County Road 266, West of Arrowhead Lake
Fence was driving us away from Lake Arrowhead, intentionally taking roads with less traffic to avoid any roadblocks. We’d lost the cop we saw behind us at the boat ramp, and we knew it was only a matter of time until the All Points Bulletin ended with us pulled over. “We need a new ride,” Fence said. “Anything.”
“I know.” Ahead of us on the right, a garage door opened and we could see a woman with a garbage bag walking out. We passed the home, seeing the Jeep Cherokee in the garage as she dumped the bag in a garbage can. A second later and we were past the trees and out of sight. “Turn in there,” I said as I pointed to a house where the driveway hadn’t been plowed yet, meaning the house was likely vacant. “Stop.” I got out and leaned back in. “Hide this thing behind the garage or shed if you can. Just make sure you can’t see it from the road. Bring our stuff to the end of the driveway and wait.”
“You got it,” he said. “What are you going to do?”
“Get us a clean car.” I turned and walked towards the road, checking my pistol in my jacket pocket and my Bowie knife. I made my way back to the driveway, then moved along the trees until I was in the back yard. Stopping at the side door to the garage, I listened and heard nothing. Inserting the big knife in the door, I jimmied it and pushed it open.
The light was off, and I used my flashlight to make my way around the warm Jeep. Stealing it was pointless if the stolen car gets reported minutes later; we needed time to get back home. I moved to the kitchen door, sheathing the knife and pulling out my Glock. There was no point in using a mask, not when our names and faces were already known.
The door to the home was locked, this time with a deadbolt; I could see it extended with the flashlight. My knife wouldn’t work, but my boot would. I kicked the door once, splintering it, then kicked it open with the second blow. The woman screamed, hiding behind the breakfast bar with a chef’s knife. “Drop it,” I yelled as I pointed my pistol at her head. “A knife is useless against a gun. Do what I tell you, and you will live,” I promised.
She dropped the knife onto the granite countertop. “Don’t hurt us,” she pleaded as she raised her hands in the air.
I came around and grabbed her by the neck, moving her into the living room. “Who else is home?”
“My kids,” she said as she shivered in fear. “Don’t hurt them! They’re only twelve.”
“Call them in here and tell them to cooperate,” I said.
She nodded. “Trent! Taylor! Come down here now!”
Thirty seconds later, I heard a door open upstairs; a young girl was standing there holding her cellphone. “The police are on their way, Mom,” she said as she held the phone out. “The bad man with the Glock Nineteen in the living room should leave while he can.”
I hit the woman with the butt of my pistol across her forehead, angry at the turn of events. She screamed again and fell to the ground, blood streaming down her face. “HANG UP AND GET DOWN HERE OR SHE’S DEAD,” I told the girl.
She pressed a button on her phone and dropped it to the carpet, but I knew it wouldn’t matter. The cops would be on the way.
The girl came down the stairs, rushing into her Mom’s arms as I tried to figure a way out of this. “Where’s the boy,” I said.
“Here,” I heard from upstairs. I turned towards the boy, bringing my pistol up, right before the shotgun he was pointing at me fired. It felt like someone kicked me in the shoulder; I tried to raise my arm, but it wouldn’t listen to me. I heard the pump shotgun rack and fire, and another deer slug hit me in the chest. I dropped the pistol and sank to the carpeting. Of all the ways I dreamed my outlaw life would end, dying at the hands of a twelve-year-old never came up.
The girl kicked the gun into the corner and held her Mom tight as everything went dark.
Oxbow Lake Conference Room
The Alphas piled into the room at the last moment, each wanting to be in after the others. It was another one of those stupid dominance plays, trying to show you were more important to the next. I didn’t care, and that was why I was already standing by my chair. I was talking to Colletta, Coral, Chase, and Carson while the rest were all milling about outside. Using the family link, I spoke to Mom about the minor detail we had hidden from her in our instructions. “Mom, we didn’t tell you EXACTLY what the Council said about the red and blue pills,” I said.
“Wait, you told me they would prefer blue, but to use Red if I needed to.” She looked at us in shock.
Chase took over. “The Alphas voted on allowing you to inform them of our secret and it failed on a seven to five vote. Chairman Coffey told me that you were explicitly instructed not to reveal our nature to humans. Sawyer and I agreed that if you needed to go red, you shouldn’t question yourself. It was my call, Mom. You did the right thing, but it’s probably best not to tell them about the FBI Director.”
“You think?” Mom smacked Chase in the back of the head. “You’re in enough trouble already with them! What, you don’t think I could handle knowing what the Council said and making my OWN decisions?”
“Mom, we were trying to…” and Mom smacked the back of MY head.
“The answer is NEVER to hide things from your MOTHER. I WILL find out. You all should know that,” she said.
Everyone made it behind their chair, and only then did the Council members walk in. They took their seats, Chairman Coffey first, then we all sat together. “Welcome to the final meeting of this Alpha Summit,” the Chairman said. “We have two agenda items this morning, then open discussion. The first item is the health of DEA Director Grimes.”
Everyone looked at Chase. “His injuries are not as severe as we initially feared. He awoke just before the meeting and showed no signs of motor damage like you might see with a human after a stroke. The Oxbow Lake Doctor is continuing testing of his cognitive functions now.”
“So he will make a full recovery,” Councilman Baronsky asked in his Russian accent.
“We are hopeful, but keep in mind that he is human. There is still the potential for setbacks like infection, blood clots, and other issues.”
“How long until he is out of the Clinic,” the Chairman asked.
“Perhaps two weeks, depending on his recovery. I extend my appreciation to Oxbow Lake for their facilities and their medical staff, without which we would be dealing with a fatality we could not explain. Once he has recovered sufficiently, we will move him to Arrowhead.”
“Not a human hospital,” Alpha Coffey asked.
“No. We can’t explain the injury or our medical treatment, and neither Doc nor I maintain surgical qualifications in the human world. We are better off hiding him during his recovery,” Chase said.
“Will that work? He’s suspended, there are legal proceedings with him?”
“We can claim illness, and let him correspond with his office and his lawyer electronically. We will make it work, Alphas. Frank Grimes is an Arrowhead responsibility; I am formally applying for Trusted Agent status for him, provided he agrees to maintain our secret as he has thus far.”
“Another one? By Luna, when does this END?” Alpha Kirk slammed his fist on the table. “How many is that now?” I could see Mom sitting behind Chase, fighting a shift. I was hoping no one else noticed.
“It doesn’t matter how many there are as long as they maintain the secret,” Chase responded. “Frank Grimes is an honorable man, and he fought to protect my family. He worked with us to eliminate a threat to the Arrowhead Pack, and he nearly died in this very room. The least we owe him is formal recognition of his status.”
The discussion went back and forth before the Chairman ended it. “Enough,” he said. “Frank Grimes will be given Trusted Agent status, provided he survives. Alpha Chase, you will ensure that Mr. Grimes does not leave Arrowhead, or have unmonitored communications with the human world until he is properly informed and agrees to the status. If he refuses, he is your responsibility to end.”
“I understand, Mr. Chairman, and agree to those terms.” Chase sat back as we all breathed a sigh of relief. I snuck another look at Mom, seeing her relax at the thought of Frank staying with her at Arrowhead.
“This issue is closed. The next item on the agenda is the meeting with the heads of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, and the Attorney General. Luna Colletta, the floor is yours.”
Over the next twenty minutes, Colletta recounted her meeting. She provided the Council a copy of the signed immunity agreement that Saywer had written for her, and the reaction of the FBI to the information she brought with her. “The agreement stops investigations into my family and our contacts, the danger of which I understand Frank Grimes impressed on you earlier,” she said. “We have made no commitments beyond the information we provided them, and allowing them to list Chase as a cooperating witness.”
“Not much of a need for that after last night,” Martin said. “There’s nothing left of the Sons on the streets worth worrying about.” With the deaths and arrests in Duluth, only a handful of Sons existed north of the border.
“This is true. The FBI has agreed to stop the investigation and delete the information they gathered. Most importantly, they are no longer looking into Rori King’s background, which could be particularly problematic for our kind.”
“Excellent work, Luna Colletta. I am relieved that our decision was correct, that we did not need to expose our nature to end this situation.” Mom accepted his thanks, then went back to her seat on the side of the room with the Betas. “Any other business?”
“The trial of the Arrowhead Alphas,” Alpha Kirk asked.
“After the New Year. We have a process; they are entitled to time to prepare their defense, and the Council Prosecutor needs to review the case and agree the charges should go forward.” There was no other business. “Alpha Michael, you have been an excellent host.”
“Thank you, sir. Vans are ready for those who requested a ride to the airport in Duluth or Minneapolis.”
“With that, the meeting is adjourned.” The Council stood, followed by the Alphas and the Betas; we waited while the Council filed out before the meeting broke up.
“I’ll take Mom back to the Clinic,” Chase told us. “Thank you both for coming.”
“Our flight leaves in two hours for Winnepeg,” Coral said. “I have to get back home.”
“I’m so proud of you, Alpha Coral. I’m proud of all of you.” She wiped away a tear. “This is it for a while, have a safe trip home,” Mom said as she hugged her children. She gave Carson a long hug. “Please explain to your Pack why I couldn’t return for Christmas,” she said.
“Everyone will understand why you are staying at Arrowhead,” he said. “I love you, Mom.”
“I love you too, baby. I love you all.” She smacked him on the back of the head. “No more secrets from Mom, you understand?”
“Yes, Mom,” he said as he rubbed his neck.
I gave them all a big hug before walking with my Beta out to the rental car. We had to get back home; one benefit of the deal for us was that we could now deposit the money in the bag we’d brought home from Los Angeles. It would be a memorable Christmas for the Donner Pack.