The first sign that I was in trouble should have been the growl, and yet it was not. It was the smell of forest and death on his breath. “You are a werewolf,” I muttered as the captain hoisted me up and threw me over his shoulder.
“You’re smarter than you look, girl, and you smell,” he grazed his nose along my leg, “like dinner.”
I froze for a moment, thoughts of Estran and what his paeon had done filling my mind. “No, I will not let you take me.” I began fighting, thrashing, as he carried me down the passageways and towards his cabin.
“You have no say in the matter, little fish.” He hit the nail on the head a little more than I had hoped. “In fact, you have no say in anything anymore.” He pushed open the door to his cabin, and the luxury of the cabin stunned me. Clearly, illegal fishing was booming. The captain put me on his bed, pulled out a long black rope from the storage underneath, and I began shaking.
The glint in his eyes terrified me, and I knew I needed to get out of there. I just did not know how. The captain stood over the bed. A dark look in his red eyes stared down at me, and I did the first thing I could think of. I lashed out and kicked him in the junk. I am not sure whether I was faster than him, or he just was not expecting it, but I made solid contact, and he dropped like a stone. I scrambled off the bed and looked down at him, growling in pain and anger. I watched as the muscles rolled under his uniform, and I worried he was shifting. I could outrun him as a man, but not as a wolf. I was not even sure he could fit down the passageways, but I did not want to chance it. So I pulled a small hidden blade out of my stiletto and sighed. Murder was not my way, and yet I knew the animal world and anyone. Eat or be eaten. Only the strong survive. So on and so forth.
I grasped his hair and yanked the man’s head up. His red eyes shone with the oncoming change. “Who is your alpha?” I placed the dagger against the flesh of his neck and watched his skin sizzle against the silver.
“I am the alpha,” he growled, thrashing against me, yet I held on.
“You have no pack elsewhere?” I was taking a chance here, hoping that he did not have ties to either of the packs in New Orleans.
“No, we don’t get along with either Beaumont or Garcia, so we stick to the seas.” I sighed. There was less of a reason for me to do this now, but I could not have yet another formidable foe after me. So I resigned myself to the kill, and drew the silver blade across his neck, avoiding the blood spray as much as possible. Two reasons for that crossed my mind. First, I did not want to attract any extra attention as I left the ship. Second, I really did not want to ruin this outfit. Childish, I know, but it was one of my favourites. The captain’s body hit the deck, and I bolted. I made my way back to the cabin Gideon and I shared and found him sitting there on the bed.
“Val! What the hell happened?” he asked, as I stripped quickly and threw on comfy clothing.
“I, um, we need to leave. Please tell me you got what we came for?” I asked as my hoodie wrapped around my shoulders and I began wiping the dagger off.
Gideon’s eyes widened, and he nodded. “I did, but, Val,” he placed his hands on my shoulders and forced me to stop, “what happened?”
I could not stop shaking, nor could I look up at him. “The captain, he made moves, he…gods, I cannot even stand the thought of another man taking me the way Ceci was. He was a wolf, and I killed him.”
“You overpowered a werewolf?” Gideon sounded surprised, and yet impressed. He just pulled me into his arms and held me as I shook. “Val, you’re going to bring the wolves down on us.”
I shook my head gently, my hair falling around my shoulders. “He claimed he had no alpha, that he was the alpha of this pack. And New Orleans has two packs, both of whom apparently disagree with this one. I am not sure we will have much to worry about when we return. But to be safe, I will avoid coming back for a few days, let the stench wash off.”
Gideon kissed the top of my head and sighed. “Alright, let’s get going before they realize what happened. How did you plan on leaving? The chopper won’t be available to us.”
I leaned back out of his arms and smiled. “Did you see the speedboat on the starboard side?” Gideon nodded, his smile brightening. “I will drop you off in New Orleans, and you can get to work on that drive. I will head up the coast a little, dispose of the boat and then return. Hopefully, once I do not smell like murder anymore.”
“Sounds like a plan, Val. Just keep your phone on you, alright?” Gideon sounded worried, and I linked my arm through his as we departed the cabin. The ship was quiet, eerily so, as we wound our way up to the main deck and over to where I had spotted the boat.
As we began lowering it to the water, I heard men approach from behind us. “Where do you think you’re going?!”
I froze and looked at Gideon, who was down at the steering wheel, making the last preparations. “Go, I will catch up.”
“No, Val, I can’t leave you,” he pleaded. I dropped the rest of the line and the speedboat landed on the choppy waves.
“You would never survive, I will. Go!” I shouted, knowing that I at least would survive the fall into the sea and subsequent swim if necessary. “I promise I will find you!” And with that, he took off, watching behind him as he faded from sight. “Now, what were you saying?” I turned back to the men, uncoiling the silver whip that I had hidden under my sweater.
“You’re the bitch that murdered the captain. I’m going to have you for dinner!” the man barked. I could see the shift beginning, and I sighed. The funny part was, I would not need to fight. I could just throw myself overboard, even though Werewolves could swim, but I knew that they could never keep up if they followed me.
“I would not try it.” I flicked the whip around, letting the silver catch the moonlight. Valen’s gift was keeping the wolves at bay until one of them got brave and charged me. I only had little time to train with it, but the hiss of the silver interacting with his skin on his arm was enough to give the others pause.
“And why not?” the biggest one asked gruffly, taking a step forward.
“Because I know something you do not.” His face was stone, so I continued. “I can swim much faster than you can shift.” And with that, I jumped off the starboard side of the ship, shifting the moment I was below the surface. I was free once I was in the Gulf, and I took off, swimming as far away from that monstrosity as I could.
I swam through the night, making my way to Gideon. As dawn broke, I climbed over the gunwale of the speedboat and fell asleep. After a few hours of rest, I awoke to the song of the Crescent City. A faint smile crept over my lips, and I sat up as Gideon pressed a mug of coffee into my hands. “Drink, I ran to the cafe to grab you something, but the boat is already attracting attention.”
I nodded understandingly as Gideon stepped onto the pier. “Be safe, my friend. I will call you soon.” He smiled and waved as I backed the speedboat out of the dock and eased her into the harbour. Once I was clear, I opened the engines, turned east, and sped away from New Orleans.