Chapter Forty Five
I can’t believe he would do this!
How can you be surprised after all the times he told you that everything he does is for himself?
But he said he loved me!
What better way to gain a stupid little girl’s trust?
But I…I loved him, too.
You’re hurting. Good. You deserve to hurt. You let yourself be hurt, and now—
And now you’re about to be hit by a bus!
I snapped out of my self pity, and threw myself off the street just as a bright yellow school bus went barreling past. Apparently even school buses don’t brake for pedestrians in Chicago. Taking a deep breath, I forced those thoughts out of my mind. The spiteful side of me was right, I deserved this pain after how easily I’d let Dex into my heart. But all that could wait until after I’d caught Kaylie.
I broke into a sprint again, anger fueling my speed. Kaylie, the black furred cow, was fifty feet ahead of me, dodging between people like a hyperactive dog that’d pulled its leash out of its master’s hands. Some of them jumped out of her way, others barely gave her a second glance. Either way, they made for perfect obstacles as I chased after her. She was on four legs, I was on two. She had a body that was made for this kind of thing. If I’d changed, I could have had her in my clutches in just a few seconds. But I didn’t. These people might be able to overlook a wolf running down the sidewalk, but Wolfzilla was another matter entirely.
Come on, puny human legs, I screamed inside my head. We’ve come too far to lose her now!
I shoved my way past a homeless guy just in time to see Kaylie lope across the street, using the crosswalk like a human. I made to go after her—and then skidded to a halt when the crossing signal changed. The line of traffic waiting at the red light went from zero to ninety in the space of half a second, and I found myself trapped on the wrong side of the road.
“No!” I yelled, hammering the crosswalk button. “No, no, no!”
I considered going after her before the light changed, but the traffic quickly convinced me that was a bad idea. This wasn’t like in my hometown. The cars were coming so close together that I would have had an easier time jumping between bricks in a wall. Clenching my teeth so hard they almost cracked, there was nothing I could do but stand here and wait.
It’s not over, I told myself while my heart tried to pound its way out of my ribcage. We can still catch her scent and follow her like that. Eventually we’ll find her, and…
I froze in surprise. In the gap between two cars, I got a quick glimpse of the other side of the road.
Kaylie was still there.
Sitting like an obedient dog, the stupid glove still hanging from her mouth, she was waiting for me. A slight chill ran down my spine when I realized what she was doing. She wasn’t trying to escape. I hadn’t just murdered her brother anymore. Now I’d murdered her entire pack, leaving her all alone in a big, unforgiving world for the second time. She didn’t want to escape. Oh, hell no.
She just wanted to get me away from Dex.
Finally, the lights changed again, the raging river of traffic stopped, and I immediately broke into a sprint again. Kaylie was already moving. I hurtled down the sidewalk like a madwoman, hair flying in the wind, heedless of all the people I knocked down in my depraved quest to catch that freaking dog! Up ahead, she gave me a glance over her shoulder, and then took a sharp right into an alleyway. A growl rose in my throat, and I went after her.
Dead end. A savage grin spread across my face when I saw her there, her back up against a solid brick wall. The only escape was through me, and I wasn’t going to let that happen a second time.
“You should have just given it to me,” I said, taking a step closer. “I was going to let you go. I wanted to let you go! But you pushed me to do this. This is your own fault, Kay-Kay!”
She growled at me when I used her pack’s nickname, her hackles rising, but I ignored her. A quick change. Amber, Silverblood, then Amber again. Five seconds to bite her in half and then make the monster vanish. Nobody would be able to prove I was here. Hell, I might even start a new urban legend while I was at it! I flexed my hands eagerly, getting ready to change—
And Kaylie jumped straight up!
I took a reflexive step backwards as the black werewolf soared above me, but she didn’t come back down. With a rattling clang, she landed on the old, rusted fire escape of the abandoned building she’d led me to. She struggled to climb the ladder with her four legged body for a second, but once she’d gotten her balance she scrambled up, and up, all the way to the sixth floor, where she squeezed between the boards nailed over one of the windows and vanished.
I bit my tongue to keep from screaming. Why wouldn’t this bi…this thing just freaking die already?
Bending my knees, I jumped too. With my strength, I effortlessly shot almost fifteen feet up into the air, grabbing hold of the fire escape’s edge with both hands. It felt like I barely weighed anything at all as I hauled myself up and over the railing. The entire thing shook when my feet touched down. There was no way it had been up to code in at least thirty years. It didn’t matter, though. All that mattered was getting to Kaylie, finally killing her, and then getting Hendricks his stupid glove back.
Why bother? that annoying little voice asked. To save Dex? Don’t tell me you still love him after what he—
Shut up, shut up, SHUT UPPPPP!
I climbed up far more easily than Kaylie had. Human hands and feet are good for some things, after all. When I got to the floor she’d gone into, I didn’t bother trying to squeeze between the same gap—I just punched the boards, shattering them into a thousand tiny splinters.
It was dark in there as I climbed through, but that didn’t matter. I was a werewolf, practically made to see in conditions like these. The real problem was the dust. It hung thick in the air, clouding my sense of smell. I could clearly smell Kaylie in here, but I didn’t know which way she’d gone or how far away she was. I took another cautious step inside, and—
The wall to my right exploded! Wood, stone, and metal filled the air like I’d walked into a meteor shower, and I was blasted backwards all the way into the wall on the other side of the hallway. My head flared with pain when it hit—those walls may have been old, but they were not soft—but the moonlight I’d stored up quickly healed that.
It didn’t matter, though. I knew what I was going to see even before the dust cleared.
Standing there, in the newly made hole in the wall, was Kaylie. A wicked looking burn marred her chest where Dex had blasted her, but the manic look in her eyes told me she didn’t even feel it.
On her right hand, shining bright red in the darkness, was the Gauntlet of Malleus.
“This,” she growled at me, “is for Tyler!”
TO BE CONTINUED: 7/31/2021