Authors: Werewolf (v5.0)
Copyright © 2011 Greg Hair
All rights reserved.
E-Book ISBN: 978-1-4392-8086-7
Library of Congress Control Number: 2011900744
Capturing and killing scores of society’s worst criminals definitely hadn’t prepared Landon Murphy, a werewolf, for his most fearsome challenge yet—wedding crasher. Sitting at a table in the reception hall at the top of The Galt House, with a whiskey on the rocks in hand and his back to the crowd, his crisp blue eyes studied the reflection of the guests in the high-rise window as they trickled in to celebrate the occasion. With the city of Louisville enveloped in night and a lonely barge drifting slowly down the dark of the Ohio River, the twinkling view made for a beautiful backdrop.
The son of a bitch is around here somewhere
, he thought.
The chilled burn of the whiskey flowed down as he took another drink, staring out into the various offices in the building across the street.
He then noticed a little girl standing at his table. The five-year-old blonde approached in her white dress. She said nothing, just looked out the window with him. She placed her hand on his, and he, reaching up to his lapel, removed his carnation and placed it in her hand. He gave her a wink as she smiled and walked away.
Landon looked at the amber liquid in his glass and returned within himself, realizing that all the scents that filled the reception hall, from the food to the perfume or cologne that each person wore, mingled to form one atrocious smell.
He took another drink, closing his eyes and forcing the liquor down.
You call this whiskey? I suppose you people think the bottled urine most Americans drink is beer, too.
The phone in his pocket vibrated, and he answered knowing already who it was.
“I’m at the reception now. I’m close to getting a lock on him. I’ll have the kid soon.” He liked his phone conversations to be short and to the point.
Suddenly, Landon caught the ghostly reflection of the man he was hunting move out the reception hall door. Walking past a small crowd on the dance floor, Landon followed. Turning his head in different directions, he scanned a large area, filtering all incoming sounds and scents. People on their cell phones, clinking ice, traffic below.
Come on, focus damnit
? Finally, the smell. He tracked the scent to the elevator.
Soon, Landon was swiftly navigating the corridors and stairwells from the Rivue Tower of the hotel to the Suite Tower, increasing speed with each breath, his pulse steady, as he stalked the man. Stepping off the elevator and onto the sixteenth floor of the opposite building, he picked up on the quickened paces of two separate heartbeats—one much quicker than the other.
, he concluded. Taking off to the left, the point of origin emerged. The suite’s door crashed to the floor inside as Landon kicked it down.
Rushing to the first bedroom, behind his right shoulder, he found the recently missing five-year-old child, and the pedophile that took him. Landon grabbed the man by the neck, throwing him from the bed to the coffee table in the other room, the glass table shattering as it broke the man’s fall. Landon knelt on the bed, trying to comfort the boy, his face tear-stained, hands shaking, trying to hide his near-naked body. The hero covered him with a sheet. Landon smelled the room, searching for a particular, incriminating scent—nothing. He’d arrived just in time.
Landon picked up the sound of stirring glass as the boy looked past his savior’s shoulder into the living area of the suite and screamed, seeing his captor bolt for the fallen door. Landon turned in time to see the flash of a large knife.
Landon grabbed his phone and dialed the previous caller. “Galt House, room 1646, missing child located. Perp has fled, in pursuit.”
He ran out of the suite, reaching the hallway, where he found a housekeeper staring at the broken door lying on the maroon and gold carpet. There was no sign of the man.
“Ma’am, there’s a young boy in this suite. Please stay with him. The police will be here any moment.”
She nodded, seeming to convey that whatever he was saying, was okay. Landon figured she probably spoke a little broken English, at best. She entered the room.
Landon inhaled deeply, turning his head in multiple directions, gathering as much information from the air around him as he could. His eyes glowed red, at first bright, like a traffic light, then darkening as his anger increased. No longer was he tracking a victim; now he was hunting his prey.
. Landon darted down the hall, turned left, and threw open the door to the stairwell. The scents of fear, panic, and sweat, and the sounds of quickened steps and heavy breathing filled the air.
Landon heard the man reach the bottom of the stairwell and enter the first floor lobby. He searched for a quicker way down. Bolting to the elevators behind him, his claws extended as he spread open the elevator doors, and looked up—one of the glass elevators was right above him, just what he was hoping for. He grabbed the large chain and slid down, like a firefighter slides down the firehouse pole, sixteen floors, to the bottom of the elevator shaft. He looked up as the elevator above neared his position. Landon vaulted twelve feet, up and over the railing, missing the fountain on the other side, as he felt the wind of the elevator settle into its slot as it narrowly missed him.
He quickly and quietly surveyed the lobby, putting on a pair of sunglasses from his pocket. Through his reddened vision, he picked up the heat signatures of the guests who populated the lobby. Not one of the fifteen or so bodies that occupied the area was putting off the amount of heat that he was looking for. None looked as if they had just raced down ten flights of stairs.
He breathed deeply again and listened. The sounds of the lobby, the indoor fountain, and people checking in filled his ears. The open space from the hotel’s revolving door brought the same scent of car exhaust with it every time it spun. Then he caught the pedophile’s smell.
Behind him and out into the parking garage, his prey’s scent led. In the cold air of the parking area, all noises seemed to echo about him. The he heard the deep inhalation and quickened pace of the man’s lungs call to him, beckoning him to catch them. A slight smile crept up his cheek.
Landon bounded out of the garage, onto Fourth Street. He caught sight of a glowing body ducking into an alleyway. Landon raced around to the other end of the alley, blocking the exit as the pedophile collided into him and fell to the ground. The large silver knife pierced Landon’s side.
He winced with the pain, then surveyed the man lying on the ground and smiled. Wailing sirens approached in the distance.
“What the hell are you?” asked the hunted.
“What I am, you’re about to see. What you must do now is repent, for your judgment is at hand. Where did you get the boy?”
“I didn’t take him. They did.”
“I don’t know. They’re local. Somewhere in Old Louisville. It’s done for a fee.”
Landon had heard enough. He removed his clothes and, standing naked in the freezing night, his body began to contort and shift. For the first time that evening, his pulse quickened. His limbs grew almost twice as long, and his face elongated, forming a snout. His torso widened, and his bones cracked. The light blond hair covering his body changed color, matching the red hair of his head, growing and thickening until it became fur. All of his nails formed claws. The beast’s white teeth glistened in the soft light of the street lamps—an assembly of razors compared to the man’s single knife.
When it was all over, the nine-foot-tall werewolf towered over the trembling man. The creature bent slowly, its exhaling heat warming the pedophile’s cold face.
The kill was quick. By the time Landon returned to the tenth floor, a crowd of EMTs, police, hotel employees, and onlookers had gathered at the scene, filling a hallway that was much too narrow to accommodate such a spectacle. He hid within the crowd.
A half-hour later, an officer carried the boy to a waiting patrol car. As Landon stood there, watching, a passerby approached, remarking that the police were nearby investigating the mutilated body of a man.
“An animal attack is what they’re saying,” the stranger said. “Though I don’t know what kind of animal could be roaming our streets that could do that to someone and just disappear. Yeah, they’re gonna need dental records to identify that one.”
Then Landon honed in on the conversation a couple of cops were having to themselves in the lobby, near the aviary.
“Third kidnapping in Louisville in as many months,” said the first cop.
“At least we keep finding them alive,” responded his partner.
“Yeah, but something’s not right about it. I don’t think I ever told you my theory, but you know that kidnapping that took place in Portugal a few years back, how a lot of people think it was some kind of child kidnapping ring? I think that’s what we got here. All the dead perps that the children identify as the last ones to hold them, are not identified as their kidnappers. I think the dead guys receive the kids from the kidnappers. I bet we’re gonna find the guy that was here with the kid tonight, dead, and I bet he knew someone at the wedding. Yeah, this was gonna be his alibi. Now I don’t know who’s taking the pedophiles out, but I’d like to buy them a drink.”