We remained in that position for a while. Me, laying on the pavement in a now fairly dirty hospital ground. The “Bad Wolf” laying on top of me, licking my head every so often. And the man in a sweatshirt, leaning against the wall like the scene in front of him wasn’t totally bizarre.
“So, how about getting this big lug off me?” I was the one who finally broke the silence. I figured he was waiting for me to speak. He probably wasn’t waiting for the wolf to start talking.
“Eh, perhaps later, she looks comfortable there.” He replied. I waited for him to say something else. Just when I was about to give up hope of getting some sort of conversation, he continued. “You know, I expected you to be a bit more… dignified?”
“I just broke out of a hospital, I’m not sure it’s possible to do that in a dignified manner.” I retorted. “Also, who do you think I am, what do you know about me, why is your dog sitting on me, and who are you? And what do you want from me?” I continued. If I was going to start asking questions, might as well go for broke.
“I’m going to start with that last question and ignore the rest for now.” He replied. “You are going to tell us everything that happened at the airport.”
“Why?” I asked. I was really starting to get a bad feeling about this.
“My cat is sitting on you, you don’t really have a choice in the matter.” He said. The thing sitting on me, mind-breaking shapeshifting aside, was clearly a monster of the canine variety. Still, I didn’t correct him. There was a line between defiance in the face of danger and just being irritatingly petulant.
“You know, that’s probably the stupidest threat I’ve ever heard. Look, I don’t know who you are, and frankly I don’t really care. But, if you want information I have, you’re going to pay me for it, like civilized people.” I said, trying to sound substantially braver than I was feeling. I was tired of this shit. I was already out thousands of dollars after losing the metal spike. I clearly wasn’t going to get paid for my work in Ireland, if this idiot wanted so much as the time of day from me, he was going to pay me dammit.
“Fine. I guess that’s reasonable. You admitted you were present at Hartsfield, so you’re coming with us. Worst case scenario, we ransom you back to the Association.” He looked around the alley. I wasn’t sure what he was looking for, it was pretty dark, and, well, it was an alley. There wasn’t much to look at. “Adrianne, put her in the back” he continued.
“What the hell do you think you’re– “ I started. I stopped when I felt teeth on the back of my neck.
“I think we’re kidnapping you, but I suppose I could be wrong.” He replied. “Adrianne, car, now.” I wasn’t sure who he was talking to at first. Then the wolf bit my neck. Not hard enough to rip out my spine, or even to draw blood, but hard enough to keep me absolutely still. The wolf, Adrianne, lifted me up by the scruff of my neck. And I awkwardly scuttled along, trying to minimize the pressure her teeth were putting on my neck. I didn’t get the sense the apparently intelligent wolf cared all that much about whether or not I survived the trip to their car. With one hand, I held my hospital gown shut, with the other, I kept my food and clothes clutched to my chest. Seriously, who the hell has a freaking ghostly-wolf thing as their henchwoman? I was starting to realize that whatever that spike was, it had attracted the sort of attention that was massively and utterly out of my league.
The “car” that the man in the sweatshirt was talking about was in fact, a black van with tinted windows. I almost didn’t see it at first, it blended remarkably well into the shadows of the alleyway. I probably would have walked into it if I wasn’t being dragged around by a moderately corporeal wolf. Adrianne stopped a few feet from the back entrance to the truck, waiting patiently for her master to open the doors. After he did, she released me and growled once. I got the message, and got in the van.
There was carpet on the floor of the floor of the van. Not nice carpet, but more the sort of carpet you extinguished cigarettes on and wrapped bodies in. In the back corner, there was a cooler, a hacksaw, and a handgun. Not encouraging. Not even remotely encouraging. I checked the handgun. It was empty. Of course, it was at that moment that the man in the sweatshirt chose to join me in the back of the back of the van. My terrible luck wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Thinking of shooting me?” He asked.
“I had to check. Please don’t kill me?” I said in a quiet voice.
“That largely depends on how cooperative you are. I apologize for the forcefulness with which we’ve handled this matter, but we need answers about what happened at the airport, and that alley was not a secure place to speak.”
“That’s… Rather polite of you. Unfortunately, until I see money, I’m not talking. This whole thing has been a complete shitshow. I need to replace half of my worldly possessions, and on top of that, I’m definitely not getting paid for my work in Ireland.” I said, emboldened.
“We can probably work something out.” The van started. I felt a mild jolt as we began moving. As far as kidnappings go, this really was pretty tame so far. No torture or anything.
“Cool, mind turning around so I can finally get out of this stupid gown?”
“Sure. If you were planning on attacking me with that saw though, I would really recommend you re think that. It’d be a shame to have to break your legs.” The man said, turning around. If I hadn’t already given up on the thought of escape, the utter lack of concern in his voice would have killed any hope left in me. Whatever he was, I had no hope of hurting him with physical violence. The cast on my leg had cracked during my mad run, so I proceeded to peel it off. If I could run, I clearly didn’t need it. I put on the smaller pair of pants, then pulled the gown over my head and put on the shirt. I barely managed on my own, I didn’t hurt too bad, but there were so many bandages over my abdomen that bending down was impossible. As I finished, I began prying at the cast on my arm, slowly picking away at the material.
“Okay, you can turn back around. By the way, what should I call you?” I asked.
“Wrath.” The man apparently name Wrath replied, turning back around to face me. This was the first time I really got a good luck at him. He wasn’t hugely remarkable. He looked pretty young, probably barely old enough to drink. Assuming he was human. Appearance wasn’t always a good indication of age. His eyes were dark and of indistinct color. Probably brown, but I wasn’t going to be sure unless I got really close and stared at them. His hair was probably brown too, it was dark enough to nearly pass as black. It was cut in some sort of stylish manner. I’m not really sure how male haircuts work, but it was short, mostly the same length, and not bad looking. His face was the interesting bit though. It was… odd. Like he was an ethnicity I’d never seen before. Handsome, sure, but slightly odd, in a way I just couldn’t put my finger on. It was hard to tell under his baggy clothes, but he looked thin, and in at least decent shape.
“Really? You named yourself after one of the seven deadly sins? You don’t think that’s, I dunno, cheesy?” He was being so polite, but I just couldn’t help myself. Someone had to say it.
“Wasn’t my choice. I have some temper issues. A friend chose the moniker, and it stuck. And your name would be…?”
“Molly.” Well, maybe I should tone down the sarcasm in the future. No need to make the nice, potentially paying, homicidal maniac angry.
“By the way, where’s the giant wolf-thing”
“Adrianne is driving”
“So, she’s a shape-shifting semi-corporeal wolf-panther?” I asked.
“-ish” He replied.
“You don’t need to understand any more about her at this time. She is both a semi-corporeal wolf-panther, as you so eloquently put it, and driving the car. If you feel like risking your life to satisfy that curiosity, you could ask her. ” Wrath said. There was a moments silence as I digested that. Then I remembered I was starving, and started looking through the food in the other pair of pants. I pulled out a plastic tin of frosted flakes, and dug in with relish.
Then I remembered my kidnapper. I wasn’t sure what he was, or who he worked for, but this might be a chance to narrow that down.
“Coke?” I offered, holding out a can.
“Sure.” Wrath took the offered can, popped it open, and drank some. Well, no aversion to aluminum, worked metal, or modern objects. And capable of drinking. That still didn’t rule out vampire, but combined with the normal eyes, I was starting to feel a bit better about not getting eaten tonight. His henchwoman apparently was some sort of shapeshifter, but she didn’t look like any werewolf I had ever seen.
“So, how much?” Wrath asked.
“Ten grand.” I replied, assuming he was asking about money.
“Deal.” Well shit, guess I should have asked for more. “Begin at the beginning, who are you, and why were you at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport on the the morning of the 9th of August?”
“Hold your horses. How do I know you won’t just kill me when you’re done asking questions? And I haven’t seen any money yet.” I said.
Wrath sighed. And then he pulled a knife out from one of the many pockets in his pants. The knife was a single piece of jagged obsidian, marred by countless scratches. It had no cross-guard or hilt, just a wrapping of leather across it’s top half. Even without the sight, I could feel something emanating from the blade. It wasn’t a pleasant sensation.
I started talking.