Dyson had been tasked with finding this girl and it was taking him too long. Katherine McArthur had been missing for ten years and with the Light in turmoil, her brother Alfred had come to see him for help. She had disappeared without a trace and the Ash hadn’t contributed a lot of resources, assuming the young shifter had merely run away from home. Alfred and Katherine, called Katie, had had their parents die a year after Katie went missing and Alfred himself was now on his death bed. That was why he had hired Dyson.
Bo was busy with Dagny and Mark was tied up with Vex so Dyson was on his own. To say it was a cold case would be an understatement. His only lead was someone with Dark Fae connections and Dyson wished the whole thing could have been easier. Intel had brought him to this supposedly abandoned warehouse, but there were a lot of cameras for an empty warehouse. He made a lap around the perimeter and saw one guard by the back door. Fae. He was in the right place. Dyson waited and watched for another hour before someone came to relieve the guard. Maybe he should get Bruce. Bruce would definitely help, but the guy wasn’t exactly subtle. Subtlety would probably be a good thing.
He looped the building again and found an open window he made his way towards. Looking through he couldn’t really make anything out but it was big enough he could squeeze in. There was a catwalk conveniently located directly under the window. He dropped down on to it and looked around the building again. Looking to the ground, it seemed to be full of cages. There weren’t as many guards inside as he thought there would be. He counted maybe five, six counting the guy outside. There had to be a dozen cages though. Looking, he found they were all full of women and they were all naked. What was this place?
He overheard a group of them, “The boss says it’s time to kill the shifter bitch, she’s outlived her usefulness. He wants to find someone new to take her place.”
“We just had to replace one of the girls. Does he think this is easy?”
Dyson could tell they were all Fae, the men and the caged women, but he couldn’t quite pinpoint what kind. There were too many smells in this place. His best bet would probably be to find and take Katie with him before calling Fae officials to know what was going on and free the rest of the girls. What he needed was a distraction. Where was Kenzie when he needed her? Dyson creeped his way down to the main floor and began looking into the cages. All the girls seemed to be heavily drugged and didn’t seem to care about his being there. Now that he was closer he was able to tell what each of the girls were. They were all different kinds of Fae. No two were the same. Several of them were pregnant too. What was this?
The last cage he came to had a girl hung by her wrists from the top of it and she was unconscious. He smelled shifter. This had to be Katie. She didn’t look like the last picture they had of her though. She was emaciated, scarred, and obviously broken. The men still seemed preoccupied complaining about their boss and hadn’t noticed his presence. The lock on the door to the cage was a joke which he bypassed with ease. The gate opened with little to no noise and Dyson managed to take the girl down from the chains holding her upright. She didn’t move and seemed to be completely knocked out. She smelled sick. He left her wrists bound so they could wrap around his neck, but wrapped his jacket around her before he slowly made his way back out the way he came in. He wanted to be clear of the building when they discovered she was missing. As soon as he was clear, he made a call and soon he could hear sirens descending on the place and he hoped they made it before the men panicked and killed any of the other women he hadn’t saved.
Dyson hurried over to Lauren’s clinic, “Lauren! I need you,” he called as soon as he was through the door.
“Dyson, what’s going on?”
“This is Katie McArthur. She’s been missing for years. I was hired to find her. She hasn’t woken up since I found her.”
“She’s a shifter, please, help her. I don’t understand. She can’t die.”
“Dyson, I need space, let me work.”
Dyson nodded his head, stepping away to call Alfred McArthur. “Dyson,” he heard the man rasp out on the other end of the line.
“I found her.”
The man released a world weary sigh, “Thank you.”
“She’s very sick, but she is free again.”
Alfred began coughing and couldn’t stop for a few moments, “Thank you, Dyson. I can go to my parents now with no shame.”
Dyson heard the line click and stared at his phone in confusion. Part of him hoped the man would be able to heal once he knew his sister was safe, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
“Dyson?” Lauren called.
He looked up at her, feeling exhausted, “Is she going to be ok?”
“She is very sick. Most concerning, she recently gave birth.”
“Like, within hours. Was there any evidence of there being children there?”
Dyson shook his head, “No, there was just the women and their guards.”
“Wait, multiple women?”
“Yes, authorities should be there soon. I’m gonna guess you’ll get a call in a few moments.”
“How many were there?”
“About a dozen.”
“Why did you just take this one?”
“I was hired to.”
“It is unlike you to leave people behind.”
“I know, but I had to get her out of there. You didn’t see it Lauren.”
“Ok, it’s ok, we’ll get her fixed up. It doesn’t look like she has had solid foods for a while and she is severely undernourished. It’s going to take a while, but it looks like she is going to be ok.”
Dyson let out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding, “Thank you, Lauren.”
“Bo is on her way to help when the other women are brought in.”
“Can I see her?”
“She isn’t awake yet, but sure. She isn’t in a coma so she could come out of it at any time.”
Dyson returned to the room where Katie had been situated. She was hooked up to a lot of monitors and against the white back drop of the room, she looked much sicker than she had in the warehouse. He took one of her hands in his, her skin felt so thin and her hands were so cold. He had never seen a shifter look so prone. He idly wondered what animal she was.
Dyson didn’t know how long he sat there, but everyone in their makeshift family stopped by to see how he was doing; even Vex. He heard a lot of commotion so he knew the rest of the women were at the clinic and hoped the rest of them would make it. The sun was beginning to creep in to the windows when he saw her eyes open. They were a chocolate brown, but they were empty. There was no recognition or confusion or any sign that she realized her surroundings were different.
“Katie?” Dyson whispered. She turned to him seeming to be surprised at hearing her name. “My name is Dyson, your brother Alfred hired me to find you. You’re safe now.”
She didn’t seem to understand or even hear what he said, at least her expression didn’t change and there didn’t seem to be any kind of comprehension. “I’m not going anywhere,” Dyson said, and she closed her eyes again. He heard her breathing even out in sleep again. He hoped it was restful for her.
A few hours later, Bo joined him, “Hey wolfman.”
“Hey Bo,” he replied, coming out of his reverie. “How are the other women? Did they get them all?”
Bo nodded, “Yeah, thanks to you.”
Dyson shook his head, “Who does that to people, Bo? Especially to Fae?”
“So far, the women are both Light and Dark, Lauren has figured out their species and is doing what she can for them. Most of the girls are pregnant. Katie is the only one who shows evidence of giving birth recently. There’s one girl, a faery who is still in pretty good shape. We think she wasn’t there long.”
“I heard the guys saying there was a new one, it must be her.”
“Dyson, what is this? What did you stumble on?”
“I don’t know. I was hoping Katie could tell us, but if she has been gone for this long, there’s no telling what all they did to her.”
“Are you going to stay with her?” Dyson nodded, “You ok Dyson? Where’s your head at?”
“I don’t know, Bo. There’s something about her. I can’t put my finger on it.”
“Just be careful. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.”
Bo patted him on the shoulder and then left to find Lauren, he presumed. He fell asleep until was startled awake when he heard movement in the room. Katie was awake again and looking at him. “Hey,” he said leaning forward. “How are you feeling?”
She didn’t respond, but there seemed to be more life in her eyes. “Can you talk?” he asked, wishing he could open her mind. She again didn’t say anything which made his mind go to what kind of hell she had been living the last few years of her life. Dyson’s phone rang, looking at the caller ID he said, “I’ll be right outside the door.”
“Alfred McArthur has passed away. He has left everything to his sister. Whatever resources you need for her recovery are at your disposal.”
“Who is this?”
“I’m the family lawyer. I am already transferring money into her account at the clinic for her care. Dr. Lewis will be informed to use whatever means necessary for her care.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Sources told me you were still with her, I figured you would want to know.”
“Spencer. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.”
Dyson hung up the call, staring at his phone for a while before letting himself feel the weight of this woman’s situation. She was alone in the world and he didn’t like that. He went back into the room and saw Katie staring at the window on one wall of the room. He didn’t think there was anything outside the window for her to see, but he assumed it had been a while since she had seen the sky. “Hi Katie,” he said when she looked at him again.
Anything else Dyson could have said was interrupted by Lauren who appeared to check the girls vitals. “Hi Ms. McArthur, I’m Dr. Lauren Lewis. I’m a friend of Dyson’s and I’m here to see how you’re doing. Can you tell me how you’re feeling? Are you in any pain? Are you hungry?”
Katie gave Lauren the same blank stare. “Everything is looking good so far,”
Lauren said as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened. “You’re numbers are up and you’re already healing from giving birth. Do you know what happened to your baby?”
Katie went back to looking at the window and Dyson figured that was as good as a no. He and Lauren shared a look and Lauren gave him a sad smile before she left the room again, “Let me know if you need anything.”
Dyson nodded and settled in again. He didn’t have a plan, and he knew he needed one, but he didn’t think he could abandon this woman. He dozed off again, waking to a hand on his shoulder. It was Kenzie and Dyson felt some type of relief. “Hey Kenzie.”
“Hey D-man. I heard you got yourself into a bit of a scuffle.”
“Sorta. What are you doing here?”
“Bo called, thought I could help. Who’s this?”
“Kenzie, this is Katie McArthur,” Katie’s eyes were on them and looked hesitant.
“Katie, this is my good friend Kenzie. She’s crazy, but the best there is.”
“Hi Katie,” Kenzie said with a wave and a smile. “Dyson, when was the last time you slept?”
“I was asleep when you woke me up.”
“I meant real sleep.”
Dyson gave a rueful smile, “What day is it?”
Kenzie shook her head good-naturedly, “Go home Dyson, I’ll watch over Katie while you get some rest.”
“No buts. Now, go on. Get out of here.”
Dyson looked to Katie, to see if she had any kind of input. She didn’t seem to mind one way or the other. “I’ll be back in a couple hours.”