Out Go The Lights
The wolf pups tore through the open plan kitchen, the brown and white male chasing the black female as they yipped at each other. The black one took the turn around the island better than the larger male, who skidded on the laminate flooring before slamming sideways into the big stainless steel refrigerator. “Michael! Raven!” Both pups froze at the sound. “No fur forms in the kitchen, now change back and get ready for breakfast.”
The two changed into their human forms, and the young girl looked up as her hand clutched nervously to the young boy’s. “Sorry, Mom.”
The boy also looked up and said, “Sorry Aunt Rachel.”
Rachel looked down from where she was grilling the pancakes and bacon for breakfast and smiled at them. “Go back to your rooms and get changed and washed up, breakfast is in ten minutes.” They ran off, their sounds of “You got us in trouble” and “No, you did” echoing through the hallway as the four-year-olds went back to her room.
The back door off the dining room opened, and Mary walked in with her mate Tom. “Is Michael giving you any trouble?” She looked around then smiled, her werewolf hearing could make out their squeals in the bathroom as both got washed up.
“No more than normal. I swear, I don’t know which one winds the other up, but once they get going, they don’t stop.” She smiled at her neighbor and sister in law as she walked in and started to wash up, while Tom went to see Marcus in his home office. “They have a good time, though. Too bad they are related, they are thick as thieves. I’d swear they were mates otherwise.”
Mary looked horrified. “Don’t you even TALK about mates yet. I’m not even ready for them to go to school and you’re already trying to get them married off!”
“They grow up so fast, don’t they?”
“Once they arrive, yeah.” Mary had gotten a late start on her family. A few months after Marcus and Rachel mated, she broke up with her long-time boyfriend and came to stay with them for a while. They were able to keep their werewolf status secret for a while, at least until Tom came home from his job as a smokejumper with the Forest Service. When he walked in, his eyes locked with hers, recognition hit him, and he rushed over and grabbed her. She didn’t have a chance to react before he had her over his shoulder and out the door. They didn’t return for two days, and by then she knew all about mates and werewolves and was sporting a claiming mark on her neck to match his. She smacked her older brother around for not telling her, then settled into Pack life. They had been trying to have a child for over five years before she finally got pregnant. Werewolves have long lives, but low fertility rates; even healthy pairs are lucky to have babies closer than five years apart. “Do you need any help cooking?”
“Nope, it’s about done now. Can you pour the juice and milk while I plate these up?”
She nodded and moved to the fridge. “This new?” She pointed to a dent about knee height.
“Yep, they were playing chase a few minutes ago. Raven is much more agile, and Michael couldn’t make the turn.”
Mary shook her head while she got the orange juice out. “I swear these kids are going to ruin every nice thing I have in the house.”
Just then, there was an uneven set of steps into the kitchen, and Marcus’s strong arms encircled Rachel’s as he hugged her from behind. “Morning, love.” He kissed her cheek and buried his nose into her shoulder, taking a deep sniff while he sucked on the scar from his claiming bite ten years ago. She was a little older, her hips and breasts a little fuller after childbirth, but she could still take his breath away, and he loved her more every day. He moved his hands slowly across her rounded stomach to her side, then nipped at her neck.
Rachel turned in his arms and looked up at her mate’s face, and saw the glint in his eye as he looked her over. “Come on, honey, it’s time to eat. Wasn’t I enough for you last night?”
“You’re always enough, yet never enough. You should know that by now, a little rest and we’re like newlyweds again.” His hands moved down to her shapely butt, not worried at all about his sister a few feet away or his brother in law coming down the hall.
She smacked his hands away. “Yeah, well, that’s all you get when the morning sickness arrives and once again it’s all your fault.” He smiled at her; the bad scars on his face were much less noticeable after the change, but her bite couldn’t make him a new eye or leg. She didn’t care, he was hers and was more than she had dreamed possible. “Now take the pancakes over to the table, and tell Tom to get in here before I eat his breakfast too. I’ve got a craving for bacon this morning.”
He did as she asked, then poked his head into the living room and called Tom. As they were coming in, their children were running down the hallway and jumping into their booster seats at the table. Mary helped them get settled in and helped cut their pancakes while the adults made their way to the table.
Mary looked at her brother. “Today is clinic day up in North Fork, right?”
Marcus nodded. “Yep, every other Tuesday.” The North Fork pack was small, about thirty members, and was located north of their neighborhood in Salmon, Idaho. “I’ve got a pregnancy to check on and the normal routine stuff.” Marcus’s life as the new Pack Doctor was a little more exciting than most. He served five packs in the area in addition to his own.
Rachel led her mate to her father’s office in the big house on the outskirts of Salmon. “Come on, honey; it won’t be bad. He likes you, and he’s happy we are mated now.”
“He is, but my wolf is always nervous around the Alpha, and he’s got five other Alphas in there with him right now. What’s going on?” He squeezed her hand as they got near the double wood doors.
“I guess we’ll find out.” She knocked then they entered; her father gave her a quick hug and shook Marcus’ hand then gestured for them to sit at the conference table.
“Alphas.” He bowed his head in greeting to them; he knew all five as their Packs cooperated in all things, and they regularly visited each other’s packs. The werewolves of the Idaho panhandle had been very successful in keeping good relations, none could remember the last trouble between them, and it was this spirit of cooperation that had brought them here today. He pulled out the chair for Rachel then sat next to her, at the opposite end from her father; the other Alphas filled the chairs along the sides.
“Marcus, Rachel, we have a proposal for you.” Alpha Netters was the oldest Alpha in the group and often took the lead in discussions. “Your Pack doctor has informed your Alpha that he intends to retire in the next decade. That creates a big problem, as none of our Packs have a replacement available. We can’t afford to use the human medical system; it’s too dangerous for us. We need to grow our own.” All the Alphas looked to him. “We would like you to replace him.”
Marcus looked at Rachel, then back to them. “But how? I’m a combat medic, not a doctor. I don’t know the first thing about werewolf physiology.”
“Not now, but that is something we can fix. We want to send you to medical school; between your veteran benefits and our support, it is doable. Take your residency on the human side. In your off time, you’ll work with Doctor Roberts and study werewolf medicine.”
“I’m flattered, but it will take me eight years to get through all that.”
“We know. That is why we want you to start now.” His father in law, Richard Wolfe, stood and came around between them. “You know that every Pack member has a job, something that makes the Pack stronger and keeps us self-sufficient. Saving lives is in your blood. It doesn’t require two eyes; it doesn’t require you to fight. It is an important job, though. The Pack doctor ranks only below the Alpha pair and my Beta.”
Alpha Wilson nodded his head. “The cost of your education will be split among the six Packs, and each Pack will outfit a room for you to work out of while there. Since this is your home pack, we will use the existing clinic and surgical suite here for more serious cases.” He looked at Rachel. “He will need an assistant, as his mate is also going to retire with him. Rachel, we’d like you to study nursing in the human world. You’ll be done quicker, so you can spend more time with Doc before he leaves.”
Marcus looked over at his mate, they had only been together for a month, but he knew he couldn’t answer until they had talked this out. “May we have a few moments to talk about this?”
His Alpha smiled. “Take all the time you want to talk, but give us an answer after lunch. We have to get you into med school and time is running out.”
The seniors in Girl Scout Troop 887 out of Pocatello, Idaho were on their last trip as Scouts. All five girls would be turning 18 in the next few months, so this would be the last time they could go out together in an official capacity. The younger scouts had been shifted to another trip, as the river conditions were too extreme for all but the oldest. Josi looked around, as the leader of this expedition to the North Fork of the Salmon River she wanted to make sure this last trip went off perfectly. Her mom was driving the Ford Excursion to the dropoff point and would pick them up on Wednesday night at the end of their two-day camping and rafting trip.
They had worked with an outfitting company out of North Fork on this tri; they provided the raft and a guide plus transport back to North Fork at the end; the back of the truck filled with their packs and food for the trip. It was all packed in waterproof bags or coolers to tie to the center of the raft. Josi had been on this trip once before, and it was a blast. With all the snow the past winter the river conditions were excellent. The river was wild, scenic and hit Class 5 in some places. She was athletic in build and was a tomboy; her shoulder-length black hair was tied in a ponytail and pulled through the back of the Minnesota Vikings ballcap she was wearing. Her body was toned and tanned from a life spent outside fishing, hunting, and hiking.
In the seats behind Josi and her mom, twins Britney and Bethany were texting each other despite being two feet apart. They looked like stereotypical California girls- long straight blonde hair, curvy bodies that couldn’t hide behind the T-shirts and shorts they wore, and electric smiles. In the third row, Cheyenne and Willow were sleeping, something they had proven they could do anytime and anywhere. Cheyenne was one quarter American Indian. She was the tallest of them all at five foot eleven, with the characteristic skin tone and glossy black hair that hung down to the middle of her back. She was quiet and shy, never one to lead but was loyal and hard working. Her best friend Willow was opposite in looks and personality; she was a Scandinavian blonde, who only came up to five foot one and barely a hundred pounds. She was one of those bubbly people who knew everyone by name and got invited to all the parties. They were a terror on the volleyball courts where they had bonded over countless seasons on school and summer teams.
The girls were all going to be back in high school in a few more weeks, and conversations would center around sports, fashion, and boys again. This weekend, it was about the sun, waves, and fun. Josi was practically bouncing in the seat as they got closer to the river.
Her Mom pulled into the parking lot of North Fork Excursions, and Josi made sure everyone was awake and ready to go. They unloaded all their gear, and the hot young guides secured them in a large raft while they were doing their safety brief. Chip was going to be their lead guide for this trip, which made the girls very happy. He was tall, tan, and had a toned chest and abs that he liked to show off. A college senior, he had spent every summer on the river since he was 14 and knew every rock and eddy. The girls were whispering and sneaking glances at him, talking about how fun it would be to sneak him into the tent until their other guide walked in. Rose was a buxom redhead who walked over and kissed Chip before she was introduced as his girlfriend as well. You could almost feel the mood deflating. “Oh well,” Josi said, “At least we won’t fight over him.”
The brief was comprehensive, and Josi had to help keep the girl’s attention on it. River Rafting was a dangerous activity, and she was the only one who had experience at it. You go over the side once in Class 4 rapids, and you start to appreciate things like safety gear and throw lines. Finally, they were putting on their life jackets and helmets. Most of the girls chose to wear shorts and T-shirts over their swimsuits, but the “Killer B’s” Britney and Bethany treated any time outside as a chance to work on their tans. Rose glared at them as they stripped down to their skimpy bikinis, making sure to bend over in Chip’s direction as they put their clothes into a waterproof bag.
The girls double checked their bags were tied in, then they walked the raft out to the deep calm water of the landing and climbed in. Chip gave everyone lessons on how to paddle as a team and what commands he would be using. Working together was a must, as the guide picked a line down the rapids that they needed to hit to stay safe and hit the best waves. The late summer sun beat down on their young bodies as they paddled hard to the first small set of rapids. Soon, the river dipped into a canyon, and the waves started to pick up. Josi was beaming as she looked around. The scenery was magnificent, her friends were all having a great time, and they had two days of camping and rafting ahead of them. She looked back upriver and caught a glimpse of her mom before the river dropped, and she had to focus on shooting the rapids again.
Their first afternoon was a total blast. The water was raging through the canyons, and in between rapids they would talk and swim and generally find ways to annoy their guides with their antics. In one calm stretch, Britney had teased Cheyenne about a boy who they both liked but hadn’t asked either of them out yet. Willow took offense, and without warning, she leaped across the raft and shoved Britney backward. She fell into the water and got mad when some of the girls started to paddle away. “Sorry, Brit, you looked like you were getting a little worked up.” Willow started laughing at the edge of the raft, so Bethany grabbed the back of her life vest and lifted. She screamed as she flew out of the water to the Killer B’s laughter. Cheyenne then jumped up and tackled Bethany, taking both of them into the cold river water.
Josi and the guides were the only ones left out, although Josi had taped the whole thing on her iPhone. The girls were splashing each other, then they were teaming up to see who could dunk the others the most. Their laughter echoed in the canyon until Chip’s voice stopped it. “Girls... you might want to get back in the raft before this next set of rapids.” The girls looked ahead, even in the deep waters of the pool the current had been moving them along. They could hear the pounding river and it lit a fire under them. As they swam back, Josi linked arms with them and pulled them up into the raft, and they got back in place.
Rose had their attention now while Chip focused on lining them up for the run. “Girls, this next run is Class 4 with some parts that approach Class 5. Remember, do EXACTLY what Chip says when he says it, and if you fall out, keep your feet downstream and your head above water. It’s your adventure!” The girls screamed out as they hit the first hydraulic, a standing wave about five feet high that almost folded the raft in half. They bounced back up, Chip yelling “Strong right, right, PULL PULL PULL” as they worked to set up for the next big one. Their backs hurt and they didn’t quite get there in time. The left side of the raft caught on a rock, causing the raft to spin and enter the rapids sideways.
It was the worst thing for Josi and Cheyenne, who were now on the lower edge. The side of the raft dropped quickly then stopped, but they didn’t. Josi flew off into the water, her paddle clenched in her right hand as she reached for the raft with her left. It was inches away, but it might as well have been a mile. The rolling current grabbed her and pulled her under, spinning her like she was in a washing machine. The paddle was lost, and she was fighting to catch a breath.
Cheyenne had grabbed the rope on the outside of the raft and was being pulled in by Britney and Willow when Rose caught a glimpse of where Josi was hung up. She yelled to Chip, who was frantically trying to turn the raft to point downstream again, then grabbed the rescue rope. With a strong throw, the line made it. Josi popped above water and struggled to breathe; when her right arm touched the rope she grabbed it for dear life. Rose held on as the raft continued downstream, now pulling Josi clear of the standing wave.
Rose made sure she was following, then started to pull her in while Chip got everyone on the paddles again. Josi held on while keeping her feet in front, making sure that they would hit any of the big rocks before the rest of her body. It was still way too wild to sit up, and so when the rope caught on a rock she let it go. The raft disappeared around a bend as she was carried along, her arms working frantically to stay aligned.
Finally, the rapids ended, and she exited into a deep and calm pool. The screams for her to be all right soon turned to shrieks of laughter as they saw that she was all right, and what the river had done to her.
The tanned globes of her ass were mooning them all as she swam to the boat. It wasn’t until she was in the raft that she realized that the rapids had torn her bikini bottoms clean off. Mortified, she sank to the bottom and covered herself with her hands. Her face was beet red. Cheyenne opened up a gear bag and tossed her a pair of shorts. She quickly pulled them on as the rest of the group paddled closer to the shore.
“We’re going to stop here and set up camp; it’s the best spot around.” Chip aimed them towards a sandbar, above which there was a raised sand and grass area against the base of the canyon wall. The girls jumped out and helped pull the raft clear of the water as Chip tied a line to a big log caught in the rocks. While the rest of the girls were getting their gear out, Rose was checking out Josi for injuries.
“I’m all right, just a little beat up.” She looked at the bruises that now covered her thighs and hips, anything not protected by a helmet or lifejacket had gotten bounced around pretty good.
Rose checked her back and head, then used a flashlight to check her pupils. “No sign of concussion, you might be sore for a while. I’d recommend staying inside the raft next time.” They both laughed. “And no flashing my boyfriend.” She walked away as Josi turned red as a beet again.
Twenty minutes later, the girls had the tents set up, and their guides were starting the fire to cook dinner. The Killer B’s walked by, clearly not caring that Chip was having a tough time staying out of trouble for looking. “We’re going to get some tanning time in, give us a yell when dinner is ready.” They left the rest of them in the broken shadows of the canyon wall and walked into the bright sunlight closer to the river. The two set up their towels on a flat rock, and after applying more lotion, they started to take advantage of the high altitude sun.
Josi limped over to the fire and nodded to Rose as she lowered herself down. “Sorry about them, they need to be noticed.”
Rose smiled. “It’s all right, Chip knows better than to touch with anything he doesn’t want me to cut off.” Chip grimaced but didn’t say anything as he fed the fire with more driftwood. Cheyenne and Willow joined the group as the dinner, a hearty meat stew, simmered over the fire.
“WOW, CHECK THIS OUT!” The group looked over at Bethany, who was now pointing into the sky. The clear sky was no longer blue but filled with moving greens and blues that danced from horizon to horizon, at least as much as they could see. It was the most amazing Northern Lights display they had ever seen, and it was in the late afternoon sky.
“What is that?” Cheyenne had her sunglasses on and was looking around. The group moved closer to the water where they could see more of the sky. The light display was unreal.
Instead of going away, the display got more and more colorful and intense over the next twenty minutes. None of them could look away until they heard Britney scream in pain.
“My skin… it’s burnt. It’s REALLY burnt.” The girls got up painfully and started to make their way back to the rest of the group, but they weren’t moving fast. Bethany had a death grip on her sister. “What’s wrong, Bethany?”
“My eyes…. I can’t see! Everything has gone black!”
“Megan, this will feel a little cold at first, but it won’t hurt you, all right?” Marcus spread the lubricating gel over the internal ultrasound probe while he smiled at her. Megan was young, only 18 and newly mated, and lucky enough to get pregnant right away. She was nervous, anxious, and about every other “-ous” you could think of. He looked at her mate Al, who was seated behind her on the examining table and was holding her head in his lap. Marcus always tried to keep the female between him and the male mate; it kept the mate calm and him from getting hurt as often. Mates could be extremely protective, especially if their females were in pain or pregnant. He left the examining blanket over her stomach and thighs, her legs spread in the stirrups as he worked it inside her slowly.
The portable ultrasound machine kept the focus of all three as he did the exam. “See, that is your bladder… and here,” he pointed to a little jelly bean like thing on the screen, “is your baby.” Megan started to cry as she watched, and Al stroked her face as he told her how much he loved them both. Marcus worked quickly, taking the needed measurements and printing a few photos. He switched on the audio, and soon, a rapid whooshing sound filled the room. “That’s your baby’s heartbeat. Everything looks fine; I’ll see you again in four weeks for your next checkup.”
He removed the probe and shut down the machine, then cleaned off the probe and removed his gloves. Reaching down, he tore off the photos and handed them to Megan. “I figured you’d want these.” She nodded, tears still streaming down her face as he took her legs down and pulled her dress back in place.
“Our little peanut is going to be a strong one.” Al had pulled her up so her back was resting on his chest and her head was on his shoulder. He kissed her cheek, then moved down and nuzzled the mating mark where her neck met her shoulder. She shuddered, mating marks were sensitive, the sensations were magnified and sent directly to the groin. She was leaning her head back for a kiss when the lights went out.
“Just stay here, we probably blew a breaker.” Marcus walked out of the small exam room, there was almost no light since the concrete walls had no windows, and the shade covered the exam room window. He walked out of the room, and looking around noticed that all the lights were out. He walked to the desk at the front and picked up the phone.
There was no dial tone, no clicking, no nothing. His cell phone didn’t turn on; the screen didn’t even light up. It was completely dead. He tossed it on the desk and walked to the front door. Pushing the door open, he looked around in the bright afternoon sun and froze.
The northern lights were so intense they lit up the daytime sky. His mind went back to one of the shows he watched late one night after his mating, while Rachel rested between rounds of sweaty sex.
It was a “Top Ten Extinction Events” program on Discovery. Supervolcanoes, comets, pole shifts, and EMP attacks. Whether from a natural event or enemy attack, the electromagnetic pulse wiped out power lines and electronics, bringing society back to the days before electricity. It also destroyed the ozone layer and released massive amounts of radiation. His mouth dropped, and he ran back inside. This wasn’t his Pack, so he didn’t have the Pack bond to talk to the Alpha.
Rushing back into the room, he looked at Al. “Contact your Alpha, tell him our country may be under attack. He needs to get everyone underground RIGHT NOW.” They rushed out of the room, heading for the Pack safe room in the basement of the clinic and town hall. Marcus grabbed his medical bag, then followed them to the stairway. He could see people running towards the main building. They were well trained and disciplined, no one was panicking, and the families were sticking together. Some had even grabbed “go bags” from their houses before making their way here. He watched as Luna Kelly Pierce helped move the young ones down the stairs while Alpha Calvin made one last circuit of the small town, making sure everyone was gone. He was the last one down the stairs before the hatchway was closed and locked down from the inside.
“What’s going on, Marcus?” Alpha Calvin’s eyes almost glowed in the near darkness; a candle was lit on the far side of the cavernous basement room that was their safe place. Those who had cellphones were frustrated as they tried to get them to work, none would even light up. The LED lights in the room were also dead, despite the battery backup that was meant to keep them going for days.
“In a moment the power is out, electronics stop working and we have aurora borealis displays in the middle of the day.” He raised his voice so all could hear. “All are signs of an electromagnetic pulse. It could be a huge solar storm, or it could be a nuclear warhead exploded hundreds of miles above us. In any case, we need to stay underground for a while.” He looked over at Megan, who was sitting on a bunk in the back. “No young children or pregnant women should leave here unless necessary. They will be more affected by radiation. If possible, only older males and women past childbearing age should be allowed out, and only then at night and even then not before midnight.”
Alpha Calvin nodded, then looked at his Pack. “No one leaves without my or Beta Donald’s permission. I want the women and children to stay near the back, where we have the most dirt and concrete above us.” He walked among them, sending them calming messages. “We prepared for this; we practice hiding out for days in case of attack. We will get through this together. Now, Luna Kelly will organize a schedule for meals and child care, while Beta Donald will be in charge of setting up a rotation for lookouts and patrols. If you have any concerns, bring it up to your Betas or me.” By now, he had touched or looked at every one of his forty-one Pack members. “Let’s stay busy and make the best of it.”
Once everyone had settled, he motioned for Beta Donald and Marcus to join him at a table near the stairway. Calvin looked directly at Marcus. “How bad is this going to be?”
Marcus sighed. “I don’t know. Whatever happened, it was enough to turn every computer, every electronic device we have into a doorstop. We have these chips everywhere, from refrigerators to cars. Anything dependent on them is junk now.” He looked up at the lights. “I doubt you’ll get power back easily. Focus on simple stuff, like portable generators and well pumps. Maybe you can get something to work. Water and food are priorities. After dark tonight, you should send people out to gather all the food and water they can find. Anything perishable, cook and eat it soon. You’ve got 24 hours or so before stuff thaws out in the freezers.”
Calvin looked at him. “What about you?”
He grimaced. “Something like this… it’s not a local thing. It’s regional, national, even worldwide. My family is in danger. I have to be with them.” He looked around. “You don’t have any significant medical issues, so with your permission, I’ll leave after dark tonight. I’ll see if I can find a vehicle that runs.”
Beta Donald scowled at him. “And if not?”
“Then I run.”
Donald laughed. “Blinky the Three Legged Wolf is going to make a run for it?”
Marcus punched his shoulder lightly. “Yep. You didn’t see my new toy, did you?” He reached into his bag and pulled out an artificial limb made for a dog, but scaled for his size. “I’m not the fleetest of foot, but I can manage.”
Donald looked it over, smiling as he did so. “Knobby tire… so you’ve got four paw drive?”
“Yep. I can’t sprint, but I can keep up a good pace, especially on level ground. I’m still getting used to it.”
Calvin looked off for a moment and then smiled as the Becker twins walked up. There was a silent conversation between them, and then their father walked up to join them. Marcus waited patiently for the Pack conversation to end.
Finally, Calvin turned to him. “I can’t let you go without an escort, we need you to stay safe, and I don’t know what is out there. Eric and Derek will go back with you; they can also carry some of your gear. They have relatives in your Pack, so they can stay there for a day and then come back.” He paused and looked at the pair of 19-year-olds. “With no other communications, runners are the only way we can make sure our Packs stay safe. I’ll write a letter for you to take to Richard for me. It’s important we stay united in this uncertainty.” Marcus nodded.
After dark, several men left the shelter and spread out among the small town. Marcus went to the clinic, packing what he needed and distributing it among the packs he and the Beckers would be carrying. He stripped down and removed his artificial leg, stowing it all in his backpack. He then explained how the artificial dog leg worked before shifting. Eric placed it on his leg and tightened the Velcro straps before Marcus tested it out in the hallway. Once shifted, he didn’t have any communication that didn’t involve physical gestures or wolf vocalizations since he wasn’t in their Pack. When he was satisfied with the leg, he moved to the front door. The boys let him out, then stripped and shifted into their wolves- dark grey with black masks and feet. You could only tell them apart by smell or by their mask, which was heavier on Eric’s left side and more even with Derek. With a chuff, they started an easy pace down the road, heading for Salmon.
“I can’t see!”
Bethany’s scream jolted Josi into action. She ran out on the sandbar, Cheyenne right behind her. Taking Bethany’s other hand, she began to lead her back towards the tents that had been set up. “Willow, open the tent and open up a sleeping bag!” She watched as Willow ran into the tent, tossing other equipment out as she made room. Bethany was crying as she walked back across the sand; Josi could see she had a severe sunburn, and some areas were starting to blister already.
“Oh god oh god, it hurts!” Brittney was just ahead of them, and since she could still see they were going faster. Cheyenne helped her lay down in the tent on the right side; the whole front of her body was a lobster red.
“How the fuck did this happen? They were only out there for half an hour!” Willow was looking at her in shock, carefully removing the bikini from her so it wouldn’t irritate the burns.
“I don’t know. Move aside; we’re coming in.” Josi carefully led a sobbing Bethany in the large tent. Making sure she was only touching her back, she removed her string bikini and then helped her lay down. She couldn’t even grab her arm from the pain; she had to keep her hand under her armpit. Once she settled, Josi took command as she always had in their group. “First off, everyone finds your sunglasses. WEAR THEM, even in the tents, or cover your eyes with a shirt. Put on shirts and pants if you can, cover as much skin as you can handle. Whatever happened today, the sun is something fierce, so stay out of it as much as possible. Willow, get some water from the river and a couple of shirts, use them to help cool off these burns. Don’t pop the blisters, and keep away from any open sores. Cheyenne, you find something to cover their eyes and then look in their bags for their sunglasses. I’m going to talk to our guides.”
She reached into her pack and grabbed the poncho from the bottom, unfolding it she put it over her clothes and put the hood over her head. Unzipping the tent, she went down along the shadows of the canyon wall towards the tent their guides had set up well away from their two. As she approached, it was clear why they had picked an isolated location so far away. She heard it well before she got there.
“Oh God… fuck yes… pound my ass hard! Yes! Yes!” She could see the movement inside the tent as she approached, they had the rain flap back to give the air a chance to circulate inside, and that gave her a view of Chip’s muscled ass driving forward into Rose. He had her legs up on his shoulders and was holding on to them with one hand while the other was holding her ass up.
Josi froze in place. She wasn’t completely innocent, she had gone as far as heavy petting with her previous boyfriend and had seen some porn on the computer, but seeing things live wasn’t something she expected. Josi watched in fascination, taking in the horny and fit young couple just ahead of her. Despite the situation she was in, she felt herself getting flushed. She couldn’t bring herself to interrupt, so she watched as they continued to go at it just ten feet away.
He was straining as they moved to a finish, her moans became almost continuous as she frigged herself to a climax. “Oh God.. Chip… I’m coming… I’m COMING!” She started to spasm as he pounded her faster until he let out a groan and drove forward hard. Holder her still in his arms, he listened to her scream as rope after rope of hot jizz shot into her ass.
Josi was at their tent now, but she moved to the side so she wasn’t in direct view. “Get dressed, we need help.”
Rose screamed and scooted back on the sleeping bag, while Chip just turned around, his cock still hard and proud. He looked at Josi with lust. “Why, do you want some of this too?”
“No.” Josi turned around. “Britney and Bethany are hurt. Both have serious sunburns and Bethany’s lost vision. I need the first aid kit, and we need to get help here fast. Now pull your shorts up and help, we haven’t much time.” She waited while the guides got clothes on, wondering how they were going to get out of this fast. The canyons were steep, and people were scarce, they hadn’t seen another group on the river today. Soon Chip was out of the tent, a small first aid kit in his hands. “Let me see that.” She opened the kit; a glance told her it was practically useless, a collection of band-aids, an ace bandage, and a quick-ice pack. It was suited to scrapes and bumps, but nothing for burns.
Chip started to walk towards the girls’ tents. “Come on; I’ll see what I can do. I got first aid training.”
Josi laughed. “Really? We all had that in Brownies. Between us, we have plenty of experience, and the girls aren’t going to be seen this way by any man who isn’t a doctor. I’ll take care of them, and I need help. None of our phones work, and I don’t know this area.”
Rose had made it out now and was next to him. “My phone didn’t boot up; the battery must be dead. We’ll have to go get help.” She put her arm around Chip’s waist. “How far back to the landing?”
Chip thought for a moment. “We’re about eight miles downstream right now. There is a road up top, if we can climb out of the canyon and get to it we can make good time back there. It’s four o’clock now; we should be able to jog back and make it before dark.”
Josi looked at him with concern. “Something is wrong; look at the sky. There’s no way the girls should have gotten so badly burned in so short a time.”
Rose laughed. “Girl, we’ve been out on this river all summer. We don’t burn. You girls stay together; we’ll go get help. Come on, Chip.” She went into the tent and started to fill a backpack with bottled water and dried food.
Josi stepped in front of him. “I’m serious. Something is wrong.”
“Just take care of the girls, I got this.” With a smirk, he walked off downstream with Rose, looking for a place they could climb out of the canyon. Josi felt in her gut she wouldn’t see them again.
She turned back, first aid kit in hand, and went back to her friends.
Rachel was mixing the batter for brownies, while Mary was cleaning up the dining room after a late lunch. The pups were in Raven’s bedroom for their afternoon nap; both were exhausted after playing out in the above ground swimming pool all morning long. It was common for them to nap together, they had been best friends as long as they could remember and often cuddled up for naps in human or wolf form.
“So what do you have planned for dinner,” Mary asked. Ever since they had kids, the two families had eaten together, alternating days in each other’s kitchen. It kept the amount of cleaning down, and since they were all family, it was fun getting together; even with two houses next to each other, they behaved more like one big family. The Pack owned an expanse of land just south of Salmon, Idaho that backed up to the mountains and national parks. They weren’t the biggest pack at 21 members, but they were strong. Their Alpha pair, Rachel’s parents, lived in their midst in a big Victorian house with the white picket fence. Marcus and Rachel lived across the road from them on a half-acre homesites along the road and now there were seven houses total.
“Marcus said he would be back late, so I’m making a venison roast and potatoes.” She looked out the window and smiled wistfully. “I love him, but I sometimes wish his job wouldn’t take him away so often. You’re lucky, Tom’s firehouse is close enough he can come home for lunch.” She smirked a little, then looked at Mary. “Or a nooner.”
Mary blushed and looked away. Busted! She had hoped Rachel wouldn’t notice that Tom had eaten lunch quickly and then they had been together in their house for twenty minutes before he went back to work. “Let she who has never snuck a quickie in my kitchen cast the first stone.” She tossed the washcloth over to Rachel, who caught it and rinsed it out in the sink.
“Hey, that wasn’t my fault. And it worked, I got Raven out of it.” She laughed, and they were just about to go to their living room when the power went out. “Shit. I’ll check the breaker.” She went down to the basement and found every breaker in the panel tripped, and the whole thing was giving off an acrid smell. Leaving it alone, she went back up the stairs where Mary was waiting. “Let’s take the kids to your house. Maybe you still have power.”
Mary nodded and turned towards the stairs, but both froze as their Alpha’s voice blasted across the Pack bond. He had tried to call his daughter when the power went out, but when his house phone AND his cell phone didn’t work he assumed the worst. “ATTACK PROTOCOL, EVERYONE TO THE BUNKERS. ALL PACK MEMBERS REPORT HOME IMMEDIATELY. NOTIFY ME OF ANY SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR.” The defense strategies were known and regularly practiced; although they had good relations with their neighbors and the humans, it may not always be the case. Mary and Rachel rushed upstairs, each grabbing their child. They hugged them tightly as they ran back down the stairs to their hall closet. Mary handed off Michael while she pulled the hatch up that led to the bunker below their house. Once it was up, she climbed down the stairs and raised her arms to take Michael from Rachel. She ran over to a bunk and set the still sleeping boy along the back, then came back to take Raven. As soon as Rachel was in, she secured the heavy steel hatch with cross bolts and came over to the table and chairs where Mary was waiting. “Alpha, Mary, and our boys are secure, Marcus is at North Fork, and Tom is at work.” It was too far away for Rachel to mind link with her mate, but Tom reassured Mary he was fine. The kids were still sleeping, having cuddled up to each other on the bunk.
“Thank goodness we have this battery powered LED lighting.” Mary didn’t like being in the shelter; as a born human she did not find them to be as comforting as her wolf side did. She pulled out her cellphone, figuring she could play some Candy Crush to soothe her nerves, but it wouldn’t power up. “That’s funny; it was just working before I came over.”
Rachel pulled her phone out, and it didn’t work either. “Alpha, something happened to the phones, we weren’t using them and now they won’t even power up.”
Alpha Wolfe replied, “Mine either. Can anyone get a cellphone or walkie talkie to work?” A few minutes later, the answer was a resounding NO. Tom even checked their fire department communications; none of their phones, cellphones or radios worked, and their fire trucks would not start nor would their doors open.
“Mary, I’m coming home. We can’t do anything here.” Tom kept the link open to the rest of the Pack.
“Tom, what do you see out there?”
“It’s a mess. Cars stalled out in the middle of the road, people just stumbling around. The sky is weird, it’s like we have aurora borealis, but it’s the middle of the day. The sun hurts my eyes, even with sunglasses on.” He paused. “Some of the guys think we may be under attack, a high-altitude nuclear burst or something. I’ve never seen the sky look like this; it’s freaking me out.”
There was a pause before the Alpha spoke. “Grab anything you think will be of use and get in the bunker with your family. I want everyone underground until further notice.”
Ten minutes later, Tom was at the hatch. He had grabbed a cooler out of the garage, tossed in some ice and put all the perishable food he could into it. He lowered it down, then came down the ladder and embraced his mate. “I love you, Mary. I don’t know what is happening or how to keep you safe yet, but I will.”
She kissed him and then she took the dark sunglasses off of him. She looked at him, her mouth open, trying to figure out what was going on. “Tom… how long were you outside?”
“Maybe fifteen minutes.” He looked at her quizzically. “Why?”
“You’ve got a little sunburn on your face.” She poked his cheek and watched how it took a while to return to the normal color.
“That’s impossible; Werewolves don’t get sunburnt. We heal too fast for that.” He walked over to the sink and looked in the mirror. “Huh. That’s never happened. It’s all right though, I can already see it healing up.” Using the bond, he warned the Pack. “The changes in the sun caused me to burn in under fifteen minutes. Alpha, we need to stay underground until it is dark.”
“Agreed. After dark, we’ll send a few out to patrol.” He cut the communication to just Tom. “Tom, if it did that to you, what is happening to the humans right now?”
He sighed. “Pain.”