Who killed him????
Beta Horace was sliding through the trees bordering Chapmistres View, his cougar made almost no noise but he knew vampire guards might be on duty at night and their hearing was even better than a shifter’s.
He was surprised to find a lone witch guard at the border but quickly took advantage, he jumped and took the man down. Before the man could cry out, he bit down hard on his throat almost severing his head. The witch bled out silently as Horace changed back to his human shape. He turned and took the offered clothes from Remy and quickly dressed.
“Gerald, can you hide us once we’re across the border?” he demanded harshly of the witch accompanying them. He had been annoyed to find out from Gerald that he couldn’t hide them while they were in the forest because of the spell which had been placed round the border of Chapmistres View.
“Yes, I told you I could and I will,” snapped the witch as he started muttering a spell.
Horace grunted and waited to see what would happen, the plan so far had not gone to plan. They had wanted to get in and out without being detected. Now they had a dead guard and there would be limited time before Chapmistres Council realized who would most likely be trying to get into the community.
A glow surrounded the gathered shifters and when it faded, Horace could still feel the tingle of the magic against his skin, it made him want to scratch.
“Now,” said Gerald, giving each man a pointed stare. “First rule, no shifting. The spell is keyed to you as you are now. If you shift you’ll negate the spell and be revealed. Second, no speaking near to anyone. Essentially we’re all invisible. But that doesn’t mean people can’t still hear us or see our shadows. So that’s rule three, stay out of sunlight unless you want people to wonder what is casting a man shaped shadow. Any questions?”
Everyone shook their heads, and Horace took over.
“Right, the plan is to get in and out quickly and with the boy. Remy, you’ve been here before, you’ll direct us to the clinic and we’ll hang around and see what we can find out. If the little freak isn’t there, we’ll have to start searching. Remy, lead the way.” He waved Remy forward and fell in behind the other beta.
They headed along the track leading to the main road. Not for the first time, Horace wished they had been able to bring the cars. But the cars had been unable to make it through the forest. If they had come by the main road they wouldn’t have had any hope of approaching the community without being seen.
Horace sighed to himself, he hated walking on two legs, they were shifters and on four legs they could be in the main town center in half the time it was going to take them at their current pace.
The other men were walking behind him and laughing at some joke, as head beta he didn’t get involved in friendships with the lower ranks. His Alpha saw friendships as a weakness, and he had not become head beta by showing any weaknesses. He had suggested this mission because he knew if he had let his Alpha attack head on, the men behind him would have been the first to fall when Chapmistres sent out their guards to meet them. His Alpha was strong and led with an iron fist. Sometimes though — if only to himself — Horace questioned his Alpha’s ways.
Also, he was lonely and wanted to find his mate. But under his Alpha’s rules it was a sign of weakness to want to be loved. He thought about the young girl who worked in the kitchen at the Alpha’s house, he had recently found out her name was Lucy. She always made sure he got a little extra on his plate, and she had a beautiful shy smile. He shuddered when he thought about what would happen to her and him if he ever expressed more than a wish to fuck her and drop her. As it was he had never mentioned the girl and hoped the Alpha never noticed how he watched her whenever he could.
He was actually starting to worry how the pack was going to keep going. If the Alpha stopped too many shifters from finding their mates, no more children would be born. With no children, even with a shifter’s long life line, eventually the pack would die out. The average shifter lived to be over five hundred years old. The Alpha was two hundred but he wasn’t the oldest of the pack. The oldest was William, the Alpha had banished him to the outskirts of the pack grounds when William had questioned the Alpha’s decisions one too many times. The Alpha couldn’t banish William entirely as he was too well respected, but he was also too weak with age to challenge the Alpha for his position.
Horace was brought out of his thoughts by a low call from Remy.
“Sir, we’re nearly there. Do you want to wait till night again? It’s nearly sunrise and we’ll cast shadows if we try and get through town.”
Although Horace didn’t like the further delay, he had to admit Remy had a point.
“Okay, find us somewhere to rest for the day and we’ll continue on tonight.”
Remy nodded and headed off the road to find a likely place to hide till night.
“Will the spell stay active even if you’re asleep?” Horace asked Gerald.
“The spell will stay active ‘til I dismiss it or until someone outside the group finds you and grabs hold of you. Their touch will nullify the spell.” Gerald answered. He then shrank back when Horace growled at him.
“What do you mean if someone touches us it will nullify the spell? You mean we have to avoid being touched at all, by anyone outside our group?”
“Well… I mean if someone finds you and touches you, it would nullify the spell. The spell is to hide you from people. If they find you, then what’s the point of the spell?”
Horace shook his head furiously, “Next time tell us everything from the beginning. What would have happened if one of us had accidently brushed against someone? It would have revealed them to the enemy.”
Gerald blanched, “I’m sorry. I didn’t think of that. I’ll do better I promise.”
Horace just waved the man off, he knew he couldn’t hurt the annoying witch. If he did then they would be without protection.
Remy came back at that moment and waved them over.
“I’ve found an abandoned barn of some kind. It’s about a mile off the road so we should be able to get some rest. It is also easy to defend with only one way in and out. We would only need to set one person to watch while the rest of us sleep.”
Horace nodded and indicated for Remy to lead the way.
The barn was old but sturdy. It would be fit for their purposes, so Horace set Jerry to watch and headed inside with the others to find a spot to sleep. He usually slept in his cougar form but knowing he couldn’t shift he accepted the blanket from Liam and rolled himself up to keep warm.
His last thoughts were of Lucy, she would be cooking breakfast for the Alpha. Smiling he drifted off to sleep.
Jackson looked up at the banging on his door. At his call, Thane came rushing in.
“Jackson. Larry is dead!”
“What?” Jackson said as he rose, “What happened?”
“He was found by the forest boundary, his throat had been torn out.” Thane shuddered as he spoke, “there is blood everywhere.”
“Call Adam and meet me there with him. What part of the forest boundary was he found in?”
“Section 2b, about four miles from the main road.”
Jackson nodded and they both headed out the door, Thane already had his phone out and was dialing Adam.
Jackson arrived at the location to find Jamie leaning over the dead body of the guard.
“What are you doing here, Jamie?” Jackson asked, crouching down carefully beside the young healer.
“A healer was requested to determine how long ago he was killed and by what.” Jamie answered, his voice was cold and he didn’t bother to look up.
Jackson was taken aback by the tone of his answer but he decided to ignore it for now.
“How did you get here so quick?”
“Casey brought me and then went straight back to the clinic.” Again Jamie’s tone was short.
“Oh, is Vash okay?” Jackson thought maybe Vash had panicked again and Casey had rushed back to be with him.
“Vash is fine. He was asleep when I left, his first shift left him worn out. He woke up to drink a glass of blood and a protein shake, then went straight back to sleep.”
“So why did Casey go to all the trouble of bringing you here and going back when he could have just stayed himself?” Jackson was starting to get worried about Jamie’s tone.
Jamie finally looked up and Jackson was shocked to see the anger that was in the young man’s eyes.
“Casey didn’t stay because of you. Or are you actually oblivious to the fact he is back to trying to ensure he is never in the same room as you again? The only time he voluntarily stays in a room with you is when Vash is there, and that is only because Vash trusts you and he wants Vash to have as much support as he can get. You supported us when we were growing up and he wants Vash to have the same.”
Jackson was taken by surprise at the rant coming from Jamie. He was so used to Casey not wanting to be in the same room with him he hadn’t noticed it had gotten better recently and now was getting worse again.
“But what have I done this time?”
Jamie looked at him like he was the worst idiot he had ever seen, “You really have to ask that?” Jamie shook his head, “You’re even more delusional than I thought. Since you were hurt, Casey has spent the time ‘til Vash arrived working. He worked all hours of the day and night. Now Vash is staying with him, he puts all his energy into making sure Vash is okay and well looked after. What does all that tell you?”
“I know he’s angry with me. He has been since he was sixteen. But I have never worked out why.”
Jamie got up and brushed his hands off, “This man died about twelve hours ago and he was killed by an animal. It must have been fast and large. It came at him from the side, knocked him over and tore out his throat, all before he could call out, or the guards nearby would have heard him.
“As for the other. If you can’t work out Casey by now, I’m not going to help you. Just know that unless you’re there to see Vash, I would advise you stay away from the clinic and main house.”
With his last words Jamie’s eyes went distant and with a pop Casey appeared by his side. Casey glared at Jackson and took Jamie’s hand before they both disappeared again, leaving Jackson looking on in confusion about what he had done wrong.
Shaking his head he looked up to see Thane and Adam approaching, he quickly filled them in on what Jamie had said.
“It’s times like this that I wished we could use dogs on these cases,” Thane stated, bringing up an old argument.
“We’ve had this discussion,” Jackson snapped, still feeling out of sorts from his discussion with Jamie. “Dog are too sensitive to vampires and magic. All they would do is bark at any vampire or witch that was near them, including hybrids. Besides I’ll bet there isn’t a scent to follow. If this is Vash’s old pack — as we all suspect — I’m sure their too smart to leave evidence for us to use as proof.”
They arranged for the body to be transported to the morgue and decided to head back to the council building to start making some enquiries.