Wolf and I ran away to the big city and so I didn’t have time to write. Luckily there is a lot of Sheeple in the archives. Things begin to heat up a bit. Oh, and as I’m running away for the day tomorrow, I’m not sure if I will have time to write, so you may get two days of Sheeple in a row.
Laying in bed after making love, Eric was running his fingers over her side. Her hipbones and ribs were more pronounced than they had been a few months ago.
“Sweetie, you need to eat a bit better. You’re melting away.”
“”Oh great. First time I loose weight in ages and you’re telling me I need to eat.” Kate sighed. “I just can’t win.”
“Sweetie, I didn’t mean it in a nasty sort of way. Just that I know you aren’t eating and I don’t want you sick. Eating right is different than eating junk.” Concern tinging his voice. His hands moved back over her stomach. “You’re also toning up. Have you noticed?”
“Yes. There are days I feel like I have muscles I never thought I knew about. And my clothes are looser.
“Some of those clothes could go to Goodwill or the thrift store. They hang on you.”
“That’s what Suzanne said. And yes, I know I’m not eating as well as I could. I’m stressing about what you are planning to do. I don’t want to loose you. Gads I don’t.” She buried her head in his chest and shoulder.
“You are not going to loose me. I don’t know what they want, but I plan to find out and stop them. Tomorrow is the night. I don’t work the next morning, so Zach and I will head up. We’ll be okay.”
“I hope so,” she said as she drifted off to sleep.
It was hard to keep her mind on things. Zach and Eric left early in the afternoon. Ft. Kit wasn’t that far away, but they wanted time to scout the area. If they got sighted, the excuse was that Zach wanted to see an Army base before he signed on the dotted line. It was plausible.
They drove around and made a good guess at where O’Hare and company were staying. Seeing Degus outside one of the buildings helped. After that, they went into town to have a light dinner and watched a matinée movie. They had plenty of time to kill before midnight.
Zach dropped Eric off at the back gate area. They had seen a spot that could be accessed well enough earlier in the day. Eric shed his clothes and shifted. Picking up a package containing a knife and latex gloves in his mouth, he headed towards the fence. Moving quickly, he was under the wire and loping across the quadrant towards guest housing before the MP walked his beat on the quarter hour.
Eric sniffed out where they were rather quickly. Some idiot had left the second floor door open. He was in the building and shifted in the empty hall. Right there on the doors on tape were their names. This was just too damn easy. Granted, he still had four men to scare and escape, but it was a walk in the park. He expected it to be much more difficult. Degus was the first ‘victim’. Slipping on a uniform left in a chair, Eric moved over the bed where Degus slept. He tucked his hair up under the hat giving him the appearance of short hair. Using a towel, he grabbed, flipped and tied Degus up. Rolling him over, he put his nose to the other man’s nose. He slipped the tip of his knife to Degus’ throat.
“Stop hunting me. My family is dead. I’m dead. If you continue to hunt me, you will be dead.” Eric used a low growling tone.
Degus’ eyes went wide and sweat broke out on his brow. He nodded and didn’t try to speak. Eric then stuffed a dirty sock in his mouth to prevent any thought of speech.
“I don’t exist. Nick Olman is dead.”
Degus nodded and Eric tapped him on the head with the butt of his knife. Feeling him go limp, he moved quickly to the next room. Hart was next. A bigger fellow, he tried to struggle. Eric knocked him out and tied him to his bed. Clarke was also a pain. Tried to struggle, and when Eric brought the knife tip up, the guy went pale. He gave him the same message he had Degus. Then on to O’Hare.
O’Hare had a room on the third floor. Eric had to move fast as he wasn’t sure how long the men below would stay quiet. O’Hare’s room was next to the stairwell. Unlocked, Eric got in and was sitting on the man’s chest in a matter of seconds.
“Stop hunting the dead,” Eric said in a whisper.
O’Hare nodded as he couldn’t speak around the socks stuffed in his mouth.
“Otherwise, you will join the dead.” Eric traced his knife across the throat of O’Hare. He cut him ever so slightly….. just enough to draw a thin bead of blood. He pushed the knife in right at the base of the throat and held it there.
“This hunt for the dead is over. Stop looking. Go back to Virginia.” Eric continued in that same deadly whisper.
O’Hare nodded, and then Eric smelled something. O’Hare had pissed himself. Eric laughed a low evil laugh and walked towards the door. He slammed the knife into the wood and left it there. He closed the door, ran down the stairwell and headed for Degus’ room. Listening outside the door, he could hear him breathing. Eric slipped in, discarded the uniform and headed for the open. Last thing he did was remove two layers of rubber gloves and a pair of socks from his feet. Jamming then in a trash can, he started heading back across the grounds. Just before clearing the buildings, he shifted and loped across the prairie.
Scrabbling under the fence, he looked for Zach. Not seeing him, he headed down the dirt road and soon found the car in the deep shadows of an underpass.
Zach was watching him and moved when he saw the wolf. Opening the back hatch, he let him in, got in himself and slowly drove off. Meanwhile, behind him all hell was breaking loose on Ft. Kit Army Base.
5 am came and went. Dawn came and no Zach or Eric. Kate was beginning to pace, and all the tea she had drunk had not helped her nerves. Luna and Gretchen thought she was nuts as every time she heard a car, she went to look out the back door. That was their job.
She finally gave up and laid down on the bed. It felt like she had just gone to sleep when she heard voices in the kitchen. The clock read 8 am. She’d been asleep for an hour. Stumbling out into the kitchen, she saw Eric and Zach just making tea.
“Hello you two. I was worried.”She was sleepy-headed.
“It took us a while to get back. Apparently someone snuck onto an Army base, so they closed the whole city down. They were searching cars and everything. Of course, Zach here got cited for not having his dog on a leash, but,”
“You’re joking? Right?” Kate said, coming more awake.
“No Mom. He isn’t.” Zach pulled a yellow ticket out of his pocket, and handed it to her. “We thought it best that ‘Max’ be with me than Eric. And, we were standing outside the car waiting in line when this cop shows up and gets all in a snit because ‘Max’ had no tags or collar or leash. I tried to explain how I’d been in the car with him and he had to go pee, and what with all the traffic, I just let him out for a minute.”
“And we almost got away with it.” Eric said in a sheepish tone.
“Yeah, we would have if you hadn’t peed on his tires.” Zach slapped at Eric’s arm with his hand.
“Well, I did have to go, and it did stop the cop from calling in the car plate.” Eric was looking at the floor.
“You still got a ticket! What were you thinking?” Kate said exasperated.
“Umm… I wasn’t?”
“No, you weren’t.” Kate crossed her arms over her chest.
“I’m sorry Mom,” Zach said, recognizing it was time to get out of the kitchen. “I’m going to bed. Eric can tell you all about it.” He left the room. This left Kate and Eric in the kitchen in an awkward silence. Kate was trying her best not to tap her foot. Eric was trying to figure out where to start. He knew he’d worried her and now pissed her off.
“Kate, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done it, but…” he started.
“But you had to do it anyway,” Kate said with an undertone of frustration.
Eric just nodded. He picked up his cup of tea and handed her one as well. “Shall we go talk about the rest of the evening?”
“Fine. Might as well. Nothing could be as climatic as you peeing on a cop’s tires,” Kate headed towards their room. She still was peeved, and no cup of tea was going to smooth it over.
Eric closed the door behind her. She sat on the bed and he took the chair as he had that very first night. He started telling her what went on, and hoped she’d let him in bed when they were done.
“And then he peed himself!” Eric said, describing the final visit with O’Hare.
“Oh my gods! Really?”
“Yeah. I loved it. Then I stuck the knife in the door and got the hell out of there. I probably ought to shower. Between all the running around and stuff, I probably stink.”
Kate sniffed in his direction. “Yes, you do.”
“Want to join me? I could sure use someone to scratch my back,” Eric said hopefully.
Kate looked at him. “Alright, but you have to promise me that ‘Max’ will be more law abiding in the future.”
“Yes Ma’am!” Putting down his cup, he stood and pulled her up off the bed. Taking her in his arms, he whispered in her ear. “I am so sorry that all of this happened. I never wanted to endanger you. I love you so much.”
“I love you too Eric. Let’s go shower. I forgive you.”
It was Eric’s turn to smile.
In the shower, he felt all his muscles relax. Even the ones that didn’t go with the body in the shower. It had been a tense week since the school evening. Kate’s hands on his shoulders eased more than just tension. He had been afraid that he’d really screwed up. Afraid he’d have to move fast. Fast enough to maybe even have to leave the kids behind. That was the last thing he wanted to do. As was leaving Kate. Kate said something and he didn’t catch it.
“What was that Kate?”
“I said you forgot to shave before we got in the shower.”
“Oh. Yeah, I did.” Eric ran his fingers over the day’s worth of stubble. “Kate, What would you think of me growing a beard?”
Kate looked up at him. She smiled. “I like that idea. I like it a lot.” She reached up and kissed him.
A week later, all the fervor of an intruder on Ft. Kit Army Base was old news. No one was ever found. Some people in town said that it was just the Army trying to make itself look more important. Others figured it was just someone playing a prank. Either way, the visiting officers left in a big hurry.
And on a quieter note, Zach appeared in court to pay his dog fine. He also showed purchase of a dog license and shots for a large Irish wolfhound. Luckily for him and Max, Dr. Fremont was not only a very understanding vet, but a family friend as well.