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Authors: Kate Spofford

Dreamwalkers (17 page)

BOOK: Dreamwalkers
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Once my eyes adjust to the lack of light, I
get up and slip out of the bedroom and past the sleeping boys in
the living room. I use all the tricks Remy taught me to be
completely silent.

I can’t leave Misty alone anymore.

Last night, after I had calmed down, we all
discussed how we might mobilize. There was talk of taking Remy’s
Jeep and camping, but it would be a tight fit, and we’d have to
rent a trailer for all of our stuff. The whole thing felt horribly
slow and clunky.

My clothes are on the ground. I am wolf.

I feel the pull of Misty’s bond, and I am
going to help her.

 

 

 

 

-
30-

 

I’ve never let my wolf guide me this way. She
knows the way to go, without the aid of any map or GPS, she just
feels Misty out there and we go that way. I try not to listen to
the rational side of my brain. “This isn’t a good idea,” it keeps
saying.

The forest presents only a few challenges,
like when I come to a river raging with the spring rains. The
narrowest point I can find is several miles upriver where a manmade
bridge connects a road. Rather than risk getting wet, I cross on
the pavement, then quickly make my way back, away from
civilization.

The mountains make things a little harder,
only because I have to stop and rest more often. I take quick naps.
I want to avoid any dreamwalking that might lead me into Ben’s
path.

The sun rises. The sun sets. I hunt down some
pheasant. I nap. I keep going.

I had thought Geo’s camp would be closer.
Misty’s pull had felt so strong, I didn’t imagine it would be this
far. I can no longer smell civilization, and I worry that I have
crossed over into Canada, even though I’m sure I didn’t walk so
far. Daniel ran all the way from Nebraska to northern Montana, and
I’m so exhausted after one day that I’m barely trotting along.

I am taking another nap, my eyes falling
closed the second I lie down, when I am jolted awake.

My head snaps up, my ears swiveling for the
sound that woke me. Or maybe it wasn’t a sound, but a scent. The
rocky overhang under which I slept has too many strong odors for me
to sort through. Channeling all of Remy’s lessons, I seek those
spaces of existence.

The hairs on my neck rise up.

There is something right above me.

I’ve learned how to hide my noise and my
presence, but I can’t hide my sweat-stink and I can’t make my
physical body disappear. I can only hope that whoever is up there
on the rock is just another animal, or in human form.

A tense few minutes pass, then I hear that
creature race off back the way it came. I don’t dare peek for
several more minutes. I know it was a wolf.

After the sounds of its departure fully
disappear, I dart out from under my rock and continue toward
Misty.

 

 

 

 

-31-

 

I have to move more slowly. I can smell them.
Not Geo’s wolves, but his prisoners. Those who are like Misty.
Maybe even those mud-wrestling girls. It stinks of sweat and blood
and shit and fear.

I never got any images from Misty about where
exactly she was being kept. I felt the things that directly
affected her: a metal collar around her neck, chains, a muddy
clearing. No images of whether they are near houses, or a road, or
anything. I can’t imagine a house out here. This is truly the
middle of nowhere.

So I am quite surprised to come to a dirt
road, and a fence. I turn right and follow the fence to a sign
calling this “Wolf River Campground.”

A campground?

There’s a little building beyond the sign
marked by a fake wood shingle with the word OFFICE carved into it.
The windows are dark. There are trucks and vans and SUVs and some
ATVs parked nearby.

I slink in through the gate, which is a
simple wooden log barring the road, and get as far from that
building as possible, creeping alongside the fence. Once I feel
like I am out of sight, I crouch down and use my senses to
determine the layout.

The bathrooms are nearby. Or maybe they just
haven’t been cleaned in a while. Beyond that, I smell gasoline and
oil.

There are a lot more people here than I might
have considered. Fifty, a hundred? My senses are freaking out. I
feel the pull of Misty, and of course she’s somewhere in the middle
of this. Shit. I should have been more cautious. How the hell did
they let me become an alpha, anyway? I’m no good at making
decisions. I’m too headstrong.

run get out they are surrounding you

No. I can’t turn back now. I came all this
way for Misty, and I’m going to help her, or I’ll never have a
decent night’s sleep.

Maybe I can dart in and dart out. Grab her
and run.

“Well what do we have here?”

I jump and turn, blindly attacking the owner
of the male voice. My teeth sink into his leg, and I am momentarily
confused as to why he isn’t running away or fighting back, until I
feel the cold prick of a needle sliding into my neck.

After that, it’s just darkness.

No dreams.

 

When I wake up I am immediately aware that
there is a heavy leather collar around my neck, complete with
chain.

Contrary to popular belief, werewolves do not
have super strength. Anything that would restrain a normal dog
would restrain me. A fact which does not please me right now. I am,
however, happy to discover that I am still a wolf. I’d rather not
be here naked.

Here is a mud-filled pen, surrounded on all
sides by chain-link fencing. My chain snakes through the mud and
joins the fence with a heavy padlock. A glance up reveals that
there is a chain-link roof as well. The pen is about twenty feet
square, and I share the space with someone else.

(Misty!)

She is not wolf. I can tell that her collar
is tight against her neck, which would prevent her from making the
change. She shivers in the mud, but she is wearing clothes.
Probably so she doesn’t freeze to death.

Another reason to be grateful for being a
wolf right now.

Her eyes slowly open. They are the dead brown
of leaves fallen at the end of autumn. They look at me but do not
see me.

(Misty it’s me it’s Kayla you know me)

Still blank. Not even a flicker of
acknowledgement.

If I can feel her, why can’t she hear me?

A loud clang makes me jump. My nerves are
alive and I can’t focus on anything. So many smells, so many
sounds. I keep trying to use my eyes to see what’s happening
instead of allowing my wolf to sense what’s happening.

“Looky here, girl,” says a familiar voice.
Ben. I growl before my nose scents his stink.

He stands outside the fence. Ripped jeans,
plaid flannel shirt unbuttoned underneath a bright orange down
vest. Shaggy brown hair escaping from a knit cap pulled low over
his brow. Not quite as cruelly handsome as in my dream, but then
again, most people’s self-images don’t usually match what they see
in the mirror.

For some reason, I assumed he’d been talking
to me when he said “girl.” My self-image doesn’t exactly match up
right now, either. He’s talking to Misty.

“Got you a little pet wolfy,” Ben says. He
reaches through the fence and grabs the chain attached to my neck
and rattles it.

I don’t think; I’m already lunging at that
hand. My teeth snap on empty air just before my body slams into the
fence. The men standing around give a collective, “Ooooh,” and
laugh.

Ben looks at me with a smug grin.

I growl.

“Nice wolfy,” he says. “Hey, bitch–” this he
directs at Misty, “Get the fuck up.”

Misty doesn’t move.

“Wolfy here seems to be a mite hungry,” Ben
says. “You might want to get up before she eats you.”

When Misty doesn’t respond, one of the other
men standing around yells, “Come on, bitch, turn wolf already!”

Slowly I’m starting to understand what’s
happening. I had assumed these men knew who I was, and knew somehow
that I’d been in contact with Misty. Instead, it looks like they
don’t know I’m a werewolf too. And it seems Misty is refusing to
change. No wonder, after all she’s been through.

I move toward her.

(Misty. Can you hear me?)

I make my thoughts as crystal clear as I
can.

(Please, hear me. I am your alpha.)

Misty blinks, and her eyes shift.

do it kill me just fucking kill me already
fucking wolf

The closer I get to Misty the louder the men
become. One of them grabs the fencing and rattles it, which makes
me jump. Then more start up. I struggle to focus.

(I am your alpha)

Nothing.

I edge closer. The weight of the chain drags
through the mud, drags on the heavy collar around my neck. I stop
right at Misty’s bare feet.

I meet her gaze. The rattling fence fades
away. Right now, it’s just me and her and our bond. Nothing
else.

(I AM YOUR ALPHA)

A small wrinkle appears in her forehead,
between her eyebrows.

Then she lunges at me with a primal yell.

The men go crazy, yelling and banging the
fence.

Misty has her hands wrapped around my collar,
and she shakes it back and forth so that my head is whipped around.
The movement makes my jaw snap open and shut but I crane my face
away so I’m not going to bite her. I won’t bite her. This human
cannot kill me.

And I am not going to kill one of my own
pack, even if she doesn’t realize it.

She tries to slam me down on the ground–damn,
this girl has some guns on her–and instead I twist and use my
weight to slam into her, catching her off balance. She pulls me to
the ground with her, but her grip is loose and I manage to manuever
away just long enough to jump on her chest and keep her down. I put
my face right up to hers.

(I AM YOUR ALPHA)

I growl at her. When she tenses up to move, I
snap my fangs in her face and growl again.

(I AM YOUR ALPHA)

She’s looking at me now. Not her previous
dead stare. The little wrinkle is back. And her eyes are seeing
me.

(I AM YOUR ALPHA)

(how can I hear you shit what is happening am
i going to turn now please i don’t want to turn again)

(I am your alpha. You will not turn.)

My paws step to the muddy ground, and I watch
her get to her elbows.

She’s watching me.

(why can i hear it)

(you can hear me because I am your alpha)

(fuck i can hear the wolf the wolf is talking
to me i am going insane)

Misty begins to look panicked. I take a deep
breath and make my thoughts as clear as possible.

(My name is Kayla. I am your alpha. I met you
in a dream, do you remember?)

Her eyes widen. Instead of words I see
images, flickers of dream memories.

(Yes, that was me. I came here to help
you.)

(oh jesus, i can’t i can’t even oh jesus)

I decide Misty needs a few minutes to
understand.

Of course, here I am, “I’m your alpha!” and
I’m chained up just like her, alone. Not exactly the most
reassuring beacon of rescue.

I watch numerous emotions flash across
Misty’s face. Fear, desperation, curiosity, anger, hopelessness. I
wish hopelessness wasn’t the last one, but that’s the one that
stays on her face, as the sounds of the men around me begin to
attract my attention again.

“What is this?” one guy grumbles. “I want a
fight!”

“Yeah, Ben! You got us a dud.”

“She’s no dud,” Ben says loudly enough to be
heard over all the complaints. “What we got here, boys, is an
alpha.”

“Shit.” This comes from a guy with no teeth.
“A bitch alpha? No way.”

I can’t help it; my hackles are up. I’m
alone, and Misty doesn’t look like she’ll be much help right now.
Once the shell shock wears off maybe. My neck hurts from all that
flinging around. I wonder how many times Misty has been forced to
fight other werewolves.

“Come on. No such thing.”

The guys all seem to agree. I turn my head
around, seeking out some other females, but none of them surround
this mud pit. If there are in fact any female werewolves in this
pack, these guys probably have them chained up in the kitchen.
Bastards.

Ben watches me through the fence. “You all
know Geo is looking for a pack of females,” he says, and the crowd
quiets.

“The true alpha left, we all know that. So
what happens after three years with no alpha?” Ben gestures toward
me with his hand. “This is what happens. An aberration. A freak of
nature.”

“Amen!” yells some guy behind me.

“Now, Geo wants this pack of females. But we
can’t exactly give him a female alpha, now can we?”

A chorus of no’s and no way’s and
never’s.

“She’s the reason we haven’t been able to
break this one,” Ben continues. He’s referring to Misty. “Why she
doesn’t obey. Because this bitch here is her alpha.”

Ben turns from the men and glares at me. I
glare back. His words make my blood boil. Aberration? Freak? Just
because I’m a girl?

A low growl burns in the back of my
throat.

“What we need to do, boys, is break the
alpha.”

 

 

 

 

-32-

 

I don’t even have time to comprehend before
men start ripping their shirts off. It isn’t pretty. Sure, some of
them are in decent shape, but many of them haven’t done much
running lately, wolf or otherwise. There’s hair, and not wolf
hair.

Ben keeps his shirt on. He just watches me
with calculating eyes. He’s waiting to see what I’ll do.

And I’m waiting to see what they’re all going
to do. They seem to know without being told, like this is a fairly
common occurrence.

Misty doesn’t even move. She’s back to being
catatonic.

I find myself pacing. I suppose I could have
played it cool, stayed absolutely still until I knew what Ben was
up to, but I’d rather be warm and ready to fight. It’s looking like
it will be a fight. Me versus about fifty guys/wolves.

BOOK: Dreamwalkers
11.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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