We got into the Bentley and started driving. I was bursting with curiosity and questions after our little meeting, but before I could even ask Theo beat me to the punch.
“Yes. He is your grandfather. There are too many greats in front of the title to mention all of them, but you share the same blood.” He said.
I was a distant relative to VonRieger? What did this mean, was I half wolf?
“The story I told Rieger was the truth. What I didn’t elaborate on was the fact that I have been keeping tabs on every descendant of Aleana’s since. Trying to keep them safe and helping when I could.” Theo said
“So was my real father was the descendant?”
“No. Your mother. You two were the last living descendants of that line.”
This really was incredible information. The thought that my mother had the blood of an immortal made me wonder.
“Did you know my mother?”
There was something in his look when he said that. I could tell that he knew I sensed it.”
Things started to piece together in my mind. All of these seemingly random events were connecting. My mind was racing and piecing together numerous events that I thought were random.
“Like you, she worked for me at one time. She was a fantastic woman. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you.” Theo said.
Hearing him say nice things about my mother brought back a flood of memories and I had to fight back the tears.
“She was killed because of who she was, wasn’t she?”
“I believe so, but until we discover who is behind all these other events we won’t know for sure.”
“They have to be connected, don’t you think?” I said.
“It would be an incredible coincidence if not.” Theo said.
When he said this I could see his demeanor change to a somber one.
“I’m sorry Jack. If I had thought that there was a chance her identity was compromised I would have taken more precautions. I failed your mother and there is no apology that could possibly make up for it. I hope you can forgive me.” Theo said.
“It’s not your fault Theo. There is evil in this world, plain and simple, and there always will be.” I said.
Knowing Theo the way that I did I knew his guilt must have been eating at him something terrible. There was no way he could be everywhere at once, but I could see that he felt directly responsible for her death.
I thought about my mother and wondered what she would have done if she had the opportunity to become like me. Would she have taken it?
“What am I Theo, some freak of nature?” I asked.
“No, you are a gem of nature. A very rare one at that. There are legends of individuals like yourself, which is why you are causing such a stir throughout the community. If you haven’t guessed, the fact that you have taken on some wolf traits after your transformation has many worried and others curious. Both can be troublesome in the wrong situation. Everyone fears what they don’t understand. We all know what happens when people fear things.” Theo said.
He didn’t have to elaborate on that last point. The message was loud and clear.
“What happened to the others like me? Any still alive?”
“No one really knows.” Theo said
The attention I was getting was overwhelming and I have only been dealing with it for a very short time. I wouldn’t have doubted that the others went into permanent hiding. The thought crossed my mind a few times.
There was one question I needed to know, but felt like it may be a little more delicate. I tossed it around in my head for a second or two, before just spitting it out.
“When Rieger spoke about the letter he received I got the impression that he thought that I was your Heir.” I said.
“Yes. The fact that someone knows are history enough to fabricate an appropriate lie is troublesome.”
“Then I’m not…?”
Though I observed no trace of deception in what Theo had just said, I felt like there may have been more to the story. I didn’t press that particular issue as there were too many other things that needed to be dealt with. There was no denying that the unrest in the community as it were, as well as the attacks on those Theo cared about, was taking its toll on him. I had never seen him so worried. I had bothered him enough with my issues for the moment and remained quiet for the rest of the ride.
“I’m going to drop you off at the warehouse where Steve is currently working. Give him a hand for awhile if you don’t mind and if you find anything let me know right away.” Theo said.
“I will.” I said simply.
“You did good today Jack. I’m proud of you.” Theo said, and when he did he gave me reassuring fatherly smile.
To the average person those words may seem mundane or cliché. To me they couldn’t have been more special. I had never had a father figure in my life. A good one anyways, and those simple words went straight to the heart and choked me up enough that if I had tried to speak it may have been tough. I kept quiet and nodded.
When we reached the ware house the overhead door was already open, presumably from a remote in Theo’s car. He said he had some other business to attend to and we would meet up later.
Steve was by himself working on the computer at a desk that looked new. I didn’t remember it being there the last time I was here.
“Hey Jack!” Steve said.
Steve’s good nature and friendly way about him was infectious. He was always in a good mood and it was hard not to follow suit when with him.
“Any luck?” I asked as I walked over to the area where he was working
I watched as he worked and saw things on the computer I had never seen before. I had heard of the Dark Web, but had never seen it. It was interesting to say the least. A criminal’s paradise.
Steve and I chatted while he worked, mostly about Bili, and how I was dealing with being rock star. Those were his words of course, and I didn’t know what to say.
It was only about thirty minutes before Steve started chuckling to himself. I took this as a good sign. He smiled wide and turned the screen toward me so I could see it better.
“TruVamp was a decent lead, but take a look at this Jacky boy. I think we may have something we can work with.” He said.
I looked at the screen then back at him.
“I think you are right. You’re a genius. We better call Theo right away.” I said, reaching for my phone.
Steve grabbed my arm before I could make the call.
“I may be overly paranoid, but this group seems to have quite a knack for obtaining information, which leads me to believe they are extremely tech savvy. Cell calls are not that hard to pick up with the right scanner equipment. Just text him the meat of it.”
I texted Theo and he responded right away. It just said:
Bili’s apartment ASAP
“Okay, let’s get going.” I said
He packed away his computer and a few other sundries in a backpack and we went out a back door I didn’t even know was there. His car was in back and for some reason I wasn’t surprised to see he was driving a Beetle. What I was surprised to find was that the engine in the thing sounded like a muscle car. I was seeing a trend with my new brethren. Apparently we do not like to travel slow. Ever.
“Where we going?” Steve asked
When I told Steve where we were going his eyes lit up. I would love to play poker with Steve. I had to wonder how long he had been pursuing her. Was it, months, years, centuries? It was obvious from the first meeting at the warehouse that it wasn’t the first time Steve had fawned over her. The uncomfortable look on Bili’s face was priceless and I took great pleasure in it.
When we arrived at Bili’s apartment and I saw Theo’s Caddy parked out front. I had never been inside Bili’s place before and I was curious to see what it would look like. It was a third floor unit of a luxury apartment complex only a few blocks from the POH.
Bili had been staying in the POH flat with me for the past few weeks, so I was assuming that there was something we needed for this mission at her apartment.
Bili opened the door before we even knocked then continued gathering a few things into a backpack. I took a glance around the space and was not surprised. To say that Bili was a minimalist would be a huge understatement. The walls were blank, no TV, and no real furniture to speak of other than a small couch and a reading chair. She had a few unpacked boxes on the floor next to the balcony door-wall, and not much else. It looked like she had moved in this morning.
“Were you robbed?” I asked, only half joking.
“Shut up.” Bili said without looking up from her task.
“Hi Bili.” Steve said grinning.
Bili was still packing items and paid us no attention.
“Steve.” She said in acknowledgement, still not looking at Steve.
I was looking at Bili in a whole new light as she was running around her apartment. All I could think of was what Theo had told me. I had an overwhelming urge to hug her and tell her how sorry I am for everything that happened to her. I know it centuries ago, but the thought of anyone hurting her that way was hard to think about. This girl saved my life, giving no thought to her own safety. I was in her debt, and I hoped one day I could repay her.
“What’s the plan?” I said.
“The information you got paid off.” Bili said, throwing the last few sundries into her duffle. “We have to meet Theo and Jacques and I mean right now.”
Bili tossed me the keys to Theo’s caddy.
“You’re driving. Steve, you’re in the back.” She said.
I felt for Steve. I’m sure he had no idea of her past. The walls he would have to hurdle to get remotely close to her would be herculean.
We got in the car and headed out with purpose.
“Where are we going?” I said.
Bili gave me a general location and said that we would get more specific instructions from Theo shortly.
Steve was sitting in the back, but leaning forward between the seats like a teenager trying to be part of the front seat conversation. I could see in the rear view mirror that he was staring at Bili. He had it bad.
“Heard you had an interesting visit with Rieger.” Bili said.
“Holy shit! Murdoc VonRieger? Really?” Steve interrupted. “What was he like? I’ve heard stories. Did he kill anyone?”
Apparently this Rieger was a pretty big deal. After meeting him I can see why. He did little to give the impression that he was someone to trifle with. The respect he was given by Theo and Jacques said volumes in and of itself. I wanted to say that the only person he almost killed was me.
“He wasn’t a ball of laughs that’s for sure.” I said.
“I can believe it. He’s the most notorious wolf that ever lived. His reputation is worldwide.” Steve said as he shook his head, still not believing what he had heard.
“Did you know about the other thing?” I said as I looked at Bili.
“That he’s my grandfather.” I said.
“What!” Steve said, again in disbelief. The look on his face was pure shock.
“Yes. I told you a long time ago...” Bili said.
“Complicated.” I said as in a drawn out mocking tone.
“See. Now you are getting it.” Bili said.
“Is there something else? As shocking as that was to find out I have wolf blood, I sensed there was more to it.”
“Hmm.” Bili said.
“Hmm? What do you mean, hmm?”
I noticed a slight hand twitch as Bili grabbed a piece of her hair and twirled it. Both small signs I have picked up from Bili when she is hiding something.
Poor Steve was in the back dying to ask a million questions. I’d never seen someone fidget so much in my life. He was a ball of energy of the verge of exploding.
“I don’t know everything Jack.” Bili said.
“You know a lot.” I said.
“Most of which you ended up learning the hard way. Remember?” She said.
“Hey. It’s Steve, from the back seat. I still can’t believe what I just heard. That explains the eyes I guess. And why you are still alive. So, he isn’t the one trying to kill everybody and start a war?”
“Doesn’t look that way.” I said.
“Slow down, we are almost there.” Bili said. “I need to contact Theo for his exact location. They were on the move in this area.” She said.
We pulled into a vacant lot and I parked as Bili sent Theo a text. He responded immediately with his location.
“You know where the Downs are?” She said
“Yeah. Less than 5 minutes from here.”
The City of Northville is very nice and upscale. It was known for nice restaurants, coffee shops, clothing stores and a few pubs, but the city did have one large attraction that was a boast for some and the bane of others. A Horse Racing Track.
I always liked it. It was a people watching paradise, almost equal to Ann Arbor. When the Triple Crown was running it was like being there. Everyone went all out and the women even wore those awesomely ridiculous hats. Though the race was just on the TV you could bet and feel like you were part of the action.
Today was a different story. The Track had its usual Wednesday afternoon crowd, which was not that substantial. When I circled the perimeter of the northern portion of the lot I could see Theo’s work van parked amid a few other vehicles. It didn’t have any markings, and from the outside it looked like any other work van. It was Plain white and blended in nicely with the surroundings. The sun was facing the front windshield and I figured this was no accident. Anyone looking this direction would only get bright mirror like reflection of the sun, hiding everyone inside.
I pulled directly behind the van, attempting to conceal the Cadillac as best I could. I figured whatever he was looking for was near the main building or the stables the van was facing. Jacques opened the rear door and waved us inside.
The three of us made our way into the van via rear door and Steve closed it behind him.
“Hey Theo.” Steve said. Then he looked at Jacques. “Sasquatch.”
Jacques didn’t move or respond. He didn’t take his eyes off whatever he was watching.
I still couldn’t get over how Steve talked to Jacques and got away with it. I made a mental note to ask Theo about it later. Now was definitely not the time.
“The information you uncovered paid off.” Theo said. “See that brown pick-up truck near the stables? After we received your text we broke off the surveillance we were doing and came here to wait for the mark to arrive. A short time later that truck showed up.” Theo said.
“Who’s driving the truck?” I asked.
With my new eyes I could see that the truck was occupied, but not much else. It was pretty far, and it was parked at an awkward angle.
“TruVamp” Theo said. “Even better, it was the vehicle we were following originally. Imagine our delight when it pulled in and parked.”
“So you did find him? Thought you were losing your touch.” Steve said, looking at Jacques
Jacques gave a grunt that could have been interpreted in several ways.
“The real prize in all of this may be the one who is coming to meet him.” Theo said.
I finally felt like we were about to get some answers. Whoever was behind this had made it very personal when they killed my mother, as well as Viki. I wanted to know why. Then I wanted something else.
Jacques looked over at me.
“Have you adjusted young man?”
“Yes sir. I believe so.” I said.
I really had no idea if the change was fully complete or if I had some growing pains yet to endure. Theo said it was a little different for everyone, but my unique bloodline made it even more unpredictable.
Jacques gave me another look over, as if verifying something, then nodded in what I determined as some sort of approval.
We weren’t waiting for more than another ten minutes before Theo saw something of interest.
“The white Jaguar pulling in from the west entrance.” Theo said as he sat up taking particular notice.
A brand new Jag pulled into the parking lot driving slow and deliberate. It headed straight for the brown truck. Even with our vision we were too far to get a clear look at faces, but it was obvious that the driver of the Jag was female. She pulled next to the truck and began to speak with the driver without ever getting out. She was cautious. She also had on sunglasses, which made it harder to recognize her.
“You recognize the car?” I asked.
“No, but the driver has a familiar look about her. We need to get closer.” Theo said.
Its tough spying on someone when they have the same abilities as you. One small error in judgment and our cover would be blown. This would be tricky, and I was more than curious to see how it went down. I felt out of my league at the moment and hoped I didn’t screw things up.
As we were focused on the Jaguar Bili noticed something else.
“What the hell is this?” She said.
Another vehicle pulled in from the opposite side of the lot, not driving slow or cautious. Even from a distance you could see that the two individuals in the vehicle looked larger than average.
They were in a plain white four door vehicle of some kind, which was not designed for the size of the passengers.
I looked over at Steve and he just shrugged. This was news to him as well.
“This is going to complicate things.” Theo said.
The white car pulled alongside the truck, opposite of the Jag, and parked. It looked as though something was exchanged and within moments then all three vehicles took off in different directions in haste.
“What do we do?” Bili said.
“Bili and Steve come with me. We’ll take the wolves.” Jacques said.
Without a moment’s hesitation Theo and I jumped out the back door and into the caddy.
Knowing that we had a tracker on TruVamp’s truck he was less the priority. We were playing the odds that the other two would produce better results. Not to mention the woman in the Jag was a complete mystery and appeared to be of some importance.
Theo drove and stepped on it. The roar of the engine bellowed and we took off like bullet.
We headed west hoping to pick up the Jag as it came onto the main road. We past a row of tall office buildings and when we came back out the Jag was nowhere in sight.
“Theo, turn right. There’s a back road that may cut off her route.” I said.
I knew the area pretty well and unless this person was heading toward the country side, they had to be heading back east to pick up a main road or the freeway.
Theo didn’t hesitate as he turned on a dime and gunned it. We cut through the historical neighborhood and as we were about to reach the highway the Jag burst right past us. This time the driver was close enough to get a good look at her. She also got a look at us.
“What the hell?” Theo and I said simultaneously.
We looked at each other wondering how the other knew this person.
“You know her?” Theo asked, turning his attention back the road, driving like a professional. He was trying to catch the Jag that was pulling away from us.
“That’s Ceana.” I said. “My friend Cyndi tried to set me up on a blind date with her. I’m guessing that’s not her real name?”
We went around a tight corner and the caddy held tight without sliding out of control. The speed we were traveling was concerning, but near as much as the fact that we were not gaining on the Jag.
“Damn she is fast. Her name is Parrus and I thought she was dead. Trust me when I tell you that I was much happier when I believed that to be true.” Theo said.
Another tight turn before coming to a main road. We could see the Jag in the distance and Theo gave it everything it had. There were some train tracks approaching, along with a slight increase in grade. Theo didn’t slow down and when we hit the tracks I believe all four tires left the earth for a moment. The road we were on was one hill after another. We would see the Jag then it would disappear the next second as it went down a hill. I thought we may be gaining ground, but after we crested the last hill and the road became flat the Jag was no longer in sight. There was a freeway ahead and several different directions it could have gone.
The look on Theo’s face said it all. He wanted to catch her in the worst way. I could tell that this woman was well known to him, and possibly behind what’s been going on.
“Why would she be involved with the wolves? She hated them.” Theo said thinking out loud.
Theo’s frustration was plain as he just pulled over and put the car in park.
“Who is she?” I asked. The question seemed to bring him out of a deep thought.
“She is one of our kind as you may have guessed. She is not as old as I am, but she is experienced let’s say. I had some dealings with her for a short time. Once I discovered she was deranged, psychotic, and beyond evil, I cut all ties. I hadn’t seen her in centuries. Though she is crazy, she is very intelligent. Can you think of a more disturbing combination?”
“What do you think she wants?” I asked.
“That’s the question alright. Her motivations have always been an enigma. You could never tell what she was after, or why. I know one thing for certain. She is not working alone. She does not care for Jacques or me, but she is a follower. She always finds someone to cling to and do their dirty work. That being said, it wouldn’t be just anyone either.”
Theo’s phone chimed with a text message. When he checked it he smiled a sinister grin.
“They have one of the wolves and they’re not too far.