Cassandra opened her eyes, then bolted upright, covered in hay. Where was she? It took her a minute to remember all that had happened; the bar, giving the message to Pryor, returning to the camp, Nolan raping her, leaving with Glover. Where was Glover? She peered through a crack in the wall; a light snow covered the ground. She checked her watch. She'd been asleep for almost six hours. How would she find Glover? She checked her weapons and slid quietly out of the loft. The sky was begining to darken, the streets were starting to empty. She began to walk, not sure which
way to go. She took a moment to remember the way to the Limber Nymph, then began her search.
Cassandra wandered around, trying to get her bearings. She started down one street but it turned into a dead end. It was still early; would the bar even be open at this hour? She came to an alley that looked familiar and began to enter it, then stopped as she realized it was another dead end. She back tracked and returned to an open square. Now which way? She stood still and listened for a moment. A howling sounded in the distance. Wolves? Here within the city limits? How could that be? She listened again; yes, it was definately a wolf pack. Her curiosity got the better of her. Glover could wait.
She followed the sound down dark, foreboding streets. It was a strange howl, one filled with pain. She began to move quicker, running blindly down streets. The noise grew louder as she came upon an old building. She ran towards it, then fell over something in the alley. She cursed as she crashed into the pavement. She started to get up, rubbing her elbow as she looked around to see what had tripped her up. A man was leaning against the side of the alley, his face a carved mass of flesh. She bent forward to get a better look, then cried out as she recognized him. It was Glover!
Cassandra knelt next to him, gazing at his cheek. He had heated his knife in an attempt to cauterize the bleeding. The smell of burnt flesh still lingered in the air . She reached into her sack to look for some sort of bandage. She found her canteen and offered it to him.
Glover took a swig of water and then spit it out.
"I followed a group of soldiers to that building at the end of the alley. Someone didn't like me nosing around. I told him I was looking for the Limber Nymph. He decided to give me directions."
She looked at his left eye, the lid sunk deeply into the empty socket. Was there any way to save it? She made a quick sweep of the ground around them, looking for the missing orb. Glover grimaced.
"Don't bother to look for it. He tried to make a meal of it. There's not much left of it. Or him."
Cassandra looked over to where Glover waved his hand; a dead rat with his head shot off lay on the other side of the alley, Glover's eye still clenched between his teeth. Cassandra swallowed hard to keep from throwing up. She took a deep breath and was about to speak when the howling erupted again. The two of them looked towards the building.
"What the hell is that?"
Glover struggled to his feet, slowly moving down the alley, Cassandra following close behind. The noise grew louder; what ever was in there was in an enormous amount of pain. The two of them stood at the end of the alley, gazing at the structure. A strange glow emanated from a skylight, while the entire building seemed to be bathed in a strange light. Glover looked up towards the sky at the moon. Cassandra followed his gaze, her voice low and soft.
"They led me here. It's how I found you. That's a full wolf moon. They howl because they're hungry."
Glover turned his eye back to the building. What ever was inside wasn't happy. He pulled his hood back over his head and started to walk forward when the door to the building flew open. A wave of pain erupted onto the street; Glover and Cassandra melted back into the alley, seeping into the shadows. Two figures appeared in silhouette against the bright light, one small and frightened, the other large and angry. The larger of the two paced back and forth in frustration.
"You said he'd turn! You said Pryor would be turned by now!"
Glover and Cassandra stiffened at the sound of their comrade's name and at the sound of the man's voice. The man she'd stabbed, the man who'd carved up his face. They held their breath as the man continued to vent his anger, the smaller man cowering before him.
"I said I wasn't sure. I tripled the drip, I can't guarantee it will work."
Edwards turned and punched the wall. The old man was a fraud, he'd been lying all along. Edwards needed this to work. His head was swimming from lack of sleep, he could feel his knees start to buckle. He dropped to the ground, trying to stay awake. The little man moved quickly; he pulled out a syringe and plunged it into Edwards' shoulder. Edwards howled and tried to grab his attacker. The man jumped nimbly out of reach and waited; moments later Edwards collapsed on the ground, unconscious. The little man approached in a servile manner, then boldly kicked Edwards in the ribs.
"Stupid man. I should leave you here in the street. But that will attract too much attention. Where are those stupid soldiers when you need them?"
The little man looked up and down the deserted street. Glover grabbed Cassandra's arm and pulled her towards the building. He motioned for her to shoulder her weapon as he concealed his inside his hoodie. He held up both hands as he approached.
"Need some help, friend?"
The little man jumped at the sound of the voice, afraid one of Edwards' men had discovered what he'd done. He peered at the two figures; they weren't soldiers. There was no way he'd be able to pull Edwards' cumbersome body back inside by himself. He'd use these two for his own use and then dispatch them quickly. He motioned towards Glover and Cassandra, a sick, morbid smile appearing on his face.
"Yes, yes, come help. My friend is ill, he needs to rest. Help me bring him inside."
Glover moved towards the prone body, vengence rising like bile in his mouth. Cassandra held back; the smell of death wafted out the door. Glover glanced back and motioned for her to take his legs. She bent down and grabbed his ankles as Glover and the little man lifted his arms over the threshold. The three of them dragged the body inside; Cassandra dropped her end as she saw the rampage of bodies, writhing and convulsing on their slabs, muscles straining against restriants. Glover and the little man managed to place Edwards' body on a slab. Glover stepped back and began to scan the room, doing his best to recognize Pryor. Towards the back of the room he stoppped; Pryor was hooked up to some sort of machine, his body contorting in pain. He turned back to the little man, who had begun to attach wires and tubes to Edwards' body, a manical look twisting his face. He was muttering to himself.
"Now who's the big man? Now who's the alpha male?"
Glover moved back towards Cassandra and drew his weapon. How to get to Pryor? The man looked up and smirked at him.
"You think you can stop me? Think you can keep me from victory? Pryor said he'd lead my army."
Glover held his aim.
"Pryor needs to come with us, friend. He has unfinished business to attend to. Unhook him and let us leave."
The little man smirked at Glover.
"What business can a dead man attend to?"
The two of them stared at him. Cassandra looked over towards Pryor's body, his body still straining against his restraints.
"How can he be dead when he's moving?"
The little man spat contemptously at Cassandra as he continuned to work on Edwards' body.
"Stupid girl! He's dead but not dead. He'll be reanimated when the moon is full. They all will."