This Valley Of Ours
Hannah woke with a twitch, then groaned through her sore muzzle. The bed sheets rustled as she turned over, her tail following her as she moved. It was only as she began to think of Fred did she open her eyes.
"FRED!" Hannah screamed as she kicked out, and stumbled and fell. Her injured leg tangled in the red silk sheets. She could hear voices, and then claws scraping the floor as Cloud opened the door first, Wakan peeking past him.
"Ahh Christ, Hannah," Wakan sighed, and entered, pushing past a bleary-eyed Cloud.
As soon as Wakan took Hannahís wrist she struck out, sobbing as she scrabbled to grab any fur or flesh, yelling incoherently for Fred. She fought Wakan until Cloud took her arms from behind and pinned them, Wakan straightened out his fur then looked at her as she laid her ears flat and growled.
"Fredís ok, but he canít see you. Heís got at least three broken ribs, a fractured shin, and other complications. Not to mention we met him in Golden trying to drive the two of you while going into shock," Wakan looked quickly at her thigh. "You seem to be healing nicely. That cut mustíve hurt but it was clean, so just some Spray Seal fixed it with those stitches he gave you."
"Where is he?"
Cloud looked at her; the left side of her muzzle was slightly swollen. "You donít want to see him, and you canít see him even if you wanted to either."
"WHY CANíT I SEE HIM?" she screamed as Wakan and Cloud flinched. She could feel that strain in the back of her throat.
"BECAUSE HE LOOKS LIKE SHIT!" Wakan thundered, then turned, instantly sorry for yelling at her as she squinted at them from the floor, fighting tears.
Hannah squinted more at them, then slowly got up and sat on the bed, slowly wrapping the sheets around her, only wearing a T-shirt and panties. "You can leave now."
She waited until she could hear them walking around below her, possibly in the study on the first floor. Slowly she stretched her legs over the bed and dropped the sheets, wincing slightly from a sore pang that shot up her leg. She crept to the door, listening as the muted voices below her continued. Then held her hand over the handle as she softly nudged the door open, everything else continuing as if nothing had happened.
She did the same to Fredís door, slowly pushing it open. Then she froze Ė he wasnít there. She walked to the mirror and activated the security monitor; he was in a guest bedroom on the first floor, across from Cloudís room, above Wakanís. Just down the hall from the study.
Her heart hammered and leg shivered in small spasms as she slowly descended the stairs. Fear of being sent back, even being found added to her already stressed body. She peeked around to the study, they were in there. But the door was almost closed; she could see shadows of them in the study as they walked about.
The door to the guest room opened on smooth magnetic hinges, the small room was cozy as she glanced at Fred lying there, and closed the door before Cloud or Wakan would see anything abnormal. She turned and looked closer at him, the late noonday sun from the window behind the bed illuminating his covered legs and torso. One arm lay out on the bed, a bruised right knuckle black with cuts on it covered with a patchwork of bandages. His whole arm covered in spots with light bandages and the vinyl-like sheen of Spray-Seal. His eye swollen with a Cool-Paste on it, a cut under his jaw, Spray Sealed, the ear lobe was cut down to the cartilage on his left ear, the Spray Seal securing the skin together. She neared him, looking at his battered body, then moved the sheets carefully aside. She stared at his chest. Black bruising covering most of his chest, she stood for a moment before hearing a ragged breath escape from the cool air touching his bare skin.
Slowly she slid into the sheets, careful not to touch his left arm, or any part of his battered body until she was comfortably in the sheets. Slowly, nervously reaching to run her hand over his hard chest, soft and swollen in spots, the taut skin pricking under her blunt nails, the rubbing pads made him shift.
Cloud watched his laptop screen as the homeís security showed the two of them lying in the bed calmly. If he woke up, there wasnít much they could do now. But Hannah hadnít bothered anything, so Wakan and Cloud had decided to stay put in the study. Next to large medical texts and dictionaries, even a few manuals on different medical items and drug information cut-outs scattered on the tables around the study.
"What do you think sheís gonna do?" Wakan asked.
"What? Itís not like Hannahís going to blow him," Cloud snorted.
"Well, I donít want to have to fix Fred up again. That took hours to clean off all his blood and patch him up. I mean that shin too, itís gonna be sore. And if he sneezes itís going to hurt like a bitch." Wakan looked warily at Hannahís thick tufts of fur and the hair still stuck to him in some spots from her assault earlier.
"Well, probably not as bad as whatever he went through in Denver."
There was nothing at first, then rubbing, gentle, slow, calm. My eyes stayed shut, but the pricks of pain began invading the sleep like rude cockroaches on a warm picnic. Scuttling, unavoidable, marring the beauty of sleep.
"Afternoon. Stay quiet Ė Iím not supposed to be with you." Hannah kept rubbing my chest. My uncovered arm shifted uncomfortably, she felt it, and it was freezing. The covers flicked once as she pulled it under, warmer in the sheets next to her.
"So, why are you here with some ugly torn up tom like me?" There was a gasp of breath as I breathed in too deeply.
"Youíre still handsome, and on the bright side, youíll look rugged after youíre all healed." Hannah sighed, unable to look at my face. Instead focusing on the blankets on my chest as they steadily rose and fell, watching the roving hand under it.
There was a long pause as my breathing broke rhythm periodically. The slow breathing making my ribs hurt as I inhaled too deeply, rather, having to resort to short interrupted breaths.
"Do youÖare you ok?" I nervously asked.
"What? They didnít do nearly anything as much as they did to you," she mumbled, her head butting his as she rested her muzzle over his shoulder and throat.
"They still hit you, stabbed you, and God knows what." I coughed sharply. I cried out as tears stung the corners of my eyes, smaller coughs running like aftershocks as I tried to calm my breathing. Hannah looked at me, stopped stroking my chest and turned away.
"Hannah?" I gave a pained whisper.
"Fred, you promised that no harm would come to anybody else within this home."
"And you especially," I sighed, and laid back. Looking at the ceiling, unsure what to think, a sinking feeling overtaking me.
"Iím not worried about what happened to me. But you, from what I hear you tried to drive while going into shock!" Hannah turned back and flicked Fredís bruised chest, eliciting a gasp.
"I donít care Hannah, youíre still here."
"How can you say that?" Hannah hissed. "I couldíve been raped, you almost died, and donít you care about yourself?"
"As long as youíre here," I grumbled.
Hannah pulled the sheets and got out of the bed, spinning. "AS LONG AS IíM HERE!" She quieted her voice to a growl. "How can I care for my life when you would throw yours away so quickly?"
I stared, hearing muted voices through the fog outside the door. Hannah looked at the door, then walked to it and left, brushing past Wakan and Cloud as she swung the door open. She limped back to her room, brushing tears away. The blanket she had ripped off of me lay on the floor until Cloud picked it up and placed it over me as Wakan helped straighten it out.
My head pushed back into the pillow. I didnít want to be there. Wakan and Cloud quietly shut the door; guess it wasnít good advice to tell a guy "You should go after her," especially now.
Hannah lay in her bed like Fred, thinking. Watching the guest bedroom monitor, she had to use her admin rights and used a bypass to use the cameras. She watched him stare un-moving at the ceiling. For hours she watched, Wakan bringing her a tray, all the foods she needed for a full meal stacked on it. Fresh bread on it, stuff she didnít recall grabbing, she saw a thin near-transparent strand of hair on it. Wakan didnít say anything about her camera. After Wakan left she saw him bring a tray with softer foods on it to Fred on the monitor.
Fred would eat, then hobble to the restroom every now and then. Never asking for help, only coughing every so often, looking lonely, she watched still.
His room was quiet when she opened the door, the breathing still shallow, but not as ragged. She slid through his room, holding her tail so it wouldnít hit anything.
"Hannah?" I gasped as she slid in next to me, bumping a bruise on my arm.
"Iím sorry for yelling," Hannah whispered into my ear and lick-kissed my cheek. I just lay there, stock still, cold again, not clammy, or shaking, but hours of near perfect inactivity had made me cold.
She laid the rest of the night there as I thought, her body a welcome warmth. I finally turned my head to nuzzle hers.
It was a week before the swelling was gone, the bruising lingering in little patches of blue and yellow, black over the still broken ribs. I could walk better, the fractures had been small ones and while it hurt to go up the stairs or change positions, if I was still it wasnít sore most of the time. The fingers hadnít been broken, or at least as bad as previously thought. One was dislocated, another set fractured, and finally all of them strained. The swelling had made them hard to diagnose for Wakan.
Hannah slept at my side every night, keeping me warm. And even if her fur and hair was a bother the benefit of having her was far better than the disadvantages. Wakan and Cloud didnít object.
"You going to feel better soon?" Hannah whispered. Her voice like a soft breeze in my ear.
"Been feeling better, so I donít know what you mean by saying better," I mumbled back.
"Good enough to help my upcoming heat?" Hannahís rubbing on my chest stopped as she nudged closer to me. I could feel her soft body against mine. A hard nub poked my arm.
"I think youíd be better off grabbing the pills I brought back," Right after I had stitched Hannah, who had healed nicely, I had brought back dozens of items from the house into the MAV before driving off. A few heirlooms, guns, pills, and other odds and ends, including ammunition and wills; not that the wills would be of any use here. Wakan and Cloud had stared in disbelief at all the items I had brought back. I had even stopped at where the Kerrs laid and grabbed all the guns. The adrenaline had helped me work more, faster, they said.
"Those pills donít do as good of a job as you," Hannah nudged her head against my shoulder, feeling the bump now where the scar from the bullet wound hadnít healed completely. It worked better on cuts immediately after they were made.
"Well, I canít do as good of a job as those pills the way I am now."
"Why? Afraid youíll get tired?" Hannah grinned and began rubbing again, sliding lower.
"Every time I move it hurts, Hannah," I growled as she paused on my abdomen, her fingers tickling the base of my shaft.
"Well, letís see how much you have to move now," Hannah whispered back and drew her hand back. Flicking the blankets below my waist, she snickered at the tented boxers.
"Hannah, what if you screw something up?" I was scared; she had a glint in her eye that shone through the moonlight coming into the room. She bared her teeth.
She didnít even utter a word as she turned on the bed, laying next to me, but belly down and facing the foot of the bed. I could see she had shed everything but the lace panties, an organic pink line bisecting her mound showing through the thin cloth.
Her first lick caught me off guard as I stared at her tail, my gasp sending a sheet of rolling pain across my chest. She licked again, base to tip, slowly letting her tongue dance under the head before rubbing with her hand, spreading her saliva, making a thin sheen reflect the moonlight. She sat and played, rubbing her thumb over the head, letting her tongue flick over it every now and then, just enough to keep it wet.
Her teeth rubbed the shaft as she put her long muzzle over my manhood. I closed my eyes and tried to keep my breathing steady, but Hannah was making me fight for every controlled breath as she sucked hard before swirling it around in her mouth. Then she bit down.
I coughed as her teeth sent a prickle of pain through my body. She immediately stopped and looked up. I breathed in deeply as another cough stole my breath. My lungs seared as I cried out. The pain made me go limp, the erection evaporating as I tried to breathe in between spasms of pain. Hannah sat up and pulled the blankets back up, getting out of bed to grab a cup of water as I continued to cough.
The coughs subsided only after an eternity, Hannah standing in the shadows by the bed holding a glass of water. She gripped the glass tightly with both hands as she watched me try to control the coughing. Finally propping me up to drink the water, I could taste a gritty solution Ė she had poured a pain killer in it.
She sat next to him as I drank slowly, the weight of her taking the seat tipping me enough to bump against her shoulder.
"Iíll use the pills," she whispered in a small voice. She waited for me to finish.
"Iím not hurt."
"Yeah, I didnít bite it off did I?" She looked straight ahead; I smiled and rubbed her arm.
"You had me surprised still." I gave a small cough as she took my hand and spread the fingers between her own.
Mid August came with cooler weather. I stretched in the hotel bed. After healing for half a month, by now I felt better, far better. Breathing didnít hurt, walking was easier, and I was back to normal. Just a few more "rugged looking" scars, as Hannah put it, Wakan and Cloud called it badass, of course after saying I was stupid for doing what I did. Hannah didnít say anything about her outburst or concerns anymore, only sleeping every night with me for a change.
"You ready for your off day, Fred?" Hannah moaned scratching her chest fur between her breasts.
"Yeah, what am I going to do though?"
"Well, Iíve noticed Wakan and Cloud acting a lot more comfortable around each other. Why not watch them and see what theyíre up to?" Hannah yawned, remembering catching the two wolves holding hands. She smiled as she recalled their faces.
"You sure thatís all you want to do?" I asked and grinned as I shifted behind her.
"Maybe, why?" Hannah barely got the last words out before squealing as I grabbed her tail while another arm wrapped below her and pulled her close enough to feel her breathing.
"Some days you seem ready to do a lot of things, or am I wrong today?" I mumbled through my teeth as I pressed my head against hers, feeling, smelling that faint shampoo she used last night.
"Maybe you are wrong." She pulled away and turned back. Then grinned and snaked her hand through the front of my boxers and grabbed, claws digging in.
"Iím always ready to do a lot of things, especially with somebody who likes to be taken control of."
I began to protest to her last comment, but felt her grip tighten.
I lay still as Hannah rolled me onto my back, then placed her leg over my mid-section, straddling me as she shook her hair back.
"BREAK DAY!" Cloud yelled as he shouldered through the door as Wakan ran in behind him, then froze.
"You and doors, Cloud," Hannah mumbled and gathered the sheets around her to cover her bare chest. Still staying on my mid section, covering what was exposed.
"Well, weíll wait outside, err, in the lobby," Cloud sheepishly mumbled and shimmered as he turned in the morning sun out the door. Wakan looked once before winking and giving two thumbs up and leaving while Hannah gave him a salute.
"Well, looks like I didnít have to submit. Saved by the wolves," I grinned and tried to get up, only to be forced back.
"Iím going to get you later," Hannah winked and got up. Sliding herself over me before getting off the bed.
I lay in bed while listening to the running water in the shower. Slowly an idea dawned on me, something I still needed to get back at Hannah for.
The music was turned up loud enough to smother any sound that Hannah could catch. Like my breathing or shuffling on the carpet next to the shower door. Or the blanket held up like a wall in front of me.
"Fred, your turÖ!" Hannah yelped and jumped to the side as I tackled her with the thick blanket and wrestled her to the ground. My bruised chest flinched as Hannah kicked out and grazed the side. The blanket wrapped around her slowing her, then caught her feet and tripped her. The blanket rolled as I pushed it along.
"WHAT THE FUCK, FRED?" Hannah yelled as the thin phone snapped a picture.
"Iím going to caption this ĎHannah Burritoí later," I snickered. Then snapped another picture as Hannah scrunched up her muzzle in a growl. Then stopped and blew a raspberry.
"You want to eat this burrito, Fred?" Hannah bared her teeth, I knew my face was red, it had to be. Hannah wriggled her shoulders, then gave up and bent her hip, slowly creeping forward in jerks and rolls, like a caterpillar. The phone began to record video as I back-stepped. Then I tripped over a pillow that fell on the floor when the blanket was pulled from the bed, Hannah giggled as she caught up.
"So, the food gets the chef?" Hannah snickered and gave one last lurch before rolling over onto my side, then up on my chest.
"Or the chef has the food?" I slowly felt her figure through the thick blanket, her tail twitched as I stroked it. Hannah laughed and got an arm free, pulling herself up to eye level.
"Are you guys done yet?" Wakanís voice came over the still active phone. Still taking video I bet on the floor beside me.
Hannah grumbled then took the phone and flicked it shut, cutting off the connection. She turned back, resting her head on my cheek as I turned.
"You know, itís rude to keep people waiting," I mumbled, then looked back into her eyes.
"But itís been too long," Hannah whined and drew a claw tip over the scar under my chin.
"Well, later then," I pushed her hips through the blankets. Hannah obliged and rolled over again and again to let the blanket unfurl behind her until she could get up. The towel she had on when she came out lay in the blanket, now damp. I stared as Hannah pulled her hand through her ruffled belly fur.
"Do you still want to wait?" Hannah laughed, her soft voice carrying past the music still playing.
"What took so long?" Cloud asked as we entered the lobby. Wakan shut down the laptop he was playing with and looked up, both of them had been playing in a LAN party.
"Taking pictures," I replied. Hannah looked out the windows at the bright day. White clouds floating above the towering peaks.
"Naughty pictures I bet," Cloud snickered.
"With naughty intermissions," Wakan added.
Cloud and Wakan looked at each other. "Look, we didnít do anything serious," I shot back at them.
"Yeah, not yet," Wakan laughed. "You know teens are supposed to practice abstinence."
"Yeah, and Hannah and I are nineteen, so what?"
"So what happens when Hannah gets knocked up?" Wakan barked. He smiled a little at his own joke.
"You know Iím still standing here," Hannah growled.
"Yeah, and what would you do if you did get pregnant?" Wakan asked.
"I canít, itís almost a given that Fred and I would be incompatible." Hannah sat on one of the couches and glared at Wakan as if that was common knowledge.
"So, the doctor that held me had to take care of abortions because the human master got their slave knocked up. AND this happened on a regular basis," Wakan pointed out as Cloud began tapping away at his keyboard.
"So, even if I got pregnant, we wouldnít have half as many problems taking care of a child here as I would have back home," Hannah looked back at him. I could see that doubt of being safe from pregnancy had gotten into her mind. Her eyes revealed those thoughts.
"Ok, you still have to take care of the basics; Iím just saying maybe you should practice safer sex," Wakan grinned. "Or you could just become gay, Fred."
A pillow hit Wakan in the chest as Cloud laughed. My arm still had light bruises but I could still throw alright.
"Alright! Fine! Be like that, but Iím saying the door is always open for you, Fred," Wakan winked.
"Yeah, the back door," Cloud laughed as Hannah smiled a little before getting off the couch.
"So, itís early morning still. What are you guys going to go do?" Hannah asked Wakan and Cloud.
"Just explore the town, I donít know, weíll think up of something along the way," Wakan looked at Cloud. Hannah was right; they seemed to be getting closer. Awkwardly, but closer still.
Wakan and Cloud drove off in the truck. The back lights flickering while Wakan drove on the wrong side of the road as they took off. Nobody was here, nobody would see us breaking every law there was. Reckless driving, speeding, running red lights, all things done by us during our supply moving spree.
"HEY!" Hannah ran off giggling while1 I rubbed the spot she goosed. She ran down the block with her hair waving behind her. I stood and stared, then went after her, leaving my M-24 behind the check in desk in-between shelves.
Hannah was waiting at the corner of the next block as I rounded the corner, then took off again. I cursed before looking around; there was a pizza delivery shop right next to where she had stood.
Hannah was still standing on the next corner when I rounded it on the electric pizza delivery scooter. She gave a surprised yelp before running down a side alley. The motors whined as I gunned the engine, the lightweight and powerful engines making the scooter accelerate quickly.
Trash bins flew by as Hannah dove between bins while I tried to keep balance on the scooter. She rounded different alleys, the sharp turns tricky, and slow for the scooter.
Sunlight broke over the street as Hannah ran out of the shadowed alley. She looked back, her mouth slightly agape. Then looked around, the motors screamed as the straightaway alley blurred around the scooter, Hannah ran out of sight down an avenue.
I looked over to where she had gone, her tail swishing once before the doors to a furniture store, a large one, closed behind her.
Everything was still quiet, only the air conditioning unit humming in the background as I looked around. The main floor was open, two stories high. Around the store stairs led to a second level that bordered the main floor. Chairs, couches, beds, rugs, even TVís were on display. Most of the TVís were shut off though, and dusty rugs hanging from the second floor. The scooter stopped as I flicked the power switch below the speedometer. It laid leaning against a register as I slowly stepped into the huge store. Somewhere on the second floor I could her rustling.
"Hannah?" I stopped and listened.
Cloud and Wakan lay on the green slope; the truck parked a ways off near the closed ski-lift. They were both on the edge of the ski-slope; near the towering Lodge pole Pines and sparse Aspen trees.
For the last few weeks they had been getting closer, and they had almost been caught by Hannah a week ago kissing. Their first kiss. Hannah probably knew they had sex once, she should have smelled it if anything.
Cloud looked over unsure of what Wakan was thinking. He looked back at the sky. The next time he looked over he flinched; Wakanís nose poked his as he stared back.
"Are you bored?" Wakan asked.
"Yeah, but do you have any ideas on what we could do?" Cloud replied. He could feel his lungs taking in every breath of Wakanís.
Wakan sat and stared, quiet as usual. Then Cloud rolled over.
"Are you gonna be mine today?" Cloud questioned.
"Yours?" Wakan smiled.
"To do with what I please," Cloud leaned in and nuzzled Wakan before kissing him.
Wakan could feel his pants sliding off and his erection already hitting the air as Cloud straddled him, his semi translucent tail flicking once as Wakan pushed. They could smell each others excitement in the air as Cloudís erection rubbed Wakanís belly fur when he leaned down.
Wakan grabbed Cloudís erection as Cloud began to buck, trying to take Wakanís large knot. Feeling every inch of Wakan rubbing inside of him, Cloud could feel uncontrolled claw tips scritch the fur around his sheath as Wakan neared climax.
Cloud came first, his mess sticking in Wakanís chest fur as he felt Wakan spasm inside of him before he felt a spreading heat under him.
"That was quick," Wakan gasped.
"Donít worry, itís just morning," Cloud replied before rubbing Wakanís knot between his legs.
Hannah watched Fred walk around the store. He cautiously looked around each corner of the main floor, and between every piece of furniture thoroughly before moving on, he was hardly halfway through before Hannah got bored. It was slow waiting for him to find her, and watching him from in between hung rugs. She slowly moved. Watching him for any indication he would make from any noise she might make.
Hannah creeped by the plush couches as she ducked behind the ones he had already passed. Making sure he didnít hear anything. She was sure he had, he did look back once before walking to the next bed and spreading the sheets before remaking the bed.
She was only ten yards away before she looked out from behind a couch a final time before she planned on running. He was gone.
"Hunter becomes the prey?" Fred whispered, Hannah flinched as she sat against the back of the couch, having lost her balance.
"How did you know I was here?" she whispered as I sat down next to her.
"You could hear my claws clicking on the tiles?" Hannah rested her head on my shoulder as I rested my hand on her thigh.
"Well, what are you going to do with your fox now that youíve caught her?" I could feel her turn before feeling something wet touch my cheek.
"Maybe eat her, then get her stuffed," I turned and felt her hands, the thin digits soft between my own.
"Sounds good, but what if the fox fights back before she gets eaten?" She got up and sat sideways on my lap, her tail flicking behind her as a furry arm snaked its way behind my neck.
"Well, that doesnít sound fair, the game was won, and shouldnít I decide what happens?" Hannah spun as I said those words. Quickly bringing a hand to rest on the bulge in my pants.
"Well, the loser always has the last words," Hannah drew the zipper on the jeans. "And the games, theyíve just begun." Clothes began to find their way into a pile near the couch Hannah had been hiding behind.
Fred could feel Hannahís warmth as she ground against him before he took her mouth to his. It was awkward kissing. And feeling her tease him was a new experience, he reached down and stopped her sliding, and guided her over his erection before she pushed down quickly.
He felt her twitch on the inside as she moaned then leaned forward. Her breasts and fur tickling his chest, her tail beating against his legs, she sat for only a moment before moving, the leather couch behind Fred sliding from the sweat after a few minutes.
Hannah couldnít go all the way down; almost an extra half inch was left of him to take. As she pounded Fred, she started slowly to get through the last of what was left of him to take. Slowly stretching with every push to try and take him whole.
Fred began to feel pain in his chest but didnít move, only helping Hannah, talking to her, feeling her. Finally she came, twitching around him, and soon after Fred did too, Hannah feeling him push deeper for a moment before leaning back and breathing heavily, Hannah leaned into his chest, gasping for air herself.
"Fred, if I get pregnant from that, I have no regrets," Hannahís tail twitched as Fred shifted to the side, sliding around inside of her as he moved.
"And if you get pregnant, the kids would have to live in this screwed up world," I groaned then turned to lie back on the tiled floor with Hannah still on top. She sighed and lay on my chest, still coupled.
Hannah just looked back before leaning in, holding our kiss until I released for air. Hannah ground her hips again, trying to get me erect again inside of her.
"I think I need a break," I gasped as Hannah kept grinding before reaching between her legs trying to get me back up.
"I think you can go again before lunch," Hannah mumbled as she lay back down on my chest. Slowly moving her hips against mine.
"Since when did you know how my body worked?"
Hannah didnít answer, and finally gave up grinding. She looked at my face as if considering it before rolling off to the side and sighing. A few minutes passed before she spoke again.
"Do you know how interesting this is?" Hannah whispered as I looked at her, she licked her lips before giving a grin and stroking the underside of the flaccid penis.
I just stared as Hannah turned around and began to lick her fluids off the building erection.
Lunch came, and we skipped it, busy recuperating and going back to the hotel to wash up again. Wakan and Cloud were nowhere to be found as we went back to the lobby. Meanwhile Hannah had switched from her knee-length skirt to a full summer dress, she had even found a large brimmed hat to go with it, the dress was white until it turned a light shade of blue at the bottom near her waist. Her hat was similar albeit the blue flower tucked under the similarly colored ribbon around the hat.
"Do you think we should just go mess around more and try to find them for dinner?" Hannah asked as she looked at me in my plain cargo shorts and grey t-shirt.
"Yeah I donít think Iím ready for another round, and I donít feel like driving the MAV," I replied, sitting on a wooden bench in front of the hotel, Hannah doing likewise and crossing her legs. There was a purse somewhere upstairs, but when I had come out of the shower she had tossed the white lace purse with its inlay of sapphire-colored stones aside. No need for money here, and what she needed she could pick from the stores.
"I could drive the MAV," Hannah began, but stopped as I looked over.
"Yeah, and why did that cop pull us over a few months before this whole mess began?" I shot back, recalling the scrubbed curbs, and a few harassed pedestrians. Hannah blew a raspberry.
"Fine, Iím sure there are other cars somewhere. Cant we go find a few more?" Hannah asked before picking a strand of dark copper hair off her dress and letting it float away.
"Sure, but weíd have to take that scooter again to go find them," I looked over to the scooter. I had removed the rear storage box to leave a rough metal platform Hannah had sat on to drive back to the hotel on from the furniture store.
"Why not take the MAV to go look for another car?"
"Because, I said I donít feel like driving it," I grinned as I leaned my head back against the cool concrete wall of the hotel. "So you would be stuck on the back of that scooter while we drive around and look for your new toy."
"I donít mind, itís a new experience riding that little thing," Hannah looked at the sky.
"Alright, where do you want to start looking for cars?"
"Why not just check the whole car garage for this hotel?" Hannah waved to the drive that led underground, three levels below us there were parking garages dug into the granite.
All that was left were three cars. Two concierge cars, both of them Mercedes, one SUV and a Sedan, the third car was a sub-compact hatchback. The status indicator on the dashboard indicating all of its batteries were fully charged.
"Well, at least we wont come out of this empty handed," Hannah said as we stared at the three cars we had all found in the lowest level of the hotelís parking garage in a corner. The scooters light throwing an eerie white glare across the garage as the motor hummed.
"Which one you wanna take?" I asked as Hannah got off the hard metal seat.
"The sedan," Hannah said as she walked over to the sleek black sedan. A Hydro-electric model, brand new, it didnít even have the logo for the hotel on the doors yet, just a lighted sign stuck on the roof advertising the hotel.
"Itís only got two hundred miles on it!" Hannah exclaimed as she sat in the driverís seat, the leather seat automatically adjusting to her. The mirror flicked a light over her face as motors whirred and moved the rearview mirrors so her eyes would already be lined up level with them. One of the keys I had grabbed from the lobby lit up in my hand. The smooth black obsidian was run through with illuminated red lines that gathered into an exclamation mark on the oval stone-shaped e-key.
"Throw me the keys," Hannah said as she leaned out of the car to speak.
She caught the rock-like device, the lines turned green instantly as she placed it in a magnetic slot in the dashboard.
"Are you going to ride up with me?" Hannah winked as she turned the car on, the bright lights now illuminating myself and the scooter on the opposite side of the parking area.
"Well, why donít you get used to it, then Iíll ride with you," I said as I stayed back on the scooter.
"Fine, your loss," Hannah said as she pulled the Mercedes out and past me with only a hum and the sound of new tires rubbing the concrete. We pulled out of the dark garage into the glaring sunlight in a few twists and turns, the sedan reflecting the sky off its surfaces.
The car raised up in ride height as Hannah opened the passenger door so it was easier to get in and out of the low-slung car as I caught up in the scooter. She grinned as I got in, feeling the car sink to a very low slung profile as soon as the door was shut.
"So, you like to scare me driving your huge MAV huh?" Hannah asked.
"I donít think that a luxury car wouÖ" I stopped as my head got thrown back into the headrest, the chair automatically slacking the leather to gain grip and retain comfort. The motors whined as Hannah gunned the engine down a street that led to the center of town, blowing past intersections, watching cameras flicker as we ran red lights. The buildings began to blur as we neared the main intersection. The seat armrests groaned as my knuckles went white. Hannah slammed on the brakes right before the intersection. The Mercedes skidded to a stop at the middle of the road as more traffic cameras sparkled.
"Wasnít so bad was it?" Hannah asked before turning toward the roundabout at the head of the town hall lawn.
"Not as bad as your sex," I shot back, releasing one of the door handles I had been gripping.
Hannah gunned the engine again even before we completely exited the roundabout.
Wakan and Cloud drove the truck back; it was late evening when they neared the hotel, behind them a black car followed them in the dusk. Only a red light in the dashboard blinking, warning Hannah the lights should be on as we trailed the dark blue truck.
Wakan and Cloud flinched as the white LED lights flashed on as they got out in front of the lobby of the hotel. The Mercedes slowly pulling up, the yellow lights above to drive in area reflecting off of the black finish, Hannah got out, her white immaculate dress still neat, even from sitting on it.
"Whoa, look who got a new ride and a new dress," Cloud said. Wakan looked on as he idly scratched his chest.
"Are you guys up for a dinner?" Hannah asked as I looked out from the car at her back. I noticed Hannah had modified the dress. The dress was fastened by a zipper that ran from the neck to the small of her back on the rear side. She had cut a narrow hole out at the bottom and reversed the zipper. Wakan and Cloud had said she had been working on a huge number of dresses while I was "recovering". This was probably one of them.
"What have you guys been doing?" Cloud asked as I realized Hannah had caught me staring at her tail, and more. Cloud got in the back of the car, relaxing as the seat conformed to him.
"Just screwing around, looking at the town, driving, cooking dinner, looking at different buildings. What about you guys?"
"Same," Cloud said as Wakan got in on the other side. Hannah got into the driverís seat and turned the Sedan out toward a chateau lodge we had seen partway up the mountain, after driving the two of us had gone and brought food from the town. Hannah driving the whole time to get used to the car, it was odd seeing a fox-morph behind the wheel of a luxury car.
The dirt road rumbled below the tires as we neared the fully lit chateau, the logs that made it up glowing near the windows as the sun set behind the end of the valley, throwing us into a deeper darkness. The car doors sighed shut as everybody got out and walked away from the car to the chateau.
"You guys worked hard, huh?" Cloud said as he looked over the roasted steaks, sausages, breads, cheeses, and a large serving bowl of salad. Off to the side was a gallon jug that we had split a barrel of the Jack Daniels into. Now that one barrel was divided into seventy eight separate jugs, it had been easier to cram all the liquor into the wine cooler and basement.
"Only took half an hour for the steaks and sausages, the ovens here took care of it. Bringing it all up was a pain in the ass though," I said as I sat down, the wide chateau floor was set up as a rest area and cafeteria for skiers at the bottom of the mountain. It also had several bedrooms in the floors above. Hannah had already picked one out that she had liked.
"Well, start eating," I said as Cloud and Wakan were already reaching for the food. We hadnít been able to get the food already here in the storage since it was all behind locked doors; it had been easier to bring it all up in the car.
"So, anything interesting you guys found other than the car today?" Wakan asked after a momentís silence during which Hannah had begun on the salad, Wakan and Cloud had begun with steaks and sausage, and me, a piece of bread with Brie cheese.
Hannah paused before swallowing and looking up. "Nope, just the car. You?"
"Nothing here, what kind of Mercedes is it?" Wakan replied, he had brought his rifle in also. It lay on a separate table behind him. There were already some minor scratches on the wood and metal where he had laid it in the past weeks.
"Model, I donít know, probably something similar to an S-class, one thing I know for sure is that itís a hydrogen car," Hannah said as she poured water into a thick glass.
"Well, if you could find something that nice, maybe we can find something ourselves too, huh Wakan?" Cloud looked at Wakan as he began to work through his ribeye. Picking it up whole with a silver fork and separating it in huge bites.
Talk drifted from finding different things, to the dayís activities, Hannah teasing Wakan with a strange smell she had picked up. Eventually the talk drifted to the past, I had mentioned Wyoming, Cloud talking about the Bakery, Hannah and Wakan making comments, but otherwise staying quiet.
"Hannah? What about you? Since when did you know Fred?" Cloud asked as he finished talking about his favorite food, cupcakes and Belgian chocolate.
"I think about two~three years ago. Weíve been friends since," Hannah said as she idly poked a T-bone with a serving fork before sliding it onto her plate, Wakan watching it intently before grabbing his own.
"Do you mind telling us before that?" Cloud asked, unaware of Hannah starting to shift, and beginning to fidget with a wrinkle in her dress.
"It was like a lot of other slaves."
"Well, I know about the Kerrs, somewhat, but before that?" Cloud asked, then paused. "If you donít want to talk about it, itís fine."
"No, itís fine," Hannah paused. "Born here, kept in Depot Five, sold at nine to an old lady, then she died and I went back for a stint, then sold to Kerrs at twelve, was with them until I was seventeen."
"Thatís quick," Wakan stated after a pause.
"And every minute of it was unpleasant," Hannah sighed as she looked back at the chandeliers.
"Well, any interesting points?" Cloud asked before he could catch himself. He froze on the spot as what he said sunk in for a second before Hannah shot back.
"Like what? Me almost being raped for Avery Kerrís birthday when I was sixteen? Or getting beaten for not taking out the mail fast enough? Those interesting points?" Hannah said as she put her elbows on the table before I could touch her. Hannah felt my fingers again, the bumpy joints and the lines from old cuts rubbing her back. She turned to take one of my hands.
"Iím sorry," Cloud said. Wakan leaned further back in his chair.
"Donít be, itís a part of life," Hannah said before getting a glance from Wakan.
"Do you have something to say?" Hannah asked as Wakan leaned further back, the chair slowly creaking under his large frame.
"Not much, no."
"Well? What about telling us?" Hannah said as she kept stroking my thumb against hers.
"Ok, had father from when I could remember, saw him get taken by some men, then sold to doctor by the same men who took my dad and felt like making an extra buck instead of shooting me," Wakan finished off and leaned back a little more.
"And every minute of it?"
"Sucked," Wakan finished for Hannah. "At least the parts where dad wasnít there."
"Iím sorry," I said as I looked at the large timber wolf.
"Donít be, whatís done, is done," Wakan said before dropping upright again to work on another steak.
"Well, I think Iím going to call it a night," Hannah said as Wakan kept working at the steaks.
"Alright, I think Wakan and Iíll stick around for a bit longer," Cloud reached for a croissant and Brie as he spoke.
"And Iím going to staÖ"
"Come with me," Hannah finished. Her dress was crinkled in spots. As she got up and tugged on my hand.
The elevator quietly rose up to the third floor, a decent suite that Hannah had picked was at the end of the hall.
As soon as I entered Hannah pushed me toward the bed, grinning before shoving me down and jumping up, straddling my thighs.
"Arenít you upset or tired? And donít you need to take a shower?" I asked.
"Upset, yes, but nothing you canít heal. Exhaustion can be sacrificed, and we already showered at noon," Hannah said as she unzipped her dress and flung it off the bed.
I stared at Hannahís breasts as she reached up and rubbed her shoulders where the white straps of the dress had been.
"Those straps feel so itchy with this fur," Hannah said before pushing me on my back.
"Hannah, Iím tired myself, canít we wait?" I asked, already sleepy and full.
"Just one round," Hannah said as she pulled her lace panties off.
Hannah woke up first, slowly shifting herself closer to Fred. She could feel his breathing as her tail twitched beneath the bed sheets. Her hand reached the fork of his legs as she tickled his nude frame. Then she stopped as the sheets began tenting, getting out of bed and grabbing a wooden frame chair.
The door thumped as Hannah jammed two door-stops she had found under the door, then propped the chair under the door handle before returning to the shower room, brushing her teeth to get the morning out.
"Hannah?" I cracked my eyes as she moved the sheets around her.
"Hmmm?" she murred before tucking closer.
"We need to work today," I stated before pulling her closer by the waist., feeling her body rub against mine.
"Do we?" she asked before drawing claws across my back.
"It would be the smart choice."
"Smart like you driving while going into shock?" Hannah looked up with her green eyes.
"Or smart like youÖ" I began before hearing claws skittering on the wood outside, legs pounding the flooring. A shadow flickered under the door just before the whole room reverberated as the door shook.
"AHHHHHHHH!!!" Cloud yelled from beyond the door as Hannah stared at the door, a second set of claws scratching the wood could be heard as Wakan spoke up from beyond the door.
"Holy shit dude, I told you to stop trying to jump in on them," Wakan stated as Cloudís whines could be heard through the thick wooden door.
"Hope he learns not to do that again," Hannah snickered as Wakan could be heard coaxing Cloud up before walking away.
"You know, that was a little mean," I said before Hannah drew her hair back.
"Do I need to make up for it?"
"I donít see how," I began before feeling Hannah reaching her hand down and pulling gently on the growing member.
"I think I can help you fix this," Hannah said before rolling over.
Wakan checked Cloudís teeth as Cloud whined. Only slight bruising and soreness he thought as he let go of Cloudís muzzle.
"Are you going to be alright?" Wakan asked as Cloud rubbed his muzzle, already sore.
"Yeah, I think so," Cloud said as Wakan snickered.
"What?" Cloud looked up from his seat on the table.
"Do you need me to kiss your boo-boo to make it feel better?" Wakan laughed before stopping. "Sorry, just a stupid thought I had."
"Yeah, I have another stupid thought too," Cloud blinked as he got off the table and shoved Wakan back into a chair.
"You know what I forgot to teach you?" I asked Hannah as I lay back with her on top of me, lazily laying her head on my chest.
"How to do what?" Hannah asked lazily, before batting her eyes.
"How to use a scope," I replied before looking around the wood-trimmed room. "We really should get a move on; we still have stuff to do."
"Aww, why donít we rest again today?" Hannah moaned before I pushed her over. She didnít resist as she rolled through the blankets.
"Because, we had our break day."
"Well, I know Wakan and Cloud wanted to find some cars. Why not just take two break days anyways?" Hannah asked before sitting up as I walked to the restroom.
"Fine, another break day," I replied before hearing Hannah shuffle and lie back down.
Wakan and Cloud looked at the news screen. More propaganda. They watched tanks gather as the Humanist reporter began to spell out a plan to retake the eastern United States. Not so detailed, but enough info to know that within the next three months, the east should expect some attack. Hannah and I watched from behind them before coughing once. Cloud shut the TV off and cut off the wireless link from the Laptop to the TV.
"So, Hannah said another break day for you guys to find your cars while I teach her how to use a scope," I said, getting a cuff from her.
"I was planning on going to search too."
"Sorry you gotta put up with my crap," I replied with a slight smile.
"Well, whatís so important about a scope? I bet I have a better aim than you with any rifle. So why should I learn to use one?" Hannah shot back before stopping at the grin on my face.
"You want to challenge that?" I asked, slowly chuckling more as I thought about the Iron-Sight Challenge. Fifth place at the sporting club with a bolt-action .308 Win Mag Remington Model 700 rifle, I could easily outshoot Hannah.
"Sure, I bet that Mercedes I can beat you without a scope," Hannah shot back. She didnít back down from my challenges, most of them she won since most of them required quick thinking on math, and science, my worst subjects.
"Alright, three shots, rifle of your choice, and weíll do it from the suite of the hotel to a target on the highway. Thatís easily five hundred to six hundred yards. And to show you the benefit of a scope Iíll take my first two with iron sights, then last with a scope," I replied as Wakan and Cloud looked on, then shrugged.
"Can we go find cars for ourselves?" Wakan asked before being dismissed by Hannah who simply waved her hand.
"Fine, I get to choose the rifle first," Hannah said before turning on her heels out the door of the chateau. She waited as the rest of us piled in the Mercedes before speeding down to the hotel, quiet the whole way before dropping Wakan and Cloud off in front of the lobby. Both of them stared after us as Hannah sped to the house.
"I want to use this one," Hannah said in a curt voice before grabbing a SOCOM-4 rifle. Based off the M14 rifle, it was a civilian semi-automatic rifle. The .308 Magnum also prevalent, she looked at it, and looked at her M1 Garand. Both of them looked alike, save for the fact one was a shorter rifle. Hannah paused before turning. "Iím going to take two with my M1 and one with this."
"Fine suit yourself," I replied before picking up the M700 I had used for the competition, it would use the same ammo as the SOCOM-4.
I hefted a box of hand-loaded .338 Lapua rounds my dad and I had made. I stared at the box as Hannah walked out. My father and I had reloaded our own rounds, long evenings spent measuring powder, and pressing dies into different shells, mating the bullet with its cartridge slowly. I looked at the box before turning after Hannah, the M700 in hand as I slung the M24 on my shoulder. The box of rounds still in my hand.
"Ok, Cloud, Wakan, what part of town are you guys in?" I cracked over the HAM radio as I climbed onto the roof of the hotel. Hannah already sitting there glaring at me, slowly clenching her M1 Garand and checking the .30-06 and .308 rounds she held.
"Weíre up in one of the side-valleys, about to look through this house. Why?" Cloud responded.
"Ah, that might not be far enough, over," I clicked the talk button as Hannah stared daggers.
"Far enough from what?"
"A certain vixen with a rifle," I responded with a chuckle.
"Oh crap, should I find a concrete basement?" Cloud replied as Wakan laughed in the background.
"Alright, can we start Fred?" Hannah asked sharply before pointing at the highway. "We didnít set out any targets. What are we going to use?"
"Signs," I replied before looking out. "Thereís a light at that intersection, the one for the highway on-ramp. When the light turns green I want you to shoot it out."
"Fine," Hannah replied before loading her M1 Garand, the bolt giving a sharp clack as she removed her hand from the bolt-well.
She only paused for a moment on the gravel rooftop; the balcony for our suite right below us, the rifle lowered as Hannah lay down on the warm gravel and sighted her rifle again. She paused before a sharp report split the air as the cartridge pinged off to the side, I walked and picked it up like my father and I had done at the range. Collect the cartridges for reloading later.
"Your turn, Fred," Hannah said as I turned the .30-06 cartridge over in my hands.
"Yeah," I said as I picked up the M700 and looked down the posts offhand.
"Which light did you go for?" I asked.
"The one above the road," Hannah said.
"Iím going to go for the green turning signal then," I replied before lying down like Hannah, taking my jacket off to roll up beneath my elbows to cover the rough gravel.
The sights swayed as I squinted at the signal, letting it turn green before raising the barrel over it. Pausing before breathing out and sighing once, slowly squeezing before feeling the trigger slack under my finger; the rifle bucked once as I lowered it and cycled another round in through the chamber.
"You missed," Hannah said as she saw the green light flicker.
"So did you."
Hannah blew a raspberry before raising her rifle again. And stopped and repeated my breathing exercise. Or tried to before she pulled the trigger the gun plinking another cartridge to her right, landing next to me. The light stayed green.
I fired again in turn, repeating the routine on the M700. Hannah fired again after me, this time on the SOCOM-4, missing for the final time. For the last round I hefted the M-24, leaving the bi-pod folded.
The scope-caps clicked as the rear one, then the front one flicked open. The clouds passed above us under a blue sky as I sighted through the scope before picking out a single magnum round out of a dozen in the box, cycling it into the rifle. The elevation clicked as my fingers gripped the scope. Hannah stayed quiet as she watched me; we hadnít hit the lights yet. I thought I had hit mine on the second shot, but I had been wrong.
The windage was left untouched as I looked through the scope again, I had estimated five-hundred to six-hundred yards. No wind, and just slight elevation adjustments. Hannah sighed as I took my time. Then took my shirt off to fight the rough gravel poking through the jacket at my elbows.
I sighed and closed my eyes.
"I always breathe out, then close my eyes before I fire. Donít focus on anything but that trigger, got it? Your mind gets distracted on anything else and you fuck up the shot. When you shoot you want a clean kill, that way the elk weíre gonna go after this fall wont suffer longer. Then open your eyes and squeeze," The M24 kicked as the crosshairs cut the green light. A split second barely passed before the green light shattered.
My head flicked to my right, where my dad always laid with the spotting scope. Only gravel lay there as my chin dug into the crook of my arm. He was gone.
"Fred? Didnít you hear me?" Hannah asked.
"Before you shot you closed your eyes, I thought you fell asleep so I asked if you were ok. But you kinda just flicked them open and fired," Hannah trailed off as she looked at the sparks.
"Keep the car," I mumbled as I dressed, then picked up the guns and walked to the stairwell. Hannah looking downrange, the lesson on how to use the scope dismissed.
Hannah followed me down, quietly padding behind me as I walked out to the MAV. She looked on as I placed the two rifles in the back.
"Iím sorry, Fred," Hannah whispered as I hopped in the driverís side. The engine growling to life.
"I am too," I replied before pausing. Then getting back out of the MAV, leaving the engine idle, Hannah walked over and wrapped her arms around me.
"Are you going to be alright?" Hannah asked, her head resting on my shoulder as she stretched up and felt my back through the t-shirt.
"Yeah, just miss people," I mumbled before pulling Hannah tighter.
"I do too," Hannah said. Not letting go as I kept holding her.
"Do you want to find your car, Fred?" Hannah asked as she held on.
"My carís the MAV," I replied as the electric engines buzzed with the electricity.
"Doesnít hurt to have another," Hannah pulled up tighter, bringing me down to touch lips.
"Well, if thatís true, letís find you another then," I said before picking her up as she laughed and brought her to the passenger side.
The MAV rumbled up one of the side-roads that led away from the town. The valley we lived had one main road down the bottom of it. Other smaller tracks split from the main one, each leading to dozens of summer homes that were vacated weeks ago, now we used some for storage.
"Fred, call Wakan and Cloud and ask if they found anything," Hannah said as she walked up to the first garage of a large brick-walled mansion. Looking at the key-pad on the garage for a moment before turning and walking to the front door.
"Wakan, did you guys find anything that you like?" I pulled the HAM off the dashboard as I followed Hannah up; she already had the door open, unlocked, and was waiting in the foyer.
Yelling could be heard as Wakan replied. "Cloud just got what he liked I think, weíre still looking for something for myself."
"Alright, letís try to meet at about two at the hotel," I replied before slipping the radio over my collar.
"Gotcha," Wakan replied before the HAM clicked.
"Fred? Check this out," Hannah said from around the corner of the garage door that had opened while I had been talking. She had already walked through the house to the inner door to the garage.
I walked and peered into the dark garage, only dark curved shapes parked in the concrete room.
"What? I donít have as good night vision as you, you know that, Hannah."
"Well, go outside, Iíll pull them out," she said as she jangled keys she had picked up from the house we were standing in.
The concrete floor clicked as I walked out and sat in front of the MAV leaning against the cool and angled bumper replacement on the car. Not an actual replacement for a broken bumper, but like an oversized brush-guard on steroids, it was a steel encasing for the front of the car.
An engine in the garage revved to life as I looked up to see a dark shape crawl forward from itís slumber.
Hannah shifted the red convertible into drive as the garage yawned over the gold and black shield on the front of the hood. Her face slowly being drawn from the shadow as the morning sunlight spilled over the well waxed car. Several more garage doors opened up alongside the first, flooding more light over multitudes of covered cars.
Tires rubbed the concrete as the car purred out of its spot and in front of the MAV.
"Looks like weíve found a Ferrari," I muttered as Hannah revved the engine once before getting out.
"Do you think we should surprise Wakan and Cloud or go tell them now?" Hannah grinned as she slid a hand over the well-waxed door.
"Well, Wakan might want one of those," I pointed at the other cars in the garage. A blue Dodge Charger sat in the bay next to the Ferrariís. The last model ever made. In retrospect to the "better days" Dodge had gone all-out in their last tribute before the company was bought out by a European manufacturer. The whole car was built out of steel, none of the plastic panels. Under the hood was a big-block V8 pushing five hundred horsepower. Expensive to own, but the fastest American muscle car built pushing 3.4 seconds in the zero-to-sixty in stock configuration at the time it was built.
"Hey Wakan, we got a car for you," I radioed as I walked to the garage.
"Alright, Cloudís going to meet you soon," he replied as Cloud could be heard yelling more in the background. He had trackers in the HAM to locate us since we had agreed to always carry the radios.
"Well, now what about your car, Fred?" Hannah asked as I looked in.
"I could use that scooter," I smirked as she stroked the leather.
"A nice car, Fred," Hannah replied.
"Alright, the MAV then," I chuckled as I could see Hannah rub her temple at my ministrations.
"You know damn well what Iím saying," Hannah shot back as she opened the glove compartment by leaning across the car.
"Alright, Iíll look later."
Silence filled the air as Hannah flipped through the owners manual, the exact model of the car was a Ferrari 599 GTB. A V-8 with the special-order convertible body-style, Hannah pored over the features as I waited in the garage, eyeing the sheet that covered a low-slung car in the last car-bay.
A high-pitched whine filled the air as a pair of electric motors pushed a black motorcycle up the drive. Cloud leaning low into the seat as the windshield flickered. A thin laser passed over the ground in front of the bike as Cloud rolled up next to Hannah while she lay against the Ferrari.
"So, which one is going to be Wakanís car?" Cloud asked as he got off the bike, having ridden down helmet-less.
"The blue one," Hannah replied as Cloud waved a hand over a gloss-black panel that glowed once before the bike shut down.
"Nice," Cloud said as Wakan pulled up.
"So, where should we eat lunch?" I asked the other three as Wakan leaned against his own car now that it was pulled out into the driveway, next to the motorcycle and the Ferrari, the MAV parked further down the drive.
"Why not go to the Overlook?" Hannah said as she looked at the next peak above us. A ten-mile drive on curved roads from here to the Overlook.
"I could give a ratís ass, just choose somewhere," I said as Wakan looked at me.
"What are you going to use, Fred?" Wakan asked as he looked at the MAV.
"The MAV, I donít have a car like you guys," I said as the sheets that covered the last car fluttered in the shadowed bay.
"Alright, then letís do lunch. Fred, you have extra food in your car?" Cloud asked. We had put extra food just in case in the massive under-floor compartments in the MAV. Along with medical packs, ammunition, tents, gear, and a pair of compact Bushmaster ACRís we had taken off the dead soldiers.
"Yeah, letís go," I said before walking to the MAV.
"Beat you up there!" Hannah yelled as she slid into the Ferrari.
"No bet!" I yelled back as I turned the MAV on, then paused. I had a very real possibility of beating them. I knew my car better than they did their new ones.
The tires on the MAV slid for a split second as I floored it in reverse to the road. Then I flipped the wheel over, the tires squealing as the MAV spun onto the main road. Wakan yelled before getting in the Charger, Cloud already on the bike rolling down the driveway. Hannah was ahead of them, already accelerating down the long driveway as her car shifted from neutral, and growled to life on the move.
The diesel engine kicked on as I floored the MAV. The suspension rocking back as the acceleration threw me deeper into the rigid seat. The red Ferrari fish-tailed as Hannah sped onto the road. I had taught her how to drive, and she probably knew just as much as me, minus the experience, but she was a fast learner. She wouldnít make the same mistake more than once in the Ferrari.
Hannahís Ferrari caught up quickly, the lighter car accelerating faster even when I passed the sixty mile an hour mark. The first turn came up, a gentle switchback that would soon lead to more Ė tighter Ė switchbacks, then the quick stop at the Overlook.
I turned in front of Hannah, blocking her off as she honked. Cloud soon caught up, a red laser bending in front of him, twisting and turning as the small windshield flickered. Numbers and graphs passing in front of Cloudís opaque face.
Cloud passed quickly on the opposite side of Hannah as she tried to pass me again, the large MAV blocking the road time and again. His bike sped around me and the next corner as Wakanís Charger caught up.
The wind howled as the openings where the windows were gone sucked in the cool summer breeze. Wakanís Charger passed much like Cloudís motorcycle did. I had to slow down more for the turns; the huge car wouldnít make them, especially considering how heavy they were. Just as Wakanís passed, a screen of dust from dirt on the road kicked up, blowing into the window as something hit, and lodged in my eye. The MAV slowed as I pulled to the side of the road as Hannah accelerated past and caught up to Wakan, disappearing around the corner as I stumbled out the idling car and reached around for that ever-elusive water bottle.
Minutes passed as I sat and washed dirt out of my eyes, the pain unbearable. It was impossible to open my eyes far enough to rinse until I peeled the lids back and rinsed water over my burning eyes.
I sat back against the warm fender of the black MAV as the sunlight streamed down, then hopped back into the car, turning the huge vehicle around back to the house we had found Hannahís Ferrari in. If they wanted to race, they had one.
I stared at the sheet covering the low car, or whatever was under the yellowed, spotted, stained sheet. As long as it wasnít a Mini, or a Civic.
The covers fluttered once as the sheets crumpled, then lay still behind the car. Gloss black reflected back at me, the aggressive lines melting into smooth ones, flowing back to a spoiler that sat hunched on the back of the car. Right above a silver circle bisected with the trademark bar printed with Nissan. Twin air-scoops sat over the two turbochargers under the hood, the rims a slate-grey. I stared, already feeling a rush. I knew the exact specs on this classic, a 2009 Nissan GT-R. Zero to sixty in 3.3 seconds, depending on the engine. But every one was different, all of them hand built. So this could be faster, 3.3 seconds was usually the base limit.
Hannah stared at the HAM as Wakan and Cloud chased each other around the wooded overlook. Jumping over and around rocks, Wakan trying to catch Cloud, and vice-versa. From the valley below them they could hear a rumble, a sharp screech before the rumble grew again, the noise gradually getting louder.
"Fred, that doesnít sound like the MAV, what did you do?" Hannah flicked the HAM as she listened to the rumble, a high-pitched whine also joining the noise. Trying to get a response from the other radio.
The radio stayed silent as the rumble grew into a roar, dying down right before the parking area in the overlook as a sleek black car pulled in behind Hannahís. The other two vehicles on the other side of the lot facing down the road they had come up.
Hannah stared as the engine revved once before cutting off. I smiled from the dark windows. Wakan and Cloud had stopped chasing each other in the trees to look at the GT-R. I pulled the door handle and stood, leaning against the door.
"Oh, I left the food in the MAV. Wanna race back down?" I grinned as Hannah glared.
"You know, we could get better food since weíre going back down toward the house," I added in an afterthought. Hannah kept staring as Wakan grumbled something and walked to the Charger. Cloud following suit.
"Youíre a dick, Fred," Hannah said as she walked to the Ferrari.
"You like it," I replied. Hannah stuck her tongue out before starting her engine.
"On go?" I asked through the open windows as Cloud and Wakan lined up. Hannah turned her car around, then gunned the engine, passing the three of us. Her taillights could be seen as she took the first turn.
"Shit!" I cursed as Cloud took off after Hannah. His motorcycle slinging around the GT-R, then a blue Charger blocked my GT-R as I throttled the motor after everybody else.
The first turn came up. The Charger cutting into the opposite lane for the left-hand turn, Cloud was already around the bend as a laser flicked out in front of his bike again, curving lines in the path of the motorcycle.
The second turn passed Wakan, the heavier Charger going too far to the outside as the GT-R turned inside of the Charger at the end of the second switchback. The car whipping past him as he let off the gas to keep hold of the turn, his tires screeching for a moment before the low grumble of the Detroit V-8 rose.
Cloud was having trouble with the wind as the GT-R slowly caught up, Hannahís red Ferrari darting through the shadows from the pines. Slowly I caught up to Cloud, cursing the whole while as the GT-R braked into a turn, then accelerated out, going from the far outside of the road in turns to the inside of the turn. Hannah on the other hand went straight through the turns. Slowly losing her lead as Cloud and I caught up, Wakan slowly following suit on the turns, also catching up to the group.
The road started to become straighter, going from a set of switchbacks to winding turns in the valley as everybody shot toward the town. Cloud began to lose his lead on all the quick turns. Eventually falling behind as all the tilting slowed him down, I didnít blame him, a new rider. Four wheels were better than two on winding roads.
The GT-R caught up to right behind Hannah as she arced through the turns. Slowly trailing her until she turned too far to the outside of the curves, I floored the GT-R. The acceleration throwing my head back into the seat as gauges on the dashboard screen showed a pitch in the engine readouts. Hannah honked once as the black car wove past her and to the final stretch down into the town.
Hannah caught up as my foot slipped on the pedal. Accidentally hitting the brake, I cursed as Hannah pulled up. She looked over as we sped down. The GT-Rís readouts raised again, both cars rocketing down the last stretch of road.
Hannah slammed on the brakes as we both passed a stoplight. Her tires screeching as I pressed my own, letting the GT-R slowly come to a stop.
"Was that a tie!?" Hannah asked as she turned her car away from the stretch as did I, into a small souvenir shop parking lot.
"I think so."
Wakan and Cloud shot down the hill. Cloud came out ahead before slowing down, turning the bike around to park with Wakan.
The day slowly passed, our group splitting off as lunch ended. For the rest of the day we did what we pleased. In the following days and weeks working more, I eventually taught everybody else more about firearms. While Cloud and Wakan looking up more small-group tactics in their free-time. Hannah went through another heat, myself having to help her again. And only a month after her heat did the tides of war start affecting us again.
To be continued.
Story and Characters are copyright © 2009 G.F.D.
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Chakat universe is copyright of Bernard Doove.
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