Hunting: Chapter 2

“I like your mom’s boyfriend.”  Daniel stripped off his shirt.

“He tazed me.”  Matthias glared at him.

“Yeah.  That’s one of the things I like about him.”  Daniel chuckled when Matthias picked him up and set him on the countertop.  He wrapped his legs around Matthias’s waist and his arms around the big man’s neck.  “I like your mom too.”

Matthias rested his forehead against Daniel’s.  “Feels weird.  Being home.”

“You grew up here?”

“I grew up on the move.  This house was the first place we ever stayed longer than a few months.  We came here just after my father was killed and the pack broke apart.”  He sighed.  “I was angry, and she…”  He shook his head.  “She managed to keep me from being stupid for a long time, but eventually the stupid won.”

“Don’t worry.”  Daniel kissed him.  “I’m here to do the thinking now.”

“Look outside.”  Matthias smiled evilly.  “See how it’s dark out?”  He grabbed Daniel’s arms, then pinned them above Daniel’s head with one arm.  “That means I’m in charge now.”

“Yeah…”  Daniel returned the grin.  “But there isn’t usually a lot of thinking involved with this —”  He cut off with a gasp.

“You were saying something?”  Matthias pulled Daniel’s pants off almost casually.  Then he removed something from his back pocket.

Daniel blinked at the sight of the handcuffs.  “Where’d you get those?”

“Swiped them from Stephan.”  Matthias shrugged.

“What if he wanted to use them tonight?”  Daniel tilted his head, then couldn’t stop himself from laughing at the look on Matthias’s face.  He was pulled off the counter, spun, and then his hands were cuffed behind his back.

“You’re gonna pay for that.”  Matthias’s voice was a playful growl.

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 2

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Hunting: Chapter 1

“Mother?” Daniel stared.  He couldn’t help himself.  There was a resemblance between Matthias and the woman now starring daggers at him.  She was a tall, imposing figure of a woman, with a rather blunt face and graying black hair.  If Matthias was over a hundred and could pass for under thirty, how old did that make his mother?  The black man on the porch still had his hand on his gun, and hadn’t relaxed despite the presence of the woman.  If anything, he looked even more on guard.  Matthias was staring back at his mother.

“Yeah, um…”  Matthias took a deep breath.

The woman turned to look at him and Anna, and then her eyes widened a little.  She whirled back on Matthias.  “Matthias Jarlson, why is the little girl pregnant?”

“I can explain.”  Matthias immediately held up his hands in a defensive gesture.  When the woman folded her arms, he winced again.  “That is, uh…”  He sighed.  “Shit.”

“Language.”  She glared.

“It was a cabal, I…”  Matthias started shaking his head.

“A…”  The woman blinked, then her eyes slowly began turning golden.  “Matthias — ”

“I’m protecting them.”  Matthias hurriedly interrupted her.  “From the cabal, which are the ones that impregnated Anna and are trying to get hold of her again.”

“Where are their parents?”

“In the cabal.”  Matthias lowered his hands.  “I’m protecting them from their parents.”

“So why not go to the police?”  The woman tapped her foot.

“You know cops are all a bunch of assholes.”  Matthias shook his head.

Both his mother and the man on the porch straightened and renewed their glares.  “We…”  The woman’s voice was low.  “Are cops.”

“Fuck.”

“Language.”

“Because their stepdad was a cop and a police chief and part of the cabal and…”  Matthias winced again.

“Was?”  The woman took a step forward.  “Matthias, you killed a cop?”

“No.”  Daniel stepped forward.  “I did, when he was going to kill Matthias.”

“And they’d have killed Rosa to,” Anna spoke up.

“Rosa?”  The woman raised an eyebrow.  “You went to Rosa?  After what you pulled I’m shocked she didn’t sell you out…”

“Well…”  Matthias rubbed his forehead.

“She sold you out.”  The woman sighed.  “And you’ve got a cabal after you.”  She lowered her hands.  “So you decided to come here, to my home.”

“I didn’t realize you’d be here.  I thought you were dead.”

“You thought I was dead?”  She blinked.

“I sent flowers!  And I killed the —” Matthias cut himself off.

“Killed the?”  She lowered her head.

“The terrorist group responsible for the bomb that I thought…”  He sighed.  “Look, they were assholes anyway so it’s not like it was a big…”  Matthias turned toward Daniel.  “Please for the love of god help me stop talking.”

“Anna is standing out in the rain.”  Daniel shook his head.  “And that’s not good for her.”

“Right.”  The woman gestured at the man on the porch, who promptly vanished into the house.  Daniel caught a glimpse of a curtain moving, and realized someone else was inside.  “Anna, was it?  Come in, let’s get you something warm to drink.  I’m Magda and that was Stephan, since my son couldn’t be bothered to make introductions.”

“I’m Daniel.  This is my sister, Anna.”

Continue reading Hunting: Chapter 1

The Woods : Chapter 3

Refusing to let him dress had been petty of her, she knew that.  Yet the look on his face when he realized he was going to have to be stark naked in front of a dozen of her dinner guests had been hilarious.  Her friends weren’t making it easy on him either.  He sat next to her, hunched in front of the table, trying to keep what modesty he could.  Janna trailed a hand across his shoulder, leaning in behind him as she poured wine into Ileana’s cup.  Then she ‘accidentally’ dumped half the flagon of iced wine into Thomas’s lap.  He yelped when the cold liquid hit him, but managed not to jump out of his seat.  Several of her guests made disappointed sounds.

The slyph produced a towel.  “Here.”  She grinned.  “Let me get that for you.”

He caught the towel.  “Thank you, but I can manage.”

“No, really.”  Janna licked her lips.  “I insist.”

“I have the matter under control.”  He tugged at the towel, but Janna didn’t release it.

“It is a big mess.”  On the other side of him, Keffer picked up his napkin and started toward him.

Thomas immediately released Janna to catch Keffer’s wrist.  “I appreciate the…”  He trailed off when Janna started reaching into his lap again, and caught the towel with his other hand.

“Maybe he just likes being wet and sticky.”  Tsara laughed.

“Well, then…”  Keffer pulled his wrist free of Thomas and set the napkin back down.  “If that’s the way he likes it.”

“Hmmm…”  Janna shrugged, then pulled the towel away before going back to her seat.

Ileana hid her smile behind her wine cup.  Then she set her glass down.  “Thomas.  Would you be so kind as to go to the sideboard over there…”  She pointed.  “And fetch me another roll?”

His glare was luminous.  Then he shoved his chair back, stood, and stalked toward the sideboard.  Several cheers accompanied the action.  He grabbed a roll and brought it back, holding it out to her.  She smiled.  “And could you put some butter on it?”

Continue reading The Woods : Chapter 3

The Woods: Chapter 2

“How?”  Thomas stared at her.  She was…  and yet she couldn’t be.  Princess Ileana had thrown herself from her balcony into the river below.  He’d seen it with his own eyes.

Instead of answering, she lifted a thin bladed knife.  She moved toward his neck, and for a heartbeat he thought she was going to slice open his throat.  Instead, she cut the rope around his neck.

His head dropped forward, and he sucked in air.  His position still prevented him from drawing a full breath, but he was no longer limited to the painful, shallow gasps.  He wasn’t sure how long he hung there, limp, just breathing, before she caught his hair and viciously yanked his head up and back again.

Around her wrist was coiled a golden serpent.  It raised its head, flicking its tongue at him.  It hissed, revealing glistening fangs.  “You belong to me.”  Her voice was soft, with a curious echo to it.  “Body and soul.”

“Kill me and get it over with.”  He stared back at her.

Her smile was vicious.  “Oh no.”  She gave a small shake of her head.  “It won’t be that easy for you.”

The serpent reared its head back and struck, its fangs piercing the skin of his throat.  Fire seemed to flow through his veins as he felt it coil around his neck.  He screamed as darkness closed over him.

Continue reading The Woods: Chapter 2

Gabriel : Part 3

“Batman has has entered the building.  Repeat, Batman has entered the building.”

“Didn’t he say for you not to call him that?”  Ted rubbed his forehead.

“Batman is now glaring at me in a threatening manner.”

“So, situation normal.”  Laura’s voice came over the radio.

There was a pause before Michaels spoke again.  “Batman wants to know why you are still on the radio after 10 PM on a school night.”

“Did Batman miss the part where I am a juvenile delinquent dropout?”

“She’s doing a self-study GED program.”  Ted smiled.

“Batman is pointing out —” There was a small thudding sound and Michaels yelped.  “That doesn’t change that there is a 10PM curfew on school nights.”

“Relax, I’m in Lloyd’s living room.”

“One, I’ve asked you not to call me that, and two, you broke into my fucking house again?”

“Kindly do not cuss in front of the minor.”  Ted tried not to snicker.

“Yeah, don’t fucking cuss in front of me.  I don’t need to hear that shit.”  Laura’s voice drawled.  “And I didn’t break in, I used your spare key.”

“Who told you where my spare key was?”

I did.

“Alright, one, why are you telling people where my spare key is, and two, how the fuck are you even transmitting over this channel?”

Language.”

“I am not getting a lecture in morals from a succubus.”

“The Batman thing is dumb.”  Laura sounded like she was eating something.

“You’re just mad we won’t let you Batgirl.”

“No.”  Laura didn’t even bother to disguise the fact she was lying.  “But Batman’s been done.  He needs something new.  How about…”  She swallowed.  “The Crimson Crusader?”

“If that man owns a single article of red clothing I will give you a hundred dollars.”

“You’re going to have to pay up.  The volunteer shirts from the park thing are red and he actually showed up to help like he promised.”  Ted laughed.

“Fuck.”

Ted asked you to watch your language.”

“Yeah, Ted asked you to watch your fucking language.”

“How come you aren’t yelling at her about her language?”

I find her usage precocious and adorable.”

“And we girls gotta stick together.”  Laura made a small slurping sound.  “You know, with her on the team, we should probably incorporate fire or demons or something into the name.  The Hellfire Avengers?”

“No.”  Ted started shaking his head.

“Batman wants to know if anyone other than him has actually done any real work on this case?”

“Right.”  Ted looked down at the folder on his desk.  “I’ve got the location the other missing person was last camping…”

Continue reading Gabriel : Part 3

Gabriel : Part 2

He sighed, and looked around the bar.  You know, there is this new-fangled thing you might want to consider trying, just for variety.  It’s called ‘sex with women’.  Why would I share you with another woman, pet?  I hate you.  I know.  Pick one and lets get this over wi…  Corner, near the window.  I see it.  Let’s go ruin his night.

Gabriel walked over to where the twink was swaying just a little.  “Everything alright here?”

The older guy shrugged.  “I think my buddy here had a little too much to drink.”  He started to grab the kid’s arm.  “I’ll just take him home.”

“Kid, hey.”  Gabriel looked up.  “You got a name?”

“I’m, uh…”  The kid blinked at him, his eyes dazed.

“He just needs to go home…”  The older guy narrowed his eyes at Gabriel.

“I can see that.”  Gabriel nodded.  “Kid, you’ve got ID or something?”

“Yeah…”  The kid swayed a little, nearly losing his balance as he reached for his back pocket.

The older guy grabbed his wrist before he could get his wallet out, then glared at Gabriel.  “I’ve got this under control, man.  Back off.”

Say it, say it.  Come on, pet.  Do it for me.  Say ‘starting to want you to make me’.  Please.  Shut up.  “Kid, do you know this guy?”

A confused look came to the kid’s face.  He shook his head and frowned a little.  “I, uh…”

“Somebody I should call for you?”  Gabriel raised an eyebrow.

“My boyfriend…” The kid started to nod.

“I said back the fuck off.”  The guy yanked the kid away from Gabriel, then glared.  “You want to start something?”

“No.”  Gabriel smiled.  “But I’m more than happy to finish it.”

“Son of a…”  The guy balled up his fist and took a swing.  Gabriel put his hand up and caught it, then twisted the guy’s arm up to throw him off balance.  He put his other hand on the guy’s shoulder, and bounced his face off the tabletop before shoving him aside.

The guy fell to the ground and lay there, groaning.  The bouncer made his way through the crowd.  “Sir, I’m going to need to…”

Gabriel pulled out his badge and flipped it open.  “Call the kid here a cab, get him home.”  He stepped over to the man on the ground.  “You have the right to remain silent.”

Continue reading Gabriel : Part 2

Truth and Shadows : Chapter 3

Viteri’s eyes were a little wet.  She debated offering him a tissue, but the guards had been very clear about making physical contact even if the man was firmly shackled.  The trial notes had included pictures of Tobias Grady’s beaten form.  The poor man had been barely recognizable as human.  “We didn’t hook up right then.”  Viteri swallowed.  “He was scared, and to be honest, so was I.  I wasn’t a virgin by any means, but this was the first time I really, you know…”  He shrugged.  “Wanted things to work.”  He smiled a little.  “And Tobias really didn’t have any idea what he was doing.  It’s not exactly something they cover in sex ed down in Bailey.”

“So, you took things slow.”  Diana nodded.

“At first, yeah.”  Viteri nodded.  “We kissed, then we went back to the lab…”

Continue reading Truth and Shadows : Chapter 3

Ash : Chapter 10

He started barking as soon as he saw the man get out of the car.  He kept barking happily as the man limped up to the porch.

“Hey, Ash.”  Stephan ruffled his hair.

Ash smiled at him.  “Hello, Stephan.”

Stephan’s eyes widened, then he broke into a huge smile.  “Hey, you said it in person-talk that time.”

“And I’ve stopped chewing on Magda’s shoes.”  Ash nodded happily.  When Stephan stared at him, Ash started laughing.  “The look on your face.”

“You’re still a shit though.”  Stephan just shook his head.  “How’s things?”

“Come see what Magda got me.”  Ash grabbed his hand and pulled before dropping to all fours and rushing eagerly into the cabin.  He grabbed the stuffed ewok in his teeth before bringing it back to Stephan.

“That’s awesome.”  Stephan crouched.  “Does it —”  Ash squeaked it.  “That is cool.  So I guess you won’t be needing this.”  He reached into the bag he’d brought in with him, and pulled out something wrapped in newspaper.

“What is it?”  Ash took the ewok out of his mouth and stared fixedly at the present.

“I don’t know.”  Stephan stood up.  “It looks like you’ve got enough toys.”

“What is it what is it what is it?”  Ash bounced.

“Maybe I’ll just put this away for —”  Stephan cut off with a laugh when Ash tackled him.

Continue reading Ash : Chapter 10

Daniel : Chapter 10

He sat, watching the sun rise.  Part of him wanted to turn, to go back to…  And he had no idea if those thoughts were his.  What parts of the past three months had been him and what had been her pushing.  If his feelings regarding either of them were real or just a result of her will.  Her control couldn’t have been complete.  Yet he didn’t know if it was subtle or if she’d just actively prevented him from noticing her modifications.  The idea that he’d lost control so completely was…

And yet he’d accepted it.  Outside of the bed, he’d let Daniel take the lead.  That part didn’t make sense either.  Why would Anna have allowed that, if her claim that she couldn’t control her brother was accurate?  Matthias sighed.  He didn’t even know how far into his head she’d gone.

The sun was high when he saw his truck pull out of the rest area.  A glance at his watch showed it was almost 2 PM.  Matthias stood slowly, working the kinks out of his back.  Part of him wanted to find a phone, to call them and…  He had no idea how great Anna’s range was, or how to tell if that was his desire or something she’d put into his head.

Matthias shrugged.  There was one person who might be able to tell him.  He walked down to the highway and stuck out a thumb.

Continue reading Daniel : Chapter 10

Daniel : Chapter 9

The wound on Matthias’s shoulder was already healed.  Danial put his hands back in his lap.  His own wounds still stung.  He sighed.  “Do you know anyone who could teach me?”

“Only witch I know that isn’t bad news is Rosa.”  Matthias shook his head.

“But what if they’d had silver or something?”  Daniel looked up at him.

“It would have to be enchanted.”

“It’s a cabal.”

“Fair point.”  Matthias nodded.  “But all silver does is make it so I can’t use the wolf to heal.  Enchanted silver affects me the way an ordinary bullet would you, unless it’s been seriously enchanted.  Witches that can do that are like unicorns.”

“So, it’s not like kyptonite.”  Daniel nodded, then shook his head.  “Kryptonite is that stuff that affects Superman —”

“Kid I know what the hell kryptonite is.  I was tuned into the radio for the first broadcast of the meteor in ‘43.”

Daniel started laughing.  “You sound like somebody’s grandpa.  Did you have to walk to school uphill both ways?”

“In the snow, with barbed wire wrapped around my feet for traction.”  Matthias nodded.

“But you’ve never heard of Harry Potter?”  Anna stuck her head out of her alcove.  “Or My Little Ponies?”

“No, cause I’m not a twelve-year-old girl.”  Matthias shook his head at her.

“Hey.”  Daniel glared.

Continue reading Daniel : Chapter 9

Daniel : Chapter 8

“You told her you don’t run with that pack anymore.”  Daniel sat down across from Matthias.

“Look around.  You see a pack?”  Matthias raised an eyebrow.

He wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing.  The last time he’d pried hadn’t exactly turned out well.  And yet, Matthias had agreed to help them in the first place.  That didn’t seem to fit with a man who had done…  “Vietnam ended about forty years ago.  I’d put Rosa about fifty.  She can’t have been that angry over something you did there, and you said her father was bad news so there had to be more to it than that.”

“Kid…”  Matthias sighed.  “You’ve got to learn to stop asking questions when you really don’t want to know the answers.”

“But I do want to know.”  Daniel shook his head.

“Why?”  Matthias narrowed his eyes as he stood up.  “We fuck a few times and you think you can fix me?  I told you, I don’t need therapy from my fuc —”

“Red light.”  Daniel said the words softly.

Matthias cut off in mid-sentence.  “What?”

“Red.”  Daniel met his eyes.  “Light.”

Matthias went quiet for a moment, then nodded.  “Alright then.”  He shrugged.  “Your sister asleep?”

“She’s watching a movie with her headphones on.”  Daniel shook his head.  Then he stood.  “If you answer me, we can go back behind the camper and I’ll ride you until you can’t see straight.”  He shrugged.  “Or you can keep being an ass, and I’ll blow you and go to bed.”

It took a moment, but Matthias started laughing.  “Well played, boss.”  He folded his arms.  “Except your end was anything I wanted.”

“You amended it.”  Daniel mirrored his stance.  “I don’t want to be scared of you, Matthias.”  Daniel met his eyes.  “Show me I don’t need to be.”

“That’s the problem, Daniel.”  Matthias shook his head.  “You really should be.”

“Alright.”  Daniel nodded.  “I’ll come back out when she’s —”

“It was a hospital.”

Daniel blinked.  “What?”

“We were hired to do a hit.”  Matthias sat back down.  “Make an example of someone.  They told me it was an old building.  I was willing enough to kill the man, but not to…”  He sighed.  “They were going to plant charges in the room two floors below his.  Idea was to take out the whole wing.  That way we wouldn’t have to worry about his guards or getting spotted, but…”  He looked down at his hands.  “It was a fucking hospital.  We’d have killed a couple hundred people whose only ‘crime’ was being sick in the same place he was.  I told them I wasn’t taking the job, then learned they’d taken it without me.”

“And…?”  Daniel’s eyes widened.

“And what, kid?”  Matthias shrugged.  “The bomb didn’t go off.  I just had to kill four people I called my brothers to ensure that.  The Alpha and one other weren’t there.  She finds me, she’ll do her damnedest to kill me.  Same goes the other way, but…”  He shrugged.  “That ain’t a fight I’m seeking.”

“So you stopped it.”  Daniel started to smile.

“I ran with that pack for sixteen years, Daniel.  That wasn’t the first time we’d…”  Matthias ran a hand through his hair.  “That one was just…”  He sighed.  “I don’t know.  There was no message.  No cause.  Just a mark who hadn’t paid his bills on time and that’s not…”  His laughter was bitter.  “That’s not war, and there was no way I could tell myself otherwise.”

“I get it.”  Daniel nodded.  “You’re a believer.”

“Oh bulls —”

“I don’t mean religion.”  Daniel quickly shook his head.  “Just faith.  You did the wrong thing because you thought you had the right reasons.  Until you didn’t, and it crashed down.”  He put his arms around his knees.  “You said you were a hundred and six, so…”  He took a deep breath.  “How long did you fight monsters before you became one?”

Continue reading Daniel : Chapter 8

Daniel : Chapter 7

“What’d you do?”  Daniel watched as Rosa and Anna looked over the tarot cards.

It was some time before Matthias answered.  “Her father was a wolf.  Part of a pack I ran with for a time.  He, uh…”  Matthias took a deep breath.  “I killed him.”

“Oh.”  Daniel swallowed.  No wonder she’d met him at the door with a shotgun.

“He was an asshole.  A murderer among other things.  But I killed him because…”  Matthias shrugged.  “Because he wrecked my car.  Not for the bad shit he did, to her among others, but because he disrespected me and I was Alpha.”  He glanced at Daniel.  “I told you, I’m no angel.”

“A monster would be selling us to the cabal.”

“I thought about it,” Matthias said softly.

“You did?”  Daniel blinked.

“Think about it every time your sister starts singing.”  Matthias glanced at him.  “That kind of money buys a lot of ear plugs.”

Daniel laughed.

Continue reading Daniel : Chapter 7

Daniel : Chapter 6

Matthias lowered the map to find Anna staring at him.  “What?”  He raised an eyebrow.

“There are so such things as angels.”  She shook her head at him.  “We need to find one.”

He folded the map, then set it down.  “I need to know what the ‘things’ were that you saw.”

“Trent didn’t rape me.”  Anna shook her head.  “He used a thingy like when they give you shots, cause I needed to be a virgin.  I didn’t get a look at the things.  It was like I couldn’t make my eyes see them all the way.”  She frowned.  “I think most people couldn’t see them at all.”

“Demons can ordinarily only be seen in mirrors.”  Matthias leaned back.  “Unless they found a witch they can ride.”

“They can make witches stronger.”  Anna shivered.  “That’s what’ll happen to Danny if they catch him.”  Anna shook her head.  “Cause he’d agree to save us.”

“He wants to protect you.”  Matthias nodded to her.

“They can’t hurt me until they have her.”  Anna touched her belly.  “So don’t let them catch you.”  She frowned.  “Did you know her name?”

“Who’s name?”  Matthias started to reach for the map again.

“The one you see sometimes when you look at me, before the blood and fire wash her away again.”

The map fell off the table.  “Stay out of my head.”  He glared at her.

“I don’t go looking.”  She glared back.  “It comes to me.  Blood and fire.  Birds.  The broken angel.”  She shivered.  “She’ll be safe if we find the broken angel.”

“She?”

Anna pointed at her belly.  “We can’t let them get her.  They’ll make her bad.”

“I…”  He stared at her.  “What are you…?”

Daniel opened the trailer door and stepped in.  He set a small bag on the counter.  “Options were pretty limited.  I hope everyone’s okay with hot dogs.”  He sighed at the bag.  “And Lucky Charms.”  He shrugged.  “What kind of town doesn’t even have a grocery store?”

Continue reading Daniel : Chapter 6

Daniel : Chapter 5

He felt the bullets hit him as he transformed into full were.  Matthias snarled, then raked his claws through the man that had attacked Daniel.  They caught on the guy’s ribcage, and he tore it free before lunging at the next.  His jaws closed on the man’s shoulder and he yanked his head back, taking a massive chunk of the man’s flesh with it.  A fourth man, who had been behind the car, ducked around the vehicles side before popping up and trying to shoot at him again.  He caught the third man’s face in one massive paw and crushed it.  Then he bent, grabbed the side of the car, and flipped the thing over on top of the shooter.

Matthias rolled his neck, letting the were form’s healing take care of the worst of the bullet wounds before shifting back to human.  “You alright, kid?”

“You’re a fucking werewolf.”  Daniel was staring at him.

“I did tell you they were real.”  He shrugged.  “Get in the truck.”

Continue reading Daniel : Chapter 5