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  1. #101
    Alice Marshall

    Alice managed to hold it together long enough for the phone call. She didn't want to worry Katie. But they were quickly approaching a point where worrying Katie was inevitable. Alice was getting sicker and sicker. Katie didn't know - not yet. But Alice didn't think she had much time left, and she didn't want her death to be a complete shock.

    This wasn't how Alice had planned for things to go - living in an old car, surviving on odd jobs she could manage to get, and all the while illness taking over. She had planned to get a better job, something steady. Then she could get an apartment, a real place to live. Once she had a place to call home, she could finish high school. Then someday, Katie would come live with her again.

    All that seemed hopelessly out of reach now. Alice could barely get up in the morning. It was getting harder and harder to work, which meant she often didn't eat. The aching, stiffness in her joints, chills, and intermittent fever were getting worse.

    She was going to have to tell Katie soon. And then she was going to have to say goodbye.

    Maybe once Katie was in the foster home. Maybe Katie could come see her one last time.

    Of course, Katie wouldn't be there when Alice actually died. She would have to do that part alone. Alice wondered if anybody but Katie would notice she was gone. What did they do with you if you died with no one who could claim you? She didn't even really have a name to call her own - a first name from her first adoptive family, and a last name from her last one. None of them around anymore... but maybe that was for the best. Only one person would be burdened by her death.

    She needed to rest, so she'd be ready when Katie called back. She never knew what time of day or night that would be. Alice didn't mind, though. It was something to look forward to.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #102
    James O'Brien
    Hollywell, Fog Island

    James ran the phone number through an internet search engine. It was a landline, connected to a house just off the Cliff Road. The owners of the house were listed as Hirsch and Sara Fishblatt.

    Sloppy, Gilda, James thought. Uncharacteristically sloppy. You shouldn't have hidden your boyfriend under your own assumed surname. You're making this almost too easy.

    He drove up the Cliff Road and parked the car in a field about a half mile from where the GPS said the house would be. Up the hill in the other direction, he could see what he knew to be the Moonlight Motel sign through the trees.

    Audacious, for Kraus to be lurking so near a place where Gilda's husband frequented. How had they not crossed paths? Either Gilda was insanely lucky... or the husband was in on it too. The latter thought made James sick.

    James hiked through the woods to the house. It was dark out, and a light was on inside, so James could see the man perfectly without being seen. The man...

    The man wasn't Kraus.

    Even James, in the habit of seeing what he wanted to see, had to admit that. The man was older than Kraus would have been when turned, and a few inches shorter. His hair was dark, unlike strawberry blond Kraus. Hair could be dyed, of course, but eyes could not... and these eyes were definitely brown. The face shape and features were all wrong. And though the man wore a beard, James was fairly sure that the cheek lacked the dueling scars that Kraus - as an officer of a certain age and social class - had proudly sported.

    It wasn't Kraus. It couldn't be.

    James swore and slunk away, cursing himself for his own arrogance. He should have gone through the phone more carefully, instead of throwing it away at the first sign of a lead. By now, it was probably too late to retrieve it.

    Well, he would have to shift to a different tactic. James got back in the car.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 11-08-2019 at 12:57 PM.

  3. #103
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    The Great White North

    The plane ride had been reasonably serene, except for the knowledge that they were travelling to a different continent and possibly joining a Lycan community that he knew nothing about. Issac had sounded like a nice guy on the phone - even had a wife - and Riff was reasonably certain that if Declan's mom was as nice as her son, then this friend of hers was probably a decent guy too. There was probably nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, though Riff was an optimist, experience had taught him to be a realist. There was no truly safe place. There was no perfect life. But, he could work hard to make the place and life they had as much safe and perfect as he could.

    Stepping out onto the tarmac, Riff took in a deep breath, pulling in every scent he could. Only a couple of Lycans on the breeze - and one was right in front of them. It had to be Isaac. The grin spread naturally across, Riff's face even as he squeezed Maria's shoulder as if to say 'Don't worry - see? These are great people. It's going to be okay.'.

    "Good to finally meet you, Issac. This is Maria and Sofie. We'd be happy to...get things settled." He could only assume that they were about to find out the rules and regulations of this new Pack. Hopefully they'd align with their own set of morals, else they'd be hitchhiking to the mainland.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  4. #104
    Isaac Fishblatt

    "I won't keep you talking long," Isaac assured them. "You've had a long journey, and you must be exhausted and eager to settle in. I'm sure you also have questions about this place, though - and I should answer a few of the more important ones so you know what to expect."

    Once the children were being cared for in the gym, Isaac sat down with Riff, Maria, and sleeping Sofie on a bench outside, out of human earshot.

    "As I'm sure you know from your travels, Lycan Packs vary considerably in their expectations. I'll tell you a bit about ours. We're good neighbors. We don't start trouble. We live side by side with humans, and we do them no harm. This island does not have a permanent Vampire presence that we know of, but we get travelers passing through - and we let them go on their way undisturbed unless they cause harm. No one here is interested in war with them. Any personal conflict you may have with the 'Bloods,' it will need to be set aside if you join us. Likewise, most of the local Fae prefer to be left alone, and we do so. Obviously if you are attacked, you are free to defend yourself - or to defend others who cannot - but we are not instigators. We have no desire to bring violence to this place."

    He smiled briefly at the sleeping child.

    "Our Pack is like a family. We help and support each other, and that will include the three of you, if you choose to stay. Obviously we have some ground rules about who may join that family, for the safety of all. We aren't thugs, nor are we animals. This is not a place for those who choose to use their Lycan nature as an excuse to murder, or rape, or plunder. Basic decent conduct is required. It's really that simple."

    "So," Isaac said. "I'll let you think about whether this is something you can live with. If not, no hard feelings - you may stay for a few days as our guests until you find a place more to your liking. If it is... I have just one question for you, Riff, and it's this: what is your top priority? I am also happy to answer any questions you may have for me in return."

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