Moon, Blood, and Wolf's Bane

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  1. Female
Romance, Supernatural, Fantasy, Thriller, Space Exploration, Slice of Life

"Do you know why we howl at the moon, pup? To mourn those the Light took from us..."


Downtown Raymond wasn't much of a "downtown". One main street contained all of the shops and businesses. Most of them family own and around for multiple generations. Quaint was the very favorite used by tourists to describe it. At least it's road had modern asphalt and the single town traffic light was in working order. Being fall, the last of the school kids were just getting let of out classes. The older teens were haunting corners and talking about the day's drama. Little kids were running straight for the candy shop. Parents that had to commute were just getting back in to town. Housewives wandered down the street to run quick errands before dinner time.

Errands was exactly what Grace Colton was up to as she sidestepped a couple of screaming beasts. The local population of predators was increasing, which meant more and more of her livestock was starting to turn up missing. Tonight she planned on staking out the property, but that meant she needed enough ammunition to shoot anything with sharp pointy teeth. She was headed for the gun shop.

Of course, at the Howling Hippo, the only decent bar in town, things were still kind of slow. Too early for most people to start drinking, plus it was a weeknight. That meant the staff were wandering around being bored out of their minds. Yet, it did leave plenty of time of Saraliya to sit at the bar scheming. Flipping a butterknife in her hand and catching it again, she was trying to decide who in her pack was the ideal person to get buddy-buddy with. If you planned on being the next Alpha leader, you needed strong friends.

"It's so DEAD in here. Someone go outside and strip so people come in!" complained Sara.
Natasha was keeping herself busy with day by cleaning rooms. Stripping beds, washing the sheets and changing the pillowcases. She worked on dusting everything down, cleaning out the bathroom, and setting out a nice little welcome card on the beds, with a little piece of candy. She hummed as she went through each room, almost in a absent-minded state where she was in her head. Thinking about how she wasn't human. Thinking about how people thought she did. Thinking about how her sister might just be glad if she was. Sheesh, that kid was younger, but sure didn't act like Natasha did at that age.

That made her pause as she stripped a bed in one of the rooms. Sara hadn't acted like ANY of the family Natasha knew, hell, maybe even acted different when she was just a pup. It was like being the next Alpha was all that girl thought about. No.... wait... more like obsess....

Natasha carried the sheets to a washer and dryer down the hall and loaded them into the washer, turned it on and watched the sheets swirl around while she pondered how the clan was doing. She knew that this search for a new Alpha was making everyone beyond tense, and she was trying to think of how long it would take before it was over. Then she wondered how much things might change with a new Alpha. How would the rules change? Would clan relations change?

The washer buzzed and Natsha pulled out the soaked sheets and loaded them into the dryer, sitting back down, silent.
Kyle grumbled to himself. He needed a freaking drink. His job was monotonous, but the pay was acceptable, and it wasn't dangerous, so he was fine with that. It's just that stupid alpha situation...Honestly, he thought that everyone who wanted the position should go out into the wilderness and only come back when there was only one alive. It'd certainly save everyone time. And so long as he was as far away as possible, Kyle would definitely support whoever won. But no, they had to do things the hard way...

It was really flipping irritating, he thought as he entered the Howling Hippo (the name made no sense. For one, hippos do not howl, and for two, there weren't any hippos anywhere near this place! Who the heck named it?) and sat down at the bar. He asked the bartender for the cheapest drink they had (librarians weren't known for their fortunes) and sighed at Sara. If she was patient...It's on the weekday, what did she expect?
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The Sheriff's Department's sole 1980 Chevy C-10 rolled up to a farmstead, the passenger out before the driver had the transmission in park and the ignition turned off. Both wore the big aviator shades with the reflecting lenses that were stereotypical of their trade.

"What's that make, six this week?" Deputy Rockwell asked of his partner, Deputy Briggs, as they walked up to the house.

"Seven. We're checkin' out Farmer John after this stop." Briggs replied as he took his shades off and knocked on the door. They were greeted with the sound of a shotgun being cocked.

"Easy, Mister Tumbler, it's Deputy Rockwell and Deputy Briggs." Slater replied, one hand firmly around his sidearm, an M-1911A1. The door opened, Slater relaxing his grip. Mister Tumbler was an elderly man who had lived in Raymond all his life.

"Sorry... I've been on edge since Tully's herd was hit." he said, setting the M-870 by the door. "So, you wanna take a look around?"

"That's what we're here for, yes." Slater replied. Mister Tumbler stepped out of his home with a hobble, the kind associated with arthritis and age. He led them out to his pasture where part of the fence had been broken, a horse trailer parked in front of the gap to keep the rest of the herd from running out before the fence could be repaired.

"Slater you see anything like this in the 'Stan?" Briggs asked as he knelt down to take a look at signs of a scuffle.

"Nope... Not a lot of fences to break into. 'Sides, we were given free reign by tribal elders to shoot thieves on sight." the ex-Marine replied as winced, reaching down and rubbing his right leg.

"What can you make out?" Mister Tumbler asked, Briggs standing back up.

"Well, I don't see any tire treads. Plenty of signs of a struggle though, but what I wanna know is how did they move it so fast without a trailer?"

"This is definitely a puzzler." Slater replied. "No boot prints, no tire tracks, no cow... The only thing I can speculate is not something I believe in."

"Please don't tell me that! If I can get my livestock back I'll be happy, but if it's halfway to the moon then I'm out a couple grand!" Mister Tumbler exclaimed.

"We'll find out who did this, Mister Tumbler." Briggs said to the rancher as he put his shades back on.

"Looking for bin Laden was easier, Mister Tumbler. Though at least here I don't have to worry about IEDs." The ex-Marine tipped his hat to the rancher then followed his partner back to the old pickup truck. They still had a few more stops to make and more questions to ask.

The one thing that was lacking was daylight.
Behind the bar a young man leaned into his hands which were pressed against the bar top, wondering when some business would start rolling into this place so he could start getting to work. People in his line of work lived a life of extremes where it could go from dead still to livelier and more dangerous than a hornet's nest given the right circumstances. If the pack had moved to Ireland things would never be this boring. . . though some part of him knew not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Given that there were Werewolves around here things could escalate far beyond some drunken yahoos that needed the local sheriff called out on them. The search for a new alpha male felt like it was tearing apart a clan that only had each other as the numbers of their kind around the world dwindled while time trudged endlessly onward. Nothing would stay peaceful forever even in a small town out in Montana.

And Jason knew that.

But the young Bartender also chuckled lightly at Sara's comment.

"That's almost nominating yourself. No one around this town is going to pay to see ME out there."

Shortly afterward the local librarian ordered a cheap drink. A very cheap drink. Cheaper than the peanuts in the dish on the bar top, almost. To the point that he wondered if the beer he was about to serve would have tasted better than distilled and fermented moose piss. In the past he had seen the faces of men who weren't used to drinking something that probably tasted about the same as Unleaded down at the gas station. Hell. . . he could wager that bud light tasted better. Jason got out a clean glass before sliding his finger along the tap selection until stopping at the cheapest brand they served in these here parts. The bartender filled it just an inch below the top before sliding it down to Kyle juuuuuust right.

"All yours."
Kyle nodded to the bartender and chugged the drink in one go. He grimaced to himself. He wasn't expecting fine wine, though, and you get what you pay for. He was still fairly certain that it was the worst tasting thing he had ever consumed. At least, he hoped so. Kyle had no intention of actually testing that hypothesis. Oh well. "I don't even wanna know what that was made out of." Kyle shuddered. He got his drink, now to sit there and do absolutely nothing until the bartender kicks him out. Of course, at this rate, "do nothing" meant "listen to people complain about lack of business" but hey. He wasn't going to talk. What would he talk about anyway? The only thing he really cared about was his job and the whole alpha male debacle. He doubted they were interested in his job and he wasn't going to talk about anything related to werewolves unless the room had been searched for bugs. He had no intention of attracting the attention of a hunter... He shook his head and looked around, waiting for something to happen. Hopefully, something that didn't involve him.
Alex walked down the street, it was eerily quiet for him, having been used to the sounds of waves no matter where he went. He sighed and breathed deep. Even the air was different in Montana, it smelled of manure and trees, not of salty beach air and sun tan lotion. Sure, he missed Hawaii and the waters, even his surfboard but Montana had it's own charms, the quiet streets, the safe atmosphere, and heck, nobody drown at least not commonly.

Alex remembered the first day he had arrived in Raymond, he was wearing a gross cowboy chic look complete with a hat and boots. The townsfolk gave him the strangest looks and he rushed into his new apartment and changed immediately. He felt mortified at the scene.

Today however he looked good, mostly unbuttoned white shirt and tighter fitting jeans, fashionably ripped down the legs. Today his clothes felt right, yesterday's debacle was forgotten to him. He jingled his keys out in front of him as he stepped back into the apartment complex. He was going to look for a job, but he didn't know what he wanted to do. There weren't many jobs but that bar seemed like a good place to start, at least to pick up some leads on jobs if not working at the bar itself. The library would also be a nice place to work maybe, and there seemed to be more then a few ranches that might need a strong hand to help around. Sighing he noticed a girl at the end of the hall, sitting down looking blankly at the humming dryer. Does she live here? I should go introduce myself...

"Hey betty, sup?" He smiled widely, extending his hand for her to shake, "I, uh, am like new here in town and don't know anyone so I figured that I'd say hi. Name's Alexander but you can totally just call me Alex if that floats your boat ya know?" He chuckled, his Hawaiian accent quite evident.
Marette gazed into her drink, hiding almost in a corner as if ashamed to be inside the Howling Hippo. Things seemed to be getting busy and Marette wasn't really in the mood to get teary eyed in front of the townsfolk talking about how much she missed her late husband and how she longed for someone to talk to. This was all very childish for a grown woman, she thought to herself sternly. Marette seemed checked out to anything happening in the bar, but was contemplating leaving even as she toyed with the glass in front of her.

Men in jeans, women in short skirt, and a general bustle of color that made her head feel slow and heavy was a sign that she might have been drinking too much, but that was the joy of running your own store - she could just open late tomorrow if she had a massive hangover. Not what she had been going for however. Looking up, Marette could pick out a potentially familiar face in the crowd, but a sense of hesitancy held her back. She would probably seem very dumb while inebriated.
"That's a grand idea, Sara. But you know what they say about leading by example. Why don't you give it a go first? Might attract even more business." Noel sat a few bar stools down from her, absorbed in whatever blasted game he happened to be playing.

It was a quiet night but hey, things couldn't be busy all the time. If it was, hell, Harry could retire and he'd be a happy man. Business was a fickle thing. You had to ride it when it was high and when it was low and just brace yourself when you struck a few bumps along the way.

"I WOULD go outside and strip myself," started Sara while flipping her hair over her shoulder "but my beautiful body is way too much for these chucklefucks to handle. They don't know a real woman when they see her!" The real woman then proceeded to stick her tongue out at Noel especially. She reserved her biting glare for Jason.

Sara got back to making sure tables were clean. More people were streaming in now, including stupid humans. Which meant now she would have to watch her mouth and not say anything that would give their secret away. Though she guessed ones like that fur-loving Marette would adore knowing she was surrounded by a pack right this very moment. Saraliya had seen the way the little blond got in to arguments with the farmers over shooting animals.

If only she could bite those farmer's heads off. Sara sighed out loud at her own little daydream. Clutching her notepad to her chest, just dreaming of the day she could pull off the arms and legs with her teeth and give them a good shake!
It was getting busy. Kyle nodded to himself. This is when people started getting into fights. Hopefully, they wouldn't involve him. Heck, one almost appeared to be starting right in front of him, and with members of his own pack, no less! He sighed. "Can we please stop fighting?" he said. He didn't want a fight to break out right now. It'd lead to questions, and questions might lead to people finding out, and that would mean... He shuddered at the thought. He really, really didn't want this to happen...

But it didn't look like it was going to. That's good. Kyle took a deep breath and looked at the bartender, flinching when he saw the eyepatch. He always did that. It wasn't his fault that it brought to mind some disturbing images... "Jason, something slightly better, please. I can feel a headache coming on..."
Noel glanced over the top of the hand-held game and laughed. "Well, let me know if you find one! I could use a little change around here!" He grinned at his little teasing. Sara was real fun to tease and she livened the place up. He wouldn't tell that to her face, though. That girl had enough bite in her as it is. He didn't need her getting a bigger head with it.

The man leaned to the side, past the daydreaming Sara--Five bucks said she was dreaming about blood and carnage in some shape or form to be visited on some human or other--and to Marette. "Hey, Marette! Nice of you to join us!" He waved.
Jason shook his head at the somewhat over-anxious librarian. Reacting so swiftly to a little friendly jabbing between clan members? It seemed a little stern for so early on in the night. Maybe it was that moose piss of a beer he'd ordered? That stuff seemed more likely to sober someone up with the taste rather than get them hammered. But his reaction to Sara's glare was a little more than indifference, wearing thick skin for her attitude. Compared to her older sister, he figured she was the heir to all the family spunk and liked to show it off

"There's no fighting going on here Kyle. I think I'd take notice."

He walked down to the Librarian this time with the drink, not risking a mess on a guy who seemed sort of sick already. Now bud light replaced the moose piss from before. If he were lucky that wouldn't disturb the sensitivity of their local librarian.

"Bout to get my drink on..." Zack said to himself silently as he entered the bar, and noticed a few familiar faces along with a few he didn't know... ~Meh...~ he thought as he walked towards the bar, giving no one more than five seconds of his gaze, other than Sara... the psychotic bitch. But in all reality she wasn't too bad. Just a bit of a fanatic with somethings. Oddly enough, her, and Zack got along well... but I guess that's what you'd expect when a woman likes killin', and a man's got a talent for it.

Most of the Clan treated Zack with respect only due to the fact that he was much more of an animal in a fight. Some thought he was immortal for there were scraps that one couldn't walk away from... that he did, and plenty of them at that. Ol' Zack was certainly a Champion of the group, but he was still an outsider...

Pulling a Marlboro Red from his cigarette pack, Zack lit it, as he sat down at the bar... the chair underneath him creaked from the man's weight. Over the past few months, Zack had put on more muscle if it were possible... Welding had gotten pretty busy, and the money was definitely gettin' good now.

"Yo, Jason. Douse me with somethin' heavy." He said between an extremely deep inhaling of his lungs, then blowing the smoke out as rings.

Natasha smiled up at odd man. She tilted her head at his accent, not able to understand where he came from to get such a style to his voice. He seemed almost overly casual in a sense, and she wondered if he even knew that he was talking to an employee. He seemed nice, and she didn't have much work to do, so why not talk to him? She sighed out a breath as she checked the dryer - the sheets just weren't drying, dammit- and then looked over at the man.

"I'm Natasha..... Stonelake..... Errr.... Natasha Stonelake.... Nice to meet you, Alex. How are you liking the town so far?" She asked with a calm smile, which was suddenly interrupted by a sudden hissing sound and three large thumps. She gave a look to the dryer, then sighed before holding a finger up to Alex, signaling "one moment" and then grabbed a bat off to the side of the machine. Her. Boss. Was. Going. To. Kill. Her. She could never seem to get the dryer to go after it stopped like this. Apparently, you're supposed to tap it with the bat.... in one side.... and then turn it on..... but.... she could never TAP it hard enough, it seemed.

She bit her lip and literally tapped the machine. Then checked it. Ok, that didn't work. She tapped it a little harder and then finally sighed again. Ok, she finally cranked the bat back, like she was in baseball and swung. Suddenly the machine was alive with noise. Beeps and thumps and little screechy noises that couldn't be good. She looked at where she hit the machine, and suddenly saw a dent that didn't seem possible. For a human..... and.... oh.... oh... the bat.... the bat was cracked up... oh no.....

She looked, wide-eyed from the now-ruined bat to the dented and now REALLY screwed-up dryer. Then realized she had a witness and whimpered. She put the bat down and then checked the dryer again, it rumbled and shook when she tried to turn it on. She tried again and it gave a noise that gave her a fright, making her yelp slightly. With a mutterance/pleading of "Please, please, please, work", Natasha tried one more time.

And the dryer's door fell open, entrails of damp sheets spilling out.

"Damn." Natasha scooped up the sheets and dumped them into a basket. Then turned back to Alex, trying to ignore the fact that she just broke a bat and a dryer (With the bat) in front of him. Act like it was normal.

"Dryer's these days, you know? Sheesh.... I have to hang these up on a line, sorry, I have to go." Natasha offered with a shy smile. "Maybe you should go over to the Howling Hippo? During days like this, sometimes a drink is all that you need... right? Plus, I happen to know that the prices are good...." She murmured. Then started to fold the sheets. The second she finished with that last room, she would go over there too, probably....

At 5pm as the day drew to a close, and the sun was beginning to set on quiet little Raymond, Montana, four outlaws rode into town.

Sounds like something out of a fucking western, don't you think?

All four were dressed in leather cuts and denim, each jacket's back reading the same words; 'THE 3'S & 7'S'. At the far left was Marston, the Road Captain. Next to him rode Mongol, the Sergeant At-Arms. On the right was Kimmy, the Club Secratery.

And in the centre rode the President, one Clay Baritone.


The rest waited outside the town, having pitched camp in the wilds where we're best at home. I'd taken my three best and headed for Raymond, to scope out the scene and the competition, and maybe see if we could pop a look at the clan apparently living round here since old Geoff Larrow had got his face shot off by hunters about a year ago, now.

Already I don't fucking like this town.

Too small, too 'quiant', too picture-esque. It's like a fucking tourist getaway and quiet little Montana town rolled into one sickening package, the place where there's no trouble 'cos no-one around's fun enough to start any. Not even the fucking Weres.

But me and the family are gonna teach them how, yes sir.

"Keep them fuckin' guns hidden, people," I call to the other three, "Let's scope the pigs before we go making noise." I saw and heard nods and shouts to the affirmative, as well as spotting Kimmy pushing the bag the contained her shotgun further into it's holding place. Just because it was a small town did not mean there might be a capable police force; I learned a long time ago never to underestimate the law.

We rode through the streets, eyes following our bikes' progress with apprehension. My favourite kind of look, personally. Though our bikes weren't exactly hard on the eyes; Harley Davidsons, each with a custom paint-job and each with the symbol of a running wolf on it at some location.

When it comes to bikes, we like to go all out.

Finally, my eyes fell upon a relatively busy looking bar. By which I mean, the only fucking bar. I heard Marston chuckle at the name of the place.
"Harry's Howling Hippo?" he laughed, "What sorta sick-in-the-brain fucktard calls a bar that?"
"The one's round here, so it seems," I reply with a grin, "Now come along, children. Let's go get ourselves 'aqquainted' with the locals, shall we?" There was laughter from all, and even Kimmy, the girl who spoke little and laughed even more rarely, cracked a smile. I kicked down the stand for my Harley...

...and pushed open the door to the bar.

Small crowd. Mostly staff and what could be a few regulars. Nobody who looked like they'd be too much bother, save for the dark-haired guy sitting at the bar. I pride myself on being able to assess risks, and that man had danger written all over him.

Guess maybe not everyone in this town's a fucking push-over then.

I move to the bar and shoulder some smartly-dressed little blonde ponse out the way before pulling up a chair. "Evenin', friend. What whiskeys you folks do round here, then?"

The 3's & 7's arrive in town; Clay and three of his Betas arrive at the HHH. He shoulders Kyle out the way at the bar, having recognised Zack as a dangerous individual, and enquires as to what whiskeys there are.

Violence may ensue.

Hearing boot foot steps behind him, Zack took a heavy drag, and finished what was left of his cigarette... two drags to kill it.. not bad. A man bulldozed himself into the chair next to him. ~Smells like gas, and kickass...~ Zack thought to himself as he breathed in deeply through his nose... as if he could discern the facts from scent.

"Evenin', friend. What whiskeys you folks do round here, then?"

Turning to look at Clay, Zack blinked once, and lightly scratched at the scruff on his chin before closing his eyes a moment, and then answering the man as he opened his eyes again. "We ain't friends... Stuff changes at the bar... save for the Wild Turkey." Zack said matter of factly, as he took Clay in. Something about him he knew... that there was definitely a danger with the man, and Zack couldn't help but fall on old instincts, and feel the man wasn't alone. Not to mention that the place had a new scent of animal in it... ~Yeah... I'll be damned if I'm wrong on that.~

"House hooch is moose piss..." he said pulling out his cigarettes, pulling one to his lips, and held the pack out to Clay. Since he was going to be drinking there... might as well let him get his own cancer first hand. "Harley... CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide... Hundred ten air cooled twin cam engine with a torque rating of a hundred fifteen foot pounds at three thousand seven hundred fifty RPMs... right?" He asked as he recalled the sound of the bikes as they pulled up... and the one that sounded like the closest.

Zack himself had a love for bikes, trucks, and ATV's... Montana was great for them since it had a bunch of nothing from here to there. "Or am I just dreamin?"
Kyle sighed. "Sorry, Jason. I'm just...worried something's gonna happen. You know how it is." Hopefully, that was vague enough to avoid suspicion...But, still, with the way things are going? I wouldn't be surprised if something as harmless as that would turn into something infinitely more dangerous. Sara's rather...violent, after all. "But...yeah. I'm over thinking things. Nothing bad's gonna happen now, at least for a while."

You would think I would've learned not to say things like that. The bar doors opened, and I didn't pay attention to them. It was getting busy, and I wasn't one to stare. Then, someone pushed me on the back roughly and I grimaced, turning to look at the man that sat next to Zack. Judging by how he looks, I think it's perfectly acceptable to assume that he was the one who did that. It's also perfectly acceptable for me to ignore it. He looked way too dangerous...
Deep in the woods.

Charlie paused a moment from her note-taking to check her watch: 5:00PM, an hour until her shift ended and she could go home to a warm meal, a cold beer and a much deserved shower. Maybe there would be cartoon reruns on TV, or a cheesy horror flick.

The redhead smiled at the thought of doing absolutely nothing for the first time in weeks. She'd been pulling a lot of doubles lately, trying to find a pattern to these new tracks, but so far her efforts had only awarded her a long string of late nights and early mornings. The pack that had made these tracks weren't following any of the normal hunting patterns, they weren't even following the river. Fresh tracks would pop up for days, before disappearing entirely for another few weeks.

For the sake of her sanity, and the the stack of homework she had piling up, Charlie had decided to cool it for a few days.

She was just about to head back to her jeep, parked on the path a quarter of a mile away, when she noticed something that made her stomach sink and her anger rise at once. New tracks, fresh tracks, human tracks, following the wolf tracks. They were almost imperceptible; if Charlie hadn't spent her whole life tracking anything with legs, she would not have seen them. This was no accident, they were hidden too well, and that meant only one thing.

A poacher. A damn good one, too.

So much for getting off on time. . .

A frown creasing her freckled face, Charlie spoke into the radio she wore on her belt.

"This is Morris to Kingsley, I've spotted tracks in sector three: spotted tracks in sector three. Definitely poacher, over."

There was a crackling on the other end before an older male voice replied.

"Gotcha Morris, hang tight, we'll be in your neck of the woods inside of fifteen minutes."

Charlie's lips pursed. That was too long.

"This one's good, is there no one closer? Over." She liked to add that 'over' at the end when she talked to Kingsley. She knew it annoyed him.

"No, and you sit tight Charlie! You're not a ranger, you can't arrest anyone. Remember what happened last time."

"Roger that, Kingsley."

"I mean it, Charlie, you're in over your head-" The radio went dead, not actually dead, really. Charlie had just muted the sound.

Taking her shotgun from its resting place against a nearby tree, Charlie set off deeper into the woods, following the tracks to their source. She moved quickly and silently, becoming more and more a part with the forest with each step. Soon she was practically invisible.

It wasn't long until she spotted him, stooped over to examine more tracks. Charlie narrowed her eyes to get a better look in spite of the growing darkness. He was clearly hunting, but there was something about him that was different from the other poachers she had encountered.

Either way, it was time to make herself known.

"I'm sure I don't need to tell you hunting isn't allowed in this park," Charlie stood, though she didn't wear the uniform of a ranger (she merely wore her jeans, boots, and coat) she made sure the silver badge on her coat was plainly visible to him.

She also made sure he saw the shotgun, cocked and ready, though it was currently pointed to the ground, anyone with a seasoned eye could tell she coulld have it on him and fire it within the short part of a second. Though she was an excellent shot, she didn't need to aim at this range.

"So why don't you just put your hands up nice and slow for me?"
"Well, that takes care of that." Briggs said as he finished jotting notes down as Slater drove away from the last ranch on their list.

"The boss is prolly gonna want to call up a town meeting. Tell people to be on the lookout." the ex-Marine replied as he pulled onto the main road, gunning the tired engine. Deputy Babera, often times called 'Barbara,' did what he could to keep the old machine running. The 3 liter V-8 engine had been rebuilt recently and the transmission was mated to the starter of a 1968 Camaro that had seen one race too many. The seats had been ripped out of a 1974 GMC 2500 and the steering wheel used to be in a 1955 Chevy Bel Aire. All of them had come from the Steel Yard Auto Salvage on the far side of town. The only things that were really new in the truck were the Mossberg M-500 shotgun and the ZM LR-300 carbine on the rack behind the seat.

"More than likely. Think he'll see if it counts on that chart Homeland Security gave us?" The chart Briggs was referring to had the terrorism watch levels.

"We'll probably go from 'all clear' to 'get the guns.'" Slater replied as he turned onto the main drag. "When we go to 'oh shit' then it's time to panic."

"Yeah. Hey, you hungry?" Slater shrugged, reaching with down to rub his leg again. The therapists had told him the feeling was called 'phantom limb' and that he'd feel it from time to time.

"I guess... The 'Hippo'?"

"Only place in town, really." Slater turned the truck around then pulled in as close as he could.

"Any of the places in the 'Stan let you eat in their dives?" Briggs asked as Slater killed the engine then pulled his sidearm, ejecting the magazine. Seven rounds, one in the chamber. He slammed the mag home then holstered the large caliber pistol, checking the other pouches on his belt. Mace was there, ASP baton in place, four more mags where they belonged, handcuffs strapped down, and radio in place.

"They didn't have dives over there. Most places were lucky to have a chair and a table. Hell, if they had a chair that was good enough." Slater replied as Briggs pushed the door open. All eyes were on the two deputies. "Look, all we're looking for is chow... Christ, you'd think we were feds... Lighten up, people..."

"The environment his hostile in the 'Stan?" Briggs asked as they took a spot at the bar.

"Over there the cavalry was twenty minutes away. Over here WE'RE the cavalry."