Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
Sorry for the long wait. Things came up and this story took
the back burner big time. Hopefully I have everything set up to finish up the
long stretch to the finish on this now. There will be three more chapters after
this. Thanks for your patience.
Some time later the two women sat talking in Jamieís office. Jamie sat with one leg hung over the side of the plush leather chair while Jenny leaned one elbow on the arm of the plush couch. The dark haired werewolf had called Ted earlier to find out if he had discovered anything new. The bookstore owner had been away on an errand and Diane had promised to relay a message to her husband when he returned.
Jacob had left the house sometime after breakfast, leaving a note saying that he would return later in the afternoon. Jamieís cousin Jessan was also out on various errands for their Uncle. Feeling very out of the loop the dark haired werewolf swung her leg slightly in mild agitation. Jenny was doing her best to keep her friendís mind off the passage of time while they waited to hear back from Jacob and Ted.
"How are the other horses doing? I thought the two you were working earlier were doing really good. Theyíre very beautiful horses." Jenny said.
"With all thatís going on itís been a real problem getting all the training I need to do in before the end of the season. Iíve got only two more that Iíve been training this season. Theyíll be sold off soon too" Jamie responded, shifting further down in the chair and placing a second leg over the same arm as the first.
"Thankfully there hasnít been too many Iíve needed to get ready this year. Just worked out that we didnít have as many foals in the past two years. I havenít taken on any new outside horses this year either."
"Do you ever get a break? I donít know much about the breeding and training of horses; was always just a passenger." The blond woman grinned, and Jamie had to grin in return.
"I think when this is over Iím going to hire a few more hands so that I can finish the book and really get going on the breeding program." Pale blue eyes looked over at the ex-programmer. "Jacob thinks I should be taking a bit more interest in the Council too."
Jenny laughed at the face the dark haired woman pulled after her last statement. It was very clear that she hated the politics of her clan, and Garou society in general. From what Jenny had learned from Alfred and others she had met, the blue-eyed woman was a very effective leader. The brash attitude was a problem at times but her almost inborn skills and powerful charisma was a tool that the dark haired werewolf used quite effectively over her fellow clansmen.
"Whenís the last time you had a vacation?" Jennyís question surprised Jamie and it was a while before the horse trainer could come up with an answer.
"Itís been real busy around the stables lately. Also, weíve been having quite a lot of trouble between Garou and the half-breeds lately. More than Iíve told you." Jamie finally answered.
"Half breeds? You mean like me, a human with Garou blood?" Jenny asked confused.
"Yeah, itís been sort of slowly building, the tension that is. There have been quite a few Garou who have moved in to the city lately that are more weary of humans than in the past. Iím not sure why though." Jamie chewed the corner of her mouth thoughtfully; a behavior that Jenny had noticed the blue-eyed woman did often when she was worried about something.
"You didnít answer me." The blond ex-programmer said after a momentís silence.
"What?" Jamie asked confused, loosing her train of thought.
Drawing up her feet on to the couch Jenny turned sea green eyes towards the other woman, "When was the last time you had a vacation?"
"Iím not really sure. Itís been a while I guess." The dark hair horse trainer answered.
"Like, in the past year. Two years? Three years? Four years? Five?!?" Jenny asked, getting a slight shake of the head from her friend at each question.
"I think I last went camping a bit before I got out of high school." Jamie confessed a bit sheepishly.
Jenny blinked in astonishment; "Youíve been working pretty much straight for over five years?"
"Uh, yeah. I guess." Blue eyes regarded the woman on the couch expectantly.
"Well, after this is all over weíre going camping!" Jenny declared, smiling at the startled look on her friendís face.
"I canít take any time off! Iíve got to get the book finished and I need to set up interviews for some assistants." Jamie realized she was making excuses but did not know how to refuse the blond hair woman outright.
"Nonsense! Youíre only training, what four horses? You can take a weekend off to go camping up on the North Shore. The two assistants you have now can cover what ever needs to be done for a few days while youíre away." Jennyís words made sense, but Jamie was still trying to find a flaw in her logic.
"Have you ever been to the North Shore? Itís beautiful right now; and there wonít be that much nice weather left till it starts to snow." Jenny cut off any comment that her friend was about to make. "After we finish with this problem youíll tell your Uncle youíre going to take some time off. I can get a cabin for us. A friend of mine has one right on a lake. Itís got indoor plumbing and everything. It will be great!"
Jamie looked wearily at the other woman, but found that for once she did not mind being outmaneuvered so to speak. The young woman though that it might be nice to take some time off, a weekend wouldnít hurt anything. After she returned she would be able to arrange things so that she could focus on getting more done around the stables. It had been a while since she had been camping up at the North Shore, and Jenny would be good company.
"Iím sorry for all thatís happening in your community. Itís too bad thereís so much tension between the Garou and humans before all this happened. It might have made things easier with finding out about this mage group." Jenny spoke after a long pause.
"Thatís ok, though I agree with you that we need to work on relations between the two communities." Jamie shifted in her chair. "I think everything will turn out ok though. Just a feeling I have, I canít really put my finger on the details at all."
"Do you have visions too?" The ex-programmer asked.
"Not really, itís more like a gut feeling. You know, like when I met you for the first time at the bookstore. Just a feeling that something like fate was at work or something." Jamie winced slightly at her inarticulateness; normally she was a bit more eloquent. Not much, but more than lately.
Jenny was about to ask just what she meant by that when the phone rang. Rolling out of the chair gracefully Jamie walked over to her desk and picked up the phone. After a quick hello she told Jenny that it was Ted and continued to listen to the shopkeeper while leaning on the edge of the oak desk.
Swinging her legs down off the couch and getting up to wonder around the room Jenny listened to the almost one-sided conversation that Jamie was having on the phone. The werewolf tended to answer questions as briefly as possible so it was difficult to figure out exactly what Ted was saying.
Jenny heard her name and realized that Jamie was telling their friend about the apartment fire. Having talked to the fire inspector earlier they had found out that the cause of the fire was still not completely known though the inspector suspected it was arson he could not prove it completely. The insurance agency that Jenny had thankfully gotten housing insurance from was sending an inspector out as well tomorrow and would probably be writing a check out next week pending what was found. Jenny just wished it were all over, she felt like she had fallen down a rabbit hole the past two weeks. In her own way she was looking forward to taking a vacation as well.
Walking around the office Jenny noticed the very business like feel. Although it was built more like a den and had comfortable furniture in it, Jamieís office had very little in the way of personal decorations. A few ribbons were displayed on the walls along with one or two photos of some horses in dressage and show competition regalia. Moving over to one of the many bookshelves one photo in particular on the shelf attracted Jennyís attention.
It was a picture of a man who looked very similar to Jamie standing next to a much younger version of the dark hair woman, his arm about her shoulders. Jenny guessed that this was Jamieís father. A handsome man with light blue eyes and crisp dark hair looked out at her.
Jenny studied the picture some more. She figured that the picture was taken a little before Jamieís fatherís death. Both father and daughter had identical roguish expressions in their eyes and smiles. The love between the two was obvious from their expressions and closeness.
Looking around the bookshelf and office further Jenny realized that there were no other photos of her friendís family. Not even one of Jamieís mother. This puzzled the ex-programmer, Jamie had spoken so little about her parents that Jenny wondered just what sort of relationship that her friend had had with her mother.
Getting off the phone with Ted Jamie looked over to where Jenny was standing by the bookshelves. Jamie called out her the blond hair womanís name, trying to get her friendís attention. Seeing that Jenny had tuned out the world Jamie slid off the desk and walked over to where the other woman was standing. Calling the ex-programmerís name again Jamie placed a hand on the other womanís shoulder to get her attention. Jenny jumped a little, startled out of her revery.
"Hey, what did Ted have to say?" Sea green eyes focused on Jamie.
"Well, he talked to his brother Peter yesterday. Peter was trying to track down any information he could find about that group we saw." Jamie answered, removing her hand from her friendís shoulder. "In a few more days he may just have where the building is that theyíve been using for their rituals.
"He did find out something weíve been suspecting all along though. That the group is using, or rather rumored to be using, Garou hearts in some ritual or other. They need a certain number of them still." Jamie concluded, her blue eyes very pale.
At that moment they heard a knock on the study door. After an answer to enter from Jamie her Uncle Jacob entered his face drawn and concerned. Both Jenny and Jamie stood quietly, waiting for the elder werewolf to speak.
"Four more bodies have been found." Jacob began, a quiet expletive coming from his niece at the statement. "
"They found them this morning. Not too far from where all the others had been found." Jacob continued. "I just got off the phone with the coroner, he did the autopsies as soon as the bodies came in.
"From the state of decay it looks like two of the victims were killed Sunday night some time. The other two date back to last night, around the same time that the fire occurred at Jennyís apartment."
At Jacobís last statement both women raised their eyebrows.
"Are they certain about that? The time for last nights murders." Jamie asked.
"As far as they can tell, yes." Jacob shifted in place and frowned slightly before continuing. "The coroner also found some pieces of human flesh and blood under the nails of the two Garou killed on Tuesday night."
"Wait, have they found anything like that before? I mean, evidence that the victims actually got some licks in before they were killed?" Jenny asked.
Jacob shook his head negatively, "Nope, thereís never been any evidence found at any of the murder sites or on the victims. Another thing, the strange smell that has always lingered at the murder sites and on the victims wasnít around either of the Tuesday night victims.
"Though a full blood work has yet to come back for any of the victims the Garou who were killed on Tuesday show signs of being hit with some sort of dart."
"Like a tranquilizer!" Jenny exclaimed, "Itís like they didnít have what ever power over those Garou that they did over the other ones, and had more trouble killing them."
"Wait! This wouldnít have been some work of a copy cat group would it?" Jamie asked, "After all, the M.O. of the Tuesday murders doesnít fit the other murders so far."
"I donít think so, and I hope for all our sakes it isnít." Jacob said, chewing slightly on the inside of his cheek pensively. "The Eldersí Council would have a cat if it was. Theyíre already on edge with these new four murders."
"UmmÖI wanted to ask you something about that." At the sound of Jennyís voice both werewolves turned to look at her.
"What did you want to ask Jen?" Jamie asked after her friendís pause.
"Well, since the Eldersí Council is about to declare war on just about all humans I thought that maybe it would be best if they heard the concerns of at least one of those humans." Blue-green eyes looked enticingly at both werewolves.
Jacob rubbed his chin in thought, "Well, I donít see how it could hurtÖ"
"Uncle! Those old bastard arenít going to listen to her! They care more about their precious reputations than about trying to find a peaceful solution to something." Jamie bristled, her eyes turning hard as ice.
"Iíll bring her before the council tomorrow, it couldnít hurt. They might actually see reason this time." Jacob smiled at his last statement, trying to bring a little humor to the situation.
"Donít worry Jamie." Jenny said brightly, "Itís not like theyíre going to bite my head off or anything."
Jamie looked at her friend pensively. The idea of the rather trusting blond hair woman going up against that pack of rabid dingoes still didnít set well with the dark hair werewolf. She wondered if she could some how bring her klave to the meeting. Jamie was sure she would be able to devise a way to get around the Ďno weaponsí rule that stood for the council chamber.
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