I trailed them, noticing in the past twenty or so hours since I'd last left my basement with two of Bob's crew that the backyard had been cleaned up -- not to the ground but nevertheless somewhat landscaped. The prickly nasty bushes I'd carefully groomed to dissuade homeless and local kids were gone. The traps of rocks, barbed wire and dead animal corpses were all gone.
"What the hell, Harry?" My voice was tight as we approached the now open door that had been cleverly hidden by shrubbery and artfully placed wood rendered meaningless -- light illuminated the doorway -- Jasmine stopped and turned sandwiching Harry between us. Her right fist was clenched by her side -- but I felt that fury wasn't in any directed at me, but in fact Harry had her focus.
"Calm down, Bethany. This morning I purchased this house and a few others. I ran the purchases through a shell company owned by a friend of the family from San Francisco. So, the prices were obscene but all cash, this afternoon we had a few gardening crews come out and clean up all the properties and haul off abandoned scrap metal." Cluelessly Harry kicked at the hornet's nest he'd created.
"Calm down? What the fuck is wrong with you!" Nope, not me, Jasmine was livid for me. It actually rocked me back a step as I watched her tear into Harry.
"Harry, again, what the hell is wrong with you? Telling Bethany to 'calm down' like she's throwing a fit. She just found out that you and your 'crew' violated one of her places," snarling Jasmine hit the sweet spot for me without saying anything that was too revealing if we were overheard.
Harry's gaze flew to mine as her words -- said and unsaid -- dug into his hide. His usual mantle of superiority and absolute belief that his ideas were always the only right ideas had hit the unexpected. A mask slid over his features as he reconsidered whatever excuse had popped into his thoughts. Visibly he was cool as a cucumber, but his mouth was a firm line. He spat out a single reply, "Inside."
My eyes found Jasmine's and I gave a slight nod of thanks. She spun on her heel and went inside and down to what I'd always thought of as 'my basement'. My buttons were most definitely being pushed. Harry stood to the side and indicated that I was to proceed him downstairs -- from his arrogance I knew he wanted me to give into whatever he'd planned as our worlds were obviously intent on colliding. I reluctantly bit back a smartass comment that was dancing in my thoughts.
As we clomped down the stairs, I noticed that Eddie had triggered all the motion sensor lights while carrying the resisting Violet into the basement. Thankfully, Harry shut the door to the backyard behind himself as the drunk woman was going ballistic at the sight of the three cages available. Unlike Bob's psycho buddies, she had a healthy imagination and was shrieking like a B movie extra. I was happy my previous subcontractors had installed the volume dampening foams and acoustic tiles properly -- nobody would be able to hear anything from her antics or ours. Yay me! I looked at Eddie who was trying to shut the cell door while Violet was drunkenly stumbling around the space. She kept trying to swipe at the werewolf and missing. He wasn't furred out, but I could taste his desire on the air.
Violet's language was colorful to say the least -- I don't think some of her more exotic suggestions she'd offered were actually possible in either human or werewolf forms. "You will pay for putting your foul hands on me, you fucking asshole. I am going to sue you." She spat out as Eddie backed away from her flailing claws while he double checked that he'd fully shut the door to the cage. She kept trying to reach through the bars trying to catch the fast-moving were. He was smiling. Even I found his smile a tad disturbing. He still had a human appearing smile but there was an otherly feeling to the scene.
Eddie stood waiting for Violet to shut up and actually see him. Harry chuckled softly and whispered, "Just let him have his fun, Bethany. After all, it's going to be a long night." As it was nearly dawn, I looked to see Jasmine softly agreed while meeting my gaze she rolled her eyes easily conveying to me her thoughts about the male posturing -- universal no matter what the species.
Harry, Jasmine and I stood at the base of the stairs and simply watched while Violet stopped and grew aware that all of us were simply gazing at her. Looking directly at Eddie, standing motionless not more than two feet from her in the cage, she snarled, "What, fuckwad? You got something to say?"
Instead of replying to her, Eddie began to do something that Violet certainly wasn't anticipating. With slow and deliberate movements, he took off his work boots, setting them next to where he stood and then started removing his leather belt. Her face paled as it dawned on her that Eddie was slowly stripping. It wasn't exotic or remotely sexual but methodical and nearly mechanical. I immediately recognized why Eddie was doing it. He'd started to shift -- the electric feeling of impending fur was now decidedly present -- on the other hand Violet had an entirely different interpretation on the scene unfolding before her eyes.
She, again, started running her mouth, fear and alcohol fueling her, "What the fuck are you freaks? If you think raping me will keep me quiet, you're damned stupid. Just an old gang bang for you asses, huh? Or wait," she viciously snapped out, "you two bitches plan on doing each other?" She clawed at her hair draping her pasty, white face so she could glare at me and Jasmine, taunting us to reply.
Damn, the woman had a mouth on her. Looking to Jasmine I saw that she was grinning -- encouraging Violet to go minorly nuts -- in response the woman began screaming and swearing while pacing in the cell, there wasn't anywhere for her to go or hide from us. Eddie hadn't stopped disrobing but had placed his socks inside one of his shoes and circled his belt putting it inside his other boot along with the contents of his pockets. All of it was being carried out in silence and very deliberate with little wasted motions. Soon Eddie was down to his boxers. His body was lean but deeply scarred -- given his other nature I figured either pre-existing trauma before he was turned, or he'd been nearly killed while in his werewolf form. The natures of weres varied on how they were created -- there were natural werewolves born from other supernaturals, but that was extremely rare. Being turned was far more likely -- bite marks usually hidden from the normal clothed 'human' view and from our current viewpoint -- his backside -- I didn't yet see any discernable bite marks. It wasn't polite to ask how a were had been created but I admit curiosity filled me while I watched his hands go to the waistband of his boxers. Jasmine also seemed transfixed by her view.
Violet began to hyperventilate and grabbed the door to the cell and started to frantically shake the metal bars -- like that would cause the door to swing open, sheer will and panic fueled strength, nope not a chance. The iron bars were properly set into the concrete flooring and went down a full foot -- not all of my 'guests' had been human. Though as I thought about it I never had a werewolf, a witch and a vampire here all at the same time. It kind of felt like a bad joke in the making.
Her shrieks had grown softer -- I was fairly sure her throat was trashed. With a quick shuffle step Eddie's boxers were set on top of his jeans and work shirt. Nice ass but he was starting to shift before our eyes. It was then that I noticed a bite mark scar on his right cheek spelling out that his transition from human to werewolf had been bite triggered. Then the real fun started. His skin began to ripple as the shift started stretching his bones -- lengthening some -- rearranging to accommodate the supernatural form. Fur, not hair, rolled over his rapidly changing frame in thick brown, nearly black waves. He hunched over as a tail whipped free from his human shape -- a plume of brownish-black fur tipped with white on the end -- his face went lumpy and distorted with audible snapping and cracking as his jaw strengthened and shifted to appear longer -- not quite a dog snout but different and far more frightening.
Violet had released her hold on the bars and ran back to the bed in her cell. She pulled her body onto the bed in a failed attempt to make herself forgettable and smaller. Fear raced across her face and scented the air thickly. She sobered up instantly. The fear pushed out gobs of sweat washing away the spell I'd cast in the SUV earlier to diminish her stench. The harsh floral undertones of her crappy cologne tumbled into the air -- the sour smell of alcohol nearly rancid rolled off her body creating a miasma of horror for Eddie and Jasmine to breathe. Both Harry and I didn't bother to try to look human in the basement, so we weren't suffering her aroma.
Her wailing was rising as her brain was forced to accept what was happening right before her bloodshot eyes. Eddie transformed rather quickly, giving me the impression he was far older than he'd appeared and probably higher up in his clan's pack than I'd assumed. Harry caught my thought and nodded to me. Gee, lucky me, I guessed it right.
Eddie was huge and pretty damn scary. He'd dropped to four paws though I knew he'd been perfectly fine standing on his back legs -- but his reason for the four leg pacing showed me he wasn't done fucking with Violet -- using his claws he clicked back and forth outside the bars like he was the animal in a cage. Violet's fear kicked into high gear and she started mumbling, "No! No, go away. I won't sue." Yeah, like that would be happening any time soon. His pace picked up as her fear grew -- his tail lashed back and forth more cat-like than wolf. His gaze never left Violet.
Harry asked me, "Do you wish the honors?"
"Nah, let Jasmine open the gate. She can whammy the bitch if she wants. After all, we don't have to smell her stench," I replied.
Jasmine grinned while making some subtle sigils in the air preparing a spell I assumed for stunning Violet if she tried to attack us. From how the woman was cowering I saw no reason the spell work would be needed -- Violet was in a tight ball -- her knees were drawn up to her ample chest with her fake hair covering up nearly her entire form as fear flooded her frozen on top of the jailhouse bed. She'd lost her smug, self-entitled attitude as she finally clued in that everything in the world wasn't precisely how she'd figured that it had worked.
I watched as it was quickly dawning on the mortal that things going bump in the night could kill you -- at the very least. Her words had dried up as fear continued to flood her cells. She'd made no attempt to move from the bed or even glance up to Eddie audibly pacing on the concrete mere feet away directly in front of her. I could see that she somehow thought by ignoring the apex predator would make him disappear. No more threats to sue or nasty comments laced with swear words and false accusations of impending rape. Life wasn't anything she'd assumed, and her death wasn't decades away but moments. A soft keening -- moaning of fears and regrets -- started finally to bubble out of her.
Harry asked, "Bethany, are you sure you don't wish to do the honors?"
It was nice of him to offer but I'd had enough toxicity running through my veins to last at least a solid decade. I knew that I needed to be clearheaded for whatever Harry had planned. He always had a hidden agenda or Byzantine layers of plots, twists and carefully crafted long range plans. His job within the non-supernatural world gave him tools not readily available to me. He wasn't Machiavellian because for all his faults he wasn't cold or deliberately callous. He had his pet mortals whom he'd saved over the years, and even though he did manipulate the pawns on the chessboard he wasn't cruel just because he could be.
Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2021-05-10
Image(s) © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.