Outside the fifth den (some sort of shelled out warehouse) I sat with my back against a skinny pine, gun in hand, about a hundred meters out. I was so itchy with anticipation that I kept halfway hopping up to take off prematurely. I stared at the door Elliot had gone through (waiting to see him come back out) for so long that everything around it was blurry and grey.
He walked out slowly, his guard down, which I knew he wouldn’t do if it had been occupied. Even from that far away, I could see his face. Disappointment. He shook his head in my direction and made his way slowly back.
Another one empty.
After the fourth den, I thought it would be just my luck that the pack ended up being at the last one we checked, but now that we were getting closer to that, I was starting to worry. What if they’re not there either? What if they were taken to some wholly separate place? Or worse? What if they were—no, I couldn’t let myself think that way. I had to stay positive. (Despite every single circumstance being otherwise.) But where would we go if they weren’t at the last den?
Neither of us said anything when he walked up. I just tossed him his cuffs and he silently clicked them shut.
We walked for an hour without saying anything, but we were used to this. We only spoke to each other when necessary. So not speaking now, in the face of another let-down, didn’t feel awkward.
But eventually, I had to know, so I asked, “How far away is the last den?”
“How long will it take us to get there?” I asked, annoyed with his vague answer.
“Not long,” he said shortly.
“Those aren’t answers! I want a specific time!”
He jerked his head around at me. “I don’t have a specific time, so shut up and let me navigate!”
I cocked the gun. I was in no mood for his attitude, especially today. “Don’t tell me to shut up and stop being such an ASSHOLE!”
He calmly looked from me to the gun. “You really think you’re doing any good with all that clicking? You think you’re scaring me?” I glared at him. “Face it, cupcake. You and I both know you’re not gonna shoot me. You need my help; you know there’s no way in hell you could do this on your own.”
Elliot flew backward and hit the ground with a thud.
He was totally right. I did need him and I couldn’t do this on my own. But reason doesn’t always factor into rage when it comes to were-wolves. He had been pissing me off from the start and this was the final straw. As time wore on, I was beginning to think I needed to shoot him just to prove I wasn’t all bark and no bite. That was ‘reason’ enough for me.
“Ah! Are you crazy?!” Blood spewed from his mouth as he spit out the words.
“No. I’m a were-wolf.”
“You shot me!”
“Yeah, I’m pretty aware of that, being the one who did it.”
“You shot me with a silver bullet!”
“Good observation, Captain Obvious,” I said, walking lazily toward him.
He closed his mouth suddenly and groaned and exhaled through his nose in fast, little spurts. “I’m. I’m gonna die—I’m dying!”
“Yeah,” I said matter-of-factly, tilting my head at him as I glanced at the wound in his chest.
“You’re just gonna let me die—just stand there and watch??”
“Probably. Unless you promise to stop acting like a jerk.”
“Yeah—okay, okay—get this outta me!”
“That sounded a little too…” I trailed off, pretending to have trouble finding the word, “insincere for my liking. Try again.”
His groan turned to a growl and he said, “Okay. I’m sorry. I swear to treat you like a princess.”
“Don’t be a smartass. You’re in no position for it.”
“No. Not a smartass; I swear.”
I started to bend down to him, but then I stopped and raised slowly back up. “You mean it?”
He nodded his head with his eyes shut tightly in pain, too low on energy to spare any more on words. I bent down, ripped his shirt and stuck two fingers right in the bullet hole, following the sensation of heat coming off the silver. He roared in pain with his head arched back. It took me a minute to find it, so I fished around; it was disgusting and I grimaced at the gooey feeling of his insides while he continued yelling.
“Geez, stop screaming bloody murder right in my ear, you baby,” I said.
I finally found the silver when its icy-hot burn reached my skin, got the bullet between my fingers, and pulled it out as painstakingly slowly as possible. Yes, his insides were disgusting and I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible, but it was also too hard to resist making him suffer a little longer. The more he yelped and groaned, the more I enjoyed myself. I liked seeing him so weak and defenseless and it really felt good to exert power over him.
“Great Gaia, could you have done that any slower?!” he whined.
“I got it out, didn’t I?” I said, lifting off the ground and shaking his nasty blood off my fingers and the bullet. As I cleaned the bullet and put it back in the cylinder, I walked away a few steps then looked back. “What are you still doing down there?” He didn’t answer so I said, “Hello!”
“You SHOT me! I need a minute.”
“Stop acting like such a little girl and get up.”
He finally did and I pushed him to keep moving the whole way, till we eventually reached the edge of the plains, and I knew we were getting close to the sixth den.
Part 3 Next Week!