Terry Henry Walton Chronicles, Book 9
By Craig Martelle and Michael Anderle
Butch and Skippy ran into the brush to get away from where the pod could have been seen. They remained under cover in what used to be Central Park. It had deteriorated to where it was like a jungle.
And probably as dangerous, they thought. They sniffed and listened, using their Werewolf sentences to the utmost of their abilities.
Wild animals. A group of unwashed humans. All of them could be easily avoided. Butch and Skippy looked at each before stripping, bundling their clothes into their backpacks, and changing into Were form.
Two Werewolves moved through the brush, barely making a sound as they circled wide of the humans. The started to run when they hit an open area, scattering squirrels and deer alike.
Once into Midtown, they slowed, found a secluded alley, and changed back into human form. They dressed, put on their backpacks, and continued toward lower Manhattan, the financial district which Akio had indicated was starting to make a comeback.
Terry and Char had been to New York City a few times after the fall, but always to Brooklyn or Queens. Manhattan was a new twist.
“Maybe they commute?” Skippy said. “Is the subway running?”
Butch chuckled out loud. “Maybe.”
When they left the alley, an older man was leaning against the wall, watching them.
“Hello there,” he said. Skippy sniffed the air, smelling the man’s faint odor. They hadn’t been paying attention when they were changing. He cursed himself for losing his focus. Terry’s warnings raged back into his head.
Butch took it in stride. “You like to watch? So does he,” she said smoothly nodding toward Skippy. “Where do you live?”
He looked sideways at her, admiring her beauty. Brown hair, brown eyes, and slender. She put on her most winning smile as she walked toward the man. He took a step back.
Not a street tough, she thought. Skippy remained where he was, letting Butch make her play.
“I’m just out for a walk, but when I saw you. You’re one fine woman,” the man managed to stammer.
An older man in a place where men die young. He was exactly what Butch was looking for.
“And I’m looking for the right man,” Butch said in her New York accent. She approached him fearlessly and took his arm in both her hands. “Let’s go to your place. I hope it’s not far.”
Butch smiled adoringly at the man. He hesitated for only a moment, never taking his eyes from the Werewolf.
He started walking with Butch at his side having completely forgotten about Skippy.
Skippy stayed back, hoping that the man would continue to ignore him.
“It’s not far, my pretty,” he said softly. I’m set up with a small group, but it’s nice and we have plenty of privacy.”
Butch signaled behind her back, pointing and shaking her hand. Skippy had no idea what she was trying to say. She kept looking at the older man, so she never saw Skippy shrug and shake his head.
“What do you do here, where you can stand around and watch a young lady get dressed?” Butch asked.
“I work in the steel mill. Twelve hour shifts, six days a week, and they pay us in food. It’s a good deal. I never go hungry and have lots of time to do what I want,” the man replied proudly.
They continued toward Lower Manhattan for two blocks and then turned west at the Empire State building. Butch and Skippy looked closely, wondering if the old girl was going to fall on them. The bricks in the street suggested bits and pieces were coming off. When would the structural integrity fail?
A question best left to engineers and philosophers, neither of whom were there.
“I’m Dwayne, by the way. I didn’t get your name,” he said.
“My name is Beatrice, but I don’t think you want to die, so don’t call me that. I go by Butch. And my partner back there is Skippy.” She stabbed a thumb over her shoulder.
“Partner? As in business partner?” Dwayne ventured.
“No. As in life partner, husband, taking the bone canoe for a ride. That kind of partner. Listen, Dwayne.” Butch stopped and turned him toward her. “You’ve made me reconsider what I intended to do. I was going to kill you, move into your place, and take all your stuff. But I can’t do that, now. There was never a chance of us getting together, so that’s out, but what we really want is food and shelter. If we can join your group, get a place to stay, and then maybe get jobs at the mill, that would be perfect for us.”
Dwayne was taken aback, his hopes for a wild evening with the beautiful woman dashed. He got angry and grabbed her arm. She took hold of his hand with hers and squeezed until he cried out. She continued the pressure until he fell to his knees.
“You’ll notice that we have certain skills and if you’re community needs people to protect them, we can do that, too. You will feel safe with us around once we give you our word,” Butch explained.
“How can we trust you?”
“I could just kill you and be done with it. I told you exactly what we want and what we can provide in return. Our actions will earn your trust if we give you a chance. Now, please don’t grab me again,” Butch told the older man as she let go of his hand.
He rubbed it and carefully stood up. He looked back and forth, then bowed his head. “This way.”
I have a truck, and we had a few yards of gravel delivered because I need to have a ready stock for landscaping to control water run off and to fill those pesky sinkholes when they crop up. The road to our place from the main road gets zero maintenance from the city as its beyond where they’ll go. We have some potholes and they have become rather extensive making it an obstacle course to drive a quarter of a mile. So I put a blue tarp in the back of my truck and shoveied in half a ton of gravel. I paced myself so I didn’t run out of air.
And then I drove the truck to the potholes, collecting some rocks along the sides of the road along the way. I filled the deepest holes with big rocks and then shoveled the gravel, complete with fines on top. As of this morning, the repairs are holding nicely. I am pleased. I have one more load to clean up our street the rest of the way to the main road. I will leave a few because we can’t have people speeding down our road. Phyllis and I are out there way too much to deal with fast traffic. Traffic is defined as one car every two hours.
Barnes & Noble Fairbanks supports indie authors and I’m doing a book signing on August 26th! They will have a number of my titles available for sale and will put some marketing horsepower behind the effort. I’ll tag people I know and hopefully, there will be some interest for the event. I’ll keep everyone posted via Facebook.
In the interim, here’s a link to my other books. If you haven’t checked them out, stop by my author page and take a look.