Work at the sheriff’s department meant Aiden was on a rotating schedule, sometimes on days and other times overnight.Depending what shift he was assigned for a given week, it felt like he and Ethan did not get much time together anymore.They made the best of it since they both had jobs they enjoyed.To them, it meant working that much harder to fully appreciate what time they did have together, even if it was just a kiss as one came home and the other was leaving.Rafe changed Ethan’s schedule so the couple always had at least one day off together.
Ethan wanted something with him during the day with Aiden’s scent on it and had taken to carrying around one of his big bad’s used jockstraps.It would inevitably be one he had worked up a good sweat in.Ethan never gave it any thought the other shifters could always pick up the scent of the jock.Fortunately, it was all part of life among the lycan; if one mate didn’t have the scent of the other on them, something was usually wrong.
It had been a while since Aiden and Ethan had a chance to go riding and they missed their friends at the farm.The autumn mornings had turned cool, prompting Aiden to put the top and doors back on his beloved Jeepster.His pup still marveled at the existence of vent windows on the door, let alone manual ones.It was overcast as they headed out to Bear Creek Horse Farm.Next to the parking area was a display of pumpkins sitting on bales of hay. Nathan and Alex grew them in one of their small fields.Ethan perused the selection as both older lycan came out of their office.
“Morning, guys.It’s good to see you back.”Nathan extended his hand upon reaching them.“I know a certain horse who’s going to be pleased you’re here.”
Ethan gave the guys hugs while Aiden shook their hands.The young blond returned to his inspection of the pumpkins.He picked up one before putting it down and lifting the one beside it.
“If you don’t see the one you want here, you can always go out to the field and pick your own.” Alex pointed towards the side of the barn.
“What do you mean?” Ethan glanced in the direction Alex had motioned.
“Our patch’s over there.If you two hadn’t always been so preoccupied with each other you might have noticed.” Nathan joked.
The four walked to an arched gate leading into the field.It was about seven acres of with another acre or two of tall corn.
“If this afternoon is the same as it’s been lately, lots of people will be out here picking.It’s kind of nice having Halloween and a full moon in the same week.I’m sure we can find one for you to carve.” Alex placed his hand on the newest lycan’s shoulder.“Any we don’t sell this week will end up getting sold to local bakers to make pies.”
They walked through the field seeing fruit of every size.Ethan or Aiden would bend down to inspect one, trying to decide if it was the right one to get.Ethan finally found three near each other he liked.“I kinda wish they were a little bigger, but they’re the perfect shape.”He got a little twinkle in his eye as he reached out and touched the vine.In moments, all three increased in size and weight while maintaining their shape.
“Remind us to hire you next year to help in the field.” Nathan joked while shaking his head.
They noticed the vines and pumpkins for about twenty feet around them had all increased in size.Since Ethan could not settle on just one of the three, he decided to get them all.With them cut from the vines, each was taken back to the Jeep.
On the short walk back, Aiden brought up a question he knew his pup was curious about. “Have you guys decided if you’re going to join the pack yet?”
“Yes, we’ve talked about it a lot and we are going to join.We’ve actually been going around the territory with your alpha, talking to other non-wolf lycan, and inviting them into the pack as well.”Alex ruffled Ethan’s hair. “I don’t suppose you put that little bug in his ear about non-wolves being excluded?”
“I didn’t, but I’m happy you get to come to everything you want to now.With you joining the pack, that makes him your alpha too.”There was a little sparkle in his eyes as he said that last part.
Back at the barn, Nathan pulled out Ethan’s favorite horse.Once he was saddled and ready, Aiden brushed his hand over the horse’s face.“Sorry we haven’t been out to see you as much.I won’t get in the way of you helping my mate up.”The beast whinnied happily as he nuzzled the hand.The stallion moved to Ethan’s side and easily helped him into the saddle.Satisfied his rider was secure, he waited for Aiden to mount before picking a trail he wanted to take the couple on, eventually leading them to the spot with the waterfall they enjoyed so much.
A few hours later, they made their way back to the farm.Alex guided the blond teen to the washing stall and taught him how to brush the horse. Aiden and Nathan talked while their mates worked.
As they were heading to the Jeep, Aiden turned back to their friends. “Are you guys doing anything for the full moon?”
Nathan glanced at Alex who shrugged.“Just our usual, I guess. Get furry and find someplace here to enjoy the night.”
“We’d really like it if you came by our place.A few of our other friends are coming over for a barbeque and run.Probably a little hunt since it’s the Hunter Moon.Just want you guys to know you’re always welcome to run with us.”
Alex placed his arm around his mate and nodded. “We’ll be there.”
The October Hunter Moon party turned out to be a great time for everyone.Cody was happily sitting next to Casey, letting his bigger and younger friend wrap his arm around him.“Alex, it’s great to have you and Nathan here for a run.Finally there’s someone else who’s not a wolf for one of these.”
A pretzel bounced off the coyote’s forehead and was caught by Casey who popped it into his mouth.Darius frowned.“Hey!What am I?Your imaginary friend?”
“Okay, okay.I meant non-wolf who could actually shift during a full moon.”Cody chuckled.“Kitty’s touchy tonight.Someone hide your ball of yarn?”
“I know right where it is and will use it to tie you to the bed when you get back from the run.” Darius licked his lips in anticipation.
Alex opted to keep quiet for the most part, but couldn’t stifle the giggles that kept popping up as he relaxed into Nathan’s embrace.
The coyote never felt closer to a group of guys since he left the Marine Corps, and he had been very tight with his fellow Marines.He had always gone more for the ladies, even at the other packs he worked for. Not that any of the she-wolves would have given the time of day to a lowly coyote. Lately, he kept finding himself drawn towards Casey and Darius.It left him confused at times. However, he figured it was not worth analyzing and more fun to enjoy the pleasure both men brought him.He reasoned it was not like he had not had plenty of male encounters in the Corps.Long deployments with a bunch of young horny men led to a lot of shared bunks in the past.These current two guys were definitely fun in the sack, and had no hang-ups the next morning.
Even though Darius could not shift during the lunar maximus, everyone insisted he be there since he was a close friend; they wanted him to join them and hang out for their pre-run barbeque.Anthony was showing much more confidence in the group and went running with one or more of the guys any chance he got.Likewise, Jonas and several of the other lunis who were used to staying apart from the lupus on a full moon were hanging out with Ethan, Aiden, and their friends.The lunis not at their gathering were all part of other lunar parties around the territory.In this pack, there was none of the old prejudice between one type of wolf and the other; all the newcomers were quickly accepted and included.Tyler, Connor and Kevin rounded out the group.
At one point after everyone went furry, those present got into a little competition to see who could howl the loudest.It was decided to be a three-way tie between Aiden and Ethan’s wolf and Cody’s coyote, though some of the lunis were close behind.
Aiden’s black wolf merrily chuffed as he woofed out, “Not surprising he’s the loudest.You should hear the way he moans.”The white wolf’s growl had the entire group rolling in laughter.
Aiden was scheduled to work the overnight shift following the full moon and would be through Halloween.Even though people came around to spend time with Ethan, it did give him a couple of quiet nights leading up to the holiday to carve his pumpkins.He let his imagination guide him. For the first one, he chose a tiger and bear standing together with the long tail of the feline draped over his companion.The second, he carved Aiden’s lupus.He created it with a combination of full and partial cuts, etching it by removing only the skin.When he finished, he went to find Casey to ask if he had a light he could use to see how it looked lit up.His brother found one and came into the kitchen where the finished one sat on the table.When Ethan put it inside, the effects of the different types of cuts was stunning.
“Holy shit, bro.It looks just like him.That’s incredible!How’d you do that?”
Ethan shrugged off the praise and pointed to the cheap plastic carving kit he picked up at the store.He adjusted the light for the best effect, and made a few alterations on the thickness of the cuts to allow more light through.
When he finished, he gave Casey a hard stare. “You can’t tell him about this.I don’t want him to see it or the others ’til tomorrow night.I still need to finish the last one.”
“No worries.I won’t spoil the surprise.You are definitely entering them in the carving contest at the Halloween Fair.I’ll get you some lights that’ll work great for those.”
Ethan started work on the final pumpkin the evening before Halloween, and worked late into the night.After getting a few hours sleep, he finished it before Aiden woke up.It was how he imagined his big bad in alpha form, clad in armor, and defending the pack with a blazing sword.He toyed around with it until it was just how he thought it should look.Using the light Casey left him, he tested it out and made final adjustments until it was perfect.He put it in the cool basement with the other two, covered with a damp cloth, and a bag of ice inside. Tired from the work, he went to curl up beside his mate for a few hours.
Aiden had to report in early for his shift briefing before he would head to meet Ethan at the Halloween Fair.Casey walked in the backdoor to see if his brother was ready.After Ethan grabbed his jacket, wallet, and keys, they loaded the three pumpkins into the truck.The fair was held at Parker Lake in the same spot they held the 4th of July festival.All the surrounding communities got together for similar events.For something like Halloween, it gave all the kids in the different rural communities some place easy and safe to go Trick-or-Treating.The park’s recreation hall had been turned into a haunted house.A lot of the same vendors from the 4th were back selling their wares. The Tucker family and a few other pack mates manned the large barbeque trailer selling tasty treats.Alex and Nathan had a booth where people could make a last minute purchase for carving at the fair, painting by the youngest kids, and for turning into pies later.
Most booths handed out candy to the kids.A classic car club had organized Trunk-or-Treat in the parking lot.No matter the age of the car, the trunks were decorated for the holiday and children would receive their treat.
The evening was pleasantly cool.There were spots all around the fair where people could place pumpkins to display and enter them in the carving contest.Casey took the two largest while Ethan carried the third one.Finding a place near their parent’s booth, he set them down and arranged them as best he could with them still covered.
About forty-five minutes later, Aiden showed up.Instead of his uniform, he was in a department polo shirt with his badge on his belt.While he was technically on duty at the fair, he would be able to spend his time with Ethan and just needed to keep his eyes open for any problems during the event.
As sunset turned to night, people around the fair began lighting their pumpkins.There were a lot of the traditional Jack-O-Lanterns scattered around and a few more advanced designs.Some kids were still carving or painting under the supervision of their parents.Ethan pulled the cover off his and put the lights inside them.Standing back to look at them, he was happy with how they turned out, especially the one he did as Aiden’s alpha wolf.
“Pup, those are incredible!”
“Bro, I thought the first wolf was great.That warrior wolf is awesome!”
Rafe, Mary and the rest of the family heard Aiden and Casey and came over to see for themselves.
“Oh Ethan, those are absolutely beautiful,” Mary extolled.
A small group gathered to view them, and everyone went on about how great they were.Ethan was getting uncomfortable with all the praise, but tried his best to thank everyone.
“I just did what came to mind.”
The alpha and a few of the other surrounding town leaders who judged the competition stopped as they were walking by.“Where’s your contest number for these?”
“Umm… I didn’t think about entering them.”
“It’s okay.We have extras here.” One of the judges put Ethan’s name and entry numbers on cards for the three.
Alex had wandered over after seeing the crowd, and stood behind Ethan.When he saw the tiger and bear, he smiled big time.He placed his hands on his young friend’s shoulders. “Those look great.I’m going to guess who those two are and if I’m right, we’ve never looked so good.If you want to do another, we have a couple pumpkins all gutted and ready, and we have some tools at our booth you can use.”
Aiden encouraged his pup. “I know you’re probably tired from doing those three, especially with how detailed they are, but if you don’t mind and think you could do it with me there, I’d love to watch you bring one to life like you did with those.”
Ethan nodded as he leaned against his mate.
At their booth, Alex pulled out the best pumpkin they had ready.Nathan had thought of using it when Alex whispered in his ear to walk over by the Tucker’s booth and take a look at the others the teen had done.A few minutes later, he was back grinning just as big as Alex was.
“Do you have a marker I can use to draw out the design?”
Ethan slowly drew on the orange skin; in what felt like no time the design took shape.About twenty minute later, he put down the marker.A small group had gathered to watch as Nathan laid out the carving kit.These were much better than the four-dollar kit Ethan had used on the previous three.He picked up one of the tools and sliced into the pumpkin, only taking off fine strips of the outer skin.As he worked, people watched in awe.It took him an hour to complete it.When he finished and a light was placed inside, a lunis came to life on it.To the humans around it would simply be a werewolf, looking fierce and ready to attack.Aiden and Casey recognized it as the lunis Ethan had killed.
As it was placed out for display, the group that had gathered around to watch him carve clapped.It was one thing to see the finished product, but to watch as it was created and came to life was something special.
Jonas had been walking through the fair with a couple of his friends and watched as Ethan finished the wolf.He knew about the lunis his friend had killed not long before he had come to the pack.Leaning in, he whispered into the blond’s ear. “That one lives on because of your memory.At the time, you couldn’t have known if he was seeking help or attacking you.This is a beautiful way to honor him.”
Darius arrived with a small entourage and found their other friends at the Tucker’s booth.“Sorry we’re late.Someone took forever fixing his hair.”He side-eyed Tyler.“Kevin was busy flirting with someone online who was probably a three hundred pound guy instead of the hot woman from the pic.A coyote I won’t name couldn’t find the outfit he wanted so he’d look good for Casey and of course for me.And Connor thought he was driving Ms. Daisy.”
“Hey.I’m not used to driving my dad’s new Navigator.He’d kill me if I damaged it.So I drove a little slower than normal.”
When they noticed the pumpkins and Ethan’s name beside them, the praise from all the friends once again began.
With Ethan’s demonstration finished, they relaxed and walked around.They watched the youngsters running around in their outfits, and Aiden had to reprimand a few for trying to bully someone smaller into giving up their candy.Grabbing seats near the stage, they enjoyed the costume contest, cheering when Ryan took his turn dressed as a wizard.
While the results for the costume contest were tallied, the winners of the carving one were announced. The judges stood around the microphone as one of them read off the names, and the others handed out the prizes.“We were hard pressed to decide which of this young man’s entries was best. So, for the first time, the award for first place is going to four pumpkins.The winner this year is Ethan Tucker.Congratulations.”
Ethan shyly stood as they called his name. “Thank you all for the honor, but I can’t accept.The award should go to one of the children who entered.”
John whispered to the other judges before taking the microphone.“Mister Tucker is still new to our community so he doesn’t know there’s a separate category for them.Get your butt up here young man.”
Laughter filled the audience as his friends pushed him on stage to accept his awards.
Before Ethan could go anywhere, John placed his hand on the blond’s shoulder.The announcer read off the final prize of the night.“The ‘People’s Choice Award’ goes to Ethan Tucker.It was a tie between your fantasy warrior and the werewolf.”
After all the attention died down, he asked the guys to get him someplace quieter so they could relax and enjoy the fair.The rest of the night was a fun time of hanging out with friends.Aiden and Casey managed to take lots of pictures of all four of Ethan’s pumpkins.
After the festive Halloween weekend, the alpha was working late; he tried to get through paperwork he had let go too long. Jackie reminded him he promised not to work any later than seven.He was shutting his computer down when he received an urgent call from the alpha of a neighboring pack.
“John, we’re under attack.We’ve picked up twenty-four of those GPS devices, but I don’t know if all the attackers are using them.The reports I’m getting is there are more than what we see.I’m formally requesting assistance per our mutual defense agreement.”
“I’ll get some warriors to you as quickly as I can, Dave.Keep the line open.I’m heading down to get the orders out now.”
“Thank you, my friend.Thank god these idiots are using GPS tags so our hunters and warriors know exactly where to counter attack.We’re holding the line for now, but I know we’re taking losses.Your reinforcements will ease the strain.”
John and Jackie ran down to the hunters command center and began issuing orders. “Call in all off-duty hunters, get the sheriff on the line, notify all hunters we’re moving to Threatcon Charlie, and call up warrior units four and eight to assemble for immediate deployment to Ember Moon.”
“Yes, Alpha.I have the sheriff for you.”
“Dan, Ember Moon’s under attack.I’m activating units four and eight to deploy.Get a deputy to escort them at best speed.”
“Alpha, priority call from the Alpha of Morning Star Pack.”The communications officer informed.
John pressed the appropriate phone button. “Go ahead Maxx, I’ve got you on conference with my beta and Dave Redmond.”
“John, Dave, thirty of those GPS trackers just crossed into our territory and are engaging our forces.I’d like to formally request assistance.”
“Maxx, Ember Moon is also under attack.I can spare two units of warriors to each of you.My beta is sending out the orders right now.We’ll get there as quickly as we can.Dan, get units ten and twelve deployed to Morning Star, and call up all remaining units to their designated assembly stations with orders to prepare to repel attackers. Also, alert all your deputies of a possible attack.I’m putting all defenses to Threatcon Delta.”
“Do you really think they’re hitting us as a diversion before hitting you?”
“I’d rather be prepared. If nothing happens here, I’ll have troops mobilized and ready to further assist you and Dave if needed.”
“Alpha, all four units will be on the road within five minutes.They’re using prearranged comm ID’s and will coordinate with pack officials in route.Hang on a second.I was just handed a note.”Dan fell silent.“The other counties are reporting all off duty lycan deputies have been called in.Cruisers are ready to escort the warriors to both packs.”
Forty minutes after the first calls came in from the neighboring packs, alarms went off in both the sheriff’s dispatch center and the hunter’s command offices.The display map of the territory had twelve groups of red dots with six to ten markers per group entering at different points along the northern border.Some appeared to be traveling by road while others were going overland.The bulk of the attackers made up the group moving through the forest. They were massed fairly close together and assumed to be in animal form.
The alpha sent a message to all his warriors.<Our borders have been breached.May your wolf taste the blood of the enemy and return safe.Good hunting.>His own wolf’s building bloodlust called on him to personally lead the fight, yet knew they had much to oversee in the defense of those who followed and their neighbors.
A general alert followed to all hunters and deputies. <Attack by large force underway.All warrior forces active and responding.Shoot to kill all targets is authorized.>
A notification also went out pack-wide warning residents to stay indoors and prepare to defend themselves. To the human population a sheriff’s emergency alert warned of an active shooter in the county suggested residents take cover and shelter in place until further information was available.
“Dave, Maxx, we’re tracking twelve groups entering our territory now with close to one hundred invaders we can see. It looks like we’re all in for a busy night.”
Sheriff’s deputies provided police escort for the warriors being sent to assist both of the neighboring packs.On their return, they were directed to intercept the nearest attacking groups traveling by road, to hopefully slow them down until backup could arrive.If nothing else, they were to block the path with their vehicle and take cover.As one of the returning units neared the area of an intended roadblock, the truck was hit by something.It careened off the road and slammed into a tree.Both deputies were dazed by the impact, but did not suffer any serious injuries thanks to the airbags.They sat, trying to recover from the shock of the accident when the doors were ripped off the truck. The deputies were hit multiple times by stun guns.The two unconscious officers were dragged out, thrown in the back of a truck and bound, before being driven off into the night.
Each of the warriors and hunters knew they stood between their loved ones, their pack mates, their friends, and whoever this attacking group was.Forty hunters had been guided into positions on hills in the path of the main body of the attacking army.Each was equipped with night vision scopes that could pick up the different GPS markers, identifying friend or foe. Their job was to take out as many of the attackers as possible at a distance.When the rogue forces reached the point the hunters wanted, the command was given to open fire. Barrage after barrage of heavy rifle fire tore through the ranks of wolves and other lycan, rapidly thinning their numbers.
As the rifles fell silent, the waiting warriors, numbering one hundred and fifty strong, moved in to openly engage the enemy.In a scene reminiscent of the battle of Narnia, wolves charged towards each other, leaping to go over or diving to go under, vying for the best attack position.The open fight between animals was beyond vicious as every wolf tried to get in the most effective strike of the claws, or the most lethal bite possible.They hit hard, fast, and often.All the lunis had volunteered to assist and were with the warriors hitting the main body of the attackers.This pack had taken them in and they would fight to their last breath to defend it.Some slashed away at their enemy with claws, while others like Jonas, used an axe in their massive paws to extend their reach against other lunis. The carnage was unimaginable and the stench of blood filled the air.
Warriors expecting to engage six rogues based on the enemies GPS devices, found there were more than the estimated number, dragging collared and leashed ferals.It did not matter if it was hunters shooting at the rogues or warriors ripping out their throats, they went for the most aggressive first.If a feral fought, it was killed, if it did not it was left to be dealt with later.In a few cases, when a feral was faced with fighting pack wolves versus helping the rogues, they turned on their captors before surrendering to the pack.
The response time for Parker Valley was much faster than the rogues expected.The seasoned gang members were caught off guard.
For many of the warriors, this was their first combat in defense of their home.They trained regularly for this, and many were scared at their first real fight. Fortunately, the sheer number of defenders meant they could overwhelm the group attacking them.
Smaller groups of hunters and warriors, assisted by deputies from the sheriff’s department, handled most of the invaders not part of the main attacking forces.Only a few of the assailant’s trucks managed to penetrate the defense perimeter and get deep into the territory.One group reached the Stockdale home.With the alpha pair safe, the house itself was a low priority for defense.When warriors did respond, they captured the attacking team as they ransacked the house, searching for the alpha, his mate, and items of value they could steal.
Casey was out on his first date in weeks with someone who had been a semi-regular plaything while in school.It was also the first time he had left Ethan alone on a night when Aiden was working.Both his friends had told him to go out and have fun.He was deep in the middle of round three when the distinctive alarm on his phone went off.He slowed his motion only enough to grab it from the floor.
“Dude, you’re checking your phone now?Seriously?Get back to what you were doing.I love the way you hit that spot.”
“That’s the it’s important chime.Just think of it as a slowdown so we don’t get to round four too soon.”He read the message and froze.
<Attack by unknown forces currently underway. Warrior units responding.All others seek shelter>
He jumped from the bed causing his date to yelp at the sudden extraction.“Shit… I’ve gotta go.There’s an emergency at home.I’ll make it up to you when I can get back over here.”
“Hope everything’s okay at home.Make sure you come back soon. You owe me at least six rounds.”
Casey dressed as fast as he could, gave the guy a kiss, and ran for the door.The naked human followed him and watched the big stud run to his truck. He gunned the engine and headed for home as quickly as his truck would take him. It was going to be a long and panic filled forty-five-minute drive.
Ethan relaxed on the couch in the family room with a book Mary had given him. Aiden was working the night shift and would not be home for several hours.He kind of enjoyed that Casey was off on a date someplace.It was a nice change being alone.The book was a good suspense thriller, but had the one character you always have to laugh at; the dumb blonde who walks into some spooky, bloody scene apart from her friends and calls out “Hello”, like someone is really going to answer.
The hair on the back of his neck suddenly stood on end and goose bumps covered his arms.He put the book down and looked around the room feeling uneasy. His nose twitched as it picked up the scent of something, but he had no clue what he smelled.His wolf told him something was wrong, but was also unsure as to what.Moments later, the front and back doors exploded in, ripping off the hinges.Within seconds, the windows of the family room shattered, sending a spray of glass across the room as Ethan tried to shield his face. Several men and wolves rushed into the house through the openings.Before he could react, he was struck hard on the head, and knocked to the floor.
Ethan attempted to crawl away from his attacker, his head still spinning from the blow he received.His wolf felt the same cloudiness as the human mind and was about to shift as it took control.He barely managed to move a foot when one of the men jabbed a stun gun into his ribs, releasing its electric shock through his system.The small body shook violently as the device was pressed harder against his side.His head dropped to the floor with a loud thud.
One of the intruders handcuffed him and bound his leg, while another rapidly searched the house, finding it empty besides Ethan.As they lifted their prey to carry him off, three of their team dropped to the floor dead from head shots.The report of the rifle could be heard a fraction of a second after the bullets found their targets.
“Get him to the truck.Forget about the ferals.We have what we came for.” The two remaining rogues made a run for their waiting truck out front.
Cody and Darius were traveling cross-country towards Aiden and Ethan’s house on quads.Their orders were to intercept a group of attackers moving by truck.Additional hunters and a group of warriors were moving to the area, but were still too far away to provide backup.About a half mile from the house, Cody stopped on a hilltop when he saw the house off in the distance and could make out movement.He looked through the scope on his Barrett M82 sniper rifle.“I see lots of people that shouldn’t be there.Stay left of the house so I don’t hit you.”He dropped to the ground and adjusted the weapon’s sight.The movement of trees was enough for him to judge windage and he did a quick calculation to adjust for elevation.
When Darius was halfway to the house, Cody saw the men enter through the doors and windows.With a skill honed in the Marine Corps and perfected in battles overseas, three shots in rapid succession sounded from the powerful rifle, taking out the targets he could see.Slinging the weapon back onto his shoulder, he mounted his ATV and made for the house.
As Darius arrived, he jumped from the quad. Hearing two shots sound out front, he raced in that direction, rounding the corner and running into Connor.
“A black truck just took off up the road.I got one that was standing in the back.They tossed something into the backseat.”Connor pointed up the street.
“What are you doing here?”
“Casey called me and told me to get right over here.”
As Cody arrived, they entered the house; three bodies were on the floor, dead from headshots.Two ferals knelt, with heavy chains around their necks still held by their dead handlers, but otherwise not moving.
Casey’s truck skidded to a halt seconds later.Running into the house through the blown out front door, his voice trembled in fear.“ETHAN!”He only found Connor, the two hunters, and several dead bodies.A quick search of the house revealed Ethan was missing.Casey was in full panic mode as he dropped to all fours, already shifting into his wolf, and trying to pick up his brother’s scent.
Darius hit the panic button on his GPS unit and radioed in. “Ethan Tucker taken by black truck heading northeast on Essex Way.Close all roads if possible.Four attackers down at residence, two ferals alive.We’re pursuing in fur.” He grabbed the fur on each side of Casey’s face and stared intensely into the wolf’s eyes, getting his friend to focus on his voice. The shift into his lion already taking hold as he used his human voice until the very last second possible. “You can track him.We will find him!No one here knows his scent better than you.We’ll follow you.”
Within seconds, two wolves, a coyote, and a lion were running full out with Casey leading the way.
In the command center, the captain handling hunter communications looked to the alpha before using his open line to the sheriff’s dispatcher. “Kidnapping in progress.Black truck last seen heading northeast on Essex away from the Jacobs/Tucker residence.We’re tracking it on GPS.Victim is Ethan Tucker.”
As the effects of the stun gun wore off, Ethan slowly regained consciousness.Even though he was bound and blindfolded, he knew he was in a vehicle of some type as he was getting bounced around by erratic driving.Panic set in as he struggled against his bonds. He could feel the water in the truck’s radiator.His mind focused on that to gain control over his fear.Soon the fluids which cooled the vehicle super heating to a boil.
Without realizing it, every molecule of water in both his kidnapper’s bodies did as well.As the driver seized up, his foot pressed harder on the gas pedal.The out of control truck raced towards a curve; with no driver to steer, it left the road.Before it could crash, roots and branches from the surrounding trees reached out and captured the airborne vehicle.When the engine finally died, the trees softly set the truck down.Roots smashed the windows and held the steaming hulk of steel down while branches removed the roof.With the gentleness of a soft breeze, one of the trees leaned in and lifted Ethan out of the back seat, carefully placing him on the ground.A small root moved around his head and slipped under the blindfold, removing it to allow him to see.Another softly stroked his back, letting him know he was safe.
Ethan felt like he had been lying on the ground for a long time.His ankles and wrists stung where the restraints held him and his head hurt from whatever had hit him, plus the aftereffects of the stun device.He could hear movement approaching through the woods.Panic once again set in not knowing if it was friend or foe. The trees moved their branches and roots to shield him, forming sharp spikes, while the scent of sap and pine needles filled the air masking his scent.As whoever it was got near, he could tell there were several people or animals.
A familiar voice called out from the darkness. “ETHAN!Ethan, where are you?”Seeing the spike covered cocoon, Casey slowly approached.“Are you in there? Call off your trees.I can’t get to you.”
“Yeah, bro.I’m here with help.Let me in to get you.”
The trees pulled away, revealing him to the others.Once Ethan was visible and accessible, Casey rushed over to him. “I’m sorry, Little Dude.I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me.”He picked up his brother and hugged him tight. Casey felt a light burning against his chest from the cuffs on Ethan’s wrists.“Ouch!”He looked down at what caused the pain.“Damn, these things have silver in them.I won’t be able to get them off you.”
Darius shifted back to human while Cody and Connor checked out the surrounding area, examining the remains of the truck.Darius was thankful the strap holding his radio had not fallen off through the shift and run.He radioed in to the command center. “Ethan Tucker recovered safe.Request transport. Since I have no clue where the hell we are, just home in on my GPS unit.”
“Roger that, Darius. Sit tight, we’re sending help now.”
About three hours after the attack started, the last of it was finally put down.The alpha received the first casualty reports, and the process would soon begin of cleaning up the dead bodies, and interrogating those who survived to be captured. There would be many ferals needing to be rounded up as well.John made sure things had settled with his two neighbors before sending out a message to all warriors, hunters, and deputies.<Attack has been put down.Assume defensive patrols in case of further incursions.Remain at Threatcon Delta>
For the local human population, the night’s events would largely go unnoticed.The reports of an active shooter in the county would turn into claims of drunken teens from a neighboring high school causing havoc and shooting up mailboxes.
The sheriff’s dispatchers contacted each deputy asking for a status update.Three units totaling six deputies did not respond to calls.Two of the vehicles had alarms showing their airbags had deployed, the third was totally silent.The nearest patrols were sent to investigate each one.A sergeant found one cruiser stopped in the middle of the road, its lights flashing, and both its occupants on the ground, dead from bite and claw wounds.The second car was off the road, having rolled over in a crash. One deputy was dead; the other was nowhere to be found.The third was a truck that had left the road and hit a tree.It was a violent impact, which ended with the tree embedded half way into the engine compartment.The lack of skid marks on the road showed they had not managed to brake before the accident.There were deep claw marks in the sides of the truck, and its doors had been ripped off like opening a can.The smell of blood was strong inside.The deputies did a quick search of the area and could not pick up the men’s scent more than a few feet from the truck.
The deputy radioed in. “Bill Roberts and Aiden Jacobs cannot be located. They appear to have been taken.”
Running with the Pack, WolfM, 2012-2016, All Rights Reserved