Monday, January 13, 2014
Who Ya Gonna Call?
Just goes to show, you’re not safe anywhere. One minute Ewan Carter had paused outside the bar to shake an annoying bit of gravel out of his boot, the next somebody yanked a canvas bag over his head, two somebodies grabbed his arms, and he was being hustled into the back of a van. Now, Ewan was a man who liked to see action on a Saturday night, but this was all a tad much.
His nose told him several things: his captors were human, not Tiger Yakuza; he hadn’t smelled them around Talbot’s Peak before; and they’d had a couple slugs at the bar, probably just enough that a public kidnapping seemed like a good idea. One of them tripped against a cycle’s wheel and went, “Darn it!”, which told him they were young and unprofessional as well as mildly drunk. It all added up to college kids on a dare. Them being human and him not, he could probably shake ‘em off with a minimum of fuss, without even having to shift.
He was about to lash out when the one on his left arm crushed in a step closer and his nose let him know she was female. Chivalry checked the elbow he’d been ready to ram into her ribs. Curiosity did the rest. Now why would a bunch of college kids nab a random cowboy outside of Dante’s bar? Confident now he could ditch these puppies any time he wanted, Ewan decided to play along and see what they were up to. Besides, for a Saturday night it had been pretty dull up to now.
However, token resistance did seem called for. The kidnapper on his other arm was male. Ewan hip-slammed him and trod on his foot and knocked his elbow into the monkey’s chin before two more males grabbed hold of him. After that he let himself be man- and womanhandled into the van with little fuss.
“Don’t be frightened,” the woman whispered to him as the van sped out of the parking lot. “We’re not going to hurt you. We only want to help.”
“You’d be helping a ton if you took this bag off my head. It stinks to high heaven in here.”
“Forget it,” the male on his other side growled. “You’re not biting anybody, werewolf.”
Game changer. Ewan went still and said very carefully, “Werewolf? What makes you think I’m a werewolf?”
“We know what you people are. We’ve been watching you for weeks.”
And Dante didn’t know? What the hell had happened to security? “Lemme guess. You had one too many Montana Sunsets and you think I’m somebody else.”
“We don’t know or care who you are, other than you’re a werewolf. Once we figure out how they did it, we’ll put a stop to the whole operation.”
“No talking to the subject!” somebody snapped from up front. The surly male on Ewan’s right fell silent.
Well, scat and a half. This was way worse than college kids, more dangerous than Yakuza. These were cryptozoologists. Amateur cryptozoologists.
The one on his left being female, Ewan figured he’d have a better shot with her. “What’s he talking about?” he whispered at her. “What operation? What’re they up to?”
“The people who turned you into a werewolf,” the woman whispered back. “We know they’ve got this huge underground complex where they experiment on innocent captives.”
“Yeah?” Well, that might be true, as far as it went. Plenty of experimentation went on at the Pleasure Club; that was stone cold fact. Probably not the kind these monkeys were thinking of, or had ever thought of. “So now you’re taking me captive so you can experiment on me?” He added alarm to his voice. “You ain’t gonna butt probe me, are you?”
“We want to help you,” she said earnestly. “We want to find out how they’re changing people, so we can make you human again.” She patted his arm. “It’s okay. You’ll be okay. We won’t hurt you, I promise.”
“How’d you find out about us? I mean, the Doctor, he goes all out to hide what he’s up to.”
The murmurs from the front of the vehicle suddenly stopped. He had their attention. Now to see what he could pry loose from them.
“C’mon,” he whined. “You caught me. I’m helpless and all. Somebody tell me what’s going on before I wet myself.”
The man on his right edged away from him. The woman inched closer and tightened her grip. Her breath was hot and excited against the exposed parts of his neck.
“You’ll find out soon enough, when we get where we’re going,” the male up front told him. “Our boss is going to be happy to see you. Really, really happy.”
Hired help, then. Okay. That explained the amateur status. Ewan searched the van with nose and ears. He picked out five male voices and six human scents, with an overlay of pizza and fried beef. No gunpowder; they weren’t armed. They might have Tasers. If they thought he was a werewolf, there could be silver knives. Silver didn’t bother a shifter, but a blade was a blade and could be trouble. Until he found out who the boss was, he’d better play it cool.
The woman pressed her bony hip against him. “I’m really sorry about this,” she murmured.
“You and me both.”
“We want to help. We really do.” Her voice dropped even further, nearly into the sultry zone. “You wouldn’t bite me, would you?”
“That’d be deadly,” Ewan said. Especially considering some of the places his mouth had been. “You don’t need to be scared of me. I’m a friendly werewolf. You seen Twilight?”
“Seven times.” Chaos help her, she sounded proud of that.
Ally. That could come in handy. He could play on that. Pity he’d never seen the movie himself. Well, he’d figure out something. He leaned back and listened to the terse conversations of his captors, mining their words for info. No hint on who their boss was. Didn’t matter. These yahoos were about to find out the only thing more dangerous than a pissed-off wolf was a wolf with enough coyote in him to have a sense of humor.