In the Service of the Wolf (part xx)

17Jan19

wolf20Part I here

The wolf trotted up to the inner gates of the compound like a dog back from burying a bone. The last of the moonlight had topped the trees, but it was enough to illuminate the beast, picking out its fine hairs like silver.

Danson sniffed, it was one of theirs, and he knew who and visibly relaxed. He looked around for someone to pass the word, before remembering that Marsha had been relieved and when he looked back he saw Adam naked in the road.

“You okay boss?” Danson called over.

As if without a care in the world Adam strode forward and through the gates as naked as a jaybird. “Never better,” he said.

“Your father wants to see you,” Danson chuckled.

“I bet,” Adam sighed, “But I had better get some clothes on first.”

“You mean you’re naked,” Danson was deadpan and already scanning the forest with his back to Adam, “I hadn’t noticed.”

Adam found John in his room and they both exchanged grins.

“Hell that was fun,” John laughed.

Adam matched his smile and nodded. “How is our girl?”

“Pissed I think,” John snorted, for once he gave out that he didn’t care. He was still buzzing. Then he frowned. “Not as pissed as Dad. I think if he reckoned we would stand for it he would be going for the bull whip about now. Jared is cool though.”

Adam grabbed a towel and headed to the shower. The whole conversation was taken on the move. “And Sundance?” he asked.

John turned up his palms. “Who knows what that old Navajo thinks.”

Adam stopped and regarded his brother carefully. “We got our girl, although who the hell knows how that is going to play out. But it looks like we have found a war too.”

John shook of the comment like a fly and batted it away. “You know I think that was coming as soon as those hunters hit town,” he said. “But I guess we kind of lost initiative, least that’s the way Dad will see it.”

“Oh I don’t know, I think maybe we took it for once. Maybe these guys aren’t so tough,” Adam replied.

“Maybe,” but John was frowning. They were out of their depth and blood drew blood. He had a bad feeling about all of this now.

*

Alice sat in utter shock. Over and over she replayed the events in her mind. John and Adam had saved her, but there had been a wolf… an actual wolf and right where John had been standing. She had seen him… what? The men had been afraid, all of them… John had… and Adam, just the two by themselves…

The knock at the door barely registered and even when it opened it swung into a dream.

“Alice?” someone asked, “Alice drink this.”

Alice finally registered that it was Stacy. Her friend handed her a drink and she took it without thanks.

“Are you okay?” Stacy asked.

Alice nodded and sipped the warm tea without tasting it. “I saw a wolf,” she said absently.

“Yah,” Stacy drawled and followed it with a very long sigh as she sat on the bed, “I saw it too, out in the woods. Only it wasn’t exactly a wolf was it?”

“I think…” Alice began and then shook her head.

“You know I saw a vampire once,” Stacy whispered in a distant voice, “Damnedest thing, I wrote a whole book about it and still don’t believe it.”

“There are vampires?” Alice asked as if she was enquiring about more tea.

“And werewolves,” Stacy said firmly and turned to watch Alice’s reaction.

Alice looked at her and tried to draw hope from her friend’s eyes. “You knew all along?”

“I… guessed… I suspected… I didn’t know, know, until tonight,” Stacy said excitedly. “Shit, this is all my fault, I should never have come here.”

“But you saw a vampire?” Alice accused.

“I saw ghosts before too, but I still don’t believe that either. Even though I know it is possible I still have to keep it in a box at the back of my brain.” Stacy willed Alice to understand.

She did, kind of. The lawyer nodded.

“We should get some sleep,” Stacy suggested and made a frog face with her lips before letting them go with a pop.

Alice nodded. “I think I can manage that.”

*

The next day Alice and Stacy took a stroll around the compound. Neither had seen John or Adam, in fact since helping with the dishes no one had stopped to talk to them at all.

“You think they blame us for the trouble?” Alice sighed as she kicked a pebble on the path.

“I think they don’t like outsiders and are way too busy with the coming war,” Stacy answered, but attention, as ever, was on her surroundings. On the comings and goings around them and above all on a chance to escape if she should need one.

“War?” Alice stopped aghast.

“You know, the hunters,” Stacy said.

“They tried to take me last night,” Alice said for the umpteenth time. “John and Adam saved me,” she added wistfully.

Stacy noticed that Alice never referred to the twins without mentioning them both. Further as a writer she was acutely aware that she couldn’t even get the ordering of their names consistent. Sometimes it was John and Adam and another, Adam and John. A small point, she decided, but it definitely meant something. “Which one is your guy anyway?” she asked.

Alice glowered. “Neither,” she said irritably.

“Right,” Stacy said in a tone.

Alice decided to ignore her. “So how long do you think they will keep us here?”

“It all depends on why they are keeping us here,” Stacy replied.

Alice frowned. It occurred to her that one or other of the twins had made a claim on her somehow, but Stacy’s presence here was for different reasons. “Why do you think you are here?”

“Maybe I got too nosey,” Stacy shrugged dismissively. “It wouldn’t be the first time.” Again she wondered if all of it wasn’t her fault and her tummy did a flip.

From the other side of the compound Garrick watched his two guests and weighed up his next move. Alice was a distraction. His younger sons were far too interested in her for an outsider and he didn’t like it. Ordinarily he would let it play out, but they no longer had that luxury. As soon as it was safe he would get rid of her. What was it she wanted, some damn legal signature? Easy enough, he supposed.

Stacy was another matter and she was going to take some very careful handling. Luckily so far, no one but Augusta and perhaps Sundance realised her significance and he wanted to keep it that way for now. The question was, what did Coleridge know?

He took a hard look at the gate and the compound fence as far as he could see. All tight now, but things were getting sloppy. Marsha MacLeod has screwed up and he couldn’t let that stand. He sighed. Time to deal with that little problem, he supposed.

To be continued

 



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