“Erilon?” He said her name aloud despite the gag the big guy had shoved into his mouth. Still no response. He’d heard nothing from her since she’d alerted him to the fact the big guy was a werewolf. The second guy was the PI. That guy was on camera at the station, and Erilon could also identify him. And they hadn’t gone after Laura; they’d just grabbed him. Small mercy, but far better than the alternative.
They’d used multiple zip ties to bind his wrists and ankles and shoved him into the trunk of a car. Michaels shifted position. If they were still in the city… He brought his knees up and kicked the trunk lid. It didn’t give, so he repeated the action. After the third try, he was thrown forward when the vehicle stopped abruptly. Shit. And with his ankles secured running wasn’t an option even if he’d thought he had a chance of outrunning a werewolf.
As soon as the trunk opened he struck, trying to kick with both legs. Unfortunately, the big guy was prepared for that. He caught Michaels’ legs with one hand. Holy fuck, the guy had to be as strong as Gabe. The big man pushed his legs back down, then stared at him. His eyes changed, turning gold and animalistic, and he smiled to reveal fangs. Michaels swallowed. “Be still, and quiet.” The big man’s eyes narrowed. “And you’ll make it to our destination with all your limbs still attached.”
The trunk lid was slammed back down. Michaels took a deep breath. That really hadn’t sounded like an empty threat. “Erilon?”
No reply. And he’d been having such a nice night.
“What do we know?” Gabriel paced.
“Michaels and I did the google on the PI, but there are a lot of Stephan Evanses and even a few Stephan Evanses that used to be cops.” Laura’s mocha skin managed to look pale. “He ran the guy’s license and its pretty new, but the phone number just went to voicemail and the address is a PO Box.” She sniffled. “I didn’t see the guys. I can make more bullets.”
“Twelve should be plenty.” Gabriel took a deep breath. “Erilon?”
Still nothing. Michaels isn’t a witch himself, thus he and I do not have a true link. As long as that witch is near, I… Her voice sounded angry.
“When we get him back I’m implanting GPS chips in all of you.” Ted folded his arms.
“Erilon, talk to me about this guy. The alpha.”
Werewolves come in three flavors. The witchwolves, physically weak but gifted. I suspect the one you encountered recently was one such.
“That was a physically weak one?” Gabriel shook his head. “I put her through a wall and she got back up.”
I said they were dangerous. Erilon made a frustrated sound. Then there are the normal onces, which are still plenty dangerous. On par with master vamps, maybe a little tougher.
Laura gasped and put her hands over her mouth. Tears were leaking from her eyes. Ted sat down next to her and put his arm around her. “Gabriel…”
“I’ll get him back, Laura.” Gabriel nodded to her. Michaels was his friend and partner. Fuck that. Michaels was his brother. “And alphas?”
When it comes to the supernatural, pet, alphas are the boss fights. Next rung up is full on dragon. She was quiet for a moment. And the alpha isn’t alone. That witch with him has some serious mojo. Enough to keep the likes of me at bay and that’s not a small thing.
“This witch might be the one calling the shots?” Gabriel raised an eyebrow.
Werewolf packs tend to be hierarchal. Most powerful member calls the shots. If my read of this witch is correct, its likely he can force a wolf back to human or prevent it from shifting entirely. That kind of thing could impress an alpha.
“A full on pack.” Ted swallowed. “At least two wolves and two witches, if we count the” He looked up. “Gabriel, that might be more than you can handle solo.”
“I’m not letting them have my partner.” Gabriel narrowed his eyes.
“No more than I am. It might have to be a…” Ted sighed. “I have no idea what the terminology is, but you might just have to go in, grab him, and make a run for it. You’ll need a driver. I’m in.”
Ted, no. Erilon spoke before he could.
“Michaels is my friend, Erilon. And Gabriel is…” Ted rose. “I’m not letting him do this alone.”
“You will stay in the car.” Gabriel reluctantly nodded. “Erilon with this witch there, will you be able to back me up?”
I… She was silent for a moment. Pet, you’re going to need to step up your game for this, and you’re going to have to be focused. You’ll be stronger without me in your head.
“But he’s going to need you.” Laura stood. “So I guess that means you’re going to ride in mine.”
“Absolutely not.” Gabriel and Ted spoke simultaneously.
“I’m a witch, she’s got a link to me.” Laura stared at him. “Michaels is…” She squared her shoulders. “He’s family.”
He stood there a moment, every argument as to why that was a terrible idea running through his head. Then he nodded. “Get the masks you made for you and Ted.”
She blinked. “How’d you…” She shrugged when he just gave her a look. “They already know about Michaels so we should take his car. I’ve got a set of keys.”
The vehicle stopped. Michaels took a couple deep breaths. Aside from the car door slamming, he could make out no other sounds. “Erilon?” Nothing. He had to hope she had some kind of trick up her sleeve. The trunk lid opened and the big guy grabbed him by the throat and hauled him out. The bag was put back over his head, and then, somewhat to his irritation, the big guy simply threw him over a shoulder and started walking.
They were in the woods. He’d seen that much before the bag. And he was being taken further into the woods. There was a murmur of voices. More than just two, and one sounded female. Michaels started struggling, yelling behind the gag. “I don’t need you in one piece, detective.” The big guy’s voice was low and threatening.
He made himself go still again, trying to repress his fight instinct. From what he’d gotten from Erilon, the best way to deal with a werewolf involved silver bullets and a sniper rifle. In close quarters, a human stood no chance. If he did get out of this, he was never going anywhere without his gun ever again.
Counting steps was a waste of time. They were walking some distance. Had they left the guy with the cane behind? If he were the one blocking her, then maybe… “Erilon?” Her name was muffled by the gag, but he was pretty sure that didn’t actually matter to her ability to hear him. Dammit, how did Gabriel do the talking in the head trick?
“Shut up.” The big guy bounced him a little on his shoulder, and the net effect was something akin to a solid punch to the gut. He fought the urge to vomit.
By his estimate, they’d been walking almost an hour before the big guy put him down. Someone cut the ties on his wrists, but before he could do anything about it the big guy had him by the throat again, lifting him off the ground. He was shoved backward, and grunted when he connected with what felt like a tree. Someone caught his left wrist, and started securing it to what he assumed was a tree branch. He started to lash out with his right hand, and someone else caught it. A moment later, it too was being secured to a different branch, leaving his arms outstretched. He really hoped his feet weren’t far from the ground, or this was going to get unpleasant very quickly.
He took the highway east. Erilon had been certain werewolves would take a prisoner to the woods, and he had to admit her reasoning was sound. Plus she had vastly more experience with werewolves than they did. Ted glanced at Gabriel out of the corner of his eye. This was a side of his lover he’d known existed, but hadn’t seen before. Under other circumstances, he might have found it hot. Gabriel was a very dangerous young man.
In the backseat, Laura had a determined look on her face. Gabriel had strapped her into his bullet-proof vest and one of Michaels’ shoulder holsters. The gun was loaded with silver bullets. Laura did know how to shoot. Michaels had taught her, taking her out to the range a few times, though he doubted the man had intended her to ever actually go into a combat situation. Her skill, however, mattered little. It occurred to him in that moment that she could be a very dangerous young woman. She was prepared to let a demon take over her body to go rescue her friend.
I got him. Erilon’s voice nearly made him jump. We are going the right way. Laura, on your phone.
“Erilon?” Ted blinked.
“I got the location.” Laura abruptly nodded, and held up her phone. The map application was visible. “She’s conserving her strength.”
Gabriel reached down and grabbed the masks. He tossed one to Laura before putting his own on, then brought his hood up to hide himself better. He reached over and pulled up Ted’s hood as well. His voice was quiet. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
“Michaels said once that marines have a different version.” Laura sat up straighter. “Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for…”
“For I am the baddest motherfucker in the whole damn valley.” Gabriel finished for her.
There were voices, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying. His arms weren’t up high enough to create too much strain, but with his ankles still secured together it was difficult to keep his balance. If he fell, he’d run the risk of dislocating a shoulder. There were footsteps. At least four people were around him. With the bag over his head, he couldn’t see anything, but he could hear —
We are on our way.
It was all he could do not to cheer. He tried to stay still, so as not to give away that anything had happened. The other voices around him continued, near enough now that he could make them out. “You sure you are okay?” The big guy asked someone.
“I can do this.” Holy shit, that sounded like a little girl. What the hell?
I can’t see a thing with this bag over your head. Alright, you’re not hurt. I’m here, the others are coming. I’m sorry I took so long, but we are going to get you out of this. Alright, I count… Her voice trailed off. Shit.
Oh, that was not comforting. Count what?
Two wolves and two witches. Total of three witches, because blank slate boy isn’t here. Stay calm, I’m… Her voice trailed off again as he felt a strange sensation in his head. When she spoke again a moment later, her voice was furious. I don’t think so little witch. Get out.
From in front of him he heard someone let out a gasp. Then came the little girl’s voice, high pitched and shocked. “There is a demon in his head!”
That uh… That can’t be good. We’re close, pet. Just hang on.
“Here.” Laura pointed. “That must be their car.”
“Ted, wait in the car.” Gabriel reached for the door.
“Gabriel…” Ted started shaking his head. “What if —” He was cut off by Gabriel leaning in and kissing him.
“Stay in the car.” Gabriel nodded to him before opening the door and climbing out.
“I’ll stay in the car.” Ted nodded. He saw Laura’s slightly wide-eyed look as she opened her own door and headed after Gabriel.
There were three of them around his partner, and they could only get a clear shot at one at a time. Michaels was bleeding. He felt cold fury starting to rise. Gabriel glanced at Laura, and saw her eyes start to glow. “Focus on the big one, pet. The woman is a werewolf, and the boy is a witch. There are two other witches that went that way.” She jerked her head to the left. “We can deal with them when we get Michaels loose.”
“Right.” Gabriel put his own gun in its holster, then took a deep breath. “Going now.”