Kitty Goes to War Page 44

“Maybe we should go on foot,” Tyler said.

“We’d have to go on four feet to cover the same ground,” I said. “I’m not sure I want to risk it.”

“You’re just not used to it,” Tyler said. “That’s all we did over there.”

“And if you could operate a cell phone as a wolf I’d let you go, but you can’t. It’s not a good idea,” I said, twisting to look at him in the backseat.

“I could just go.” He gave me a stare. A challenge. Ben glanced at him in the rearview mirror, his hands tightening on the steering wheel.

I so didn’t need this right now. “Or I could haul your ass back to Shumacher at the VA hospital.”

I was impressed with myself talking back at this big scary Green Beret werewolf, except that for a moment Tyler looked like he wanted to jump me and bite off my face. The only way I kept my gaze locked with his and my back straight was thinking about what would happen if I flinched. If he decided I was weak and he could assert his dominance. That would make our trip real short.

I pushed, taking a gentler tack this time. “Look, I’ve gotten you this far, haven’t I? You’d still be locked up and climbing the walls with Vanderman without me. Trust me, okay?”

And he lowered his gaze. “All right. But what are we going to do when we find Walters?”

The tires sloshed on the wet pavement through several moments of silence.

“I guess that’ll depend on what happens when we get there,” I said, which was nothing more than waffling.

With false cheer, Ben said, “Best-case scenario, Stafford gets there with his tranquilizer gun first. Then we show up all huffy and defensive.”

I snorted in lieu of chuckling. But yeah, that was kind of how I was hoping it would go.

“Worst-case scenario,” Ben continued after a moment. “The Glock’s in the glove box.”

“That isn’t going to be necessary,” I said, more as a defensive mantra than any solid belief.

“You have a gun?” Tyler said, leaning forward.

“With silver ammo, even,” Ben said.

My husband the werewolf kept silver bullets in his glove box. I didn’t question it.

I asked Tyler, “You think he’s headed back to Vanderman. Can he really get past FortCarson security, into the building? He can’t really break Vanderman out, can he?”

“We broke out easy enough. We waited until they were moving us into the building. Then we knocked them over and ran. As a wolf, he can get onto the base easy. He’ll be fast and camouflaged, and FortCarson is huge. A lot of it is open plains. He’ll have to be human to break into the building, though. He’d need his hands.”

“Could he do that? Sneak onto the base, sleep off his wolf, then break into the building? Isn’t that a little goal-oriented for a werewolf?” I said.

“We trained to remember our targets. Even if we didn’t remember anything else, we remembered the mission.”

I remembered a story. One of Paul Flemming’s informants had been an old man, a German soldier and a veteran of World War II. He’d also been a werewolf, and he told me about being trained by the SS to carry messages across enemy lines. People would stand out, but wolves were part of the landscape. Obviously, there were techniques for training werewolves. I wondered how many secret histories there were, how many wars included units of werewolves fighting for one side or the other. Roman centurions, Norse berserkers, Mongol raiders, Persian infantry… It sounded all too plausible. Werewolves were too ideal for the job not to use as soldiers.

The thought sent a chill over me, raising gooseflesh. I shivered and turned up the heater.

“What’s the matter?” Ben said gently. Maybe he could smell my unease.

“Implications,” I said, then shook my head. “Never mind. Won’t there be guards? Won’t they be able to stop him?” I looked back at Tyler.

“Not if they’re not firing silver,” Tyler said. “I think only Stafford’s guys have silver. They’d have to do too much explaining if they started issuing silver ammo to the regular MPs.”

“FUBAR. Isn’t that what you guys call this sort of thing?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Tyler said, chuckling.

This could be a public relations nightmare. Werewolves had stayed hidden from public sight, behind folklore, for a very long time. We’d stayed secret by policing ourselves. Then people like me started blowing the whistle. The old system was falling apart. Police started getting involved, and one bad incident hitting the news would ensure that everyone saw werewolves as monsters rather than people. So what now?

We reached a freeway. I-70, it should have been. A string of red taillights flowed like a river before us, distorted by the snow and wet. Rush hour. Bad weather.

My phone rang—”The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” played. I dived for the floor and grabbed for the phone. The music set my nerves on edge—it couldn’t be good. The dash clock said 7 A.M. Too early for normal people.

“What is it?”

Cormac sounded as urgent as I’d ever heard him. He didn’t even sound like Cormac. “I think this is it.”

“What, this is… oh. Franklin.”

“This blizzard isn’t natural,” he said. He sounded like he was in a car, speeding somewhere through traffic.

“So what are we going to do about it?”

“I’ve got an idea, but I’m still working on that part,” he said. “I wanted to make sure you and Ben are home and ready to get socked in.”

“Um…” I said, trying to figure out how to explain this. “I’m afraid we’ve had something come up.” Could I sound any more vague? Like this wouldn’t make him suspicious.

I could almost hear the deep sigh over the line. “What happened?”

“So you know last night was the full moon? Well, the guys from the army came with us, and one of them kind of went rogue—”

“And you’re chasing after him? Good luck with that.” How did he manage to sound so sarcastic without changing his tone of voice?

I grumbled, “Yeah, thanks.”

“You need help?”

“Not yet,” I said. I hoped it wouldn’t come to that. “I’d rather have you figuring out how to stop Franklin. Don’t worry about us, we won’t freeze.”

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