|Hatred and its Price
© Wanderer -- all rights reserved
As the last Lupine Boys filed out of the bar behind me, we all fell into the 'pack formation' we'd worked out even before this whole 'get the SCABS' thing got started. My family's been a little paranoid for a long time.
Looks like it's going to pay off.
Our two full-morphs took the point. Since most people don't know a wolf when they see one, it's safe enough for them to run ahead a little ways.
Most people take them for stray dogs. I came next, followed by most of the rest. Sure, some of us have our own transportation, but those of us with the high-angle feet, including me, have a problem with the pedals in most cars. (And those hand control jobbies are tres expensif!) At least as a pack we have numbers on our side.
I smiled as I remembered getting the non-paying job of being the LB's unofficial "spokeswolf". Sometimes, knowing how to look like you know what you're doing can come in handy. Especially when you're having to face down a pain-in-the-furry-tail restaurant owner.
My nose twitched as a passing breeze flared my cape slightly and brought a strange smell, both familiar and unknown, to my attention. It smelled like another Lupine had passed through here ... but all the Boys were accounted for. I exchanged glances with the Lupes at either side of me. They nodded silently, and we spread out more, the ones behind us splitting up to follow the three leaders.
And a howl of pain and rage split the night's silence.
I was running before I knew it, the others breaking into a matching sprint as we raced toward the source of the howl. Rounding the corner, we saw what looked to be about ten or so normals around a single ... female lupine? She looked familiar, but ... then I saw the blood glistening in the streetlights' glow. My muzzle curled into a snarl as I charged. While the punks were still turning around, we slammed into them. I threw the first one I reached to the ground as I hit him, and looked around for another target ...
I threw my arms into a classic guard position as a pipe whistled out of the shadows. The blow hurt my arms, but not nearly as much as if it'd hit my head. A few more blows let me know two things ... this guy was a loon, and I was going to be black-and-blue in the morning. Good thing fur hides bruises ...
Behind my opponent, I could see a few brief glimpses of the other Boys laying into the others. The full morphs were spread-eagling a guy in a way that made we think of a wishbone at Thanksgiving, while Wolfshead, behind them, was applying a jawlock to a guy's collarbone.
As the pipe came around from my right, I swung with all the leverage I had.
The pipe hit the pavement with a ringing clang and an arm-shaped dent.
And a mental yelp from me. YOWCH, that hurt! Good thing it was a cheap pipe.
And a shot rang out.
Everyone froze. Even my opponent, now hanging from my paw, was shocked at the eruption of sound that he'd just heard.
So I turned and looked.
I threw the punk to the brick wall in front of me and raced over to the gunman. The idiot'd never used the thing before, I think. He was looking down at it like he'd never seen it before. Stupid, stupid, STUPID! I wrenched the gun from his hand and threw it into the alley. The shooter took off at the look on my face, and his 'friends' weren't far behind him.
Their fights broken up, the other Lupines joined me.
Around the female's fallen body. A large wound in her chest told me exactly where the bullet had gone, while a slow trickle of blood escaped the cut on her head.
A choking sound startled me back to the moment. She was alive! "YOU!", I shouted at the Lupine to my right, "CALL 911! GUNSHOT!" He turned and ran for the phone kiosk we'd passed on the way into the fight. I turned back to the struggling gasps escaping her muzzle. Checking her throat artery, I found a pulse that seemed to be holding ... but that could change any minute. I looked around at the Boys until I found one with a human face, his wolfish tail and claws the only sure sign of his SCAB-ness. "Get over here!" He complied. "Listen, you know CPR?"
"Well, yeah, but ... "
"But nothing. Just hold her muzzle shut and put the air into her nose. I'll take the chest compressions if the heart stops. Now hurry!"
As he started blowing into her muzzle, I reached for the purse lying on the ground nearby and rifled through it for ID and insurance cards.
And stared at the face on the first card I found. "Glover, Edwina", it said. And the face was that of the new waitress at the Pig. A few of the others gaped over my shoulder as they read the words.
Just then, the Lupine I'd sent to phone raced back, panting from all the exertion and excitement. "They're coming!", he cried. "They said they'd be here in a few minutes!"
And, when the blessed sound of sirens finally screeched into our ears, we all breathed a sigh of relief.
And someone finally told me where the gun had been aimed *before* she distracted the idiot holding it.
At the hospital, more than four hours later, the nurse finally came into the waiting room. "Yes?", I said, trying to sound somewhat relaxed.
I think the tension in my tail gave me away, though.
"Miss Glover seems to be resting comfortably now. She's recovering nicely. You know, you *can* go home ... "
"We know." My response was no longer than it needed to be. She shut up on that subject.
She stayed in the room, though. "We called the emergency number in Miss Glover's phone book ... someone named Howard ... "
"Howard?" Mine wasn't the only pair of ears that swiveled around at that one. "You told Howard about this?"
"Well, he was listed ... "
I shook my head wearily. "Howard is a huge centaur. If we're lucky, he'll be thinking straight and won't try to force himself through the door. If we're not lucky, you may need some serious door repairs." I yawned. A long night, and now this. I don't care if I always was a bit nocturnal, this was well past any reasonable bedtime. I checked the clock. Hm. Must be about dawn. While the nurse talked to an orderly, probably letting him know to let someone else know about Howard, I gathered everyone into a circle. "Listen. We're not doing anyone any good just sitting here yawning. I say we head for home. Let's leave our numbers with the nurse so she can call us if anything changes."
"You sure it's a good idea?" The scratchy voice came from the voder of the full morph on my left.
"It's the only thing to do. She is out of danger, apparently. And they will be able to reach us if ... " I yawned " ... uhhhhmm. If anything changes. Besides, I'm pooped."
With a nod of agreement, we separated, leaving our names and numbers with the nurse. She seemed glad to get us off of her hands. Heh. Must've seen me yawn.
Well, a long rest today ... and a trip to the Pig if nothing drastic happens.
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