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David was sitting at his desk writing code when he heard a crash down the street. The normal street noises seemed to disappear and turned silent.
Abby, is that you? Where are you?
David jumped up from his desk and ran out of the house.
Abby, are you there? Can you hear me?
Getting nothing back from Abby, David ran down to Newport Way and looked both ways. He saw red lights shining down the street in the direction of the 900 where Abby was coming from. Oh God, Abby must have been involved in the crashing noise that he had heard. He broke into a run. As the street curved, he could see Abby’s car with a truck crushed into the side of it. The impact of the scene knocked the breath out of him. He felt panic start to rise and cloud his thoughts. David felt like he was going to be sick.
Get a grip. Panic doesn’t help anybody. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. David heard the sound of sirens off in the distance. He looked a little closer and noticed there was no blood anywhere. There were also no bodies.
“Abby is alive!” David shouted.
He looked closer at the accident scene and noticed the driver’s door has been ripped off the side of the car and tossed a few feet away. That was not something a normal human could do. He did not see anybody around that looked like they could have done that.
David yelled out, “Did anybody see what happened?”
There were not many people there. David saw someone pointing at the trees with a look of horror on their face. David headed off in the direction they had pointed. As he got past the tree line, things started to settle in his mind. Abby must have been abducted, but they could not be too far ahead. They could only have a ten-minute lead time at the most.
David called out in the language of the little people, “Root, if you can hear me, I need your help!”
He didn’t wait for a reply, but transformed into a coyote. He took a moment to get a good smell of the area. The unmistakable scent of Abby and of rotting flesh was in the air. He was on the right track and should be able to catch them. He took off running hard. He was following the scent as if it was painted on the forest in glowing mists. The normal wildlife of the forest scattered in his wake. They felt the intensity of his hunt and wanted to be anywhere but in his way. He weaved around trees and over fallen branches. David just let the animal instinct run his body. The predator nature that he never knew he had came to the forefront of his being. Only the hunt mattered. No one touched his mate. The woods were changing and he started to know where he was. His prey was getting closer. His prey was big and needed more than a coyote could bring to a fight. He changed into a jaguar mid stride and slowed down. The jaguar is an ambush hunter. He slowed down to a silent walk as he approached the area. He saw the mine up ahead, where he’d killed the undead before. There was no sign of the undead or Abby. He let out a roar of frustration and warning.
He heard a rustling from the bushes and swiped at it.
“It’s me, it’s me Root! Don’t hurt!”
David saw Root come out from the shadows and made a soft growling noise at him.
“Root see bad people. Hungry evil has mate. Don’t go there!”
David started to calm down and transformed back to his human self. He pointed at the mine. “Is that where they took Abby? How long ago did they go by?”
“Root see them take mate into evil place. You can’t go there, Protector die there!”
“What are you saying? Are you saying my Father died in that mine?”
“Yes, Protector father die there. You no go! You last of your line! You must protect us! Very bad there.”
“I must save Abby! I have to go. Tell me what you know about the place.”
“Strong Protector die there, you no strong yet. You no go.”
“I will be careful. Just tell me what you know about the place.”
“Long time ago Dogwood people live there. Many passages. Many dangers, but people smart and stay away from magic areas. Now evil lives there and hunts for magic. Evil brings out protectors of magic. Protectors keep out Dogwood People and evil. You no go. People need you. Find another mate. Root help find other mate. Maybe you like fire head woman. Maybe take Kat as mate instead.”
“It’s okay, Root. I am not my father. I will get Abby back and protect your people.”
“Yes, you cat, bird, dog, but Protector was big warrior cat.”
“Not every fight is won by strength. Thank you for your help. I’ll be back.”
David was scared by the thought that his father was not up to the challenge, but he had no choice. He was not going to abandon Abby. They must want something from him. They could have killed Abby back at the car. They did not show restraint before. It would be nice if he had his gun or weapons, but it was too late for that now. If his monster-hunting father had failed, maybe weapons and strength were not the answer now.
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