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Chapter 31: Cat burglar

I drove the big white SUV through the back trails that were little-used accesses to the Gila Pack lands. We were heading out the west side, far from our target in Albuquerque, then we would make a wide loop to return to the town from the north. We couldn’t risk the shooter or her allies picking up on us as we left the safety of the Pack.

Gunny was wearing sunglasses and we had bleached then dyed his hair a light brown, plus he had shaved his light beard. I had my new blonde wig in a high ponytail, poking through the back of my Diamondbacks ballcap. We were all dressed in touristy attire, made more believable by the lack of sun that Charlotte and I showed on our skin. She had insisted on coming along, and after a battle I had finally agreed. Josh knew that we would need eyes on both sides of the houses, and Gunny needed someone who could scout out the security system without raising suspicion.

We finally agreed that Charlotte would pretend to be a high school student selling Christmas wreaths for a swim team trip. We downloaded a form and borrowed a clipboard. One of the Pack members had a T-shirt from a local private school, and with that her disguise was complete.

“Comm check, one two three…”

“Loud and clear,” Charlotte replied with a smile to her mate, who was working furiously on his laptop keyboard. She adjusted the in-ear transceiver slightly. “So, I just talk normally, right?”

“Yes, you’ll be able to hear me, and I can hear you,” he said. “Mom, Dad, I need you guys to use the mindlink so you don’t step on her communications.”

Sure Josh,” I replied. “I’m still not used to you calling me that.”

“It will be Grandma soon enough,” he smirked. “We want a big family and we’re getting started on it right away. With the Pack’s help she can still do college as she pops them out.”

“You’re lucky she isn’t in on this conversation, Josh, just wait until she has the first one and threatens to emasculate you if you look at her that way again.”

He just chuckled. “Yeah, just like Alpha Ella, right? She had twins first and that didn’t put her off from more.”

“Ella’s not normal, that woman gets pregnant just from thinking about her mate! And I’m too young to be a Grandma!”

Just wait until you see your mating present from us, Mom.”

I glared at him, then looked over at Charlotte. “Mating present?”

“Of course, Mom. It’s bigger than a wedding. It should be here soon, and we’ll get it put together for you.” Oh God, I thought, what did that kid do now?

“So, you two are talking about starting a family already?”

“We talk about everything, Mom. He comes from a big family, I’ve always wanted one. I want to be like Ella, start young so I can enjoy them before I get all ancient-like. You know, like Gunny.”

“HEY!” Gunny’s head snapped around at the insult. “I’m NOT old.”

“Twice my age and then some,” she cheekily responded. “You’re so old, you have T-shirts of legal drinking age.”

He stared at her for a minute, then looked at me. “You believe this stuff?”

“It’s true,” I said. “But they are nice T-shirts.” He stared at me, his mouth open, until I busted out laughing and the others joined in. “At least I’m not that way, I’m so young looking now I can pass for her older sister.”

“Are you two planning on having kittens right away, or are you going to wait,” Josh asked.

“We haven’t really talked about it yet,” Gunny said, “But I can’t wait to see her belly rounded with our children.”

“It’s not time yet,” I replied. “Things need to get settled first. Maybe we can be pregnancy buddies, or would that be too weird?”

We could be pregnant again with her,” my cat said into my head. I asked her what she meant, and she just curled up in a ball and went to sleep again. “Damn cat,” I muttered.

“That might be fun, Mom. The pack house is going to be so busy by then!” That was true. All the young kids were getting bigger, and the other couples were making up for lost time during the war. Our Pack and the Gila Pack were having their own baby booms, thanks to new mates and the peace.

“We’re almost there,” I said as I looked at the GPS. “I’m going to stop a block away.”

“Sounds good,” Gunny said. He looked back at Charlotte. “Remember what to do?”

“Yes, Dad. Start at the end of the block, work my way to his house. Ring the doorbell, verify no one answers. Look for alarm stickers, cameras or motion detectors. Then move on to the next house like nothing happened.”

“And your danger phrase?”

“Wrong house.” If she said that, we would come in and grab her. I pulled to a stop by the curb, the house was just around the corner, so we couldn’t be seen from it. She leaned over and kissed Josh quickly, then got out.

We watched as she went to the first house, talking for a minute before moving down. Five minutes later she was at Luis Hernandez’s house. We knew he was still at the office, with appointment scheduled until after eight PM, so we had several hours before he would be home. “Ringing the doorbell,” she said as we all listened over the radio link. “Brinks Home Security sticker, older logo. No obvious cameras on the porch. No lights on or pets. Normal lock and deadbolt setup on the door, looks to be steel door. No vibration sensors on the windows.”

“That’s enough, Charlotte. Move on to the next house.”

She walked away from the empty home, hitting the houses on the other side before returning to the vehicle ten minutes later. “Made twenty bucks,” she said with a smile. I had to chuckle, the old lady at the house had been very sweet and didn’t want candy, but gave her the cash to help the young student out.

“Stay out here and keep your eyes open,” I said. I drove the car around to the other side of the canyon, so we were in view of his back yard. We waited until the sun set, eating a meal out of the cooler, before it was time. Josh moved into the driver’s seat, leaving his laptop and communication gear next to him. We left the windows rolled down, knowing we could jump in for a quick getaway if needed. If things went well, we would return here, change, dress, then go pick Charlotte up and leave. If it went south, Josh was to make sure Charlotte was safe before coming back to find us.

I stepped out of the vehicle, removing my hat and wig and tossing them in the back seat. I pulled off my sun dress and removed my underwear. My cat was asking me why I even bothered with that anymore, they just got in the way. We exited the car and immediately shifted. I rubbed myself on his side before walking to the driver’s door and putting my big front paws on it. “Here’s your kit,” Josh said as he put the small bag around my neck.

Gunny learned to kill, but I learned how to break in while in the FBI. We had a class at Quantico, taught by a pair of convicted thieves, that went over how to break into a house or car if you ever needed to. I found I had an aptitude for it, my fingers were good at picking locks. The bag carried all my tools.

We moved silently down the side of the canyon, Gunny leading the way as I followed. I felt my cat pushing forward, this was her element and her instincts helped us out. I watched Gunny with interest; for such a huge predator, he moved with grace and absolute silence. We paid attention to how he moved and stepped, keeping to the same places. It took us about twenty minutes to slink to where we were at the fence surrounding his yard. “Josh, we’re here,” I sent.

I’m into the Brinks database. Charlotte was right, it’s an older system, no cellphone backup. Keypad is by the front door. Code is 1987.”

1987.” I followed Gunny around, instead of walking through the yard we went along the side wall until we met the back corner of the house. He leaped up ten feet to the rooftop, looked around and then chuffed for me to come up. I wasn’t as graceful, but my cat helped me out and I scrambled quickly onto the flat roof. We had seen a motion sensor light on the patio door, so Gunny was going to take care of it. He shifted and reached into my bag, removing the small roll of duct tape. Tearing off a strip, he leaned over the edge and covered the light sensor. He shifted back and jumped down to the patio below, I was a little more hesitant, but I followed. We both shifted in the darkness. “I have to get used to that,” I said.

“More time in jaguar form will help,” he said as I opened the bag. I handed him surgeon’s gloves and put a pair on myself, then I pulled out socks with grips on the bottom. We might be supernatural creatures, but we still had fingerprints and footprints that could be left behind. I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and wrapped a scrunchy around it to keep it in place. We didn’t bother with clothes.

The house had a large sliding door leading out from the dining room, but I could see there was a stick at the bottom holding it closed. I went over to the door from the kitchen, this was a normal entry door with a single lock, not even a deadbolt. I pulled out my lock pick set and went to work, feeling for the tumblers.

It took me about fifteen seconds to trip the mechanism and Gunny opened the door. He walked quickly to the front as the alarm sensor beeped; I heard him typing in the code as I closed the door quietly behind us. I looked through the window, no neighbors, no animals and then there was a loud chime followed by “Alarm Off.” I left the door at met him by the hallway.

We checked his bedroom first, not finding anything of interest there. I could smell his scent strongly, along with those of a few females. We searched carefully, using our noses as much as our eyes. No lights were turned on to show we were there, our eyes didn’t need more than the light we had.

Finding nothing, we went across to the spare bedroom, then the office. I was checking his drawer when I felt Gunny’s anger surge through the bond. “I need you,” he sent. I looked over, the closet door was opened and a large gun safe was behind it. I looked at it carefully, it was one with an electronic keypad lock.

Fucking idiot,” I told Gunny as I opened my bag and pulled out my phone. Going to Youtube, I entered the make of the safe and started playing the video on how to break into it. I removed the covering and identified the proper wires, then connected my alligator clips to the right place and I immediately heard a THUNK sound. I opened the safe, letting Gunny look inside while I removed my wires and put the cover back on.

I’m going to fucking kill him. Slowly.” His anger was building, he would destroy something if he didn’t calm down. I pulled him back into my arms, hugging him tightly as he fought to control his breathing. It took a minute, but he eventually moved his hands to my face and kissed me. “Thank you.”

I took a look behind him at what was in the safe, then it was HIS turn to calm ME down. That bastard was going to die, my cat and I agreed. “Get in fucking line,” I snarled into his head. I reached in and removed a block of C-4 explosive from the stack, memorizing the smell before I put it back carefully.

That’s not all, look at this.” On the shelves were a half-dozen high end .45 caliber pistols, all 1911 models. Gunny picked one up and looked at it. “Kimber Master Carry Custom, nice weapon.” He took a grip and pointed it at the wall, a laser light immediately showed up. “Glow in the dark sights, laser grip, custom action.” He pushed the magazine release and showed me the ammunition. “Winchester Silvertips,” he said without comment. He put the magazine back in the beveled well and slapped the rubber-coated bottom in to seat it. He placed it back, looking at the others. “The man likes his guns,” he said.

I took a closer look at the shelves, reading the labels. Luis had been active in police shooting leagues, and there were several plaques from training classes at Gunsight. “Josh, send Luis’ photograph to all the Packs. Let them know he’s working with the shooter and to keep it to werewolves only.”

“Got it, Mom. What’s going on?”

“We’ve been assuming Luis has just been covering for his sister’s activities, helping her to avoid capture.”

Gunny pulled me into him. “Josh, combat rifle and pistol are completely different skill sets. It always bugged me that the first killings at Gila were done at close range with .45’s, and so fast they never got off a warning. Two head shots on moving targets in a second or two isn’t easy.”

I buried my face in his chest. “Unless you’ve been training for years with that pistol, and a badge lets you get close without arousing suspicion.”

There was going to be a long line, and their families had priority on revenge.

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