Something Wicked This Way Comes

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 3

"There exists among the intolerably degraded the perverse and powerful desire to force into the arena of the actual the fantastic crimes of which they have been accused, achieving their vengeance and their own destruction through making the nightmare real."

(James Baldwin)

"Tyler, Jase, the Peter's house is on fire. Can you guys check to see if the cabin is in danger? If it is, save what you can!"

It took a minute or two before he received an answer from his lovers at "The Pines."

"On our way," responded Tyler, "Symthe called here just a few minutes ago; Dad is getting the crew to get our pumps ready, just in case."

"The Pines," where Campbell and Associates had their business and headquarters, had a fire suppression system similar to the one at "Suttons" but more sophisticated due to the nature of their business operation. There were sensitive and top-secret data banks to be protected along with the very delicate and highly sophisticated equipment and computers used in the business.

Jessie asked Art Campbell one time while visiting how they'd protect the complex, equipment, and data if something catastrophic happened.

"It's well secured with redundant systems," was his reply, offering nothing more.

Jim Sr., Jim Jr., Jessie, and Diondre scurried around making certain all was ready. Jim Sr. didn't think they'd need to worry since it rained so hard the day before and during the night, but with the investment he had in the resort, he wasn't about to take any chances! He also didn't think it necessary to alert the guests in residence either, given the distance from the main source of the fire. The Resort had a few hunters and fall vacationers in residence, but wasn't booked full. The four of them spent their time patrolling, on foot, the perimeter of the main resort complex, watching the sky for any change of wind direction or embers being cast into the air which could indicate a spreading forest fire.

Around three in the morning, Jase, Tyler, and accompanied by their older brother Franklin reported to Jessie, after a quick trip through the forest to the Peter's house, the house was a total loss with the roof collapsed and three walls standing. The fire had been contained to the house proper with little spreading to the nearby forest due to the wet ground the rain produced and the diligent action of the fire crews.

"There was little wind," Jase reported, "so there was little danger the fire would spread very much."

The area where the boys' bodies had been found was spared, for which they all were thankful! Law enforcement, at the time, was relatively certain they'd recovered all of the remains, but the burial site still had a reverent significance to the Averill Creek Pack.

The fire crews worked on into the daylight hours overhauling the fire scene, making certain all the hot spots were extinguished and the fire truly out! The local fire chief declared the structure a total loss and the probable cause of the fire was a lightning strike. He drew his conclusion from where they thought the fire originated, in the attic area, and the fact there'd been numerous strikes in the area and throughout the national and state forests. None of those strikes produced any fires beyond the initial flash which was quickly extinguished by the rain.

"Since the fire was actually inside the structure," the Chief explained to a news reporter and in his official report, "and protected from the rain, it smoldered, having a chance to spread throughout the older home. The construction of the home, built when there were few building codes, allowed the fire to spread unimpeded until it broke through the roof. The rain stopped by then and the fire was spotted from a distance by a local law enforcement officer on routine patrol. By the time the officer located the fire, arrived on the scene, and radioed in for fire equipment to respond, the structure was completely involved."

He went on to add, "There was no evidence of arson involved nor will there be any further investigation."

Secretly, the chief, the local volunteer fire fighters, and the community at large weren't sorry the structure burned, preventing it from becoming a standing monument to the wickedness and depravity of one man and his uncle! There were some who whispered, out of the sound of strangers or newcomers to the area, the fire department took much longer than usual to respond once they heard where the fire was located, but, of course, the members of the department denied it!

The fire was the topic of conversation and all of the buzz in the school hallways with most comments on the positive side knowing the house was completely destroyed. Turning the house into a tourist attraction wasn't a popular notion, especially among the young people.

The Averill Creek Pack generally had a night "run" about once a week, depending on Jase and Tyler calling for one. It didn't prevent others from shifting and running, but they all heeded Art Campbell's advice never to run alone, preferably in three's. On the way home from school, Jessie suggested to Jase they have a night run that night. He was more than a little curious what the Peter's place looked like after the fire. The rest of the pack on the bus, eavesdropping, gave their immediate support for the idea. After all, Jase and Tyler were the only ones so far to see it!

As far as Jessie was concerned, it was easier and faster to shift and run as a wolf than ride over on an ATV. With the ATV he'd have to stick to trails or roads; as a wolf he could go almost anywhere. He loved the freedom he had as a wolf; free to run, frolic with his mates, let his senses fill his mind with the smells of the forest and lakes, sorting out danger or food or just nothing at all. He loved making love to Jase and Tyler as a wolf, but he really enjoyed it as a human when they both could insert their love sticks in at the same time! The real bonus was being held and cuddled by his two mates, their kisses, their warm skin, their wandering hands were all erotically pleasing as well as comforting to him!

When all was quiet and dark, Diondre and Jessie slipped from the house and joined the rest of the Pack assembled, waiting, just beyond the clearing behind the house. Diondre shifted almost as quickly as Jessie and while Jessie was baring his neck, exposing his belly to his mates acknowledging their dominance (although everyone in the Pack knew Jessie really called the shots), Diondre approached Annie, who did the same to him. He still had a hard time accepting it, since he felt she was an equal partner in their relationship as a wolf as she was as a human, but he licked and nuzzled her urging her to stand. As much as he wanted and desired a coupling with her, he decided he'd wait until a more appropriate time, as if an excuse was needed. After all, Mike was knotted deep in Chad, finishing spewing his load deep into Chad's bowels!

It didn't take the Pack long, traveling cross country, cutting through the cabin property, onto Peter's property to arrive at the destroyed Peters' house. Jessie sat on his haunches some two hundred yards away, flicking his ears, twitching his nose, and scanning the area with his eyes. He had the sharpest senses of any of the others and if there was something amiss, he was certain to be the first to spot it!

Satisfied there was nothing threatening, he rose and slowly approached the structure for a closer inspection. The rest of the Pack followed him. The smell of burned and charred wood was mixed with the smell of chemicals used on the fire, water, engine exhaust from the pumper and tanker fire trucks, was mingled with the smell of sweat and other odors of people.

"Anything unusual?" asked Jase.

Jessie waggled his head side to side as he continued to look around, responding,

"Nope, just smells like fire!"

"It stinks!" growled Chad. "I'm going to look around!" and joined by Robbie, bounded off into the woods.

The rest of the Averill Creek Pack, except Chad and Robbie and Diondre and Annie, who were now coupled and enjoying what some would describe as an "intimate sexual encounter, wandered around the remaining shell of the house where, a few months earlier, they'd arranged an encounter with Peters, brought about his death, and freed Diondre. As Jessie watched the Pack, their tails wagging, standing up, or extended out straight, their young juvenile fur shining and slick, padding silently as they perused the site, he couldn't help but feel they were a beautiful, wild, free-roaming creature of nature, offering a sight to behold to the casual observer if there would've been any!

Three partial, charred walls were all left standing, the rest, including roof, collapsed into the basement, leaving a rumbled pile of burnt and partially burned debris.

"Not what you'd call an inviting tourist attraction that'd cause humans to race here in droves?" Mused Rick, lifting his leg and pissing on the corner of one of the standing three walls.

"Makes a good place to piss, though!" Mike acknowledged, adding his contribution to the same spot.

Jessie, in his investigation of the fire site, was uneasy; concern in his mind wondering if a lightning strike was the actual cause of the fire. Logically, according to the fire chief, it made sense, but sometimes, in Jessie's world, what made logical sense to others, didn't to him! He'd been accused quite often of "thinking outside the box" by his teachers and others, but he found doing so often solved problems others couldn't or didn't!

Curling his upper lip back in the wolf version of a smile, he thought, "If they only knew!"

His thoughts were interrupted by Chad and Robbie's wolves, tails straight out behind them, racing through the timber, taking large leaps over fallen logs or other obstacles in their path heading directly toward them, obviously excited or in some distress!

Rick and Mike immediately took up protective stances, teeth bared, fur standing up on their backs, as Jase and Tyler, growling a warning to Diondre, Annie, Patrick, and Brent, stood shoulder to shoulder ready to meet any threat to their Pack Chad and Robbie may have encountered or scented nearby!

The two wolves stopped abruptly in front of their Alphas.

"Come, take a look at what we found!" Chad announced, tongue hanging out, wagging from the vigorous exercise.

Jase signaled for them to lead the way while Tyler growled for the others to follow, but to remain on guard, alert for danger! The Pack fell in behind their Alphas; Jessie, Rick, and Mike with the rest behind but spread out in an inverted "V" in an attack and protective formation.

Reaching a spot near a large White Pine tree some distance from the house, but leaving the house still visible and easily watched from a concealed position, Robbie walked up to its base, and pointed his nose to the ground.

"Look; a set of human foot prints. Someone stood here and watched the fire!"

Jessie moved closer, his nose and eyes scanning for any more signs or clues to the mysterious "human!" There were two foot prints and no more, but a closer look revealed any other foot prints had been brushed away, erasing the sign. He looked farther away from the tree but could see nothing!

"Maybe the rain washed any other tracks away!" speculated Tyler to Jessie.

"Doubtful, but it could have happened. Looks like whoever stood here used a pine branch," raising his head and sniffing at a broken stub of a branch on the tree, "to sweep out his or her tracks."

"Did you smell it?" Robbie asked.

Jessie lowered his nose; even with the strong rain the day before, there was still a lingering scent. "It smells like deer piss!"

"Since when does a man smell like deer piss?" Chad asked, wagging his head from side to side. "It just doesn't make much sense!"

Jessie thought a moment, mind made up he growled, "I think someone better go get Mr. Campbell; as Alpha of the Kabetogama Pack, he needs to look at this. Someone doesn't want people to know he or she was here and I wonder why?"

Jase nodded his head at Brent and Robbie and they took off for "The Pines!"

Alerted by their scent and sounds of their travel, Jessie watched intently in the direction his senses indicated, knowing the wolves would be upon them before the others in the Averill Creek Pack were aware of their impending presence. Appearing out of the forest, loping toward them, led by Brent and Robbie, four adult wolves, fur coats shining in greys, blacks, browns, and whites softly illuminated in the waning moon, strong legs and experience carrying them lightly but swiftly across the forest floor, entered the clearing where the teens awaited. The Alpha, larger than the three and followed by them, joined the assembled members of the Averill Creek Pack.

Each time Jessie viewed Art Campbell as the Alpha of the Kabetogama Pack, accompanied by Ted Bowers and Ray Hayes, he was reminded of the very first time he encountered these magnificent creatures and how much his life changed as a result. In his view, they were just as majestic and marvelous now as then. He also knew Jase and Tyler would be just as large, stately, and strong as their father as they left their teen years, maturing into fully adult wolves and alphas in their own right!

This was the first time he'd even seen Franklin, Jase and Tyler's older brother, following Art, Ted, and Ray, run with them alone. Evidently he was a member of the Pack hierarchy and he was needed for some purpose, Jessie thought, although he couldn't imagine what. Franklin was always a quiet, friendly, gentle, and solitary person, who seemed to hold his thoughts and opinions to himself, but had an analytical mind in the computer business Campbell and Associates were involved in.

The four adults stopped near Jessie, Jase, and Tyler, sniffed the air and the fur on the backs stiffened; alert, wary after each picked up the scent of deer piss, the scent Chad and Robbie found and told them about, and saw the prints of a human instead of an animal, each darted his eyes about seeking some other sign. Ted and Ray stepped closer to Art in their roles as Beta and Enforcer.

The Kabetogama Pack Alpha stepped away from them, walked to the base of the tree, investigating the foot print and sniffing the ground. He softly growled, then yelped in disgust and anger another creature, especially a human, would go to such length to disguise his or her presence in the territory shared with the Averill Creek teens!

A tilt of his head and a soft rumble in his throat brought Franklin's wolf to his side.

"Track him, find him; if he's still there, observe, but don't kill him, just report back to me!"

Tilting his head toward Jessie, added, "Take Jessie with you!"

Jessie raised up from his haunches and walked over to join Franklin. Jase and Tyler stood and started forward to join them! A deep guttural warning growl came from Art Campbell.

"You two stay here!"

Their ears tipped back, the fur on their backs began to bristle in defiance, unwilling to let their mate leave without them into a danger they didn't know!

No sooner did they appear to defy the Alpha than they quickly complied. Art noticed a slight twitch of their ears indicating they'd heard something. He quickly looked toward Jessie standing near Franklin and observed him staring at Jase and Tyler as if he'd said something to them. Art heard nothing! Switching his attention back to Jase and Tyler he noticed Jase cast a quick glance at Mike, Brent, Rick, Patrick, Robbie, and Chad and their ears twitched as well, not much, a twitch one would hardly notice under ordinary circumstances, but these weren't ordinary circumstances!

The five teen wolves slowly, in an unthreatening manner, moved toward Diondre and Annie and sat on their haunches in a protective circle around them and watched the drama, or lack of it, unfold in front of them as Jase and Tyler quickly bared their throats and rolled over, exposing their soft undersides in submission to the Alpha, their father. During all of this, Rick and Mike never took their eyes off of Jase and Tyler, seemingly alert to leap to their defense if necessary!

None of this went unobserved by Art Campbell, immediately realizing the show of submissiveness was out of respect for his position as their father and not necessarily to him as Alpha! He growled his acknowledgement of his dominance, indicating they could join their fellows, allowing them to stand and join their fellow teens. Again, he noticed ears twitching slightly on all of the young wolves.

Franklin and Jessie left, following the faint trail of deer piss left by the intruder.

Art Campbell sat, flanked by Ted Bowers and Ray Hayes, his designated Beta and Enforcer; looking at the gathering of teen wolves, a sub-pact of his own Kabetogama Pack, wondering what ability, special senses or powers, and trust the young pack shared and silently compared them to his own!

"They're talking among themselves and I can't hear them? How do they block me, yet hear me? Why is it, when Jessie Sutton says something, they rest seem to take it as an order, yet Jase and Tyler are their 'alphas, or leaders?"

It was a distressing and frustrating situation for the older male, wondering where the future of this particular young group of wolves would be, certain he might definitely not be a part of it. Of all of the young wolves, the key to their success and unity revolved around Jessie Sutton, a bright, highly talented, affable young man with more highly developed senses, skills, and intuition than any of the rest of them or him, as a matter of fact. The glue that held them together was his own two sons, whose leadership was evident as less the authoritarian as many of the packs were, but more participatory, with the final decision and responsibility resting with their alphas!

Watching them closely, concentrating on his sons, he saw a slight twitch of Jase's ear, but failed to notice any response from the others, and wondered what he was talking about and to whom.

"Robbie, act like the young pup they think you are; Tyler and I need a distraction!"

"How?"

"Shove your nose up Chad's ass and goose him. That ought to lead to some rough and tumble. Tyler and I want to slip away and check on Jessie!"

Robbie did as instructed, initiating a loud "yelp" from Chad. He expected it, hearing the conversation between Jase and Robbie, but didn't expect Robbie's nose to be that cold or enter that deep into his bung! He immediately turned, and as Robbie darted away, gave chase. It wasn't long until the two of them were growling, nipping, frolicking in false battle and puppy-play!

Jase and Tyler began a rather relaxed walk to a tree some fifty yards away, garnering a quick look and attention from their father. Reaching the tree Jase lifted his leg to piss on it, with Tyler adding his contribution after his brother finished, Art lost concern in their actions and returned watching the two young wolves leaping and playing in front of him, when he witnessed them vigorously scratch the earth with their rear legs, scattering leaves and loose dirt behind them as canines often do.

As silently as the breaking of day or the falling of night, Jase and Tyler disappeared, traveling in the direction Jessie and Franklin headed into the underbrush and timber of the deep forest!

"Franklin is definitely the Kabetogama Pack hunter," Jessie thought to himself. "His ears, eyes, and nose were damned good at following and locating prey or anything else, but not as good as mine!"

Several times Franklin seemed to momentarily lose the trail of spoor he was following. Jessie would "accidentally stumble" across the scent trail to put them back on track. If Franklin ever suspected anything, there was no overt indication from him. Moving swiftly along, Jessie suddenly slowed, but quickly regained his gait, matching it to Franklin's!

"I know you two are back there!"

"Yeah,"quipped Tyler, "couldn't let you have all of the fun!"

Tyler and Jase kept just enough distance between Jessie and Franklin to avoid detection, but weren't so far away they couldn't come to Jessie's aid if need be.

The scent trail ended on a logging road. Jessie and Franklin approached the road with wariness, continually checking for threats, on guard to fight if necessary! Walking up to a spot where a car or pickup truck was previously parked, Franklin spotted a pair of human footprints where the human evidently entered the vehicle and drove away.

Sniffing the tracks and finding no scent, other than deer piss, leading to the identification of the intruder, he growled, "Strange!" and offered nothing else.

Jessie felt the same way, but his feelings were deeper than just "strange;" this intruder, this stranger, could either be a threat to the Averill Creek Pack or just someone interested in destroying the Peter's house. If it was the latter, then why go to such lengths to wipe out any tracks and disguise his own scent with that of a deer? What was this intruder up to and what did he intend to do?

Jessie and Franklin turned to head back; Jessie stopped to piss on a tree slowing their progress, giving Jase and Tyler an opportunity to take off and head back to the clearing where the others were gathered.

Fearful Art Campbell was losing interest in the playfulness of Robbie and Chad, Brent quickly entered into the frolic! Brent, a bigger wolf than the two protagonists performing before the adult audience, pushed Robbie to the ground, but hadn't anticipated Chad nipping his ass when he did! Brent "yelped" and suddenly tumbling, growling, jumping fray became two against one!

During the height of the mock fracas, Jase and Tyler ambled slowly back into the group.

"Where have you too been?" Art growled, irritated with himself for not paying closer attention to the activities of his offspring.

"Just wanted to look over the fire site to see if we missed anything!" Tyler replied innocently.

"Did you?"

"Not really! " confirmed Jase.

They were saved from further interrogation when Jessie and Franklin returned, loping up to Art.

"Well?"

"Nothing much!" Franklin responded and proceeded to describe the scene at the logging road and the loss of the trail.

"Strange! I really don't like the way this is going!"

As Alpha of the Kabetogama Pack and father to Jase and Tyler, he was more than just a little concerned! This had every indication of conspiratorial treachery! He warned the young teens to be extremely careful and vigilant on their night runs through the woods and to notify him if they encountered anything unusual or threatening. Art Campbell knew he needed to warn the rest of his Pack concerning any anticipated trouble.

With a wave of his tale, the four adult wolves bound into the woods and headed home.

Jessie, while concurring with Art Campbell's assessment, contemplated what he'd observed on the trail and at the logging road, wondering who'd go to such great lengths to conceal their tracks and possibly burn Peter's house? Whoever did these things was an expert at disguises and concealment since there was no evidence, according to the fire chief, of any sign of arson at the fire.

Jessie and Art Campbell weren't the only ones involved with the Peter's house fire! Seated at his kitchen table, laptop running, an SD card inserted and loaded, the man slowly paged through the first of many pictures of the Peter's property.

"Amazing!" he said aloud, talking to himself, "Absolutely fucking amazing!"

When the investigation was concluded and the Peter's property came on the market, he decided he wanted a closer look at it, without all of the commotion of law enforcement officers and other officials milling about, each doing their own thing.

Once in the house yard, he climbed out of his pickup truck and began a slow, methodical inspection of the grounds. There was little to be gained from it since the earth was pretty much covered with tire tracks and human tracks from the investigation, leaving little evidence of anything else. He wasn't discouraged or deterred, since he was extremely well trained and experienced in the investigative arts and was known among certain circles for his ability to see and perceive things others didn't. It made his reputation as a hunter as unequaled!

The house stood as a stark reminder of the depravity of two men, an object of shame and dishonor, a place of sexual perversion, and a killing ground where none of the young male victims, save one, Diondre Carlson, survived! Their lives ended without fulfilling any of their dreams and aspirations; never growing any older than the day of their death!

Walking up the steps to the porch, eyes constantly sweeping, analyzing all, mind constantly storing and computing, nothing stood out, triggering a concerned response. Standing in front of the house door, he turned, and began inspecting the interior of the porch; floor, support posts, ceiling, and turning gave the same scrutiny to the house walls, windows, the door, and back to the ceiling!

It was the ceiling catching his attention; not the entire ceiling, but one corner where the porch attached to the house; a cornice piece specifically! His sharp eyes spotted a small, pencil-eraser sized black spot; a spot which looked unusual, a thing out of place, an anomaly, resembling the remnants of a mud-dauber wasp's nest. The spot was just out of reach so he picked the padlock the investigators placed on the house door, went into the kitchen, retrieved a chair, and placed it under the cornice so he could reach it.

A flick of his small pen-light revealed not a mud spot, but a small hole and a reflection of the light from his light within from a piece of glass. With some effort, he discovered the secret to removing the cornice, revealing a camera similar to a trail-cam concealed inside. The ca mera was much more sophisticated than those used by hunters and sold in sports stores, with lens definition stronger and clearer. Removing the camera and carefully reinstalling the cornice, he carried the camera to his pickup truck, fired up his laptop, and removed the SD card from the camera. The card was high capacity and would hold huge amounts of data.

The first few frames showed Peter's face and hand as he activated the camera, his exit from the porch to the yard, and finally his return to the house, retrieval of the chair, and carrying it inside. The man shut down the laptop, thought a moment, and decided the direction Peter's appeared to travel just might indicate another camera or cameras somewhere out in the yard or the perimeter, recording what happened at the house. If so, the combinations of data from the cameras would alert Peter's of anyone or anything which might enter his property in his absence.

After better than a half hour of diligent searching, he finally found a second camera concealed in a burr on the house-side of a big oak tree. Twisting the burr until it came off in his hand, revealing a similar camera only with a 5X lens, he removed it, replaced the burr, and took the camera to the truck. Deciding he's wait until later to view the SD card in it and do a more extensive review of the material in the first one he found, he spent the next hour diligently searching the interior of the house for any more. Finding none, he relocked the door, made a careful inspection to ensure he'd left no visible signs of his presence, left the property, and returned home.

The cameras lay on the table in front of him, garnering a careful inspection; small, expensive, foreign made, more likely used for spying on people rather than animals, and probably used for blackmail purposes. The one from the oak tree had a telephoto lens on it whereas the one from the porch not; however both contained properties making them relatively effective in low light situations.

Removing the SD card from the first and inserting into his laptop, he verified what he'd noticed the first time he looked at the contents; the card was full! He began scrolling through the pictures, noting again Peter's activating the camera and going inside. The next series was of Jessie Sutton appearing on the porch and Peters, clad only in his briefs, inviting him inside. The next series proved the most interesting! Peters, nude with shit running down his legs, scrambling through the house door, a frantic, terrified look on his face, a wolf appearing, and as Peter's left the porch, the wolf shifted into a very naked, handsome Jessie Sutton!

"Amazing!" he said aloud, talking to himself, "Absolutely fucking amazing!"

The teen boy was a "shifter," something he'd suspected, but was never able to really verify. The lad gave no indication, no sign, didn't even have a canine smell about him as dogs or regular wolves do, nothing which would indicate he was anything other than a normal teenage boy!

Another short series of frames revealed another wolf dash in the door while Sutton stood watching whatever was happening in the yard. Peter's suddenly appeared on the porch, a wolf's head poked at his ass, Sutton shifted to wolf form again, Peter's was on the floor, Sutton was a human again, and a group of teen boys stood around him watching him die. Carlson and the Bower's girl appeared on the porch. He was able to identify all of the teens in the photos as Jessie Sutton and the rest from "The Pines" where Campbell and Associates lived and worked.

The big surprise came when Eric Trempealeau appeared on the porch and in the series that followed, showed him in conversation with the teens, Carlson, and, eventually, with law enforcement.

"I'll be double-fucked!" he snorted, "the old bastard knows!" and made a mental note to be careful what he said around him.

The rest of the data on the SD card was of all of the activity of the investigation.

The second camera's SD contained Peters activating and a number of pictures of deer, a bear, and a couple of wolves walking toward the house. The next series of images were of Sutton arriving, going inside, and a wolf pack gathering in the yard and shifting to human; Peters out of the house, running to the teen boys, one places his hands on Peters' back, Peters back on the porch, and the entire group of now naked teens standing around him. Trempealeau drives up and the rest of the SD card is full of the investigation, except for the very last image, evidently taken early one morning just before dawn.

Off in the trees, quite some distance from the camera, to the left of the house, was a very faint, grainy image of what appeared to be a very large adult wolf! Enlarging and enhancing the image did little to confirm it, so it was either real or just an optical illusion! Either way, he saved the image.

Shutting down his laptop, leaning back in his chair, he thought a moment, nodded his head affirming his decision, and picked up his phone. Instructions received, he hung up and began making plans to destroy the house when the conditions were right. If there was anything left in it which might lead to hindering him in what he had to do, he wanted it obliterated with no trace of his or the wolves activities there.

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