Viggo hesitated, shooting a quick glance at Rowan. The shapeshifter was standing motionless, his bright, copper-colored hair tousled and messy. He looked remarkably like a young man who had just gotten out of bed—not dangerous at all.
“Both of you put your hands up. Now!”
snapped the tall man. “Or me and Ron here will shoot you right off.”
Ron was as short and stocky as the other
man was tall and thin. He swallowed and shifted from foot to foot. “Zeke, maybe
“Shut up!” Zeke didn’t look over at his
comrade as he spoke; he kept his eyes on Viggo, who was watching the exchange
with one eyebrow higher than the other.
“But Zeke, we’re already gonna be in
trouble for kidnapping the girl…”
As Ron continued to complain—and Zeke
continued to ignore him—Viggo shifted his gaze to the fireplace behind the
kidnappers. Aelfcynn was still there, standing in a half-crouch. Her fingers
twitched with pent-up energy and adrenaline—though she was in human form, her
behavior reminded Viggo of a wolf getting ready to ambush its prey.
“All right, we’ll just shoot them and
bury the bodies. No one will ever know!” Zeke snapped, interrupting Ron.
Viggo turned his gaze sharply back onto
Zeke. The man slid the hammer back on his revolver, aiming at the spot where
Viggo’s heart was.
Now!” Rowan shouted.
Viggo threw himself to the ground, just
as Zeke fired. The bullet whispered past Viggo’s head a millisecond later.
Aelfcynn had darted out of the fireplace
and wrapped her arms around Zeke’s head in a chokehold, throwing off his aim.
He was screaming curses now.
Ron lunged for the door, dropping his gun.
Viggo jumped up and dodged in front of Ron, cutting off his escape. Ron stared
at him with eyes that were wide with disbelief.
“Just do what I say, and you won’t get
hurt,” Viggo asserted.
Ron yanked something out of his jacket
pocket. It was a knife encased in a leather sheath, which he threw down
Viggo leapt forward, seizing Ron’s arm
before he could move and twisting it sharply backwards.
didn’t break any bones, but the man screamed just the same and the knife
clattered harmlessly away across the ground. Rowan sprang forward and picked
the knife up, pushing it safely into the pocket of his jeans.
Viggo released Ron’s arm, and then sent
three quick punches at him. Ron crashed to the floor and did not move.
Viggo ran towards the corner of the room
and retrieved his gun. Then he turned around, ready to defend himself from
He need not have worried. Aelfcynn’s chokehold
had restricted Zeke’s breathing for so long, he had blacked out. She let him
drop to the floor with a loud thud.
“Thanks,” Viggo said, addressing both
Rowan and Aelfcynn. “I swear, you guys are absolutely amazing.”
“You’re welcome,” Rowan said, grinning
happily at the praise.
“It’s about time you admitted our
superiority. Or mine, anyway,” Aelfcynn replied, crossing her arms with a
Viggo laughed quietly, and then looked
down at the limp forms of the kidnappers. “We probably should have asked one of
them where Connie was.”
can find her easily enough,” Aelfcynn countered. “This cabin isn’t all that
right.” Rowan nodded. “We’ll stay in human form for now, so we can open doors
and other things like that.”
“All right,” Viggo said. He went over to
the door, where he had dropped his duffel bag, and rummaged around in it for a
minute. He pulled out a coil of rope and tossed it onto the ground next to the
unconscious kidnappers. “First, though, tie those guys up. I’ll start searching
Aelfcynn and Rowan busied themselves
with the task of tying the men up, while Viggo walked down the hallway, opening
doors and peering into the rooms behind them.
When he was sure that there was no sign
of the kidnapped girl downstairs, Viggo turned around and headed back to the
staircase. Before climbing up the steps, he saw that Aelfcynn and Rowan were
just finishing tying knots in the rope.
door was ajar on the second floor. Viggo moved towards it with a silent tread,
and looked inside the room.
One glance told him all that he needed
to know. A girl who looked as though she was about six years old sat on the
bed, blindfolded. Her hands were tied behind her back.
Viggo’s fists clenched at his side, and
he fleetingly wished that he had roughed up the kidnappers more than he had.
As he moved forward, Connie shrank back
against the headboard of the bed. Why wouldn’t she? She couldn’t see who was
coming. For all she knew, it was the kidnappers again.
“It’s all right,” Viggo said, talking in
the same tone of voice he would use to soothe a trapped animal. “I’m a friend.”
Connie did not seem to be convinced. She
pressed herself harder against the headboard, as though she could disappear
into the walls if she did so.
Viggo took out his knife. He tried hard
to keep it quiet, but it gave a metallic clink when he took it from its sheath.
The girl, panicking, tried to jump off of the bed.
Viggo lunged forward and took her by the
arm. “Wait a minute, Connie. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m trying to help you.”
Connie froze, not moving as he cut her
bonds. Once he finished, Viggo reached up and gently pulled the blindfold away.
“There you are. You’ll be back home in no time at all.”
Connie stared at him. He gave her a
reassuring smile, quite aware of the fact that he was dirty from spending all
night in the woods and had blood on his face from where the kidnapper had
punched him. I wouldn’t be surprised if
she thought I was some sort of man out of a nightmare or something, he
Connie blinked a few times. Her eyes
began to grow misty, and her lower lip trembled.
Viggo frowned. “Hey, don’t cry,” he
pleaded. “Everything’s okay now.”
Despite his efforts, tears started to
roll down the little girl’s cheeks.
“Oh…no, don’t…” Viggo murmured, sighing.
Without thinking twice, he moved forward and put his arms around Connie. “No,
don’t cry, please. Calm down…no one’s going to hurt you now,” he whispered,
gently pulling her onto his lap.
The little girl managed to get out
something about being ‘so scared’ and ‘wanting Mama and Daddy’ in between her
sobs. She buried her head in Viggo’s black coat.
Viggo absentmindedly stroked Connie’s
hair, trying to soothe her and decide how he would get her home. Town was a
three-hour drive away, and Viggo had parked his car about a mile from the
Viggo got Connie to settle down; she had fallen asleep, her head resting on his
Poor kid’s worn out, Viggo
thought, picking Connie up and heading back down the stairs.
When he got downstairs, he saw Aelfcynn
and Rowan standing by the tied-up kidnappers, vigilantly keeping watch while
they waited for him to come back. They looked up as Viggo entered the living
“All right, come on, you two,” Viggo
said, shifting the little girl to his other arm. “Let’s get out of these woods
and back to town. Then I’ll call the police and have them come and arrest these
Aelfcynn and Rowan both nodded. They
left the house, talking quietly to each other. Viggo followed them, using his
foot to pull the front door of the cabin shut behind him.
Sorry it was so long!