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Hunter's Moon

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Art by Jilly James

Chapter 1
July 2006

Victoria stood from the dinner table as she heard the knock at the door. Normally, her daughter Allison would be sprinting for the door expecting one of her friends, but she was at a sleepover at Darcy’s with their friend Mia so they could get their summer assignments out of the way.

She checked the peephole on the door and she saw a tall unkempt man on the doorstep. She carefully opened the door and inquired, “Can I help you?”

He tried to smile, but it ended up looking like a pained grimace. He asked, “Is Christopher Argent home? I have some important information for him.”

“Please wait here, I’ll just go get him.” She said as she turned to shut the door.

The man saw the action for what it was, and he kicked the door open hard enough to smash it to pieces when she started to shut it, before he picked her up and threw her across the room where she crashed hard into the side table. 

Chris came running in from the dining room with his gun out when he heard the crash, but he was too slow and before he could shoot, the beast was on him, biting down hard on his arm to get him to drop the weapon. Before he could react to the pain in his arm, he was spun around and pinned to the nearest wall by his throat with claws starting to pierce his neck.

Chris’ heart dropped when he saw the blazing red eyes as he bit out, “What do you want?”

The wolf in front of him snarled, “I want your family to pay. Your sister has been decimating peaceful packs across the Pacific Northwest. Trapping us in our pack houses before burning them to the ground.”

Chris shook his head as much as he could while being pinned by his throat to the wall, “She wouldn’t do that. Argents follow the code.”

The alpha snarled, “I arrived home late after picking up my little brother from practice. We discovered our family was trapped behind a line of mountain ash. We stayed hidden as we called the police, I thought they were on the way but I found out later she had paid the dispatcher to disregard the call as a prank. Someone in your family has been paying a lot of bribes to get the cases closed as accidents.”

He dragged Chris to the dining room and shoved him into a chair, holding his arms down as he zip-tied them to the chair, making sure both arms were secure. He then grabbed Victoria from where she’d landed in the foyer and secured her in the same manner before he slapped her awake.

Chris watched her look him over for injuries as she noted the blood running down his neck from the claw marks. She demanded, “Christopher? What’s going on?”

Chris glared at the alpha and he bit out, “The alpha is claiming Kate has been killing peaceful packs in the Pacific Northwest. Trapping them in their pack houses then burning the entire packs to the ground.”

Victoria blinked, “She has been taking out the beasts that hunt us. As the code we follow dictates.”

Chris looked at Victoria, gobsmacked, he croaked, “It’s true? She’s killing entire packs, even the children?”

Victoria sneered, “This is why you don’t hunt with us Christopher, you’re too soft to be a real hunter.”

“So my human toddlers were beasts to be hunted?” The wolf snarled, “They deserved being burnt alive?” 

Victoria shrugged, she wasn’t overly worried as she was sure she would be able to kill the beast before he could do any real damage. She wanted to get this dealt with before any of her neighbors noticed the smashed door.

“Victoria,” Chris demanded, “Did you help Kate?”

Victoria gave him a condescending look, “Of course I did, Christopher. Who do you think organized the bribes, arranged which pack’s to attack, and dealt with the cleanup. That’s why I am the public face of Argent Arms and do the negotiations with the law enforcement departments.”

Victoria decided she’d had enough of the pointless conversation, it was time to show the alpha why hunters are feared. She threw herself back in the chair to break it, as she had been trained to do from a young age, but the alpha, while grief-stricken and full of anger for the loss of his pack, he was not what you would consider completely feral so with a rational mind he was on her in seconds, he was so consumed by rage at her complete lack of concern about killing toddlers, he ripped out her throat with enough vehemence to almost take her head off.

Chris felt bad for the guy but he took action as the alpha was distracted, he also threw himself back but he aimed for the gun he had taped under the side table. The alpha turned and he found Chris still cuffed to remnants of the destroyed chair but he had a gun aimed steadily at the alpha’s head.

Chris asked, “Will you stop fighting so I can get you some help?”

The alpha laughed, it had an edge of manic to it and he said, “We tried to get help, they will either side with her just like the investigators did or they will disregard the complaint as lies. My little brother tried to report Kate for statutory rape, you see she seduced him to get information about our family, but they just dismissed it and said he was lying. He committed suicide a week later, the guilt from knowing his actions lead to the death of our entire family was too much for him. He was only fourteen.”

Chris vowed, “I will look into Kate and anyone else who might have helped her, I promise. They will be dealt with for what they have done. But you need help, I have a friend who is the local alpha who can help you integrate back into pack bonds.”

The alpha wanted none of that and he spun to escape out the front door that was still smashed and open, but he froze when he heard Chris cock his gun. “I can’t let you leave while you’re feral. I’m sorry.”

“Dad? What’s going on?” Allison called out as she gingerly stepped through the broken front door of the house.

Chris paled and he called out, “Allison! Stop!”

Allison walked into the room and she froze when took in the scene. She saw her dad with his gun out and her mother with her head nearly separated from the rest of her body, bleeding out on the ground near the doorway to the kitchen, she saw the blood on her dad’s neck and she cried out, “Dad! Are you ok?”

The alpha shifted into his beta shift and he leaped at Allison who, in her terror, screamed at the sight of the transformed monster in front of her.

Chris reacted instantly and instinctively and he shot the alpha before he could get close to Allison. Once the alpha was down he called out sounding almost panicked, “Allison, get behind me! Now!”

The alpha tried to stand and follow Allison but he collapsed, bleeding black goo from several bullet holes along his torso as Allison scrambled across the room. Chris requested, “Go get my phone from my office, I need to make sure he stays down.”

She left the room with a determined look on her face as Chris approached the alpha who was bleeding from several wounds on his torso as he lay on the floor. 

The alpha looked at Chris with suspicion clear on his face as he crouched out of arms reach. He asked, “Can you at least tell me your name so I know what pack to start investigating.”

The wolf closed his eyes and dropped his beta shift as he said, “Cameron Kendrick, my father Joseph Kendrick was the alpha before me.”

Chris nodded, “I have heard of him. He had a treaty with another hunting family, the Owens family. Did they not help you?”

Cameron shook his head, “I went to them for help after the fire and they turned me away. Their matriarch said the treaty was with my father and they refused to aid us or shelter us. They said they wouldn’t pick a fight with the Argent family.”

“Fuckers!” Chris exclaims, “Once Kate and her co-conspirators are dealt with I will have the Owens family censured as oathbreakers.”

Cameron nodded as Allison entered the room holding out her Dad’s cell phone for him.

Allison crouched down beside her mom’s body and she asked, “Dad, what’s going on? What was that thing that you shot, where is it?”

Cameron’s eyes widened when he realized Allison was not raised learning about the supernatural like a normal hunter. He murmured, “She doesn’t know?”

Chris shook his head, “I wanted her to decide if she wanted to be a hunter.” He glanced down at his arm and murmured, “Now, she’s pack and I will do my best to keep her away from the rest of my family.”

Cameron could feel the growing pack bond with the disillusioned hunter so he held out his hand and said under his breath, “Grasp my forearm.”

Chris glanced at his daughter and saw she was occupied trying to work out what happened to her mother, so he gripped the alpha’s forearm. Cameron flared his red eyes and he said quietly, “I trust you to avenge my family and the other families killed in cold blood.”

He flared his eyes one last time and as they faded from red to gold he passed the alpha power to Chris before he closed his eyes for the last time.

Chris laid his arm down and he turned to survey the room, he asked Allison, “Did you touch anything?”

She shook her head, “No, of course not. What happened?”

Chris shook his head, “I will explain after this is all dealt with, ok?” 

Allison nodded her agreement, he looked her over to make sure she had no blood on her and he asked, “Can you go back to Darcy’s until I call you?”

Allison agreed, “Sure, I won’t say anything, I told them I was going to the toilet when I saw the smashed front door through the upstairs window.”

Chris pointed to the back door and he said, “Go through the Madison’s yard and try and get back to Darcy’s without being seen.”

Allison nodded and she gave him a quick hug, being careful not to let any of the blood get on her, before she ran out the back door.

Chris picked up his phone and he called a friend of his. Connor James was a Detective in the Falls Church PD and the local pack alpha. 

When Connor answered he said with no preamble, “Connor, it’s Chris, I need some help.”

Chris quickly outlined what happened with the feral alpha and that the alpha and Victoria were dead and the threat was over.

“I have Jayden with me so we’ll head over after I let the captain know,” Connor confirmed.

Chris breathed a sigh of relief and while he was waiting he rolled down his sleeve to cover up the bite wound that was already starting to heal over. Connor was aware of the difficulties he had with other members of his family. It was well known through the East Coast supernatural community that he only did hunts requested by the council, so the last thing he needed was Connor reporting to the hunter’s council that he had been bitten. Jayden was Connor’s partner with the Falls Church PD and his right hand within the pack.

When they arrived Jaden whistled lowly as he saw the amount of damage inside the house. He took in the scene in the dining room with the dead wolf on the floor with several bullet wounds in his torso and Victoria on the floor with her head almost torn off and he asked, “What happened?”

Chris shrugged, “The guy knocked on the door, and from what I could hear of their exchange Victoria was shutting the door on him when he smashed it open and threw her across the room. I ran in with my gun out but he was too fast and he grabbed me by the throat before he cuffed me to a chair.”

Connor asked, “Any idea why he would attack you?”

Chris shook his head, “He wasn’t attacking me, he was after Victoria. She apparently helped kill his entire pack before she bribed the local police to close the case as an accidental fire.”

Connor scrubbed his face with his hand, “Fuck. Are you going to report the claims to the hunter’s council?”

Chris nodded, “He implied she wasn’t alone in killing his pack but he was borderline feral so it’s something I will need to look into before I submit any reports.”

Jayden asked, “Why did you shoot him?”

Chris slumped against the wall as he explained, “Allison is at a sleepover across the road, she saw the broken door and came home to find out what was going on. He launched himself at her in beta shift when she came into the dining room. I had no other choice. It’s going to be a fun discussion tonight when I explain what happened.”

Connor’s eyes widened, “Oh shit, will you need help telling her?”

Jayden asked, confused, “Doesn’t she already know, being a hunters kid and all that?”

Chris shook his head, “No. I made the decision to keep her out of the hunting life until she turned eighteen. Victoria constantly fought me on it but I was determined. I wanted her to have a normal childhood, well as much of one as Victoria would allow around all of her lessons. I wanted her to have the choice about being a hunter rather than being indoctrinated from birth.”

Connor contemplated the scene and he suggested, “We could log it in the system as a home invasion, the ME is part of a neighboring pack so he’ll probably sign off on her death as something mundane. We’ll need to get a statement from Allison saying that the man tried to attack her as she came in to see what was wrong. Can you call her over?”

Chris nodded and he sent a text off to Allison as Connor called in the ME.

Jayden explained, “We’ll send off a different report to the council notifying them of the feral wolf and the death of Victoria at the hands of the wolf. Did you happen to get his name?”

Chris replied, “He said his name was Cameron Kendrick. I recognized the name but I’m not sure where the pack was based beyond the Pacific Northwest.”

Jayden shook his head but Connor said, “That’s a pack that’s north of Seattle I think. They don’t usually venture this far away from their pack.”

Allison entered the house slowly and she asked, “Dad?”

The group walked out to the foyer to meet her so she wouldn’t have to see the two bodies again. Chris pulled her into a hug and he wiped the tears from her face as he said, “This is Connor and Jayden, they are Detectives with the Falls Church PD. They need to talk to you about what you saw earlier.”

Connor interrupted and he said, “We want to take two statements. One with what you saw exactly, and one that is for mundane eyes that takes the supernatural out of the equation.”

She looked toward the dining room where she could see the man who lunged at her lying not far from the doorway, she asked, “What was he?”

Connor looked to Chris for permission and at his agreement, he explained, “He was a werewolf. It sounds like he was borderline feral due to an attack on his family.”

“Oh,” Allison held on tighter to her Dad as she said, “So Marie-Jeanne Valet was really a werewolf hunter?”

Chris turned her around and held her at arm's length as he demanded, “Where did you hear that name?”

She was shocked at her dad’s sudden change in behavior, she carefully pulled the necklace she was wearing out from under her shirt as she said, “Aunt Kate gave me this for my sixteenth birthday, she said it belonged to Marie-Jeanne Valet and she made a cryptic comment that I should look into her to find out where I come from.”

Chris snapped, “Son of a bitch.” As he pulled Allison in and hugged her tightly, he knew his sister wanted Allison brought up the ‘right’ way, but he didn’t think she would go this far to push her point.

Allison shrugged as Chris let her go, “I thought it was more of her crazy ramblings. She’s been hinting at the supernatural for years but it always sounded so beyond crazy when she said it.”

She turned to Connor and she asked, “What do you need from me?”

Connor took time to explain why they needed two different statements before he started with her full statement about what she saw when she came home the first time, he then explained what would need changing for the mundane statement and how important it was to cover up the supernatural aspects to protect those in the supernatural world.

Jayden took the ME through to the dining room, as soon as he arrived, to collect the two bodies. They took the time to get crime scene photos that would present the image they needed for the home invasion report which, honestly, took a fair bit of work to get Victoria looking more like her own knife had been used against her throat rather than claws.

Once everything was recorded and cleaned up Connor approached Chris and Allison, they’d been sitting on the stairs quietly talking about what Kate had been doing. He crouched down and he murmured quiet enough that Jayden wouldn’t overhear, “You’re going to investigate your sister?”

Chris nodded, “We’re going to move somewhere safe and figure out what the hell my family has been up to.”

Connor nodded, “You have my email, please do keep in touch. Let me know when you’re safe, ok?”

 Chris nodded, “I’ll still be running Argent Arms remotely through my lawyer and I plan to pull funding from the hunting side of my family as soon as we are safely hidden away. We’ll be ok and I promise we’ll get in touch as soon as it's safe and you can come for a visit.”

After Connor had left Allison looked at her dad sorrowfully and she whispered, “They’ll come after us.”

Chris smirked and he said, “They can try. Mom had to know I would eventually be at odds with the hunting side of my family at some point and she taught me everything she knew about staying hidden in plain sight. As soon as the lawyers and Connor give us the ok we are going to leave town. I already had contingencies in place for us to run. The lawyers have documents prepared for us with name changes that have a verifiable history so we can disappear without a trace.”

Allison sat up, “Will you train me. Train me so when they do come I’ll be ready?”

Chris nodded, “As soon as we’re settled we’ll start your training.”