Okay, let's get started.
“Are you sure you know where we’re going?”
“Of course I’m sure,” Elliot snapped. “Were-wolves have excellent directional sense.”
“I’m just sayin’, I’m pretty sure we passed that tree ten minutes ago,” I said. He just glared at me in silence while I asked, “Are you like one hundred percent sure?”
“You know what? Forget were-wolves—men have excellent directional sense. So why don’t you let the man handle this and stop worrying about it?”
“How many times am I gonna have to cock this thing today to remind you who has the gun here?”
“You cock it as many times as you want to, sweetheart.”
CLICK! went the hammer as I pulled it back to cock the revolver.
“Don’t call me sweetheart.”
That was a fair representation of the last two weeks of my life. Famine, flood, hurricane, earthquake, disease—these are not ideal conditions for traipsing around the state in hiding, trying to find my pack. But they’re all better than what I actually got stuck with: Elliot.
Four empty dens. That’s how many we’ve hit so far. Two to three days of slinking through different podunk towns to get to each one and all of them deserted so far.
We’d hit a deserted motel, an abandoned strip mall, an old YMCA-type gym, and a derelict Piggly Wiggly. All in all, some pretty interesting locales for the furtive dens of poor were-wolf packs.
I was so exhausted from the journey. We headed out from the Wycherley Plantation, which was in East Texas, then we swept around Dallas to Wichita Falls. Then, we zigzagged from Lubbock to Abilene to Odessa. Now, we’d gone as far south as Laredo and we were getting close to the fifth den. At least, Elliot kept saying we were close, but I was starting to think he was just trying to get me to shut up.
Maybe I am a complete idiot for traveling alone with the guy who tried to rape me, but I didn’t really have any other choice. For all his faults, Elliot has one thing going for him—expert knowledge of all the other packs. (This is most likely part of his plan to dominate them.) Not to mention, he’s strong as an ox. (Okay, probably just ‘wolf’ is sufficient.)
The hardest part about this whole operation has been learning to trust him enough to carry it out. How do you trust someone who tried to rape you? (Well, you don’t. See, this is where me being a complete idiot comes in.) I just have to keep in mind that, for the time being, we have a common goal. We both want the pack back (one of us for more honorable reasons than the other) and we both don’t want anyone trying to attack me.
So all in all, I get a pretty sweet deal. When we get to a pack’s den, I toss him the keys to unlock himself (he returns them promptly or gets a load of silver between his eyes) and he takes off to scope out the place and, if need be, take out any guards so we can swoop in and free the pack. Once I’m in, I take lead and he takes care of anyone who tries to attack me till we find the guys.
So far, though, this is just a theoretical plan, since every den has been empty. We’ve only got two left and if they’re deserted, we’re back to square one. But I’m trying not to think about that. I just want to find them and know they’re okay. And then, I want to go home and sleep in a real bed (i.e. not the ground) and take a real shower (i.e. not a creek-bath) and eat real food (i.e. not wild animals we’ve hunted and eaten raw in our lupine forms).
The idea of ripping apart an animal and chowing down, while at first was disgusting and starvation-inducing, has become as natural as breathing (well, when I’m in wolf form, anyway). It’s cathartic and somehow spiritual. But, hey, I’m only part wolf, which means I’m also part human girl. And human girls like pasta and chocolate. I miss pasta and chocolate.
Of course, I keep forgetting that I don’t have a home to go to anymore. I absolutely refuse to go back to the Purvises after their little locking-me-in-the-bathroom stunt. Avery said I could stay at his house, but I’m betting he’s pretty pissed at me right now for going against his wishes and leaving without him. This scene keeps playing in my head of him showing up at Wycherley Place to get me and finding out I’d run away, and getting really mad. I imagine Avery’s anger as a slow burn—it’s quiet, but deadly. So he’s all standing in the front hall of Wycherley House, after hearing the news, and he clenches his fists and his jaw, and his eyes get all slanty and dark, and he’s just seething silently.
I hate knowing I’ve put him under all this extra stress—as if dealing with Ethyn in the hospital isn’t enough. The thing is, Avery, being a were-raven and obviously not a member of my pack, is never going to care about these guys as much as I do. I had to take that into account when I made the plan to leave.
Expect Part II sometime next week.