Saturday, July 22, 2017

When Worlds Collide - Chapter Nine

“Clayborne,” he said as soon as he thought they were within hearing range.

“Ky, it is good to see you again,” the Professor said and started to move toward him.

The man next to Clayborne put out a restraining hand to stop him. The Professor accepted the physical order and remained where he was. Ky stopped too.

The two men on the left, the The-Tracker who spotted him, and another shorter dark haired man with a mustache, stayed where they were. The Tall-man with the tranquilizer gun was still sitting concealed behind the bushes to the right with his rifle trained on Ky. The leader made his way slowly back to the rest of his men, his hand resting on the gun at his hip. He moved like a cat, light on his feet, even though he was the largest of the group and the oldest. He was wary, as if he thought he might scare Ky away with his movement.

“What do you want, Clayborne?” Ky asked, as if he didn’t know. The man had been very clear in the lab last week. He wanted to pick Ky’s brain clean.

The Professor stepped past the man beside him, disregarding his attempt to stop him. Clayborne did exactly what Ky hoped he would. Nat put himself between Ky and the man in the bushes with the rifle as he walked up closer.

Everything happened very quickly.

Ky rethought his strategy. If he could get his hands on the Professor, he might be able to trade for Jak and Nila. He might just be able to take back control of this situation. He didn’t have a weapon to place at Clayborne’s head to threaten the men, but if need be, he had something even better. He just wasn’t sure he wanted to let that cat, dragon or demon, out of the bag.

Despite the leader’s shouted warning, Clayborne continued to approach Ky. The man behind the bushes quickly rose to his feet to clear the shot. When Clayborne got within striking distance, Ky reached out and grabbed him. He pulled him in and whipped him around to face the other men in the party. Ky could see the anger they felt for the Professor’s stupidity at foiling their well set plan to capture him.

“Alright, let the wolves go,” Ky demanded. “You don’t want them. They are just wolves. Nothing more.”

“You don’t even have a weapon,” the leader pointed out. “What are you intending to do, strangle him?”

Ky felt Nat tense in his grip. “I don’t have to strangle him. I can slit his throat.” Ky shifted into a demon, his hands morphing into elongated three fingers with wickedly sharp four inch claws. The hackles on his back, neck and head rose into sharp spikes and his forked tongue hissed out a warning.

In one fluid motion, the man who tried to stop Clayborne whipped out his knife and dropped to his knees beside Nila. “You kill him… I kill the bitch!”

Nila snarled and tossed her head in the sling. Her feet were still tied, and her jaws muzzled with leather straps. Ky could feel her anger and frustration, along with her fear for her pups future, as the knife the man held hovered within inches of her heart.

Ky shifted back to human form and released Clayborne. “Don’t! Please, don’t! She has nothing to do with this.” As the professor stumbled away, he gave the man with the rifle the line-of-sight he needed. Ky felt the dart hit his shoulder and within moments he crumpled to his knees. His last thought was… he had failed. He hadn’t saved Jak, Nila or himself.


“I can put a tracking collar on her and we can pick her up at a later date,” Riley said. They were debating the idea of whether to take the two wolves along with Ky or not. “I think the male will stick with her.”

Hawkins shifted from one foot to another. He took off his hat and ran his sleeve across his brow. It was approaching late afternoon and the sun was beating down on the party standing in the open meadow. “But, he is obviously fond of her. On what level and to what extent I can only guess. We lose our leverage over him if we release her.”

“But if her pups are somehow his…” Riley left the thought hanging. The whole idea was creepy.

“The pups would die and he would never, ever, willing work with us,” Nat finished. “I say we collar her and let her go. I am sure the General, as well as I, would like Ky as cooperative as possible.”

“Okay, Professor. You’re the boss on this point.” Hawkins put his hat back on. “Collar her and then let her and the male go. Younce, I want you standing ready in case they decide to give us resistance.”

Younce checked the load on his rifle and stood to one side as Riley collared Nila.

“Prus… Stone… Help me hold her down until I can get her untied.” Riley motioned for the men to lay across her. When he cut the ropes from her legs she bucked so hard she almost threw the two men off. “Hold her!” Riley placed a knee on her neck and positioned his knife so he could cut her muzzle off in one swift motion. “Get ready to roll off… Younce?”

“Ready!” the sharp shooter confirmed.

“On three…” Riley confirmed. “One… Two… Three…” He sliced off the muzzle and all three men rolled off her at once.

Nila jumped to her feet and put distance between her and her former captors before she turned and made a threatening growl at them. But, she stood her ground a short distance away. She was waiting to see what was going to happen to her mate.

The men piled on Jak and went through the same routine. The black was quicker in getting to his feet and he made a lung at Riley with snapping jaws full of sharp teeth. Riley was used to dealing with aggressive canines. He yelled “BACK OFF!” and stuck Jak across the nose with the butt of the knife he had in his hand. That was enough to discourage the male. He turned and went to join Nila.

The two greeted each other, and momentarily, it seemed to the human bystanders, that they might have been considering Ky, but then they turned and lopped off.

“Stone?” Hawkins addressed his medic. “I want you to keep the target sedated until we return to base. After what we saw with him changing into that demon thing, I don’t want to find out what else he can change into before we have him safely in a cell.”

Stone nodded and proceeded to check Ky’s vitals before readying a syringe to put him into a deeper sleep.

Riley bound his hands and feet and they put him in the sling just vacated by Jak. Prus rolled up the bedroll there were carrying Nila in and attached it to his pack. Within twenty minutes, they were back in formation and headed for home.

Art by Kasia of DA

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