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I hope you enjoy the conclusion to All Creatures. It was a lot of fun to work on and I never would have had the courage to put it out there without the support and help of my editor, Bert_Fegg. B, you are awesome, and you cannot possibly know how much you helped me!
Also a big thank you to all y’all who took the time to read, comment, favorite, and/or rate this story. The support for this story was beyond my expectation and I loved reading every comment. To everyone who responded with advice, I did read them all and I am trying to employ them in my next story. Expect a release date of around 2020 for that one. 😉
When we returned to the safe house, the teams were already grouped together. Stephen stood with Jim, Sean, Jenna, and Libby in the back corner finalizing the plans. As we approached the group, they split up, leaving only Stephen to greet us.
“Impeccable timing. We head out in five minutes” He gave us a knowing grin as he too headed off to join his team.
“Be careful and come back.” I glanced at Bill with worry etching my face.
He grinned as he turned to face me. “You do care.” His tone is teasing, contrasting with the passion in his next kiss. His whisper brushes against my lips, “It is not me you should be spending your time fretting over. Stephen and I will be just fine. It is the others who may not make it back.” His voice is serious as he gazes around the room taking in the faces of those going into battle with him. After a quick moment of contemplation, he turns his attention back to me. “See you in a bit, Love.” I receive a quick peck on the top of my head and he strolls off toward the others.
I join John at the back of the safe house, where he has an easy view of the loading dock and can still see the children asleep in their designated corner. Hopping up on a wooden crate that previously housed the sleeping mats, I watch Bill as he exits the building, leading his group out to the waiting vehicles. I stick my thumb in my mouth and began nibbling on the corner of my nail, a nervous habit that I thought I dropped in high school.
“You love him.” John’s statement has me pulling my hand out of my mouth and staring at the man next to me.
Love? Surely not! I care for him. I care for him a lot, and I would drop anything if I could help him. I only care for him. That’s all.
Crap! Who am I kidding.
“I’m just worried about them all.” I sigh as I ignore the comment, not able to cope with verbalizing my feelings at this time.
“It’s okay to love him. Stephen and Bill, they are good peoples. Most blood suckers, I wouldn’t trust with the life of my pet rock. But those two, they have compassion. I don’t think they have become jaded like the rest.”
“How old is Bill?”
“Dunno. Just speculating, that’s all.”
“What can you tell me about vampires?”
“Well, canlı bahis not much I guess. They have some virus that infects all their cells. Takes over the whole cell cycle, the virus tells cells when to replicate, when to stop, when to die. Any mutations or replication errors are fixed by the virus. There is no cell aging, and therefore no vampire aging. The virus also infects the white blood cells. No more autoimmunity problems and they are super cells for cleaning up the body. Any foreign bodies, bacteria, other viruses, anything is cleared from the body in minutes.”
“Why the allergy to sunlight?”
“Dunno. It is not as impressive as the movies. They don’t go up in flames or anything. Just get this nasty deep burn. All the cells exposed die and it takes days to heal back up. I always assumed it was some enzyme the virus produces that is sensitive to the UV light, but I haven’t heard any scientific reason.”
“How do they make new vampires?” My conversation with John was keeping my mind occupied while answering questions I’ve had since I read my first fantasy novel in middle school.
“You are reaching the end of my knowledge of Vampires. You should ask Stephen about this another time. He has at least two PhD’s that I know of. But as far as I know, the virus is only spread by direct contact of vampire venom to host blood. I don’t know how they make the venom or anything else about that. I do know the virus only lives seconds outside the host.”
Sensing I was reaching the end of this conversation, I decide to mine for information on the other species of predators I recently learned exist. “What about werewolves?”
“What about us?” John’s eyes light up, and I know that I will be able to find out quite a bit more about this subject.
“I wanna know everything! What causes it? How long do you live? What changes? Can you always shift? Do you have puppies or babies?”
John chuckles and cuts me off before I can continue, “I got it, you want Werewolves 101. Let’s see, lycanthropy is an autosomal recessive gene mutation. So a werewolf parent might or might not have werewolf babies, but if they pass the gene, you get a werewolf. There are five family lines in the US, mostly separated by geographical location, but these lines are beginning to mix together. Our line here in the Southeast is the Jackson line. There is minor genetic drift between each of the family lines proving that we have been around a while, but there is no written record of our beginnings.” John rolls his eyes. “We are not born puppies.” and continues his story: “Our first change hits around puberty. In fact it is a lot like puberty. You will start feeling the pull about the same time you notice that girls are kinda cute, er, or boys, anyway. You feel the pull but don’t really do anything. Then one day you’ll be having a great dream and wake up all furry. There is no amount of talking from the parents bahis siteleri that prepares you for that!”
I smile at John as I imagine him as an awkward teen wolf confused in his childhood bedroom.
“Does shifting hurt?”
“Changing the first few time hurts a lot, because no matter how much people tell you to relax and let it happen, you fight it. But as you get the hang of it, the change is effortless and quick.”
We hear a thump outside and I glance at my watch as the loading dock door rolls up. 2:30. They have been gone one and a half hours already.
John is already at the entrance when I hop off the crate. The first injured is being carried in the arms of a huge shifter. The victim is shifted into his animal form and looks awful. A chunk of flesh and muscle is missing from his right shoulder and blood is dripping off his body in a steady stream as John directs him to the yellow section.
As John continues to triage by the doors, I panic.
I can’t do this. It is first week of clinics all over again with Dr. Skivera breathing down my neck calling me a failure. They never should have let me graduate. Holy shit, I can’t do this! Who thought this was a good idea? Why did I think I could be a veterinarian? Why did I agree to help these people? I am going to get someone killed! Oh fuck!
My chin is jerked up as I begin to hyperventilate and all I see are beautiful clear blue eyes.
“Mike, breathe buddy. You can do this. This is nothing new. A dog is a dog yeah?”
Sure, a dog is a dog.
I scan the room. ABC’s Mike, one case at a time. I rush over to the red section. Is his airway clear? Yes. Is he breathing on his own? Yup. Is his heart beating? Yes. Is his bleeding somewhat controlled? For now. Move on to the next person. After a first pass through the ten people in the red section, I look up and see John is well on his way to having everyone stable in the yellow section, while the various people float around helping where they can.
I grab a pre-packed kit of suture material, disinfectants, medication and bandaging material from a nearby cart and start back in the beginning. Two young girls meet me by my first patient. The youngest, about thirteen, has a pair of clippers. She efficiently removes all the hair from around any wounds before heading to the next in line to repeat the treatment. I then have room to disinfect and suture any lesions and set any broken bones. After finishing wrapping a clean break in the right hind limb, the older girl shoos me on as she cleans all the minor wounds and wraps clean bandaging material over those and my previously thrown sutures. In this manner, we continue to work through the night.
After my last bone is set and the last suture is thrown, I finally collapse in an unoccupied chair. It is four minutes until seven. John hands me a Hardee’s sausage biscuit with a pat on the back. “Nice work, bahis şirketleri Doc.”
After a grunt of acknowledgement I dig into the deliciously fatty meal. One loss, forty-two injured. Apparently, the other werewolves were a lot more dug in than expected. They put up a huge fight and most who went, came back with some sort of new scar. The kids were up now, sitting in the laps of their returned parents. Far removed from the rest of the wolves, in the back corner sat Sean. He looks lost, his eyes glazed over with his left arm pulled against his side in a Robert Jones bandage. I make my way to him and lean against the wall.
He is quiet for about five minutes, then the dam breaks. Tears stream from his eyes. We both ignore them as he speaks. “So many hurt. They could have died. Any one of them, all of them, they could have died last night.”
“Yes. But these didn’t. You will go on, protect your families and friends and remember the one you lost. Next time you will remember what you are feeling right now and make informed decisions about what is the best course of action. You are going to be okay, Sean.” I rub the back of his neck and move away to give him privacy with his thoughts.
Bill is napping far away from the entrance.
As I sit next to him and place my head on his thigh, I feel his hand run through my hair.
“Can I go to sleep yet?” I yawn.
He leans over and places a lingering kiss near the corner of my mouth. “I have a bed downstairs, come on.”
He picks me up, much to my amusement and slight embarrassment, and carries me to an inconspicuous ladder near the supply stores.
“Will you stay with me, Love?” Bill asks as he lay beside me on a set of clean sheets and pulls the covers over us.
“Tonight?” I mumble, his question is confusing to my sleep deprived brain.
“Forever.” My eyes pop open. Not so sleepy any more.
I light the last candle on the table. It has been exactly one year since my first date with Bill, down to the hour. Days after the fight, Bill’s lawyer started work to find a loophole to get me out of my contract with my prospective employers and I now am the sole veterinarian for All Creatures Wild Animal Rescue. I was very proud of my clever name, though I feel it is under appreciated. The werewolves keep me busy every day of the week, the hours are horrible, and I love every second of it. I moved in with Bill when my lease ran out a few weeks after I started the rescue. We fight like demons and then fuck like, well, like demons. I have never loved anyone as deeply as I love that man.
He wants to change me but I am on the fence about that. I feel like it is natural to be born, to live, and then to die. Bill says I still will, I just get to live ‘a bit longer’ this way. We will see how that goes. I imagine he will end up getting his way sooner rather than later.
I survey the room to make sure everything is ready as I hear the basement door creak open. I smile as strong cool arms wrap around my waist and pull me back into a solid chest. Sweet words are whispered into my ear. “I love you”
I love you too.
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