Sunday, October 7, 2012

Homecoming Queen: Chapter 6

CC's finger was firmly on the trigger of the pistol when she locked eyes with Gabe.   The situation was a heartbeat away from going completely horrible.  It was right then that she knew the weapon would be more useful in his hands.  The unspoken message between the two of them was clear.  Gabe was still between the mob of attackers and the monstrous werewolf that had just entered the clearing.
The motion all started as if on cue.  The mob and werewolf all bolted forward towards Gabe.  Gabe dove towards CC, hand outstretched, reaching for the 9mm Glock that CC was tossing towards him.  Her teeth were clenched as the pistol flew through the air.  She regretted her decision as she did not see how, even with the gun, Gabe would be able to get clear.
There was a blur of motion as the werewolf's massive fur covered arm lashed out and took the head clean off one of the men that was nearly upon Gabe.  Gabe caught the gun and rolled, coming around to face the grisly scene.  CC heaved and struggled not to vomit.  The werewolf had moved between the mob and Gabe and was backhanding another attacker sending them flying.  Gabe kept his gun pointed at the fight and moved to CC's position in the clearing.
"What the hell....?"  CC muttered watching in horrible fascination as the werewolf struck down another of the mob, this time a woman.   The body fell limply to the ground.  "What do we do?  It’s killing them!"  The panic was obvious in her voice.  Still Gabe stayed silent and kept the gun pointed at the dark beast in front of him.  With another swing of its arm it knocked most of the mob flat of their backs.  It didn't snarl, growl, or even howl as CC expected it to.  "Shoot it!"  She ordered.
"How about you don't."  The guttural voice came out as the monster backed away from the mob that was starting to get up.  The werewolf twisted a bit as if in pain.  It continued to back up towards Gabe and CC.  CC grabbed the sleeve of Gabe's shirt.  Gabe felt her hands trembling, but kept his eyes on his target.  The werewolf contorted, and hunched forward a bit.  The pair watched as the dark fur began to recede and the creature was actually becoming smaller.  When it straightened back up the fur was gone.  The only dark hair was visible on his head.  What turned towards Gabe and CC was no longer a monster.
"Gabe, what the hell are you doing out here?"  The man was very tall, at least six and half feet.  He wore only jeans which were now a bit loose on him.  He was massively framed and thickly muscled, which was obvious even under the dirt and dried blood which were all over him.  Stubble on his face showed he had not shaved for nearly a week, and the mess of hair on top on his head gave the impression that it had been nearly as long since it had last been combed.  CC quickly spotted a black crescent moon tattoo on his shoulder.  The man had an easy smile and his dark eyes shown with excitement in the dim light of setting sun.
"I could ask you the same question."  Gabe safetied the weapon and holstered it as he advanced on the man and gave him a hearty handshake.  Gabe gave the man a quick look over.  "You hurt?"
"Got knocked into mob of hunters by the whatever it is behind this mess.  You probably heard the gunfire."  The big man looked down at his side which had quite a bit of dried blood caked there.  "Fortunately, they weren't packing any silver bullets.  I do think one of them lit my ass up with a cartridge of rock salt.  Burnt like hell."  The mob was now back on their feet but were back to milling instead of attacking.  Gabe eyed them and the big man looked back over his shoulder at them.
“They seem to have lost interest.”
“The two I had to kill were the worst gone.  Without them and no sign of… whatever that thing was… the rest probably won’t try to attack.”
“You killed them.”  CC said flatly stepping forward.  She was confused and a bit angry.  This man had come upon them as a monster and violently cut down two people right in front of her.  To add to her frustration, Gabe seemed completely alright with it. 
“Those two were already gone.”  The big man turned to her.
“CC, this is Cole Buchannon.  Cole, CC is a new addition to our little community.”
“Ah, in that case you probably haven’t come across a soul eater.”
“A what?” CC raised her eyebrows.  The name itself sounded horrible.
“I’m sure there’s a much more technical term for it.”  Cole continued.  “It’s like a spell or infection or something.  Burns the soul right out of a person.  The good news is that it can take a few days to fully work, so there’s some hope for the rest of these folks.  Those two I put down were fully gone.”
“How can you possibly know that for sure?”
“Animal senses.  Animals get real skittish around the soulless.  I was able to pick out which of these poor folks were completely gone in my other state.”
“I didn’t know it was Cole when he came out.” Gabe chimed in.  “But with no full moon, and more so it still being daytime, I knew that whoever it was had to be in control of their wolf form to be able to transform.”
“What?  You’re an authority on werewolves, Gabe?”
“Meet enough of them and you learn a few things.”  Gabe said with a nod.  CC threw up her hands in exasperation.  She was sure the pair of them were being purposefully obtuse, and she suddenly felt like a third wheel.  “What got you out here, Cole?”
“I was actually on my way to Lazlo to check in with you guys.  Caught a story in a local paper about some folks going missing, and it sounded funny to me.  Got on the trail and came across our twisted friend, whatever the hell he is.  We’ve been after each other for a few days now.  He’s a nasty one.”
“He looked it.  There was a ley line flux yesterday.  That’s what got us out here.  We joined up with a search party that was looking for that kid over there.”  Gabe gestured towards Travis who had been shuffling around in a circle since Gabe and CC had spotted him.
“That would be the same search party that likes to shoot werewolves?”
“They probably thought you were a bear.”
“Not after I called one of the guys who shot me an ‘asshole’.”
Gabe’s palm met his face with an audible smack.
“So what do we do with these people?”  CC chimed in.
“That’s a good question.”  Gabe looked them over.  “We probably should go after the culprit before his trail gets cold.  Taking him out should release them.”
“I dunno.”  Cole rubbed his stubble covered face.  “Some of these guys are pretty far gone.  We may not have enough time to catch our boy before the soul eater takes full effect and kills them.  That and the search party you mentioned may find them and someone could get hurt.”
“We don’t have a sure fire way to release them though.  We’d need Amethyst or Rogers for that.”
“I might be able to help with that.”  CC said, almost sheepishly.

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