I’ve been busy these past three months, so you, dear readers, have been neglected. I’m a crappy author in the sense that it feels like I’ve abandoned you. I guess I have. There’s no denying it, I’ve let you down and not fulfilled my end of our bargain. I owe you a refund for the price of admission. With that said, I hope you enjoy chapter twenty of Werewolves of the Dead.
“Come on, sunshine. Wake up. We don’t have all night.” Deidre patted the woman’s right cheek with back of her hand. “Come on, now.”
The cop’s eyes fluttered open. “Wha-,” she said half asleep. “Where… What-.”
Shannon slapped her viciously across the face. “How many are in your group?” Shannon slapped her again. “Answer me!” She raised her hand to slap again, but Deidre stopped her.
“Relax, okay? Smacking the crap out of her isn’t going to get us anywhere.”
Shannon jerked her hand out of Deidre’s. “She needs to talk and quick. For all we know there are few dozen about to come in through those doors at any moment.”
The woman laughed. Tears from the slaps trickled from her eyes and down the red hand-sized welts on her cheeks. “Are you really playing bad cop good cop? You must think I’m stupid. Seriously? Do you dumb cunts have any idea-”
Deidre’s fist collided with the woman’s nose. The crunching cartilage was louder than either Shannon or Deidre had expected. The cop’s head flopped backwards and then rolled onto her right shoulder.
“Shit,” spat Deidre. “I hit her too hard.” She flexed her hand, wincing at the pain. I’ve never had to hit anyone outside of a martial arts class. Damned if it’s not the same without a glove. Did I kill her?”
Shannon checked her wrist and neck. “Nope. You just knocked her out. Anymore hits like that and she’s going to have some serious Derpy eyes.”
“To hell with her eyes. I think I messed my hand up.”
“You didn’t mess your hand up too badly. Stop whining and help wake her up. Hey,” Shannon snapped her fingers impatiently at Deidre. “Go get some water to splash on her.”
Deidre returned with a bottle of water, which she poured onto the woman’s head. The water ran down her face, trailing blood onto her uniform. She spluttered and gagged, spitting out blood in between gasps for air.
“Hey. “Come one…” Shannon fingered the woman’s name tag. “Ricketts. Come on, Ricketts. She didn’t hit you that hard.”
Ricketts’ eyes fluttered open. “Wha-,” she said thickly.
“I hit you,” answered Deidre, cutting off any further questions. “Listen. How many are there of you?” Deidre spoke slowly as she bent closer to Ricketts’ face.
“Just the two of us.”
Shannon moved behind Ricketts, and leaned to her ear. “Stop lying. I know you’re lying. Now answer the question truthfully. How many more of you can we expect to walk in?”
“There was only two of us.”
Deidre looked up to Shannon. Shannon tapped her nose and held up four fingers.
“Wrong,” said Deidre, punching Ricketts in the stomach.
Ricketts wheezed loudly as she fought for breath. “Just-”
Shannon grabbed Ricketts’ hair and pulled her head backwards. God, what am I doing, she thought as she pulled out a knife and put it against Ricketts’ throat. Oh shit! I’m going to cut her throat, now?
Deidre locked eyes with Shannon and gave her a stern don’t-do-it look. Shannon ignored it.
“I’m a hair’s breadth away from cutting you from ear to ear. Don’t lie. How many?”
“There’s just us two,” screamed Ricketts. Tears poured from her eyes while pain and rage fueled her defiance.
“Liar,” hissed Shannon as she pressed the knife against Ricketts’ throat. A thin horizontal line appeared under the blade and a trickle of blood ran down toward the woman’s black uniform.
“Four,” cried Ricketts. More tears came from her eyes at the realization that Shannon meant to cut her throat.
Shannon removed the knife from her throat, and forcefully pushed Ricketts’ head forward. She stood, and gave a thumbs up to Deidre.
Deidre responded to the motion with a baleful look. “When are they due back?”
“In the morning,” said Ricketts in a low voice. “They’re only a supply run.”
“We need to be gone by then,” said Shannon.
“No shit. Look, Ricketts. We’re going to leave you here until we’re ready to leave. We’ll cut you loose before we beat feet.”
“Drexler will kill you. When she catches you.” Ricketts spoke in a hoarse whisper. “She’s not going to let you get away from robbing us. We’re cops, you know. What we have, we-”
Shannon balled up her hand and clubbed Ricketts across her right ear, knocking her to the floor and to unconsciousness once more.
“You didn’t want to hear that any more than I did.”
“The fuck was that, Shannon? You were going to cut that woman’s head off.”
“And you were going to beat her to death. What’s the difference? My way was faster.”
“Your way was morally wrong,” answered Deidre indignantly. “And I wasn’t going to beat her to death.”
Shannon cocked her head. “You’re going to talk to me about morals? Torture’s torture regardless of the ultimate goal being death or not.”
“And you’ve never tortured any of your,” Deidre paused, searching for the word. “Prey,” she said finally.
Shannon’s mouth opened and closed and then opened again. She closed it leaving any rebuttal unsaid.
“Thought so. My morals are played out with this one here.” Deidre motioned to the unconscious Ricketts. Look here. We need to keep watch on this one until morning. We’ll let her go, but not before I strip her ass damn near naked and send her on her way.”
“Letting her go is the only decent thing to do.”
“This coming from the werewolf that killed a couple of our…my… friends. Leaving this one alive is a mistake. I think you know it, even if all you want to do is assuage your poor, guilty conscience.” Deidre spoke the last four words dripping with sarcastic pity. “Go on to bed. I’ll keep watch over her.” She hiked her thumb toward the door, urging Shannon to leave. Shannon did.
On her way upstairs Shannon wondered if she was doing right by leaving Deidre alone with Ricketts. Deidre was showing aspects of herself that Shannon had never considered had existed. She had no other option but assume that Deidre was going to do the right thing; regardless of what that right thing would be.
The next morning Shannon awoke, feeling refreshed as the sun streamed into the office she, Kelsey, and Rance occupied. Her roommates were still sound asleep. She stretched and looked at the sunlight. She jumped to her feet and looked around the room in a panic as she realized that it was around 9AM. She glanced at her watch and saw that it was indeed 9:33 AM. She’d slept longer than she wanted and longer than was warranted.
She rushed down stairs, dropping the magazine to her 1911, confirming that it was full. She paused suddenly. There were two new scents in the air, and one of them had been a werewolf.
Fuck me, she thought, pulling the pistol’s slide back. She’d gotten good at catching the round that flew from the ejection port in midair. She pocketed the unspent ammo and cautiously crept to the basement.
She sniffed the air and methodically cleared every hallway and room she came across. The scents were fresh, only a few hours old, and their owners had done the same as her. She could smell the cautious anger and gun oil that lingered with the smell of two women. One belonged to a mid-twenties human while the other, the one that had been in the lead, smelled of old lycan. Older than Shannon certainly and by default much more dangerous than her.
Shannon entered the armory and found Deidre tied to a chair. Clumps of her hair lay around her, and dried blood covered her upper lip. Aside from those indignities, Deidre was relatively untouched. A note was penned to Deidre, and Shannon bent down to read it.
Dear Lycan I’ve never met, it said. We’re leaving your friend relatively unharmed. We’re not the savages you may think we are, but certainly appear to be. Officer Ricketts failed us, and she will be dealt with. And so will you. In time. Best regards, ME. PS: We left the keys on the desk.
Shannon’s eyes darted over the handwritten note. The scrawl was careful and at any other time would have been beautiful. The note was melodramatic to her, and she knew that the woman, lycan, or whatever would hunt them in time. That was a thought to contend with later. Right now she had to revive Deidre.
“Deidre,” she said, retrieving the handcuff keys from the desk. “Deidre. Wake up.”
Deidre snorted, her eyes fluttered, and she started snoring.
“That’s not what I need right now,” shrieked Shannon as she shook Deidre so violently that she overturned the chair she was bound to.
“Fucking shit,” Deidre screamed in raging defiance. “Why am I tied to this chair? Goddammit, Shannon!”
Shannon righted Deidre and unlocked the handcuffs. “Where’s that bitch at? Last thing I remember was hearing someone say hey behind me, and then… Fuck! Where is she, Shannon?”
Shannon looked around the room. She didn’t have it in her to look Deidre in the eye. Whoever had come in and rescued Ricketts had done so under her nose too. And her nose was supposedly far superior to Deidre’s. “She’s gone.” She turned back to Deidre. “Another lycan and a human got her. You have a mild concussion. I can smell it.”
“Piss on that,” railed Deidre, kicking a chair into a reinforced window. She paused, breathe heaving. “Maybe I do need a sit down. I’m a little light headed.”
Shannon helped her to sit down. Shannon had her back to the armory entrance; she stood facing Deidre.
“Body’s gone,” said Deidre finally, motioning toward the makeshift barricade. “Probably took it with them to give it a proper burial or some such.” She sighed and stared into Shannon’s eyes. “How’d they get by us? By you?”
“I don’t know anything other than we need to get our crap and go. This place isn’t safe, if it ever was.”
“Brilliant deduction, home-girl.”
Deidre walked out the door, and Shannon could see her wobbling walk. Deidre was trying her best to cover it up even while she muttered that she had no reason to get mad at Shannon. “You’re the one that fucked up not her. Home-girl? What the fuck was that too say.”
Shannon wanted to say something pithy behind Deidre, but couldn’t. If what she smelled was real and true, then they were in some truly real trouble. An Elder, as she called them, meant she was seriously out classed, outgunned, and out experienced.
“Fuck this for a game of soldiers,” she groused nervously as she climbed the stairs.
As Shannon hit the second floor landing she could hear Deidre ordering everyone to get their proverbial shit together. “We’re outta here in five.”
Deidre rounded the corner and almost knocked Shannon over.
“Sorry,” apologized Deidre, moving around Shannon.
“We should’ve never been here in the first place,” muttered Shannon. And Shannon moved faster than she ever had in getting her personal effects ready for departure.
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