Bound to My Mate Ch. 17byDoctorWolf©
Thank you, thank you to everyone that comments and votes. I really appreciate the time you all take for feedback. It makes my day when I get a new comment. With the holidays looming the next chapter will be a couple weeks. Hope you all enjoy this chapter. DW
I watched as a shiny white semi pulled down the long drive in front of the den. I wondered how Dia planned to get it out. The driver stopped in front of the den and the rig shuddered to a halt.
A tall girl got out of the semi carrying another girl in her arms. Rick pointed to Dia and told Joel that was the person he expected. Joel watched her closely for a moment through the windows before opening the front doors.
Dia was young, but she seemed fatigued. It wasn't that she looked physically tired. She walked toward us carrying June as if the other girl was no weight at all. She looked weary, as though some great stress was wearing her down.
The medical team rushed to get to June. She looked terrible. Deep bruises covered one side of her face and her arm was in a makeshift splint. As we got closer I could tell she was covered in a spell, 'the destroyer'.
June groaned in pain and saw her adopted brothers. In barely audible whispers, she begged them to run. They stood in shock watching her as the medical assistants brought our wheeled table out.
We took June and laid her out on the gurney. Standing next to her, I watched her taking tiny struggling hiccups of air. Looking quickly at her neck, I saw her trachea was deviated off to one side. She was dying in front of us.
"She got worse when she rolled off the bunk in the back about ten minutes ago," Dia told us watching June.
I ripped June's blouse down the middle to expose her and saw the deep purple bruising on one side.
"Pneumothorax," the healer and I said at the same time.
"We need a knife," I called to our assistants and started to push the gurney toward the den.
June wasn't breathing at all now, this situation was going downhill fast.
Dia flicked a small knife from her right front pocket and offered it up. I took the knife and examined it quickly; it was sharp enough. Without a second thought I found the proper place and pushed the blade into June's chest.
I could hear the growls coming from her adopted brothers and Lucas, but I didn't care. I had to release the pressure so she could breathe. The knife cut through her and as soon as it hit the built up air in her chest; it exploded out.
June's blood sprayed twenty feet out the incision I had made in a fine mist and she gasped in a breath. You could literally hear the air as it whistled out the opening. The effect on June was instantaneous, she coughed and started to scream on the gurney. She was in pain, but at least she was breathing.
"What happened, Madam Alpha?" Lucas asked from right behind me.
"Broken rib probably cut her lung, air got into the chest cavity and couldn't get out. It built up until she couldn't breath anymore. She'll need a chest tube for a couple of days, but she'll live," I explained quickly.
The healer took over and indicated I should stay. "I will care for the injured, Madam Alpha," she said pushing the gurney toward the den.
I turned and Joel was having a staring contest with Dia. I broke the game up by handing her back her knife.
Lucas and three of the four adopted brothers had gone with June, Rick stayed next to Joel.
"Alpha Latro, may I ask Dia a question?" the young wolf asked my mate.
Joel nodded but continued to stare at Dia. A bad feeling seemed to weigh the air down. This girl had brought something horrible to the den and I knew Joel couldn't tell what it was.
"How'd she get hurt, D?" Rick asked.
"You'll have to ask her, mutt," Dia told him and Joel growled.
"I have had enough of the 'mutt' comments. I will not tolerate any more of that from you," Joel said.
"You don't want me calling him that, fine, but that's the name he gave me when we met," Dia stated.
"Just call me Rick, D. June's a little out of it to be giving information. What happened that got her all beat up?" he asked again.
"Not part of the deal. Come get your stuff and let me get out of here. I have to go," Dia said irritably turning on her heel and walking to the back of the semi.
"Sir, I don't know what's going on. She's never been like this with us before," Rick whispered to Joel.
"Be on your guard, son," Joel told him stepping forward.
I followed Joel toward the back of the rig. Dia undid the locks and levers and threw the doors open. None of the warriors or security people got in front of the doors when they were opened. They waited for instructions.
I pushed into my mate's mind and felt his discomfort with this situation. Some deep instinct told him to be cautious, that there was danger very near. Softly, I told him I felt the same way.
Dia stood looking at us and pointed into the truck.
"Your shit's in there," she said. "Get it the fuck out. I'm not touching it anymore."
"Hell of a mouth you've got, Dia," Will said passing in front of the open doors and walking toward her.
She backed away from him and the truck. "I got his word," she said pointing at Joel, "I get to leave. Don't touch me."
A warm breeze came through the trees and pushed into the trailer. The wind billowed back out at us and we gagged as a group. Rotten, putrid flesh assaulted our senses. The scent was strong and even Dia must have smelled it. She pulled her shirt over her nose and turned away. The wind died and we all stared at Dia.
"What is in the back of this trailer?" Joel growled.
"That shit is what June wanted. She asked me to get it for her and I did. It was a favor, a fucking favor. She wanted to trade it for her brothers, she said you'd want it. Consider it a gift from her. Now get it out of my truck. I want it away from me," Dia said still holding her shirt over her nose.
'Stay away, mate,' Joel said into my mind, 'if something happens to me, you must handle things.'
The trailer didn't have a light and Joel looked into the long empty container. At the far end was a lump emanating the smell. I didn't look, I just pushed into Joel's mind and saw with his eyes.
Joel jumped into the truck and walked toward the lump. In his mind I could feel his familiarity with the smell. His voice boomed out from inside the trailer.
"Ryan, you go to the infirmary and tell Lucas he is to watch June. He is her guardian and is not to leave her side for any reason. That is an order coming directly from me," Joel said.
I stayed in Joel's mind as he strode through the empty trailer. The rush of his memories came from nowhere. His mother dead on the bed, his father's grief, and finally the face that caused all that harm sneering at him before her death. The last memory was Linda, Lucas' first mate, standing in the circle waiting for her punishment from the Alpha. It was a weird stack of memories all blended together.
I didn't know anything or anyone Joel had just thought about, but I was seeing the world with his eyes. When he pulled back the thick plastic and opened the cloth on the floor of the trailer, I watched with him as a familiar face was uncovered, Linda.
The body was decomposing, but it was her. Joel noted that her skull cap had been removed. He looked and saw the space her brain should have occupied was empty. Her neck had been torn to shreds and clung to the body with a thin strip of flesh, he expected that. Joel pulled the cloth further away and saw where her chest had been opened surgically. Further down both legs had been severed mid calf and were missing. It was gruesome.
The flesh smelled putrid. Putting a hand over the body Joel noted it was warming, the core was much colder than the outside. Joel assumed she had been taken from somewhere very cold. Until being moved, the body had been frozen.
The air around the body was ripe with magic. The corpse was literally dripping in spells. Even the cloth she was wrapped in was covered in spells. She was the source, Joel knew it.
This was why the potions never seemed to last; why their power waxed and they faded. They were made from something dead and decayed. The power of the werewolf body was slowly decomposing and falling away.
Joel re wrapped the remains and picked them up. He brought it to edge of the trailer and jumped down. Nate stepped forward and took the decaying remains from Joel.
"It is part of the source. Go to the circle," Joel commanded. "Set up a pyre, quickly. We burn this tonight."
When the men were out of the way, Dia closed the doors. She started for the cab of her truck with purpose.
"She stays for now," Joel ordered quietly.
I was shocked. This was big, Joel never went back on his word.
Dia whirled to face the wolves with a pair of black .45's aimed at Joel.
"I am leaving. You gave your word," she seethed.
"You will die out there and I need more information," Joel stated flatly.
"I don't know shit!" she screamed at him. "I don't have a damn thing to say to you and I'm not staying. I have to leave. You can't make me stay and talk. I have to get out of here now."
Will stepped between Joel and the girl, walking toward her.
"Head or the heart, isn't that right, wolf?" she asked rhetorically.
"Give me the weapons," Will calmly demanded.
"I'm leaving. I had the Alpha's word. I have to get out of here," she repeated holding her ground. Come any closer and I will kill you."
"You won't kill me," Will said confidently taking a step toward the woman and her guns.
The security team stood around in what I can only consider shock as Will continued to approach the girl.
"How much thought have you given your plan to run?" he asked. "Where are you going to go that you won't be hunted? You took the most powerful piece of magic the witches have ever created and gave it to the Latro pack. You think we are predatory? They are worse."
Will continued to step calmly toward her as he spoke, "This is the only place you will ever be safe again. Did you take your truck for the pick up? Do you think no one noticed a semi sitting around?" he laughed.
"Or let's look at it this way," he continued, "Do you have a reputation? Aren't you someone that knows about witches, werewolves, and magic? Aren't you a thief? How long do you think it will take them to put it all together? I'm betting not long."
Will stood an arm's length from the girl with the muzzle of her gun in his chest.
"You are a sitting duck out there," he said motioning. "The Alpha is right. You need to stay here and share what you know with us."
They stood like that for a few moments until Will took the weapons from Dia's hands and tucked them into the back of his pants. Dia lowered her arms and watched Will cautiously.
"Guard her. Check her for any other weapons and bring her with you to the circle," Joel ordered motioning for me to follow him.
I followed my mate through the woods to the circle. There wasn't any reason to tap into his mind right now. It was obvious just looking at him; he was seething mad.
The source had been a member of his pack. All the destruction caused across the country had started on his home turf. Rage was radiating from him.
When we reached it, Joel stopped me from stepping in the circle. Looking in, I saw Nate and the others had built a simple wooden funeral pyre in the center. They were laying the body on it when we got there. At Joel's command they lit the kindling underneath and bolted back so they were outside the circle of stones.
Joel reached for my hand as he watched the scene before us.
"The body will release its energy when it starts to burn. The circle is meant to contain magic. We will be safe out here," he said in that level voice I'd come to dread.
The kindling burned slowly, catching the larger pieces on fire. Suddenly the light hit the body and the ground rocked with the explosion. Most of the energy was contained within the circle, but I felt the rivulets of power escaping its bounds. The fire burned hot for several more moments and then there was nothing but a pile of ash left where the pyre had been.
I thought we should be happy the source was destroyed but no one looked that way. Everyone just looked angry and frustrated.
Looking to my left I saw Will and Dia. She watched the source burn and didn't seem in the least surprised about what had happened. She really was inured to all this magic and werewolf stuff.
Leaving the circle I followed my mate. I was confused by the anger still radiating from him. He looked like he was in planning mode, as though this wasn't over.
"It's not finished," Joel told me as we walked briskly back to the den. "They took off parts and removed the essential pieces: the heart and the brain. The spells will still work and they can make new ones from the flesh in the legs."
Once we were inside, Joel ordered the den locked up. The new security measures all clicked into place and the electronic security system was activated. We were on lock down now.
Joel stared at Dia for a moment and she just glared back at him. He straightened his shoulders and turned for the stairs leading to the basement. Before he could make it, Will stopped him.
"A conference room would be appropriate, Alpha Latro," Will told my mate.
"I have no patience right now, Will. I will get this information by the quickest means possible," Joel said stoically pointing downstairs. "She has already stated she will not talk."
I knew what was in the basement. The rooms they used to torture information out of the rogues. Evidently he expected to make Dia talk the same way. That was wrong and I shouted at Joel through our bond I thought as much. Keeping Dia was bad enough, but at least she had agreed to that. Torturing her would be unacceptable.
"The conference rooms will work just as well, Alpha Latro. I cannot allow you to do what you are thinking," Will said getting right in front of Joel.
When Will moved away from Dia, I put myself between her and my mate. My stance became slightly defensive and I pushed her against the wall behind us. I could not, in good conscience, allow him to torture someone he swore he would release. It wasn't right and he'd not be happy with himself afterward.
Joel never went back on his word, he'd told me that much. His behavior right now was so out of character. Whatever his reasons, I refused to let him make a mistake he would regret.
"Are you challenging me in my den?" Joel asked stepping nose to nose with Will.
"Yes, sir, if that's what it takes. I have no desire to fight you, though. I only request we do this in the conference room," Will calmly answered.
Looking between the two men I saw how big both of them were. If anyone could challenge Joel and stand a chance, it would probably be Will. A battle between the two of them would make an enormous mess right now.
'Compromise,' I sent into Joel's mind and his gold eyes shifted to look at me. 'Try the conference room. What you are thinking of doing is not right.'
Joel held my gaze for several moments and then shifted his eyes back to Will.
"My mate agrees with you Will, but we need this information. I will not stop until we have it," Joel told Will looking at me again.
I turned to look at our prisoner. Dia shuddered visibly and her face was ashen. She knew enough to know what we were discussing. I prayed for her sake she had enough sense to just tell Joel what she knew.
Joel pointed to the first floor conference room on the other side of hall. Will moved past me with a nod and put a hand on Dia's shoulder. He guided her into it. She watched him with a mixture of curiosity and gratitude on her face as we followed her inside.
Joel's security team stood casually along the walls of the conference room. They were ready to strike and restrain Will if the Alpha commanded it. It was a tense several moments as everyone arranged themselves.
Dia stood beside Will at the head of the room and faced Joel. She had taken an appraisal of everything going on and I hoped she realized how futile her resistance would be. Joel didn't like the idea of hurting women, but I sensed in this case, he would make an exception.
"Where did you get the body you brought us?" he asked.
Dia paused for a moment and the guard started to close in. She spoke before anyone could really move on her, though. She gave an address outside of town.
"Who did you take it from?" Joel asked.
Dia took a deep breath and looked at Joel, "I don't have a death wish, Alpha Latro. You can hurt me all you want and I still won't know the name. June knew the place. She gave me the plans for the house. I did this as a favor to her. I'll tell you whatever you want to know, but I don't know whose house it was. June just called her 'the witch'."
Joel appraised the girl for a moment and I heard his voice in my head, 'Do you believe her?' he asked me.
'I believe she's smart enough to know when she's outmatched. We can look up the information about the house on the property appraiser's web site. Ask her to tell you the entire story,' I thought back to him. 'If she's lying she may say more than she means to.'
Joel got someone working on finding the information we wanted and then he turned back to Dia.
"Tell me the entire story and leave nothing out," he commanded.
June had called Dia several weeks before and told her the boys were in trouble. June had escaped out the back of the trailer, just like we'd suspected, when her neighbor started yelling. She had known the Latro pack was picking up rogues and her adopted family disappeared that night. June had feared the worst.
Somehow, June had found out that the boys she called brothers were in the den. Dia wasn't sure how she did that. June told Dia she needed to get them out and she had a plan.
Dia licked her lips and they looked dry. She passed a tired hand on her forehead and Will put a hand on her back.
"She is cooperating, Alpha Latro, may she have some water?" he asked.
Joel motioned and a pitcher and glass were in front of us a moment later. Joel poured a glass for Dia and motioned. She hesitantly took the water and sipped at it. Evidently deciding it wasn't poisoned, she drank the whole thing.
"Thank you," she said nodding to Joel and then looking at Will.
Will stroked her back and encouraged her to keep talking.
June told Dia she knew a woman that had asked her strange questions a year before. The woman knew June lived with werewolves and wanted to know if they would cooperate with her. June had initially been interested, since the woman offered money, a lot of money. One of the boys just had to do something for the woman.
The woman had piqued June's curiosity. June had been to her home and knew she was a witch. June had never lost her thieving ways and broke into the woman's house later, just to look around. She didn't take anything, but she explored it completely.
Something the witch had scared June. She feared for herself and her brothers. June convinced her family to move to the other side of town and cut off all contact with the strange person.
"June said she found the body in a locked freezer in the garage," Dia told us. "She also found spell books and read through them. June's a smart kid and she figured out what the witch was doing. When the potions started coming out and they worked, she understood the body she had seen belonged to a werewolf."
The room stood in stunned silence, but Dia kept talking.
"I agree with June," she said speculatively. "The witch wanted a living source. I think that's what she wanted to have June convince one of the boys to do."
"How would a simple human know all of that?" Nate spat out from beside Joel. "I scented that female; she was human, not a witch."