November 1st, 2015
After the traumatic events of the previous night, the Hall clan had taken refuge at Brion’s parents’ house to regroup and recuperate. His parent’s were at their winter house in Florida. Briana said they always spent the month of October there because Jacqueline Hall preferred to be anywhere else on the anniversary of Brion’s apparent death.
Briana and Orion settled in on the couches while Brion and Louise took the guest room. Ironically, this had been Brion’s room from the time he was ten until he and Louise had married. He laid there and considered the utter surrealness of the situation. In his mind’s eye he could almost see his room as it was a lifetime ago. He noted the areas on the wall where he’d proudly displayed his Star Trek, Star Wars and Elton John posters. He could almost hear his dad bitching about his near obsession with Elton John or as Bob called him,’ that damned faggot’. Of course Brion didn’t care about the man’s sexual orientation, it was just good music.
There was an end table and lamp in the corner where Brion’s old T.V. and stereo had been. He’d spent hours laying upside down in his favorite comfy chair watching T.V., listening to music, doing his homework and talking on the phone until his mom would come in and insist that he pick one activity and stick to that. He never saw what the problem was. He was just way ahead of his time with the of the concept of multi-tasking at which point his mother would threaten to take him to the doctor to be checked for hyperactivity. He’d comply until she left the room, wait ten minutes and go right back into his routine.
“Life was alot simpler back then”, he thought and closed his eyes in what he hoped would not be a vain attempt to get some sleep.
Briana laid there staring at the ceiling and reflecting on the last twenty four hours. In that time, she’d found out that her dad wasn’t really dead (of course she’d suspected that all along), her boyfriend was a total douche bag that had tried to force a miscarriage and that she was genetically inclined to transform into a ten foot tall, one thousand pound mass of preternatural fury called a Shifter. Which reminded her that she’d have to ask her dad where all the extra mass came from. It just seemed like they were breaking some natural law. Which, in turn, reminded her of the final glitch in this new paradigm, her own people wanted her dead. Her life seemed a lot easier when all she had to worry about was being a single teenage mother. Closing her eyes, she finally managed to drift into an almost peaceful sleep.
As the waves of nostalgia subsided and sleep eluded him, Brion focused again on his present situation. He knew that the events of the night before hadn’t really solved anything. All he’d managed to achieve was a temporary standoff. He and his family would be safe only so long the Council was unwilling to call his bluff. All he’d really done was buy them all some time. Not for the first or last time, he wondered how much trouble he’d bought and what the eventual cost would be.
He listened to Louise’s steady breathing as she slept next to him. She was wrapped around him, head resting on his chest and he wondered when she’d picked up this nasty habit of sleep drooling. He’d really have to talk to her about that or buy her a drool bucket. Finally, after the one millionth sheep had passed by, sleep claimed him.
He woke the next morning with Briana touching his shoulder. The morning sun pouring through the window forced him to squint.
“Whatever it is, I didn’t do and even if I did, it was an accident”, he said sleepily. Blinking, he found himself looking up at his daughter’s concerned face.
“Grandma just texted me. They’ll be home in about twenty minutes”, she told him. Brion slowly rose to a sitting position, his body still sore from the previous night’s battle.
“Wake up sweetness, it’s show time”, he said gently shaking Louise’s shoulder.
“So, what do we even tell them”, Briana asked. They had all dressed and gathered in the front room.
“We tell them the truth”, Brion stated.
“You think they’ll believe it?” she asked.
“Not a chance in hell”, he answered. The sound of new tires on the gravel driveway heralded his parents’ arrival. Brion got up and walked toward the guest room.
“I think I’d better wait in the other room. I don’t want to give them a heart attack the minute they walk in the door”, he said.
“Bullshit, you just want to make an entrance”, Louise called after him.
“That too”, he smiled.
Briana, Louise and Orion anxiously waited for Bob and Jackie too unpack their things and come inside. They didn’t have to wait long. They fairly barged through the front door, a look of both concern and consternation on their faces.
“Briana, what the hell is going on? Danny started texting us yesterday with some wild story about Brion being back and he said something about Robert and some scheme. The texts got crazier and more incoherent as the night went on and then suddenly they just stopped”, Bob said.
“Where were you honey? We tried to text or call you and Orion over and over but you never answered. We even tried to call your mom”, Jackie said
“And what the hell is she doing here anyway. You know how we feel about her”, Bob said pointing at Louise.
“Well, it’s kind of a long story grandpa…” Briana began.
“Well, somebody better tell me something right now!” he demanded.
“And that would be my cue”, said an impossibly familiar voice from behind them. Bob and Jackie turned slowly, knowing who it was and who it couldn’t possibly be.
“Well, hello Muduh, hello Fadah, I’m back from Camp Granada”, Brion smiled enjoyed the shocked look on his parents faces. They just stood there silent and unmoving, mouths agape.
“Well, now this has got to be the most amazing thing I’ve seen since I’ve been back”, he told Briana.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“Bob Hall is speechless. I finally found a way to shut him up”, Brion grinned. Jackie was the first to halfway recover her composure. She slowly stepped forward and reached her trembling hand out to touch his cheek, still not believing he was really here.
“Brion?” she nearly whispered.
“It’s really me, mom. I’m back”, he said smiling and that’s when she slapped him as hard as she could.
“Brian Alloishes Hall, where the hell have you been? We all thought you were dead" she said sternly. Briana and Orion looked at each other, mouthed the word Allouishes and giggled.
“Owww! Again with the hitting. That’s the second time now. Do I just have a face that women love to hit? One more person hits me and I’m going Ozbert on their ass. I don’t care”, he said mainly to Briana. Before he could say another word, Jackie had flung her arms around him as the tears started.
“Ok, hugging is good. I like hugging”, Brion said and took a moment to just enjoy this part of the reunion. Finally breaking the embrace, he turned to face his father.
“Are you going to hit me?” he asked warily holding out his hand. Bob Hall studied his son for a moment before stepping forward and wrapping his arms around Brion, holding it just a bit too long.
“Ok, now this hugging is just creepy”, Brion gasped but returned the hug anyway. “I can’t remember the last time you hugged me”, Brion said stepping back.
“September 14th, 1998”, Bob answered quickly.
“Really?” Brion asked.
“No, I just made that up. I have no idea either”, Bob said smiling.
“So, you want to explain where you’ve been all this time?” Bob asked.
“Well, you better sit down because this may take a while and you’re probably not going to believe half of it”, Brion told them and began his story. Twenty minutes later, had had finished the abridged version of his story.
“Well, that’s basically it. What do you think?” he asked. Bob looked from him to Jackie to Briana and back to Brion and finally stood up
“You’re wrong about one thing. I don’t believe any of it. That’s the biggest cock and bull story you’ve ever told”, he said and turned to Jackie.”Where did we go wrong? We gave him everything he ever needed. We loved him…” at this point Brion took a step back to stand next to Briana.
“He’s off on a rant, isn’t, he?” Brion asked quietly.
“I think so. Do you want to show him or should I?” she asked.
“Why don’t you show him? It hurts too much when I do it”, he told her.
"Ok, Alloishes. Wuss”, she said smiling and drawing a scowl from her father. Brion stepped back around to stand in front of his father, making sure to keep Bob’s back to Briana.
“So, you don’t believe a word of it. I suppose you’d like some proof?” Brion asked.
“That would be nice, but you’d better let me go out and get some silver bullets for my .38 first. Now, you want to tell us the real story. What, did you find someplace else to get your god damned pills and...?” he said going into his second rant. While this was happening Jackie’s eyes were wide and fixed on the scene unfolding behind her husband. She watched, slack jawed as Briana began one of the most amazing transformations on the planet. Jackie’s face slowly tilted upward as her grand daughter ripped out of her clothes and began to sprout white fur from every part of her body. Her face distended until it formed a long canine snout. Her head almost reached the ceiling finally as streaks of blue formed in her white fur. It was at this point the Bob noticed his wife’s awestruck expression and broke his rant.
“Jackie, what’s wrong? Are you alright?” he asked but all she could do was raise a shaky finger and point.
“What? What is it?” he asked again.
“I think she wants you to turn around”, Brion said smiling.
“Turn around? What for?” Bob asked but turned anyway and stared directly into the bluish white fur of his granddaughters stomach. Slowly his face tilted upward until he was staring into the blazing blue eyes of the she-Shifter.
“Hi grandpa”, it said and waggled her massive clawed fingers at him.
“Holy jumping Jesus”, he exclaimed and staggered backward till he fell into his easy chair. No one spoke for what seemed an eternity. Brion and Briana just stood there grinning while Bob looked from Briana to Jackie and finally back to Brion.
“That’s a werewolf”, he finally managed to say.
“Shifter Bob. I told you. We call ourselves Shifters”, Brion corrected.
“Then it’s all true”, Bob said.
“Well Duh! Thank you Captain Obvious”, Brion chided.
Jackie was the first to regain some sense of composure and rose from her chair and approached Briana. She slowly reached out to touch Briana’s arm. Briana leaned down so Jackie could reach up and stroke her cheek.
“Briana?” Jackie questioned.
“Hi grandma”, she said.
“And this is what you turned into ten years ago?” Jackie asked turning back to Brion.
“Well, more or less”, he answered.
“But why didn’t you come back?” she asked.
“Because I couldn’t, mom. You see, it’s a little different for the males. When I first began to Shift, I didn’t have any control of my beast. It was a raging, nearly mindless land shark. If I’d tried to come back before I learned to control it, anything could have set me off. If I got into an argument or upset with the kids or even had another nightmare, I would have changed and Ozbert would have killed everyone and I mean everyone”, Brion stated.
“What the hell is an Ozbert?” Bob asked.
“That’s what I’ve named my furry alter ego. We’re supposed to give them a name as part of the training. And speaking of which…” he said turning to Briana.
“Did you ever choose a name for yours?” he asked.
“Yeah, I think I’ll call her Sierra”, she said proudly.
“Sierra, like the mountains”, Brion said smiling.
“Is that a fat joke?” she asked.
“No, that wasn’t a fat joke. If I said your shadow weighed twenty pounds that would be a fat joke. If I said I had a picture of you that weighed ten pounds that would be a fat joke. If…”
“I get the picture”, she snapped cutting him off. There was a semi-tense silence for a moment before she closed her eyes, took a deep breath and began to Shift back to her human form. Bob and Jackie watched as Sierra slowly reverted to Brianna who quickly gathered up some spare clothes and rushed into the next room to dress.
“So what happened to you after you… changed?” Jackie asked.
“I woke up the next morning, naked and confused in Southern California with absolutely no memory of what had happened”, Brion explained.
“How’d you get all the way down there?” Bob asked.
“I ran or rather Ozbert did”, Brion said.
“You ran? Hundreds of miles in one night?” Bob asked incredulously.
“Oh yeah. Ozbert’s pretty impressive. He could easily pick your new SUV up and toss it over the roof or even outrun it for that matter, the car not the roof”, Brion said smiling.
“Anyway, as I was saying. Some Shifter’s from the Arkansas Colony found me and explained everything and…” Brion stopped again when Jackie raised her hand.
“Yes mother, now what?” he asked somewhat perturbed by the interruption.
“You keep talking about males and females and us and them and now there’s a Colony? How many Shifters are there?” she asked.
“Well, our best estimate puts the number at around a quarter of a million worldwide”, Brion stated.
“That’s a lot of were...Shifters. Why hasn’t anyone ever heard of this”, Bob asked.
“Because we don’t want humans to know about us. Well, not yet anyway”, Brion said.
“Why not”, Bob asked.
“It has to do with our history. Shifters have been around at least as long as humans and in the beginning we coexisted quite nicely with them, but two things came into play early on. The first is our breeding cycles. Humans tend to breed like rats. Once they settle into an area, their population explodes, while ours is somewhat more subdued. As a result, humans have and will always greatly outnumber us. The second problem is that humans tend to fear anything that they can’t understand or control, which pretty much defines Shifters. It would always follow the same pattern. Everything would seem fine until humans had the numerical superiority and then they’d lash out. Their prefered method was to wait until we were asleep and then creep in and cave everyone’s skull in”, Brion said.
“But they must have fought back”, Bob said.
“At first. But it was apparent even back then that the numbers were against us. A war would mean our extinction and humanities decimation, so they just picked up and left. They began a wandering, nomadic lifestyle, no doubt that’s where the legends of the gypsies came from. Anyway, they’d wander until they found someplace devoid of humans and try to settle down but since the human population was exploding, the same scenario would play out again and again. Our ancestors had figured out long before humanity that the world was round and therefor had a finite amount so they knew that eventually there’d be no place left to go so they hit on the brilliant idea to hide in plain sight”, Brion said.
“I don’t understand”, Bob said.
“It’s simple. They started to tell all the stories of the werewolf, a name we coined by the way and after that, to write the stories. It took a while but eventually humans stopped believing in us. We were put in the same category as ghosts and goblins because humans aren’t afraid of something they don’t believe exists and that became the driving force of our culture. Every time you hear about a sasquatch or bigfoot sighting, that’s usually us. These days, we even sponsor the programs you see on T.V. because if humans are laughing at the squatchers of the alien abductees, they’re not even going to consider the possibility of Shifters living among them. We’ve also gotten very good at covering up any accidents that may happen”,Brion said.
“Like the first time you changed”, Jackie said catching on.
“Exactly. Remember those two creepy Rangers that were hanging around? They were sent out here to clean up and spread the story about the bear attack”, Brion said.
“How did this happen? Did you get bitten by another were...Shifter?”, Jackie asked.
“It doesn’t work like that, mom. The ability is hereditary and usually manifests itself every other generation”, Brion said.
“Then that means that my father…”, Bob started.
“Was a Shifter. One of the greatest”, Brion finished.
“I never knew”, Bob said.
“After they were killed, you went to live with your mom’s family. They didn’t know about it either. You were never told because Shifters are a very secretive race. They didn’t see the need to tell you since you most likely wouldn’t gain the ability to Shift. They kept an eye you anyway just to make sure. Sometimes the ability is passed down from father to son. Sometimes it skips two generations. Not often, but it happens”, Brion told them.
“Wait. What did you mean, when my parents were killed? They died when the boiler exploded”, Bob said. Brion had been dreading this part. He hadn’t wanted to tell his dad that his parents had been murdered.
“That was the story that was reported at the time. The truth is that they were set up. The Council of that time wanted your dad out of the way. In 1928, there was a rash of child abductions. They’d find the children mutilated, sometimes half eaten. The local authorities were never able to develope any suspects and the locals started thinking that something supernatural was responsible. That’s when an agent of the Council started spreading the rumor that your dad was a werewolf and had killed all the kids. The locals came up with the idea to kidnap your mom, put her in an old barn loaded with explosives and when your dad came to rescue her, they blew them both to smithereens”, Brion said.
“But why? What was this Council so afraid of?”, Bob asked.
“Well, it’s kind of complicated but they had two reasons. The first was that the Council was afraid that your dad might accept a seat on the Council and the second is that he’d discovered the truth behind one of the prophecies we have”, Brion said.
“What prophecies”, Bob asked.
“Well, we call them prophecies but humans don’t really have a word for them. They’re more like near certainties. A very long time ago, a Shifter called Jahndra wrote them down. The tenth prophecy claims that sometime between the years 1000 and 3000 a female Shifter will be born, rise to power and initiate the war we’re so afraid of. When the tenth scroll was discovered, the ruling Council of that time handed down an edict that any and all female Shifters were to be instantly executed. Your father was the first to discover that it was a forgery and that’s what got him killed”, Brion said.
“Who was the second?”, Bob asked.
“Me. After I spent years examining it, I noticed that the ink at green flecks in it”, Brian said.
“So what did that tell you”, Jackie asked.
“The ink had copper in it”, Bob answered.
“That’s right and that ink wasn’t even invented for about 400 years after the prophecy was supposed to have been written”, Brion said.
“But why did this Council go through all the trouble?”, Jackie asked.
“Because the Shifter constitution says that only the strongest and wisest can serve on the Council. If they’d allowed females to proliferate the male Council members would eventually have been replaced by females. They were trying to protect their phoney baloney jobs”, Brion explained.
“But you’ve proven that it was a forgery now, right”, Jackie asked.
“I never got the chance. I had to rush back here and handle this little problem. I didn’t know it was Briana though. I thought it was Orion. The edict condemning female Shifters is still in full effect”, Brion said.
“But that means…”, Jackie started.
“Yeah, that means that there’s still a death sentence hanging over Briana’s and this family’s heads”, Brion finished.
Briana smiled to herself as she redressed. The look on grampa Bobs and grandma Jackies faces were priceless. It was one of the few really light enjoyable moments she’d had since this whole affair began. She had just finished tying her shoes and stood up when a wave of vertigo and nausea almost made her pass out. She brought her hand to her eyes and sat back down and took a deep breath but when she opened her eyes, she wasn’t in her grandparents home anymore. She stood there for a moment and tried to sort out the scene in front of her. She was standing in what looked like an old english victorian study. Portraits of, who she assumed, were important people ringed the upper wall. But the most unbelievable sight were the two figures she saw just in front of the warm blazing fireplace. There was an old, venerable looking woman in a worn terry cloth robe in a wheelchair and she was talking to...her. Briana herself was standing there, with nothing on(apparently), but her father’s black leather jacket. The two were obviously talking about something important but Briana couldn’t understand what they were saying. She stood there for a moment, flummoxed by the whole scene when a sound made her turn around and just that quickly she was somewhere else again. This time she was standing in the front of her grandparents house and the two figures, not a dozen yards in front of her, did not look so serene. They were two Shifters, but not like any she’d ever even imagined. The first one was huge, easily twelve feet tall. It had grey fur with silver streaks. Its claws were long, blood red and dripped some kind of viscous liquid. It had boney protrusions growing backwards from its elbows and most striking of all, its eyes glowed with a bright golden light. The other one was totally different. It was also huge, but not nearly as big. She guessed it to be just slightly bigger than Ozbert. It’s fur was wild and matted like an old mop. It was difficult to nail down a color. Sometimes the fur looked almost green in places but seemed for the most part to be black with white tufts. But its most outstanding feature was the aura of pure malevolence that it exuded. The two seemed to be squaring off in what looked like the end of a titanic battle. Another noise made her turn again to face her grandparents house. She stared for a moment trying to identify the noise. That’s when the house exploded in a blast that leveled the whole structure. Briana screamed, sure that her whole family had been in there when it happened.
Even with Brion’s enhanced speed and reflexes, Louise still was up and running towards their daughter before him(chalk one up for mothers reflexes). She rushed into the room to find Briana on the floor, in the fetal position, crying and muttering the word no, over and over again. In a flash she was at her side, checking her. Brion took a split second to note that his daughter wasn’t physically hurt. She hadn’t been attacked. He had to focus his attention on what had done this to her, ascertain if this was brought on by some outside force. Focusing his senses, he reached out but could hear nothing. As he scanned the house and peered out of the window he noted nothing out of the ordinary, except that family of raccoons in his dad’s attic. He’d have to mention that. After he’d satisfied himself that they weren’t under attack he knelt next to Briana who had latched onto Louise, sobbing.
“What happened,kid?”, he asked. In a sobbing almost childish tone, Briana recounted her vision and reason for her subsequent collapse. Brion listened intently, paying close attention to her description of what had to be the Packmother and her inner chambers. After a few minutes, and a lot of cajoling, Briana had calmed down.
“What does it mean, daddy?”, she asked. Brion paused for a moment, considering his words carefully.
“Sounds like stress to me”, he finally stated.
“Stress!”, Briana and Louise said simultaneously.
“Occams razor. The simplest answer is always the best”, Brion began,”Think about it. You were already stressing over the baby. Then in one or two days, you find out that your boyfriend is a complete psycho dick, I wasn’t dead, and you could transform into a ten foot tall, half ton, furball of death. Then you easily killed two Shifters and to top it all off, your own people want you dead. Stress? Could be?” he said.
“I guess that makes sense”, Briana admitted.
“Occam's razor”, Brion restated. Now it was Louise and Jackies turn. They helped Briana to her feet and over to the bed. Louise sat next her and stroked her hair.
“Then the best thing for her is rest. Do you want something to help you sleep, baby?” Jackie asked.
“That wouldn’t do any good,mom. Her Shifter physiology will negate any type of drug instantly. The best thing we can do is leave her alone and let nature take its course”, Brion said. Brion, Bob, Jackie and Orion started to leave but Louise stayed next to Briana.
“I’ll be out in a minute”, she told them. After the family had left, Louise wiped a strand of hair from her daughter’s face.
“Briana, I know I haven’t been a very good mother for a long while, but I promise that’s going to change”, Louise told her.
“You haven’t even acted like you wanted a drink since this started”, Briana noted.
“No and maybe that’s your dad’s influence. I was always able to draw strength from him. Or maybe other things are just more important”, Louise said smiling and kissed her daughter on the forehead.
Later that afternoon, Brion and Louise had decided to take a long walk. Well, mostly Louise. She wanted to ask her husband some questions away from prying(and augmented) ears.
“Ok, spill it. You know something” she said
“I don’t know anything”, he said, accenting the word know.
“Alright, then you suspect something”, she said.
“I have a few...notions”, he finally stated.
“And…?”, she prodded.
“Now, what have I always said about speculating without data?”, he asked.
“Picard would be lost?”, she joked.
“Besides that”, he said smiling,” I don’t want to speculate yet without more information. There’s too much chance of adding an emotional context to the mix. I’ll let you know when I have something”, he said kissing her on the cheek.
“Ok, new subject. What’s going to happen when she goes into labor. If she loses control when the pain gets too bad, it could be...embarrassing”, she pointed out.
“I’ve been thinking about that and I don’t think we’ll have a problem. Women have always handled pain better than men and if she can handle Shifting without pain then childbirth shouldn’t be a problem”, Brion said.
“That’s because you’ve never had to pass a volkswagon through your body”, she told him.
“We’ll plan for a home birth anyway, maybe find a good midwife. There shouldn’t be a problem.” he said reassuringly.
“And how long do you think your bluff will hold up?’ she asked changing the subject again.
“That’s a great question. I just wish I had a great answer”, he said.
“He’s bluffing. He wouldn’t dare go through with it”, Fenris ranted as he paced the Packmotheres chamber.
“Are you sure of that? He’s fighting for his family now. If he feels like he’s backed into a corner, who knows what he’s capable of. This is Robert’s grandson and we both know how far he went for his family, for us all”, the Packmother said.
“We can’t just sit back and do nothing. Even if he doesn’t reveal our secret, he knows too much about the prophecy and the drug. If that gets out it could start a revolt”, Fenris told her.
“I don’t think we have to worry about that. It’s far more likely that he’ll see to his family’s needs than cause any trouble for us”, she said
“We have to do something!”, Fenris said.
“And what would that be? Send out another cadre of your finest? The last group didn’t fare too well. Remember, this a parent protecting his young and there’s nothing more dangerous than that and he has a female Shifter on his side and you know how dangerous they are”, she told him letting her own eyes flash blue.
“ Fine, but there’s nothing that says we can’t track them while we wait”, he said.
“And just where do you plan to look for them? He won’t be easy to find”, she said.
“He’ll try to get as far away as possible. He’ll take his family north into Canada, maybe Alaska or north into Mexico or South America. We can track their phones or credit and bank cards. He can’t hide anywhere that our computers can’t find him”, he said and turned and left. The Packmother sat there for a moment smiling and shaking her head.”I wonder if you ever get tired of being wrong, Fenris?”, she said softly.
“Shasta”, Brion declared. The Hall clan had gathered in Bob’s living room to hear the next stage of Brion’s plan.
“That’s as far as you’re going?”, Bob asked.
“Fenris will assume that I’ll try to get as far away as possible, maybe north to Canada or Alaska or south, into Mexico or South America. The last thing he’ll expect is for us to stay in the area. I’ll use their whole hiding in plain sight against them. At the same time, I’ll have you mail our phones to different parts of the world. That should keep them guessing. We’ll have to shred our bank and credit cards too”, Brion explained. As he finished, a flash of movement outside the front window caught his attention. It was only a Fedex truck.
“But how will you live? If their computers are as advanced as you say, they’ll be able to track any money we might send”, Jackie said.
“The answer to that should arrive in 3...2...1”, Brion smiled as the doorbell rang. Everyone else jumped at the sound but Brion only smiled and walked across to the front door. He returned a moment later carrying a large cardboard box. The family watched, perplexed, as Brion opened the box to reveal a large cache of money.
“Where the hell did that come from?”, Louise asked picking up a stack of twenties.
“I sent a coded message to my friend Stacy after my altercation with Danny. It instructed her to retrieve this and Fedex it to my parents house asap. I figured I might need it someday and I’m really sorry about this but we can’t have any contact with you for a while. I’m sure Fenris will be monitoring you for a while. He may even send a scout out here from time to time”, Brion said.
“We understand, honey. But what about Cameron?” Jackie asked.
“I,ve been considering that. I can’t have him around if he’s going to continue to drink. There’s too much chance he might let something slip”, Brion said.
“What about your sister, Carol? She’s been saying for years that her church could help him”, Louise suggested.
“You mean the voice of doom? I don’t know who’d drive who crazy first”, Jackie said.
“That might work. Fenris wouldn’t see anything strange about you sending money to her for room and board and if she can get him weened off the bottle, we can send for him then”, Brion said.
“Great. Cameron’s going from being all messed up on drugs and alcohol to being all messed up on the lord”, Jackie said.
“Are you out of your friggen mind, Jauny? You want us to do what?’, Robert Hall Sr. demanded as he paced the Packmothers chamber.
“It’s not what I want, Robert. It’s what needs to happen”, the Packmother told him.
“Is this one of your visions that’s a fixed point in time and space, or one that only should happen?”, he asked. The Packmother looked up at him through ancient and apologetic eyes.
“It needs to happen. You could change it, but the consequences would be terrible”, she said softly.
“So, I’m supposed to take my family to Reading, Pennsylvania where Helen and I just have to wait to die in 1928”, he asked angrily.
“Your son will be spared though”, she pointed out.