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Authors: Chrissie Buhr

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Psyche Shield

BOOK: Psyche Shield
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Psyche Shield

Psyche Moon Three

Chrissie Buhr

 

 

Psyche Shield

by Chrissie Buhr

 

Amazon Edition

Copyright 2014 Treasure Valley Writing Services

ASIN: B00N9B6394

 

 

Psyche Shield
is a work of fiction and a construct of
the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead,
businesses, organizations, locales, or events is coincidental.

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It
may not be re-sold or given away to others. If you would like to share this
book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each
recipient. If you’re reading this ebook and did not purchase it, or it was not
purchased solely for your use, then please return to an online retailer and
purchase your own copy. No part of this ebook may be reproduced in any form
without the prior permission of the author, except for the use of brief
quotations in a book review.

 

Thank you for respecting my creative efforts!

 

 

 

 

“It must be a hard winter when one wolf
devours another.”

 

~ As quoted in Henry G. Bohn, A polyglot of foreign proverbs,
(1857) ~

 

Chapter 1

The hunter walked in near silence. His rifle rested
on one arm, ready at a moment’s notice. The crisp dawn air carried the chirping
of birds and chatter of squirrels. Alert, his eyes darted amongst the trees,
looking for his prey.

Something moved in the brush ahead and he raised his rifle
closer to his shoulder, the barrel still trained at the sky. Again he heard
movement, but he couldn’t tell what animal stirred. Stepping closer, he spotted
a patch of grey. He hunted deer, so he settled his rifle into its resting place
again. Still he advanced, curious.

A small grey wolf with light brown on her chest and belly
lay curled in the brush, peeking warily at him from twenty yards away. “Don’t
worry, cousin. I don’t hunt wolves,” he told the animal, softening his voice
and posture to illustrate his claim.

The wolf relaxed and rested her head on the ground. She
continued to watch the hunter warily, but her apprehension eased perceptibly.

The hunter, noticing the change in demeanor, stepped a few
yards closer and crouched close to the ground. “You’re injured.” From his new
vantage point, he could see dried blood across the wolf’s chest and one back
leg twisted unnaturally. “You’re no ordinary wolf, are you? Did you know it’s
wolf hunting season?” The wolf’s eyes narrowed slightly, an expression so
subtle many would have missed it. The hunter saw her comprehension. He stood,
placed his rifle against a tree and walked deliberately out of its reach.
“That’s what I thought. I don’t think anyone’s around. You’re better at that
than I am. Why don’t you tell me what happened? I can probably help.”

The injured wolf looked closely at him for a few long
moments with her deep blue eyes. Suddenly, with a rapid shimmer, she
transformed. A young woman, thin with dark hair, lay naked in the brush. She
panted in pain, her left leg bending in one too many places. He could see bones
protruding from her calf, an agonizing wound. Blood covered her chest and
dripped down her arm from a laceration across her right shoulder blade.

“You’re not Wolf,” she said fearfully, looking up vulnerably
from the ground. She’d known the hunter was Human before shifting into her
human form. She’d taken an enormous risk transforming in front of him,
jeopardizing her own safety as well as that of other Wolves. But somehow the
hunter knew what she was, and all her instincts said he meant her no harm.

The hunter showed no surprise towards the naked woman and
smiled reassuringly. “Nope. But it runs in the family. Are you local?” He stood
and removed his bright vest and long jacket, donning the vest once again.

She watched him carefully but did not wince at his
movements. Agony carried through her voice as she responded to his question.
“No. I’m from Montana. I was driving through and my car went off the road.”

“My grandma’s one of the local pack. Let’s get you somewhere
safe, and I’ll call her.” He threw the coat around the Wolf, steadying her so
she could put it on without hurting herself further. Even so, she cringed with
every movement. “I can’t take you home. My wife doesn’t know about Wolves. But
we’ll figure it out. My name’s Leroy.”

“I’m Sierra. I’m glad you found me.” She looked out of place
with a light coat draped around her and bare legs sticking out, one of them
broken. She looked less conspicuous than without it.

“Me too. Lots of people around here have wolf tags, and most
haven’t filled them yet. You came close to being a trophy on someone’s wall.”
Leroy told her grimly. If killed in wolf form, she would remain in wolf form.
Whenever he saw a wolf pelt, he wondered sickeningly if he looked upon the
flaunted corpse of a relative or friend.

“I didn’t have much choice,” she replied with thin lips. “My
car was down a ravine, and I couldn’t see the road. I didn’t think anyone would
find me. I couldn’t walk on one leg, but I made it this far on three.”

Leroy nodded at her leg. “That looks bad.”

She bit her lip. “It hurts.”

“I’ve never set a broken bone before. I can try if you want,
or we can get you out of here and call for help.”

She thought for a moment before deciding. “Let’s get out of
here.”

He nodded and retrieved his gun, hanging it off his back.
She flinched as he picked it up before remembering he wouldn’t hurt her. He
wrapped his arm around her waist, and she draped hers over his shoulder,
gripping his vest tightly. “Ready?” She nodded and closed her eyes. Together they
heaved her up onto one good foot. She whined slightly but didn’t call out.
Leroy admired her fortitude.

“How far is your vehicle?” she asked, pale and trembling but
standing solid on her one good leg. They walked along the trail slowly, looking
like a strange adaptation of a three-legged race.

“About a mile. It’s an easy trail most of the way,” he
apologized.

“I can make it.” She gritted her teeth. “Thank you for not
shooting me.”

“I’d never shoot a wolf, not even an ordinary one. Keep your
nose up,” he suggested. “It’s deer season, and hunters are out. I’ll never hear
the end of it if people find out I found a naked woman in the woods.” He
chuckled lightly.

Her lips twitched in a near smile despite the amount of pain
she endured as they stumbled along. “It would make a great story. You’d be a
hero.” She had a sense of humor. “But I’d rather not explain to the police why
I’m naked.”

“I’d rather not explain any of this to my wife. She’s got
more teeth than some Wolves I know.” Leroy agreed.

The conversation distracted her from the pain, and he knew
it. “Why haven’t you told your wife about us?”

Others had asked him the same question, and Leroy gave his
usual simple answer. “I love my family, but it’s not the life I want.”

“Pack life isn’t for everyone.” Sierra could understand
that.

For some reason Leroy decided to elaborate with this woman.
“My grandma who’s Wolf is really my Great-Great-Great Grandma. My Grandma Sara
was her Great Granddaughter. Grandma Sara used to tell me stories about Wolves.
She lived in Pack as a child, and her dad moved her away from all of that when
she was young. But when she grew up, she wanted it back. She never became Wolf,
but she was Pack. She loved it, and I loved the stories she told me. But it’s a
crazy world, and all that craziness belongs in stories not real life. Not in my
life, anyway. I never had kids, so there’s no one to pass it on to. There’s no
reason to drag my wife into it.”

“I can’t imagine not being Wolf,” she said through gritted
teeth as her foot hit against a root.

“I can’t imagine being anything but a silversmith,” Leroy
replied.

She tried to laugh, but it hurt too much. “Silversmith.
That’s funny.”

“Yeah,” he replied, enjoying the irony. “I’m glad that myth
isn’t true. Grandma would never visit.”

“What’s your grandma like?” Sierra didn’t know anyone from
the local pack. Meeting a strange Wolf in such a vulnerable state unsettled
her.

“She’s a fine woman. The best. As soon as we get somewhere
with cell service, I’ll call her.”

Sierra’s eyes darted off to their left, and she tensed.
“Wait.” Leroy froze and searched with his limited vision. “I smell a wolf.”

“A Wolf like you?” Leroy’s hopes lifted. Even if he didn’t
know the Wolf, they could use some help.

“I can’t tell yet, but he must be. He doesn’t smell like a
grey wolf.” Only grey wolves lived in these mountains. They searched for the
Wolf among the trees, and Sierra spotted him first. “There. That’s an Ethiopian
Wolf.” Leroy couldn’t make out what her sharper eyes saw, but few Ethiopian
Wolves existed in the world, and only one lived in the area.

“It must be Kato. Don’t worry. He’s friendly.” He assured
the nervous woman as a reddish wolf with white markings leapt at top speed
towards them. The lanky Wolf skidded to a stop in front of them and shifted
into his human form. An ancient black man with long tangled grey hair and beard
appeared, fully naked. Sierra gasped as she looked upon the legend.

Leroy greeted the Wolf warmly. “Hello, Uncle. This is
Sierra.”

“Greetings, Nephew. It is a pleasure to meet you, Sierra. I
am relieved you found your way safely into my nephew’s care.” Kato searched the
young Wolf’s face with unconcealed interest, his nearly black eyes revealing
his great age.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Sierra replied automatically,
unsettled by the old Wolf’s attention.

“We must hurry. Hunters are near.” Kato took the Wolf gently
in his arms and carried her as carefully as possible while rushing through the
woods. Leroy trotted beside them, his Human legs struggling to keep up. A shot
rang out, echoing through the hills, and he thanked the stars that Kato had
appeared. They reached the pickup much sooner than anticipated and miraculously
without drawing any attention. Leroy opened the truck door and Kato placed the
young Wolf tenderly inside, her face white with pain.

“Thank you, Elder. Aren’t you coming with us?” she asked the
legend as he shifted back into a red leggy wolf.

Leroy answered for the one without vocal cords. “Kato won’t
ride in cars. Thank you, Uncle. I’ll get her safely to your packmates. Be safe
out there.”

Kato blinked and lowered his head affectionately before
turning and bounding into the trees. Leroy trotted briskly around the truck,
grabbing a cooler from the back before climbing behind the wheel. He placed the
cooler between himself and the Wolf and pulled a throw blanket from behind the
seat. They tucked her bare legs out of sight before he retrieved a set of keys
from beneath the seat. Sierra sat stunned from the encounter and gazed into the
forest where the Ethiopian Wolf disappeared. Absently she buttoned the coat
higher around her neck so no one could see she wore nothing under it.

“There’s food and water in here,” he nodded at the cooler.
“Help yourself.”

She opened the cooler and pulled out two sandwiches,
offering one to Leroy. He waved it off. “You eat it all.”

“Thank you.” She breathed an enormous sigh of relief and ate
ravenously. “I didn’t know how I was going to get out of that mess,” she said
between bites.

“You’re welcome. I’m glad I found you and not some other
hunter.” With the injured Wolf safely in the truck, he began to relax. If he
managed to deliver her to his grandmother’s pack without one of the local
gossips spotting him, he’d call it a miracle.

“That was Kato,” Sierra said out of nowhere.

“Yep. You’ve heard of him?” Leroy asked curiously as he
maneuvered the truck gently along the rough forest service road.

“Everyone’s heard of Kato. He’s your uncle?”

Leroy nodded, surprised to hear about his uncle’s fame. “His
brother and my Grandma were mates. Kato comes to see me sometimes when I’m out
alone. What do you mean everyone’s heard of Kato?”

Sierra gaped at Leroy with a stunned expression. “Kato’s a
legend among Wolves.”

“Huh. I didn’t know.” Before long they reached the paved
road. “There’s a cell phone in the glove compartment. Would you pull it out?”
She did as he asked and set it in his hands. “I’ll bet you’re tired. It’s an
easy drive now. Why don’t you sleep? I’ll call for help as soon as we have cell
service.”

Once able to relax, exhaustion set in. She nodded and leaned
her head against the window, asleep in moments. Her forehead glistened with
sweat and she trembled slightly with spent adrenaline and pain. Still, she
slept deeply and Leroy breathed a sigh of relief.

They reached a stretch where cell reception came through
sometimes, and he pulled off onto the gravel. Sierra woke with a start and
looked around. “Where are we?”

“Near Idaho City. I can call from here.” Thankful for a
little reception, he placed a call. Sierra heard both sides of the
conversation, as Leroy knew she could.

“Hello, Leroy. How are you?” The woman on the phone sounded
distracted but pleased to hear from him. Her voice crackled with the poor
reception.

“Hi, Grandma. I’m just fine, but someone needs your help.
She’s from another pack, and she’s injured.”

He had his grandmother’s full attention with the news.
“Thank the Gods you found her. Billie and Amy are already headed your way.
Where are you?” He described the location and heard her relay it to someone
else. He only had to wait a moment before she responded. “Stay where you are.
They’ll be with you soon. How is she?”

Leroy appraised the pale woman beside him. “Lucky. Her leg
is badly broken, and she’s exhausted and hungry.”

“I’m very glad my grandson found you, my dear.” She spoke to
Sierra, knowing the Wolf could hear everything she said. “I’m Kathryn. Our Beta
and Medic will be there in a few minutes. They’ll take good care of you.”

“Thank you, Ma’am,” Sierra replied politely. “How did you
know I was in trouble?”

“Kato contacted us this morning. Billie and Amy left
immediately.”

Sierra couldn’t piece together how that was possible, but
she didn’t know this area or these Wolves. “Your grandson is a good man. I
can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of this. I didn’t think I was going to
make it out of this one.”

“He’s a very good man. And you are very welcome,” Kathryn
replied warmly.

“That might be Billie.” Leroy and Sierra saw a black Jeep
slow as it approached. “Yep. They’re here. I’ll talk to you later, Grandma.”

“I’ll come visit you soon, dearling.” Kathryn said goodbye.

Sierra strained her eyes for her first sight of the
approaching Wolves. The Jeep stopped and two women exited. A tall, beautiful
redhead jumped over the side theatrically while a shorter brown-haired woman
opened the door. Both appeared around thirty years old, but Wolves aged slowly
and Sierra couldn’t guess their real ages. The shorter woman snatched a bag
from behind the seat and made a beeline for the truck.

Sierra impulsively focused on Billie, dominance and strength
displayed in every movement. Even without Kathryn’s comment, Sierra would have
guessed the redhead was the Boise Beta. She’d heard gossip about the Wolf, most
of which focused on her age and fighting ability. Young and powerful, she’d
earned a reputation in neighboring packs quickly. Deep bruises marked the
entire left side of the Beta’s face, the yellowing borders indicating a recent
fight.

BOOK: Psyche Shield
7.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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