Read Dreamwalkers Online

Authors: Kate Spofford

Dreamwalkers (10 page)

BOOK: Dreamwalkers
12.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

It was enough to make anyone break. So he ran
away from all that responsibility. That didn’t make him weak. He
was still alive, still fighting to survive. Since he left me

since I didn’t go looking for him

since I didn’t fight for him

I shake my head.

something terrible has happened to him. He
was injured, captured, and now he’s running somewhere.

And strangely, though I can’t communicate
through our bond because of the distance, I get the sense that he’s
not running away. That he’s on a mission.

Maybe he’s coming back.

“I’m not trying to be mean,” Remy says
finally. “I don’t even know how we started talking about this.”

“Whatever.”

At least there’s some music to fill the empty
space where a great conversation could be taking place.

I don’t realize until almost noon that we
aren’t heading home.

“That sign just said Billings. We’re going
the wrong way!”

“I’m not going the wrong way.”

“Can’t you even admit that you’re lost?”

“We weren’t ever going back to your house,”
Remy says. “Sorry, I was going to tell you earlier in the
trip.”

“Why didn’t you tell me right from the start?
Was all this some trick to get me alone and vulnerable? For you to
take advantage of me?”

Remy laughs. “Kayla, I don’t think you could
ever be vulnerable.”

I glare at him. “Explain. Now.”

“Okay, okay.” He’s still laughing a little.
“I couldn’t tell you earlier, because you might have accidentally
leaked the real plans to your family. Through the bond. I know
you’d never tell them on purpose, but it’s very hard for bonded
werewolves to lie to each other. You know that.”

“I could have kept it secret.” My voice is
indignant but there’s a kernel of doubt that even my mental walls
aren’t strong enough. “So what is the real plan?”

“I have an idea of where Geo’s pack in
headquartered. We’re going to a location halfway between there and
your house.”

“How would you know where their headquarters
are? Unless you’re a spy?”

“I have ways.”

“Really? You don’t trust me enough to tell
me?”

“I thought we already established that.”

Touché.

“Okay, so what are we going to do at this
mysterious secret location?” I considered a joke about making
sweet, secret love, but decided against it.

“We’re going to use those mysterious, secret
powers of yours.”

Remy smiles.

Is that a little bit of wicked I see glinting
in his eyes?

 

 

 

 

-16-

 

We pull up to a hotel and once again, I have
to bite my tongue against bad sex jokes. I heard somewhere that
there’s a little truth behind every joke, I think Freud might have
said it. Maybe I need to get over myself and just admit that I want
to fuck Remy.

The thought makes my insides turn to ice.

“So this is the secret hideout,” I say,
hoping he doesn’t hear the slight tremor.

He winks. “Super secret.” He unbuckles his
seatbelt, then turns to me. “Uh, you’d better stay in the car.”

“Oh. Right. So they don’t think I’m your
underage Lolita prostitute,” I say.

His cheeks turn a slight shade of red. “Yeah.
Something like that.” He gets out of the car and shuts the door
behind him, only a wisp of cold air invading the warm interior.

I’m glad my awful sex jokes make him
uncomfortable. They make me uncomfortable. Why can’t I keep my
stupid mouth shut around him? I watch him walk to the hotel office,
and realize I’m checking out his ass. Great. This is one of those
motor lodges like the one my mom and aunt were staying at when I
got back, where a balcony allows for all the rooms to exit outside
instead of into a hallway. The kind of place where you could be
discreet and bring your whore.

It’s weird with Remy. With Daniel I didn’t
think about sex sex sex.

That night, after those wolves attacked us,
we were freezing and all I could think about was getting warm, and
yes, I had been impressed by the way Daniel had fought - so sexist,
I know but he was amazing, a fury of fangs and claws - and in
getting out of our wet, cold clothes, suddenly our skin met and our
bond drew us together and I couldn’t get enough, I wanted to be one
with him, to be inside his skin

his skin was cold on fire smooth with a
secret language of raised scars

something had loosened inside of me, a ball
of heat in my abdomen, and the desire made all thoughts of cold go
away

holding him so tight I probably hurt him

I didn’t care if he hurt me, it was all the
same at that point, cold/hot/pleasure/pain

I couldn’t tell you many of the details about
that night, my rational thought went away and all I can remember is
that heat and fierce wanting. After that, I was so sure… How could
there have been any doubt in his mind? We were powerful together.
We were bonded. We were meant to be. I could only make him
stronger.

Yet he left me, only a few days later.

A thought niggles in my brain.

you could have been kinder

I was never really mean to him.

you could have been more patient

shown him some affection

What was that night if not affection?

you pushed him to that breaking point you
broke him

women who are too strong only end up causing
pain

No. No no no. That’s just my mother’s
brainwashing. I can be this strong. It isn’t my fault Daniel
couldn’t deal with it.

but you could have

would have

should have

It was either push him or die in waiting for
him to figure it out.

When the car door opens, I’m grateful for the
wash of cold air to clear my head.

“We’re all set,” Remy says. “Let’s go.”

 

 

 

 

-17-

 

Remy throws his bag on the bed. “I hope
you’re feeling sleepy.”

“Really? Pillow talk already?” Inside my
head, facepalm. “I know, I need to get serious. Sorry.”

“I’m half-kidding anyway. It’s three in the
afternoon.” He digs in his bag and pulls out a map, spreads it out
on the coverlet of one of the beds in the room. He reaches back
into the bag and takes out a manila envelope. “I need to get you up
to speed on the situation first, anyway.”

I sit on the bed, noticing the red X’s drawn
on the map, which shows all of Montana, the Dakotas, and the top
half of Wyoming.

“I’m not sure if you’ve paid any attention to
the local news at all lately,” Remy begins.

“That would be a no.”

He pulls some papers out of the envelope.
Newspaper clippings. Lots of them.

“There have been a statistically high number
of wild animal attacks. More specifically, wild dog attacks. People
have been getting attacked, systematically, over the past couple of
years.” Remy points to the red X’s on the map. There are about
thirty X’s, sometimes clustered. “I’ve been charting them. They’re
all fairly localized, and they are increasing in frequency. All of
the victims are young, between 18 and 35 years old, athletic types.
A lot of joggers and hikers.”

“So Geo’s pack is hungry?” I ask.

Remy furrows his brow, searching my face.
“They’re not eating people.”

I’m not quite sure what he’s getting at.

“They’re building an army,” he says.

I feel like I should be in the remedial
class. “So… they’re kidnapping young women to try to breed more
werewolves? I guess twenty years from now maybe they can overpower
us.”

“Do you not know–” Remy squints his eyes and
shakes his head.

“Don’t I know what?” I demand.

“How werewolves are created?”

I laugh. “Sure. Daddy werewolf puts his dick
in Mommy werewolf, and nine months later, baby Kayla is born.”

Remy stares at me, and I blush at my own
crassness.

“Is that the only way?” he asks
carefully.

I roll my eyes. “Yes. I mean, humans and
werewolves can breed, but there are more miscarriages and
deformities.”

“Wow.” Remy runs a hand through his hair.
“Really, wow.”

“What?” I say. “What am I missing?” I’m ready
to cry in frustration. I hate feeling stupid. Possibly even more
than I hate feeling weak. I suppose, in its own way, feeling stupid
is a sort of weakness.

“Your family… you’re so insular. So…”

“Inbred? Is that the word you’re looking
for?”

“Well… yeah.”

“They’re your family too, remember.”

He nods. “I guess what I mean is, your family
has been separate for so long that a lot of knowledge has been
lost. I guess it makes sense. Your families believed that purebred
wolves were the strongest, so you passed down this information that
humans and wolves had difficult pregnancies. Okay. But why wouldn’t
anyone tell you that humans can be turned into wolves?”

“What?”

“It isn’t an exact science. Not like in the
movies, where you get one werewolf bite and that’s it. There has to
be some exchange of fluids, blood and saliva. The kind of exchange
that might happen with a violent attack.”

Remy’s words buzz past my ears. Humans can be
turned into werewolves, and I didn’t know? Was Mom keeping this
from me? Or did she not know this either?

Forget about the betrayal, Remy is watching
me. I can finally connect all the pieces. “They’re creating an army
of new wolves. That’s why they’re picking younger, stronger people.
So they can survive the change and become good fighters.”

He nods. “They’ve mostly attacked men, a few
women. Although I’ve been keeping track of people who have simply
gone missing, too, and there are even more women among the missing.
I can’t be sure of their exact numbers. My hunch is that they
attack, wait for the human to get to the hospital, heal up a bit,
then either convince the new wolf to join the pack, or kidnap them.
It’s hard to follow up on how many of those who were attacked might
have changed. I mean, we’re werewolves, and we can walk around and
look like humans most of the time. Even if Geo is changing these
people for an army, he might allow them to continue their lives. My
sense is that the pack ties are bonded with blood, so anyone turned
through a bite must obey the alpha of the wolf who bit them.”

“You’re not sure? You think these people
might be able to join another pack, separate of who turned
them?”

“Geo must have some way to keep these new
wolves loyal to him. He’s attacked them, and yet somehow they’re
sticking with him as an alpha, which indicates that they have to,
because of some kind of pack bond. Blood bond. But that’s an
interesting idea, that they could just join another pack.”

“Obviously, I have no idea how pack ties work
outside of family,” I say with an edge to my voice. “All I know is
that you’re born into your pack. End of story. Thanks, Mom.”

Remy raises his hand to touch my shoulder. I
jerk away. “She might not have known herself… although the history
is right there. At some point, the five families were all
intermarried. All one family, one pack, and yet somehow there were
those who broke away.”

“Yeah,” I mumble, and stand to stare out the
window, my arms crossed over my chest.

I can barely speak for how stupid I feel. Was
everything I learned about my kind a lie? I think about Daniel, and
his disastrous transition on his thirteenth birthday. For so long I
just accepted that this was the way male werewolves behaved.
Violent, cruel. It made sense that when a male werewolf changed for
the first time, the other males would challenge him, to discover
his rank in the pack. I didn’t really get why Daniel had no idea
what he was. It was simply part of the rules, that we couldn’t talk
about it, and I had to obey them, even after Daniel’s father, my
Uncle Frank, was murdered–I suppose because after Daniel killed all
the males in the pack, that made him the alpha, and he never gave
any orders to the contrary.

It was so different for me. My mother
explained what was going to happen long before my transition. She
and Aunt Jenny talked me through my first change, and then we
hunted.

Now, all these years later, I find out things
could have been different? I discover that not all male werewolves
were abusive assholes? That there was nothing tying Aunt Jenny to
Uncle Frank?

Daniel’s life would have been so
different.

My life would have been so different. The
possibilities become a yawning chasm before me: I wouldn’t have
been bonded to Daniel, I would never have felt like I was chained
to this fate. I wouldn’t have had to leave school just before my
sophomore year to travel alone around the country looking for my
cousin, because we all assumed he was the alpha. I could have just
gone out and found some other guy, a human guy, or another werewolf
from another pack, and I didn’t have to be bonded?

And I certainly wouldn’t have to deal with my
mom pressuring me to mate with Remy, a man–a man, in his
twenties–when I’m not yet sixteen.

“Jesus Christ,” I mutter.

Remy’s voice breaks through my thoughts. “I
know it’s a lot to take in, but–”

I don’t hear the rest of what he’s saying,
because I jerk the door to our hotel room open and leave, slapping
the tears off my cheeks.

 

 

 

 

-18-

 

The bright sun outside provides a sharp
contrast to the storm of emotions inside me. I stomp through
puddles of melting snow, toward the road. There’s a sidewalk, so
I’m not totally out of place walking around, although I wish I’d
brought my coat. The flannel shirt I’m wearing doesn’t keep out the
stiff March breeze.

I feel worse than stupid. Remy said it all
when he said, “The history is right there.” Any idiot could have
figured out that wolves were able to disobey their alphas, to break
their pack bonds. I don’t even know what I thought before. Whatever
it was had been totally naïve.

BOOK: Dreamwalkers
12.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Bayou Wolf by Heather Long
Knight Without Armour by James Hilton
Fine Just the Way It Is by Annie Proulx
My Give a Damn's Busted by Carolyn Brown
Storyteller by Patricia Reilly Giff
Sara by Greg Herren
Property Of by CP Smith
St. Peter's Fair by Ellis Peters