Hunting: Chapter 22

Matthias carried the urn toward where the others were finishing up.  He glanced over at Ted.  “I appreciate this.”

Ted smiled.  “She was your friend.”  He looked over at where Ash was carrying the second urn.  “What do we know about —”

“He was Adam’s friend.”  Ash held the urn tightly.

“I meant birthday, things like that, Ash.  For the markers.”  Ted patted Ash’s shoulder.

“Patrick Delacroix.”  Stephan read off the screen of his tablet.  “Born July 7, 1971, in Graden, Texas.  Joined the Navy in 89.  Made it into the SEALS in 94.  Less than honorably discharged in 98.  No family.  Parents died in 91, younger brother died in 98.”

Michaels stepped away from where he and Gabriel had been digging.  “What was Rosa’s real name, anyway?”

“Emperatrix Consuela Rosenda-Orellana.”  Then they all turned to look at him, Matthias shrugged defensively.  “Don’t blame me.  I’m the one that started calling her Rosa.”

“Gonna need help spelling that.”  Laura looked up from where she was working on the markers.  “But I can draw a rose or something.”

He listened while Father Williams intoned a prayer, then poured the cremains into the first hole.  Ash did the same in the second hole.  Magda and Gabriel carried the trees up, and they solemnly planted them.  Matthias set the bricks down in a circle around Rosa’s tree, while Magda helped Ash do the same with Patrick’s.  Their mole, Adam, had asked that Patrick be treated with respect.  Since the man had rescued Ash, this seemed the least they could do.  The apple trees already had blossoms.  Daniel added some mulch around the bases.  Considering it was Rosa’s resting place, maybe he should…  He shook his head.

Anna giggled, and he turned to look at her.  She shrugged up at him.  “Wouldn’t that make the apples alcoholic?”

“Stop looking in my head.”  He shook his head at her fondly.

“Tequila wouldn’t damage the roots.  They aren’t set yet.”  When Matthias glanced at him, Father Williams shrugged.  “One doesn’t need to read minds to know what you were thinking.”

“Priests allowed margaritas?”  He raised an eyebrow.

“All things in moderation.”

“Except sex.”  Daniel grinned up at him.

“Except that, yes.”  Father Williams smiled.

“Right.”  Matthias chuckled.  “Well, Rosa was pretty clear on how she wanted her funeral to go, so, uh…”  He sighed, and gave Father Williams an apologetic look.  “Look, the naked lady pinata was absolutely her idea.”

“I believe you.”  He smiled.  “Though I shall take my leave before any sombreros or donkeys make their appearance.”

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 22

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Hunting: Chapter 21

“Why didn’t you stop his escape?”  Wren glared at Adam.

“That wasn’t the mission I was given.”  Adam shook his head.

She fought the urge to take control of his mind, to make him crawl toward her and beg forgiveness.  “Sima’s pissed.”

“She was already on the phone to Giroux, telling him her version of what happened.”  Adam shrugged.

Wren froze.  “What do you mean?”

“Sima hasn’t been paid yet, Wren.  Giroux finds out Sima diverted resources over a pet, he’s going to be annoyed.  She’s got to downplay it, or spread the blame or something.”  Adam sighed.  “She’s probably going to say it was my fault or something.  I just hope Giroux doesn’t decide that makes it your fault.

“She wouldn’t…”  Wren narrowed her eyes.

“I hope so.”  Adam shook his head.  “I really don’t want to end up her pet.  Especially now that she knows about the talisman.”

Her fingers clutched the ring around her neck.  That’s right.  Sima knew.  And Sima had expressed an interest in Adam and…  She frowned.  And Sima had blown the mission by not letting Adam go into the field.  Adam could have killed the alpha and…  Giroux had known Sima a long time.  Surely he’d know…  Except he didn’t know Wren herself.  “There has to be a way to salvage this.”

“He lost a lot of people, and stands to lose the rest if they don’t get moving soon.”

“You can still kill Matthias.”  She nodded.

“I could.”  Adam folded his arms.  “Be a waste of time though.”

“You should keep a civil tongue when addressing —”

“My mistress?”  He had the nerve to smirk at her.  “Or what, Wren?”

“You know ‘or what’.”  She clenched her fists.

“You could break me.”  He met her eyes.  “Turn me into your pet.  You see how well that game worked for Sima.  But ask yourself something, Wren…”  He straightened.  “What good to anyone is a broken weapon?”  He shook his head.  “You’re a witch.  You’ve got me.  Nobody can do what I can do.  Giroux isn’t an idiot, Wren.  If you can manage not to be one as well, you can still come out on top of this.”

For a moment she just stood there, staring at him.  “I could…”  His gaze didn’t waver.  “You’re still mine.  Don’t forget that.”

“I’m well aware.”  He shrugged.  “Suggest you get to the airport, and use your magic to get the retreat going.  Giroux is going to be annoyed if he loses anymore guys.”

“Fine.”  She jabbed a finger into his chest.  “But when I’m done, you, me, and Sima’s little truth ability are going to have a long talk.”

“Looking forward to it.”  He sat down as she headed for the door.  And to her irritation, he just turned on the TV like he hadn’t a care in the world.

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 21

Hunting: Chapter 20

Ash fought the urge to laugh.  He remained curled up on the bed, every inch the dog.  Even though he knew there was a good chance Sima and Wren would end up taking their frustrations out on him, he couldn’t help but be pleased as he listened to them rant.  They’d sent people after his friends.  His friends had won.  Sima wanted him to think her all-powerful, the flawless mistress.  She wasn’t.  Despite what she’d done to Adam, he defied her.  Adam smiled, played the pet, and the moment Sima looked away, Adam defied her.  For all her confidence, all that she was a witch wolf, Sima was only human.  Adam defied her.  And if Adam could, so could he.

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 20

Hunting: Chapter 19

Michaels sat on the tailgate of the truck, his face empty.  Laura was in his lap, crying softly as he held her.  Magda swallowed past the lump that has risen in her own throat.  Even knowing the man as short a time as she had, she knew something precious had been lost.  Not for the first time, she regretted coming to this city.  “He told Gabriel it was good to see him again.”  She turned at the sound of Daniel’s voice.  He looked like a lost little boy as he leaned on the tree next to Matthias.  When he saw her looking, he shrugged.  “Ryuu.  He knew.  How could he know?”

“I once asked Ryuu how old he was.”  Magda exhaled.  “He said the Cenozoic era was boring, but things picked up during the Cretaceous period.  I was never entirely sure if he was kidding.”

“We…”  Michaels stood, and set Laura down.  “Assholes still have Ash.  Let’s go find him.  Get me a likeness or something of Sima and I’ll start on the desk clerks at the hotels.  Someone will have seen her.”

“Michaels…”  Magda started to put a hand on his arm.

He pulled away, and shook his head.  Then he squared his shoulders.  “Someone needs help, and I’m still a fucking cop.  Gabriel and I swore to serve and protect.  Now let’s go get the rest of these fucks.”

“Semper Fi.” Matthias straightened.  “Let’s go.”

“Gabriel would help.”  Laura nodded, drawing herself up to her full height.  “Ash is in trouble.  Let’s save him.”

Magda nodded, then met Michaels’ eyes.  “Thank you.”  She put an arm around Laura as the girl hugged her.  “Thank you both.”

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 19

Hunting: Chapter 18

Matthias snarled as he grabbed the smaller werewolf by the throat.  With his other hand, he grabbed the top of the beast’s snout and ripped, tearing the top half of the thing’s skull off.  He heard a shot, then turned to see the man taking aim at his back fall with a hole between his eyes.  A glance to the left showed Michaels reloading.  “I…”  Michaels shook his head before nodding to the corpse Matthias was still holding.  It was slowly changing back to human.  “Am going to have nightmares about that later.”

He tossed the corpse aside.  “Suck it up, buttercup.”

“Then again, my partner did kind of kick your ass, so…”  Michaels shrugged.

“He got lucky.”  Matthias tilted his head to first one side, then the other, then stared down at Michaels from full were form.  He felt a grudging respect for the fact that even after the previous events, Michaels didn’t flinch.

“He took out a vampire nest by himself.”

“Seriously?”  Matthias followed.

Michaels smirked.  “Well, I did shoot a few mooks.”

“Huh.”  Matthias glanced at where the sounds of fighting could be heard.  “Want to go shoot some more?”

“You’re buying after.”  Michaels started heading that way.

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 18

Hunting: Chapter 17

He woke up, then looked around before awareness flooding back in.  “Ash.”  He started trying to sit up, only to realize he was tangled in various medical things.

“It’s alright.”  A calm voice said and someone reached over to pat his arm.  “You’re in the hospital.  Magda said to make sure to tell you as soon as you woke up that everyone is alright and they are looking for Ash right now.”

Stephan nodded.  The woman sitting by his bed looked to be in her early fifties.  She was a light skinned black woman, with warm eyes and a pleasant smile.  He tilted his head.  “Are you Laura’s mother?”

“I’m Gabriel’s mother.”  She smiled.

“You’re…”  He blinked.

“He’s adopted.”  She shrugged.  “We thought it best if someone was on hand to reassure you as soon as you woke up…”  She lowered her voice conspiratorially.  “So we may have let them all believe you’re my nephew.”

“Right.”  He shifted on the hospital bed.  “So, Aunt…”

“Patricia Williams, but you may call me Patty.”

“Aunt Patty…”  He nodded.  “Fill me in.”

“Good news first.”  She leaned back.  “Anna and her baby are healthy.  I’m not sure what all is going on and as soon as things are settled I am going to box some people’s ears, but Gabriel said to tell you that he’s ‘playing guardian angel’ and that as soon as…”  She took a deep breath and shook her head disapprovingly.  “Your ass can get out of bed Matthias is probably going to need you.”

“Yeah.  Probably.”  He started to sit up, then gave a frustrated sigh.  “Don’t suppose they left any —”

She offered him a set of clothes.  “I’ll be right outside.”

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 17

Hunting: Chapter 16

The sounds coming from the next room were horrifying.  The worst of them was Mistress’s laughter.  Ash tried to crawl under the bed, but it was blocked off.  He whimpered, unable to put his hands over his ears with them secured behind his back.  Snarling and screaming and dying and wet and choking.

He was back.  Mistress’s collar was around his neck again.  She’d taken Magda’s collar off him and put her collar on him.  Leather tight enough to make it hard to swallow.  They’d brought him to Mistress.  They’d left Stephan on the docks and shot Matthias and they’d brought him to Mistress.  He could feel tears running down his cheeks.

She’d petted him and acted glad to see him, before reminding him to follow the rules.  He leaned forward to wipe the tears off on the bed.  Crying was against the rules.  Mistress would be…  Your name is Bernard Rudolf Achterberg.  You are a cop, not a pet.  You are a person, not a dog.  Her name is Sima, not mistress.  You are not alone.  We will come for you.

He knew that voice.  Laura’s when her eyes turned red.  He took a deep breath, and nodded.

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 16

Wren and Adam : Chapter 16

Adam walked through the fair, occasionally stopping to play one of the games so as not to draw attention to himself.  Stasya was doing the same thing, while Patrick waited in the car playing mission control.  Patrick almost couldn’t help but look threatening, and the last thing they needed was some hysterical parent wondering what he was doing there by himself.

The blue haired girl finished dunking the younger cop, and walked away giggling.  He debated approaching her directly, maybe flirting and seeing if he could get her number.  Might help with the information gathering.  Or better yet, maybe she’d see through him and tip off the others.  Shit, the last thing he wanted to deal with right now is Wren deciding she needed to be jealous.  Fewer people got hurt, the better, and there was still a chance he could keep her and the old man out of things entirely.

Kidnapping a pregnant thirteen-year-old was risky in many ways.  Fortunately, it had been fairly simple to convince Wren they’d be better off just wait until the kid had been born and snatch it.  It wasn’t like they could actually keep him out of a room, and worst case scenario he could always shape shift into a stork or something.

That just left Stephan and Ash, both of whom Sima wanted.  The fact that Sima’s motives were clearly vengeful didn’t bode well for their intended fate.  He stopped at the center’s booth, smiling as he let Magda tell him about the center before dropping a hundred dollar bill into the donation case.  Sima didn’t care about Stephan beyond the fact killing him would hurt Magda, and she was too much of a coward to go after Magda herself.

He joined Stasya near the entrance to the church’s garden.  “Baby Bear.  Thoughts?”

“The guy Sima wants…”  He jerked his head up at the church.  “Is in there, but he isn’t alone.”

“Near as I can tell, he is never alone.  They are very protective of him.”  She nodded.  “Girl is never alone either.  The ex-cop might limp, but he carries two guns and probably can use them.”

“His cane is a weapon as well.  Tazer.  Strong one.”  Adam frowned.  “But he’s often one of the people looking after Ash.  Could take the two of them together.”

“Put gun to Ash, Stephan puts his gun down.”  Stasya frowned.  “Then what?  Tip off other werewolf and let her deal with Sima?”

“That’s not a bad plan.”  Adam nodded.  It was possible without Sima’s influence, Wren would…  He needed to stop thinking like that.  “She took out an alpha, and her son is an alpha.  We could sit back, make some popcorn, let nature take it’s course.”

“Would prevent her death from being traced to us.  We were obeying her orders.  Not our fault she was blinded by lust.”  Stasya smirked, then shrugged.  “Leaves baby matter.”

“That’s an issue.”  Adam exhaled.  “We’ve ruled out a lot of things William’s isn’t, but we still have no idea what he is.  And you ruled out a honey-pot idea.”

“Old man is very lucky man.”  Stasya nodded.  “I stopped by his booth.  Shook his hand.  You know he —”

“Nope.”  Adam shook his head.  “Still don’t want to hear details.”

“Williams is very flexible.”  Stasya smiled dreamily.

“You are such a pervert.”

Continue reading Wren and Adam : Chapter 16

Hunting: Chapter 15

Daniel tried not to be nervous as the door opened.  Meeting a dragon was so far down the list of things he’d thought he’d ever get to do.  And that was the list he’d made after he’d started dating a werewolf.  The man on the other side of the door was…

Actually kind of a disappointment.  He looked like an ordinary man.  Maybe 5’3”, about Ted’s age, and some flavor of oriental.  He thought Japanese.  The name had sounded Japanese.  Actually, he looked a little like George Takei, so Japanese was most likely.  And he was rambling in his own head.  He tried to focus.

The dragon, Ryuu, actually greeted Magda with a kiss on the cheek.  And ignored Matthias entirely as he stepped back to let them all enter.  Magda took off her shoes as soon as she entered, and the others all immediately followed suit.  “Welcome, welcome.”  Ryuu gave a small bow.  “Let me start by assuring you, I have absolutely no interest in harming any of you lovely people.”  He closed the door behind them.  “Or Matthias.”

“Forgive me if I’m slightly relieved, Ryuu.  It’s been rather eventful lately.”  Magda offered him the wine Ted had picked out, and Ryuu made some appropriate noises of gratitude as he accepted it.

“Truly.”  Ryuu nodded.  “You know for all the fussing the Western division has been doing lately I expected something better than that tired old anti-christ thing.”  He rolled his eyes.  “Two thousand years.  You’d think they’d get a new gimmick.”  He gestured toward archway that led to what looked like a dining room.  “But business can wait until after we’ve eaten.”  He crouched a little to look Anna in the eye.  “Milady, I won’t be offended if your condition prevents you from partaking.  I arranged a fruit tray just in case, with extra bananas.”

She smiled.  “I like bananas.”

“You are a woman of excellent taste.”  He nodded to her before standing again and walking into the dining room.

“He’s being friendly…”  Michaels gave Magda a concerned look.

“He says he’s not here to hurt us…”  Magda smiled reassuringly.  “Then he’s not here to hurt us.  Right now we’re probably safer than we’ve been in the past year.”

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 15

Hunting: Chapter 14

“You know, I actually thought this task was going to take all day.”  Ted looked around the room.  With Gabriel having to work, he’d planned on renting some hand carts or perhaps even a pallet jack to get the truck unloaded.

“We keep Matthias around for a reason.”  Daniel grinned at him.  “God, Ted, this place is awesome.  I wish my hometown had something like this.”  He ran a hand down the machine in front of him.  “Why pinball?”

“Once, a long time ago, I was a child.”  Ted chuckled.  “Used to love it.  When I saw these up on an auction website I couldn’t resist.”  He pointed.  “The game consoles have been in here a while, and get used so much I have to replace the controllers every couple months.  I thought perhaps they might enjoy these as well.”

“Alright.”  Matthias slid out from under one of the machines.  “That’s the last one.  Everything should be working.”  He stood.  “I remember when these things were everywhere.”  He tilted his head.  “Kind of craving a malt now.”

“Oh, almost forgot.”  He headed over to the storage closet.  “I know Anna wants to go to the fair, but in her condition that much walking might not be wise.”  It took him a moment to pull the item he was looking for free, then he pushed it toward Daniel.  “This might help.”

“She might object to being pushed in a wheel —”  Daniel cut off as Ted offered him the bright pink bike horn with attached streamers.  “Yep, that’ll work.”

“Hey, Ted…”  Matthias shrugged.  “How much does it cost you to run this joint?”

Ted shrugged.  “Less than you might think.  Erilon, through methods I really prefer not to think about, has managed to keep the licensing fees pretty minimal and we do get donations.  Plus most of the labor is volunteer.”

“Generous as you’ve been to us…”  Matthias shrugged.  “Like to make a donation.”

“That’s not necessary.”  Ted smiled.  “Given your situation, it would be best to conserve your resources.”

“Money ain’t one of our problems.  The whole uh…”  Matthias rubbed the back of his neck.  “Being one of the good guys thing is sort of new to me.  Might be one of the reasons I’m not great at it.”  He shrugged.  “Lot of people out there willing to pay a guy like me a hell of a lot of money to get shit done.”

“You…”  Ted exhaled.  “You’re telling me you used to be an assassin.”

“Among other things.”  Matthias nodded.

“Not really sure what to say to that.”  Ted exhaled.  “Well, Matthias…”  He shrugged.  “There will be a lot of charities at the fair, some of which do better work and are much more desperate for funds than I am.  If you are looking to buy some forgiveness, that would be a good place to start.”

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 14

Hunting: Chapter 13

Daniel looked around.  “Matthias?”

“Hmmm…?”  Matthias glanced over his shoulder.

“I’m leaving you for Ted’s kitchen.”

“What?”  Matthias blinked.

“You really can’t blame him.”  Magda chuckled as she looked around, then she turned toward Ted.  “You have a lovely home.”

“Thank you.”  Ted smiled.  “There are two guest bedrooms.  One has its own bathroom.  Anna may be more comfortable in that one, considering her condition.”

“Ted uh…”  Magda shrugged.  “Do you mind if I do use your kitchen?  I mean, the least I can do is make you all dinner.”

“Oh, not at all.  Please, make yourselves at home.”

“Yeah, uh…”  Michaels was looking out the back window.  “Dog boy kind of found your hot tub already and…”  He shrugged.  “Someone might want to ask him to put his clothes back on or something.”

“No, they don’t have to.”  Laura was also standing at the back window, her head tilted as she smiled dreamily.  Michaels gave her a look before putting his hand over her eyes.  She ducked away then stuck her tongue out at him.

“I’ll uh…”  Magda sighed.  “Just go take care of that.”

“There are towels in the cupboard there.”  Ted pointed.

“I can cook too…”  Daniel nodded.  “But Magda is much better at baking and at French cuisine which makes sense because she’s actually French even though she’s got like a Norse name and that’s because Matthias’s dad was an actual Viking and actually I’m not sure what Magda’s real name is but she’s been using Magda since he was born so I guess it’s her real name now and anyway I took a bunch of cooking classes in college so that I could —”

“Breath,” Gabriel said as he walked by.

“Yeah.”  Daniel took a deep breath, then smiled apologetically at Ted.  “Sorry.  I start talking when I’m nervous and I’m really nervous around you guys cause of everything and I just want you to know we won’t mess up your place at all and we can help out with anything you need and let us know what foods you like so we can cook and I cook anyway cause Anna’s down to only about six things she can eat without her stomach getting upset so I just try to make those —”

“Breath.”  Matthias patted his shoulder.

Ted tried not to smile as the young man inhaled deeply before launching into yet another rambling assurance.  “Daniel, son, please.”  Ted held up his hands.  “Sit down before you really do talk until you pass out.”  Then he shrugged.  “I do have a security system.  There are cameras on the front and back doors.  It’s not active at the moment, but I’m guessing at least one of you has the expertise to set it up.”

Matthias nodded.  “Where’s the control panel?”

“By the garage door.”  He watched the man walk away.  Matthias was massive even before taking into account the man could, according to Laura, turn into a ten-foot-tall werewolf.  He almost jumped when he felt Gabriel’s hand on his shoulder.

“You alright with this, Ted?”

“I issued the invitation, didn’t I?”  Ted smiled at him, and then mentally kicked himself.  “Though uh…”  He exhaled.  “Can I assume that werewolves have excellent hearing and other senses?”

“Yes.”  Matthias called from the other room.  “Werewolves do.”

“Oh.”  Well.  That was going to make some things very, very awkward.

Gabriel leaned forward, and whispered into his ear.  “You’ve still got my extra key, right?”

Ted smiled.

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 13

Hunting: Chapter 12

There was still a lot of tense and awkward silence.  Ted had his own few minutes of frustration when he learned that Anna was not under a doctor’s care.  “The ability to heal is not the same as the ability to ensure health.  She’s a child.  She should be getting blood tests to determine what supplements are needed to prevent cumulative damage to her body.”  He glared at the young man, Daniel.

“I’ve uh…”  Daniel glanced at Michaels and Gabriel.  “We are kind of fugitives from the police too.  Trent made sure there were warrants out on me.”

“I’ll call up a couple of the nurses that work with my center.”  Ted shook his head.  “They’ve worked with abused children before and will be discreet.”  He sighed, then looked over at Anna.  “Do you need anything, young lady?”

“They do take pretty good care of me.”  Anna shook her head.  “Matthias cuts the vitamins in half and everything so I don’t choke on them.”  She gave him a reassuring smile.

Reconciling a man who’d tortured his friend with a man taking care of a little girl was extremely difficult.  Ted nodded.  “I meant at this particular moment.  Juice or anything?”

“Oh, yes.”  Anna nodded.  “Thank you.”

“So your magical ability is you not only don’t have a magical ability you make everyone else not have a magical ability?”  Laura tilted her head at Stephan.

“Pretty much.”  He nodded.

“That is simultaneously awesome and totally ass sucking.”  Laura exhaled.

“What are your powers?”  Daniel frowned.  “I mean, his we saw…”  He nodded at Gabriel.  “And then you did the bullet stopping thing…”  He nodded at Laura.  “But what about the rest of you?”

“Oh, the bullet stopping thing was all her.  I haven’t figured out what my power is yet.”  Laura shook her head.

“Michaels and I do not have any powers.”  Ted shook his head.

Magda and Matthias exchanged a look.  Magda frowned.  “But this demon, Erilon or whatever, Anna sensed her in his head.”

“Yeah, cause she tried to get in and Erilon bolted the door.”  Laura sent a glare at Anna.  “Don’t do that shit.  It’s really fucking rude to go where you aren’t invited.”

“The point was that if he didn’t have magic, the demon taking possession would have killed him.”  Matthias glanced over at Michaels.

“Shows what you know.”  Laura stuck her tongue out at him.

“With all due respect…”  Magda straightened.  “I am almost four hundred years old.  This is not my first encounter with witches or demons.”

“Bull.”  Michaels narrowed his eyes.  “Shit.”

“Nah, she’s actually telling the truth there.”  Laura turned toward him.  “Werewolves live a lot longer than humans, or would if they didn’t piss people off all the time.”

“I was born before World War I…”  Matthias nodded.  “And fought in World War II.”

“That’s…”  Ted blinked.  “Certainly something.”

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 12

Hunting: Chapter 11

Ted brought him a cup of the good coffee.  Michaels nodded before taking a drink.  “Thanks.”  Fortunately, he’d still had a pair of shorts at Ted’s from when they’d helped him set up his dock.  Diana’s business card had been in the pocket of the pants he’d been wearing.  His blood had rendered it illegible.  It was stupid to be pissed about that considering all the other reasons he had to be pissed.  That didn’t stop him from being pissed about it.

He sat on the back patio, his legs in Ted’s hot tub.  If he’d had a swimsuit…  Eh, fuck it.  He slid all the way into the water.  Laura sat on the edge, and put her own legs in.  She reached over and rubbed his shoulder.  “You smacked a werewolf in the mouth with a tree branch.”  She patted him.  “That was totally bad ass.”

“You stopped a bullet.  That was some serious Jedi shit.”  Michaels looked up at her.  “Thanks for…”  He took a deep breath.  “Do not do that again, baby girl.”

“You’re family.  The stupid big brother I didn’t know I wanted.”  She started shaking her head as tears welled up in her eyes.  Then she let out a small sob before splashing down into the water next to him and throwing her arms around his neck.  “I was scared for you.”

“Yeah…”  He hugged her back.  “I was a little scared for me too.”

“Michaels.”  Gabriel pulled up a chair next to the tub, then leaned forward.  “She’s right.”

“Gabe, you beat the shit out of a ten-foot-tall werewolf.  When it comes to bad ass, you kind of redefine the term.”  Michaels managed a smile.  From the slightly loopy feeling starting to rise in him, he was pretty sure Ted had dosed the coffee with something.  “I appreci—”

“I wasn’t talking about the badass part.”  Gabriel shook his head.  “You’re not just my partner or sidekick.  You’re my brother.  Whatever it is these people want from me, they don’t get it unless you’re alright with it.  We clear?”

“You shitheads make me cry and I’m gonna start punching things.”  He swallowed past the lump that rose in his throat, then coughed.  “Ah fuck.”  He wiped at his eyes.

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 11

Hunting: Chapter 10

Gabriel kept the gun sights firmly trained on the werewolf’s head.  Claw marks decorated Michael’s torso front and back, and his partner was covered in blood.  Though he was getting back to his feet with the tree branch still in his hand.  “Erilon?”

“It’s you.”  The little girl was still staring at him.  Something about her was strangely familiar, and for a moment he felt dizzy.  He pushed the sensation away and focused on the situation at hand.  “It’s you.”  She glanced at the werewolf standing a few feet away.  “Magda, it’s him.  He’s the one we are looking for.”

Michaels turned toward Erilon.  “There is a heavily pregnant barely pubescent little girl here and that guy there literally tried ripping my face off.”

“Explanations had better be good.”  Gabriel nodded.

“They are, just…”  The black man who had tazed Michaels spread his hands in a placating gesture before nodding toward Michaels.  “Look, whoever you are, this guy here is possessed and have reason to —”

“I am going to jam that cane so far up your ass —” Michaels shifted his grip on the tree branch.

“One step toward him and I tear your guts out.”  The werewolf lowered her head.

“Rosa called us for help.”  The black man looked toward Gabriel.  “We came her to find that —”

“Rosa?”  Gabriel blinked.

“They seem to think I’m a member of a cabal and threw her in front of that car or something.”  Michaels shook his head.

“He’s possessed.”  The black man shook his head.  “Look, I know this is hard to believe, but Anna here sensed a demon in his —”

She sensed me.”  Erilon narrowed her eyes.

“She sensed…”  The werewolf turned toward her, and started to lower her head as if preparing to charge.

“Magda, don’t.”  The little girl held up her hands.  “It’s him, Magda.  He can’t be a bad guy.”

“You don’t…”  The werewolf started shaking her head.

“Gabriel, please, don’t shoot Matthias.  He’s my friend.  I know you’re angry because he hurt your partner but please, I need you to listen.”  The little girl turned to look at him.  “Rosa ran because she recognized you and knew who you were.  She was fated to die the day she met you, and she panicked.  But you guys know what really happened and that’s why you were suspicious about us showing up and asking because there was another werewolf and you saw it.”

“How the fuck…”  Michaels started shaking his head.

Gabriel put the gun down.”  Erilon turned back toward him.  “Let me get the healer back on his feet so he can repair the damage done to Michaels.

“You keep away from —”  The female werewolf’s head came up again and she glared.

Alternately, kill the wolves, I easily take possession of the boy due to his current state, Michaels takes his temper out on the other witch, and we regroup and discuss what to do about the potential apocalypse in her womb.”  She shrugged.  “Don’t hurt the other young man though, he’s an innocent.

“I’d like to register my vote for plan B.”  Michaels shook his head.

It is for their leader to decide.”  Erilon stared at the female werewolf.

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 10

Hunting: Chapter 9

The sound of the gunshot made them all go still.  Stephan started to stand, and heard Ash made a whimpering sound.  Anna started moving, and he caught her arm.  She tried to pull free.  “Anna…”

“What if Danny is…”  She started shaking her head.

“There would have been a lot more than one gun shot if it was —”  There was a roar, and then a crashing sound as a tree fell somewhere.  “What the…”  Then there were two more shots, close together.

“Stephan?”  Ash looked up at him.  “Stephan?”

“Come on, let’s get you two back to the truck.”  Magda, you better be alright.

“I’m not leaving without Daniel.”  Anna started shaking her head.

“Anna, you know the plan.”  Stephan put a hand on her shoulder.  “Anything happens, I get you and Ash to the truck, and we retreat.  They’ll —”  Anna yanked away from him and started running back toward the commotion.  “Dammit.”  Stephan started after her, hampered by the bum leg.  A moment later, Ash was racing past him after the girl.

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 9