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Short story 41

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by inayat, Jan 1, 2022.

  1. inayat

    inayat Head Game Master Moderator

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    I searched the crowd coming onto the train like a predator watches a flock of sheep milling about in the field. I watched for who was aware and who wasn't. Who was looking around, and who had their head down. I was looking for what separated the wolves from the sheep. Or, in this case, the sheepdog amongst the sheep.

    I saw him bundle in with a herd of people onto the packed subway car. His head up and scanning, choosing to stand rather than sit, his back to the corner.

    He was prior military or law enforcement. I could tell by the way he stood and the look in his eyes. He also had an aura of violence about him. Being in my line of work, it does you good to smell the violence on a man before you get close.

    He spotted me as I spotted him because we were both doing the same thing, people watching. Albeit I was doing it for different reasons.

    I gave him a smile, just flirtatious enough, with a hint of sadness. I knew how to attract men. It was my job anyways. I knew how to be just mysterious enough to bait the hook for a man like him. Men like him love a damsel in distress.

    Now I would sit and let him stew with the idea of me on his mind. We had three stops until I needed to get off, and I needed to know if he was in for the long haul.

    My phone vibrated in my pocket. I looked to see it was a text from a blocked number. It said, "At 2200, the quarry has entered the designated hunting grounds. The game is afoot. Eleven hours, fifty-nine minutes remaining."

    I frowned when I saw I was lumped into a group chat with four other numbers. One said, "Enjoy your last train ride, bitch!" I already knew who it was before I even read the signature,

    "-Mikhial"

    So that meant the other three numbers were his packmates. The pack master, Alexie, was one of the numbers. They were already in the area. I had to move fast.

    I pulled the red scarf tighter around my neck. I lowered my head to smell the scent of my sister's perfume. I needed a reminder for why I was doing this.

    Of course, I couldn't take off the scarf. I was instructed to wear it for the whole time of the trial, or I would automatically forfeit and lose. It was the same perfume my sister always wore that they were using to hunt me down.

    After two more stops, the train was almost empty. It was literally just me, the man, and an older couple at the other end of the car. I had to do this now.

    I walked up to him. He was already watching me in the reflection of the window while he pretended to be looking down at his phone. When I got a couple of steps away, he looked up and gave me a polite questioning stare.

    "I don't usually do this, but," I ran my hand through my hair nervously, putting a little tremble in my voice for good measure. I leaned in close to break out the doe eyes, "you wouldn't happen to be a cop, would you? Or do you know any cops?"

    His eyes widened, and he looked me over. I had everything where he could see and put two and two together. He looked at the large purple bruise on my wrist as I played nervously with my hair, I was leaned in enough for him to see the makeup hiding my black eye, and the top button on my blouse was undone so I could keep his attention.

    He put the clues together, or at least the clues I wanted him too. He asked in a low voice, "Are you in any danger, Ma'am?"

    Jackpot! I knew it! He was a cop or former cop. He jumped right into action. Took the bait nicely.

    I pulled the scarf up in an attempt to cover my face and looked around the car nervously. "Can you talk with me over here?" I said, nodding in the direction of the cramped area between the cars. He nodded back in agreement, and we crept into the small, dark compartment.

    Once the door was firmly shut behind us, I let the silence hang in the air for good effect. We both stood close to each other and swayed lightly back and forth with the motion of the speeding train. Lights strobed softly through the windows, and I could hear his breathing. I wonder if he was close enough to smell my sister's perfume? He waited patiently for me to continue.

    "I'm in trouble," I said softly. "I don't know who to go to for help. I can't go directly to the cops, but I need someone like them to keep me safe."

    "Just tell me what happened, Miss," the man said in a gentle voice. It was the practiced patience of a man who does this for a living.

    "I'm in trouble," I said. "I'm on the run from some men I used to work for. But there is a place in the city where I can go to be safe. To be free!"

    The man nodded slowly in understanding. I saw his hand subconsciously touch the left side of his jacket. He probably had a gun in there and was feeling it for comfort.

    "I have to get there within the next couple of hours! If I don't hurry, they will kill me! Please-," I opened the latch on my purse to show him stacks of money held together with rubber bands, "I can pay you! I have thirty thousand!"

    His eyes widened at this, and he finally spoke, "First off, answer my questions truthfully. This man, is he your pimp? And this money, did you steal it from him?"

    "Yes," I said, "he is my pimp. He and his crew forced me at a young age to work for them. And no, this is money I have saved up over the years to escape. He will say it is his money, but it is my body that earned it!" A little anger entered my voice at this; it seemed to impress the man. I was glad I didn't have to completely lie to him about everything.

    "Where do you have to go?" he asked.

    "Not far. I have to meet up with a contact to tell me the location of the safehouse. The contact is at the next stop."

    "How many men does your boss have?" he countered quickly.

    "Four including him," I answered.

    He considered this for a while. I could see him weighing the situation in his mind. Finally, he answered, "Four is not bad. I'll escort you to your contact for half the money. If I want to bail after that, I bail. If it's not completely F'ed, I'll take you all the way."

    I couldn't help but smile. He was confident and pragmatic, and that was a good sign. But he believed Mikhail and the pack were only humans, and he was sorely wrong.

    "Deal," I say, "are you a cop?"

    He gives a half-smile. "I'm a military police officer. Just back home for a couple of days for my father's funeral. It was yesterday. I'm shipping back out again in two days."

    Boy, I could pick-em; Military training and a cop. We were coming up on the stop now. I needed him to be a little more wary of the job he agreed to. Him being too confident will get us both killed. The pack will be on our trail soon.

    The doors opened up onto the platform. I told my new hired man we needed to find Dmitri Circle. He walked up to a giant map plastered on the subway wall. Anybody else would have just used a phone, but he said he didn't need his phone. I was now doubting my decision with the boomer traits he was showing.

    I saw a group of men walking towards us while he was distracted with the map. He did throw a glance at them and must have seen them as a non-threat. They were just punky teens acting tough. But I had to put him on his toes.

    There were three of them, the tallest one leading the friends. He was one of those obnoxious people who talk with their hands. As he came close to me, he was waving his hands around, describing some dumb thing he and his friends did last night. I looped the handle of the purse around his arm and screamed as I grabbed on to him.

    "Let go, asshole!" I screamed at him. My free hand slipped to my stun gun in my coat pocket, and I gave him a jolt to the stomach. He gurgled and dropped to the ground like his clothes weighed a thousand pounds.

    The other two reacted in anger, as expected. "Cyka blyat!," and "You whore!" came from their lips. Well, they weren't wrong.

    My Bodyguard spun around and intercepted the two as they gave chase to me. He collided hard with one of them. A knee to the groin at full charge was enough to drop the punk into a whimpering mess. The last one turned to swing on the Bodyguard. The Bodyguard stepped under the punch to execute a perfectly timed counter-attack. The right hook knocked the kid smooth out.

    I stood in amazement. I originally planned to use my hired guard as a sacrifice to slow down Mikhail and the pack, but maybe we had a chance. Maybe we both would make it. But there I was being stupid again. I thought I had killed foolish thoughts like naive hope a long time ago.

    The tall man I had tazed was beginning to sit up. I saw the flash of a silver handgun being pulled out from the back of his pants. Oh God! This wannabe gangster actually had a gun. This was getting out of hand. I didn't want the idiot to get shot!

    The Bodyguard pulled out his own gun much faster and pointed it down at the thug. "Don't do it, punk!" The Bodyguard yelled. I saw the thug hesitate, gun still pointed downwards by his side. But I could see the look of defiance on his young face, and I could see the cold gaze of violence in my Bodyguard's. It was a pissing contest that would end in death.

    I reached back into my deep coat pockets and pulled out my pepper spray. Yah, I had more utilities than Batman. I aimed high and let loose an arch of the burning liquid. The stream hit the thug square in the face, and he scrunched his face in pain.

    "Leave him!" I said as I reached over to pull my Bodyguard's arm down. He stared in, surprised at the now squirming and screaming thug on the ground.

    We hurried to the long set of stairs leading up out of the subway. In our long climb up, I heard my phone vibrate again, and I looked down at it in my hand. "I smell a man with her. The trace of gunpowder and gun oil on him. Cop maybe. She has pepper spray. she is heading south." It was from a number I didn't recognize in the same group chat, but I knew it was another pack member.

    As we crested the stairs into the snowy night's streets, I turned to look back down into the subway at the bottom of the stairs. There he was, walking up with his hands in his pockets. When he tilted his head up to follow us, the florescent lights in the subway reflected off them to make them flash green to gold. The corner of his lip curled up in a snarl.

    I didn't know him personally, but I recognized him from the brothel and knew his name. He was short with a stocky frame, corded muscles bulging in his neck; His black hair slicked back, matching his nicely cut goatee. He moved with an eerie weightless grace as he began stalking his way up the stairs. He removed his hands from his pockets, and I could see the claws beginning to form.

    "You smell pepper spray, Ivan? It's bear mace!" I yelled at him loudly. My Bodyguard turned to see the approaching man. I let loose with a continued stream of mace, my arm working in a circular motion, dousing the steps with the face burning liquid.

    Ivan was a good twenty feet out of the range of the arching steam of mace, but he was also downwind. He let out an audible growl before he sneezed and started shaking his head. His eyes and nose already leaking like faucets, mucus slinging everywhere.

    "Damn, talk about a bad reaction," the Bodyguard said. We were both at the top now, staring. Ivan was in the through of pain. Between the blur of his furious head shaking, I could see his transformation coming further along. His is goatee was now a beard; the texture of his hair took on a dark fur like quality. His arms had gotten longer, and the bones at the end of his fingers were jutting out of the skin into sharpened points. I could see his own blood dripping from his hands, the white tips of the bone claws stabbing through his skin.

    My Bodyguard was frozen in amazement at the horrid sight before him. I believed this was the moment he regretted taking this job. I had to grab him by the arm to pull him away.

    "Dmitri Circle should be around here!" I told him as we ran down the snow-covered street. "My informant will be in room 432 at the Fountain Wood Apartments."

    It was the Bodyguard that spotted the apartment shortly after. It was a run-down square brick building, rising high into the sky. It was dotted with many windows, most broken. The locked security door was also broken, and we just let ourselves into the complex. Inside the volume was tumultuous with loud tenants and thin walls, trash left to stink up the hallways, leaking ceilings, and broken hallway lights. I had lived in places like this before.

    On the fourth floor, at the end of a long dark hallway, we found 432. The Bodyguard checked the stairwell entrance at the other end of the hall to find it chained shut. If the pack found us, they could only come from one direction.

    "Do you need me to come inside with you?" he asked as I began knocking on the door. Already we could smell a strong scent of marijuana emitting through the door.

    "No, I'll be fine. Be lookout while I deal with whoever's inside," I reassured him. The door opened a crack, and I almost caught a second hand high from the smell wafting out of the apartment. I saw a pretty female face peeking at me with a deadpan expression.

    "Oh, It's you," came a droning voice from behind the door. "I'm surprised you even made it." "Well, we are sitting ducks out here, lady!" I told her in frustration.

    "Oh yeah," replied the bored voice. "But only you can come in. Your friend has a cop face. I have rules against showing any kindness to cops." She droned, her eye flicking to my Bodyguard.

    "Sure thing, lady," my Bodyguard said over his shoulder, looking agitated. "Rules are rules."

    The door closed, and I heard the chain bolt sliding free. It opened again just enough for me to slip inside, it was like I had walked into a hippie's dreamland. The room was decorated woth black lights, glowing posters, and illicit vegetation, planted under heat lamps in the living room and kitchen.

    I scanned the small apartment. Only the girl and a stoner dude asleep on the couch. The sleeping stoner must have been a guard because there was a sawed-off shotgun wedged underneath the sofa for him to reach for. I guess I wasn't considered enough of a threat to wake him up.

    "You have three choices for a safe house," the woman explained, "You had a choice of three different stops on the train, which each lead to their own specific informant, and each informant has the location to three different safehouses. This should keep the hunters from knowing where you are going and cheating by just killing you when you get close to the safe house."

    "That's like," the woman looked up and counted in her head, "nine different safehouses you could have picked!"

    "They know I'm here, so that narrows it back down to three safehouses I can possibly pick," I said impatiently. The stoner girl looked like she didn't understand.

    She flopped open a paper map to show me. There was a red circle around Fountain Woods, where we were, and three more dark circles around three locations spread out on the map. The circles on all of these said "grandma's house." I'm so glad she thought this was funny.

    I looked at all three locations and decided on the closest one at a construction site. Why be fancy? Just make a mad rush straight up the middle. I made a mental note, nodded to her, and turned back to the door.

    I felt the woman staring at me like she was waiting for something. "Um, I'm ready to go, so like, bye!" I said to her.

    "Oh no, you gotta tell me which location you picked," she blurted.

    "Ah-ha, screw you! No, I don't," I said back. I didn't trust this idiot to not sell me out to the first wolf who came knocking.

    "Yes, you do! I have to call and set it up!" she said as she pulled out her phone. "If they don't get my call, they won't be there!"

    I stared at her for a while, pissed. "Whatever! You put it on speakerphone so I can hear who it is!" I demanded.

    "Fine," said the woman, hitting speed dial on the phone. "Where are you going?"

    I waited until the phone was answered, and an unfamiliar man's voice spoke up. The idiot lady looked at me to tell her where I was going.

    "The construction site of Wicker Street," I answered.

    "Extraction team will be en route. You have 11 hours left to get there. Good luck," the voice finished and hung up.

    I didn't like it, but I had no choice. I still expected whoever was on the phone to send an immediate message to the hunting pack. But maybe it was a good thing. Maybe it was a security protocol to keep the pack from paying off the team's at the safehouses to tell them where I was going. Hopefully, they were as confused as I was, to keep the hunt fair.

    "You can leave now, Red," the woman said. At first, I didn't catch the reference because I was a brunette, tired, and in a hurry. But it hit me a second later. She thought this was funny. It maybe even amused her to know I could be in the last hours of my life.

    I gave her a cold stare, and that's when I noticed a small tattoo on her neck. I didn't have to lean in close to already know what it was. It was the burning moon. It was a brand of ownership. It was Mikhial's brand. A tattoo he only gave to his personal favorites.

    She must have been a prostitute at some point like me. She was prettier than most. He gave her this sweet little spot dealing for him. She was kept in an apartment all for himself.

    "How about I sweeten the pot a little?" I said with a disarming smile. I popped open my handbag, and her greedy eyes saw the cash within. "How about I tip you for your services? You know, just to keep things between us girls."

    "I'm thinking one thousand for a secret like this," she said as she stepped in closer to glare down at the money, my hand rummaging around inside.

    "Oh, course! Us ladies need to work together to stay ahead of the wolves," I said cheerfully. "They feed upon us and victimize us like sheep," I continued as I finally found what I needed.

    "But you know-," I paused for dramatic effect. She looked up from the money and into my eyes. "Sometimes, we are the most dangerous wolf of all."

    My hand shot out of my purse and jammed a long metal fingernail filer into her neck. My other hand covered her mouth, and I forced her to the wall. Her eyes bulged as I muffled her scream.

    She bled out within seconds as I lowered her to the floor, blood pouring down one side of her like a leaky faucet. She wouldn't be running back to her master like a good pet now! I wiped off her blood on her clothes and slipped back out into the hallway. The stoner asleep on the couch, still happily dreaming.

    Back in the hallway, my Bodyguard didn't even turn to acknowledge me. He was focused on something at the far end of the hall. I quickly saw what it was. Ivan had found us, and he looked pissed.

    Ivan no longer looked human. The only reason we knew it was him was because this monster wore the same tattered clothes as Ivan. Now he was completely in his best form. His snout and face covered with fur, shining golden eyes, muscles ripping through his clothes, bone claws long and curved.

    "What sort of gun are you packing?" I asked with fear in my voice.

    "Its Sean, by the way," he answered. "Sean Uvcharka. I thought you should know the name of the guy you're getting killed. As for my gun, it's nowhere big enough."

    Talking time was over as Sean leveled his pistol as the wolf began charging us. I flattened myself against the apartment's door as Sean let out two quick shots. Ivan staggered as part of his head combusted into red mist, but it did not drop him, he skidded off the hallway wall and continued running towards us, leaving a blood trail in his wake.

    The wolf was close now, he hooked his claws into the thin walls and began pulling himself up to run along the side of it. Sean panicked and fired two more shots, the first one missed, the second a shoulder graze. When Ivan's forward momentum got him to the ceiling, he kicked off with all four limbs to shoot like an upside-down missile towards Sean.

    I opened the door to fall back into the apartment at the last instant. I saw Sean duck as the beast soared over him, Sean screamed out in pain. More gunshots went off in the hallway, mixed with screams and growls. I kicked the doorway back closed.

    I flipped around on my stomach to stare at the couch. I had to get the shotgun! I scrambled past the dead women's body to snatch it up. As I stood up, the stoner was finally awake, and grabbing at me panicked. I hit him in the nose with the butt of the shotgun to put him back into his slumber.

    As I returned my attention to the door, Sean and the wolf came bursting through. Sean crashed to the ground with the wolf on top of him, taking a big bite out of Sean's left arm. Sean was covered with blood, and I noticed Ivan's legs and right arm were human again. I figured Ivan was dying from the gunshots to the head but wasn't going to die soon enough for Sean to survive.

    As the wolf shook Sean back and forth like a rag doll, I steadily approached them and put the two barrels of the shottie inches away from Ivan's exposed brain. With a thunderous boom, the wolf's head exploded all across the sidewall. Sean frantically kicked the headless body off and scrambled away, part of the wolf snout still attached to his arm, now quickly transforming back into human teeth.

    I dropped to my knees and let out a sigh of relief. Sean backed up against a wall and just stared at the gory mess.

    "I quit lady!" he finally said.

    "Nope," I replied. "You have to finish this now. You killed an honored pack member. The only way you stay alive is if you leave with me."

    "But you killed him!" he replied.

    "Semantics," I scoffed." We both killed him. Besides, I'll just lie and say you did the whole thing. So we are in this together!"

    "You're a bitch," he replied flatly.

    "Yeah, I know," I replied back.

    Ivan was dead. His brains splattered all over the apartment walls. This was a death sentence for the both of us!

    Sean had to duct tape up his bleeding arms with the tape from the apartment's kitchen. It stopped the bleeding, but wouldn't be enough.

    I hurried Sean down the hallway, we had to get out of this apartment before the rest of the pack smelled the blood.

    "Stop it!! Stop this, right now!" Sean yelled at me as he pulled me to the side. We stood in the building's dingy stairwell.

    "You tell me what I'm really up against! You tell me what is trying to kill the both of us!" Sean yelled at me, his voice echoing down the stairwell. His eyes were a fury and his jaw was clenched. I almost felt sorry for what I had done to him.

    "They- they are werewolves," I said with trepidation.

    "Yah, no shit, I figured that little piece out!" He told me, eyes bulging. "Why are they trying to kill you! Why are they trying to kill us?" he demanded.

    "It's a trial. It's a game. A rite of passage for young wolves to join the pack!" I answered back. "They hunt an innocent virgin over one night. The youngest wolf leads the pack, and he must make the kill to be fully initiated."

    And Sean did what I knew would come next. He looked me over and made a "pfft" sound.

    "You're no virgin, Missy." He said rudely.

    "I'm taking my sisters place!" I shouted back. "Im taking her place so she doesn't get killed!"

    "But we do? We get to be sacrificed for your pure virginal sister?" Sean sneared.

    "No!" I countered. "We get to the safehouse and we end the game! Mikhial, loses and he is ejected from the pack!"

    "Mikhail?" Sean asked, "is he the big bad wolf leading these assholes?"

    "No, he is the pup, the youngest of the group. Tonight is his trial, his initiation to the pack. Alexie is the packmaster. Alexie is allowing Makhail to lead the pack only for tonight. Makhail has twelve hours to find and kill me."

    Sean looked at his watch. "How far is the safe sight?"

    " the Wicker construction site a town over. So, two hours by car, four by public transportation, and I'm not even considering walking," I said.

    Sean was silent for a minute. "You chose the closest safehouse didn't you? Even though it was the most obvious and the most dangerous, didn't you!"

    "Y-yes," I began to reply.

    "I've known you for an hour, " Sean interrupted, "and I have guessed your decision. I'm pretty sure Mikhail knows you a little better than me. You're predictable, hot headed, stubborn. He will know where you are going, and what path you are taking. He knows you'll take the fastest route."

    "So now our only chance for survival is speed. Run the ball right up the middle, before they close in on us," he finished.

    Those were my thoughts exactly. I guess I was predictable. Once again I grabbed him by the arm and we ran down the stairwell and into the snowy street, the sawed-off shortie halfway hidden, tucked under my arm and light jacket.

    When we made it out into the street I noticed how empty it was. It was cold, the temperature was dropping, and it was past midnight in the middle of the ghetto. Finding a cab would be difficult.

    Once again Sean stole the idea from my head. "We will have to steal a car." We began running along the curb, shopping around the snow covered cars.

    A wolf's howl tore through the night air with its eerie tone. It echoed off the buildings, making it hard to pinpoint. Me and Sean looked at eachother, this was definitely not a sound you should hear in the city. Another howl answered it from further up the street, this one much closer.

    I checked my phone and I wasn't surprised to find new messages.

    'IVAN IS DEAD. GIRL OUT IN THE OPEN. FUNNEL HER TOWARDS MIKHAIL SO HE CAN TAKE THE KILL… THE MAN IS MINE.' it said. I figured this was Alexie talking to the other unnamed wolf in the pack. This meant Mikhail wasn't one of the two wolves homing in on us. We still had time.

    I showed Sean my phone screen and his eyes widened. "Come on!" he said, this time grabbing me by the arm and pulling me off the street towards a run down building. He pulled me up to a door with a thick chain and padlock. He swiped the shotgun away from me and leveled it at the lock.

    "No time to go car shopping. We need to get off the street!"

    "Stop!" I told him, as I pushed the shotgun away from the lock. "I can pick the lock. The blast will just bring them faster!"

    So I began picking the lock with one of the gadgets from my purse. I had thought of a lot of scenarios about how tonight would play out, and a lot required breaking into locked buildings.

    I popped the padlock and went to remove it. Sean put his hand over mine. He was now hovering over me, no longer facing the street.

    "Not yet. Don't open it yet," he whispered in my ear. I continued messing with the chain and padlock. I could feel the tension emmating from Sean's posture. I listened and kept my head down as Sean shielded me. I could just barely make out footsteps approaching.

    "Now!" he yelled as he spun around and fired off one barrel into the street. I heard the shattering glass, the hiss of air from a tire, and a deep growl. I hurriedly pulled the chain from the door and swung the door open.

    I looked back to see the shotgun ridden car across the street. Its windows shattered, and it was leaning to the side from loss of air in afront tire, snow slid off its hood and roof. A figure bounded over the hood and sprinted towards us. Sean sighted it and fired, the creature jumped to the cover of another vehicle on our side of the street, just a split second before the shotgun blasted its remaining shell.

    The wolf made it behind the vehicle just in time. The pebblets of the shotgun peppered the new vehicle our attacker was hiding behind. The car began honking and flashing its brights, letting off a shrill alarm. I saw the figure retreat from the high pitched alarm.

    The figure was lean and gangly. Its face covered with fur and its eyes reflecting from the overhead street lights. It wore a dark blue track suit which already showed damp spots of blood from being hit by the shotgun spread. The wolf skittered into the shadows along the buildings, only its gold eyes reflecting back at us. It was making sure to stay out of the range of the shotguns deadly range.

    Sean popped the shotgun open and ejected the shells. He pantomimed placing two new ones in and snapped the shotgun back to ready. We were out of ammo, and this bluff would only work for so long.

    "Stay back!" He shouted at the wolf, not how you speak to another person, but how you do when trying to scare away a wild dog. "I'll blow you apart if you follow us!"

    We both backed into the darkened building. It was some sort of abandoned emergency clinic or medical office. I brought the chain with me so we could loop, padlock and chain the other side. As I looped the chain, I could hear low growling from the other side as the wolf patiently pursued us, waiting just on the other side. We were left in pitch black and had to navigate the hallways with the flashlight on my phone.

    Then we busted through a door into a back alleyway. Sean ran across the alley to kick in a door to another business. This was some sort of grocery store, and we happened to surprise a large family living in the back rooms.

    They were very surprised to see a woman and bloody man with a shotgun come barreling into their living corridors. It must have been a community of families squatting illegally in the building, because I counted twelve people in total stuffed into the small room, five of them were kids. All of them were crammed together with mattresses on the ground, and a thin close line running down the center of the room as it's only barrier.

    One young man sized Sean up and decided to jump towards a nearby lampstand, grabbing for something. Sean, quick reflexed as ever, intercepted the man and rammed him into the wall. Sean quickly opened the drawer of the lampstand to reveal a small handgun. Sean snatched it up and pointed the empty shotgun at them one-handedly. They were all screaming, while Sean screamed back at them to calm down.

    The chaos went on for a moment until I finally cut in. "Line them up against the wall!" I commanded Sean.

    "What? No, you're crazy!" He asked back in disbelief.

    "Oh my God, Sean, just line them up against the wall. I'm not going to execute them like a war criminal!" I fussed back at him.

    He issued gruff orders and waved his gun at them. They formed a ragged line against the wall, the older ones hiding the children between them.

    I reached into my purse for my last trick, I swear, and pulled out a small glass bottle of perfume. I began running down the line, spraying them like an over aggressive beauty attendant at the mall. The small room filled up quickly with its strong but beautiful scent.

    My sister was forced to were this perfume ever since we were taken. The wolves had deemed her and a couple other girls as special, and set them apart from the rest of us.

    The rest of us were forced to make money for the wolves. Prostitution, drug dealing, stealing. That was our school of hard knocks. For my sister, she and her group of girls were pampered, and educated, and taught to be obedient.

    My sister was set in a special subclass separated from the rest of us. She was kept pampered and untainted for the pleasure of the royal werewolf members. Young wolves can either pick an untainted girl to breed with and continue the bloodline, or pick to hunt and slaughter during initiation.

    Why did the hunted girls have to be pure? I dont know? It's some chauvinistic ancient ritual. Something the Neuri people did back for hundreds of years ago did. It's always been a rite of blood for wolves becoming full members.

    Me and my sister, Anika, are twins. I'm the oldest. I was originally selected to have the life of the pampered plaything for the wolves to use. When I realized what my life would be, and what awaited Anika, I switched places back with her the first night.

    She was my little sister. She was too kind, and too pure to live the life I was forced into. I had to protect her. It's what mother would have wanted.

    The perfume was specifically used on my sister and her group of girls by the strict madam that ran the house she stayed at. It was a scent only used for the untainted girlsl. I was made to wear her scarf so the wolves could track the unique scent of the perfume.

    The madam kept the perfume locked up in her room. Some time later in the coming morning, they wolves will find a dead madam, with her perfume missing. This perfume I stole was the same perfume I was dousing the poor family with now. Hopefully it would throw off the wolves' scent.

    Once I had covered all of the family sufficiently, I told them to go. The poor people just stared at me and didn't move, too terrified. I looked to Sean so he could convince them to leave.

    He pointed his gun in the air and fired off a shot from the pistol. "Go, run!" The family stormed out of the roomain't every direction.

    "Let's go," Sean said. "You're little scent trick won't matter if they lay eyes on us."

    We exited out of the front of the building. We seemed to be in the clear. We heard a howl further away from us, in the direction of some of the fleeing family.

    We turned the corner of the street to be lit up by red and blue lights. We were face to face with a cop car. The spotlight hit us and we heard the doors open on either side.

    "Hands up! Drop the guns!" Came a command from the driver's side. We did as commanded, we were both being blinded by the spotlight. I heard the clatter of Sean's guns hitting the asphalt.

    I saw one of the cops approaching us from the passenger's side. "Turn around! Don't face me!" he screamed. We both did, now facing out into the darkness of the street.

    "Oh shit," I stated, as I saw a wolf creature in the distance, twice as big as the others. It was Alexi, his glowing eyes approaching. He was carrying something large and cylindrical in his hands.

    Sean ducked just in time, as a manhole cover came spinning towards him like a frisbee from out of the darkness. I heard a sickening thud and the crashing of the police cars windshield. I spun around to see the manhole cover embedded in the windshield, blood everywhere. I looked down to see the body of the cop that was approaching us, his head smashed backwards, his mouth ripped open and gushing blood.

    The cop on the driver's side was pulled into the darkness from behind, gunshots and growls followed.

    The time for running had stopped. I soon knew the entire pack had arrived. And Mikhail was going to take his kill.

    We stood with our hands up facing the giant wolf approaching us. This one stood at least 7 foot tall and still was hunched over, and had to be over 300 pounds. He wore no tattered clothes. His body was completely engulfed in jet black fur, with stripes of white around his eyes and ears. His left eye gold and his right eye reflecting green back at us.

    Behind us we could hear the growling and screaming of the cop fighting the wolf that grabbed him from behind. More gun shots rang out, and I hoped the poor cop was able to wound his monstrous attacker before he was killed.

    Sean leaned over to me and whispered, "The sirens in the cop car!" I was vaguely aware of what he meant. I knew the car alarm earlier hurt their eardrums, but how was I supposed to get to the car surrounded by both of them?

    "Now!" He shouted. I was really starting to get pissed off. How was I supposed to know what to do every time he yelled something and started shooting?

    And shooting he did. He quick drew the pistol he had stolen and fired off a continuous stream at the big black wolf. I spun to make a mad dash to the driver's seat with its door open. I jumped into the cramped seat and looked down at all the buttons mounted in the middle panel. At first my panic made it impossible to comprehend what any of it meant.

    I was shaken back into reality as Sean's body was slammed down onto the windshield next to the embedded man-hole cover. The force of the impact made him crush the glass inward like a cracked shell on an egg.

    Finally my brain kicked into gear and I saw a switch labeled "siren" with three settings. I cranked that bad boy all the way up, and the car lit up like a Christmas tree. The takedown lights came on, flooding light in all directions. The red and blues lights flashed vigorously, and the siren belted out its ear splitting tune.

    All that extra light exposed Alexi towering right in front of the car. I could see his gigantic frame through the smashed windshield and around Sean's limp body, his eyes burning holes down at me. He grabbed his ears with his huge paws and whimpered in pain from the sudden blare of the siren.

    I jerked the car into drive and was gonna hit Alexi with a thousand pounds of Charger, but I heard a wet thump on the window beside me.

    I turned to see the poor policeman who had stopped us. He was missing half of his face, with an eyeball gone and his cheek totally ripped away to show his teeth underneath. I saw the absolute fear in his remaining eye and almost opened the door for him to come in.

    Almost...

    Something hit the cop with enough force to shatter the glass. He was launched headfirst into the car and across my lap, lodged between me and the steering wheel. A large claw reached in after him and grabbed me by the hair. It was the wolf from earlier. The one Sean had peppered with the shotgun on the street. This wolf had seen better days. It looked like the cop had shot him a couple of times before being smashed through the car window, because the wolf was wheezing from multiple gunshots to the chest.

    I slammed on the gas, and Alexi quick stepped out of the way of the launching vehicle. I rocketed away from the wolf while he still had ahold of my hair. There was a painful rip as he yanked a handful of hair from my head. I screamed in pain and tried to see around the dead cop on top of me, and Sean's unresponsive body imbedded in the shattered windshield.

    I swerved and skidded away from the wolves, down the deserted streets. My vehicle wailing and lighting up the city as I desperately tried to escape. I tried to push the dead cop back out the window, but had a better time pulling him most of the way in, his legs sticking awkwardly out the window.

    It was a miracle Sean stayed put on the windshield, until my tires lost traction on a slick patch of road and I slid sideways into a parked car on the street at around 40 mph. Like a patient being transferred from one gurney to another, Sean rolled sideways off my hood and onto the snow covered hood of the parked car.

    This was ridiculous. I knew I had to stop and check on him, and get this dead body off of me. I turned off the lights and sirens to leave us on suddenly quiet street. I pulled the car out enough to open the door and wrestle my way out of the driver's seat. As much as I wanted to run to Sean, I took the time to pull the dead cop out and lay him down on the street. The cops gun was missing, so I snatched his pepper spray and taser.

    I finally made my way over to Sean. His eyes were closed and he looked like he was sleeping like a baby with the soft snow piled around him like cushions. The snow around his right shoulder was colored red with blood from a new bite mark. I would've taken him for dead if there wasn't the slight fog of breath coming out of his mouth.

    "Sean!" I yelled, slapping him lightly on his cold checks. I kept shaking him and he only moaned. A wolf's howl pierced the air behind us, and his eyes shot open. For an instant I thought they glowed golden in the moonlight. He sat up with a start and grabbed me by the neck, his teeth grinding as he growled at me.

    "Sean, s-stop!" I gasped at him. His face did not change as his grip tightened, and he looked at me like I was a bug he was about to squish. I had done it. I had pushed him too far. He was a killer, and now he was going to kill me. Maybe I deserved it.

    Finally, he blinked and the look of cruel look of anger slid off his face, to be replaced by recognition. He let me go and looked around frightened.

    "We need to go!" He said. "I can… smell them," he said groggily.

    "What?" I mumbled. "Are you okay?" I reached out to touch his bloody shoulder. He looked down at the bloody wound in confusion.

    "Yah, actually I feel great," he said in awe. He's pupils were dilated and he smiled a a little.

    "All sleeping beauty needed was a little nap," I said sarcastically, and pulled him off the car. He flopped into the passenger's seat of the patrol car beside me, and I cranked the battered car up. I flipped the yellow taser in front of his face. He took it after a moment of consideration.

    "I guess the pepper spray stays with you?" he stated with a half smile.

    Why was he so nonchalant? He was starting to freak me out.

    " We need new wheels," he said in his normal emotionless tone. "Every cop in the city will be gunning for us now. They probably called out our descriptions to dispatch before they were killed. Not a good look for us."

    "I will park it after we put some more distance between us and the pack," I said.

    Suddenly the roof caved in over our heads from something heavy slamming down on it.

    "Oh shit!" I screamed in terror from the sudden commotion. I stepped on the gas so fast we did a burn out before lurching forward.

    Sean reached down and flipped on the siren. It wailed sharply before there was a wretched clanging and screeching of the light bar and sirens being ripped out of its mounted position. The siren let out a pitiful whimper as it was flung to clatter in front of us, causing me to swerve the twisted debris.

    I knew our new passenger was one of the wolves, but which one? My questions was answered as the legless body of a mutilated man was slapped against the windshield by the wolf on our roof.The man's intestines were dangling from his stomach as the wolf smeared his innards all over the windshield, obscuring my view with gore. It was one of the people I had doused with perfume. It had to be Mikhail performing this savagery.

    I was still racing down the mostly empty streets, only seeing the road out of a corner of unblemished windshield.

    A white furred hand reached around through the busted window beside me. The large hand wrapped around my tiny left wrist and pulled it free from my grasp on the steering wheel, but I still held on to the steering wheel tightly with my right hand. The great strength of the wolf began to pull me up and out of my seat.

    "Sean! Help!" I screamed with panic as half of my body was already out the window. I held on desperately with my right hand, but my grip would be broken soon. I felt Sean straighten the steering wheel. He anchored himself around my waist.

    Now I could see the wolf who was pulling me up by my hand. It was a snow white wolf, contrasted with bright red blood smeared all over his face and muscular chest. Its eyes were also bright red dots against cloudy orbs. He held me up with his right arm while his left jand dig into the top of the roof, holding him steadily atop his perch.

    I had never seen Mikhail as a wolf, but I knew this was the sadistic blond haired albino, I had learned to hate.

    The cold air whipped across my face as his lips curled back in a cruel smile. I had lost my grip on the steering wheel and was only being kept halfway in the car by Sean's futile attempt to save me. I knew I was about to die as Mikhail opened his mouth, slobber flying out in long lines, until I felt something hard and plastic being placed in my hand.

    With Sean holding the lower part of my body, I swung my right hand up to place the taser under Mikhail's chin. He didn't even notice it before the doors of the taser cartridge popped open and two electric barbs shot up straight into the under side of his chin. The taser made it patented "tatatatata" sound as the monster's body seized up, his grip almost breaking my wrist.

    Sean must have heard the taser's rapid song and jerked me hard back down inside, cutting me up good on the broken glass. He slammed on the breaks and the car lurched as the tires screeched against the asphalt. The upper half of my body was flung forward to smack painfully against the door frame, as Mikhail's body flew forward from the momentum to bounce and slide heavily across the icy road. At the end of his third rolling tumble, he righted himself to land deftly on all fours, skidding to turn and look at me with hatred in his red eyes.

    I unwedged my bruised and bloodied ribs from the door's window frame, and grabbed the wheel, throwing the car into reverse. Mikhail's sleek white forms began charging back at us as the beat up cop car started to drive backwards. He was back on two feet now, at full sprint, inches away from being able to grab the hood of the car.

    I was looking out the back window, and saw we were coming up on a T junction. We would have to turn left or right, and Mikhail would be on us in an instant.

    Sean pulled out his old gun and announced loudly, " Turn the car for me to face him! I'll shoot him point blank!" He quickly started rolling down his window.

    I thought we were out of ammo, but maybe Sean had one shot left, so I trusted him and did what he asked. While speeding backwards,, we came to the turn. I whipped the wheel to turn Sean's window facing the charging Mikhail.

    Sean steadied the pistol with both hands, likely going for a precision head shot on the charging Mikhail. The two of them were face to face, Mikhail already within reaching distance, and point blank with Sean's pistol.

    "Play died, Fido!" He yelled at Mikhail. Mikhail's red eyes widened and he quickly threw himself to the side. He slid behind the meager cover of a mailbox and traffic light on the street corner.

    No gunshot came, and Sean whipped his head around to scream at me," Drive! Drive!"

    I slammed the car into drive and rocketed us forward and away from Mikhail. The rear view mirror showed a very confused white wolf getting back to his feet as he got smaller and smaller. The engine roared as we lost sight of Mikhail at the next turn.

    The bluff had worked! The wolves had learned Sean was proficient with firearms, and primadonna Mikhail didn't want half his face missing from a well placed shot. I heard his howl following us as we left him behind.

    We sat for awhile in silence, letting our nerves calm down as we twisted and turned through the city streets. It was obvious we had to get a new vehicle as I had to hang my head out the window to see where we were going half the time.

    Once I felt we were far enough away, I backed the beat up cop car into a dark alley. We sat for a little while more in silence.

    Sean unwrapped the tape from around his arm and was amazed to find the bite marks had almost healed. We looked at each other worried, neither of us wanting to state the obvious, that he was changing into one of them.

    The quiet between us was broken by my phone ringing. I looked at the number to see it was Mikhail calling. I answered it and put it on speaker phone on for Sean to hear.

    After moments of static silence, Mikhail's wrathful and slightly whiny voice broke through, " You will die tonight, whore! You will die by my hand! You and your little guard dog will not deny me my right!"

    Me and Sean looked at eachother, and shared the cringe. Mikhail continued with his vitriol.

    "You think you are a hero? A good sister? I didn't want your used up tainted flesh. I wanted your sweet sister. You think convincing Alexi's son to mate with her, that you saved her from the hunt? You are wrong! I will kill both of you tonight!"

    It was true. I had used my charms to convince a foolish boy, Alexi's wolf son Nico, that if he liked me, I was nothing in comparison to my beautiful pure sister. I convinced Nico my sister was the one he wanted. She was wifey material, or at least exclusive breeding material.

    I had noticed Mikhail eyeing my sister too. He wanted her, but for a completely different reason. Mikhail didn't want my sister's purity, he wanted her blood. He wanted his initiation kill to be her.

    I worked fast to seduce the young pup Nico. I spoke whispers of my sister during the early hours. I said the prince deserved the best mate, and my sister was the best. It would be a pairing against her will, but Nico was kind and gentle..for a wolf.

    So you can see Mikhail's anger when he chose my sister for his hunt, and got the bargain basement model instead. He got me.

    Nico had gotten to his daddy's ear, and Alexi had denied the young upstart Mikhail his kill of my sister.

    "Take me off speaker phone," Mikhail said calmly in a language only spoken between the clan. I understood the phrase and turned off the speaker and tucked the phone to my ear.

    "I have clan members loyal to me stationed at Anika's lodging," he continued in normal speech. "Turn yourself into me, or I give the order to rip her throat out. You have had your fun. But I will kill your little sister if you do not let me kill you. I'll even make it quick, if you don't make a fuss."

    There was a pause, and I felt my heart drop. I knew Mikhail was selfish enough to go against the clan if he wasn't going to get his way. And he did have a group of human followers that followed him around like he was a superstar. He would kill my sister, and all of this would be for nothing.

    "The parking structure under the bridge, before you take the exit to the Wicker construction site," he continued with the directions. "Don't tell your guard dog. Bring him or leave him. I don't care. He is dead either way." He paused,

    "You have one hour!" he stated.

    Mikhail hung up the phone and we sat in silence. Fresh falling snow covered the blood caked windshield, and Sean stared at me expectantly, his breath beginning to frost.

    "I need to tell you something, Sean, but you're not gonna like it," I finally admitted.

    I told Sean the truth. I couldn't lie to him anymore. He had saved my life multiple times in only a few hours.

    I told him about Mikhail's demand, and how he would probably kill Sean whether he survived the night or not. I told him about my sister. About how this was all for her. I told him how I took her place in this hunt so she could be indentured off to a safer life with Alexi's son. I told him how Mikhail lusted after my sister, but not a sexual lust, but a blood lust. And finally I told him that Mikhail was rigging the game, by threatening to kill my sister if I did not sacrifice myself to him.

    So now I sat alone in a newly stolen car with only the sound of the wind blowing through its broken window to accompany the rushing thoughts in my head. I looked in the rear view mirror to see the mess that was me. My mascara was running dark tears down my face, my face had been cut from shattered glass, and a large chunk of my hair was missing. I was a far contrast from the seductive damsel in distress I had portrayed earlier in the night.

    I saw the exit ramp to the Wicker Construction site coming up ahead. I was so close to freedom, but I couldn't go there. I had to instead save my sister and meet with Mikhail under the overpass.

    I had done everything to save my little sister. It's what my mother made me promise on her death bed. Maybe I couldn't free her from the clan, but I could make sure she was safe inside the clan.

    My mother had worked for the Neuri clan, the same wolves that chased me now. She was diagnosed with cancer in her early thirties. She could have asked for money from the clan to afford her treatment, but she refused. She knew if she died, the clan would hold the debts over me and my sister.

    Well, my mother passed, and the assholes took us anyway. I was twelve and Anika ten, and they began grooming us right away. I hated all of them.

    I took the turn around under the overpass and drove into a small parking lot shrouded in shadows from the overhead highway. My headlights illuminated the tall white figure of Mikhail in wolf form. His white fur still painted red with blood.

    He held out a cellphone in his large clawed hands. I knew it was a threat showing he could still order his men to kill Anika. I got out of the care with my head down, defeated. I slammed the car door shut harder than was necessary.

    "You said you would make it quick, and Anika will be safe!" I said to him with disdain. "At least honor something you say."

    Mikhail stood still like a statue before I realized he was concentrating on turning back into his human form. He couldn't talk in wolf form, so of course he would want to gloat and monologue before he killed me.

    Mikhail shrunk half a foot and his wolf head returned to normal. His white fur gave away to his pale naked skin. A familiar smirk quickly found its way across his perfect face. He stood proudly in his nudity, like the cold had no effect. White fur wilted off him in soggy clumps, the moonlight from the street reflecting off his sculpted body. He stretched his muscles, by rotating his shoulder, and cracking his neck and jaw.

    Mikhail bent down to retrieve a silver revolver from the snow by his feet. He dusted it off and checked the cylinder for ammo. Satisfied, he flicked the weapon back shut and motioned for me to step forward. Arrogance and bravado exuded off him like a thick stench. All of this was for show, to dominate me one more time before my death.

    "I'll make it quick like I promised," he chatted cordially, spinning the gun around on his fingers. "I'll have to shoot you at an angle, I think," he said, outstretching his arm to point the gun at my neck, then twisting his wrist to point the barrel upwards slightly. " I'll shoot you up through the neck and into the skull. Of course I'll have to rip your head off in my wolf form to make it look like a proper kill," he smiled sadistically.

    "But my sister is safe?" I asked meekly, taking a small step towards my killer.

    He crooked an eyebrow at me, "For now," he said. "Once I've gained some seniority in the clan, I will talk with Nico about making a trade with me for one of my harem girls. Nico may be royalty, but he is weak willed and easily persuaded. Now come!" He snapped. "Kneel before me!"

    I walked up within arms distance of him, but refused to kneel. He looked about and smiled wider. "As you wish whore. Die on your feet, like you aren't used to being on your knees!"

    Mikhail was thoroughly enjoying himself as he looked around the deserted underpass. "Where is your guard dog? He didn't tag along?" Mikhail mentioned as he scanned the darkness and inside of the stolen car.

    "You cut him loose," Mikhail finally stated." Aww, is that some actually character development for you? I thought you hated all men? No matter, he has been marked for death anyways. He can't be left alive after being bit on the full moon. We can't have strays running around, can we?"

    I hadn't noticed the moon. I guess it would have to be a full moon on the night of the sacred hunt. I had barely noticed the sky during all the violence and commotion. Sean had been bitten and infected on this supernatural night. The clan would not let him survive for long as a newly turned wolf.

    Mikhail pointed his pistol and I scrambled to buy more time. "I dont hate all men! Just chauvinist assholes like you! You want to know why?" I teased with a sarcastic smile.

    I saw a litany of emotions cross his arrogant face. At first it was anger, I thought he would pull the trigger on impulse, the second was hurt and general amazement. How could a woman dislike such a specimen as he? So his face resigned to smug curiosity and he stilled his hand.

    "Oh why? Dear whore?" He snickered, trying to hide his genuine interest.

    I was about to emotionally unload on him. I was going to tell him everything I hated about his sadistic face and sadistic clan, and how they had systematically ruined my life. I felt the tears began to flow as I began to open my mouth.

    "Mikhail! What the hell do you think you are doing?!" Came a voice in the wolf's native language. We both turned to see an older man jogging up, obviously limping and favoring his chest.

    It was the wolf that Sean had wound lightly in the beginning, and the cop had shot multiple times before the wolf threw the cop through the windshield.

    The wolf was haggard and gray. Obviously he was the oldest of the pack, but his muscles were corded and rippling through his flesh. His face was the only thing human.

    "None of your business old man. I'm ending the hunt! Just had the gun out in case her Rambo body guard decided to shown up!" Mikhail shouted disrespectful at his elder.

    The Elder stiffened, not taking the upstarts bullshit. He sniffed the air lightly and looked around, like he didn't feel the animosity coming from Mikhail.

    "What are you doing here anyways? Meet up at the construction sight and we will end the ceremony there!" Mikhail demanded.

    The Elder huffed and used his pointer human fingers to wipe his eyes as he continued in their guttural tongue. "Aye, I was looking out for you, pup. This is your night isn't it? Then I smelled wolf blood. My sensative hearing hasn't gone yet either. So now i know you are playing your own games to cheat and win. And I'll have to tell Alexi of your blatant disregard for our sacred rules.

    I saw Mikhail flinch as the Elder continued. I meanwhile snuck back to the cover of the open driver's seat of the car.

    "Further more! Pup!" the wounded Elder tried to continue through weezing breathes, but was interrupted with multiple shots from Mikhail's pistol slamming into his exposed human face, neck, and injured wolf body.

    The Elder collapsed in the snow like a bloody snow angel, steam and heat rising from his dying body.

    "Dont lecture me you old bastard!" Mikhail yelled at the dead Elder.

    "Shit! Now I'm out of ammo?" said Mikhail in common, at the sight of his emptied pistol. "I guess I can blame it on your boy toy you had shooting at everyone!" as he threw his empty gun on the ground. Mikhail looked up at the full moon peaking lowly over the buildings with intense concentration.

    Finally he spoke with a jovial voice,"If I can make a Mr. Brightside reference. I'll be coming out of this cage, doing just fine, right?" He smiled his gorgeous smile. " The Elder was a massive dickless blowhard, and I get to kill you as slow as I always wanted now!"

    I was too busy scrambling around inside the rusted white Buick to really notice all the dumb stuff Mikhail was saying. But I could hear the naked Mikhail begin to slowly trod towards the vehicle.

    Mikhail was stopped by a hissing laughter coming from the dying Elder in his makshift snow grave. Mikail stopped and turned to look at his betrayed clansman.

    "Foolish… young pup (cough)." Quietly the Elder weezed in common tongue. " I smelt the blood of a wolf. You don't even use your own powerful senses correctly."

    "What are you talking about you mangy mutt? Die already, will you?" Mikhail barked!

    During Mikhail's tirade the trunk of the Buick popped open and a lithe figure slipped out to the passages side door and aimed an awkwardly bright yellow weapon at him.

    "There are two of them, dumbass! You didn't smell the one in the trunk," the Elder croaked with his dying breath. Mikhail turned to see Sean posted up against the passenger's side of the Buick aiming what looked to like a bright yellow shotgun at Mikhail.

    A bean bag round flew at sonic speed to rocket towards Mikhail's proudest target. The bag pelted him right in his exposed and unprotected genitals. The albino man let put a gasping whimper and collapse into fetal position.

    Sean racked loose the spent shell and loaded another non-leathal bean bag round into the yellow shotgun.

    "I just wish cops had real guns and not this hug-a-thug bullshit!" Sean yelled in righteous anger as he pointed the barrel down at the whimpering Mikhails face.

    Another bean bag rocked Mikhail's face into a bloody mess, sending him spiraling into unconsciousness. Sean's anger wasn't unsatisfied as he flipped the shotgun over to beat Mikhail's limp body.

    "That won't work Sean!" I cried! "When they are close to death they heal crazy quick! Beating him will make him stronger!"

    Sean paused mid pummel, Mikhail already convulsioning violently. "What about the old timer? Is he dead?"

    "Must have been silver bullets in Mikhail's gun. He was always paranoid of the wolves around him. Or Mikhail landed a killing shot on the weakened Elder wolf," I explained quickly.

    I got in the car and honked. Sean stared down at Mikhail's mangled face in pure anger, his eyes glinting. I honked again louder to snap him out of his rage.

    "Less than lethal bullshit! Why can't cops carry real weapons anymore?" he growled as he tossed the yellow shotgun into the darkness. He gritted his teeth and I thought he wouldn't turn to listen to me.

    "It's almost over Sean!" I pleaded. "Grab his phone and come on! It has all the evidence we need to save us both. He had it rigged against us from the beginning! And the dead wolf has silver bullets on him! Dig one of those out if we see Alexi!"

    Sean grumbled and kicked around in the snow before coming to his senses and swiping up Mikhail's old flip phone. He then I ceremoniesly walked over to the dead Elder wolf and jam his hand into a gunshot wound in his neck to retrieve a clump of silver and blood.

    Mikhail was starting to moan and his smashes face was returning to its perfect countenance again.

    Sean finally relented and slide into the passangers seat beside me.

    "The full moon is healing both of you quickly!" I gasped. "We need to get to the safe house and end this!"

    As I put the car into reverse I could already see Mikhail sit up and blink the grogginess out of his eyes. Sean let out a low growl at him.

    We drove for the next five minutes around the Wicker Construction site's fence. Hastliy spray painted wooden signs pointed us to the correct entrance.

    We finally arrived at a set of turnstiles surrounded by a high fence with razor wire stretched across the top. We turned off the car and cautiously made our way to the spinning metal bars. Hopefully it would allow both of us to enter through the revolving bars, but Sean let me go first.

    We thankfully made it through the turnstiles to enter a large sparse concrete lot, littered with lamps, construction equipment, and a boxy metal buildings. One of the boxy buildings's front door was open with an inviting yellow glow from inside.

    "So thats the finish line?" Sean said more as a statement "it's obviously a trap."

    "Yep," I said as we trudged towards the welcoming light. A massive figure stepped up to the door frame,cutting off the warm light.

    It was Alexi In full wolf form. with his two-toned eyes of gold and green and black fur with white around his eyes. He was having to duck in the trailer.. He stepped out onto the stairs and turned his body to motion with his hands for us to pass into the room.

    "What the hell is this?" I said suspiciously.

    "Nothing," Alexi said through his deep wolf voice. Years of experience had taught him to speak while in wolf form. "You cheated, but you knew you had too to defeat Mikhail. It was his test, and he failed."

    I walked past Alexi into the office. It was warm and well lit, with bottles of water and sandwiches on a side table. Sean went to follow and Alexi stepped in his way, poking a sharpened bone claw into his chest.

    "Not you boy! You killed an honored pack member, and injured many more. You've taken a bite from me and have already begun the change. The ancient rules declare your death!"

    I watched Sean take a step back and raise his fists in an pitiful attempt to challenge the gigantic Alexi. Sean began sniffing the air and a look of horror washed over his face. Sean backed further out into the snowy yard and Alexi followed. Sean's head whipped back and forth, searching the darkness around him.

    I stepped forward to the doors edge to see what Sean was looking at. There were multiple sets of glowing eyes flanking him out of the darkness, at least ten sets of eyes in total, towering over him and drawling closer and closer in a tightening circle.

    At this point the ten lumbering wolves entered the light spilling out the doorway towering above him standing upright. Many I hadn't seen before, others I had. Sean sighed a deep sigh of defeat and dropped his guarded, his shoulders slumped.

    "Stand the mutt up for me to see him!" Alexi barked out into the crowd. Alexi made a quick motion with his head and two unknown wolves shot out to grab Sean by either shoulder. Sean pulled back with a growl and his eyes flashed gold for a moment, but quickly realized he was not getting away.

    The two wolves held Sean tightly as Alexi walked down the short steps towards him, to lift up his chin in his clawed hand to look down directly into Sean gold eyes.

    "You have two options!" The guttural mix of beast and man issued from Alexi throat, "You interfered with our sacred hunt and resulted in the deaths of two of my clan."

    Sean's face was stoic, but the cold was making him shiver.

    "Our ancient rules dictate death to the outsider. But I'm a reasonable Pack Master, and I know the tricker and wiles of the female" he growled at Sean. "Once more, I have fought you, and you showed no regard for yourself above her. You drew on me and fired in an instant so she could escape. That may be the reason I went for the shoulder instead of the neck. Honor is a rare trait among humans."

    "So you spared me?" Sean said quiety, looking down from the intimidating aura of Alexi. "Do I join your little were-wol-?"

    Alexi moved in a flash and snatched up Sean by his throat lifting him up two feet to be face level with Alexi.

    " Like you and the girl found out, Mikhail was an honorless cheater and coward. I may have suspected, but I guess the female knew from the beginning, so she felt she needed to cheat herself." Alexi looked back at me with contempt.

    Alexi sat back down the blue faced Sean and continued, "You kill Mikhail and join as a new pup in the clan, or you refuse and you die right here!"

    After coughing a bit Sean straightened to look Alexi square in the eyes now. "So I'm meant to hunt an experienced wolf who can transform? Last I saw him he was healing from a broken face under an underpass!"

    There was a series of barks behind Sean causing him to turn and I saw the last thing I expected to see. Two fully morphed wolves were dragging a naked Mikhail in human form. They pushed him forward towards Sean and Alexi.

    "So I heard the deal, Pack Master! I'm to let this pleb kill me?" Mikhail said oppulantly, still not ashamed of his nudity.

    "No Mikhail," Alexi growled over Sean's shoulder. "If you kill this mutt? We will give you 24 hours to leave the country. You will be exiled from the clan. You network system of human followers you have accumulate are being hunted down as we speak."

    Alexi shrugged," Maybe another, weaker clan will take you in eventually, if you can kill this human right now!!"

    Three things happened at once, Mikhail smiled sadistically, Sean took up a fighting stance with a look of horror, and I screamed, "That's not fair! It's a slaughter! A wolf to a lamb!" I was particularly proud of that last allegory, and Alexi turned again to consider me.

    "I didn't mention the rules!" He barked! "In order to join the Nueri Clan you must have cunning as much as brute force." He turned to Mikhail and said coldly," You fight this man in human form, or I will have you ripped apart by you're former clansmen"

    The smug look on Mikhail's face faltered and he looked around at the seriously imposing wolves forming a circle around him, Sean, and Alexi. Alexi walked backwards to join the circle.

    "Begin!" He growled!

    Mikhail was the first to strike with a one-two slash with his arms. The first one caught Sean's right eye and cheek with a bloody scratch, and Sean blocked the other strike by raising his elbow. Mikhail winced at having his soft human hand collide with Sean's hard elbow.

    Mikhail stepped back while trying to shake the pain put of his injuried wrist. Sean touched the bloody scratches on his cheek and smiled. I think he realized what I realized at the same time.

    Mikhail was a weakling in human form.

    I would like to say Mikhail put up a valiant effort, but I'm not going to lie for that shit. Sean got within his reach and beat his naked ass all through the snow with throat punches, and elbows, and eye gouges. I had seen how efficient Sean was at ending fights, so I knew he was taking his time with Mikhail.

    Finally Sean delivered a low kick to the inside of Mikhail's knee, causing him to crumple to his other knee in the snow. Mikhail tried to stand but Sean performed a devastating downwards elbow, like an axe, to the top of Mikhail's head.

    Mikhail staggered and almost toppled over into the snow, if Sean didn't swoop in behind him and wrap him up in a choke hold. Sean arched backwards, lifting Mikhail's bare toes out of the snow. Mikhail kicked and weezes groggily. This was it, Sean was going to strangle Mikhail to death in the next couple of seconds.

    True to Mikhail's nature, or just survival instincts. Mikhail's body exploded in mass, his rapidly expanding back and neck muscles flinging Sean off of him. The white fur sprouted instantly to cover him, and his already albino eyes glowed red.

    Wolf Mikhail spun around to face Sean laying on his back in the snow. Mikhail's bone claws grew to around ten inches in length, and drool ran from his mouth like a frothy waterfall.

    Mikhail was about to pounce Sean for the kill before the enormous black mass of Alexi stepped up between them. Mikhail looked at Alexi in surprise, which quickly turned to anger.

    Mikhail swiped his long right claw at Alexi only for it to be caught by Alexi's black furred muscled hand. There was a wicked snap as Alexi broke Mikhail's wrist with just his grasp. Mikhail attempted to let out a howl of pain, before Alexi seized the bottom part of Mikhail's jaw and ripped downwards, sickly ripping Mikhail's bottom jaw and most of his thoat out in a gory mess. To finish it off, Alexi used both hands to grab Mikhail and snap his neck with a vicious twist.

    Mikhail, finally fell dead to the ground. Where Sean was playing with Mikhail earlier, Alexi obviously was done playing.

    After the shock wore off, and the warm blood pooled around the dead Mikhail, the wolves eagerly helped Sean to his feet.

    I heard a door open behind me in the office, and was hit with cold air and a scent of cologne. It was Nico's cologne. I turned my head to face him. He was handsome and rugged like his father, but with kind eyes and dimples from constant smiles. He was dressed immaculately in a fitted suit. He stared at me forlornly for a while, I could almost see a tear forming in his eye.

    "Don't, Nico," I commanded gently. "Don't show weakness to them. I knew I was never going to survive the night after all the havok I caused. I only wanted Anika to survive" I said, tears now in my eyes.

    Nico walked up close behind me now. "She will be fine, she will be safe, father says. There is only one catch," he trailed off.

    "You must kill me," I answered him. "The two of us that started all this, must end it!" I felt him nod in agreement behind me.

    Outside the ten wolves held Sean upright. I had seen the ceremony before. All the wolves would bite a new recruit on a full moon to seal his initiation into the pack.

    The wolves gathered around Sean and outstretched his arms for a good place to bite him. I could feel Nico's bone claw tickling my neck.

    Me and Sean looked at each other in terror. But in an instant it disappeared from both our faces. He and I were determined.

    "Take care of Anika," I said.

    "I will," Nico whispered back as he slit my throat with his claw, blood flowing freely over my red scarf.

    As my vision faded I saw Sean nod to me. Sean knew I was talking to him, not Nico. Sean wasn't a wolf, he was a protector. And if he found me worthy of protecting, for sure he would my little sister worthy.

    Then all the wolves bit Sean at once, and my vision faded to black as Nico cradled me....
     
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