Warning: Violence, gore-like stuff.
Blood or Chocolate?
Chapter 9: Danger, Will Robinson
The three of us stood there for quite some time afterward, allowing the events of tonight to settle in our minds. That wasn't easy. I accepted the fact that they were werewolves. That was the only explanation as to why I couldn't see their thoughts. But what I was having a hard time accepting was the existence of werewolves, and not only that, other creatures. If werewolves were real, and Wufei compared them to vampires, which meant they were real, then...I was afraid to find out what else was real. "Let's go."
Hilde and Howard didn't disagree. We snatched our things up and headed back to the house. I handed Howard his sunglasses, and he absently took them back. Shell-shocked. Poor guy. He also had a little trouble jumping the fence in his distraction, and Hilde and I felt like we were coaching a scared two year-old through it. Once that bit of excitement was done, we made our way through our canopy of trees and to the back porch. When we were in the house, Howard immediately locked the back door, and Hilde went through the house to make sure everything was locked up. "Duo, this is some serious shit."
"Yeah, I know. Them and now another murder."
He gave me an intense look. "I don't see why they would divulge their livelihood to us," he emphasized, "without something given to them in return." He leaned closer. "Something that is worth their livelihood if they fail."
I shrugged. "What could we possibly have that is worth all this trouble?"
He looked over the rim of his sunglasses. "I don't think they want anything from us. They want something particularly from you. That Wufei," he sneered, "recognized what you were without you telling him anything. Is that right?"
I sighed. "Yeah."
He put his hand on his hip. "And the seizure?"
I shook my head, and walked into the living room. "I don't know. When it was happening...he closed his mind to me somehow, stopping it. I can't explain it Howie."
He was outwardly frowning now. "You're indebted to him."
I shrugged. "Yeah, I am I guess."
He glared at me. "He'll collect."
I threw my hands in the air. "How?! I can't possibly have anything he wants!"
Howard was trying very hard not to choke me. He was pipin' mad. "He wants you, you ass!" I was so shocked at his yell that I stumbled backwards, flailing to safety on the couch. He continued his ranting. "He wants what you can do for him! Can you imagine how much more powerful he can become in his practice with a clairvoyant at his side?! There wouldn't be a lawyer to stand against him! He'd know what they were thinking and planning before the words even left their mouths! Not only that, the value someone like you would be to him and his Pack...I bet that's his main goal! And the way he was looking at you...damnit, why'd my brother have to have good-looking kids..." He trailed off, spent. "Think of what he could do to you, to us, if you refused him."
I swallowed, and thought about how long Hilde was taking to lock up. The thought passed just as quickly. "Exactly Howard. Which was why he told us their livelihood," I said, bringing up what started this argument, "and why he told us their weaknesses, how they could be killed..." I left the rest unsaid.
Howard sat down heavily next to me. "That wolf bastard. He figured we would realize that--"
"--and told us vital information to even the scoreboard." I thought about it some more. "Doesn't make what you said any less true, or less likely to happen. In fact, I think that's exactly what he's trying to do. Except that he's also...attracted to me."
Howard had been silent for a while when he suddenly looked up. "Where the hell's Hilde?"
Howard and I moved so fast we would've put Superman to shame. Hilde was standing next to my car, jumping up and down and screaming her head off. The light from her flashlight was shining around randomly as she jumped. I was so focused on her that I didn't see what was frightening her. I quickly wrapped my arms around her, picked her up and carried her into the house. She was pointing, but I couldn't understand what she was trying to tell me through her sobs. I sat her on the couch, and as I turned Howard slipped his shotgun into my hands. He had one of his own, and taking Hilde's flashlight we went outside to see what the hell was going on.
I stepped off the porch and immediately noticed something out of place. A cardboard box was on my car. It was duck-taped to the hood, but one side of the duck-tape had been pulled off in order for Hilde to have opened the box.
I sighed and laid my shotgun against the steps, Howard right behind me. It was probably from Alex. Whenever we had an...altercation, he always left me some sort of present. He's left me a dead skunk on my front porch that had a pretty red bow around its neck...um...one time he poured honey all over my car so that it was covered in bees...hmm...and once he left a little cardboard box just like this one, that he saved three days worth of shit in. I didn't have any idea what this was, but bet that I was going to ream him for scaring my sister the way he did.
I peered into the box, flashing the light on the object. I couldn't make out what the hell it was, but I could tell it was solid, and that it wasn't shit. That was a plus. So, getting Howard to hold the flashlight, I yanked the box free of the duck-tape and turned it upside down. The heavy thing bounced with a little spin, and when it stopped both Howard and I jumped back with screams of our own. "Holy hell!"
There was a fuckin' head on my car!
"God damn," I heard Howard muttering, just beyond himself. "God damn."
Hilde came out screaming just then, shaking the phone in her hand. I ran back to the porch, snatched up the shotgun and took the phone. The three of us congregated in the living room. "Hello?"
"Duo? Jesus Christ! Why the hell didn't you call me back?!"
Meizer? "Cob, what's going on? Why are you screaming at me?"
"Because I thought you were dead!"
"A body was found about five yards from your shack! The head is missing! I was terrified it was you!"
Oh boy. "Uhh, Cob, the head is here." I winced.
"....what the hell did you just say?"
"I said the head is here. Whoever did it was nice enough to leave it on the hood of my car."
"Well, shove a dildo up my ass. I'm on my way!" He hung up.
I was breathing hard, looking at Howard and Hilde. He had her wrapped up tightly in his arms, looking at me with an agitated expression. He was waiting for the bad news. "Meizer was worried I had been killed," I said without pause. "They found a body five yards from the shack." I swallowed. "It was missing the head."
"Oh Jesus," Howard whispered softly. Hilde whimpered against his shoulder. "Duo, I know I'm not your father, but you're not going back to work there," he said, shaking his head. "I forbid it."
"Okay," I said, equally soft. When Howard used that soft tone of his, I knew he was at the end of his rope. I wasn't going to push him. If he said the stars were made out of marshmallows, I would've asked when he wanted me to inform NASA.
"One of the wolves is killing us," he said.
"Yeah. It could only be one of them. No human has the strength to do that." I paused. "I'm going to find out who it is, then I'm going to kill him."
Howard didn't answer for a good while. "You think you can do that again?"
I snorted. "Howard, if they feel comfortable leaving a fuckin' head on my car, then I'll feel comfortable putting a bullet between their eyes. This isn't Alec. We're...on our own in this."
He was quiet a moment. "You like Wufei."
I knew it was coming. "Yeah, I do."
He was thinking to himself. "What if it's him?"
I thought about that. I didn't think it was him. I hoped like hell it wasn't. But I had to consider everything. "Then I'm goin' ta kill me a Packmaster," I said with a hillbilly accent and tossed the phone on the couch. Howard continued holding Hilde to his chest, trying to quiet her sobs. While he was with her, I checked to make sure the house was locked up, and that there weren't any other body parts, heads or otherwise, lying about. Then I checked the answering machine. Meizer only left five messages, but the caller ID showed he called around thirty times. One message was from Alex, hoping that the body was me, and the last message was the click of a phone being hung up. I checked the caller ID for that. It read ‘Unavailable.' Then the three of us sat down, Hilde still cradled to Howard's chest, and waited for Meizer. Deciding it wasn't a good idea, but necessary if I was going to catch the werewolf responsible, I got up and picked up the flashlight. "I'll be back. I'm going to check something."
"I'll be right back! I'm going to see who it...was." Without another word I stepped out.
Running lightly down the stairs, I walked up to the car. I turned the light on quickly to get an idea of where I wanted to touch. The decapitated head was on the hood of my car, lying on its left ear. Drawing closer, I could see that it was Herbert Harvest. He was a skinny, quiet, middle-aged guy, and a fellow beer lover.
He was dead.
Getting as close as I could stand, I extended my pinky finger and touched his skin. Once again the same sensations as before flooded me, except this time there was a new emotion: haste. Whoever did this was in one hell of a hurry, but I couldn't get a visual why or how come. I didn't smell anything in the air, so I picked up the box and carefully sniffed it. The scent of almond was faint, but there. Well, at least the rat-bastard was consistent. But why? What was the purpose of having your victims smell of spoiled almonds?
I turned the flashlight off, allowing the moonlight to light the way to the house. I turned around, and froze in shock as I saw someone standing directly behind me, cloaked in the dark. I opened my mouth in surprise when I saw that whomever it was stepped back, preparing to swing what I thought was a baseball bat. I took a step back and brought my hands up to grab hold of it, when I realized at the last second that it wasn't a bat. It was a shovel.
My hands took the brunt of the hit, but the shovel still connected with my face, sending me to the ground in a spin. My left eye involuntarily closed from the blood leaking into it, and my face hurt so bad I thought it was broken in half. I couldn't close my mouth from the pain in my jaw, and I was squirming away from him like a dying bug.
"Pathetic," said a voice I didn't recognize.
I hollered, sounding for all the world like a mother who has lost her child. I couldn't see what he was thinking, so I was unprepared for the kick to the stomach. Involuntarily, I curled into a ball. He raised the shovel again, and I stopped squirming, horrified that this was actually happening to me. A shot rang out and the unidentified man dropped the shovel. He clutched his shoulder, dropped to the ground, and kicked and screamed like he was being stabbed to death. Howard stepped off the porch with Hilde right behind him. She ran to me while Howard stood over the man, gun barrel inches away from his eye.
"You son of a bitch!" Howard screamed, voice so enraged I didn't recognize it. Hilde pulled my head into her lap and held me. I couldn't stop shaking. "I should kill you!"
Whoever it was stopped screaming in favor of sniffling and crying, begging Howard to spare his life. Hilde was rocking me, trying to ease my pain with kisses and smoothing my hair behind my ears. I closed my eyes and tried to focus on staying conscious when I heard a car coming up with road. It stopped short of the driveway, where its driver got out and came running the rest of the way. "What the hell is going on here?" Meizer boomed.
An ambulance arrived shortly after Meizer did, and for the second time in two days I was at the hospital (well, three including the visit to the morgue, but since no one is supposed to know that I'm not counting it). I was x-rayed, CT-Scanned, poked and prodded. Nothing was broken miraculously, but Dr. Saddler told me up front that Ibuprofen was going to be my best friend for a good two weeks, if not a month. He also said I looked like I'd been in a fight with Mike Tyson, and lost. I was pissed my hands were wrapped up in gauze, because I couldn't give him the finger. But that was okay. Hilde slapped him for me.
Then the police picked us up and took us to the station. The man, a hobo who's been living at the bus station in San Antonio, was in custody and about to be transferred to Bexar County Jail.  Meizer was Pissed Off, with capital letters, and was taking care of everything practically by himself to avoid any mistakes. Things got a bit hazy for a moment when I was escorted into Noventa's office, who was the Chief of Police. He showed me the hobo's mug shots, and despite the fact that I couldn't identify he was the one that attacked me, the fact that he was arrested at the scene with a bullet in his shoulder pretty much confirmed his guilt. It was also confirmed that I've never seen the man before in my life, and had no idea why he wanted to harm me.
"We'll get to the bottom of this," Noventa said, patting an injured shoulder. Then he sent me on my way. I managed to make it to the car before I started whining like a baby. Noventa had no idea how heavy his hands were.
It was almost five o'clock in the morning when we got back. The police were just finishing up the investigation and wanted to ask me and my family questions. Just when I thought I was going to have to stab everyone to death to get some peace, they said they had what they needed and left. Exhausted and in pain, I stripped, jumped into fresh pj's, and crawled into bed. I wanted to sleep so badly, but sleep dangled outside of my reach. Instead, thoughts invaded my brain space. It went in a whirling circle, beginning with the shock that werewolves were real, to the morgue with Mooney and Luna, to Harvest's unseeing eyes, to the descending shovel from an hidden face, and again from the beginning. My head was spinning so much I could feel its fullness. It was another hour before I had calmed down enough to lightly doze.
Septem called a few minutes after that. When he heard my voice, he cried.
 Bexar County Jail. Bexar is pronounced like ‘bear.' The ‘X' is silent. Don't ask me why. San Antonio is funny that way. (Yes, this jail is real).