Shadowed(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 2)(10) by Connie Suttle
Ashe stood near the front door, watching the others examine everything while stepping carefully around markers set out previously by the local authorities. "You're right," Marcus admitted after a while. "Too many people have been in here. The scents are confused."
Ashe studied his shoes for a moment before allowing his eyes to wander to the doorframe. "Look," he said, pointing toward two small threads stuck to a tiny, splintered gouge shoulder-high on the frame.
"How did they miss that?" Nick came to investigate. "This gouge looks fresh, like the assailant ran into it while bringing the Mayor inside the house." Taking a small plastic bag from his jacket pocket, Agent Lawford removed the threads with a pair of tweezers and stuffed them into the bag.
"Wait, let me sniff that," Trace said. Ashe and Nick moved away, allowing the tall werewolf to scent the doorframe. "Kid, you're a genius," Trace grinned at Ashe. "Marcus, check this out—the scent is the same as the one in the barn."
* * *
"It was small, Director, and the locals may have been focused on the area around the body. The door was ten feet away from where the Mayor died," Nick spoke into his cell later. Ashe had been returned to his home and the werewolves were beginning to feel the pull of the Moon. They'd taken off in a rush as soon as they exited Nick and Derik's rented van.
"And you say the kid found it?"
"Yeah. We assumed the locals had collected all the evidence. They missed one piece. One important piece. The wolves say the scent is the same. We may have a serial killer on our hands."
"Are the two victims connected?"
"Sheriff says they knew each other pretty well."
"So, you think the Mayor gave up the second victim's name, somehow?"
"Could be. We'll have to look into that."
"Find out everything you can," Director Jennings said. "I need to know whether this is related to those families or not. Keep me informed."
* * *
"Ashe, keep an eye on your mother," Aedan put an arm around Ashe's shoulders just before he went out to guard the community.
"I will, dad. I'll use echolocation."
"Son, I wish I knew how you did that," Aedan tightened his hold on Ashe before letting him go. "Contact me if there's any trouble."
"I will." Aedan Evans usually went out to watch Adele fly on full moons. Tonight, he was watching the newcomers instead. Ashe would have to take responsibility for his mother's safety. "Dad, does everybody know to stay away from those houses?"
"They do, but if a few of the younger ones want to make things difficult," Aedan replied. Ashe nodded, thinking of Jeremy. Chad was expected to run with the Pack. Would Marcus know if the young werewolf slipped away? If Chad and Jeremy met up while in animal form, they could definitely cause problems for the relocated families.
"Son, Nathan and I will watch for trouble," Aedan reassured Ashe. "Just send mindspeech if you notice anything amiss." Aedan was still astonished that he could hear Ashe's mindspeech—most vampires with mindspeaking ability could only send to someone else with the talent. Grateful for what Ashe had been given, Aedan smiled at his son before walking out the kitchen door to join Nathan.
"Ashe, are you ready?" Adele asked an hour later.
"You go first." Adele would wait until Ashe was away before dropping her robe and shifting to peregrine falcon. "I'll make sure the doors are locked and the alarms set," she added.
"Okay." Ashe didn't need to lock the doors behind him—he could sail right through locked doors as mist. "I'll drop my clothes outside, Mom," he added, walking out the door. Adele watched as her son shifted to the bumblebee bat and flapped away before allowing her robe to drop. Soon a peregrine falcon flew through the bright moonlight illuminating Cloud Chief.
* * *
Chad, in werewolf form, ran behind the rest of the Cloud Chief Pack, just as he and Jeremy had planned. Jeremy, as a wildcat, had arranged to meet Chad near the six temporary homes located behind Ashe Evans's house. The vampires had to guard the entire community, giving the boys an opportunity to approach the new addition while Aedan and Nathan were checking the hidden entrance half a mile away.
Chad and Jeremy intended to have a bit of fun and perhaps frighten the humans—the empties—enough to make them leave. And if somebody got hurt in the process, well, that wouldn't upset either of them. All they had to do was coordinate a little, making sure the vampires were elsewhere before they struck.
Veering away as the Pack ran through a copse of trees, Chad knew he'd get away without being missed. The Pack had scented a deer and that was a fine meal to chase on a moonlit night. Feeling a small amount of regret for leaving the hunt, Chad slowed and reversed direction, trotting toward the eastern edge of the property and the six mobile homes waiting there.
* * *
Luanne loved scented candles; had a collection of them that she lit at times, just for the comfort of the dim light inside her bedroom. Two now burned brightly on her bedside table, giving her enough light to read. Limited on the number of books she could carry into exile with her, Luanne was rereading a well-worn and much-loved novel from a favorite series.
"Lu?" The walkie-talkie lying on the comforter beside her crackled with Macy's voice.
"What is it, Mace?" Lu pressed and released the talk button.
"Just wondering if you'd seen anything. Do you think any of them will come close enough for us to see?"
"I doubt it," Luanne replied, setting her book aside. "I can barely see outside, even with the full Moon."
"How dangerous do you think they are?" Macy went on.
"No idea. This is something new, and I doubt they're willing to talk about it. I'm curious, too, Mace. Maybe we'll see something before we leave. That would be nice. Maybe they'll trust us enough to show us something besides the little bat."
"That's a bumblebee bat—they're endangered," Macy said. "I did a paper on bats for a science class before all this happened."
"Are you still going to read vampire books after this?" Luanne teased.
"Well, I always thought they were fiction. Now the real thing shows up. I don't know what to think anymore. Lu?"
"What are we going to do? Do you honestly believe we're half—whatever it is? Do you?"
Luanne breathed a troubled sigh before punching the talk button again. It was something she'd gone over in her mind, leaving the night sleepless and the day nearly listless. Her parents were putting on an act around her, but Luanne knew they were just as confused and upset over the information as she was.
"I don't know, Mace. But why did the others die? That's what I can't figure out. I can't see that any of us are special—not like that bat kid. None of us can do that."
"But what if we can? What if we just haven't concentrated or something? Admit it, we didn't know we weren't completely human. If what they say is true, anyway. And those two guys who came after me outside the pizzeria? What if they'd got me instead? I could be dead or somewhere else right now."
"I guess it comes down to whether we want to stay with our parents or go to those others," Luanne shuddered. "I want to stay with Mom and Dad. I want to go to college and do something. Here. Not somewhere else. Think about it, Macy. If they were desperate to increase their numbers and they're at war with the other side, then we'd be fighting the others with them. Wouldn't we?"
"I don't even want to think about that."
"Mace, the battery is about dead on my walkie. I'll talk to you later."
Luanne got up to find the charger for her walkie-talkie when her bedroom window crashed inward, knocking candles onto the floor and setting her curtains afire.
* * *
Dad! Ashe sent desperate mindspeech to his father. Dad, I got a signal from something and now one of the mobile homes is on fire! Ashe had followed his mother as instructed, keeping her within distance using echolocation. It was only when Ashe had banked in flight, sending signals out in the opposite direction that he'd caught two—likely Chad and Jeremy—nearly upon the six temporary homes lined up neatly behind his own. And then the unthinkable happened; fire bloomed on one side of a mobile home, engulfing the structure quickly. Thinking swiftly, Ashe knew he had to help. Turning to mist, he rocketed toward the burning home.
Aedan and Nathan were already at the home, but it was burning so brightly the vampires couldn't go in without risking death—fire could easily kill a vampire. And it was far too late to haul out the community pumper truck. The other new residents were all outside their homes, screaming and crying.
"Do something!" Macy begged Aedan and Nathan to help—Luanne and her parents were still inside the burning structure. Macy screamed as the house exploded in a fireball behind her.
* * *
"They're safe," Ashe appeared, dropping all three members of the Jansen family in front of his father. If they'd wanted to keep his misting secret, he'd just blown that by saving Luanne and her parents. Luanne was on her knees, coughing. She'd gotten the worst of the smoke and flames while her parents had rushed toward that end of the home to rescue her. If Ashe hadn't come, they'd all be burning inside the house.
Aedan pulled his shirt off swiftly and wrapped it around Ashe, who stood na**d in the light from the fire. There wasn't enough water pressure to the temporary homes to save the house, and with the other Cloud Chief residents either shifted to animal form or too young to help, there was nothing to do except watch the home burn.
"You all right?" Ashe clutched his father's shirt tightly around him and knelt before Luanne, who was being comforted by her parents. They'd just lost everything they owned in the fire. "Dad, will the witch's shield keep the humans from noticing this?" Ashe jerked his head toward the burning home.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online