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This fanon page was created and is owned by Hollack (talk). Unless the edit is constructive and/or minor (such as fixing a template), please do not edit this page unless given permission from the author.

Fanon:Survivre avex les loups
Name: Fanon:Survivre avex les loups
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Thriller
Created by: Hollack
Rating: PG-13
Number of chapters: 6

Original run: 5/27/2013
Status: Finished

Succeeded by: Once A Theif

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Alpha werewolf Anoki Moon embarks on a dangerous mission of revenge, seeking justice for a young neighbor who was murdered in her sleep. Anoki must use all of his lethal skills to take on a mysterious organization hell-bent on keeping its dark secrets hidden from the world.

Chapter 1Edit

Mean Man, were you ever lonely? Were you ever scared?

It is night. Anoki Moon sits at table in Hogan's, reading a book and drinking coffee after a meal. He wears a red plaid shirt with the cuffs rolled up. Outside, it’s pouring and several city pedestrians – a punk rocker, a bag lady and a kid with a backwards baseball hat – are caught in the storm.

Me, I’m scared all the time. Lonely all the time. Or maybe just alone.

From behind the counter, Lucy Braddock, a young, blond-haired waitress, watches him intently, holding a pot of hot coffee. In front of her, at the counter, sits a middle-aged man in a gray business suit. The man asks if he can get a refill, trying to get Lucy’s attention. Decaf, right? Lucy asks. The man answers affirmatively, as Lucy pours him a fresh cup. As she pours with her right hand, she rests her left on the counter. Before she can take it away, the man puts his hand over hers. He’s wearing a wedding band. So . . . when does she get off work? he wonders aloud.

It makes you desperate.

Some time later, Lucy sits curled up on a bed, resting her arms on her knees. The room, presumably her apartment, is sparsely furnished and decorated plainly. A small lamp sheds light from a table in front of window near the bed. Putting his coat on as he walks toward the door, the middle-aged man from the diner tells Lucy that he wishes he could say it’s been a pleasure . . . but, she’s not even worth the lie. As he nears the door, he tosses two twenty-dollar bills over his shoulder, advising her not to spend it all in one place.

You know why I love the rain, Mean Man? It’s like in that movie, they talk about it, how it makes everything clean. That’s why I love the rain. Can’t remember the last time I felt clean.

Rushing after him, wearing only an undershirt and panties, Lucy scoops up the two bills in one fist and, reaching the hallway, throws them in the man’s direction. Hey, she yells, him and his money can both got to @$#&! The man continues down the stairs without responding to her outburst.

It’s not just me. It’s the whole world that’s been used and trashed and beaten down. It’s a mean world, Mean Man, and that’s the truth. Full of mean people with mean hearts who do mean things.

Lucy snatches the bills out of the air with the same fist with which she’d thrown them. She notices that the door across the hall has been opened a crack and a naked foot is visible there in the opening. The body it belongs to is shrouded in the darkness of the room beyond. This prompts another outburst from Lucy: What? Huh? Does her neighbor have something to say? Is that it? Are they hoping for an eyeful, too? That it? In response, the door closes. With a sad expression on her face, Lucy returns to her apartment.

A mean, mean world. So maybe you have to be mean just to survive. And that’s the name of the game isn’t it?

Back at Hogan's, it is now day. As before, Anoki sits reading over a finished meal. Lucy sets his bill on the table as she refills his coffee. She tells him to pay it when he’s ready. Anoki turns a page and continues reading without acknowledging her presence. Put off by his rudeness, Lucy mutters whatever as she walks away. Moments later, Logan puts on his jacket and walks out. Lucy watches him go.

You never asked my story, Mean Man. I thought it was because you didn’t care. But that’s not right, is it? It’s not because you didn’t care . . . it’s because you thought you already knew it. Hell, maybe you did know it, maybe all this is, it’s just . . . maybe it’s just a waste of time. Maybe I’m, like, totally wrong, and you are what you seemed at first.

As Anoki passes in front of the windows lining the front of the diner, Lucy clears the table he had just been sitting at. Lifting up the bill, she finds that he left her a twenty-dollar bill to pay for a meal costing eight and some change. She looks off in his direction in surprise.

But I don’t think so, Mean Man. See, I think I figured you out. Maybe it’s only the meanest of them all who can afford to give a damn.

It is night again. Lucy sits at the table next to her bed, writing by the light of the small lamp. She’s wearing a white T-shirt with the phrase “The Geek Group” on it. She hears something in the hallway, gets up and crosses over to the door. She first listens through the door by pressing her ear to it, then unlocks the dead bolt and opens it with the chain attached.

I don’t know when they’re coming. I don’t know what they’ll do when they get here. I just know that they will, and that when it happens, it’ll be bad for me. Maybe they’ll just come and take me back, say that it’s time to come home. Like that place ever was my home. If that’s what they want, I won’t go. I won’t go back there. They’ll have to kill me first. Is that something else you know about? Killing?

Across the hallway, Anoki is unlocking the door to his apartment with his right hand. His left hand is gripping the hilt of a large knife stuck in his leg above the knee. Blood stains his jeans around the wound. Having unlocked and pushed the door open, Anoki turns to Lucy, and with a grimace, asks her if she’s got something to say? His face is dripping sweat. There’s a blood handprint on the wall nearby and more blood on the carpet below him. Or maybe she’s just – nhh! – hoping for an eyeful? he asks, echoing Lucy’s earlier question of him. As he speaks, he pulls the knife out of his leg, prompting Lucy to raise a hand to her mouth in shock. They exchange a look, then Anoki goes into his apartment, telling Lucy to go to sleep, calling her “kid.” He shuts the door, leaving a bloody mess on the floor outside. Lucy does likewise, leaning against the closed door with a dismayed look upon her face.

It is raining again outside Hogan's Diner. The sky is dark; it is early morning. Anoki sits reading – this time Thoreau’s Walden – over a finished meal. Lucy watches him from afar, as another waitress fills his cup.

Now I’ve seen tough and I’ve seen pain. And I know I’m not tough, because I’ve been in pain. I also know what I saw that night, and when I saw you the next morning, Mean Man, you didn’t have a scratch on you. Not a scratch. That’s how I knew you were my guy.

Walking out, Anoki passes Lucy standing behind the cash register ringing up a customer’s bill. She watches him pass, but he does not acknowledge her. He carries a book, but it is not Walden. This one is titled Cats Cradle. Lucy watches Anoki exit. A moment later, the other waitress – a middle-aged black woman – appears holding Logan’s copy of Walden. Idiot left behind his book, she tells Lucy, who volunteers to take it. The woman offers no protest: long as Lucy doesn’t take her tips, she could care less.

Maybe you knew it, too. In a mean world, you’ve got to portion out caring, right? You have to pick your battles. Decide who’s worth the effort. The measure can be arbitrary, it doesn’t matter . . . as long as the measure is yours, right? Why do we need to make up some excuse just to say hello? Are we so scared we can’t even just be, you know, people? We have to justify it, lie about it? Is that all you were doing? Giving me the excuse? Letting me make the first move?

Standing in the doorway of her apartment, Logan’s book in hand, Lucy watches her mysterious neighbor come down the hallway, a newspaper tucked under his arm. He notices her standing there, but ignores her. Lucy takes a few steps out into the hallway, but Logan enters his apartment without saying a word to her, shutting the door behind him.

Did you know how terrifying it was for me to even try? And you weren’t going to make it easy, were you?

Inside his apartment, Anoki turns his head, hearing a knock upon the door behind him. When he opens it, Lucy is standing there with his book. Anoki acknowledges her curtly, turns and walks into his apartment, leaving the door open. Taken back, Lucy mutters that she brought his . . . he forgot his . . . she’s got his book. Can she . . . may she come in? Anoki says he won’t stop her.

Closing the door behind her, Lucy stops to take in Anoki’s apartment. The design is the same as hers, but the room is almost bare, save for a sheet and pillow on the floor, surrounded by books. The only light comes from a desk lamp set upon the floor next to the blanket. Anoki’s been working on a six-pack. Indicating a fresh bottle in his hand, Anoki explains that he’d offer Lucy one, but something tells him she’s a minor. He has sat down on the blanket, leaning against the wall. Walking forward, Lucy declines anyhow, even though a real offer was never made. She’s wearing a green T-shirt with a three-eyed smiley face on it. As she hands him the copy of Walden, Anoki asks her what her name is, calling her “kid.” Lucy protests: she’s not a kid.

Anoki pauses, taking a swig of his beer. Finally, he asks again, this time calling her neighbor. Lucy tells him her name, then tells him she already knows his. Yeah? Anoki asks. Well, kinda. She gave him a name. Is she gonna share it? Anoki wonders aloud. Mean Man, Lucy tells him. Seems kinda judgmental, Anoki observes. Guess it does, kinda, Lucy agrees. Not that he’s mean, though maybe he is, she doesn’t know.

Nice place, she says, looking around. It’s, Anoki responds. Lucy indicates the books scattered about, asking if he’s read all of them. He’s working through them. Lucy guesses that he likes to read. Anoki observes that she’s made a safe guess. Lucy points out that he has a different book everyday when she sees him at the diner. Anoki tells her that he reads fast. Having picked it up off the floor, Lucy is holding a book of Edgar Allan Poe stories when she asks him if that’s all he does? Just read? She means, all day, he just reads? With narrow eyes, Anoki tells her that he does other things. Like get stabbed? Lucy asks. Sometimes, Anoki tells her.

Lucy moves the Poe book behind her back, holding it with both hands. She wants to know who stabbed him. Does it matter? Anoki asks. It does, yeah, it really does, Lucy responds. Crouching down to meet him at eye level, Lucy explains: if he gets stabbed doing a mean thing to a not-mean guy, that kinda blows. But, if he’s doing a mean thing to a mean guy, that’s cooler. Anoki grabs another beer and takes the cap off with his teeth. He wants to know what makes her think a Mean Man would care about the difference? Holding the Poe book and picking up another, Lucy explains that Mean Man reads a lot. That’s got to count for something, right? Smiling slightly, Anoki asks Lucy if she likes to read. She used to. Now she just writes. Writing’s good, Anoki affirms. No writing, nothing for him to read. Lucy tells him that she’d let him read her thing, if he could find it. She keeps it hidden.

Standing up, Lucy asks if she can borrow the books she’s holding. Sure, Logan replies, taking a swig of beer. Lucy tells him that he can have them back when she’s done. She then heads for the door: she’s gotta go. Anoki follows, asking her if she’s got another date? That wasn’t a date, she assures him. He knows it wasn’t. Stopping and looking him in the eyes, Lucy asks him if he’s gonna look out for her? Can she count on him? Sure, Anoki says and wishes her good night.

Back in her apartment, Lucy sits down at the table by the window. She opens the Poe collection to the middle and proceeds to cut into the pages with an Exacto knife, creating a compartment within the book. Into this space, she places her journal. That finished, she picks up both of Anoki’s books and walks them over to her small bookshelf where she places them amongst her own.

I believe you, Mean Man, and you have no idea what that means to me, do you? It’s like I can sleep tonight, you know? Really sleep, really rest, and not worry anymore. You’re across the hall from me, and now you know me, and they can stab you in the leg, hell, that won’t stop you. It makes me feel safe.

Did you get it, Mean Man? Was I clear enough? When they’ve come for me, will you do what I need? See, I can’t give you everything, because I can’t be sure you’ll be the one to get it. A lot of it, you’re just gonna have to figure out on your own, and if I could, I would make it easier. But I can’t. Thing of it is, I’m sure you won’t need much.

Passing the window, Lucy looks out to see two dark figures approaching the apartment building in the rain. The two dark figures enter the apartment building. They are in their twenties, dressed in heavy jackets and wool caps. One has a goatee. They head for the staircase, passing walls strewn with graffiti and an old man passed out on the floor with a bottle in his hand. Climbing the stairs, they reach into their jackets with their right hands. They pause outside the door to Lucy’s apartment, holding machineguns.

Remember that, Mean Man. Because there will be others who come along, say they want to help, say they want the same thing. When they tell you that, they’re telling you a lie, but not because they want to. It’s because they don’t know. See, there are others, Mean Man. I’m just the one that got away.

The man with the goatee turns and stands watch, while the other opens fire on the door’s lock. He kicks the door open firing. Coming behind! the other warns, as Logan’s door opens. Do him! Lucy’s killer commands, the cruel smile on his face indicating that he has completed his own task. The one with goatee laughs, yelling get some, get some, as he fires excessively at Anoki. Thinking him dead, the two men rush away, one of them yelling go, go, go! Bullet casings, bullet holes, and blood litter the hallway.

But you never really get away, do you? So when my brothers come to get me, I’m counting on you to make it right. And I’m sorry, I should just say that now. I’m sorry to put this on you. You didn’t ask for my burdens.

Rising up from the floor, Anoki stumbles across the hallway wearing only a pair of bloody pants. He leaves a trail of blood behind him as he crosses over to Lucy’s apartment, the door of which still hangs open. Her bloody hand, dangling over the side of the bed reveals her fate. Anoki looks for a moment, and then stumbles back across to his own apartment, just moments before two police offices arrive.

Hell, you’ve already got burdens of you own. You don’t need mine. But what else was I supposed to do, huh? Nobody ever believed me when I told them the truth. What else was I supposed to do? I tried and tried. They didn’t listen. They didn’t care. Everyone always wants proof. When it comes to it, though, the only proof they’ll take is my body in a bag. And then it’s too late, isn’t it?

The next morning, a police van sits outside of the apartment building. Inside, a two suited officials depart, Anoki crosses the hallway and breaks through the POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS tape blocking the door to Lucy’s apartment. He’s wearing the same bloody blue jeans, but the bullet wounds dotting his arms and torso have already begun to heal. Using his enhanced senses, he finds the collection of Poe stories on Lucy’s book shelf.

That’s the way it goes. Just another runaway murdered, that’s all they’ll see. They’ll blame it on drugs, or sex, or both, or maybe neither. They’ll make what happened to me mundane, Mean Man. They’ll make it forgettable. That’s what scares me the most. Even if you do nothing more, please, do this for me.

At Hogan's, Anoki sits with several books. The one in front of him is the collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories. He takes out Lucy’s journal and begins to read it, a grim look upon his face.

My name is Lucy Braddock. Don’t forget me.

Chapter 2Edit

Anoki stands naked in front of the mirror, his body still riddled with bullets but no longer bleeding. His healing factor has knitted his flesh over the bullet holes; it’s now simply a matter of removing them. Squeezing his flesh so the bullet stands next to the surface, he pops a claw and slices the flesh, resulting in a few drops of blood and a deformed bullet, which he takes a good look at. He wanders back into his sparse hotel room and puts on some clothes before picking up Lucy Braddock’s journal and heads to the local ammo store, called ‘My Cold Dead Hand.’ Inside, there are racks of guns, clothing and accessories and a couple of hunting trip mementos on the wall. A stocky bearded guy talks to Blaine, the shop manager, relating the events that took Lucy’s life. His argument appears to be that people complain that there are too many guns around, but if she’d been carrying one then she would have been able to defend herself.

Anoki approaches the counter and the big guy asks if he has a problem. “Just you,” replies Anoki. The man stands tall and asks if he wants to do something about it but Anoki replies that he doesn’t need to; Darwin’s on his side. He wanders into the back of the shop and tells Blaine he needs to talk. He helps himself to a beer from the fridge and asks Blaine if he wants one as he tosses the bullet to him. It’s too early for Blaine, who, judging by the posters on the wall behind him, is a military vet and may have been in the Special Forces. Anoki asks him what he makes of the bullet and Blaine tells him that it’s a forty-five, soft nosed and that it has been on the inside of someone too from the look of it. Anoki says it has, him, and it came out of a Match 10 with a lot of its little brothers. Blaine says that he assumes someone’s sorry they did that and Anoki grins; “Not yet, soon.”

He checks out the pictures on the wall and says that they got lucky, twice. They hit him through a door, tearing up his lungs pretty good. By the time he got up, they were gone and he never even got a look at them. He stares at a photograph of a group of army buddies, one of them presumably being Blaine. Blaine flicks the bullet back to him asking how he knows it came from a Match 10. Anoki catches it and tells Blaine that you get shot enough; you learn to tell the difference. He asks if he has ever heard of some guys who call themselves ‘The Brothers.’ Blaine leans against the wall, admitting that he hears about lots of guys calling themselves brothers, brotherhood, all that. There are Brothers of Ilamas and Brothers of Revolution, Brothers of Juice, and the list goes on and on. He adds that if you hit the high desert between there and Oasis Springs, hell, up to Sunset Valley then you get more militias and survivalists than you can count.

Anoki sits and says that he’s looking for brothers with modified Match 10’s. Blaine replies that it’s an easy conversion. Anoki points out that it’s easy for them maybe, but he’s thinking that these guys used a kit, maybe lots of kits. Blaine angrily protests his innocence, claiming that he doesn’t sell those but Anoki knows that, asking who does. Blaine calms down and tells him to check the shows; there’s always someone got a table with kits. Anoki wants someone looking for volume sales and Blaine offers him a name: Tom Leeds, who has a shop in Melford. He does shows all over the state and there’s a show in Klamath that weekend. Anoki says that he may be back and he may need gear. As he leaves, Blaine says anytime.

In Appaloosa Plains, a woman looks out of the window at Smithy’s Motel toward the building hosting the gun show. She wears combat trousers, boots and a black vest and has her blonde hair tied back. She empties everything from her holdall onto her bed, flak jacket, walkie-talkies, hairbrush and pistol included. She shoves a clip into the handle and puts on a T-shirt with ‘If you run, you’ll only die tired,’ written on the reverse. This covers the slimline flak jacket. There’s a knock at her room door and her boss, Tommy, shouts through that the hall’s gonna open soon and they have to get going. She opens the door and asks him how she looks. “Good enough to eat,” he replies. He holds her around the waist, telling her he loves a girl with a gun but she manages to shrug him away politely by telling him to remember that they have sales to make.

At the gun show, a large crowd shuffles from stall to stall packed with weapons, ammo and parts. The place is bustling with an assortment of shady looking characters. There are plenty of places to choose from; Rebel Shotguns, KM Parts, Lucky 7. Tommy and Cassie have their own stall selling firearms and she offers a guy a $50 ‘cutie discount’ as he’s buying a gun for his young son, ready for a hunting trip. She asks for his license in order to run a check and gets on the phone. Anoki, dressed in his familiar leather jacket approaches the stall and checks out the valuables. Tommy leans over and says that he sees a man who doesn’t see what he wants, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have it. Anoki looks mean, putting on an act, though it’s not like he needs to. He tells Tommy that he’s looking for a couple of RR-15’s for him and his friends. Tommy tells him that it’s a good weapon, the civilian version of the L16. Anoki knows.

Tommy asks if Anoki served and he replies that he did his time as he handles a pistol. He says that he’d want parts for them too, that’s the thing, and ammunition. Tommy asks how much they’re talking and Anoki replies, “Ten thousand rounds, to start.” Tommy says that he can hook him up. He can cover the replacement modification and even has some stuff in his private collection if that is of interest. Anoki replies that it is. Later, with the deal in the bag, Anoki heads off as Tommy counts the cash. Cassie asks if he’s doing good today and he tells her that he’s doing great, having just sold the USP from his private collection to Anoki. Cassie thought she heard him say he wanted RR-15’s and puts her arms around Tommy’s neck, but he tells her that’s what he said, but that’s not what he wants. He wants L16’s and the rounds to go with them. He is going to meet him at the bar later that evening to talk about it; it could be a profitable weekend. Cassie returns to serving duties.

Later that evening, at a bar called Suds, Anoki leaves his bike parked outside and gets a drink from the bar before spotting Cassie seated in a booth, alone. He walks over and sits himself down across from her, telling her that he was supposed to meet her boy. Cassie replies that he’ll be along and holds out her hand, introducing herself. Anoki doesn’t even fix her a glance, simply grunting as he scopes the bar. Cassie leans over. “Friendly sort, aren’t you?” she says. He tells her that they aren’t friends. Tommy approaches carrying two bottles of beer and sees that they’ve already met. Anoki stands up and tells Tommy that he kept him waiting. Tommy seats himself next to Cassie. He had to make a couple of calls, it’s nothing.

Anoki informs him that he doesn’t like dealing with people who break their word. Tommy says he didn’t, here he is and he knows how to be discreet. He points to Anoki, telling him that he can be subtle, something Logan isn’t, standing there and posturing. He asks him if he wants to talk or does he want to nurse his wounded pride. Anoki gives him an impetuous look. He’s acting a role, but is trying to get a handle on Tommy’s character.

He leans over and asks Tommy about the RR-15’s and how many he can get him. “With kits?” Tommy replies, “How many are you looking for?” Anoki asks for ten. Tommy looks downward as the order looks like being a challenge. Anoki begins to stand, telling Tommy that he’s wasting his time. He quickly tries to calm Anoki down, saying that it’s a challenge, but not impossible. Guns and kits take two weeks but that’s too long for Anoki. Tommy then says that they should stop playing games then. If he has the cash, he’ll get him what he really wants; L16’s, no conversion needed. Anoki asks how and Tommy replies that he has a connection. He can get them to him by Tuesday if he gets him the money. Anoki takes a swig of juice and deliberates over the exchange.

He asks how much and Tommy replies that they’ll be fifteen large. That’s too much for Anoki but Tommy asks him to think about what he’s getting. The guns need no conversion and take military magazines. He’s talking thirty-rounders, not those post-ban fifteen-rounders. It’s a good price, he adds. Anoki says that he’ll want to check them out. Tommy wants a down payment. He tells Anoki to be at his place tomorrow and to being ten percent; he’ll have a sample for him then. He pushes his calling card across the table. Anoki also mentions that he’s interested in Match 10’s too, same conversion of course. Tommy tells him that he should have hit him a couple months ago as he got cleaned out in December. Anoki scowls as he walks away, telling Tommy he’ll see him tomorrow.

That night, Cassie and Tommy head back to their respective motel rooms. He tries to persuade her to join him, pointing out that he has a king-sized bed in his room but Cassie reminds him that she has to drive tomorrow. “Later, okay,” she tells him. He says that she always has an excuse but she smiles and replies that she has, and it keeps him coming back for more. She gives him a peck on the lips before entering her room, telling him to sleep well. “Tease,” he mutters to himself before using his key card to open his room door, “Always an excuse.” A man needs more than a peck goodnight but it’s all he ever gets from her. He wanders into the darkness of his room and tries to remember where the light switch is.

Suddenly, Anoki’s hand grabs him by the throat and he tells him to be quiet. He shoves the USP into Tommy’s face and says, “Recognize this? You sold it to me today from your private collection. Private sale, you don’t even have to run a background check.” He smiles at Tommy, then thrusts Tommy against the wall and Tommy asks what he did to him. Anoki says that he’s gonna tell him who he sold those Match 10’s to. Tommy insists he doesn’t remember. Anoki asks him to try harder, pushing the gun even harder into the base of his septum. Again Tommy insists he doesn’t know. Anoki knows he’s lying and asks him to lie some more; give him a good reason to really hurt him. Tommy finally confesses that he sold the guns to a guy named Terril, Dennis Terril out in Westfall.

Anoki releases his grasp and says that it wasn’t so hard, was it? Recovering slightly, Tommy grabs his own pistol and aims it at Anoki who still has his back turned. “No! You don’t just walk away!” he cries. He pops a the claws and slices the USP in two, dropping it at Tommy’s feet. As he looks in astonishment, Anoki departs and begins to ride off on his bike. As he leaves the motel, he smells a familiar scent and, without even looking behind him, he knows it’s Cassie. He tells her not to do it. As he vanishes into the distance, she uses her walkie-talkie. “It’s Lathrop. We’ve got a problem.”

Chapter 3Edit

Several vehicles with ATF printed on the side are parked outside the shop belonging to Tommy Leeds. Agents have sealed off the area in order to carry out their operation. An agent only identified as Chris and a fellow officer knock on Cassie’s door and she opens it, asking them to keep it down when Chris asks where Tommy is. She tells him he’s still sleeping; his bedroom is left at the top of the stairs. She informs them that he has a .45 under the pillow and a Benelli loaded beneath the bed. She has her own pistol and Chris helps her into her ATF uniform. She is not the innocent shop assistant Tommy thinks she is. Chris asks if there’s anything else they should know. “Yeah, he snores,” replies Cassie.

Carefully, several ATF agents ascend the motel staircase and burst into Tommy’s room, catching him unawares, lying next to his teddy bear. Finding several armed officers at the foot of his bed, his natural instinct is to reach for the .45 but they are on to him quick, ordering him to keep his hands where they can see them. Chris leaps onto his back and informs him that he is under arrest for violation of federal firearms statutes, including interstate trafficking and illegal weapons sales.

As Tommy, bare-chested and angry, is led out of the motel, he passes Cassie in her uniform. “You’re a fed,” he remarks. She says that she is, indeed, a fed. Tommy calls her a tramp as an agent shuffles him out of the door. She warns him to be careful; he doesn’t want to say anything he might regret. She asks somebody to read him his rights as she holsters her weapon. Soon after, Cassie leans against the trunk of a car, sipping a drink and Chris asks her why she’s still here. He figured she’d be halfway to a shower by now. She tells him that she never actually slept with Tommy. He replies that’s good, as they don’t asks UC’s to do that kind of thing; that would be unethical.

Chris still wants an answer to his question but Cassie asks if he got her report on the show in Klamath. He did. She asks if anything’s been dug up on the other guy. Chris is mildly sarcastic. “There was so much to go on, Cass. Let’s see, tall, hairy, with an attitude. We’re checking the local zoo.” Cassie tells him that this monkey was on a Harley and asks if he ran the license. He has, but the bike is registered to a dead guy in Topeka. He tells her that the man’s gone, he’s a ghost. Cassie wants to go after him and makes it clear to Chris that she doesn’t need to rest and, despite his protestations, is determined to follow up on the case. She tells him that one man might know where he’s gone; Tommy Leeds.

The rain falls heavily as Anoki approaches the small town of Westfall, population 302. He pulls the bike up next to a café and wanders inside in his own inimitable fashion. He seats himself at the counter next to a large bearded man with his left eye missing and wearing overalls and a baseball cap; looks like a mechanic. He asks what’s good in the pies and the waitress tells him that the loganberry’s fresh. Perfect; and he asks for some coffee too. He pays, telling her to keep the change, and the bearded man strikes up a conversation, saying that he likes his bike and asks if it’s his. Anoki replies that he just rode it out, it’s a delivery. The man asks who for and Anoki replies that it’s for Dennis Terril, asking if he’s a friend of his.

As he tucks into his loganberry pie, the man moves off his seat and stands right behind Anoki. He says that Dennis Terril don’t got no friends around here, and anyone looking for him don’t got no friends either. He adds that Logan should move on. Anoki tells him that he’ll finish his pie first but the man prods him in the back with his finger; “You’re not listening son,” he says as he gives Anoki a shove. Without even pausing, Anoki grabs his wrist and slams it onto the counter, saying that he’s eating. The man cries in pain, but Anoki warns the others in the café not to bother getting up. They don’t. He finishes his pie and complements the waitress, leaving her a tip as he heads for the door. The bearded man kneels on the floor nursing his aching wrist and Anoki suggest that they should take it outside.

By the time the man emerges, Anoki is already fingering his way through a phone directory outside. He and some of his friends surround Anoki but he continues searching the book for a name. The men begin to get a little impatient as he continues to ignore them. The bearded man asks what he wants with Dennis Terril but Anoki raises an eyebrow as he spots something of interest in the book. “Look at that,” he says, but the man isn’t interested and asks Anoki if it’s a beating he’s after. He reiterates his initial question but Anoki replies that he’s not looking for Terril anymore; he’s looking for Joe Braddock whose name he points to in the book. The man asks why and Anoki replies that he knew his daughter.

In a flash, the man swings at Anoki but his right cross flies over his shoulder. “Kill you; rip your eyes out,” he shouts as Anoki grabs him around the waist. As the man’s friends close in, he twists the man’s arm around his back and kicks another in the groin, leaving him helpless on the floor. He uses his dexterity to kick another in the face as the fourth man stands, reluctant to join in. The bearded man utters a stream of words to the effect that he’s going to kill Anoki for what he did to his Lucy. Pinning the man to the sidewalk, Anoki unleashes the claws in his hand slowly inching toward the man’s face and tells him to order his friends to back off, or he gets cut. He still struggles, telling Anoki that he’d better kill him. He killed his little girl. “No!” Anoki replies, standing up, “Not me, the Brothers. It wasn’t me, Joe.” He tosses the bearded man, who he now knows to be Joe Braddock, his daughter’s journal and confirms that he is Braddock. Joe replies that he is her dad, he was her dad. His words crumble away from his lip as tears begin to spill from his eye.

Meanwhile, over in Medford, Cassie visits the jailhouse and speaks to the guard on duty. He tells her that she’ll only get five minutes with Leeds but she replies that she’ll only need three. He asks if she’d like some company in there as he might get a little rough but Cassie is confident and says she thinks she can handle it. The guard lets her in and, before long, hears a commotion from inside the cell. He gets up and looks inside; asking what the hell’s going on in there. Cassie, standing over Leeds, holding his neck to the table with her fist raised replies, “What? Nothing, nothing at all. We were just talking, isn’t that right Tommy?” She smiles sweetly at the officer as Tommy confirms her story, a trickle of blood seeping from his mouth. Cassie says there’s nothing to worry about and the guard closes the door as another smack is heard.

Sometime later, the weather has cleared and Cassie heads up the winding roads heading for Westfall in her red Jeep Wrangler, a map on the passenger seat showing that she’s in unfamiliar territory. She receives a call over her radio, asking her to respond. “Dammit Cassie, I know you’re listening,” Chris shouts. She picks up, and Chris asks what the hell she did to Leeds. She tells him that he slipped and Chris replies, “Yeah, that’s what the guard said too. What’d you get?” She grins and tells him that, according to Leeds, their little friend never gave a name, but asked a lot of questions about some Mac 10’s Tommy sold back in December. A guy named Dennis Terril made the buy and he’s out in Westfall and she figures that must be where the little guy went. He says that she has nothing on the suspect, no name, nothing, just the fact that he wanted to buy some L16’s. Cassie tells him that isn’t the case; he never wanted the sixteens, he wanted the name; he wanted Dennis Terril. As she passes the sign for the seaside, she says that she wants to know why.

By nightfall, Anoki has joined Joe at his home, a rather bleak affair, sparsely furnished and lacking in refinements. Joe asks him if he has a name, besides angry man. Logan replies that it was ‘mean man;’ she called him mean man. He checks out a photograph of Joe and Lucy, taken on a fishing trip. They look happy. He places the photograph down and seats himself opposite Joe who says that she always gave people nicknames. Even when she was little, Lucy was giving people nicknames. Anoki asks him what happened. He was hoping Anoki would tell him. She disappeared fourteen months ago but hadn’t run away. He asks Anoki if she was in Bridgeport and he confirms this. Clutching a bottle of liquor, Joe says that she got away then. “From the Brothers, you mean,” Anoki asks. “Yeah, thank god,” he replies.

Anoki says that he’s a little lost here and needs him to explain this to him. Joe asks why he cares and he says that he read it himself; she asked him to. As Anoki swigs some of the liquor, Joe asks him if he lives up to his nickname but Anoki doesn’t respond, simply fixing Joe with a stare which confirms that he does. Joe then tells him that, about three years ago, a group calling themselves the Brothers of the New World bought some property about sixty miles from there in the desert. They say they’re going to live off the land. The guy who leads them calls himself Cry and has a thing for young girls. “He took Lucy?” Anoki asks. Joe asks him if he thinks he would have allowed it? Does he think he’d have sat here on his butt letting him keep her? No, it’s more complicated than that. Cry doesn’t take anyone, they just disappear.

Anoki is a little suspicious of the tale and grabs Joe’s arm, telling him not to lie to him. He insists he isn’t. Anoki asks why the law around here didn’t check it out and Joe stands, telling Anoki that he really doesn’t know anything. He came here looking for Dennis Terril but doesn’t know who the hell he is. He continues to say that fourteen months ago, Sheriff Terril tells him that he’s picked up Lucy, saying she’s gotten drunk with some kids from the high school. He says he’s keeping her in lock-up overnight to teach her a lesson. He says it was his call and he’s doing it, no matter what Joe says. The next day, Lucy’s gone. Terril says he released her and doesn’t know what happened but sure, he’ll go looking. Couple of days pass and he’s still looking. He also says that he’s notified the state police. “He didn’t?” asks Anoki. No, Joe replies, and when he asked them, they told him that they talked to Terril and no report was filed.

He adds that the next morning, the sheriff came out with some of the Brothers, come to give him a warning they say. Anoki turns his head, his enhanced senses picking up something outside the shack. Joe doesn’t notice anything, instead pointing to his missing eye. He tells Anoki that they take his eye and tell him it’ll go to the collection. They tell him that the collection will include Lucy’s eyes if he causes any more trouble. He’s been waiting a year for word… He doesn’t finish his sentence as Wolverine stands and heads to the window.

Looking through the curtain, he tells Joe to shut up; they have company. Outside, Sheriff Terril and a bunch of gun-toting Brothers surround the front of the shack. Terril gets on the PA and talks to Joe. He tells him that he understands that he has a new friend, who is armed and dangerous. He has three seconds to come out with his hands up. He counts down quickly and turns to the Brothers, saying flatly, “Oh my God, he’s got a gun.” The Brothers don’t hesitate as they open fire on the shack with their machine guns.

Chapter 4Edit

Westfall, 11pm. The streets are fairly quiet as ATF agent Cassie Lathrop arrives in town in her jeep. She pulls up, puts her jacket on and wanders over to a couple of guys standing in front of a bar. She says she’s looking for a guy named Dennis Terril and asks if they might know where she might find him. The pair glances quickly at each other before the older man points down the street and tells her to try his office. As they wander off, he mentions that she’s probably a little too old for his tastes, though. She gives them a strange look before heading to the sheriff’s office, which has a badge on the door; Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association.

At Joe Braddock’s shack, windows shatter and curtains are shredded as Sheriff Terril and his hastily assembled deputies continue to destroy the place with machine gun fire. After a short while, Terril orders them to cease fire and then slowly approaches the doorway. He tells his boys to keep an eye out as he pushes it open and aims his pistol in front of him. Inside, all he finds is the photograph on the floor of Joe and Lucy’s fishing trip. “Well, damn…” is all he says.

Lit only by the moonlight, Anoki and Joe Braddock scamper through the woods behind his shack, crouching down as they evade detection. Joe says that at least they stopped shooting but Anoki replies that they’re saving their bullets for later. He comes to a stream and asks Joe which way now. Joe leaps into the stream and points the way, saying that they follow this till the road and then on to Jeremiah Lowe’s place. He tells Anoki that Jerry is the guy he nailed in the jewels but he figures he’ll still help them. Anoki stops and looks round. Joe tells him to come on, as they know they got away but Anoki says no. He has other things on his mind.

He wants to chat with the sheriff but Joe tells him that he’d bad news and he’s bad news with a badge. He’ll kill Anoki the first chance he gets. Anoki is stubborn at the best of times. He looks down at Joe from a small ridge and tells him to get to his friend’s and then get the hell out of town. “There’s a shop in Portland called ‘My Cold Dead Hand,’ run by a guy named Blaine. Go there, tell him I sent you. Tell him why.” As he sprints away back to the shack, Joe asks him to wait; he doesn’t know his name but it’s too late as Anoki is gone.

After finding nobody at the sheriff’s office, Cassie sits in her jeep and stakes the place out. Before long, a man with short blond hair pulls up in a white pick-up with some others and uses a key to enter the premises. Cassie watches intently. Once he’s inside, Cassie crosses the street and enters the office, finding the man with his hands in the drawers. “Dennis, I swear it better be here…” Cassie says, excuse me, and introduces herself as Agent Cassandra Lathrop, BATF. She shows him her badge and asks if he’s not Dennis Terril by any chance? The man stands and tells her that he isn’t; he’s just a friend of his. She asks if Sheriff Terril lets his friends rummage through his office when he’s not around but he laughs off the suggestion, telling Cassie that he’s a special case. He and Dennis are very tight. “I’m Cry by the way. Nice to meet you Cassandra.” She replies that she’s Agent Lathrop, asking if Cry is his nickname. He offers her a creepy grin and tells her that Cry’s his god-given name, because he makes so many ladies cry out for more.

He asks Cassie why the ATF is looking to talk to his friend Dennis; has he been playing with guns again? Something like that, she replies, but as she speaks she notices his fingers slipping into the drawer again. She orders him to step away from the desk but he asks why he should do that. Unseen by Cassie, two of Cry’s accomplices enter the office and close in on her. As she replies that it’s because she told him to, she turns and notices the two men, asking Cry if they are his friends. He replies that he’d call them followers as he twists the angle poise lamp towards her and lifts a can of mace from the drawer. “Yeah, that’s more appropriate; they follow me.” Cassie realizes the danger and reaches for her pistol, ordering Cry to put his hands over his head. However, before she can act, Cry sprays her in the eyes with the mace, blinding her and tells his friends to grab the gun.

The two men grab her arms as more mace pours onto her face. She struggles blindly and manages to get her pistol but she is outnumbered and severely disadvantaged. A punch to the face puts her down and she bleeds on the floor. Once she’s down she has no chance, and all three men rain blows upon her before Cry tells them to put her in the truck.

Outside Joe Braddock’s shack, the boys have found no trace of their prey, which annoys Sheriff Terril. He tells one of the Brothers to get the boys back in the trucks. Braddock got out and he figures he’ll head for one of his buddies. He tells the man to send a truck to Lowe’s place and another to Healey’s. He asks Terril if he wants them to arrest them but Terril doesn’t give a rat’s mom about Braddock. He wants the new guy; he wants to know why he’s here. As the trucks depart, he says to himself that this ain’t good. Behind him, lying in the back seat of his squad car, Anoki fixes the back of his head with a menacing stare.

Terril drives back into town and drops his hat on the passenger seat. Suddenly, there’s a tearing sound,’ and Terril finds his right arm is bleeding with claw marks. He senses the pain as Anoki, his face covered by shadows, says hello. Sweating, Terril asks who the hell he is. Anoki warns him not to do it, not to go for the gun but Terril sweeps his left arm over and receives another claw in his left shoulder as punishment. “Damn, that hurts!” screams Sheriff Terril and Anoki points out that it’ll hurt more if he doesn’t talk to him. Terril says he can go to hell but a third claw pierces his right shoulder and he begins to sweat profusely. His voice wavers as he tells Anoki that he’ll kill him. “Big talk from the man with the badge,” he replies. Terril asks him what he wants.

Anoki asks him where he’ll find Cry. Finding little choice but to cooperate, the sheriff tells Anoki that he’s in the desert, about twenty miles southeast of there. There’s an abandoned mine; that’s where he’ll find him. Anoki has his face right up to the partition, asking if there’s anything else. Terril says that he’ll never reach him; he’ll hide behind the Brothers and their guns. He’ll kill Anoki before he gets over the wall. “He’ll try,” Anoki replies. Terril, now released from the pain the claws were causing, asks him why he cares. Braddock’s brat was a tease and she got what was coming to her. Anoki’s face erupts in anger. Before too long, he steps from the car and thanks the sheriff for his help and, as he heads towards his office, the Sheriff remains in his car, dead, with the partition ripped to shreds and blood dripping all over the windscreen.

Anoki wanders through the office and discovers the can of mace lying on the floor and a pool of blood. He dips his finger into it as his eyes begin to water. He tastes it before wandering outside, rubbing his eyes. “Man I hate that stuff,” he says as he notices the red Jeep Wrangler parked nearby. He sniffs around the Jeep and wanders what ‘Klamath Girl’ is doing there, and where she is now.

Elsewhere, the locks of a steel door slide open and two men carry Agent Lathrop into the room. They unceremoniously throw her weary body onto the floor and one of them points at Sister Lynn, telling her that Cry asks for her company. She smiles maniacally as she joins the two men, leaving Cassie to pick herself up. The room is sparse, grubby even with only a toilet, a sink and several bunk beds occupying the space. Several women approach her, offering to help her. One tells her that you never know when Cry will call for you and another says that they’ll get her cleaned up just as soon as they can, and into a proper dress. Cassie raises her arms, telling them to get the hell off of her. She has a black eye, screaming that she is a federal officer and has been kidnapped. “What the hell kind of a place is this.” One dark-haired young woman, sitting in a top bunk, tells her that it’s a cult, or a harem, or a prison; take your pick. Behind her, scratched into the cell wall is the name Lucy with ten days crossed off.

The women, all wearing what appear to be white hospital gowns, huddle into a group as Cassie speaks to her. She climbs down from the bunk and informs Cassie that Cry calls them his ‘wives.’ Every so often one of them is ‘escorted’ up to see him. That girl’s gone for a few days, then she comes back here and someone else goes up. Some of them, like Sister Lynn; they’re anxious to go. “Not you,” Cassie asks. She asks defensively if she doesn’t look like good bride material, before washing her hands and saying, “No, not me, no way, not ever me.” She introduces herself as Kim and offers her a damp cloth as Cassie has blood on her face. She thanks her as she wipes her mouth but notices some of the other women, looking almost jealously at her.

Kim climbs back onto her bunk and lies down. Cassie asks how she gets out of there but Kim says she doesn’t. She’s tried but Cry has got twenty, thirty guys who all come running when he calls, all of them armed. Even if she made it to the outside, she wouldn’t make it over the wall. Cassie points her head in the direction of the other women and asks what their deal is. Kim replies that they think they love him. She thinks that maybe he isn't human, maybe it’s just hostage psychology but they buy it. They’ll do anything for him. Cassie asks her how long she’s been here. About a month she tells her, though it’s hard to tell. She says she was hitching on I-84, trying to get to Boise when she got picked up by one of the Brothers. Now, here she is. Cassie asks if she’s been ‘escorted’ to Cry. Kim turns her head away, saying that she has, once, but she disobeyed him, so he did this. She holds her hand up, revealing her left thumb to be missing. Cassie is clearly shocked.

The morning is approaching as Anoki crosses the desert, kicking up dust as he walks determinedly towards a precipice overlooking a natural basin. Down below stands Cry’s fortress, complete with water tower. Another building stands nearby to the east. Anoki shoves one fist into the palm of his other hand and grins.

Chapter 5Edit

It is sunset and Cry’s compound is quite peaceful, lit up by a deep, low, orange sun. Anoki, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, watches from on high as a truck arrives carrying some of the Brothers of the New World, all of whom are armed. As they exit the truck, Anoki slips his boots off and grins.

Inside the camp, Cassie Lathrop, sporting a black eye, looks through the bars in her cell at the Brothers outside and asks Kim how many there are. She isn’t sure but guesses there are around two dozen, maybe more. They all have guns and she thinks they’re kinda eager to use them. “And they’re all loyal?” Cassie asks, turning to look at the other women in the room. Kim thinks they are, just like the brides; all eager to serve. They think Cry’s some kind of messiah or something. She tells Cassie that Cry says he’s going to keep the world safe; says the world is gonna blow, the usual cult rhetoric. Cassie’s an ATF agent so she’s sure she knows all about it. Kim thinks that the women that were grabbed off the street might have Stockholm syndrome, just like Patty Hearst. It’s where hostages identify with their captors. Cassie knows what it is, but is surprised that Kim knows. Kim bows her head a little and tells her that she’s studying psych at OSU; or at least, she was.

Cassie looks at a blonde woman applying some lipstick and tells Kim that they’re not staying there. She assumes Cry bothers to feed them? Kim replies that they’re fed twice a day. Cassie missed breakfast so the next visit is for dinner this evening. Two Brothers will bring it, one staying at the door while the other brings the cart inside. That will be about two to three hours from now says Cassie as she approaches the woman putting on make-up. She removes the hand mirror from her and, as the woman asks her not to do it, knocks it against the edge of the bed, smashing it into several pieces. Cassie bends down and picks up the largest shard and hands the woman back her mirror. Now, she has a weapon.

The sun hovers just above the horizon, casting long shadows over the compound. Len looks around for his fellow guard, Carl, and finds him urinating against one of the sheds. Len calls him an animal but Carl tells him to calm down; he’s all spooked. He replies that of course he’s spooked, asking if he heard that the new bride that was grabbed in town is a fed. As they chat, Anoki vaults over the fence, including the barbed wire, and drops into the shadows to overhear their conversation. He looks focused, yet angry. He flits from building to building, keeping to the shadows and staying as silent as possible. Three guards in front of him head in opposing directions and Wolverine takes the opportunity to edge open a door and head indoors.

Inside, the room is empty but for a television, which is switched on, and a pool table in the center. It’s a dump; a recreational room for the Brothers. A quiz show runs as Anoki continues to the far side of the room and hears voices on the other side. Two of the Brothers discuss whether to give their captives water or milk with their dinner and one of them heads down the corridor with the cart with Anoki following stealthily at close range. Just as the man reaches the door to the cell, he hears a noise behind him; but before he can turn around, Anoki grabs his head with his right hand and holds the claws of his left hand to the man’s neck, warning him that he won’t have time to scream.

He puts his face right next to his prey’s and asks where the generator is. He wants to know where their power comes from. The man is petrified and leads him to another doorway before leading him down a staircase and through another door. “It’s diesel, uh, not like you care or anything,” he mumbles as he walks. As they approach the room, Anoki smells Lucy and grabs the man by his shirt, asking him what’s through the door next to him. He replies that it’s storage. Anoki kicks the door open and clicks on a small lamp. All around the room are boxes full of dresses and other articles of clothing. The man flees silently as Anoki asks him how many, how many girls, just like Lucy? He picks up a bloodstained vest and smells it.

Suddenly, he finds three men standing behind him, all with their weapons at the ready. One tells him that he’s in deep now, ordering him to turn around so they won’t have to shoot him in the back. As Anoki turns, his face is already showing signs of an imminent berserker rage and he pops the claws on both hands, unleashing his full werewolf form, ready for action. With amazing ferocity, he leaps at them, quicker than they can imagine, growling as he heads toward them, claws at the ready.

Inside the cell, Kim asks Cassie to hurry as she places the blunter end of the shard of mirror inside a sock to protect herself. The other women watch them but do not interfere with their plan. The keys rattle in the door and the man with the cart enters, asking who wants a treat before supper? As he walks into the room, Cassie grabs him by the collar and thrusts the shard into his back as the other women shout at her to leave him alone. He slides down the wall and the women rush to his aid, asking for someone to get a towel. “Murderer,” one screams at Cassie but she isn’t concerned about her. She grabs the man’s machine gun and exits the cell along with Kim.

They move quickly through the building. Cassie asks Kim if she knows the layout, as she didn’t really get a good look at it when they brought her in, for obvious reasons. She replies that they’re in Cry’s building. The stairs ahead of them come out in the kitchen in the main hallway. There’s another flight of stairs to his bedroom but past that there’s a door into the main room. Suddenly, everything goes dark. They don’t know what has happened and Kim begins to panic. Cassie tries to keep her calm, asking her to breathe but she’s scared and can’t help it. “Me too,” replies Cassie.

Above ground, Cry emerges from his room, brandishing a machine gun, and with Lynn hanging onto him, wearing only her underwear. He asks his men what has happened but they don’t know. “Maybe the generator shorted,” offers one. With the sound of continuous gunfire, Anoki comes crashing through a window in front of them, holding one man in his claws, and lands on all fours. He has removed his shirt and fixes the men with a ferocious gaze. In the darkness, they are unable to make him out properly, wondering if it is some kind of cat. Cry doesn’t wish to find out and orders them to kill it, now! Before they can shoot, however, Wolverine is gone, slipping back into the shadows.

They search for him but he makes his way to a rooftop and watches them search. Carl and Len talk, Len wondering if what they’re after could have been a bear but Carl doesn’t think so, not that small. Anoki suddenly speaks to them and they look up, seeing him silhouetted against the moon. “You, I can smell you. You shot me, you killed her, killed Lucy.” Len tells Carl to shoot but by the time they do, Anoki is in mid-leap and shrugs off the bullets flying at him. He stabs Carl right through the heart and slashes Len’s chest, slicing their weapons too in one swift movement. Two more Brothers appear and Anoki snarls at them before charging, once again ignoring the bullets heading towards him.

After making his way inside, Cry holds his machine gun, nervous now after hearing the gunfire. Lynn asks him what’s happening but he doesn’t know. He thinks he spots something and fires indiscriminately through the window until his weapon has discharged all its ammo. He tries to reload but Anoki swings his door open and moves towards them menacingly. They fix each other with a stare and Cry lets loose a tear from his eye as he senses his time has come. Anoki grins maniacally.

Cassie and Kim meanwhile continue their escape. They don’t appear to have heard the gunfire but are careful nonetheless. Kim offers directions and Cassie tells her to stay close; there’s no telling who might be around. They stop abruptly as they hear a strange noise nearby and what sounds like someone dying. Kim looks scared stiff and tries to stop Cassie as she heads towards the door. Cassie wants to find out. They step into the doorway and Cassie aims her machine gun into the room but, inside, all they find is Anoki, blood dripping from his claws and looking completely feral as the dead body of Cry lies at his feet. Lynn cowers in the corner in horror as Anoki tells Cassie, “Don’t do it girl,” just like he did at Smithy’s earlier. Cassie doesn’t fire and Anoki retracts his claws, reverting to his human form. He tells her he ain’t her enemy; never was. With that, he runs through the outer door and into the night.

As the day breaks, police cars head toward the compound and an ATF helicopter lands near to where Cassie and Kim sit, waiting for help. Chris leaps from the helicopter and runs towards her, asking her what in the name of all that’s holy happened here. They both look around at the dead bodies of the Brothers of the New World and Cassie replies that she has no idea, but she sure as hell is gonna find out.

Chapter 6Edit

At a police station a sketch artist holds up her latest attempt to create a satisfactory impression of the man Agent Cassie Lathrop is describing. It’s clearly the man known as Anoki Moon but Cassie hasn’t made that connection and isn’t a happy bunny. She rips the sheet from the artist’s book and tosses it into a waste paper basket, already overflowing with numerous earlier failed attempts. Cassie is upset that she has drawn the eyes wrong. She’s drawn dumb, and this guy isn’t dumb. She’s drawn the mouth as though it should have blood dripping from it. He’s not an animal she insists, so why can’t the artist do it right?

The artist has had enough of Cassie’s endeavors to get a drawing she’s happy with and packs the sketchpad into her bag. She’s pretty happy with her work, but she tells Cassie that it helps when the agent she’s working with has a clear picture of the suspect; one that isn’t colored, for example, by emotion. Cassie tries to defend herself but the artist says that she’s been trying to draw his face for twelve hours, and she still can’t figure out whether Cassie wants to arrest the man, or sleep with him. She wishes Cassie a nice day and departs. Cassie, still sporting a bruise from her time in Cry’s compound, quietly replies that she hopes she gets hit by a car.

On the opposite side of the continent in Bridgeport, a man in a suit enters a quiet bar called Varn's Tavern. Evening rain falls on a motorbike parked outside; its owner sitting contemplatively at the bar, clutching a bottle of beer. Another man leans on the bar nearby, half asleep and propping his head up on one arm. As the man heads in his direction, Anoki calls to the bartender, Jo. “Coming right up,” she says as she pulls a pint for someone else. She has long, pink hair, and tattoos that cover her arms. She hands him a bottle before turning to the man in the suit and asking if she can help him. The man asks for a beer but Anoki, without even glancing in his direction puts three fingers up, telling her to make it a pitcher and to put it on his tab, implying that he’s clearly a regular here.

“Thank you,” says the mild-mannered man, raising his arms towards Anoki’s shoulder but Anoki tells him to knock it off, and not to even think about touching him unless he’s gonna look like himself when he does it. The man in the suit doesn’t think that’s a good idea; and Anoki should know how people react to his appearance. Anoki calls once again to Jo, who tells him he always shouts. Anoki asks her to show the man her legs and she smiles, teasing them that she was always told never to play show and tell with a stranger. Placing the pitcher of beer on the bar top, her legs are shown to be covered in scales, revealing her to be a fellow supernatural. She turns away, telling them she’ll get Brady to get them some peanuts and the man in the suit watches her, understanding that he’s in a much friendlier environment than usual. He reaches to his watch and switches it off, revealing his natural blue form, fairy wings and pointed ears underneath. Grasping his glass, he then places his hand on Anoki’s shoulder and asks if this is better. “Better is you not having to hide yourself, but it’s a start” comes the reply, as Anoki pours beer into the third glass, leaving it where it sits.

“You’re in a mood,” Soloman says but Anoki replies that it has nothing to do with it. “No, of course not,” replies Soloman, who sits beside his friend. “The bartender, she’s one of us?” he asks. She is. “And the drunk at the bar?” Anoki replies that his name’s Mike. He needs alcohol to stay awake; problem is, he takes alcohol; he gets drunk and has been drunk for the past three months. Soloman suggests that perhaps the Professor could help him but Logan says he doesn’t do referrals. Before beginning their drinks, they both raise their glass and toast Sharron, and all absent friends. The third glass, Sharron’s glass, stays where it is.

Anoki finishes his drink quickly and is already pouring himself a fresh glass when Brady arrives with the peanuts, saying something in a strange tongue as he hands them over. Soloman thanks him, telling Anoki that he thinks he likes this place. Turning to him, he mentions that he had seen Cade a few months back. She is doing well, working at a hospital in Lucky Palms. She had called him as she thought she’d seen Nathan. Anoki doesn’t seem interested in what Soloman has to say; Nate’s dead and he instead calls for the pitcher to be refilled.

Soloman asks him what happened but Anoki replies that nothing happened. Soloman disagrees, saying something must have happened, something even more unpleasant than normal. He adds that Anoki could also use a shower too. Anoki snarls, “You think I don’t know how I smell, you think I don’t know?” Tossing a peanut into his mouth, Soloman ignores the uncharacteristically aggressive remark, telling Anoki that self-loathing doesn’t become him. “This from a guy who hides his face,” comes the response. Anoki looks back at his drink, as Soloman is left speechless by the remark.

Jo hands over another pitcher of beer, asking if Anoki would like her to run a tube from the keg for him. Anoki asks if she can do that and she smiles, saying she’ll look into it. Soloman grins, and tells Anoki that she likes him. He simply says that’s her mistake. Soloman is eager to get to the bottom of this. His friend is not usually this morose, so he decides to go straight to the heart of the problem by asking what her name was, the girl who died; the one he couldn’t save. Anoki pauses before replying. “Lucy, Lucy Braddock; she was seventeen, Sol.” He continues drinking, beer dribbling down his chin. He can’t drink fast enough.

Back in Appaloosa Plains, Cassie Lathrop sleeps. Slowly, though, her eyes slowly open and she glances towards the doorway. Standing there is Anoki, naked with his eyes glowing yellow. She doesn’t appear to move an inch, but her right hand takes hold of her pistol as he approaches the bed. He leans over her before settling on top of her, his face inches from hers and his claws unsheathed. “We have to stop meeting like this,” she smiles. Anoki grunts a response. “No, really,” she adds before turning and holding the gun towards his face. In an instant, Anoki brings his claws down with animal ferocity.

Cassie wakes, holding her throat before collapsing back on the bed. “Oh, for the love of Mike,” she says, as she realizes it was just a dream. She flicks the bedside lamp on and heads in to the bathroom. She washes her face and stares into the mirror, repeating her name and asking herself why this man is in her head so deep.

In Varn's Tavern, Jo calls last orders as she serves three customers. Soloman asks Anoki if the beer’s working, as it must be hard to punish himself when his healing factor fights him every inch of the way. Anoki says he has no idea. Soloman continues, saying that, regardless, he is still here, doing his best impression of a fish. He remarks that they’ve both seen innocents suffer before. They’ve both seen the inhumanity of man to his fellow man. He asks why Lucy Braddock is so different that he drives across country for three days, without rest, to meet him there and then engages in this vain attempt to torture his liver. Anoki doesn’t reply and instead pours yet another glass of beer. Soloman continues, saying that seventeen is too young, he agrees, but so is seventy. They’ve both seen too much death and lost too many they’ve cared for, but as trite as it may sound, death is part of life, even unnatural death; even, perhaps, murder.

“Not murder,” Anoki says. Soloman launches into his argument, pointing out that every religion has murder in their basic text. Cain slew Abel and, thus, the world knew murder. One could argue, he adds, that murder is as natural as dying of old age. Anoki turns to him, asking if he really believes that. Soloman doesn’t know what to believe. His grasp of ethical and theological theory is slipping by the day and, as a result, he is often forced to rely on the facts, as he knows them. He tells Anoki that actions speak louder than words, and Anoki knows this better than anyone. His actions have always marked him, to Soloman at least, as a good man, an honorable man. There is another pause in the conversation as Anoki considers his reply. When it comes, Soloman is visibly shocked. “Three days ago I killed twenty-seven men.”

Soloman hasn’t much to say to that, only asking him if he was enraged. “All the way to the bone,” replies Anoki. Soloman asks if these men had earned this rage and Anoki asks if he’s looking for an excuse. He says he isn’t, he is simply straining to understand, because if Anoki tells him that these twenty-seven men were innocents all, then he is everything he has always feared himself to be and would have to be stopped. “And you’d stop me?” asks Anoki. Soloman stares at him, saying no, but he would die trying.

Anoki decides to explain himself. He informs Soloman that they were a cult. They’d broken a town, made it afraid. They kidnapped women, girls and they used them up. “Then you are describing evil, my friend,” says Soloman, “and evil begets evil.” Anoki asks if he means him, and Soloman tells him that if that’s his question, then he cannot be of help. “You were a priest, absolve me,” Anoki replies. Soloman grins and asks with more than the merest hint of sarcasm that it would be wonderful if it worked like that. What a world they would have. He flings his arm towards the doorway, saying there’d be legions of sinners, all committing their crimes with abandon, safe in the knowledge that absolution was just one quick trip to the church away.

He says they tried it once, during the middle ages. Enough gold, you could be forgiven for anything. He asks Anoki if he would like that, such a hollow forgiveness? Anoki asks if he needs forgiveness and Soloman wonders if that’s what he’s after. He asks if those men were evil without question and by killing them in his rage, is Anoki evil? He tells Anoki that he is unique, and he doesn’t speak of what has been done to him. He asks, “Is the wolf evil when it culls the sickness from the herd?”

Jo peers outside into the rain and turns the sign in the window over to read ‘Sorry, we’re closed.’ Anoki pays the bill and the two men exit the bar, leaving Jo to look after Mike. Standing in the rain, Anoki tells Kurt, “That thing about wolves….I’m not an animal, I’m not. Soloman says he knows. Anoki isn’t so sure. “I’m not...”