Shadowed(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 2)(14) by Connie Suttle
"Edward, what is it?" Macy asked.
"Ashe says that Wynn and Dori might not mind if you went to visit," Edward said.
"That would be cool, where do they live?"
"Hang on while I get Wynn on the phone; they're at the O'Neill's this afternoon," Ashe said and lifted the cordless to dial Wynn's number. Soon Wynn had her mother's permission for the girls to visit.
"We'll be there in a minute to take you," Edward said. He, Ashe and Sali raced out of the house; Edward and Sali waited impatiently while Ashe set the alarm and then they all ran toward Macy Hill's mobile home.
"Be back by six, I'll have dinner ready around then," Ramona Hill called after Macy and Luanne. Luanne's parents were visiting again—they didn't like being cut off from the others.
"You guys walk everywhere, don't you?" Macy asked as they walked across a grassy field toward the O'Neill's farm.
"Just about. People don't drive much inside the community," Ashe agreed. "Sali runs to my house as wolf, sometimes. I have a couple changes of clothes for him when he gets there."
"What does it feel like—to change?" Luanne asked Sali, who nearly blushed at the attention.
"It doesn't hurt—it just is," Sali replied. "The first time I changed, I was ten. Marco—that's my older brother—was teasing me, telling me I wouldn't ever be a wolf. It was self-defense," he shrugged.
"The first time for me, I didn't even realize it," Ashe said. "I was sleeping and woke buried under the covers. At first, I thought I was dreaming. It took forever just to wriggle out of bed."
"You changed while you were asleep?" Macy stared at Ashe.
"The first time, yeah. Scared the dickens out of me."
"You had dickens in you? Must be awful coming out," Sali teased.
"Yeah, it's slimy and green," Ashe said, poking Sali in the ribs and running away.
"You can run but you can't hide," Sali shouted. "Get back here. We have guests."
"Yes, Mom," Ashe contritely trotted back. Edward snickered.
* * *
"This is cool," Macy and Luanne, hair blowing in the wind, stood on the lower rung of the white board fence and watched the sheep in one of the O'Neill's pastures, while Wynn and Dori talked about the farm the O'Neill's ran.
"You can't really have livestock if you turn into a predator," Dori sneered at Sali, who patently ignored her. "That's why the Pack always avoids this place and the Thompson's—they raise chickens and turkeys and shapeshift into a buffalo and a swan."
"So, not many pets, either?" Luanne asked.
"No. Dogs and cats would be curious when all the shapeshifters and wolves went out on the full Moon. Not a good combination," Wynn sighed. "And I always wanted a dog."
"We can send Sali over next month," Ashe offered.
"Ashe Evans, don't make me chase you," Wynn flipped white hair back and glared at Ashe. Ashe grinned at Wynn, who couldn't help but smile back.
"This is how it's supposed to be—friends having fun," Luanne breathed in the Oklahoma air and tilted her head back to revel in the afternoon sun.
"It hasn't been fun for a long time, has it?" Dori asked.
"No. Not for a while," Macy agreed.
* * *
"They've found a single fingerprint from the second murder site," Director Jennings informed Winkler over the phone. "I've also had someone investigating the department. Right now, there's no conclusive evidence—no ID on the fingerprint and the investigation has failed to turn up anything."
"Trajan thinks information was handed over to the Mayor by the second victim regarding the mobile homes—we trucked them in at the same time," Winkler said.
"You mentioned that before. But mobile homes move around in Oklahoma all the time. Why would it raise a lot of curiosity?"
"Because they all disappeared. Nobody can say one way or the other just where they ended up, and that's usually not the case, Director."
"So, if they were all dumped in a field somewhere so everybody could see, then the mystery would be solved?"
"Maybe. But we can't move another six in, just to cover for the first six. And we're down to five now, thanks to those two delinquents from Cloud Chief."
"I'm glad there was a vacant house for them to take," Bill observed. "Else we would have moved another one in."
"And potentially alerted the murderer. The jury's still out on that theory," Winkler said.
"I agree. We have next to no evidence, so we'll have to keep digging. Lawford and North have hit a dead end."
"If it's a serial killer, he'll strike again," Winkler said.
"That's what worries me," the Director sighed.
* * *
"Where is Philip's dad?" Sali asked as he, Ashe and Edward walked Macy and Luanne back to Macy's house.
"He's dead," Luanne replied. "I think Philip was ten when that happened. His father was killed in an accident at work."
"According to Philip, anyway," Macy said. "He doesn't talk much about that."
"So, no explanation about how he died?" Ashe was curious. He still hadn't talked to Edward about Edward's mother's accident, which likely wasn't an accident at all.
"None. We don't know and we didn't want to pry. You've seen how prickly Philip can be."
"Poor Philip, I don't think he knows where he is, most of the time," Luanne said. "He doesn't bother me, but I understand I'm in a minority."
"Of one," Macy agreed.
"Ashe," Edward began.
"Some of us saw you get into a car with two agents, Trace and somebody else a couple of days ago," Edward said uncomfortably. He'd been selected to ask questions about the incident.
"Oh. Well, I can't talk about that," Ashe scuffed his athletic shoe on a prickly pear that had sprung up during the warmer weather.
"Really? You can't?" Edward was pleading for information.
"Edward, don't ask. I can't talk about it," Ashe repeated.
"Macy, how was your visit?" Ramona Hill smiled at all the teens as they walked inside the Hill's home.
"Mom, it was really cool. We watched sheep and cows grazing. You should see the new lambs—they are so cute."
"It was great," Luanne agreed. "And they invited us back. Mrs. O'Neill said we could feed the calves next time."
"Excuse me," Trace stood at the door, tapping on the doorframe softly.
"What is it?" Rocky Hill went to let Trace in.
"I have to see Ashe," Trace said.
Ashe, who'd been listening while Macy and Luanne described their visit to the O'Neill's farm, turned to follow Trace out the door. "Ashe, they found a third victim in Cordell," Trace said. "A woman who works for the grocery store. When she didn't show up for her shift this morning, somebody went to check on her. They found her body inside the house. We need to get inside that house, Ashe. We'll be by after dinner tonight and drive you to Cordell."
Ashe stared at Trace for a moment. "Trace, do you know her name—what she looked like?"
"I don't have the particulars—those agents called Jason a few minutes ago, asking for you to come along and get us past the police that are guarding the crime scene. We'll get more information when they show up, I figure."
"All right. I'll tell Mom when she gets home," Ashe said.
"Go on back," Trace nodded toward Macy's house. "Don't let this bother you, kid."
"I'll try," Ashe said, but he already felt ill over the whole thing.
* * *
"Mom, Trace didn't know anything," Ashe said, pushing lasagna around on his plate. Normally he loved lasagna, but the queasiness he'd felt after talking with Trace had only increased. Ashe left the Hill's home shortly after his conversation with the tall werewolf, Sali following closely behind and asking questions. Ashe had to promise to tell Sali later. Disappointed, Sali trotted toward his home.
"Ready, kiddo?" Jason came in to collect Ashe half an hour later.
"Yeah." Ashe slid off the barstool he'd occupied after helping his mother with the dishes.
"He didn't eat much dinner, Jason," Adele pointed out as Ashe followed the werewolf out the door.
"Understood," Jason nodded. "This doesn't bother you, taking us inside like you do?" Jason asked as he slid the side door back so Ashe could climb into the van. Marcus was already inside the vehicle, sitting in the second row behind Agents Lawford and North.
"No. I'm upset because I know most of the people who work at the grocery store," Ashe said. "So I might know this person."
"I understand," Jason said, sliding in beside Marcus and slamming the door, once Ashe was inside and buckled in. "Let's go."
* * *
"Here is where the house is and what it looks like," Nick Lawford pointed out the home near the center of a narrow street. Ashe stared at the photograph—they'd downloaded the satellite image, he could tell. Like before, they'd parked in the church parking lot to allow Ashe to take them as mist to the location.
"It'll be the one with all the yellow crime scene tape around it," Derik North patted Ashe's shoulder. "Just get us inside, like last time. Any problems, let us know."
"Okay." Ashe took one last look at the photograph before turning to mist and then turning everyone else.
Agent North was correct—Ashe could see the crime scene tape from a distance. Worried that local authorities might still be inside, he misted through the entire house before dropping his passengers in the living room.
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