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.”



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.


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.


Wren and Adam : Chapter 13

He grinned when Stasya greeted him with a full-on hug.  Patrick settled for affectionately punching him in the shoulder.  “Hey, Baby Bear.”  Stasya let him go.  “What’s the situation?”

“Still something of an unknown.”  Adam took a deep breath.  “Dealing with…”  He blinked, then looked around.  Patrick’s suitcase was sitting open on the table, but Stasya’s dress was flung over the back of a chair.  “So, what exactly happened after I got teleported out of the back of that limo?”

“Well, you see…”  Patrick shrugged and spread his hands.  “Son, there are bird, and there are bees, and when…”

“Oh, shut up.”  Adam chuckled, then turned to Stasya.  “You have terrible taste in men.”

“I know.”  She nodded.

“Anyway…”  Adam winked at Patrick, who grinned.  “We are dealing with a couple witches.  One managed to block some of Wren’s magic…”  And he’d cheerfully kill to learn how the man had pulled that off.  “And the other apparently put Sima through a wall.”  That one he wanted to high five.

“So, it was a wolf or a vamp.”  Patrick sat, putting his feet up on the table.

“Sima claims she’d have known if they were.”  Adam shrugged and sat down on the edge of the bed.  “Additional complication, they both appear to be LEOs.”

“Cops are not attention we want drawn, Baby Bear.”  Stasya smacked Patrick’s feet down before sitting in his lap.

“I know.”  Adam twitched a shoulder.

“You alright, Baby Bear?”  She narrowed her eyes.

“I’ll be fine, Mama Bear.”  He smiled.  She gave him a skeptical look, but nodded.  “We’ve got the names of the cops.”

“This a recruit or capture mission?”  Patrick put his arm around Stasya as he sat up a little.

Adam frowned.  “It’s take them in alive, by whichever method.”

“So maximum chances for things to go horribly wrong.”  Patrick nodded.  “Alright, let’s do the legwork thing.”


Wren and Adam: Chapter 12

He knelt on the floor, his forehead against the carpet and his hands flat.  Wren’s magic held him fast in place despite his best efforts.  He could kill one of the most powerful beasts in the world, and he was completely helpless to his girlfriend’s whim.  Adam felt the urge to vomit as Sima and Wren casually began discussing the best way to punish him for his ‘misbehavior’.

Coraline.  Wren had suggested going after Coraline.  Wren told Sima about the biker, and Sima actually laughed.  The thought of his little sister anywhere near these people was unimaginable.  Coraline belonged on a stage.  She was a singer, not a…  Not a killer.  Not like him.

Fingers caught hold of his chin, and Sima raised his head to make him look at her.  He kept his face calm and composed.  Renee hadn’t broken him.  This bitch wouldn’t either.  He knew what werewolf blood tasted like.  He’d already killed something more powerful than Sima could ever hope to be.  Something flickered across her eyes.  And she knew it too.  “Do you know what my gift is, Adam?”

“You can tell when someone is lying.”  Adam nodded.

“Let’s play a game.  Tell me Adam, when it comes to ice cream, would you rather chocolate or vanilla?”  Sima raised an eyebrow.

“Vanilla.”  He tried not to roll his eyes.

“Would you rather boxers or briefs?”

This was stupid, but if he didn’t play along, Wren would make him.  “Boxers.”


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.


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.


Gabriel: Chapter 6

“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.


Hunting: Chapter 8

Magda paced.  They’d found a good spot, and from the smell of things nobody human had been anywhere near the place in a long time.  Anna was nervous, and she couldn’t really blame the girl.  This was the first time she’d ever really considered using her ability offensively.  She sat in Ash’s lap, and Ash had his arms around her while he watched Magda pace.  Daniel leaned against a tree, his expression a little hollow.  He caught her looking at him, and gave her a kind of sickly smile.  “I’m not so good with violence.”

“That’s not a defect.”  Magda put her hand on his shoulder.  “Or a weakness.”

“It just feels hypocritical.”  Daniel swallowed.  “Letting him…”  He looked away.  “I mean, if it’s the right thing to do shouldn’t I be willing to do it?”

“A long time ago, someone asked me why I fought.”  Magda smiled at him.

“What did you tell them?”  Daniel met her eyes.

“Because I can.”  She nodded to him.  “And that makes it my responsibility.”

“I’m telling myself it’s like medicine.  To make a body healthy, sometimes you have to cut something out.  But uh…”  Daniel shook his head.  “I’m not sure I believe me.  What if we’re wrong?”

“That is why you are here, Daniel.  If we are wrong, then you can undo the harm.”  She hugged him, and felt her hug him back.  Then she stepped back a little.  “You are a good man, Daniel.”

“That means a lot, from someone like you.”  He smiled at her.  “Thank you.”

Her phone beeped, and she glanced at it.  “They are coming.  Wait here, I’ll be back soon.”  She shifted as she turned, and in the form of the wolf headed through the woods.


Hunting: Chapter 7

“Hey, check this out.”  Daniel waved Anna over to the laptop.  Ash followed.  “This town has actual superheros.”

“Seriously?”  Anna’s eyes widened.

“They call themselves…”  Daniel snickered.  “The Crimson Crusaders.”

“That’s an awesome name.”  Anna glared.

“Arf?”  Ash gave her a look that suggested she was insane.  And from a man that thought he was a dog half the time, that was saying something.

“Seriously?”  Matthias glanced over from where he was grilling them all hot dogs.  “Superheroes?”

“A couple of masked vigilantes.  First sighting was apparently when they rescued a bunch of teenage girls from a sex trafficking ring, and well…”  Daniel shrugged.  “That certainly fits my definition of superheroes.”  He grinned over at Matthias.  “Come on, I bet you’ve wanted to do the superhero thing.”

“I did do the superhero thing.”  Matthias turned the hot dogs over.  “Told you about it.  Batarang, Nazi bunker.”

“Yeah, but you weren’t wearing a mask.  These guys have masks.”  Daniel waved a hand at the laptop.

“I was, actually.  Gas mask.”  Matthias rolled his eyes.

“So doesn’t count.”

“Do they have capes?”  Anna began scrolling through the article.  “Superheroes need capes.”  She glanced at Daniel.  “We need to get Matthias a cape.”

“No.”  Matthias shook his head.

“Come on.”  Anna gave him a beseeching look.  “What’s cooler than a ten foot werewolf with a swirling black cape?”

“She uh…”  Daniel shrugged.  “Does have a point on the cool factor.”

“My luck, I’d end up blown of a building by a gust of wind.”  He started putting the dogs into buns.  “Ash, grab plates?”

“Woof.”  Ash went into the camper to retrieve a stack of paper plates.

“Oh, and they busted a dog fighting ring.”  Anna giggled.  “It says here when the cops showed up they found the guys running it all shoved into a dumpster half full of dog waste, and the Crimson Crusaders had locked it shut.”  She giggled again.  “It had been moved into full sun, and the police didn’t receive the anonymous tip about it’s location until six hours after the dogs had been rescued by the humane society.”

“My kinda heroes.”  Matthias took the paper plates from Ash, who was snickering himself.


Gabriel: Chapter 5

Michaels watched the man limp out of the bullpen.  Rather than draw attention to himself by talking to himself, he picked up his cell phone.  “Alright, explain?”

To his surprise, her voice actually came over the phone rather than simply getting into his head.  “That guy was a witch.

“Like the one the other day?”  Not really a comforting thought.

No.  Alright, simple explanation.  There are two kinds of witches.  The full kind, which are what most think of.  Cast spells, brew potions, ride broomsticks.  Then there are those that are just gifted, like Laura is now or will be as soon as we can figure out her gift.

“And that guy?”

Just gifted, but surprisingly strong.  Some serious mojo there.

“You think that guy might be on Gabe’s level?”  Also not a comforting thought, though the fact that the guy needed a cane to walk raised a few more questions.

No, but tough enough that…”  She made a sighing sound.  “Alright, no good way to put this.  I’m going to need you to go out and get laid.”


You want me to keep witches out of your head, you’re going to need to get it on.  I kind of gave Gabriel a migraine this morning and considering there is a werewolf in town we  —

“We need him at 100%.”  He rubbed his forehead.  “Fine.”

And it’s you or Laura and —

“I said fine.”  He managed to keep his voice low.  “How the hell does Gabe manage to talk to you without letting people on?”  It would have been nice to be able to ask her questions with the guy still here.  Letting him walk out might have been a mistake.

He has an internal monologue, you tend to think out loud.  It’s kind of like an introvert extrovert thing.

“Can you follow that guy?”

Uh…”  She was quiet for a moment.  “Well, actually, no.”

“You follow people all the time.  You even follow multiple people at a —”

I told you, the guy has some mojo.  And whatever it is, he’s a blank slate to me.  Only reason I could detect anything about him was I was already in your head when he showed and you were looking right at him.”

“If I’d known that, I’d have followed him out of here.”  Michaels exhaled.  “Fill Gabe in.”

Already done.”