Silence Fallen Page 2

“Gold and women and grog!” echoed a chorus of men’s voices.

“Would you listen to them?” said Mary Jo scornfully. “Give me a man who knows what to do with what the good Lord gave him instead of these clueless scallywags who run at the first sight of a real woman.”

“Ahrrrr,” agreed Auriele, while Jesse giggled.

“Swab the decks, ye lubbers, lest you slide in the blood and crack your four-pounders,” I called. “And whate’er ye do, don’t trust Barbary Belle at your back.”

There was a roar of general agreement, and Jesse giggled again.

“And, Captain Larson,” I said, addressing Adam—my mate had taken the name from Jack London’s The Sea-Wolf—“you can have gold, and you can have grog. You go after another woman, and you’ll be pulling back a stub.”

There was a little silence.

“Argh,” said Adam with renewed enthusiasm. “I got me a woman. What do I need with more? The women are for my men!”

“Argh!” roared his men. “Bring us gold, grog, and women!”

“Men!” said Auriele, sweet-voiced. “Bring us a few good men.”

“Stupidheads,” growled Honey. “Die!”

There was a general outcry because, apparently, several someones did.

I laughed my way out the door.

After a moment’s thought, I took Adam’s SUV. I was going to have to figure out what to do for a daily driver. My beloved Vanagon Syncro was getting far too many miles put on her, and her transmission was rare and more precious than gold on the secondary market. I’d been driving her ever since my poor Rabbit had been totaled, and the van was starting to need more and more repairs. I’d looked at an ’87 Jetta with a blown engine a few days ago. They wanted too much for it, but maybe I’d just have to pony up.

The SUV growled the couple of miles to the convenience store that was ten miles closer to home than any other store open at this hour of the night. The clerk was restocking cigarettes and didn’t look up as I passed him.

I picked up two dozen overpriced eggs and three equally overpriced bags of chocolate chips and set them on the counter. The clerk turned away from the cigarettes, looked at me, and froze. He swallowed hard and looked away—scanning the bar codes on the eggs with a hand that shook so much that he might save me the effort of cracking the shells myself.

“You must be new?” I suggested, running my ATM card in the reader.

He knew who I was without knowing the important things, I thought.

I found the limelight disconcerting, but I was slowly getting used to it. My husband was Alpha of the local pack; he’d been a household name in the Tri-Cities since the werewolves first revealed their existence a few years ago. When we’d married, I’d gotten a little of his reflected glory, but after helping to fight a troll on the Cable Bridge a couple of months ago, I had become at least as well-known as Adam. People reacted differently to the reality of werewolves in the world. Sensible people stayed a certain length back. Others were stupidly friendly or not-so-stupidly afraid. The new guy obviously belonged to the latter group.

“Started last week,” the clerk muttered as he bagged the chocolate chips and eggs as if they might bite him.

“I’m not a werewolf,” I told him. “You don’t have anything to fear from me. And my husband has put a moratorium on killing gas-station clerks this week.”

The clerk blinked at me.

“None of the pack will hurt you,” I clarified, reminding myself not to try to be funny around people who were too scared to know I was joking. “If you have any trouble with a werewolf or something like that, you can call us”—I found the card holder in my purse and gave him one of the pack’s cards, printed on off-white card stock—“at this number. We’ll take care of it if we can.”

We all carried the cards now that we’d (my fault) taken on the task of policing the supernatural community of the Tri-Cities, protecting the human citizens from things that go bump in the night. We’d also been called in to find lost children, dogs, and, once, two calves and their guard llama. Zack had composed a song for that one. I hadn’t even known he could play guitar.

Sometimes the job of protecting the Tri-Cities was more glamorous than others. The livestock call, in addition to being musically commemorated, had actually been something of a PR coup: photos of werewolves herding small lost calves back home had gone viral on Facebook.

The clerk took the card as if it were going to bite him. “Okay,” he lied.

I couldn’t do any better than that, so I left with my cookie-making ingredients. I hopped into the SUV and set the bag on the passenger seat as I backed out of the parking space. Frowning, I wondered if his strong reaction might be due to something that had happened to him—a personal incident. I looked both ways before heading out onto the road. Maybe I should go talk to him again.

I was still worrying about the clerk when there was a loud noise that stole my breath. The bag with the eggs in it flew off the seat, and something hit me with a loud bang and a foul smell—and then there was a sharp pain, followed by . . . nothing.

I THINK I WOKE UP SEVERAL TIMES, FOR NO MORE THAN a few minutes that ended abruptly when I moved. I heard people talking, mostly the voices of unfamiliar men, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Magic shimmered and itched. Then a warm breath of spring air drifted through the pain and took it all away. I slept, more tired than I ever remembered being.

Read Daily Updated Light Novel, Web Novel, Chinese Novel, Japanese And Korean Novel Online: NovelFull
Prev page Next page