Going Home – Chapter 39 – Hidden Monsters


Photo credit: h.koppdelaney / / CC BY-ND

King Veelka wasted no time diffusing the hostilities.  He sent out his populist to encourage the rebels to rejoin the pack and offer peace to the jackals for the former king’s egregious behavior, requesting audience with a constituent of their clan to further discuss their truce.  He and his new guards escorted Tomas, Jill and Layla to the holding cells to release the prisoners.

The door to the cells stood open.  The chains lay in a heap on the floor and one guard lay moaning just outside.

One of Veelka’s new guards moved forward, sword at the ready and ventured through the opening.  Soon they heard sounds of a struggle followed by the guard’s reappearance.  He stumbled out and fell hard against the floor battered and bruised.  He raised his eyes and addressed Tomas.

“Your mate is a dynamo and a very angry one.”

Tomas couldn’t help smiling.  He lay a consoling hand on the guard’s shoulder, shifted his appearance to human and ventured through.  After a short minute, he signaled the others to follow.  Jill entered first, eager to see her mother and check on Robbie.  What she encountered sent her into dry heaves.  A  guard she recognized from the hive room lay dead on the floor.   A frozen expression of agony twisted his features.  His skin looked burned and had turned a sickening shade of brownish green as if he’d been consumed by a thermonuclear blast.  Tom pulled Jill away from the gruesome discovery and shielded her from the sight.  Soon she felt her mother’s arms encircling her as well.  Jill tried to breathe but their seemed to be a deficit of oxygen in the air.

“Breathe, baby,” Rebecca said as she rubbed Jill’s back.

“Did the wasp poison do that to him?” Jill asked in a shaky voice.

“Yes, but Robbie’s ok, dear.”

“How?” Jill asked looking up.  Her mother led her to the back of the cell.  Robbie lay on a bed of hay with his mother by his side.  His complexion didn’t look as bad as the guard’s but she still saw the awful greenish hues on his skin.  Jill dropped down beside him and lay a hand on his brow but he didn’t stir.  Paloma gave her a weak smile.

“I’ve stopped the spread of the poison for now but in order to remove the rest from his body, he needs an infusion of a plant extract from our territory.  It’s a ephemeral flower that blooms late in the season.  I purged what I could but it continues to multiply and spread at an alarming rate.  I can keep him in stasis until I get him home.”

Jill continued to rub Robbie’s forehead and smooth the fur around his ears.  She thought a minute and looked up at Paloma, “You put the poison in that guard, didn’t you?”

Paloma’s face turned hard, “He deserved it!  Treating my Robbie like he was already dead, an expendable casualty of war!  He laughed at my son’s discomfort and told me to give up.”  Her face softened as she looked back at her son and tears welled in her eyes.

It didn’t take long for Saal to arrive at the castle.  He met briefly with the new King before he rushed to take Paloma and Robbie home.  He returned later for Tom, Rebecca and Jill.  He spoke as they followed him to a designated portal site.

“Robbie’s responding well to treatment.  His mother should have him back to normal in a few days.  He wants to visit when he’s well again.”

“He’s more than welcome,” Tomas said.

No one knew how Ulvarg had managed to open a portal to the human  realm.  It was an ability delegated to the Guardians.  Saal had proved himself worthy and received this rare gift.  It was a mystery that disturbed them all.

Tomas pulled his family close as they waited for the portal to appear, relieved to have them back and soon, safe in the human realm.  “We should celebrate tonight.  Our first night back home, what do you think?  Dinner out?” he asked.

“Yes!”  Jill said.  “I really want a big juicy burger!”

“I could use a Chardonnay,” Rebecca said.  “Maybe two.”

Tom laughed as Saal opened the portal to their home.




The New King – Chapter 38 – Hidden Monsters

Photo credit: Moha’ Al-Bastaki / / CC BY-NC

They stood silently facing each other.  Layla showed no fear of the guard who stood before her, his sword drawn and gleaming by his side.  She inclined her head as an acknowledgement.  He did the same.  With exaggerated flourish, he pulled his sword high and saluted the princess.  Holding the sword across his palms, he dropped to one knee and bowed his head.

“My sword is yours now, Princess.”

“I have no need of your sword, Sir.  My father’s poisonous reign is over.  Our clan requires a new King.” 

She glanced around at the faces watching her.  She caught Jill’s eye and smiled.  Finally, Layla looked toward her uncle, who managed to wrap a cloth around his bleeding shoulder.  They exchanged a meaningful look before she turned back to the pack.    

“As heir to the throne I must confess that I cannot remain here.  It’s a complicated and weighty decision but I must leave this realm.   However, as my first and final official decree, I appoint Veelka as King.”

Jill watched as Veelka approached his niece.  He looked lousy after his battle with The Grey but moved with as much dignity as he could muster.  Jill watched the eyes of the other wolves around them and saw relief everywhere she looked.  As Veelka ascended to the throne, many of the guards helped to remove the dead bodies from the throne room before they could become bloated.  Others took positions beside Veelka as personal guards.

“It might be a little early to say but I think the war will be averted.  Veelka will have a lot to smooth out with the jackals but no one wants more bloodshed,” Tom whispered.

Jill gasped as she remembered something horrible.

“What’s wrong?”  Tom asked.



Deadly Encounter – Chapter 36 – Hidden Monsters

“This should be interesting, young human,” Ulvarg whispered into Jill’s ear.  She could do nothing but watch the events unfold before her.

Veelka zeroed in on The Grey and Layla.  He said nothing but advanced upon them.  The Grey moved back, smiling as if reeling Veelka in like prey.  Layla continued to struggle for release.  She squirmed and kicked until she connected with a soft spot.  The Grey’s face contorted in rage.  He whirled and launched her into the wall near the throne.   She crumbled to the ground and didn’t move.

Veelka hesitated slightly, watching Layla’s still form before he turned back, shifted in an instant and dove into The Grey.  They fell together, teeth gnashing, claws scratching.  Jill pressed her palms to her ears to subdue the horrendous sounds.  She knew this would be a fight to the death.  Remembering her own attack, and The Grey’s vicious fangs piercing her skin, her heart sank as she watched.  The Grey shifted and quickly pinned Veelka against a far wall.  He bit hard into Veelka’s shoulder, ripping fur and flesh with his canines.

Veelka snapped his jaws, keeping The Grey from his neck.  Their growls and snarls echoed through the high halls of the throne room.  No one else moved as they watched the fierce battle.  The Grey threw a smug look Jill’s way, his teeth gleaming and dripping of warm blood, a look of triumph in his wicked eyes before he snarled and dipped his head for a fatal strike.

Veelka pushed off from the wall just as The Grey moved to bite.  It was just enough to send The Grey forward and off balance.  He slid over Veelka, who scrambled to gain his footing first.  Not missing a beat, Veelka sank his fangs into The Grey’s flanks, jerking his head quickly and snapping bones.  The Grey through his head up and howled in agony.  Spinning around, Veelka’s teeth found purchase in The Grey’s exposed neck.  His bite snapped hard and crushed bones, severed tendons and tore through veins.  Blood erupted from the wound coating both of them but Veelka didn’t let go.  He shook his head and ground his teeth until all life drained from The Grey’s eyes.

Jill felt the King shake with rage as his grip tighten.  He shoved her down to her knees and wrenched her head back.  His blade rose to her exposed neck.



New Plan – Chapter 22 – Hidden Monsters

Photo credit: bdesham / / CC BY-SA

Jill slammed the door to her bedroom as she made her way downstairs. She wore all black including her nails and lipstick to match her dark mood. After crying herself to sleep the previous night, she’d awakened pissed. Elyen had breakfast laid out but Jill ignored it, settling for coffee, heavy on the cream and sugar and a banana. She plugged her Skullcandy ear buds in and cranked up her playlist of Korn and Seather to drown out any potential for conversation. After downing her breakfast she wrenched open the back door to escape all company. 

 “Don’t leave the yard,” Vrag yelled to make himself heard. 

Jill gave him a ‘Duh, I’m not stupid’ look before she slammed the backdoor so hard she thought it would chip and splinter from its hinges. She sat on top of the picnic table and scanned the wooded area surrounding the backyard out of habit. He’d left again, not bothering to tell anyone where he’d gone. No one made a fuss so she didn’t either. Her father knew better than to pester her when she was in a bad mood and she hoped the others left her alone too. 

She turned down the music and listened to the earthy sounds around her. She practiced tracking by sound, her keen hearing picked up the softest of steps and scamperings. After honing her skills for the past few months, with joint sessions from her father and Saal, she picked up the sounds of rabbits digging in their burrows and rocks breaking from ledges. She heard a twig snap and a low curse from Vrag who’d snuck out the house to keep and eye on her. She ignored him. A buck scratched its horns on a large tree and a car parked down the hill from their cottage. She focused on it and on the heavy footsteps next as they neared the house and continued around to where she sat. She didn’t look back or acknowledge Officer Billy as he approached. She listened to his labored, out of shape breathing. 

“Where are your folks, young lady?” 

She ignored him and continued watching the woods and listening. She smelled blood and noticed the evidence bag from the corner of her eye. She remembered the crazy man and a tremor ran through her. 

“The FBI want to ask you some questions. They know you were up on Vertical Peak. They’re mounting an investigation and need you to come to the station to make a statement.” 

 Jill gave him her best ‘eat shit and die’ look before she turned away. Whatever she’d say to the feds, crooked officer Billy would poke holes in it or spin it to keep her in custody. She doubted his story entirely. She felt eyes watching her and looked through the woods, past the larger trees and saw two sets. A brief moment of relief escaped her before her anger burned again. 

Officer Billy snatched an ear bud from her ear. “I have the right to haul your ass in without any parental involvement!” he yelled before he gripped her wrist and wrenched her to her feet. He leaned in and sneered, “I know what you are.” 

‘Mistake’ Jill thought. He released her quickly and grappled with the hand that appeared securely around his throat. Tom dragged Billy several feet away from Jill before he threw the man to the ground. Saal and Vrag both appeared to stand over the stunned officer as Tom raked him with a murderous glare. 

Jill stuffed her ear buds back in as her father walked back to her, leaving Billy to the others, who dragged him into the forest. He sat beside her on the picnic table and leaned his head to hers. 

“I know I scared you, leaving like I did. I’m sorry. You know I wouldn’t have gone if I didn’t have to.” 

Jill wiped a few angry tears away with her fist and said nothing. He gently pulled the ear buds away. 

“Will you at least listen to me instead of Justin Beiber?” he said. Jill scowled and paused her ipod. Of course he’d hear the one guilty pleasure song on her FU playlist. 

“We need to go home,” he continued. “I’m going back to confront the King and I’m going to rescue your mother. I have a plan but it’ll have to be executed in my world.” 

Jill finally broke her silence. “Ok, when do we go? I want to fight too!” 

Tom laughed. “I’m going to go fight the King. You’re going back to school!”

Allies or Enemies – Chapter 21 – Hidden Monsters

Photo credit: patries71 / / CC BY-NC-ND

“She’s not here, Tom.  It’s a trap,” Saal said. 
“If it were a trap, they would have sent more than one.”    

Tom rose and followed Rebecca’s scent until he saw a clump of hair soaked in blood.  His heart skipped a beat, knowing she was suffering because of him.  He scanned the area and saw a set of  glowing eyes watching.   

“Did you act alone or did King Ulvarg send you?” Tom asked.    

The lone wolf emerged from the shadows, approaching Tom with caution.  “I would not violate the policy of the pack to see you like this.  The King grows impatient to have his vengeance.  The longer you defy him, the more your mate will suffer.”   

“He is a fool if he thinks I will just hand over my child and myself  to him to satisfy his vengeance.  The game is set and I will not stop fighting him,” Tom growled.   

“Calm yourself, Tomas.  There are many who feel the King’s revenge is unfair, especially to your mate and young one.  We used to be satisfied taking orders but now a variety of unjust dealings have caused a riff in the pack.  Your exit has created a loyal following.  You have many on your side.”   

“Will they fight for me?”   

“Perhaps, but you must speak to them.  Tell them the whole story,” the wolf said.  He backed away as Saal appeared to stand by Tom.  “The King knows of your part in this too, jackal.  You are an enemy now.”  He turned back to Tom and motioned him to follow.  “Come now.  I must return before the hour is gone.”   

Tom nodded.  They followed the wolf back through the woods to a designated area where a portal appeared at the top of the hour.  Tom and Saal followed the wolf through before it closed again.   


Billy reached the campsite hours before the federal agents would appear.  He’d heard a portion of the 911 call through his dispatch and raced to get there first.  He approached the crazed man, who smiled at his arrival.  Billy checked the phone near the man’s head.  Dead.  The man chatted excitedly about his prize and the nice lady on the phone.  She’d promised him more prizes and he’d told her his location.  Billy nodded as he pulled his revolver from its holster, lined it up with the man’s forehead and pulled the trigger.  He released the man’s arms from their restraints and re-positioned the body.  No one would fault him.  Another deranged murderer dead, the product of a broken environment no longer preying on the unsuspecting.  They’ll make him a hero.   

Billy pulled the t-shirt from beneath the man’s head and placed the bloody garment in an evidence bag.  He smiled as he thought of returning it to its owner.

Free Rating Code

Aftermath – Chapter 20 – Hidden Monsters

Tom raced through the woods toward Saal and his daughter. Vrag moved as a silent wing man on his right side. Anguish burned away all thought and breath until he saw her sitting safe by the creek with Saal standing watch. He wanted nothing more than to hold her close but he approached with caution. Their eyes met. She looked brave but he saw the control slipping. Her flush cheeks paled. The aftermath of her ordeal crossed her young face in a raw display of anger, terror, guilt and finally horror. 

Tom knelt before her, his face riddled with his own guilt. “I’m sorry,” he said but it wasn’t enough. 

“He killed people,” she whispered. 
“You saw them?” he asked. 
“Parts,” she said, a look of disbelief crossed her face before she reigned it in. “The cop sent him after me, Dad. The one from the restaurant. I heard them talking on the phone.” 

Tom’s vision saw red. He checked Jill over for injury or bruises but it didn’t matter. 

“I’ll have their blood for this,” he snarled. 

“No, don’t go there. The police will find him soon enough. I want to go.” With those final words, Jill’s composure ended. Her whole body shook in sobs that made Tom’s heart ache. He pulled her into his arms and murmured soft words to ease her crying. She buried her face in his shoulder as he carried her back through the woods. Shadows elongated and stars began to dot the sky as they came within sight of the cabin. 

A breeze blew a rare scent through the trees. Tom froze. He glanced at Saal and Vrag, their expressions looked worried. 

Tom handed Jill over to Vrag. She screamed and pleaded but he wouldn’t risk losing her again. 

“Take her home and keep her safe. Saal, come with me,” he said. 

Saal quickened his pace to keep up with Tom as he moved with deadly silence though the trees tracking the scent. He stopped short just as Tom crouched behind a downed tree. 

“Who’s scent is it?” Saal asked. 

Free Rating Code