“Who are these bozos?”
Lucien leered at his brother Stanos while in their wolf forms, they being immortal shape changers. Hiding out in the timberline above the crash site’s chaotic ravine they observed General Harlan Harker lead a hand full of soldiers in dark clothing designed to battle the temperature yet remain stealthily. “You over heard them before they headed out here Brother. You tell me.”
“The guy with clout is a General. I think he’s retired though, so my real question is who are his foot soldiers?”
“Hired help. Mercs most likely. Speaking of feet, they’ve discovered my tracks.” Stanos notes a soldier kneeling to examine his left behind paw prints. Lynn Dawson, Aurora’s mother opted to mention she had just came out here earlier to inform them of her own tracks. They weren’t interested in her size 7 boots, more on the fact Stanos had erroneously ventured out in his Dire Wolf size so his prints were huge. Even he had to snarl at his mistake. Seeing the tracker looking toward the trees both brother’s inched back into the thicker brush. Stanos having already morphed into a smaller breed prevented being seen easily.
“Whoa?” Lucky paused to sniff the air. “Brother? I just caught a scent of immortality.”
“Anna’s blood? I sensed it as well. I’m not certain what to make of it yet. It seems as if she was the only one left behind.” Telepathy was a good thing to possess when being silent.
“I smell…death too. Yet, the only active scent is Tailchaser’s.” Lucky continued inhaling the fresh air about him. “Well, Wendigo droppings somewhere out there. Leaking fuel into the Earth.”
“Whomever stepped in to examine the crash site cleaned it as best they could, removing all that wasn’t characteristic of nature. Something is always overlooked.”
“Right! They can’t clean up the odor of blood, immortal blood especially. If these morons would leave we might be able to track Anna’s scent.”
“To where? Once she was likely loaded on to a transport the scent becomes faint. How did Garameth’s pack all vanish at once?”
“Right! Do you think the guys who cleaned this place trapped them and took them somewhere?”
“Use your nose Brother, and our mental connection. Garameth is no longer of this plane. We knew this while in Montana when our bond was spliced. He has departed this dimension.”
“So what’s our next move?”
“Find someone who can see through the veil.”
“Yes. If we can locate a Breacher. Finding any A’Bomi is difficult.”
“Lynn looks terrified.” Lucky lowered his snout as if reacting to sadness.
“Of course she is. Bad enough we freaked her out without these guys spooking her. She feels trapped.”
“So do I.”
“Agreed! We stay to protect Lynn if necessary.”
“Right! Garameth would expect that of us. For his Den Mother Aurora.”
“We owe it to the family. Listen…the soldiers are informing one another of wolves nearby. Let us hope Lynn does not reveal we are here.”
“Unless she slips up I think she’s on our side. With her daughter’s history with the military she’s more likely to side with us over them.”
“Perhaps! She is holding up better than most who know of our kind might.” Caught off guard the brothers hear a voice and turn growling. A lank gentleman in black draws back his parka hood, training a strange looking gun on them. Grey hair at the temples but distinguished.
“Hello Gentlemen. Let’s not go vicious shall we? If I say Sit will you hold it against me?”
“How did you sneak up on us?” Telepathy spoken between they and him seemed odd.
“Enhancements! High end I am. You may call me Peregrine, a messenger if you will. I’ll mean you no harm as long as you return the favor. Shapeshifters I surmise? It doesn’t matter. There’s no need to fear us we’re obviously all here for the same reason. The General there only wants his son back. You I would guess a family member if it brought you out of hiding. Mrs. Dawson there seeking answers to her missing daughter. We’re all in this together.”
“What’s going on up there Perry?” Harker snarled into his walkie talkie.
“Communing with the neighbors.” Peregrine spoke respectfully, “Guns lowered if you will General. We will join you shortly.”
“Will we?” Lucien winced with uncertainty.
“Oh for goodness sake.” The soldier used his gun in two rapid snaps, darts impaling the fur coats of both brothers before they could react. Seconds later both Stanos and Lucien were weak as kittens. “Please try and relax, the effects are only temporary. What I’ve done is place a nanite tracker into you both. No matter where you run we can follow. While my telepathy has range I would undoubtedly lose sight of you with distance.”
“There is more.” Stanos sniffed his shoulder where the dart was introduced, his jaws gripping the injector and removing it.
“Yes. I’m afraid we value your input in this situation so there is a suicide distance should either of you bolt. You might make it within a mile then…boom. A mile and a tenth for good measure. Shall we adjourn to the ravine below? Oh, for the record? I was able to creep up on you both because my body has no scent, I presume you’ve realized that.”
“No footsteps either.” Stanos realized.
“Yes. My suit here prevents vibration. If you notice I’m an inch off of the snow beneath my boots. Simply a decrease in gravity. After me Gents.” He takes the lead and makes his way down the cratered ravine. Stanos and Lucky scowling at their misfortune follow behind without threat.
“What in Sam Hill?” Harker noted his man Perry escorting two large wolves from the hilltop. Seeing them Lynn gasped and felt even more at a loss. Armed soldiers stood prepared to fire should there be any signs of force, laser pointers marking their fur as targets secured. Peregrine motioning the armaments to be lowered seemed a good sign that neither team was truly hostile.
“I need to pee.” Lucky whined. Of all of his brothers he was the weaker constitution in times like this. Not fear…merely cornered.
Stanos kept an open mind. Mostly to avoid his thoughts being read.
The other side of the dimensional crossroad…even a chicken wondered why he was there.
“I still can’t get over my acid trip. All that cum on me gave me insight into the soldiers lives.” Aurora Dawson pondered as she watched the troops break down camp and prepare to mount their horses. “The History Channel would love me if I took them the things I’ve seen. Kind of makes me want to let my pack jizz on me so I can learn a bit more of their pasts too.”
“I can piss on you.” Mathias aka Yukon looked up at her preparing to hike his hind leg. Noting her glare he changed his mind.
“You do and I’ll kick your bladder through your ass and say go fetch.”
“I’d grow another one. At least I think that’s how it goes.”
“How exactly does this immortality stuff work Mathias?”
“All I know is I age gracefully. You see any gray hairs on my black?”
“You shape change asshole. You could probably ward off the age spots.”
“True dat! All I know is I have perfect bowel movements and my old bones don’t creak. Days go by in a blink and I know no end.”
“Which keeps me wondering about Tailchaser. She was beheaded and bled out so that has to say something about immortality that you guys just haven’t ran across.”
“I miss the ole’ girl. She was like a daughter to me.”
“Tell me about her, the real her, not the canine I knew.”
“Anna Coranova, born in Siberia in the 1800’s. One of the youngest in our pack. She ran off to see the world and found us. Sweet kid always looking out for others.”
“Were her parents…shape changers?”
“Not that I’m aware of. Her dad was a caribou Shepard. Her mom a simple wife and mother. Not all of us have driving genes carried down. Mine did but like Lingo over there, he was a runt that was scorned by his kin for being pretty useless growing up. He wasn’t very strong until he grew older. Hell of a sled dog though. Like Anna’s kin he just happened to grow into what he was destined to be. When his dad tried to kill him after finding out he was different Lingo took off and never looked back.”
“That’s so tragic. Parents can be so cruel.”
“Not your mom, she always brought me treats.”
“I wasn’t referring to my mother Yukon. She’s a wonderful soul. God I miss her. Why did we have to bring her up now I want to cry.”
“Sorry Aurora. What about your dad?”
“I have no idea who he is. Mom just…funny you bring him up.” She frowned, “Odessi mentioned she knew who he was but I stopped her from telling me. After Mom warning me he wasn’t such a good person I’ve tuned out any desire to know anything about him.”
“Worried he might end up being like your ex?”
“Antonio? I wouldn’t call him any ex, we just slept together…a lot. After he…let his unit…my unit…yeah, let’s not make me any more emotional okay?”
“Sorry again. Looks like that Baronas guy just discovered your hand print on his horse’s noggin. How is that critter not dead?”
“I think I’m adapting to everything. My powers might not be as deadly as they were originally. It kind of has its ups and downs in the deadly department. Calahaus touched me too and never reacted in pain, so who knows? I’m grateful to have not caused them harm.” She observes Baronas placing his own palm over his horses forehead tattoo of Aurora’s hand print. In a flash Aurora read his thoughts, the connection made unexpectedly as if touching Aurora herself. “He’s worried. I just heard his thoughts tell his horse he was sorry I scarred him. I…whoa!”
“I just translated Equine. His horse told his owner that it was…soothing. He liked me. I mean it’s obvious Baronas can’t understand his horse but the empathy is there.”
“That Baronas guys looking at his palm.”
“I know I can hear him say his hand was tingling but it went away. Great! I hope to God I’m not infecting these guys due to the Wendigo blood. Wendigo’s are carnivores that claim bodies of others too. Right? Am I…claiming Baronas in some fashion?”
“Curious! I’ll keep my eyes on his behavior to still my boredom.”
“Good idea Old man!”
“Did I act old when I fucked you?”
“Let’s not discuss that.” She giggled faintly, “We all lost our sanity when we got here in…wherever here is.”
“The past definitely. The smell on everything is different compared to Alaska. Even the magic here is…stronger.”
“I’ll take your word on that until I understand how to grasp magic in general.”
“Want my opinion?”
“When you start glowing green? I think you’re breathing in magic and it’s what’s altering your cells. Between Wendigo, the Government’s chemicals, and the magic you’re getting high on, it’s evolving you.”
“Makes a lot of sense. You’re smarter than you look.”
“Speaking of look…Luna’s getting awful chummy with that Magno guy. She’s staying in her human form and riding behind him. I hope the kid doesn’t get hurt she has a soft soul.”
“If we’re going to be trapped here she might as well experience romance. At least it will keep our minds off of whatever comes next.”
“Here comes Amoreus lugging the oracle.” On horseback Amoreus had Odessi Kilpatrick tied to his torso over his back. Reaching Aurora he ushers his horse to turn away letting Odessi face the 7 foot Goddess.
“Good morning Aurora. Mathias Longfellow.”
“Haven’t heard my last name in ages.” Mathias is taken back.
“Not so long of a fellow if I remember correctly.” Aurora nudges Yukon with her foot.
“You know I can make it bigger right?”
“Trying not to picture that. Go rally the pack I think we’re ready to move out.”
“Gotcha Den Momma!” Mathias took his leave.
“Morning to you Pretty Girl. Sleep better after stressing you might be ripped in half by Garameth?”
“I feel horrible for my greed. I pray he can forgive me.”
“Haven’t had anymore visions of him eating you have you?”
“Not images…fantasies though! I know that must sound as if I…”
“You’re a woman Odessi. We all have desires. All I suggest is don’t make that mistake a second time. You have Amoreus there to scratch your itch.”
“He has a very small dick.”
“At least he knows how to use it. At least I presume so. Be satisfied that the boy cares about you enough to feed you, bath you, hold you while you sleep.”
“You are right! I look a gift horse…” Odessi pauses in thought then looks toward Baronas on his horse. “You touched…something stirs within.”
“See? I told you Amoreus has feelings…”
“No! I do not speak of Amoreus. Baronas…I sense something stirring within both he and his horse.”
“Oh! About that…I think I have something to do with it. Not quite sure what yet but let’s agree to let one another know if we figure out what effects it’s having…my touch…his touch…Veritas…how did I know the horses name? I don’t recall Baronas speaking it. Did the horse…tell me?” Shaking it off Aurora hears a soldier’s bugle blare to begin their daily ride. General Calahaus motioning for all to follow. “That’s our cue. Time for my morning jog.”
As the side by side troops proceed Aurora whistles to her pack and the journey begins…
Half a mile ahead of them Garameth the Ghost choosing to be alone scouts the terrain. He needed to clear his head. At the sound of the horn birds fly from the nearby trees like an invasion force only to swiftly return to their perches within minutes of departure. Fear obviously fleeting.
What type remained to be known.
Back in Alaska…
“General Harker?” Peregrine a nickname for Perry Greenwald, formerly of the CIA task force known as Headset prepared to introduce the brothers Stanos and Lucien but opted to pause in identification. Giving the brothers the stage via hand gestures the two wolves looked at one another then caved to their dilemma. Right before all of the troops they transformed in a nearly silent metamorphosis back into their human state.
“Well I’ll be.” Harker showed no fear, merely curiosity, especially as to why Lynn Dawson was not screaming her head off. “You knew about these fellas?”
“She did.” Stanos stood up in all of his muscular glory, nude and not even shivering at the cold. “Leave Ms. Dawson out of this.”
“No!” She intervened, “I’m in this until I find my daughter. Don’t you dare leave me out.”
“Relax Ms. Dawson. No one is troubling you to relinquish your own investigation.” Harker calmed her with a face down palm. “Werewolves do exist.”
“More than you know.” Lucky growled.
“The golden retriever.” Harlan surmised, “Nice touch.”
“Like you we’re here to find our missing brother.” Stanos revealed. “Marking us will do you no good.”
“Merely a security issue.” Peregrine advised the brothers. “I can deactivate them as long as you play nice.”
Lucky rolled his eyes, “Only to reactivate them as you need us to roll over and sit.”
“Stop right there.” The General voiced his distaste, “Peregrine turn them off.” Without argument Perry pulled a remote device from his pocket and shut down the nanite tech within the brothers bodies. As a penlight went out the opening was left to attack but no aggressive reaction was centered on making matters worse.
“Bring me the device.” A short trek to the General’s side he claimed the remote control and removed its inner circuit board, placing it in his own parka before tossing the rest of the unit back to Peregrine. “Peace talks Gentlemen. I hope that shows you I’m open to offering any help I can as long as it’s mutual.”
“Can I be the mediator here?” Lynn barged in vocally, “I see no clear choice but to work together. While I might have reservations of my own with the Harker family I will put aside my differences if it means I find Aurora.”
“There are certain…things to atone for Ms. Dawson.” Harlan nodded with a sigh, “Something I would prefer to sit and talk about alone if you don’t mind.”
“Our brother is with Aurora, his friends as well.” Stanos relaxes his tension then looks to his brother Lucien. “We will work along side your people. Just know this…betrayal will bring a wrath upon you that none of you will survive General. Lynn Dawson excluded. She…we trust.”
“Bless you.” She melted at his admission.
Clearing his throat Harker continues, “We all know a thing or three about wrath Boys. Let’s just stay focused. The ties I have at my disposal reach only so far. Once those go black…there’s no seeing in the dark even with night vision goggles if you get my meaning.”
“Our own circles are limited as well General.” Stanos confessed, “There are…things that no human may comprehend…in this world. Things we will not speak further on due to blood loyalty.”
“Summing up it might cause a war that humans would never win. No matter what you or any other country have in your armory.” Lucien followed his brother’s lead.
“Ominous!” Harlan sighed, “So what do you suggest our next move to be?”
“Blood!” Stanos ventured toward the spot where he just knew the dimensional staircase had been located. Snow and cleaning solutions could not mistake immortality. At least the life’s blood being immortal. “Our friend Anna died here I can smell her blood even beneath fresh snow and chemical defecation. From the amount of blood I surmise immortality was somehow cut short.”
“How do you end immortality?” Peregrine grew involved. A moment’s linger he questioned if even his kill switch nanites could blow up the wolves.
“A very good question.” Stanos crouched using his hand to scoop and brush the snowfall over the spot where Anna’s body was left. He did not want to reveal that Tailchaser was beheaded for fear it might give the soldiers ideas in the future. Not even he was certain how her loss actually killed her, she being immortal. Keeping his own thoughts isolated due to Peregrine was not easy but Stanos had centuries to perfect his abilities. “What I do know is that she was placed in a body bag here and drug out by dogs and up the hilltop over there.” He pointed. Peregrine led one of his men up to the hill to see if there were any unnoticed clues.
“Acetaline was used. Likely to dismantle the plane.” Stanos furthered what he was picking up. “Wendigo blood. Sasquatch blood.” He knew these already but opted to reveal these to the General. Harker having moved closer to him hovering with curiosity looked up at the trees.
“No masking the collision course of impact.” He paused, “Sasquatch you say?” His men looked at one another, their scent of fear easily captured by Lucien and Stanos heightened senses.
“Yes they do exist. No I will not track them for you. There is part of that blood loyalty even concerning those more primitive than any of us.”
“Demon of a sort, capable of possession.” Lucien added. “A Sasquatch killed the original body of the Wendigo. We can…smell it’s bones. The Wendigo having lost it’s body had to have taken a host to survive.”
“I hope it wasn’t Aurora.” Lynn trembled.
“No.” Stanos stood up, “She and our brother walked freely away into…nothingness.”
“Break that down a bit more.” Harker winced.
“A dimensional portal, General. I can pick up a hint of stones not common in this region.”
“From where then? That could be a clue as to where to start looking.”
“Okay…so stones from Europe just magically appeared here and carried everyone including my son away?”
“Magic most definitely.” Stanos took a walk toward the crash crater somewhat filled in by both snow, soil, and fallen trees. “Who do you know that might wear boot soles made with a leather exterior but fibers sewn within made of copper, nickel, and amplified alloys of titanium? All metals that cooperate with extreme cold temperatures.”
“Arctic I would guess.”
“Again I’m looking at black.”
“As in Ops?” Lucien swallowed dryly he was turning away from Lynn because he couldn’t keep his dick limp. Courtesy mostly, controlling his attraction to her hanging in there too. Lynn had been listening intently but was still stealing glances at Lucky’s hefty cock. It was impossible not to check it out, even for the soldiers, most likely just Merc’s.
“If it’s involving anything unidentified or worth money you can bet it’s the darkest of the dark.” Returning from the hilltop Peregrine reports nothing noticeable outside of a small clearing where a chopper might have clearance to remove whatever was important. Multiple choppers to clear out such a debris field properly.
“Obsidian Corps?” Peregrine invited a guess.
“What is Obsidian Corps?” Lucien winced.
“It’s just a term for the dark side. They can see out but we can’t see in.”
“Did the cargo plane have a flight log as to where it was headed?” Stanos looked to Lynn, her eyes lingering on Lucky’s erection, Stanos had to ask her twice then block her gaze from his brother. Sadly her eyes ended up on Stano’s dangling monster. “Lynn…please.”
“What? Oh, flight plan? All it said in the books was Arctic. That confirms your theory of the location.”
“But, hardly narrows it down.” Harker sighs grumbling.
“It is a start.” Peregrine chimed in. “If nothing else we have a direction.”
“Do we?” Harlan scowled.
“Perhaps we do General.” Stanos and Lucien both sniff the air and look about as if seeing something that no one else could. “A moment General.” Stanos puts a hand up to pause the troops and keep them quiet. “We have company.”
“What? Where?” Harker and his men search about for some sign of intruders. “I see nothing.”
“Our perceptions go beyond your human eyes. Please remain calm they mean no harm.”
“A lot of spirits.” Lucien swallows, “An entire tribe of spirits.”
“Peregrine?” Harker looks at his Psi for any answers. His man Perry simply shrugs.
“Lucien? Remain here I am going to confer with the Shaman. General? Please relax they mean no harm, nor am I a threat. I am going to change now.” Right before their eyes Stanos returned to his wolf form, his morphing seemingly painful but without so much as a cringe of agony shown. Once his body had altered Stanos took the hill in a hurry and sat down looking up at open air as if watching an actual person. A silence amongst everyone left Stanos to do whatever it was he was doing.
“Is this some game you two are playing?” Harker stood next to Lucien whispering.
“No. I see them too. Dozens of spirits all around us. Ancients who roamed this land long before any of you were born. I’m guessing six generations before you were born. They’re an offshoot tribe called the Antiaquoix from a unified merger consisting of the Athabascan and Inuit. A sect that split off on to their own in the 1400’s.”
“How could you know how old they are?”
“I’m older, that’s why.”
Harker was taken back by an age admission.
“Dark Ages…let’s not get technical.” Lucky smirked.
“Nice guy.” Lucky winked.
“Three wise…ummm!” He bit his tongue. Lucien was not about to finish the fact that he and his two brothers were the Three Wise Men in the Bible who adopted new identities over History.
Up above Stanos continued his invisible talk through eyes seeing past the veil of time and space. Darting his gaze out over the crash crater Stanos found images of every movement as if some playback in a movie. Heat signatures long gone outside of the fact that human souls left a mark in stationary perimeters for a length of time. Ordinarily this might escape even his senses but the Shaman even unto death granted Stanos hindsight.
Harker was lost as to what was going down, “What is he looking at?”
“Not sure.” Lucky winced, Lynn moving next to him now occupied by watching Stanos instead of Lucky’s penis. A time and place for everything. Shivering at the cold she hopped in step. Noting her actions Lucien placed an arm around her and pulled her to his side to absorb his body heat. Being immortal the cold meant nothing to him. Thanking him with a smile Lynn Dawson returned her curiosity up on the hill.
Stanos could literally see the past unfolding, of the Military cleanup of the crash sight. Men wearing black bodysuits without parkas, suits obviously designed to protect them but offer a freedom of movement. Markings on their upper arms like an insignia in the shape of a concentric circle like a target but with an actual eye at the bullseye point. Strangely the eyes flowed as if watching their every move. “Illuminati!” Stanos realized, “The all-seeing eye.”
While examining more closely he saw images of the soldiers long gone remove the bodies of all involved. Wendigo parts, Sasquatches, the remains of the pilot, even…”Tailchaser. They took her body.” He even witnessed them holding Anna’s head up by her hair, her eyes white and retreated back into her severed skull. “Chase your tail no longer Sweet Anna.”
As if hearing Choppers over the treetops he caught brief images of four separate choppers hauling away the dismantled cargo plane. Even what appeared to be scientists taking soil samples. Once the relocation process concluded for all things material Cleaners set out to remedy truth from fiction concerning anyone not part of their activities. They were as thorough as humanly possible. But, Stanos was not human.
A final glimpse of what appeared to be the Field Leader, a woman with raven black hair seemingly peered directly up at Stanos. “Are you seeing me from…the future…my past?” It sure seemed like it. Wearing night glasses it was hard to tell. In the blink of her insignias eye the visions ended. “Wait! We need the direction they went.” Too late. “Dammit!”
Reconvening with the Shaman, Stanos found the elder tribesman pointing to the sky. High above a flock of Canadian geese were flying in their traditional arrow shaped flight pattern Northeast. “Thank you for gifting me unseen sight Old One. Yes I know I’m an older one. I will follow your wisdom.”
“The tribe is gone.” Lucky reported just as Stanos walked on all fours from the hill and took on his humanoid form. Once the transformation ended he stood to face the General.
“How much do you know about the Illuminati?”
“Uhhh? Myth?” Harker puckered with a shrug.
“Bullseye insignia on their uniforms with an eye dead center. The eyes seemed…sentient they moved as if watching everything.”
“How could you possibly?” Peregrine decided to head up to where Stanos had sat communing. Once up the hill he found a strange tiny totem laying in the snow attached to beads and a goose feather. Collecting it he brought it back down to share in its knowledge.
“What’s this?” Harker showed Stanos and Lucien.
“Let’s call it…a compass.”
“Let’s discuss this over coffee. I’m freezing my balls off.” Harker hissed motioning his men back to their snowmobiles. Lynn Dawson agreed to that she needed to thaw out herself. However, the mention of balls led her eyes to Lucky’s. Wincing at her Lucky wagged his finger, she simply blushed. At least her cheeks were warm now.
Garameth caught a strange scent, one he recognized.
Again the birds in the trees took flight startling him from a search as to how he could smell his baby brother. This time the sparrows did not return to their prior perches but rallied into a clustered shadow flock formation…flying off to the Northeast.
A sign indeed!
“Thank you Brother!”