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06 December 2017 @ 07:05 am
_Stone_ part 28  
 

Anyway, relieved or not, I kept driving until I reached Medford. A lovely little town. I drove around, parking every once in a while to meditate and "feel" for Hunters.

Zero, Zip, Zilch. I found a motel on the north side of town and slept like a log for twelve hours. Ate a huge breakfast and drove on.

I'd only ever found the Hunters near cities, so I didn't stop regularly, just in the larger towns, just in case. Grant's Pass, Roseburg, Cottage Grove, Creswell and into Eugene.

Beautiful State. With a lack of Hunters as a bonus. I stayed for two days, just because it was so nice. But then I headed north again, detouring a couple of time to check Corvallis and Lebenon . . . procrastinating, because I . . . was really afraid of the Hunters. And as I approached the big urban part of the state I kept remembering. I'd fought them three times now, escaping with injuries, including the last time, being shot by my putative boss and ally.

I didn't really want to do this again.

I told myself all I needed to do was locate them. Then I could call that murderous asshole and give him the address or even just a general location and Mr. Wright could go kill as many werewolves as he wanted, but I'd be long gone.

I made myself drive through to Portland. Stopped this side of downtown to gas up. Prices as bad as California. I parked at the side of the store, popped inside to grab some snacks. Then I meditated briefly, while sipping a cold soda.

Nothing.

Well, nothing alarming. No sickly yellow green slimy souls out there.

So far.

I drove on to the north side of town.

Found a hotel. Portland was small enough, and my ability to see (or feel or whatever) their nasty auras was getting better. But not good enough to cover the whole hundred and something mile stretch of the Eugene-Salem-Portland metroplex.

I was going to be doing a ton of driving.

Two weeks, minimum.

I stretched out on the bed and meditated. Still nothing, so I napped.

And remembered. I'd accidentally encountered one of them, and managed to keep my cool. I'd pretended that I was just passing through, that I was one of them, but from a different area.

He looked enough like me to be a brother. The lighter hair was the main difference. same convex profile with the outthrust lower face, broad heavy jaw . . . We were within the normal range of humans, mainly because humans come in so many forms. Our dog forms are just "big shorthaired mutt" until one examined the paws. Strong dew claws in front, almost thumbs. Retractable claws, of a size that had people thinking "lion" rather than "kitty cat."

But the guy had talked about the Demon.

Did I believe in Werewolves? Yes.

Did I believe in Magic? Well, I was sort of starting to.

Did I believe in the All Mother, the Demon Sashoddifail?

It was just smoke, dust. Lit by a colorful sunset, swirled by a slight breeze. It was not an actual entity that had rather liked the ocotpus pattern before she came onshore and decided that men, and their associated pets were even more interesting, and went and combined them.

I rolled over and looked at my hands. I am a human with a couple of extra chromosomes. More likely four escapees from a government lab than a Demon from the deeps.

The nap wasn't happening, so I got up and strolled in the crisp fall air. I hadn't been paying enough attention to other places to know if they'd had snow yet. December first, so the Christmas decorations had been up for weeks. There was nothing I needed to shop for . . .

A present for Rachel? I really should not go there. She needs to forget me who, for all I know, might get her pregnant with puppies. She need to find someone nice and normal.

I wonder if the NSA captured any women in the California raid? And if Kris Kovac would be able to find out anything about their biology and reproduction.

I spotted a book store and went in search of magic books. Because I almost believed.

They had two I'd never seen before. I was looking through them for relevance to what I knew sort of worked. When I felt someone behind me.

I turned knowing what I'd see.

Someone who looked a lot like me. But in this case older. Sharp brown eyes with a wide iris.

He looked me up and down. "Running from the Feds in California?"

I snorted. "I'm from back East. Who cares about Cali?"

"No one with any sense. But you easterners, you think you know the All Mother? No, she's here. You'll see. Come and meet the leaders."

I shelved the books to give myself time to think. Then I nodded and followed him out. Down the street to a Chinese restaurant. Almost empty at this hour, between lunch and dinner. A table at the back . . . three men. Watching me.

My guide had stepped aside when he opened the door. Now he was behind me.

The big heavy man straight across the table frowned at me. Looked beyond me.

"He says he's from the East Coast. He was looking at magic books."

The big Hunter looked back at me.

I took a leap of faith. A name mentioned in Phoenix . . . "I had some differences with Dominic and . . . thought I'd do a little traveling."

Snort. "So he can't even keep his pack together. He's too far away. Go back and tell him to return to the source, get real power. You outliers are so weak. Poor crying puppies running home to the All Mother because you can't stop a simple police raid."

The hunter on the right leaned toward me. "What did you feel, two weeks ago."

I rotated my shoulder. I needed to bandage it again. "Twelve days ago, now? I think?"

The neck of my t-shirt was pulled back. I glared over my shoulder. The guide released me. "He bled."

The big man nodded. "You felt them call the demon . . . you felt them die."

I nodded. "I had thought about going south, instead of north. I changed my mind. I . . . lingered a bit, wondering what had happened. And when I got to I5, I turned north." I eyed the trio. "You think it was a police raid? I've never heard of such a thing."

The one on the left spoke up. "We don't talk much with the other groups. But we can contact them. Phoenix didn't answer."

"Phoenix . . ." I was treading on thin ice, here.

"So we're very careful about travelers, just now."

I nodded. "This is . . . disturbing. I will retreat and . . . "

"No. You will join us in the Dance in two weeks. SHE will know if you are the traitor. Be back here at one pee em, on the fourteenth." The big one looked back at my guide.

"Sir." He pulled me away and I walked out with him.

"You'll be watched. Don't contact anyone."

"Right." Oh effing crap. Can I get a message out? At least of the date? "Err, can I do a bit of sightseeing?"

The Hunter shrugged. "We'll know if you contact anyone."

Probably the same way I can see-feel them, and everyone else. My watcher could be anywhere within two miles, and he’ll see which stores I go into. The post office is right out.

Two weeks. I'll think of something . . .

***

 
 
 
mbarkermbarker on December 7th, 2017 12:53 am (UTC)
And the tension builds! Who's watching who? Yay! More Leo Stone! Here we go...