tagNonHumanOut of Darkness Ch. 07

Out of Darkness Ch. 07

bylilgirlsix©

Thank you to everyone who has commented and voted. I hope you continue to follow this story through to the end. I really enjoy getting feedback.

As always, a huge thank you to Archangel_M who is more than an awesome editor, he's a good friend.


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Island of Sardinia - 1052 A.D.

The girl spotted the hunters as they tracked a buck through the dense forest. She waited until they were almost upon her before stumbling out of the brush into their view.

"Please, please help me." She reached out for them as she felt to the ground, sobbing. Her clothing was torn and there were scars covering her arms and legs. She was filthy, and her long blond hair was matted.

The leader of the band of hunters held up his spear to his followers, signaling them to a halt. He knelt at the girl's side, lifting her head. Her red-rimmed eyes were swollen, and she looked as if she hadn't eaten in some time. Her face was gaunt, her skin pale. What had happened to the child?

"Please," she cried out, "please, save me! They are after me, I am sure of it. They will not stop until I am dead!" She clutched at his arm, deceptively strong for one so small. "They are monsters! They tricked me into believing they would help me. I was orphaned and had no one. They found me and...and...it was horrible!" She dropped her eyes to the ground, her body trembling uncontrollably.

"What did they do, girl? Tell me." The leader was an honorable man. He had three daughters of his own and would kill to protect them. This child had no one to avenge the vile treatment that had so obviously been inflicted on her.

"I cannot speak of it to you, Sir. It is too horrible to say. It was...it was...." And before she could continue, she had collapsed onto the ground at the man's feet.

The leader gently lifted her into his arms and cradled her carefully. He nodded to his men who surrounded them on their journey back to their village. Maybe the women could get her to talk. He could tell she was just too afraid to speak in front of the men.

An hour later the girl awoke to the comforting feeling of furs surrounding her body. She felt cool water on her skin and forced herself to open her eyes. She saw the kindly face of a old woman hovering over her, tending to her needs. When the woman noticed she was awake, she smiled comfortingly at her and patted her hand.

"There, there, my child. You will be safe here with us. But you must tell me what happened to you. So many scars!" The woman shook her head sadly as she surveyed the many signs of mistreatment on the girl's body. She must have been tormented for some time. The scars were well healed, but there were no new wounds. She must have escaped her captors weeks ago. What had she been doing since then? How did she survive in the wild lands alone? {The poor dear.}

Erobos watched from a distance. What fools these humans were, too stupid to know he would use them to his advantage. They would believe the story Zosime told, of beasts who roamed the forests, who could masquerade as men, and then become giant wild cats; able to kidnap and defile the women of the surrounding villages. Humans were superstitious and easily led. Then Zosime would show them the way to the Panthers' camp. The humans far outnumbered them. They could be easily destroyed, especially with the guidance they would be given.

Erobos closed his eyes and smiled as he remembered the last few days. This new wolf had far different desires than the puny wolf that used to share his soul. This wolf was wild, strong, and ready to lead his pack. He had been unexpectedly exhilarated by the screams of his little blond bitch as he'd gouged into her flesh to leave those lovely scars. It had taken much damage to her to leave marks for the humans to find. Like all werewolves, she healed quickly and quite well.

He had resorted to draining her of her blood to cause her to heal more slowly. As he'd lapped at the hot liquid while it oozed from her wounds, he'd noticed the tingling he felt throughout his body. It paled in comparison to when he had taken the blood of the dire wolves, but it was wholly enjoyable. He would have to investigate this further. When he had finished with Zosime, she had taken two days to recover, and he had felt stronger than he had since returning from the Vampire's castle. In fact, his lust had been insatiable, and he'd taken another female to his cave and used her mercilessly until Zosime had recovered enough to satisfy him.

Although he was but eighteen years, his face had changed, aged, taken on an evil visage that had not been there previously. Anyone who met him would think him a good deal older than he was but would rightly guess his malignant nature. Was it all the Dire Wolf's doing? Or had the evil always been a part of him?

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Nevada - Present Day

Katy couldn't wait to get outside for a run. Her panther had been restless and wanted to hunt. She insisted that it was good for the cub to get fresh meat early on. Katy thought it best not to argue since the panthers seemed to instinctively know what their cubs needed. In fact, the five of them had decided to hunt as a pack today. At least, that way, their mates would let them go. Well, they'd let them run as a pack, but surrounded by Baxter Betas who would stay out of the way but within sight. Even without the new wrinkle in their lives, meaning the Sardinian Alpha, they knew their mates would be over-protective. But with this new danger, they were downright paranoid.

Five panthers were a ferocious sight and deadly to boot, but instead of having a fight, or rather five fights, they decided to amicably agree and pick their battles wisely. The only one of their group that wasn't going to join them was Orsolya. Since rejoining her mate, she hated to be separated from him for a moment. They hunted together, alone.

Katy and Rhys had their quarters on the third floor, and she had just made it to the second floor landing when her sensitive ears picked up the faint sound of crying. She stopped and looked in the direction of the sounds, trying to pinpoint the exact room it was coming from. She knew the people on this floor included the new arrivals from Italy, whose son was running for his life. She could certainly understand if his mother was distraught.

She moved purposefully down the hall, stopping at each door to listen. She passed the Greek were's door, and the last belonged to Silvano and Carla. She stood quietly for a moment and listened. She hated to feel like she was eavesdropping, but it took her a few moments to get up the courage to knock on the door. She could hear the woman's plaintive cries.

{Per favore, si prega di tenere mio figlio sicuro e portarlo di nuovo me.} Her voice broke between sobs, barely able to speak the words intelligibly. {Darò a nulla, la mia vita, niente!}

Katy didn't need to understand Italian to recognize a woman pleading for her son's safe return. She didn't hear anyone else in the room with her, so moved closer to the door, and knocked softly. "Carla, Carla, it's Katy. May I speak with you?" She backed away from the door when she heard movement.

The door opened slowly, the blond woman blinking back tears as she looked at the petite red-head who had called to her. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bother anyone." She looked like she would break into tears at the slightest provocation.

"Oh, Carla. Please, don't think you are bothering anyone! I can't even imagine what you're going through. I just want to know if there's anything I can do to help you." She had quietly and carefully moved closer to the woman, instinctively putting an arm around her to comfort her. Katy had developed a decidedly motherly demeanor she'd never had before. Was it a normal hormonal thing with being pregnant? Or because she was a panther and pregnant?

"Thank you for your kindness. You have all been so wonderful to us, to let us stay here, help find our son." She looked closely at Katy, and whispered, "You are the mate of the Archivist, yes? Rhys is his name?"

Katy smiled at the mention of her mate's name. Just the sound of it sent warmth through her. "Yes, that's right." She was so proud to be his mate. He really was a formidable were, and, as she'd been learning, very well respected by his peers.

"Do you think the Council will look for my son's real family once he's here safe? The fates willing of course." She seemed on the verge of tears, her voice breaking as she said it.

"To be honest, Carla, I don't know. But my guess would be yes. I haven't been a were long, but I've seen how important family is to them. So I would imagine they will look for his family." She hugged her tighter, feeling the tension in her body. She couldn't imagine being in her shoes. Her panther swished her tail impatiently.

{If anyone took my cub they wouldn't live to see the next day.}

Katy silently agreed with her panther, but wouldn't upset Carla by voicing it.

"Carla, why don't you come with us for a hunt? I'm meeting with the other panthers. We're all pregnant and our cats have this overpowering need to chase something." Katy had a hold of her hand and was gently pulling her towards the door. "Please? It'd be good for you to get out. And good for your wolf too. I'm sure you both would like to let out your fear and frustration."

Carla smiled weakly and nodded her head. "All right, if you think it's alright with your friends." {Caro, I'm going for a hunt with some of the females.}

Silvano sent her his love and support and agreed that her wolf would appreciate getting out. And he appreciated Katy looking out for her while he was busy with the Alpha. Silvano turned to Rhys and leaned in close. "Your mate is wonderful. Thank you!"

Rhys beamed. He agreed whole-heartedly. "She is quite amazing. I think hunting with Katy and her sister-panthers will be wonderful for your mate."

Katy held Carla by the arm as they made their way to the meeting spot. Carla noticed the Betas lining the way and couldn't help but stare.

Katy observed her fixed gaze on a few of the males. "Carla, is something wrong?"

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude. Are there two packs here?"

Katy was surprised at how astute she was. "As a matter of fact, yes. How did you know?"

"They have different looks. The one group is more fair complected, the others a little darker, and look like one family. Their scents are similar as well."

Katy cocked her head. She'd never thought about it before. She scented the air, trying to find each male individually. The Baxter Betas did not have similar scents at all. And as she pondered it, she realized that most of the Baxter Betas were not closely related. But the Kardos brothers and their cousins who made up the bulk of the new pack did have remarkably similar scents. {Hmm, something to talk to Rhys about. I wonder if I could recognize one of Rhys' relatives by scent?}

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San Francisco Airport, California

Drago and Kelly stood in the aisle, waiting to get off the plane with the other hundreds of passengers. "Do you think they're waiting for us?" Kelly whispered over her shoulder. As noisy as this plane was, she had a feeling Drago wouldn't have any trouble hearing her. His hearing was incredible.

"Yes, I'm sure they're waiting. The question will be if they notice us." He winked at her as he pulled his cap down over his eyes. Luckily for them, when they'd ducked into the shop that sold wigs they'd had quite an assortment from which to choose. They wouldn't fit the descriptions of the couple that got on the plane. No more long blond hair. Now she had spikey red hair and he had a black pony tail. Drago knew that most of the lackeys Erobos had in the U.S. were lazy and were here because they wanted a soft job. And up until now, it had been. But not if he had any say. He'd make them work for it if they tried to take them. He wasn't going down without one hell of a fight!

Kelly started sneezing as the cologne reached her nose. She really didn't understand why he thought he needed to wear it. Was he known for hating those kinds of things, or what? But he insisted. She stuck close to him as they inched their way out of the plane. At least they didn't have to go to the baggage claim; all they had were carry-ons.

Drago took hold of Kelly's hand and ducked over to the wall, moving quickly past the conspicuous male scanning the crowd. Drago smiled as they zig-zagged through the slowpokes ahead of them. Maybe they'd be lucky and not run into any real Betas.

Once they managed to make it out of the terminal Drago flagged down a cab, and they settled themselves into the back. "Take us to any off-site car rental place. I don't care which one."

"Why don't we just rent a car here?" Kelly couldn't figure out why they'd have to go elsewhere.

"I'm sure they have someone posted at the car rental area. They may be out of practice, but they aren't stupid." Drago flashed her one of his grins and pulled out the ever-present iPad and started looking at maps.

"Did you see anyone looking for us?"

"Uh huh." Drago flipped between pages, looking at travel times and routes.

"How could you tell?" She glanced at him, amazed at how he could be so calm if there were some of "The Boss'" men at the airport.

"I can tell, Kelly. There were several. They just haven't had to track anyone for a while. They're soft."

"Are we going to stop and get a phone so you can call your father?"

"Nope." Drago didn't look at her, just kept up his Internet searches.

"Well how come? Wouldn't it help to call him and tell him where you are?" What the hell? Why wouldn't he want to call his dad now that they were at least in the same country?

"Because now they have my father's number. And they'll use it to track us. So I'm not going to call him again. He'll know why."

"Oh." Well, now she felt like a fool. Of course they'd track the number. {Sometimes, I'm an idiot.}

He turned to look at her. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be an ass, Kelly. This isn't exactly up your alley, is it? By the way, since I've never asked, what is it that you do for a living?" He smiled gently at her. He really didn't mean to act like a jerk. He was still learning how to act around a female, his mate, and he hoped he didn't upset her too much.

"Don't worry, you aren't an ass. I'm just kind of dense at times. Didn't even dawn on me. But you're right, this isn't my forte. I'm a Veterinary Nurse. In fact, I'd taken a job in Rome with an orthopedic surgeon, but never made it to my first day. So I guess my reputation is shot now." She slumped into the back of the cab, a dejected look on her face. She smiled when she felt his hand close on hers. Maybe she'd found something better than a job anyway. She looked up into his gorgeous face and couldn't help but blush.

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Kelly settled herself into the rental car and worked on finding a good radio station. She watched Drago as he laughed about something with the rental attendant. If she had to be running for her life, she was glad it was with him. She smiled at him as he got in the car. They drove out of the lot and after a few miles he pulled over, got out, opened the trunk, fiddled around a few minutes, slammed the trunk, and got back into the driver's seat.

"What was that?"

"Disconnected the GPS. They'll be at the rental place soon and have a description of the car, but at least they won't be able to find us without some work." He stared straight ahead and found the route to highway 101. "I"d exchange plates with another car, but that might get us into hot water with the cops." He turned towards his companion and grinned. "Wouldn't want that now, would we?"

She ignored his play at humor. "Where are we going?"

"Elko, Nevada. Here." He handed her the iPad. "You get to be the navigator. I plotted out our route. It's kind of roundabout, but we can't make a straight trip."

"Well they can't possibly know where we're going."

"They know exactly where we're going, Kelly. Once we're within about a hundred miles we can get some help, but if they find us before that, we're screwed."

"Why? What happens at one hundred miles?" She watched his profile as he stared at the road. "Drago, what happens at one hundred miles?" He still didn't answer her. She could see his jaw clenching.

"I'll explain later. I promise. Then you'll understand everything. Please, Kelly, just be patient with me. It'll make sense later." He turned his head and looked straight at her. "Please?"

She trusted him with her life so what was a little patience. "Okay, okay. I'll stop asking."

"Close your eyes, Kelly. Think of the most beautiful place you've ever been, then put me there with you. And that will be our future."

She stared at him for a minute. How could he think of the future when they didn't know if they even had one together? Whoever was chasing them wanted him dead. And her? She shivered. She still didn't know what "The Boss" wanted her for. And she couldn't imagine her life without Drago in it. "Do you like dogs and cats, Drago? We have to have lots of dogs and cats."

Drago's head fell back as he started laughing. "I love dogs, Kelly. We can have all you want. But cats? I don't know." He shook his head. Little did she know. "Now go to sleep. You didn't sleep at all on the flight. You've got to be exhausted."

She smiled and closed her eyes and realized just how tired she was. She'd kind of forgotten she hadn't slept in almost two days. Amazing what adrenaline could do. But now, she could barely think. Her eyelids were like lead. She heard the constant hum of the engine, the music drifting around her.

Drago glanced at the woman next to him, his woman, his mate. He heard her soft, steady breathing and was comforted by the fact she didn't know what was happening. Maybe he'd be able to make contact with his father in time to get the help he knew they'd need. He wondered when they'd make their move. How far from the Baxter Pack lands?

Kelly turned to her side and woke up with a start when her face hit the window. She jumped up and heard Drago laughing at her. "Thanks for the moral support!" She finally got herself settled and moved the seat upright and looked at the terrain, which was much different than the coast they'd been passing when she'd fallen asleep.

"Where are we?" She rubbed her eyes and blinked a few times. Green mountains surrounded them. {I thought we were heading to the desert?}

"We're a couple hundred miles from Elko." He looked over at her and saw her gawking out the window at the landscape. "I've been reading up on Nevada. It isn't all dry desert. There are plenty of mountains, forests, wild animals." He smirked at her frightened look. "I've read there's great hunting in Nevada."

She turned to him, surprised. "Do you hunt, Drago?"

He licked his lips, his wolf ready to answer for them. "I love to hunt, Kelly. But right now, we're the prey. And the hunters are coming after us!"

The light mood darkened at his description. She'd almost forgotten. It had been so peaceful and beautiful here. The miles seemed to fly by as they drove in silence. Drago seemed to be concentrating hard on something. That left Kelly time to think about what they'd been through in the last week. She felt like she'd lived a lifetime. The more she thought about it, the more she thought he was right, they were Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor. And "The Boss" was the Terminator coming after them. She stole a glance at him, trying not to be noticed. Kyle and Sarah never had a chance at happiness. She didn't want that to be them.

{Papà, mi senti?} Drago had been trying for the last hundred miles, hoping their bond would be strong enough to feel each other from as far away as possible. He knew the bonds he had with his adopted parents weren't as strong as a normal family bond, but strong nonetheless.

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