Frostbite- Chapter 32

Pain ate at her. It was like a small animal lodged in her abdomen, chewing on her stomach. Nausea made her eyes bulge, made her sweat even in the cold air.

Slowly Chey raised her arm to look at her wrist. The skin of her forearm was red and purple, while the hand itself looked limp, like a doll’s hand. It dangled at the end of her arm. She tried to close her fingers and they twitched but refused to do as she asked. She tried to lift the hand but it wouldn’t move at all.

The pain grumbled inside of her and told her to lie down. It told her to go to sleep. If she hadn’t been half wolf, she probably wouldn’t have had a choice. Whatever she thought of the curse Powell had given her, it did have some compensations.

It wasn’t permanent, she told herself. As soon as she changed again her body would heal the injury. As soon as she changed again...

She had some thinking to do. She had to make a plan. The pain was going to have to wait.

She stumbled up onto her feet and walked toward where Bobby lay curled up on the ground. He was conscious, but his face was twisted in a grimace of hurt. “Lester,” she shouted. “Lester, come over here.”

“Is he gone?” the pilot asked, coming around the side of his helicopter. “Do you think he might come back?”

She shook her head. “He’s too smart for that. Come on, help me with Bobby.”

Together they pulled Fenech up into a sitting position. The operative clutched at his chest, but Chey found he was weak as a kitten when she took his hands away. She pulled at the neck of his polo shirt and looked inside. A wide blue bruise had already formed around his sternum. Powell had tackled him pretty hard. “Can you talk?” Chey asked. “Can you say something?”

“Frigging squatch,” he moaned. “That frigging squatch!”

“I guess you’re going to live,” she said, and squatted down next to him.

She stared out at the water, unsure of what to say next. The sun was still high over the trees, but she figured it had to be getting on to nine o’clock. She could have checked the clock on her cell phone, but that would have involved reaching into her pocket with her broken hand.

“Listen,” she said finally, “I’m sorry, but—”

“Hold on.” Bobby patted the needles around him with his hands, then turned up his sunglasses. They must have fallen off when Powell hit him. The right lens was badly scratched, but he polished them on his shirt anyway and then pulled them over his eyes. “Okay,” he said. “Chey, you know how I feel about you. You know that I trust you. So when I ask you my next question, I want you to please not take it the wrong way.”

“Alright,” she said, making it half question.

“Are you fucking stupid?” he demanded. “Did you know the safety was on? Because I seem to remember that was part of your training. The training I had to go through so much shit to convince your ratass uncle to give you.”

“I fucked up, I know,” she said. “But it wasn’t conscious. Look, next time—”

He held a finger to his lips. “The fact that you think there’s going to be a next time is actually pretty funny. I might even laugh, if I didn’t think it would rupture my spleen. Let me say this one more time—”

“Wait, wait, you—”

“You’re fired, Chey! You’re off the team. I’m going to get some friends of mine up here and we will actually kill that frigging squatch. That’s what’s going to happen. I have been working on this project way too long to let you end it like this. Lester, get the camp stuff out. I don’t think the squatch is coming back tonight, not if he knows we’re packing silver. Chey, you can help me go sit down inside the whirlybird. I think I’d prefer a padded seat to these fucking rocks.”

Every time she moved pain rumbled through Chey like the tremors that come before a volcano lets loose. She nearly fell over. She helped Bobby stand up, though, and limp toward the helicopter. Lester did as he’d been asked, hauling a stack of nylon bags out of the helicopter’s cargo compartment.

“Bobby,” she said, when he was sitting down inside the helicopter.

“Save it.”

“Bobby, there’s something we need to think about.”

His head rolled to one side until he was looking at her.

“I’m going to change,” she said.

His brow furrowed.

“In about an hour, I think, the moon is going to come up again. Every time the moon comes up I change. Into a wolf.”

He nodded, but he didn’t seem terribly concerned.

“When that happens,” she said, “I’m going to do everything in my power to kill you and Lester.” He started to protest and she raised her good hand to stop him. “It’s not an optional thing. When I change I kill anything human that I see. I think I should get out of here. Run off into the woods. I’ll get as far away as I can before it happens, and maybe that’ll be enough. Maybe if I get far enough I won’t smell you guys when I’m a wolf. Maybe.”

He nodded and sat up a little, grimacing in pain as he did so. “I’ve got a better idea,” he told her. “Lester!” he shouted. “Open up the blue bag.” To her he confided, “I had kind of this crazy notion that we might catch your new friend unawares. That we might be able to take him alive.”

Lester pulled open the blue bag and a length of metal chain slithered out. Bright silver chain, with a thick manacle on one end.

“Do you think it’ll fit?” Bobby asked.

Check out the previous chapters of Frostbite right here.

Excerpted from Frostbite: A Werewolf Tale by David Wellington. Copyright © 2009 by David Wellington. Published in the Unites States by Three Rivers Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. Published in the UK as Cursed by Piatkus Books, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group.

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