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05 December 2017 @ 09:08 am
_Stone_ part 27  

Unfortunately Wright was quick to get out of possible spittle range.

"And he said that if he found any hunters in Seattle, he'd call you, but given your poor record of employee relations you'd have to do all the fighting yourself. And he said you'd best not shoot him again, else you'll never find the hunters in Upstate New York." She gave him a stiff nod and walked back to her own apartment.

With Mr. Wright on her heels. Mike scrambled up and followed. To do what? Tackle him if he decides to kill her?

"What did he tell you?"

"You mean, about the Hunters of Men? Well, for starters, they aren't really werewolves. More like dogs, although the retractable claws were very cat-like. Leo said they worshiped a Demon, and were really horrible people. You know he was an orphan, correct? Had nothing to do with those people until they tried to kill him in Albuquerque?"

Wright crossed his arms and glared. "That's what he said. I've already gotten a full report on that. But how can you trust a demonic werewolf? It's genetic. He can't help himself."

"I beg your pardon, but he helps himself very nicely. He's been a good neighbor."

Wright ground his teeth. "You have aided and abetted . . . "

"Pshaw! Do you have a warrant for his arrest? Then why are you searching his apartment? Really, have you no limits on your actions at all? I really hope you are worthy of the trust someone has in you. Trying to murder your own subordinates!"

"He was not an employee of the government. He was ratting out his family to save his own skin."

"Nonsense. He was assisting you, deliberately locating people he might have been related to but whom he'd never met. He was searching for cannibalistic mass murderers for the express purpose of stopping them from ever killing again."

"I can have you arrested . . . "

"Not shot out of hand? How about abducted in a Black Helicopter? That could be fun. But then what would you do with me? Throw me out halfway? A tragic accident?"

His eyes narrowed. "Just how close to him are you? Have you ever been bitten? I can have you quarantined."

"Where do you quarantine a potential werewolf?" She sounded genuinely curious. "And no, Leo didn't bite me, or anyone I know, although he apparently has bitten—and killed—some of those Hunters."

"We have a facility for werewolf containment."

"Really? Goodness I got the impression you hadn't realized these 'Forty-eights' were something that needed the . . . what do they call you? Are you the 'Special' or the 'Weird Stuff' Division' I wonder? In any case, Leo said the FBI was investigating them like ordinary Mass Murderers until you had some dog bodies with human DNA."

Mr. Wright actually growled at that.

Because she's right.

The Weird Stuff Division was always running off investigating crop circles and UFO abductions, the laughing stock of the NSA and where they dumped people who got crosswise in the gears of Agency internal politics.

Until suddenly we had werewolves.

Real, actual, in the lab werewolves. Some of them behind bars. Some in human shape, some in canine form and some switching back and forth. Where politicians could actually see them. Which did wonders for our budget.

In four days flat we had facilities to turn into a jail for werewolves.

"Oh, don't glare. What are you going to do? Shoot me? I'm willing to bet your bosses would draw the line at murdering old women."

"I can make you disappear." Still with the growl in the voice.

"Ah! Now you're talking Black Helicopters again. I think we're going in circles here. So, let's skip ahead to the negotiations. What I want is an apartment, with access to a cafeteria when I don't feel like cooking. Let's see . . . much though I hate to admit it, my eyesight isn't up to driving anymore, so I'll need transportation to and from doctors appointments, and shopping. A taxi will be fine."

"Mrs. Armstrong . . . " Wright looked like he couldn't choose between boggled and furious. "Why are you doing this?"

"Because I'm seventy years old. Because my late husband drank away everything. My income is . . . barely adequate for my basic needs. I see this as an opportunity to . . . acquire free housing and food. And possibly be around some interesting doings."

I couldn't help myself. "There is space at the new facility." A bankrupt motel where any number of us unattached bachelor types are moving in, plus guest quarters for visitors. And one wing with cages the size of the rooms.

Wright sent a glare my direction, and then another toward the old lady.

"You . . . are voluntarily entering a protection program due to your close encounter with werewolves, correct?"

She beamed. "Indeed I am. I'll just start packing, then."

***

"The foods not bad." Mike eyed Mrs. Armstrong. "But I still feel bad, dragging you across the country like this."

"You're a nice fellow, Mike, but the truth is, I was one rent hike away from starving. Los Angeles is so expensive! I had no idea how I could finance a move . . . anywhere. Really, I was contemplating whether growling at Mr. Wright and trying to bite him might be necessary . . . or extremely foolish."

A faint choking noise from the table behind her.

"Er, I think it's a good thing you didn't try that . . . " He broke off at the sounds of running feet. A boy of perhaps five dodged into the restaurant as a man in the khaki pants and white shirt of the guards pancaked on the floor. A second boy galloped his length and followed the first into the restaurant.

Stark naked, blonde, noses up and sniffing . . .

Mrs. Armstrong swung around. "Oh! Look at the little werewolves!"

The boys eyed her uncertainly.

"Oh, you two look just like Leo! Well, your hair's lighter. Have you had dinner yet? Come join us."

They glanced at the guard picking himself up off the ground and scurried around to Mrs. Armstrong's far side.

Mike held up a hand to stop the guard. Good thing it's Charlie.

This could be just what we need.

Mrs. Armstrong flagged a horrified waiter. "We'll need two more table settings. Boys? Would you like cheeseburgers? Wide eyes and a wide gapped smiles.

If they were in their canine stage they'd be wagging their tails.

Mrs. Armstrong nodded to the waiter. "Two cheeseburgers and fries, and if you have paper plates, I think this would be a good time to use them."

Mike grinned and pulled back two chairs for them. They climbed happily up and started reaching for things on the table, eyeing their dinners. He turned to the anxious guard. "Charlie? Why don't you call Dr. Reid? I think we've found a better teaching method. We'll need to move the boys and change their diets."

"See if the room with the connecting door to mine is available—No, you may not grab Mr. Simpson's steak. Ah, here are your dinners."

They started biting the fries . . .

Mrs. Armstrong frowned. "Can you use your hands? You can grab those burgers like this . . . then you can lift them up to your mouths instead of sticking your faces in the plate. Human faces just aren't much good, that way."

Mike exchanged grins with Charlie. "Just what they needed. A grandmother."



Chapter Oregon

I don't know why I felt relieved to be out of California.

The NSA wouldn't worry about a mere state boundary when they had a vicious werewolf to hunt. My problem wasn't actually them, it was the other werewolves. Who weren't actually very wolf-like. More like a short haired dog. Size extra large. Mastif-ish, but not, I am delighted to say, drooly.

They called themselves the Hunters of Men, and had killed over a hundred. Mostly women. Which, as my FBI friend had mentioned, was only counting the ones they'd found. They worshiped what they claimed was a demon, the All Mother, and sacrificed women to her. And by sacrificed, apparently the order of procedure is rape, torture, kill, barbeque, and eat.

I'd been orphaned, a naked lost five year old boy, raised by marvelous foster parents . . . At nineteen I'd decided to try to find out who and what I was. At twenty-four I was half hunting them, half running from them, half cooperating with the NSA and half running from them.

So, here I was hunting the Hunters.

Because neither they nor the NSA would leave me alone, but at least the NSA would not eat my normal friends.

I think.

You never know, with the government.

 
 
 
Ian BirchenoughIan Birchenough on December 5th, 2017 07:26 pm (UTC)
Hunters of Men
Laughed aloud at the last couple of lines.
Love it. Is it ever likely to be on sale - I recall you said you were writing it for Nanowrimo?
Ian_B
matapampamuphoff on December 5th, 2017 10:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Hunters of Men
Oh yes, it'll get published. I generally let first drafts sit for several months, before I start a second draft. But it could get to publishable shape in six months to a year.
Joe Wojo Jrwojorider on December 6th, 2017 06:36 am (UTC)
Grandma
Love the idea of the grandma.