Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
Well, yeah. Quite a bit of slice and dice, some may be a bit graphic. Werewolves are rather messy you know.
In this one there is a mention of rape. No details other than a statement of it happening.
They walked for a while more, finally coming upon a building in to which the black line disappeared. The four of them hesitated at the door, unsure how to proceed. Diane pointed silently to the back of the building, indicating that they should enter from there.
Ted stepped forward, leading them to the back entrance. When they reached the back door Jamie moved to stand at his side while he closed his eyes to focus on the inside of the warehouse. Opening his eyes again Ted nodded once and Jamie opened the door slowly. Her eyes glowing red in the darkness that spilled from the doorway.
Entering as quietly as they could the four of them made there way along the narrow hallway that led from the back door further into the building. Dust covered the floor and cobwebs thick with age ran up and down the walls and corners. Turning around a corner Jamie, who had taken the lead once more, stopped suddenly and crouched down behind some crates that blocked the way. Before she bent down with the others Jenny caught a glimpse of several figures standing around a large slab of granite.
The crates were stacked somewhat randomly, leaving slits between them that allowed the three humans and werewolf to see through to the room beyond. Jamie counted twelve figures with black hooded robes. All were either standing near the large stone slab in the middle of the room or near a smaller slab set on waist high blocks in a corner of the room. None of the roomís occupants had spotted their little group yet.
Diane moved forward to peer between two of the crates nearest her. Her eyes went wide and she pointed towards something on the smaller alter. Six red objects lay in a neat row on a black silky cloth. Jenny blinked and took a second look at the objects as she heard a soft growl from Jamie. Sea green eyes going bleak the small blond woman placed a hand over her mouth.
Hearts! Jenny sat back on her heels. She noticed Ted place a steadying hand on the werewolfís shoulder as Diane let her eyes glaze over.
"Be careful, Diane." Ted said in a whisper. "We donít know if we might set off something."
Jenny looked over to the large man, her eyebrows rising in question.
"Sheís trying to trace where this place is physically in our world." Ted answered her unspoken question. His voice did not carry any further than their ears.
Suddenly, Jamieís head snapped up and she turned away from the tableau. The dark hair warriorís nostrils flared and her ice blue eyes widened. She looked directly at Jenny as she spoke "smellís back".
"Weíre out of here now!" Ted hissed as he placed his hand on his still concentrating wifeís back.
Dianeís eyes refocused and she turned around towards the others. Ted made a sign and she nodded, backing up away from the crates back towards the hallway. Jenny and Ted followed her but Jamie still crouched behind the wooden boxes. Her eyes were focused on the group in the other room, one hand reaching absently over her shoulder to grip her sword.
Jenny turned back towards her friend as she moved into the dim hallway. Sensing that the werewolf wasnít following then Ted stopped as well. Beyond the crates he could see one of the cloaked figure stop and look off into the distance as if listening to something.
Moving quickly Ted stepped back to the crates and grabbed the back of Jamieís shirt. He held on to the werewolf while at the same time taking Jennyís hand and shooting a look at Diane, who had paused to see what was keeping the others. Pulling from his energy reserves the large man twitched his mind sideways, yanking the two younger women with him. Diane, seeing what her husband had in mind stepped sideways as well. Pushing herself out of the astral plane back into her own body.
Diane looked around slightly dazed. She was sitting on the floor in her living room. Ted, Jamie and Jenny were also seated in their previous positions on the floor next to her. The older witch focused on grounding herself as she recovered from the slight shock of snapping back into herself so quickly. Diane looked over at Jenny who was blinking every once and a while as she sat. The younger woman was trying to deal with the quick exit as well.
Ted was asking her if she had been able to locate the real world position of where they had been. Diane rubbed her hands over her face to shake off the last effects of the disorientation as she answered him in the negative.
"We could have stayed a while longer." This came from Jamie. The young werewolf was frowning and did not look very pleased.
"I didnít want to chance being seen. Right now the only thing we have to our advantage is the element of surprise." Dianeís husband answered the blue-eyed woman.
All of them stood, stretching out muscles that had begun to fall asleep. Jamie still looked pensive but said nothing more. Jenny looked over at her friend, worried that she might do something that would get her into trouble. The green-eyed ex-programmer figured that the young werewolf had trouble backing down from a fight. Especially when so many of her fellow Garou had been killed by the mages.
"Iím going to get a hold of Paul after he gets off work tonight. Maybe he can find out if there are any groups working in the area that match a description of what we just saw." Ted said, after taking down the protective circle.
Jamie nodded, as she and Jenny got ready to head out. The blue-eyed werewolf wondered who else had been killed recently. There were two more hearts than bodies that had been accounted for so far on that alter.
After dropping off Jenny at her apartment Jamie headed home. She was weary in mind and body, the events of the past week catching up to her as she remembered again about the funeral for Brian on Monday. Her mind shifted into autopilot mode as she drove back to the mansion. The growing tensions of the community also weighed heavily upon her. A war between mage and Garou would not be a pretty sight. She had a lot of friends in both communities; she did not want to see anyone hurt. Without any proof as to who exactly was responsible for the killings however she knew the council would not hesitate upon taking more desperate measures.
Jamie parked the Range Rover in her customary parking spot and slid out from the plush interior. She could feel herself dragging as she walked up to the house and entered via the front door. Jacob and Jessan were standing in the foyer. Both men looked up as she entered, breaking off from whatever they had been discussing.
"Iím glad youíre home, Jamie." Jacob greeted her. "Thereís been another two killings."
Jamie sighed, she had been correct. "I know."
Jessan looked at her surprised. "You do? We just found out about it just before we were going to leave the council building."
The dark hair woman looked from her cousin to her uncle before telling them about the mages she and the others had just seen. Jessanís eyes went round as Jamie described the layout of the building where they had found the twelve mages. Both men made a low throaty growl when she told them of the hearts lying out on the alter.
"Thatís not all those bastards have." Jessan said, referring to the slain Garouís hearts. "We found out theyíve also been stealing the souls when they remove the heart."
"What?!? How could they do that?" Jamie exclaimed in alarm.
"Iím not sure. Thereís something that doesnít quite fit here and I donít know what it is." The elder werewolf spoke up. He placed both hands behind his back and began to head up the stairs.
"For now we have to wait." At her growl Jacob smiled to reassure his niece. "Now that we have more of the details though we can send out some of our people to look for that building and the group you described."
That said the three of them headed off to their various bedrooms for the night. Tomorrow was a quarter moon and there were fallen brethren to mourn. With only seven days till the full moon Jamie hoped that they would be able to find the killers soon before the Ladyís influence further infused the upset community.
Jenny pushed open the door to her apartment, balancing a laundry basket of just cleaned clothes on one hip. The small blond woman shut the door behind her and walked into her bedroom. She was just about to fold up the clothes and put them away when she heard the front door buzzer.
Setting the laundry basket on the bed she hurried back out of her apartment and down the stairs to let her guest in. Jamie stood on the front step, a videocassette in one hand and a large bag of cheesy-poufs in the other. The dark hair woman smiled slightly at her friend as she walked through the front door of the duplex.
"Did you find the movie?" Jenny asked as she closed the front door.
"Yeah. Took a while though." The werewolf replied, handing over the video box. "I stopped by the store to grab us a snack too."
Jenny hurried up the stairs to her much warmer apartment. The foyer they were standing in was chilly from the fall night air that had seeped inside. The dark hair woman followed the small blond up the stairs and into the second floor apartment.
Jamie walked into the apartment and removed her hiking boots. She slipped out of her coat and handed it over to the blond woman who stood with her hand out to take it. The dark hair woman barely caught her friendís question of how things were going.
Walking over to the couch Jamie plopped down into it and stretched her legs out in front of. Crossing her ankles and slouching a bit further into the plush cushions she sighed and looked up at Jenny who had moved to sit in the overstuffed armchair next to the couch.
"Yup, buried a friend yesterday. Garou are flipping out all over. I may have to lead a mage hunt. Thing are just great, donít ya know!" For the last Jamie affected a Fargo accent, bouncing up and down slightly in imitation.
Jenny blinked at the other woman thinking she may have misheard the dark hair werewolf. She had known that the funeral for Brian had occurred yesterday. When talking on the phone with her friend earlier Jenny had sensed that the tense werewolf needed a few good laughs. Thus the blond hair woman had come up with the idea that they get together tonight and rent a movie. The Jamie had suggested a Mel Brooksís film and Jenny had agreed.
As for werewolves being tense well that was to be expected. From what Jamie had let drop there were a few factions within the community that were grumbling more and more lately. However, the comment about a mage hunt was completely new.
"What do you mean you may have to lead a mage hunt? Things arenít that bad surely. You said that the elders had control of the media." Jenny sat back in her chair as she regarded her frowning friend.
The younger woman rarely displayed emotion, even around Ted or Diane whom she knew better. Now Jenny watched as a range of emotions continuously flit across the dark hair womanís face. It was rather unsettling and she wished she knew what was troubling her friend so much.
"Oh, yeah. Just learnt about that before I came over." Ice blue eyes focused on a point somewhere in front of the couch. Arti had jumped up on the young womanís lap and was purring contentedly while long fingers scratched at her fur.
"If we donít find out where those mages are by Friday the council will put to vote whether or not there will be a witch hunt on humans." The jaw muscles worked back and forth in her face. It was the only outward sign that betrayed the werewolfís feelings. Her voice had gone cold as she spoke.
Jenny took a deep breath and let it out. Focusing on the tension rolling off her friend she wonder why the tabby had kept her seat. Tense people normally sent the capricious feline scurrying to the bedroom. Arti remained where she was though, if anything purring louder.
Sheís trying to clam Jamie! Green eyes went wide at this conclusion. I wouldnít think a cat would get along with a werewolf. Watching the other woman with the cat Jenny marveled the rapport the dark hair woman had with animals.
"A witch hunt?" Trepidation entered her tone. The blond woman had a bad feeling about this.
"More of a mage hunt. Though with the tension in the community right now it might turn into an all out attack on any human practicing magic." Jamie took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She rubbed both hands over her face, scrubbing in frustration.
"Hopefully it wonít come to that." The werewolf smiled reassuringly at her friend. "Jacob is at an emergency meeting right now. Heís trying his best to convince the council to give him a little more time."
"Wow. This is getting intense." The hint of fear in the other womanís voice made Jamie look at her sharply.
"Hey! Weíll get to the bottom of this! Jacob can be pretty persuasive." She told her friend.
"And if he canít buy us some more timeÖ" Jenny let the question trial off.
Jamie sat up strait and moved to the edge of her seat on the couch, looking at Jenny seriously. "Then you and Ted and Diane and I are going to take a little trip outside the city limits. Weíll get the word out, I will not have any innocents slaughtered."
Sea green eyes widened and look at her with concern. "I donít think the eldersí council will like that very much."
"No, they probably wont." Jamie grinned roguishly at her friend. "They donít like a whole lot of what I do."
Jenny regarded the dark hair woman before her for a moment. Something was just now falling into place.
"Is that why you donít go with your uncle to the council meetings?" She asked, alert for any reaction her words might have on the werewolf.
Jamie sat back in her seat again. She shifted slightly to one side and crossed her arms in front of her. Sky blue eyes flickered away from the blond woman and then back. When she spoke her voice was determinedly light.
"You could say we have a sort of love hate relationship. They are proud to have the best warrior that has ever lived as part of the clan. They are not so happy that I am heir to the Children of Gaia."
"Wait!" Jenny said, confused. "I thought your cousin would be the heir. Heís Jacobís son, right?"
Jamie frowned a little, wondering where her friend could have gotten that idea. They had not talked much about their families. Previously the green eyed woman had talked about anything and everything but her family. As for Jamie, well she wasnít one for talking at any rate.
"Thatís sort of complicated." The werewolf spoke aloud, hoping her friend would drop the subject.
"Well, Iím not going anywhere." Jenny stated with a smile. "Oh! Hold on. Would you like something to drink?"
"What do you have?" There was a hopeful note in the dark hair womanís voice. Jenny picked it up immediately.
"UmÖhow about something a bit stronger than beer? Iíve got a virgin bottle of Tequila." At the other womanís nod Jenny stood and went to retrieve the bottle.
A while latter both women were sitting on the floor at the coffee table in front of the couch, shot glasses in hand. Jenny had brought in a shaker of salt and some sliced limes, which were set before them on the table next to the just opened bottle of Tequila.
Jenny grimaced at the taste of the alcohol and sucked quickly on a cool lime to cut the burn. Jamie had gone rather quiet as she downed two shots in a row. The dark hair woman sat cross-legged on the floor as she played with the rind of a piece of lime. Jenny put down her shot glass and was about to ask about the womanís cousin when Jamie spoke up instead.
"Letís see where to start." The werewolf poured another shot and downed it without salt or lime. "Well, first off Jessan is not Jacobís son. Heís the son of Jessan and my fatherís sister, Beth.
"Just before my mom got pregnant with me Aunt Beth had been raped by a member of one of our rival clans. When Jessan was born the birth was really hard on her. She didnít survive it.
"I was born shortly afterwards and my mom, Susan nursed both Jessan and me. We are milk brother and sister." The young woman paused to down another shot of Tequila.
Sensing that her friend was not going to continue Jenny said, "But Jacob ended up raising him then and not your momÖ"
"Yeah, Jacob felt responsible for Beth being raped." The blue-eyed werewolf played with the rim of the shot glass. "He was heading out to pick her up and was running late.
"So, Jacob raised Jessan as his own. My dad and mom helped out as well." Jamie poured herself another shot and did the same for Jenny. Both women drank them down and silence fell over them once more.
"It was nice growing up with a brother." Jamie continued after a while. "Dad wanted more kids but my Mom couldnít have anymore. Dad and Uncle Jacob always took us everywhere. My Dad was the one who taught me to use a sword and how to fight.
"Then Uncle Jacob got custody of me after my parents died when I was ten. Heís raised Jessan and myself since then." Jamie concluded.
"Iím sorry about your parents." Jenny said green eyes filled with sympathy.
"It was a long time ago. They were killed by a drunk driver while heading home one night." The younger woman replied.
Jenny sensed an odd feeling of shame coming from her friend. The blond woman wondered if Jamie had truly gotten over the death of her parents. Jenny suspected the werewolf hadnít, but then did anyone ever really recover from the death of a parent.
"So, Jacob is the oldest brother?" Jenny said aloud.
"Yup. Then Walter, who was my dad, and then my Aunt Beth were next in line to rule the Children of Gaia." Jamie downed another drink; she had stopped tasting the alcohol a while ago. "Thatís why Iím next in line to run the clan and not Jessan."
The dark hair werewolf turned to look up at the clock on top of the television. Several hours had passed and it was now quite late. Jenny followed her friendís gaze and noted the time as well.
"I should be heading out, itís getting really late." Jamie uncrossed her legs and dragged herself into a sitting position. "Weíll have to watch that movie another time."
"Oh no you donít!" Jenny reached out a hand to steady the slightly swaying woman in front of her. "You arenít going anywhere. You had over half that bottle!"
"What?" Jamie remarked quietly. She glanced down at the almost empty bottle on the coffee table.
"Iím not going to let you drive home like this. You can stay here tonight." Jenny moved to a large cabinet in her dinning room and pulled out a heavy blanket and pillow.
"Here, the couch is really quite comfy." Sky blue eyes blinked at her, stunned. "Do I need to hog-tie you? Go on! Lay down."
Jamie laughed and shook her head at the blondeís remark. She sat back down on the sofa and swung her legs up on to the cushions while Jenny placed the pillow behind her head. Blinking away sleep Jamie watched as her friend spread out the blanket on top of her. The alcohol was hitting her now; she wondered why she had not realized how much she had been drinking earlier.
"Good night. Arti looks like sheís going to be keeping you company." Jenny remarked as the cat curled up on top of the dark hair woman.
"Night." Jamie mumbled as she placed a hand on the felineís soft fur coat. Within second she was asleep.
Jenny looked down at the sleeping woman. The blond suspected that her friendís exhaustion was not just the alcohol catching up with her. The dark hair werewolf had surprised her yet again tonight. The vulnerable side Jamie had revealed was very different from her normal Ďtoo tough for my fangsí personality.
Walking over to her linen cabinet once more to retrieve another blanket, Jenny came back to the chair she had been sitting in earlier. Settling herself in the overstuffed chair next to the couch Jenny realized something as she watched the peacefulness of the other womanís features. Somewhere in the past week she had fallen for the brash young woman.
People are dying and I fall in love! Wonderful. Jenny smiled ruefully at her unique timing.
The ex-programmer moved into a more comfortable position in her chair and arranged the blanket over her. Pulling the cover around her small frame tightly she looked over once more at her friend. The compact womanís mouth was opened slightly and her soft breathing could be heard in the quiet room. Arti squinted her eyes shut as she joined the dark hair woman in sleep.
Jenny sighed and shifted again in her chair. Trying once more to fall asleep she let her mind wander to thoughts of the blue-eyed werewolf. After several minutes green eyes closed and the ex-programmer was asleep. A small smile curved her lips as her body relaxed into a deep sleep.
An instinctual feeling that something was wrong woke her up. Slowly, Jamie became aware of where she was. Frowning the werewolf flared her nostrils to catch a hint of what had woken her up.
Sitting up abruptly as she smelled smoke all traces of sleep left her as she looked up to see dark tendrils starting to curl under the front door of the apartment. Jumping up off the couch Jamie could hear the fire on the other side of the door. She turned to wake up Jenny who had fallen asleep on the chair and noticed that there was smoke coming in from the kitchen also. Shaking the blond hard to wake her quickly Jamie glanced around the apartment for a way out.
Jenny woke up groggily with Jamie leaning over her. She noticed the smoke as well and realized that the fire was coming from the downstairs apartment.
"The fire is coming from downstairs! There isnít a fire escape up here." Jenny told the dark hair woman.
Jamie hurried over to the front window pushing aside a small bookcase that was in front of it. The dark hair werewolf shoved open the large window and pulled off the screen. Jenny joined her and both women looked down to see flames coming out of the windows and front door on the lower level.
Suddenly Arti jumped on to the windowsill and leaped out into a nearby tree. Jamie and Jenny watched as the agile cat scurried down the tall pine to safety. The dark hair woman snorted a laugh at the resourceful catís antics.
"Well thatís one way to get down." Jamie said as she turned to look at Jenny. The blond hair woman had pulled back abruptly from the window and was staring at her with wide green eyes.
Jenny closed her eyes briefly to try to settle herself. Opening them again she saw that Jamie was looking at her with concern.
"Never did like heights." The ex-programmer suppressed a shudder and gave her friend a lopsided grin.
Chewing on her lip briefly, Jamie came to a decision. Stepping closer to the sea green eyed woman Jamie bent and scooped the astonished blond in to her arms. She then moved to stand in front of the window.
"Hold on tight." The werewolf told the blond hair woman mildly.
"What are you going to do?!?" Jenny yelled over the roar of fire that had spread further into the kitchen.
For an answer Jamie leapt on top of the windowsill and out onto the ground bellow. She bounced a bit as they hit the ground, taking the impact from their combined weight in her knees. Looking down at the blond head pressed firmly into her shoulder she asked if everything was ok.
Jenny looked up from the womanís shoulder and eased the death grip she had around her friendís neck. Looking around in awe all she could say was "wow". The dark hair werewolf grinned and set her gently on the ground. Jenny looked back at the duplex, which was now engulfed in flames.
Both women turned to see several fire trucks coming down the street towards them. Several people from surrounding houses and apartments had come out to see what was happening. The elderly couple across the street approached the blond woman to ask if she and her companion were all right. At that moment Jethroe came running down the street. Reaching them just as the fire trucks pulled up.
"What happened?!?" The landlord exclaimed as he tried to catch his breath. "I was down at Bobís playing pinochle when we heard the sirens."
"Iím not sure. Jamie had just woken me up when we noticed that the building was on fire." Jenny said as she watched the fire fighters run hoses to the fire hydrant nearby. "It looks like it started downstairs somewhere, then spread up to my kitchen."
Jennyís landlord clutched his hands together worriedly. He told them he had only just left the apartment and was sitting down to play card when one of the other players noticed that his house was on fire. They had made a call to the fire department and then he had rushed out the door when he remembered that she was at home.
The elderly couple helped to herd Jamie and Jenny over to the ambulance that had just arrived. Both women reassured the paramedics that they were fine. A police officer stepped up to talk to them then. Asking if either knew what might have caused the fire. It was then that Jamie caught a whiff of evil over the smoke. The smell made the small hairs on her neck standup and her eyes began to take on a red glow.
Jamie cast her glance down quickly, telling her friend that she was going to look for the cat. Jenny nodded absently and turned back to answer the police officerís questions. The dark hair werewolf fought to control the change that was threatening to take over her. She walked quickly away from the humans and began to search for Jennyís cat.
Finally after looking in several bushes and under various objects in the surrounding yards Jamie found the wayward cat. Arti was crouched under a car half way down the street from the now smoking apartment. Her yellow cat eyes stared back at Jamieís red wolf ones and she let out a tinny meow.
"Come on. Itís ok, letís get you and your mommy and get out of here." Jamie said as she reached slowly for the frightened cat.
Petting the tabbyís fur gently the young woman was able to coax the feline out from underneath the car. Jamie held the slightly trembling cat in her arms and watched as the catís nose twitched rapidly.
"You smell it too, donít you?" Jamie asked her furry friend.
The dark hair woman walked slowly back to her SUV, avoiding the throngs of people moving about. Once at the vehicle she opened the back door and placed Arti inside. That done Jamie shut the door and went off in search of her friend keeping her eyes downward to avoid scaring the humans.
Jenny was standing off to one side watching the fire fighters move around the house as they worked further to make sure the fire was completely out. The dark hair werewolf placed a hand on the small blond to get her attention.
"Letís head back to my house. You can stay there and weíll call in the morning to see what theyíve found out." Jamie said, referring to the investigators who would be trying to find the cause of the blaze.
Jenny nodded slightly and walked with the other woman back to the sports utility vehicle after telling her landlord where she could be contacted. Arti jumped into her lap when she sat down, glad to see her after all the confusion. The green-eyed woman scratched the catís head reassuringly as she stared out the car window. Jamie put the SUV in gear and drove away. Looking in the rearview mirror as the fire trucks receded behind them the werewolf noticed that the evil smell had disappeared and her eyes had returned to their normal blue shade.
Heading the Range Rover toward the mansion Jamie thought about the short amount of time that had elapsed since Jethroe had left the apartment. The dark hair woman figured that the fire must have spread very rapidly. Perhaps only having just started right before she was woken up.
Glancing over at her unusually quiet companion Jamie opened her mouth to say something but thought better of it and kept silent. The other woman had been through a lot that night; there was no need to upset her further.
Jenny sat numbly beside her as they drove in silence to the werewolfís home.
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