Hunter

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12. How to Antagonize an Interrogator


“Reese.”

I groaned and rolled over in bed, throwing a pillow over my head.

“Reese, get up.”

With an incoherent grumble, I threw my other pillow in the direction of the voice.

In a flash, the lights in my bedroom flicked on. I groaned as the light seared through my eyelids, throwing a blanket on top of the pillow on my head. The blanket was immediately ripped off of me, along with the pillow.

“Reese, get your ass out of bed or we’re leaving you home.”

Letting out a dejected sigh, I forced my eyes to open, squinting against the light. Cedric hovered over me, amused.

“Why are we leaving so early?” I muttered, sitting up. “It’s not like we’re going far.”

“Because I want to get out of here before Mom gets up,” he responded, making a face.

“But she’ll want to - ”

“I said goodbye last night by watching Dirty Dancing with her,” he rolled his eyes. “If I wait until after she’s awake, there’ll be a long, drawn-out, awkward goodbye scene that will end with her crying, no matter how many times I remind her that I’ll be home on weekends.”

He had a point. Mom - and Thomas - are often overly emotional about pretty much everything. Suddenly wanting to avoid the idea of a teary goodbye scene, I swung out of bed, shivering in the cold morning air.

I stared pointedly at Cedric, crossing my arms. “Leave, you dolt, so I can get dressed.”

He chuckled and left the room.

Thomas was sitting at the kitchen table when I entered, munching on a bowl of Froot Loops. He glanced up, raising an eyebrow.

“Why are you up?” he demanded. “You’re never up this early.”

“I’m going to drop Cedric off at U of T with Dad, remember?” I put a hand on my hip.

“Ah, yes,” his tone was dripping with the superior tone only a preteen can use. “Dad made pancakes, by the way. They’re by the stove.”

Pancakes! Excitement rushed through me at the thought of my favorite breakfast food. Dad had better remembered to put blueberries in them this time...

I was on the subway with Dad and Cedric twenty-five minutes later, my stomach warm from the pancakes, my head still fuzzy from being forced to wake up. Cedric himself yawned every now and then - he despised early mornings almost as much as I did, though he still insisted on waking up at an unreasonable time to beat Thomas and I to the shower - thus using all the hot water.

“Can we stop at Timmies, Dad?” Cedric asked. “I think Reese could use a coffee or five.”

“Ha-ha,” I stifled another yawn. “You know I find coffee revolting,” I turned to Dad. “But seriously, Dad, can we go? I’m craving a French Vanilla.”

It didn’t take much pestering to convince Dad to take us there - he loved donuts almost as much as a stereotypical cop, though he didn’t let himself have one often. He must have considered today to be a special occasion, though, since he ordered a Boston Cream along with coffee for him and Cedric - and a French Vanilla Latte for me.

We were just across the street from the university at this point, having gotten off the subway at Queen’s Park Station, so we walked the rest of the way, beverages in hand - along with the three suitcases Cedric had with him.

Dad abruptly stopped when we were entered Queen’s Park. I peered at him anxiously.

“Dad?” I asked. “What is it?”

Almost immediately, my own stomach dipped as a horrible feeling washed over me. I staggered, suddenly lightheaded. I would have collapsed if not for Cedric grabbing my arm to keep me upright.

“It’s nothing,” Dad said - too quickly, if you ask me. He set out again, dragging one of Cedric’s suitcases behind him, though he seemed far more anxious than before. He dropped his half-full coffee cup into the nearest trash can, his now vacant hand immediately plunging into his pocket. He seemed to relax a touch.

We were approaching the Veterans’ Memorial when Dad stopped again. His hand in his pocket tightened. I looked more closely, trying to see what he was holding. I saw a flash of metal.

Cedric, too, was suddenly tense, glancing around furtively. The horrible feeling I’d felt before returned again, even stronger than before.

Danger, a mental voice warned. It’s close.

I frowned, wondering if I was going crazy. Was I hearing voices?

Nah, it was probably just my over-active imagination playing tricks on me, feeding off of the newfound agitation in Dad and Cedric.

The next thing I knew, Dad spun around, a - I gasped sharply - dagger glistening in his hand. The morning sun reflected off the blade. Cedric grabbed my arm, pushing me behind Dad.

“Dad...?” confusion roiled inside of me - and fear. Why was Dad carrying a dagger? If he saw something dangerous, why not use his gun?

Somebody stepped out of the shadows ahead of us. It was a man - wait, no, a boy, a teen, maybe around Cedric’s age.

His eyes zeroed in on the dagger tucked snugly into Dad’s hand. He snarled.

“Hunter.”

He stepped into the sun.

I screamed.


Pain reverberated through my head with every agonizing breath.

The memory echoed around me, sending a wave of grief washing over me. I’d blocked out the events of that day - for good reason, too.

Dad was a Hunter. Dad was like me.

I can’t believe I’d forgotten. The way his dagger - my dagger, now - had fit into his hand perfectly. Like it fits into my hand flawlessly.

Wait... where’s my dagger?

A wave of realization crashed over me as I remembered the events of... how long ago was it? How long have I been unconscious?

Ryker Marcel, dead. Nicholas Randon, dead. Running for my life. Those two wolves at Union Station. Hiding in a Starbucks. The Alpha, tracking my phone. The Beta and the two wolves finding me. The fight. The dead wolf. The vengeance in the eyes of his brother. Pain exploding in the back of my skull.

Then nothing.

I slowly peered my eyes open. It wasn’t as painful as I’d expected - the room was dark and gloomy, the lights dull enough to refrain from stabbing my eyes. Still, I squinted as I sat up, my head spinning from the ache. I probably had a decent-sized lump on the back of my head.

“She lives.”

I glanced in the direction of the voice, my fists clenching. I stood up - and regretted it immediately. My vision swam, nausea rising in my stomach, pain flaring in my head. I refused to sit back down, though. I forced myself to stay on my feet, even if my legs were shaking and swaying like I was standing on a boat in the middle of a storm.

Three figures stood a few feet away from me. I narrowed my eyes, waiting for my vision to clear.

The first one I recognized - Keith, one of the werewolves from Starbucks. I remembered his rage-filled cry when I murdered his brother, Oliver. He wasn’t the one who had spoken. He was too busy trying to murder me with his eyes, his glower enough to send most humans into a cold sweat. Me? I just brushed it off like he was nothing more than an adventurous ant.

The other two figures were females - both dark-haired, both tall, both attractive, and looking at me like I wasn’t exactly on their level. More werewolves, obviously. Great.

I crossed my arms, glaring back at them, trying my best to ignore the urge to curl into a ball and die.

The werewolf who’d spoken was the one closest to me; black-haired and very pale - no, blue-haired. Her hair was dyed a very dark blue, so it looked black in the gloom. She smirked, taking a step closer to me. I stood my ground, albeit weakly.

“The legendary Hunter,” she said, glancing me up and down. “You don’t look like you’re strong enough to kill my cousin.”

Ah. So somebody was related to one of my victims tonight. Wonderful.

“And whose death pissed you off?” I growled the question, but was genuinely curious.

I expected her to snap at me - werewolves were rather easy to piss off - but instead, her smirk grew. “Nick was my cousin,” she said. “I’m Evangeline Smith,” she raised an eyebrow, clearly expecting me to know who she was.

And, of course, I did.

Oh.

Oh no.

“Clearly she’s heard of you,” Keith chuckled. “Does she know your specialty?”

“Evangeline Smith,” I recited. “Cousin to the Alpha. Twenty-five years old. Five-foot-eleven. Excels at interrogation.”

The other female blinked with surprise. “How did you - ”

“Yes,” Evangeline cut her off. The other woman’s eyes darkened into a glare. “I’d like to know that, too,” she took another step towards me. “How exactly did you get all of that information on me? And, more importantly, do you have information on everybody else?”

“If you think I’m telling you my methods, you’re gravely mistaken,” I kept my voice level, calm, despite my heart threatening to pound out of my chest.

Now, I didn’t really want to be interrogated - I wasn’t one for playing twenty-one questions, but I suspected that’s not what these werewolves had in mind, anyways. I did kill half of their pack.

I don’t think I’d be forgiven that easily.

This might hurt.

Good thing I’m no stranger to pain.

Keith looked very pleased that I’d decided to keep my mouth shut. I was surprised he wasn’t rubbing his hands together in anticipation.

“Fantastic,” he said, with a glance at Evangeline. “Evan, maybe you should - ”

“No,” cut in the other woman, speaking for the first time. “Ev, she needs to be alive, and even then, not lie on the ground in a half-dead lump,” her gaze flashed to mine for a heartbeat - was that pity? Why was she pitying me?

Evangeline growled, but nodded.

“You take the fun out of everything, Laurie,” Keith whined, his smile fading. “I’m sure the Alpha would understand if we - ”

“No,” the woman - Laurie - was firm, transferring her gaze to Keith, eyeing him carefully. “He said he wants her alive. Do you want his wrath turned towards you next?”

He didn’t speak, but his swallow answered the question for him.

“Laurie Johnston,” I said quietly. “Beta Female. Mated to Luca Rossi.”

I think the corner of her lip twitched at my words.

“It’s fine,” Evangeline didn’t take her eyes off me, her smile twisting sadistically. “I don’t need to hurt her badly to make her talk.”

On the contrary, I believe you do, I almost said out loud. Do you have any idea what I’ve been through the past seven years? The past five, especially? Do you know how close I’ve come to death before? Do you know what it feels like to feel the agonizing burn of vampire venom enter your bloodstream? The sickening pain of having a werewolf claw in your shoulder? The mental torture a magic-wielder is capable of inflicting?

I stayed silent, opting instead to raise an eyebrow.

Laurie sighed, but stepped back, pulling Keith with her. He, too, kept his gaze fixed firmly on me. I chose to stare at the door I’d only just noticed. It was heavy and metal, the kind used in solitary confinement at a prison. Fun.

“Great,” Evangeline’s hand shifted then, turning into a paw before my very eyes. Fur exploded from the skin, the nails lengthening into a deadly length, the bones in her hand rearranging. Honestly, that one small transformation seemed quite painful, though Evangeline looked like she didn’t even feel it. “First question, Hunter. What’s your name?”

“Did your precious Alpha not tell you that?” I shook my head in mock sadness. “Are you really the only one out of the loop?”

She waved her paw in what I think was meant to be a threatening way. I tried to keep myself from laughing.

“Reese Hearne,” I said. “Though literally anybody else could have told you that without any grief.”

“Just checking to see if you’d answer honestly,” she flashed me a sickly sweet smile - one that promised pain if I didn’t cooperate. Ha. Like I care. “How do you know so much about us, Hunter?”

“I’m thorough in my research,” I waved an arm around.

“Do you have an informant? A spy?”

I don’t. Opal has quite a few connections she utilized, though.

There’s no way in hell I was going to say a word about Opal.

“Some of it was simply a matter of public record,” I said simply. “For other information, I simply had to dig a little deeper.”

“So you do have an informant.”

“Did I say that?”

Pain ripped into my upper right arm as Evangeline stabbed a claw into my flesh. Not helpful, since I was already having trouble staying on my feet. Though my headache had dulled quite a bit in the short time I’ve been awake. Maybe the bump wasn’t as serious as I first thought.

“Answer the question, Hunter,” she snarled. “Do you have an informant?”

“Would you believe me if I said no?”

She punched my face. Very hard. I staggered, but stayed on my feet as my Hunter instincts kicked in, finally recognizing a supernatural threat.

Kill. Kill. Kill.

I didn’t move, though. Without my dagger, without any silver, killing - or even hurting - a werewolf would be damn near impossible. My finger twitched with agitation.

I’m sorry, I thought. I can’t. Besides, I don’t think it would be very helpful to murder another werewolf right now.

I’ll be waiting, my inner voice growled back.

Anyways, I was going to have a lovely black eye to match the new wound on my arm, which was currently dripping blood all over the place.

“How did you find Nick?” she changed the question, finally realizing she wouldn’t have much success with me on the informant one.

“I didn’t,” a truth. “He found me.”

“And how did you find Ryker?”

“I knew he’d be in the park.”

“And how did you know that?”

“Research, with a side helping of common sense. Very useful.”

My leg was the focus of her anger this time. My Hunter senses dulled the pain as she dragged her claws along my left thigh, leaving shallow gashes the were welling up with blood. I gritted my teeth, but didn’t make a noise.

Also, I was getting bored.

Boredom, a desire to kill something, and natural arrogance was not a good mixture.

“You’re a terrible interrogator, you know,” I said, my tone matter-of-fact. “Aren’t you supposed to be the best one in the pack or something? I’m disappointed.”

Wow. Some werewolves are surprisingly easy to piss off.

She lunged towards me, her other hand twisting into a claw as she aimed for my stomach. I tensed, preparing myself for the onslaught of pain.

Just turn on the mental and emotional pain to counteract the physical pain.

I had plenty of that to go around.

However, Laurie was faster, diving for Evangeline, snarling ferociously. Evangeline snapped back at her, and I knew she was close to completely shifting. Her slashing claws ripped across Laurie’s chest.

“Enough.”


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