Beta Ron Carlson’s POV
Arrowhead Pack House
I gathered the warriors around me as Coral and Keith directed the rest. Many of us were still naked, having shifted during the attack to come in behind them in wolf form. I had clothes on, only because I was augmenting the security control team at night. I was still pissed about the lack of warning; the blowing snow made the motion detectors useless on the cameras. We couldn’t see much, and they must have snuck between what we could see. I should have posted men around the house, no matter how cold and miserable it was.
Hindsight is always 20/20, and we lost two Pack members. We owed it to them to learn from this.
The warriors were gathered in the living room since the kitchen was a crime scene. We were going over to check out the home the attackers had based from, while the rest of the warriors from both Packs would secure our territory. “Four of us will go in human form. I’ll be the one in contact with the Sheriff. Charlie, Bonnie, you’ll drive one of the ATV’s back. Peggy, you’re with me. You six will go in wolf form. I want you to run ahead and scout out the neighborhood and the home before we arrive. I need to know how many men are in there, and whether Jerry and Marge Lundergaard are inside.” The six stripped and shifted, taking off out the door while we armed up. “Pistols and rifles, and dress like we’re going to be out there for hours. Meet me outside in five minutes.”
We split up, and I took the tunnels back to our home. I dressed in warm clothes, adding a shoulder holster for my .45 caliber Smith and Wesson M&P pistol. I ran to the mudroom, putting on my winter snowmobile suit, boots, and helmet. I grabbed one of those old-fashioned ear flap fur caps and stuffed it in my pocket, then put on the gloves as I walked out the door. I jogged back along the shoreline to where the ATV’s were. Both were still running from when the attackers had left them.
As soon as Peggy was behind me, we were off. I knew which house it was, and I used the GPS on my phone to point the way as we went across the lake. It didn’t take long to reach the shore again, and we parked the ATV’s on the beach, leaving our helmets there. “We’re here. How are we doing, boys.”
“Jerry and Marge are in the living room, he’s got a bandage on his head but they appear to be all right. We can see one man, early 20’s with a pistol, holding them. Two SUV’s in the driveway, covered with snow, so they’ve been there a while.”
“Keep back far enough to watch, but stay out of sight.” We moved across the frozen yards to the neighbor’s house, which was dark and vacant. I found a spot out of the wind, pulled out my cellphone, and dialed 911.
“911, What is your emergency?”
“This is Ron Carlson, following up on the attack earlier.” I gave the 911 operator the update that five attackers and two residents were dead. Then I gave her the Lundergaard’s address. “We saw they were using our neighbor’s vehicles, so we came over to see if they were all right.”
“Sir, we don’t need you to get involved, we have officers on the way.”
“Miss, I’m not a stranger to fights and I happen to like my neighbors. I brought a few of my friends out here with guns. We took a peek through the windows; Jerry and Marge are hostages, there is one man with a pistol with them. There are two SUV’s out front with California plates, they sure as hell don’t belong to Jerry.” I gave her the plate numbers as they were relayed to me by the scouts.
“Charles, take your knife and cut the tires on those SUV’s so they can’t leave. Be careful, we don’t want to set off any motion-sensitive lights.”
“On it, boss.”
I kept talking to the 911 operator as we waited. “Mr. Carlson, the snowplow and the Deputy’s cruiser will be there in about ten minutes.”
That was good. “Tell them not to turn onto Lakeshore Drive. The kidnapper has a view of the front yard, and if he sees a cop, he might kill them. I’ll send someone to meet him at the turnoff from the highway. I have to go.” I hung up and put on my fur hat; it must be below zero already.
“Peggy, take one of the females with you and wait for the Sheriff’s Deputy at the main road. Bring him back here and stay out of sight.”
Now it was a waiting game. “Everyone, we will wait for the Sheriff to arrive, then back him up as he goes in to rescue the Lundergaard’s. We play this straight up, so all wolves stay out of sight.”
“What if this guy starts doing something more than just watch them,” Bonnie asked.
“Charles and Bonnie, take up sniper positions behind the house. I’ll take the front. If you have to shoot, shoot and we’ll deal with it later. I’m not going to let more innocents die because of these bastards.”
I moved far enough away from the house that I could barely see it, then moved until I had the SUVs blocking the view of me from inside. I took up a position behind the second SUV. I rested my trusty 30-06 Remington 700 bolt-action deer rifle on the bumper and looked into the house. I’d chosen it instead of one of those black rifles for a few good reasons. It was accurate as hell, reliable, and the bigger bullet wouldn’t deflect as much as it went through the windows. I had a good view of the guy with the gun; he was young, maybe twenty. “Anyone else who thinks this guy is a prospect?”
“He’s as scared as the Lundergaard’s are,” one of my men said.
“Scared isn’t good for us. I’d rather have a calm professional than an unpredictable kid.” All it took was one loud noise and he might shoot one of them.
A few minutes later, Peggy sent to me that she heard the plow. “Bring him to me behind the Suburbans, and stay out of sight,” I told her. I kept my eyes on the guy inside, not even turning as the Deputy came up behind me. “Deputy Parker,” he said as he knelt down beside me. “Situation the same?”
“Yes, but this kid doesn’t look stable. Take a look.” He stood and used a pair of compact binoculars to look inside.
“Just the one?”
“Yeah.” I looked at him, he was in his mid-twenties, and I doubt if he had been on the job more than a few years. “What were your instructions?”
“Get here, size it up and call it in,” he said. “Everyone else was pulled to assist Duluth. There’s a few dozen Sons at a hotel there, they are supporting Duluth Police with a raid. Sorry to hear you lost people, I figured with the warning, you guys would be all right.”
I barely bit back the growl. “What warning?”
“Fuck, you guys didn’t know?” I shook my head. “Our Captain got a tip about one AM about a bunch of Sons of Tezcatlipoca who were meeting at this Duluth hotel. He talked to the FBI Task Force and found out they might be here to go after Chase Nygaard and Rori King. That was hours ago; they’ve been trying to move Deputies down to Duluth since then.” He spent some time looking, then sat down. “I’ve got to call this in.”
I opened the link to our Pack leadership. “Alphas, we’ve got a problem. The cops have known for hours that there are a few dozen Sons in Duluth, and they never warned us. The fuckers are using us as bait.”
Chase answered quickly. “We’ll handle that later. I’ll let Frank know; maybe he can find out who is doing it. Keep your head in the game, Beta.”
The sun wasn’t going to rise for another forty minutes. I looked into the scope; he was making calls with the Lundegaards’ phone. No one answered, and he tossed it aside and stood up. Gesturing with his pistol at the couple, he made the two get on their knees, then moved behind him. “Fuck, he’s going to kill them,” I said. “He can’t look in their faces when he does it, that’s why he’s moving.”
“Are you sure?”
“If he starts to aim, I’m taking the shot. Get ready. If I don’t take him down, you fire right behind me after I break the glass.” He was carrying an AR-15 patrol rifle, which was too small a bullet to trust for a first shot. I didn’t have a chance to hear his reply; I saw the guy extend his arm and raise the pistol towards Jerry’s head, and I squeezed the trigger of my rifle. The shot penetrated the window, hitting him in the chest and knocking him backward. I heard two more shots as I got up and ran to the door, kicking it open with the Deputy and Peggy right behind me.
Marge was screaming in Jerry’s arms as we came in, followed by Charles through the back door. The bad guy was dead, one shot in the chest and another in the face, his pistol on the floor next to him. I checked his neck for a pulse to be sure. “He’s dead,” I announced. “Bonnie and Peggy, take them into their bedroom and make sure they are all right,” I said. “All wolves return home. Good job, everyone.”
I opened the action on my rifle, leaning it in the corner by the front door. I pushed it back closed as best I could with the frame broken and the door bent. I started to take off my winter gear, hanging it on the hooks before taking my winter gear off. Charles did the same at the back door, and we all moved to the kitchen and sat down.
We were going to be here a while.
Frank Grimes (DEA-Suspended) POV
Arrowhead Pack Clinic
The adrenalin had worn off, and I hurt like hell from all the places I’d taken shrapnel.
I saw the grenades flying up and turned to run, but I didn’t get far enough away. The blast knocked me into the door frame, making me a little loopy. The stretcher-bearers had moved me onto the operating room table, and a woman in pink scrubs started taking my vitals. “How are you feeling, Mr. Grimes,” she asked.
“Like I should have retired earlier,” I said. “How bad is it?”
“We’ll let the Doctor tell you,” she said as she injected me with something. “It’s a sedative, not strong enough to knock you out but it should dull things a little. There’s a lot of little pieces in you, this might take a while.”
“I need to make a phone call,” I said.
“You’re getting operated on, phones aren’t happening in a sterile zone,” she countered.
“Put it in a bag. I’ll use Siri and speakerphone, so I don’t touch it. I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important; the Task Force needs to know what’s happened here.”
“Let the man talk,” Chase said as he walked in. He’d taken the time to dress in scrubs and a surgical gown, and went to the sink to scrub up. “It’ll keep his mind off the pain.”
“Yes, Doctor,” she said. She put the phone in a clean bag, putting it by his head. Pressing the button, she brought up Siri for him.
“CALL IRENE LINDSTROM,” he said. The call was placed, rang five times, and went to voice mail. “Irene, this is Frank Grimes. I’m with Chase Nygaard, and we just repelled an attack by members of the Sons of Tezcatlipoca at his home near Two Harbors. It’s imperative that I talk to you immediately,” he said. He nodded to Possum, and she ended the call. “Hit the Siri again, please?”
This time he called Frank Donovan. The phone rang four times, and a very sleepy Frank answered the phone. “Frank, It’s Frank Grimes. I need your help.”
“Jesus, Frank, it’s four-thirty in the fucking morning, you’re not my boss anymore, and you’re on vacation. What possible reason could you have to wake me up?”
“Chase and Rori’s home was attacked by the Sons a half-hour ago. We killed five of them.”
“SONOFABITCH!” There was noise as the phone dropped. “I’m up. What do you need?”
“I need to talk to the Task Force, but they’ve moved. I tried calling Irene Lindstrom directly, and she didn’t answer. I need to talk to them.”
“I’ll have them call you. Are you all right?”
“No. The attackers were tossing grenades, and I’ve got a bunch of metal in my ass. We lost two guard dogs in the defense.”
“Shit. I’m not on the Task Force anymore, but I’ll have them call you ASAP. Take care of yourself, Frank.”
“You too.” She hung up the phone, and I groaned in pain as Chase started digging around in my back. “How bad is it, Chase?”
“We’re going to be here a while, and you’ll have lots of new scars,” he said. “You got lucky; you were far enough from it that most of the wounds aren’t deep, and the rest missed vital organs. You’re lucky you were turned away from it and bent over when that grenade blew.”
“The important stuff is still good, right?”
“Christ, Frank, that’s my MOTHER you’re sleeping with, the one I heard you banging last night like a broken screen door in a tornado. You’re lucky I don’t neuter you while you’re here.”
“Don’t take away her happiness, Chase.” She hadn’t shared much, but I could tell she was happy being happy again.
“I won’t. You’ll be in a lot of pain as I remove all the shrapnel, clean out the wounds, and sew them up. I can’t use a general anesthetic, and locals can’t do much, so we’re going to strap you down and see how tough you are.”
Possum leaned down. “I can give you something to bite down on if it gets too bad.”
“Fuck. Can’t I just drink half a bottle of whiskey like in the movies?” This night was going to suck.
“Nope. I’m going to start injecting the sites with lidocaine, you’ll feel some pokes, but you’ll thank me later.” He had been working on me for about half an hour, and I still hadn’t heard from the Task Force when the door opened and Colletta was wheeled in. I smiled, then grunted as Chase dug around again.
“How is he doing,” she asked.
“Your human pincushion will be fine,” I said. “I hope you don’t mind company on bedrest.”
“Not at all,” she said with a smile. She held my hand, and I relaxed into her touch.
“We need to talk about some things,” I said.
“Later. Let’s get you sewn up first.”
Chase and Possum were in a rhythm, working wound to wound. The pile of junk they’d pulled from my body kept growing; he was on my thighs and working down. Suddenly, Chase stopped working and growled. “Those BASTARDS,” he yelled. “I can’t believe it.”
“What happened,” Possum said as I wondered how he could learn anything with no radio on and no phone call.
“Ron talked to the Deputy over at the neighbor’s house, where they are holding the Lundergaard’s. A Duluth Police Captain got a tip last night that the Sons had a few dozen men meeting at a hotel down there. When he called the Task Force, he found out that the Sons were up here to go after Rori and me.”
“And no one warned you,” I finished.
“Yeah. Locals have surrounded the hotel, but they didn’t bother to give us a heads up.” He had to step away from the table and take a few breaths; I could see his hands shaking with rage. “I lost two Pack members because we didn’t know.”
At that point, the phone rang. “Frank Grimes,” I answered.
“Mr. Grimes, this is Deputy Commander Virgil Solozzo with the FBI Sons of Tezcatlipoca Task Force. I understand you were involved in an incident?”
I just got quiet; my woman and her family could have died, and he was treating it like it was nothing. “Commander Solozzo, were you told a few hours ago that the Sons of Tezcatlipoca were gathering in Duluth tonight?”
“I was told of this, but also that the weather was such that they couldn’t go anywhere. We have Hostage Rescue and other assets ready to move in as soon as they can. We are coordinating with local law enforcement so we can take them into custody without endangering civilians.”
“Yeah, right. Like the two guard dogs here who died because you didn’t warn Chase Nygaard there was a threat? Or the retired couple kidnapped in their own home across the lake? You fucked up, Solozzo. You know it, and your team knows it. Quit digging around in my business, and stop poking around in Rori’s past too. You are endangering good people, and I’m tired of it.”
There was a laugh on the other end. “You’re on suspension, Grimes, and you’ll be in jail by the end of the week. We don’t owe you a fucking thing, not after you tipped off people that the raid was coming and good men died. As for Chase Nygaard and his crazy-ass wife, we don’t owe them anything either. I’ve seen her medical records; they make for fascinating reading. What will the Medical Board say about Chase when they find out he was fucking a mental patient just weeks after he signed her release from the looney bin?”
“How did you get a warrant for that, Virgil?”
“We don’t need warrants; this Task Force can do whatever it needs to do to take both gangs down. Chase and Rori are dirty, and I’m going to find out how she got her money and take her down. If the Sons kill them first, that’s even better.”
“You’re an asshole, Virgil. I’m going to enjoy watching your career end, along with anyone else who went along this.”
“You’re out, Grimes.”
“I’ll see you on the news; they will LOVE this recording.” I gestured to Possum, and she ended the call. “This isn’t over.”
“Not by a long shot,” Chase said. He drank a bottle of water, scrubbed in, and started poking around in my legs again.