Chapter 27 - A Podunk Town
It seems like the whole house is in a chaos. The old man is at my feet, writhing and screaming in pain. Blood is frothing out of his mouth, pouring out of his nose, and ears. Once in a while, his screaming stops as he coughs, sputtering out more blood.
Outside, there are sounds of footsteps of people running, incessant pounding on the door along with voices yelling and demanding for the door to be opened.
The blood has stopped coming out of my neck but my white gown is now streaked with crimson red. I look like I stepped out of a horror film.
I don’t get it. One minute I was screaming in pain because the stupid old fool was bitting my neck, trying to mark me. It hurt like a mother f...uh, mother of pearls that I was seeing red. The next moment he’s on the floor, screaming the house down. Shouldn’t I be the one to be doing that? What a diva.
Outside, the banging on the door gets louder, so’s the yelling, demanding for the door to be opened. Yeah, no. I’d rather be watching the old man rolling and thrashing about in agony. I watch in fascination as his big hands claw at his throat, almost ripping it open. Even his tears are blood red...or maybe that’s just blood...I don’t know. I don’t know why I’m so happy about this.
I have this weird feeling inside of me since he told me that Jorden is in the cell. It’s grown exponentially after he told me the truth behind my Nana’s death. Something is happening inside. It’s like having another part of me awakening from slumber, opening its eyes, flexing its muscle. Fury and hatred make it come alive. There’s an intense hunger that needs to be satiated. Watching the old man in agony is feeding its hunger, making it happy, almost euphoric. It finds his bloodcurdling scream entertaining. If it was a living being, it would be crowing with glee. But this is not anywhere near enough. It wants more. More blood. More of his suffering.
After a while, Old Maddox’s screams die down to a strange gurgling sound from his throat. Then he lies still. Dark red blood is pooling underneath him, splattering on the cherry hardwood floor, and seeping into the thick cream rug by the bed.
The smell of his blood is revolting but I don’t even care. I want more of this.
Too bad he isn’t moving. Is he dead? I don’t think he’s even breathing. I nudge his side with my foot. He’s still not moving, so I nudge harder.
I’m about to kick him when he starts groaning and gasping for breath. The next instant, the door comes crashing down with a loud cracking sound. Alpha Maddox rushes in with a few warriors behind him. Their eyes wild, looking for any signs of danger. When they found that no one else is in here, they turn to look at Old Maddox at my feet.
The Alpha snaps his attention on me. His eyes are like chips of ice and his nostrils flare. “What have you done to my father?”
I pocketed my phone before I do something crazy, like throwing it out the window or smashing it against the wall. The moment we arrive in LA, I power up my phone and have been calling and sending texts to Quincy. So far all my calls go to the voicemail and my texts go unread and unanswered. Where is she?
It feels like everything is conspiring against me. I wasn’t able to communicate with her when I was in Russia since I was advised that any form of communication may be traced by our enemy and alert them to her existence and whereabouts. I can’t even reach my agent.
So, okay I did have one of my men tail my princess. It’s not like I’m stalking her or something...not really. I just want to make sure that she is safe. My agent was given a strict instruction not to alert her of his presence. He should not interfere with her life in any way but he should be reporting to me of all her activities or her whereabouts as soon as I get back. So far, nothing. In fact, he can’t even be reached!
I have a conference call with my parents and my father’s advisor in less than thirty minutes, that’s why I’ve been hanging around my room since we got back. Mother was furious when she found out that we left, she threw a tantrum. Now she, my father, and his advisor want to talk to me. That sounds rather ominous. Knowing my mother, I know I wouldn’t like the outcome if I didn’t play my cards right.
I walk out to my balcony that faces the pool. My friends were down there before and now it’s empty. They’re probably resting, getting over the jetlag...or not.
I pull my phone out again and press my agent’s number. So far all my calls to him go to voicemail as well. It’s like both of them have disappeared off the face of the earth. Something is not right.
Screw the conference call, I need to find my erasthai.
I walk out of my room, jog down the stairs, and grab the key fob to my Alfa Romeo on the way out.
The light in the house is on and I can hear a few people talking, almost like they’re fighting. I can’t hear my princess’s voice, though. I brace myself for what I might find as I get out of my car and walk a few steps to face the front door of the house.
I had been looking for Quincy all over campus. First, I went to the class that she’s supposed to be in. She’s not in there. She missed her class today. I stopped by the cafe she’s working at to find out that she didn’t show up for work yesterday either. Now here I am standing in front of her house.
The house grows silent as soon as I rap on the door.
A few seconds later, the door is being yanked open. A man, or rather a werewolf, just an inch or so shorter than I am is standing there. His dark eyes widen in surprise then narrow in suspicion.
“Are you here to kill me?”
I take in his piercings and his somewhat familiar scent. Suddenly I know who he is. He’s one of the men who took and injured Penny a few weeks ago. Penny told us that he’s a friend and that he helped her escape but I have no problem killing him if I have to. What is he doing here? “Do I need to do that?”
Behind him, a woman who was with Quincy the night I took her out to our practice ground is peering out, trying to catch my attention. Her eyes and nose are red, I guess from crying.
“But I’m here for Quincy St. Martin,” I tell him before he answers me. “So you better step aside.”
“What do you want with her?” His stance grows more aggressive as if he’s ready to fight me. The very idea is laughable. Behind him, the woman is now waving both hands up and down.
“What is it to you?” I ask him. He’d better not tell me that he’s her mate or boyfriend or I’ll break his limb one by one before I snap his neck.
“Hey! Hey! Hey!” yells the tiny woman, trying unsuccessfully to yank the man back. “Too much testosterone! Too much testosterone! Focus, Jonah! Focus!”
That’s right, Jonah. That’s his name...or “Yummy Lip Ring” as Penny called him.
“Get back, Layla. You don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t know what he is,” says Yummy Lip Ring, or rather Jonah, tugging her back behind him.
“Don’t you manhandle me, Jonah! I need to find my friend.” She slaps his hands off her and struggles to step in front of him. “Caspian, we need to find Quincy. She’s missing.” All of a sudden, tears welled up in her eyes.
My phone started ringing as soon as I found out that Quincy is missing. My pack sensed my distress and called to find out what happened. Now they are all here, in Jonah’s house.
It’s been half an hour and Layla, Quincy’s roommate is still staring at my pack members with huge eyes and mouth hanging open. She stopped being useful the moment my pack arrives.
“Wait! Wait! Wait! Let me get this straight. So, you’re Quincy’s cousin?” asks Penny for the third time since they got here. She’s staring at Jonah in disbelief, while Darius is glaring at the man as if he wants to murder him. Correction, he wants to murder him.
Well, I don’t think we can let that happen. I doubt Quincy would be too happy with us if we hurt her cousin.
Jonah is still struggling to come to term with his cousin being my erasthai. Judging from the look that he keeps sending my way, I don’t think that I’ve won his approval yet. Not that he gets any say about it. She’s already mine.
Lazarus and Constantine are standing near Jonah and Darius with a sofa between them, just in case, while the girls are almost in the kitchen. I guess we are all very big, the house feels crowded.
We’ve already established that Jonah is, in fact, Quincy’s cousin and that she’s been missing for at least two days now. Layla was visiting her pack and she just came back yesterday. She didn’t suspect anything until this morning when Quincy never came home last night. Jonah came home to find a very upset Layla.
According to Jonah, he stayed away from home right after Penny’s kidnapping. He had been laying low just in case the person who hired him came looking since he helped Penny escape.
“Yeah, he’s her cousin, Penny, and we need to find Quincy,” replies Genesis.
“I think my old pack has gotten her,” says Jonah, angrily.
As if on cue, my phone rings. My agent, Samuel Franke is calling. I take the call and put it on speaker. “Where the hell are you and where is she?”
“I’m sorry, Your Highness. She left with three men on Thursday night. I followed her to a werewolf pack near...excuse me, some podunk town in Pennsylvania. It’s up on the mountain, in the middle of nowhere. The phone has little to no connection,” inform my agent. Indeed, the connection is weak. His voice keeps breaking. “The human population is less than two thousand people, scattered throughout the town, and farmlands. The pack has some fifty families---” His voice is breaking again. “...is full of warriors. Do you want me to go in and get her?”
“No, Samuel. I want you to keep watch,” instructs Lazarus. I reluctantly agree. Somehow I don’t think sending Samuel in alone would end up well for him.
A lycan might be able to get her out of there but Samuel is a werewolf. Our warriors are lycans but most of our spies are werewolves. We lycans don’t blend in too well.
“Get more information,” I tell him, feeling on edge.
“Let me send you the co-ordinate,” he says.
“That’s okay, Samuel. I think I know where we’re going. We’ll meet you there,” says Lazarus just before the connection breaks.
“I think we ought to bring Lord Archer in again for this,” proposes Constantine. The rest of us nod in agreement. Lord Archer is a well known and well respected Ambassador of the Palace. He’s an important liaison between the palace and the packs around the world.
It’s not that we can’t deal with the pack ourselves but Lord Archer’s presence can help smooth things over much better. Besides, he came through for us when Constantine was fighting to get Genesis from the alpha of her pack a few years ago.
“Tell Lord Archer not to inform the king and the queen about this just yet,” I tell them. I don’t want my father and my mother to be involved in this until I get everything ironed out between us.
“Do you think she might have gone back willingly since you said some of her clothes and stuff are missing?” suggests Serena.
The thought of her leaving without waiting for me to come back to her like I promised hurts like a knife twisting in my chest but I say, “No, she won’t do that.”
“No, she’ll never go back willingly,” growls Jonah at the same time.
“I gather that she hasn’t been treated very well by the pack?” asks Constantine.
“Wasn’t treated very well? They wanted to get rid of her as soon as she was born. Our Nana saved her,” growls Jonah. “She came here to hide because our former Alpha wanted to make her his second mate. She’ll never go back there willingly.”
Just the thought of another man wanting to claim her makes my chest burn with rage. My heartbeat escalates and my vision turns red. Nobody touches what’s mine. Nobody! I will kill him!
“Caspian, you have to calm down,” warns Lazarus.
Too late. My body is burning. Changing. My lycan will not be contained. I have to go before I kill somebody. “Meet you on the way,” I hiss before I sprint out.
There’s a tiny opening at the far end of the narrow space where the sunlight filters through. It’s not much, but the dim light is enough for me to see what’s around me and to know that it must be morning now.
There are eight small holding cells. I’m at the furthest end from the stairs that lead outside. My cousin, Jorden is a few cells away, closer to the stairs.
He’s still sound asleep. He didn’t move a muscle when they dragged me in here last night. I was worried that he’s dead when nothing worked when I tried to wake him up. But then I heard him snore. I’ve never been so happy to hear anybody snore before but I’ve given up trying to wake him up.
I guess not all holding cells are created equal. The ones nearer to the stairs, including the one that Jorden is in right now, have tiny beds and look clean. Mine, at this far end, doesn’t have anything but bare walls and cold, dirty concrete floor. The walls and the floor at one corner of my cell look chared as if something was being burnt there at some point, so I crouch down at another corner. I’ve been crouching here the whole night.
The floor, the wall, and the steel bars are freezing cold. The air is chilly, musty, and stale. I have nothing else on except for the thin gown they put on me last night. The arms that I wrap around myself feel stiff. My feet feel numb.
My body might be shivering but the whole night I’ve been trying to think of the things that make me happy. Sometimes it works and I find myself smiling. Sometimes happy memories lead to dark thoughts.
It’s strange how I can’t think of one single happy moment with Nana but I remember her crazy sayings, the warmth of her love, and the routines that we shared together. I hate how Old Maddox taints my memory of her. Now I wonder about her last moments. What was her last thought? Was she scared? How long did she suffer?
Then I think of Caspian. The things that he did that drove me crazy. He annoyed me like no other but he made me feel loved and treasured. He made me feel safe and protected. His touch is electric. He’s beautiful and magical. Almost unreal. He made me feel whole and alive. What I would do to look into his eyes, to feel the touch of his hand on my skin, and his lips on mine again. Do I ever cross his mind? Will I ever see him again?
My thought is interrupted by the sound of the lock being turned, followed by several footsteps descending the stairs.
Jorden stirs on his bed.
A guard appears at the bottom of the stairs, followed by a woman carrying a tray. They both leave after delivering our breakfast.
I watch as Jorden pushes himself up, then he sits cradling his head in his hands. Soon afterward, he moves sluggishly to look at the food on the floor.
“I wouldn’t touch it if I were you.”
He almost fell. “Q! How..? What...what are you doing here?”
I move my stiff muscle to shrug. Then I crawl to get closer to where Jorden is. “I think they drug our food and drinks,” I tell him.
“No wonder I feel so tired and weak,” he says.
I sit holding the bar and tell him about what Old Mr. Maddox did to our Nana. When I’m done, he’s shaking with fury. Then I tell him about what happened to Old Maddox after he bit me. Next, I tell him about what happened to me in California.
“Goddess, Quincy...” Jorden shakes his head in wonder after I’m done telling him about Caspian. Prince Caspian, my golden god.
“I don’t claim to know everything about lycans but I’ve read some stuff about them in our library a while ago,” he says. “I think I know what happened to Old Maddox.” His face contorts in distaste and anger when he says his name. “A lycan’s blood is poison to a werewolf. That means you’re already turning into a lycan and that could only happen when you’ve accepted your bond with the prince. Q, when did you----”
We both swiftly turn our heads to the door when we hear the key being turned in the lock.
*My next update is next Monday. I’m so sorry I can’t do it sooner. I’m crazy busy and my hands are tied. I hope you’re having a great summer♥