Doc said you have a bite on your neck and it took your thumb.”
“I woke up by a creek, a dog was biting me. I tried to push it away, that’s when it got my thumb and ripped it off. I poked it in the eye, it yelped and ran off. Big German Shepherd.”
“Collar or identification on the dog?”
“I don’t think it had one, I didn’t feel anything there when I grabbed his neck.” He asked a few more questions, then left me his card and said they would be in touch.
The injury was more than this hospital could handle, so I was packed off into another ambulance for the drive to the University of Minnesota Hospital. I was taken right into surgery.
When I woke up in the recovery room early the next morning, a policeman and a chaplain were standing by the bed. They waited until the nurse finished her checks; my hand was heavily bandaged and I was on some good painkillers. The chaplain held my good hand while the policeman stepped up. “Ella Grey? Do you know where you are?”
I looked around and nodded my head. “What’s happened? Where are my parents? You told them I was here, right?”
“I’m sorry to tell you this, Ma’am. There was an accident last night involving your parents.”
“NO, WHERE ARE THEY? TAKE ME…” I struggled to get up, looking shocked at the expressions on their faces, and they held me down. “NO! NOOOO!”
“They died, Ma’am. The vehicle left the road and rolled several times, and burst into flames.” I cried myself out into the chaplain’s arms as their death hit me again; it was like I could finally grieve. The pent-up emotions poured out of me like water, I cried and cried until I had no tears left. My parents were the best thing in my life and they are gone now because of me.
Eventually I stopped crying on the chaplain, and the policeman was left. He offered me his cellphone to call someone; I dialed home, hoping that our housekeeper Marge was still in. I was relieved when she answered. “Marge, it’s Ella…” I started crying again.
“Oh Ella, I’m so sorry.” She started to cry as well. “Where are you, dear?”
“I’m in Minneapolis at the U of M hospital. I was raped and attacked, Marge… my left thumb was bitten off. I woke up to hear the news about Mom and Dad. Marge, I lost everything including the shirt off my back.”
“Don’t you worry about a thing, dear, we’ll get through this. I’ll get ahold of Mr. Harris, he can take care of everything. Do you want me to come get you?”
I thought about it, she was a sweet old lady but Minnesota wasn’t safe. “No, you take care of things back there. Talk to Darryl if you have any questions, and listen to what he says. It’s for the best.”
“All right, I’ll let Tom’s office handle everything. You get well, dear, I love you.”
“I love you too, Marge.” I hung up. I needed to get a phone, hopefully the attorneys would take care of replacing the important stuff.
When they left me, after I had control back over my emotions, the surgeon stopped in. I looked down at the heavily wrapped hand at my left side. “Were you able to put it back on?”
“We were able to reattach it,” he said as he sat by the bed, “but the damage was quite extensive. We did our best to fix the nerves and the muscles, but we won’t know for a while how successful it was. There’s still a risk of infection or rejection. You’ll need to stay in the hospital for a few days, then you’ll need rest and therapy.” He answered a few more questions then left for his other patients.
I was taken to a room; an administrator stopped by since I didn’t have insurance paperwork on me. I gave her my attorney’s number and she left to call him. I laid back, the events of the weekend playing over and over in my head. I had to be realistic; I was no longer a werewolf, I wasn’t able to be an Alpha, and my Pack had disbanded. It was just me now.
Me and my burning need for revenge.I would take my time, I would plan it all out. I wouldn’t just kill them, I would make them suffer. I would take from them everything they loved before I took their lives. I vowed to Luna that I would not die until my revenge was complete.