Home > Oath Sworn (Jacky Leon #1)(11)

Oath Sworn (Jacky Leon #1)(11)
Author: Kristen Banet, K.N. Banet

“This wasn’t how I thought our night would go,” I said, trying to smirk. “Run off and pack a bag. I have a few suitcases in my closet. Use one of those and put the Switch in your go-bag. You can play on it while I drive.”

“How are you so calm?” she demanded, seeming even more shocked by my quick bounce into what we needed to do next.

“Because freaking out and crying isn’t something I can do right now. I know what world I belong to, and that means I don’t get to pause and think about things like this until I know we’re safe. I have to be strong for you and direct you or this is never going to work.” Oh, I wanted to. There was violence in the supernatural world, and there was no escaping it, but there were types of violence. A werecat territorial fight wasn’t fatal. There were too few of us for it to be that way. It was brutal, but never to the death. This…I didn’t have it in my heart to tell Carey this was the first time I had ever killed anyone with the intent to kill them and that I wanted to fall apart just as much as she did. I was a monster, but this was the first time I had truly lived up to the reputation.

She nodded, trying to stand. I attempted to help her as she slipped in the blood covering my hardwood floors. I didn’t move as she walked back into my bedroom. I had my own things to deal with for a moment while she packed.

Grabbing my first aid kit, I looked over my injuries. I dried them with a towel nearby and somehow not soaked in blood. Werecats bleed slowly, something I was eternally grateful for in that moment, so it wasn’t hard to stop the bleeding. I grabbed a suture kit and looked at my thigh, seeing to the worst of my injuries, hopefully. There were scratches all over my back that I couldn’t do anything about, but I could deal with my legs.

My shoulder burned with every movement too, but I sutured three deep injuries on my left thigh, then two on my right. I had training in it, and more than enough practice at doing it to myself. I was done before Carey and pushed myself to stand as she brought out her go-bag and put it on the couch, which was five feet off its previous spot.

I let the destruction sink in, sighing as I realized this was going to have my bar shut down for weeks, if not months. If I could even come back at all.

Pushing that aside, I went into the bathroom, wiped off as much blood as I could, then followed Carey into the bedroom. I threw on something to wear, then began emptying my drawers, grabbing whatever I could to pack. I took my big suitcase and began to fill it, probably taking too much, but if I was going to end up covered in blood at every turn, I needed spares.

“Carey, can you find my cellphone?” I asked. I needed to text a few people and let them know that we were attacked. It was time to go deeper into hiding, and people needed to know that so that they didn’t worry when they came here and found this. Which reminded me that I needed to tell the wolves to come clean up their own. The council would do it because it was their fault.

Once the cellphone was in my hand, I shoved it into my pocket. I would call everyone from the road.

The last things I needed to grab were weapons. I took the gun off the floor, thankful for the unintentional gift the werewolf had given me. I also had a silver dagger, a gift from Hasan, who had decided when I left that I needed some way to defend myself. Finally, in my closet there was an aluminum baseball bat. I threw all three weapons into my gym bag, then proceeded to help Carey finish.

We had to leave this carnage behind and disappear. I wasn’t even sure where to begin.

Chapter Six

Carey and I were on the road within twenty minutes of me getting off my floor. It wasn’t particularly fast, but it was the best we could do. I was limping and she was scared. There was only so much two girls could do under those circumstances.

I had no idea where I was going, but it was far away if I had anything to say about it. Thirty minutes and past Jacksonville, I guessed my direction was the Texas-Louisiana state border. I knew I couldn’t drive all night, but I was going to at least make some distance from my own territory. Hopefully that would shake the wolves off our trail for the time being.

Carey fell asleep only a few minutes into the drive, and I let her rest. Something like that had the tendency to either keep people awake for days out of fear or drain them of all their energy. I took her sleeping as a good sign that she was tired, scared, but felt safe with me. Safe enough to close her eyes anyway.

I looked down at my phone for a split second and saw the number I needed. Hitting it, I put it on speaker and on my lap, then turned the radio down. He answered before I finished doing that.

“Harrison. What do you need, cat?”

“We were attacked. Five werewolves, four in wolf form, and one with a gun loaded with silver,” I started, not stopping for pleasantries. “They wanted Carey to flush out her father.”

“Damn it. We’ve been looking for Heath since this all started, but no one has gotten a bead on him.”

Heath. A good name, a strong name. Also, one that made me think of a particularly sexy actor. So that was the Dallas-Fort Worth Alpha. I finally had a name. Not that I needed one, but it was nice to know. I couldn’t have asked for it since it wasn’t pertinent to my Duty, but now I didn’t need to wonder.

I stayed silent, because I couldn’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t be potentially meddling in affairs that weren’t my business. He must have noticed, so he continued instead.

“I don’t know if this is going to help you or not, but maybe it can help you keep her alive and safe. Here’s what we know.” His volume dropped and I raised an eyebrow. He was going to tell me more. Interesting. He didn’t want others to know, either, since while it didn’t break any Laws, he was giving a lot of trust to a werecat. “Right now, the coup’s leader doesn’t want anyone to know who he or she is. Whenever two werewolves meet on the street, even in broad daylight, they ask if the other is for or against Heath. If they answer different, it’s a fight, normally until the death. We’ve got ten dead wolves from just that. The initial coup has five more bodies, a few in Heath’s inner circle. His sons are still missing as well, and some are even saying the family might already be dead except for Carey.”

That gave me chills, and I couldn’t resist commenting now. “That’s not how wolves do things. There’s no such thing as assassinating an Alpha and his family. Any resulting pack made from that would be unstable. It would result in anarchy in the region.”

“Hm, so you do know a bit about our kind. You’re right. This doesn’t happen. Alphas are normally challenged publicly, and getting permission from the Council is preferred. We don’t assassinate people. It’s a sign of weakness.”

“So I’m dealing with wolves who break your rules,” I said quietly. “That is helpful, thank you. I had my suspicions when five of them came into my bar and demanded I give up on my Duty and hand Carey over.”

“And?”

“I killed them all. What do you think?” I snapped, suddenly tense again. Five wolves, all dead by my fangs and claws. I could still taste the blood when it rushed over my tongue, hot and heady. I tightened my grip on the steering wheel.

“Of course. Of course. I take it you’re about to demand something of me because of this, aren’t you?”

“Get people to my bar. It’s on US-175, just outside of Jacksonville, Texas. It’s called Kick Shot. I know they left some sort of vehicle somewhere on the road and there’s a dirt bike in my parking lot. There’s going to be bodies everywhere. Two downstairs and three in my apartment above it. Clean it up and tell me who to scream at for repairs.” I damn sure wasn’t going to pay for it. I could afford it, but I wasn’t going to let the wolves destroy my life and not pay for their part in it.

“I’ll send a team,” he agreed. “How is she? Was she injured?”

“Fine and no. Do you know her? Would she feel comfortable talking to you? I want her to have some comfort, but I can’t trust any of the wolves in Dallas. The ringleader of the ones in my bar…he was one of her guards. She had told him she was safe with me and he came after her.”

“No. I only know Carey through her father and what he tells us. He would show us pictures every time the council had a meeting.”

“Damn it. He was a council member?” Not every Alpha was. Generally, there could be a few packs in a region, and the strongest pack was the region’s council representative, the Alpha who answered for all of them. Kind of. I pulled over and cut the engine, getting out of the hatchback and taking the call off speakerphone. “It fucking changes things if he’s a council Alpha, damn it.”

“He is…was. All of the packs in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana use him as their representative on the council. Be careful not to meddle, cat.”

I did the mental math. “That’s…that’s ten wolf packs,” I said quietly. “That’s probably a thousand wolves.” Maybe more.

“Yes. Why does this—”

“I’m protecting Carey from potentially a thousand wolves.” The realization sank in slowly. This could reach well out of his home city. I couldn’t take her to another werecat in the region because the wolves were now probably watching every werecat they could find, hoping I showed up with her.

I was well and truly on my own with an eleven-year-old girl, and I had to treat every wolf like the enemy. I was strong. I was a werecat, for fuck’s sake, but I couldn’t kill a thousand werewolves, especially if they were carrying around silver bullets.

“I wish you the best on your Duty. Thank you for the update. Good luck, Jacky Leon.”

My name rattled me out of my fear of impending doom and death. There was nothing more to say, then. “Thank you for the information and clean-up.” I hung up on him, leaning against my hatchback in the dark. I was out of my territory now, so I kept my nose up, hoping to pick up anything important on the wind. It wasn’t the safest thing to do, but I needed a moment to think instead of just driving.

   
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