Bumble(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 1)(36) by Connie Suttle
"Here, baby," Adele handed two ibuprofen to Ashe and helped him sit up so he could take them with the glass of water his mother held for him. Ashe discovered how shaky he was when he sat up.
"What time is it?" Ashe whispered, once he was settled back in the bed and the awful pain of sitting up had subsided.
"It's after two in the morning," his mother replied.
"Mom, I don't think Dad and the others are going to find anything," Ashe sighed. Already his eyes wanted to close again. Sleep might take away the pain if the ibuprofen didn't.
"Honey, why do you say that?" Adele brushed hair away from Ashe's forehead.
"Because they don't know what to look for," Ashe mumbled and fell asleep.
* * *
"Nothing," Aedan shook his head as he and Radomir walked into the house half an hour before dawn. Sunday, April twenty-fifth had arrived, three days before the full moon. "How's Ashe doing?"
"Sleeping. I gave him ibuprofen and he went back to sleep, but he may be waking soon and need more." Adele hugged herself and stared out the kitchen window. Light would come soon, and Aedan would have to go to his bunker.
"Perhaps you should petition the Council for a physician to live in the community," Radomir said. "If a vampire physician cannot be found, then perhaps one of the humans the Council employs might be willing."
"We'll see," Aedan agreed. "I want to see my boy before dawn comes." Aedan followed Adele to Ashe's bedroom.
* * *
"Son?" Aedan touched Ashe's face carefully, waking Ashe.
"Dad?" Ashe thought his voice sounded as rough as bark on a pine tree. "Mom?" Adele was standing right behind Aedan. "Can I have some water?"
"Sure, honey. Do you need more ibuprofen?"
"Yeah." Ashe's shoulder felt as if it was on fire. Aedan lifted him up this time, and with his strength, it wasn't as difficult. Ashe swallowed pills and gulped water thirstily.
"Take it slow, son." Aedan's hand rubbed Ashe's back gently as Ashe did as his father asked. "Done?" at Ashe's nod, Aedan lowered Ashe into the bed. "I think Denise and Sali may come over after a bit so your mother can get some sleep," Aedan smiled. "Ask for medication if it's needed, all right?"
"I will." Ashe closed his eyes, hoping the pain would go away soon.
* * *
"I got him here as quickly as I could," Winkler brought a werewolf Adele and Denise didn't know two hours later. "He works as a paramedic for the Denton Fire Department," Winkler added. "I asked him to come and take a look at our young man."
"Thank you," Adele wiped tears away. "We've been giving him ibuprofen; that's all we had."
"I have something a little stronger," the werewolf said. "I'm David Lang," he added, holding a hand out to Adele. His other hand gripped what looked to be a case filled with medical supplies.
* * *
"We'll redress the wounds," David introduced himself to Ashe and sat down to examine Ashe's injuries. Sali had come in initially, but the room had become too crowded, so he'd backed out to wait until the adults were finished.
Ashe watched with trepidation as David produced a syringe wrapped in plastic, peeled the plastic away and expertly stuck the needle into Ashe's left arm after swiping the area with an alcohol wipe.
"What's that?" Ashe asked.
"Something for pain, young man. You'll feel sleepy in no time. That way it won't hurt so much when we rip off the tape and gauze. I reckon it's stuck to the wound already."
"Great," Ashe muttered. It wasn't long before Ashe's eyes did close, and he was asleep while David removed both dressings, cleaned out the wounds and bandaged them again. Then Winkler lifted Ashe off the bed and held him while Denise and Adele changed sheets.
"He'll sleep for three or four hours, I hope," David said, handing bottles of medication to Adele. "One of these every four to six hours for pain if he asks. This is an antibiotic," David held up another bottle. "Chances are he won't really need it, but we want to cover all the bases. Give it to him every eight hours. Clear liquids at first, but let him eat a little solid food tomorrow if he's up to it. Don't send him to school or let him do anything strenuous for two weeks. Longer if it looks like he's not healing as fast. Change the dressing every day and use those tubes of ointment with the bandages." David handed over a bag filled with bandages and medication to Adele.
"I can't thank you enough for this," Adele said.
"Don't worry about it. Just catch those idiots that did this." David smiled at Adele before following Winkler out of the house.
* * *
"Dude, your blood was everywhere, and I don't ever want to see that look on your dad's face again," Sali whispered.
"Now you know why I don't like getting in trouble," Ashe murmured. He felt nicely numb. Whatever the paramedic had given was working; the pain in his shoulder didn't even bother him.
"Mr. Radomir found the bullet in the dark," Sali sounded impressed. "I mean, we can see great in the dark, but I don't think we could have found that."
"They haven't found anybody. Have they?"
"No." Sali shook his head. "And everybody's in an uproar about it."
"They're not targets. At least most of them aren't. Sali, what happened to James's cell phone?"
"Nobody found it," Sali said. "Dad and Micah looked everywhere, and even upset Mr. and Mrs. Johnson when they searched James's room and stuff. But they never found it."
"Too bad," Ashe sighed, closing his eyes. Sleep was threatening and Ashe allowed it to claim him.
"Why does he want to know that?" Sali muttered to himself before leaving Ashe alone to sleep.
* * *
"He's asleep," Sali grumped, sitting at the table with his mother. Adele had agreed, after much coaxing, to lie down for a while.
"Sali, neither of you has been sick before. It doesn't happen with our kind. But a bullet will pull one of us down, or drugs, sometimes, if they're strong enough. You saw what happened with Adele." His mother ruffled Sali's black hair affectionately.
"Yeah." Sali drew invisible patterns on the Evans' kitchen table. "They're trying to kill the whole family," Sali said.
* * *
"I'm not sure how you knew to contact us," the woman eyed Winkler with distaste. Her kind didn't associate with werewolves. Nasty creatures, in her opinion. And mortal, never forget that.
"That doesn't matter. What does matter is that your Dark cousins have discovered your attempt to increase your numbers and they're picking them off, one at a time."
"What? That isn't true," she huffed.
"Proof." Winkler handed over a folder full of information. Not wishing to dirty her hands on what the werewolf offered, her subordinate took it instead. He didn't seem to mind where the folder came from; he leafed through it quickly and drew in a sharp breath.
"It's true," he gazed at his queen.
"There are two of your cousins in Oklahoma, and who knows how many more in all these other places, killing children or attempting to do so. Did you think to do as the cuckoos and leave your eggs in another's nest, allowing them to raise your children? And then, when the time was right, were you prepared to swoop in and gather them up? When you needed more soldiers for your army, perhaps?" Winkler gave the queen a hard stare.
"It is none of your business," the queen snatched the folder from her servant's grasp. "We will deal with this. Immediately. I'll have someone at this place," she scanned the folder to find a name.
"Cordell. And do it quickly. There isn't much time."
"Very well. We'll have someone there in two days."
"And I want bodies afterward."
"You'll have them. Feel free to do whatever you want with what's left of them."
* * *
Ashe slept through most of Sunday, waking for a short while when his mother brought chicken broth, water and more medication. Ashe ate as much as he could. Sali and Denise left as soon as Adele was awake and prepared to take over Ashe's care. "How do you feel, honey?" Adele asked.
"All right," Ashe said. "The medication keeps the pain away."
"Good. Sali tried to talk his mother into letting him stay with you tomorrow, but she refused."
"He'd just be restless," Ashe observed.
"I know. That child can't stay still for very long," Adele smiled.
"And he has to eat constantly or he'll become a black hole, sucking every bit of sustenance in his direction," Ashe joked weakly.
"Go back to sleep, hon. Your dad will probably check on you when he wakes." Adele patted Ashe's knee, picked up the bowl and walked out of Ashe's bedroom. Ashe waited for the door to close before pulling the photograph out of his bedside table and staring at it.
"Tomorrow," he promised the image. "I have to be awake enough tomorrow."
* * *
"Looks like more stormy weather's moving in," Ashe's father said later, as he sat on the side of Ashe's bed. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm okay, Dad. The medication works great. I sleep most of the time."
"That's good," Aedan said. "Go back to sleep, son."
* * *
What was he looking for? In Ashe's drugged state, he wasn't quite sure. Hadn't been when he'd set out. Now he flipped through papers, receipts and other scraps of this or that. This file box had been left in what looked to be a home office, with records and school papers littering the desktop. What if there wasn't anything to find? Ashe, feeling sick and in pain, desperately resumed his search. Wait, what was that? A receipt, with an address? Yes. That's what it was. Ashe jerked it from the box. Here was proof—if he could get anyone to listen to him. Ashe misted right through the roof after putting everything back as well as he could. Now there was only one more errand, and Ashe hoped he might stay conscious long enough to accomplish it.
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