Saturday, January 8th, 2005
2:00 a.m. EST
What in the hell? Why is my phone ringing at 2:00 in the morning?
None of the three people that ever call me would do so at this hour. Not that it woke me up or anything; probably just the wrong number again.
Although… it could be "Cigarette smoking lady," as she was one of the possible three caller candidates and does tend to keep late hours as well. I had named her after my favorite X-files character after hearing her rasping in question for the presence of Genevieve,
Nah, I'll just let the answering machine get it, I don't feel like trying to explain, once again, the permanent lack of one Genevieve in my apartment. I also wonder if maybe it's a bad sign on the state of my current social status if one of only three people that ever call me is in fact, looking for somebody else.
Okay, there's the computer generated message, which I refused to change even after I realized it sounds like every female computer voice you've ever heard in the movies. You know that perfectly calm, practiced diction that always seems to be counting down the minutes until the spaceship/chemical lab/secret spy base is about to self destruct. All I know is it would really piss me off if that was the last voice I heard before my life as "Evil minion #17" exploded to smithereens.
Anticipating a hang-up, I readjust my glasses and pickup where I left off in my book, trying to hurry up and get to the part with the characters I like.
A whispered panicked voice cut through my thoughts, "Theryn, this is Seth, pick up if you're home."
Shit, what the hell was my brother calling me for? He was not one of the designated three and unless Mom asked him to talk to me during one of her calls, Seth never spoke on the phone with me.
Doing a little run/skip on my tiptoes to the phone, I hurriedly picked up the receiver, thinking all sorts of terrible fates to have befallen my family. Nana wasn't a spring chicken despite her ability to run rings around everyone she knew, and Dad's ever expanding waistline practically screamed, "heart attack imminent," God I hope nothing's happened.
"Hey Bud, what's wrong?" Pessimistic much?
"Theryn, I ah, need you to help me out with something."
"Sure, I'll do what I can," I offered, thinking that was probably not such as wise move considering my brother was a seventeen year old high school sophomore
(Yes, he repeated second grade, and no I don't feel superior since I repeated kindergarten. Yes failing kindergarten is indeed possible, especially when one cannot find one's chair, everyday, for the entire year. Not one of my prouder moments.)
Seth stated quickly, "Okay, can you come down to Elijah's Island, right now?"
"Um, yeah I guess, Seth what happened? What are you doing down there? Aren't Mom and Dad freaking out right now, you're not home and it's two in the morning? Do you want me to call them? Shit, are you in jail right now and you used your one phone call on me? You know Mom and Dad are having kittens right now!"
Okay Theryn, this is probably not the time to be lobbing questions like tennis balls at your notoriously verbally challenged brother, and what the hell is he doing down in E.I. that he needs me to come and get him?
"Ah, no I'm not in jail, there's some stuff going down that I need your help with, and Mom and Dad think I'm at a party overnight, which I was, but not anymore. Look, you're the only one who can help me right now; please get here as fast as you can."
This was a bad sign, two whole sentences uttered in that same whisper forced voice that people use when they're trying to be quiet but want to scream their heads off. Not good, not good, not good.
Times like these are when I wished he'd learned to drive at sixteen like everyone else. Right now is a prime example of why I am always right. Learning to operate a motor vehicle at the earliest age possible can only be a good thing independence-wise and here Seth sits, parked on his skinny white butt waiting for sister dearest to come to the rescue.
"Alright, I'm leaving now; I should be there in about two hours, maybe less, since it's the middle of the night. Where am I supposed to pick you up?"
"Okay, come down Rt. 20, once you cross the bridge; make a left at the third intersection. Take that road out for about 10 miles, and look for farm on the left with an electric fence and a sign that says Uig's Hunt."
Great, look for a farm on an island completely populated by nothing but farms, but the fence and sign should be enough of a distinction, hopefully. My sense of direction was not the only thing that hasn't improved since kindergarten.
"Got it, Seth, I'll be there as soon as I can. And, um any chance you can tell me what's going on?"
Seth's voice retained its rasp and I was weirdly reminded once again that the majority of my phone calls lately were conducted in this manner of speaking.
"You'll find out when you get here, and don't freak out when you get checked by security, they're expecting you and know to look for your car, but just cooperate and you'll be fine. Oh, and don't bring your gun."
Oh goody, security check points, isn't that special? Don't bring my gun, huh. Not that I had any intentions of busting into this place, .38 Special blazing. Now I'm thinking perhaps I should have been.
Really, I only had a gun because my father insisted that since I'm living in a "war zone," known to you and I as what is commonly referred to as a "city," a weapon of minor destruction was necessary in order to survive. So, one conceal and carry permit later, I'm packing heat every where I go, in the glove compartment at least.
"Sure, no gun, see you soon, oh and don't try to call my cell, the battery's dead."
I already sounded exasperated, thankfully knowing that at least Seth wouldn't give me the cell phone lecture. I hated, no, I despised cell phones, their very existence bothered me to the point that I only carried one because my car was old and one never knows when Triple A could come in handy.
Seth merely sighed loudly and expressed his indifference. "Fine, see ya soon," he said.
Putting the phone down and rushing to my room to get dressed, seeing as Steve Madden slippers, fleece pants and a sweatshirt were not the best attire to be seen in, I threw on some jeans and a black knit sweater. Slipping into my "pilgrim shoes," as my Dad called them; I grabbed my contacts from the counter and put them on. My glasses were great for home, but the prescription was at least four years old and needless to say, with a 25 percent hearing loss in both ears, my senses were spiraling dangerously toward Helen Keller status.
It was with this dubious distinction that I grabbed my charcoal gray pea coat out of the closet, as opposed to the camel or black one, snatched up my keys, double checked to make sure the gun was in its safe in my bedroom and headed toward my car to rescue my brother from certain peril. Well, maybe it would be best to state I was dealing with uncertain peril, but something told me it was peril nonetheless.
After speeding down the road in record time, I got to the island and slowed down greatly with the radio off to help my concentration. I searched for the farm with an electric fence thinking just how hard it was to see electric fences in the dark.
Now having only the sign to go by I slowed my station wagon to a crawl. Cursing the lack of streetlamps in this ultra-rural backwater I was now combing for signs of life beyond random deer crossings and the occasional fox sighting.
Finally, up ahead to the left I saw the sign announcing I had arrived at Uig's Hunt. What an odd name for a farm, but then again, I'm nothing if not judgmental. Anticipating a display of helicopter flood lights and bullhorns warning me to the security checkpoint I was surprised to see nothing but a large grey Husky dog staring at me from the top of the lane as my headlights made its eyes shine an eerie yellow color. Okay, where the hell are my checkpoint people?
Suddenly, two more dogs just like the other, again apparently Huskies, one white and one black, loped up to meet the other. Behind them, came two men, dressed head to toe in black, flashlights blazing. This must be the welcoming committee; I'm starting to wonder what the hell my brother has dragged me into.
The Sprockets team walked stridently to my doors, one on each side, and the one closest to me made the universal sign of "roll down your window" with his hand. Despite my wagon's age, this puppy had power windows and I at least was able avoid that idiotic head bobbing arm dance everyone does when lowering a manual window.
I decided these guys were either the real deal security bodyguard types they so desperately wanted to project, or were really just some misbegotten stage hands the owners had plucked up at the local community college theater in mid set change.
I say this only because Elijah's Island was about as local yokel as one could get in this already very rural region, even residents 15 miles up the road talked about it as if it were Timbuktu. Real deal hardcore security guards just don't exist in these parts. I found myself already dubbing them Bruno and Vinnie, bad habit I have, giving people little nicknames.
Bruno, the one closest to me, tells me to turn my car off and get out. I cooperate fully, thinking it's quite possible my brother and I have not stepped into a big, steaming, pile of shit. Don't get me wrong, I realize I seem to be taking all this in stride, but stuff like this never happens to me.
Nobody in my family has been quote unquote "in trouble." Hell, we don't even have any divorces, nada, not one and this included the extended family to third cousins, and we're not even Catholic. So consequently, being looked over by some hulking brutes, having my wagon examined as if I were about to be chauffeuring the President of the United States, and being sniffed quite extensively by three dogs the size of small ponies, was enough to set me on edge.
Bruno gives me a pat down and takes no apparent pleasure in the procedure, which slightly affronts my feminine sensibilities but then again, maybe I'm not his type. Yeah, right. Okay, enough with my very un-PC moment of self delusion, let's get this show on the road.
"What's going on? Do you know what's up with my brother, Seth Thompson," I asked Bruno, since Vinnie was now inspecting my cargo hold as if he was expecting AK-47's to be buried in a secret compartment.
"I'm not at liberty to say," replied Bruno in a stiff gruff voice.
Apparently, Bruno had passed the E.I. School of Diction for Bouncers and Bodyguards. Okay, fine, going to get nothing out of Bruno, hey let's try Vinnie. Just as I'm about to ask him, he turns toward me.
"What's in that compartment?" It was said in that same stiff voice as Bruno before him.
"Oh, that's for the spare tire and tools," I answered, thinking that perhaps Vinnie really did believe I was carrying some serious Russian firepower in what was obviously a heretofore hidden compartment.
"Open it," Vinnie said.
I grabbed the key off my ring and opened the compartment, where lo and behold a spare tire and some tools wrapped in a cloth lay neatly inside. Vinnie looked almost disappointed, as if by finding something slightly more dangerous than a car jack might have gotten him a promotion.
Seeing this look I remarked in my most sarcastic tone, "What did you think you were going to find? Jimmy Hoffa?"
Vinnie was not amused, but Bruno narrowed his eyes and looked vaguely perplexed, as if he felt he should have recognized the name but couldn't quite place it. Again, the E.I. School of Diction must not have paid too much attention to famous missing persons; maybe I should have tried Amelia Earhart?
Finally, Vinnie gave the go ahead to drive onward while Bruno radioed ahead that I was "clean" and cleared me for arrival at the front gate. What the hell, the front gate? I hadn't even cleared the damn gate yet? Thankfully, the massive iron construction opened for me as I drove further up the lane and parked in a grassy clearing directly behind the house.
Speaking of, the house was quite simply the biggest monstrosity of private construction I had ever seen, although to say I was used to mansions on an everyday basis would be a bit of a stretch. At least 16,000 square feet the place looked like an airplane hangar, and I started to look for a nearby runway to validate the existence of such an exorbitant amount of space.
Leaving my car, I grew more anxious to get Seth and get the hell out. Something told me he wouldn't be opposed to the idea either.
I walked to the door and was greeted by girl wearing what looked like a black and white maid's costume. Thinking to myself that Halloween had already passed by a good two months ago, I made my introduction.
"Hi, I'm Theryn Thompson. My brother Seth called me earlier to come pick him up. Sorry to keep you up so late."
"Oh yes, Theryn, thank you for coming. If you would just follow me, Dom will be with you shortly."
Her voice had a very soothing, almost placating quality to it and again I wondered if this Dom hired all his help from central casting. All I needed to see was a wizened British butler, an elderly plump woman serving as chef, and a freaking teapot with Angela Lansbury's voice singing "Be Our Guest."
Questioning my need to see this "Dom," I asked, "Could you just go get Seth for me and we'll be on our way."
I wouldn't normally be this rude, but I saw no need to get others involved in what I had hoped to be a simple sibling retrieval from this godforsaken island.
"I'm sorry, but I was told to bring you to Dom. I'm sure he'll help you get your brother."
"Oh, alright then, thanks," I surrendered.
Yep, I had officially ventured into monosyllabic territory, and it was high time I'd get to sleep soon. Hopefully Mr. Perignon, (again with the nicknames) was as helpful as his maid envisioned.
Leading me down a hardwood floored hallway in what looked like a series of offices, I was brought to the farthest one down the line, also apparently the largest. Settling onto the leather sofa in what was the designated sitting area, the maid asked if I wanted some coffee and while I hardly drank the stuff on a daily basis, right now a little extra caffeine jolt seemed like heaven.
While she left to go get my drink, I surveyed the office, thinking that the enormity of this house made a little more sense now. More than likely it was a business or in fact, several businesses which might explain the security detail, but certainly not the maid. Weird.
The office had a very masculine feel to it. Think leather furniture with dark wood and deep red accents in geometric patterns. The entire room further enforced a metrosexual version of the "Me Tarzan, You Jane," motif.
Nothing is wrong with that at all, in fact, I kind a thought it was nice to see an office that wasn't painted eggshell beige with indoor/outdoor carpeting and fluorescent lights everywhere. Then again, this place was just a little too swanky for my liking. Thinking furiously what on Earth Seth could have gotten himself into the door opened and my coffee was brought to me.
Shunning the sugar and cream and going for an all out high octane refueling, the maid left me to my thoughts and the door closed behind her. I really wanted to get up and snoop around but fear and my conscience stopped me from doing so. Damn morals and ethics, always screwing up my fun. Just as I was contemplating maybe tweaking a few moral boundaries, in walked who I can only assume was Dom.
He strode in dressed in suit, which looked really expensive and possible designer. Lord knows my only classifications of men's suits were regular and leisure and knew well enough to avoid anyone dressed in the latter. My first thought was, damn, work much? Surely this guy had to be a crazed work-a-holic to be seen in full suit regalia at 4:00 a.m., that or he was one hard working pimp.
Sitting down it's hard to judge height but my guess was around average, perhaps 5'10" but he was solid and broad, and that sometimes makes me steal a few inches from people. His deep tan had the look of natural complexion, but I could just see this guy stowing away a tanning bed somewhere. Lord I hoped not, nothing worse than a guy who tans and highlights his hair, talk about high maintenance.
Dom peered at me through eyes the color of my coffee, a shiny black, with lashes so thick I was seriously considering the possibility of mascara. Not a single curly dark hair was out of place on his head and I envied his ability to look so sharp at this hour.
More than likely my own moss green eyes were bloodshot and squinty from contact irritation and my long dark brown hair had fallen to its usually stringy straightness, despite my daily curling regimen. I no doubt looked like that girl that came into your 8:00 a.m. college final in her pajama pants and slippers thinking if she could just hurry up and get this test done, then she could crawl back in bed within the hour.
Yep, not a good feeling when Mr. Fashion Plate was staring you in the face. Alright, time to get this over with; I opened my mouth to speak, when Dom cut in before I could say anything.
With a flash of perfect white teeth that could pass as a smile, he asked, "Theryn Thompson, I presume? Interesting name, I am pronouncing it correctly, Tier-an?"
At my slight nod to the oft-asked question, he continued. Placing himself at the adjacent leather armchair he reclined to comfortable position, sitting with legs splayed as to take up as much room as possible, hands on his knees. I couldn't help but notice how his manner contrasted sharply with my own tightly crossed legs and folded arms, guess sometimes you can't help your gender.
"Your brother is in desperate need of your assistance and I so hope you'll be a willing participant," he said silkily, with the tiniest hint of an accent, as though he'd picked it up from being in a foreign location for some time and had just gotten back.
I also noticed he failed to introduce himself, as if his mere presence spoke for itself. I guess the maid wasn't just there to answer doors; she took care of that pesky name exchange as well.
I quickly closed my mouth and narrowed my eyes at his odd wording. Willing participant? Kind of a weird way of putting it, whatever it was.
Planning on keeping this little meeting short and sweet I answered, "I'll help my brother any way I can, if you'll just let me see him…"
"Yes, yes, you shall see him directly, but first I must speak to you about your contribution."
I bit my lip nervously, why did he make it sound like I'd just made change in the collection plate?
"Sure, what do you need?" I asked quickly.
"Oh, it's not what I need at all, it's what your brother needs, and I highly recommend you give it to him or there might be dire consequences."
"Can we stop all this beating around the bush and just come out and say it. First I must be a willing participant and if not there will be dire consequences. Fine, I'll do what I can, but it would be nice to have a clue as to exactly what this contribution as you put it, is going to be."
"Of course, how rude of me to not mention it, quite simply, your brother needs something from you that he cannot get anywhere else."
Wondering exactly what Dom was alluding to, I raised my eyebrows in question, letting my irritation at his word games show prominently on my face.
He let out a sigh, looked straight at me and stated in what I would call a doctor-telling-the-family-the-patient-died kind of voice, "Your brother has been bitten by a werewolf. If you donate a large portion of your blood, tonight, it will allow him to retain his ability to turn human, if not, he will change into a wolf by this coming afternoon and never again return to human form. He will be lost to you forever; he will lose all ability to rationalize as human, and will be nothing more than an animal."
Well, you sure as hell don't hear that everyday.