Alpha Killer Ch. 11-15
Randall Meechum's POV
I looked over and glared at my brother Bobby, who was looking out at the North Texas landscape flying by as we went north in Interstate 35. "Not funny, Bobby. This woman has my head spinning."
"I'm kid eight of ten, Bobby. You at least have youngest child syndrome. By the time I grew up, my older brothers and sisters had already ruined every experience I hoped to have. I couldn't have any parties after Dusty's buddies broke into Dad's liquor cabinet and threw up on his office carpet. I had to buy my own car because they'd already had six accidents before I got my permit. All the teachers in EVERY grade, as you well know, looked at me with the knowledge of what the seven before me had done in their classes."
"Well, Mommy DID love you best. One dimpled-cheek grin, and you got the last piece of pie, you little shit."
"I think Dad was hoping you'd find a mate and get out of his house," I teased. "If he wants to watch a horror film, he pulls up 'Failure to Launch.'"
"I can't give her up without looking in her eyes and understanding who she is," I said. "If she's beyond salvage, I'll do what I have to do. Like I told Dad, I'm not letting the Council torture her, and I'm not turning her over to the human authorities. You should have seen that place, Bobby. It turned my stomach to think of those poor girls being forced to live like that. If that was her sister in there, I don't have a problem with what she did. Hell, I would do the same thing if it was Bonnie who had been taken."
"The professional in me admires her skills as much as the wolf in me is sad she had to develop them," I said. "She's been through a lot."
"May as well, it's a long, boring drive ahead of us." The more I learned of the LaCrosse Pack and how Talia's remaining family had behaved, the better I felt. Her grandfather still lived with the Pack, her grandmother having passed away a year after Talia was banished. Alpha Clark Grissom, the older brother of Talia's mother, and his mate Teri were respected Alphas. They were even rumored to have taken in Talia's friend Erica after she was kicked out of the Tomah pack for treason.
It was time that someone not involved did a real investigation, and I didn't care what the Council or the Packs thought about it. I had an active case where the Alpha Killer was implicated, and I was going to find out what happened to her.
The next morning, we joined the Pack for breakfast. It wasn't a huge Pack, maybe sixty people, but they were close like a big family would be. The food was good, and the Alphas introduced us and said we would be visiting for a time as we looked for our mates.
"I'm sorry, I have to meet with the Alphas and their leadership, my Alpha has some things he wants me to bring to their attention," I politely declined.
"Of course, Alphas. We will see you at ten." I asked him last night to meet with specific persons, and he agreed to have them there. Their land was much different than ours, but it was nice. They had land both in the backwaters of the Mississippi and in the forested hills and bluffs south of the small town. "How hard is it to run with all these people around," I asked as we drove over the railroad tracks towards the islands that divided the backwaters below the dam.
I walked into the room, Bobby behind me. I was shown to the base of the table, with my laptop in hand I asked if I could hook up to their 80" LED screen. "That's a little much for a mate hunt call, isn't it," Luna Teri said. She sat next to her mate at the head of the table. The Beta pair, Brad and Lori, and the Gamma pair, Michael and Sally, sat along the side opposite the television. On the other side, next to the Alpha, was Talia's grandfather. Bobby sat behind me on one of the chairs along the wall.
"Nasty business, that human trafficking," Beta Brad said. "You wouldn't think it would be a problem this far from the cities, but they lure young girls in with drugs and attention."
"She? Murdering humans?"
"Not just any she-wolf," I said. I flipped to the surveillance photo the Council had sent out. "The Alpha Killer herself. She didn't run either, she had a room on the floor below; one of the officers interviewed her and recognized her photo. She had checked in the morning before and was in her room when the police arrived. That's why no one saw a killer flee."
"Yes, Alpha, I smelled her on the victim and followed her scent to the room. If that wasn't enough, she went three for three on head shots in the hallway. She was gone before I arrived, and the authorities don't suspect her."
"No. I can't divulge my werewolf senses, and I don't want to have her arrested because Talia Stillwater is my mate."
"Yes, Alpha. When I realized who she was, I asked my Father to obtain the Council files on her. The first tragedy to befall her was the kidnapping of her younger sister," I said.
"As an investigator, I need to know the truth, and that is why I am here. I intend to investigate the kidnapping and the deaths of her parents, because these events led to her banishment and her new career. I need to know if my mate is a heartless criminal or a wronged female driven by vengeance."
"Do you have anything of hers with her scent still on it?"
As she left, the Alpha turned to me with anger in his eyes. "Six months after my nieces were gone from the Tomah Pack, I got a call from Alpha Todd. He said he needed the space and had his people pack up all the personal effects of Tania, Talia and the previous Alphas. If I didn't want them, he was going to give them to Goodwill." His hands were turning white as he gripped the edge of the table. "We sent a truck and had them brought here, they are all in storage in case they return."
"Never, but there wasn't evidence she was forced either."
"Her sister found her?" The Luna was breaking down, her mate pulling her into his lap and comforting her.
"Anything else," the Alpha asked.
"We will take care of Tania if she comes to us, or if you find her," Alpha Clark promised. "Talia too, no matter what the Council says." He looked at the others, who nodded. "We will get them back, we will find those responsible and they will feel our teeth."
" Bobby, where are you?"
"What do you mean?"
LaCrosse Pack House_
Alpha Clark stood up, his wolf was forward as well. "I think it would be good if all our wolves got out for a few minutes. Please, join me for a short run. We have much more to talk about, and my wolf is making it difficult because he just wants to run to Tomah and kill that bastard right now." I followed him and his leadership out of the room, and we pulled off our clothes and stacked them on the porch before shifting. My wolf shook out his fur, he was silver-grey with a black saddle and muzzle. Bobby ran up as I jumped off the porch, his wolf had more black coloration, but it was clear we were brothers. The Alphas took off for the woods, setting a fast pace. As guests, we ran in the middle behind the Alphas and Beta pair. We ran hard for about thirty minutes before we returned to the home and dressed again.
"I want to interview as many people as I can who were around Tania at that time. I also want to interview each of you about what you remember about those days surrounding her disappearance through Talia's exile. Essentially, I'm treating this like a cold case, taking a fresh look at all the evidence and re-interviewing all the witnesses to see if I can find anything new."
"If I may, Alphas," I interrupted. "The last thing I need is for word to get out on what I am investigating. I would request that all of those who are interviewed be given an Alpha order not to talk about it, and we have a cover story for what I am doing."
"It's not unheard of for Packs to arrange for exchanges of people, you can be here to determine if such an exchange would be profitable between our Packs," Luna Teri said.
"I'll handle that part," Bobby said. "I'll make it a real project, and once Randall is done with them I will take over. That way if they are asked what we talked about, they can answer honestly."
He looked at the list. "Michelle joined my Pack a few months after Todd took over along with her family, she is going to the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse now. Everyone else works on Pack lands, so they won't be a problem, except Erica. She was outcast as a traitor, and we haven't seen..."
"Are you going to kiss her or kill her when you find her, Randall?"
"You always did have to do things the hard way. Leaving for the University of Texas, going to law school, joining the FBI. You've never accepted anything because of your heritage, you insisted on doing things on your own, to make your own name. You could have stayed with the Pack, taken a job on the ranch, and had my life, but Noooo... you have to do things on your own."
"So what? I got all that PLUS what you did, and I got stuck with the Baby Princess who got whatever she wanted." He just wasn't going to let me get away with it.
He busted out laughing. "Damn, I knew it would come down to food with you." He looked back out the window. "I'm glad Dad asked me to go keep an eye on you, I miss having you around."
"Mom likes me there." He fiddled with the satellite receiver, looking for a better song. "I just hope the woman Luna has for me is a no-drama woman. Good looking, great in the sack, loves family and comes from an allied Pack. I don't think I could handle a tenth of the difficulties you are going to have."
"One big difference I can think of," Bobby said. I looked over at him. "You're nowhere close to the shooter Talia is. Three for three on head shots?" I snorted. "Don't even try to argue with me, I've seen you shoot."
"I hope it works out, Randall. You need a woman who can keep you on your toes." Unable to find a good song, he turned it off then leaned back in the seat. "Dad sent us some information on the LaCrosse Pack and the Tomah Pack. How about I read it, then we quiz each other?"
The Tomah pack just made me angry. I was convinced Alpha Todd was either responsible or complicit with the disappearance of Tania Stillwater, and I suspected him in the deaths of their parents. Pack politics and the Council had ensured any investigation was cursory, the deaths ruled an accident, the disappearance just a teen running away.
We did tanks, alternating driving and sleeping so we could arrive late that night. I called the Alphas and told them we were close, and they sent a warrior out to meet us and lead us in. It was almost midnight, so by the time we paid our respects to the Alphas, we were taken to our rooms.
I could tell Bobby was disappointed he didn't sniff his mate out when we entered the room, but that didn't stop the she-wolves from coming up and saying hello. "Maybe my sister and I can show you around the territory," a curvy young woman said after confirming we weren't mates.
"Renee, Rachel, show them around this morning but have them at my conference room by ten," Alpha Clark said. "I'm sorry, but I can't get my senior leadership together any sooner because of previous engagements."
"We usually avoid the river bottoms, too many boaters around in the summer. We normally run along the bluffs or in the woods at the base." My Jeep was having fun on the dirt trails, we even got some offroad action in. All too soon it was time to return to the Pack House.
"I apologize for not being honest about my reasons for the visit, Luna, but I didn't want to alert anyone that my presence here was anything but a social call." I pulled my identification out of my pocket and handed it to the Gamma. He opened my FBI identification, his eyes got wide, then he passed it down. "I've been in the FBI for four years now. Last week, the human trafficking task force I am assigned to was called in after a multiple murder in a seedy hotel in Fort Worth."
"True, and sometimes it is worse. The killer took out the couple who was running the prostitution ring, and two of the johns. When I arrived, I caught a scent, and it was the killer. She was a werewolf."
I pulled up the file on my laptop and showed some of the crime scene photos. Their eyes got wide when they saw Dirk Carlson leaning against the wall with his throat torn out. "Damn," Gamma Michael said. "Shifted claws or hybrid form. So was this some rogue she-wolf?" It wasn't common to have female rogues, they didn't last long without protection.
"You're sure it was her?"
The Beta female looked at me. "You didn't tell them?"
The room exploded in noise, and half of them got up from their chairs. It took the Alpha growling to calm things down again. "The Alpha Killer is your mate?"
"The Council and her Alpha said she ran off with someone," her grandfather said.
There was silence for a moment. "Tania was our niece, and there hasn't been a body, a sighting or a communication from her since that day," the Luna said. "Her disappearance haunts me to this day."
"Yes," the Luna said. "I'll be right back."
"Was there any evidence to suggest she went voluntarily?"
The Luna came back into the room, handing me a blouse in a plastic bag. When I opened it, the scent was still clear, and it confirmed my suspicions. I closed it back up and handed it back to my brother as she walked back to her seat. He took one sniff and ran out of the room with it. "One of the things I found curious about the killings was that Talia went directly to a specific room where she killed a man who was with a woman and brought her out. The woman she rescued was young and blonde and according to interviews with the other girls, had been a sex slave for years." There were gasps and some of the ladies started to cry. "It was her, Tania Stillwater. I recognize the scent."
"Yes. They're gone now, and I don't know if she'll contact you, but you are still Tania's family. I have to warn you, she's essentially human now. Whoever took her, killed her wolf too." It was a lot to take in after four years of not knowing anything. It didn't surprise me when the Luna ran for a garbage can and threw up.
"If she comes here, she's going to need professional help. In addition to how she was used, she and the others were hooked on drugs to make them easier to control."
All the wolves in the room agreed, their family had been harmed and the wolves wanted blood. "Randall, is your brother all right," the Luna asked.
"Running it off, bro. I can't believe it. Luna gave me a mate like yours."
"That smell. Tania Stillwater is my mate."
_Randall Meechum's POV
Tania, the poor child who had been taken captive at fourteen and suffered four years of unspeakable hell, was my little brother's mate.
He had to come back here, we needed to talk. " Come back here, we need to tell them about this and I'm not going to do it." I looked over at the room. "Bobby went for a run. His wolf gets upset when we talk about what happened and he needed to let it out."
We all felt better as we returned to the conference room and closed the door. "What do you need to find out what happened, Randall," the Alpha asked as we sat down.
"You'll have our full cooperation," the Alpha said. "Beta Lori, please set him up with a room and clear your schedule, you'll be working with him while he is here. I need you to ensure he gets access to any Pack members he needs."
"We can do that. Any ideas for a cover story?"
"That would work," I said. "Especially if it was six months long and we came up from May to October, and your wolves came down from November to April. It would be easier to get volunteers in each Pack that way. We could be interviewing young people and leadership on what they would like to see in such an exchange."
There were a few more things we talked through, and I handed the Alpha a list of the people I already knew I wanted to interview. "If you know anyone else who would be of help, please add them," I said.