- 71. The Fog
*** Zane*** “Are the canisters in place?”
“Yes, for the umpteenth time, Toran! They are!” Taryn groans. “Would you stop questioning my abilities? You insult me,” she huffs.
Toran rolls his eyes at her but the hint of a smile on his lips tells me he enjoys pestering his little sister. The Alpha then turns to Tylen and I, taking a deep breath to gather all of his thoughts. He takes a utility belt and an armlet with a built–in pouch and explains the tools within them.
Opening a pouch on the belt, Toran pulls out small metal beads and holds them between his thumb and forefinger
“These are silver beads. They are coated with a thin layer of aluminum to allow you to hold them. Give these to Tylen if there‘s an attack. He will charge them and when they detonate, they‘ll release silver shrapnel that will do some serious damage.”
He points to a number of small grenade–looking things on the belt. “These contain silver nitrate and wolfsbane gas,” Toran explains. “Useful for providing cover.”
ety, toss, and run. This s**t travels and it burns if it touches you.” Tylen interjects. One by one, Toran explains all the contents of the belt. “And one more thing,” he adds, his voice growing very serious. “Do not, under any circumstances, enter the water.” Tylen and Taryn nod in agreement with the Alpha.“ There are guns positioned within the cliffs all around the islands that shoot pellets containing magnesium and silver nitrate into the water. Upon contact with the water, the magnesium and silver explode and you do not want to be anywhere near when that happens. We also have canisters in the surrounding water containing pressurized silver nitrate, wolfsbane, and nightshade. The gas is extremely poisonous and we only have a handful of antidote vials available.” He pulls out two preloaded syringes from his pocket and puts them in my armlet. “I pray you never need this but this is the antidote. The guns and canisters are motion–sensored so DO NOT ENTER THE WATER.”
“Also remember, your only job is to protect the bunker. No matter what happens, you stay on the bunker island. We‘ll handle the rest of the islands,” Taryn explains. “Anyone who tries to get into the bunker is killed on sight. No questions asked.”
Inod silently, Toran lost in thought for a moment. “Are we done with the sermon?” Tylen snaps, turning on his heel. “If so, we better get moving.” “Tylen,” Toran calls out, Tylen pausing by the door. “Be careful son.” “I don‘t need you looking out for me,” Tylen snaps, Toran doing his best to remain calm. “Zane, let‘s go.”
The tension in the room is uncomfortable, but Toran lets the disrespect slide, very likely worrying about more pressing matters.
“Goddess be with you,” Toran says to us before turning to his sister and getting back to work planning out the last details of their attack.
It‘s a simple blessing, but having never heard those words from my own father, I find myself standing a little taller as I turn to leave.
Trush to keep up with Tylen as he storms out of the meeting room, walking past several soldiers who salute him on his way out. Once out of the house, we make our way towards the northern part of the island covered in dense forest. I feel my heart rate accelerate as we maneuver our way through the thick trees until we reach an unassuming stone formation.
Tylen lifts a small stone and a secret passageway reveals itself within the ground. “Let‘s go,” Tylen sighs. “The faster we get to the bunker, the better.” Tylen leads the way in and I follow him into the darkness, doing my best to stay focused and remain calm.
“You‘ll be fine,” Tylen mutters as we walk through the dark passageway. “We shouldn‘t get much action on the bunker island.”
He says nothing more, the silence allowing my mind to drift off to my Talia and our pup. I hope they are sleeping
peacefully together. I hope they are okay. I think of my moms too and how they must be feeling right now with us gone. I don‘t know Tylen but I hope he treats Agnes well. She‘s had enough heartbreak to last a lifetime.
“l–is Toran g–good to my mom?” I blurt out, anxiously waiting for Tylen‘s reply.
Thear the hesitation in Tylen‘s footsteps when I ask the question and it makes me nervous that I may not want to know the answer,
“He treats her like a queen,” Tylen replies after a long pause. “She‘s always safe with him.”
“1–1 see,” I sigh in relief knowing my mother was not in pain all these years with Toran. “I–I was just wonder–wondering since y–you and y–your dad are… Well m–my father… u–used to hu–hurt us,” I say, growing very nervous with the direction of this conversation. “I–I just thought may–maybe he hurts y–you too.”
Tylen heaves a long tired sigh. “My father is a complicated man…” Toran says. “He‘s not abusive… but for an intelligent man, he‘s an i***t someti–”
He stops mid sentence, holding his hand up so l halt in my tracks. We go still, listening to the sounds of the tunnel,
“f**k!” Tylen snarls, grabbing me by the collar of my shirt and dragging me deeper into the tunnel. “Radar picked up Scarlett Haven‘s movement about a mile off our coast. A thick fog has rolled in over the islands so our drones won‘t see jack s**t for the next few hours. We‘ve been moved to the western island closest to the harbor. That‘s the expected entry point for Sebastian‘s ambush. We‘ll head to the watch tower and keep an eye on the shoreline until the fog clears up.”
Tylen keeps us close to the walls of the tunnels, muttering ‘Where is it? Where is it‘ to himself. He breathes a sigh of relief when he finds a closet door in the tunnel equipped with gas masks.
“Here, take this,” he instructs, handing me a mask. He digs further into the closet, finding a trunk at the very back. He pulls out two rifles and hands me one of them. “Just in case,” he says. “They are loaded with silver bullets, so we should be good to go. Stay close to me,” he instructs, leading me once more down the tunnel.
We reach a four–way intersection, Tylen pushing me towards the western tunnel. After what seems like an eternity, we finally see the exit and I shield my eyes from the blinding light. When we resurface, a thick layer of fog covers the entire island.
_ “This way,” Tylen shouts after examining a compass. “The tower is this way.”
I grow nervous as we travel on foot through the fog for a while, but Grayson keeps me sane with his stupidity.
“Hold onto your fanny pack, hooman. We might need your little balls,” he says sarcastically
Not long into our sprint, we find the watchtower hidden between two large trees. It is a tall wooden structure resembling a small bird house with a ladder running up the side. We climb into the box and find it equipped with a table, a trunk of supplies, and a siren. Tylen unlocks the metal trunk glued to the floor of the tower and pulls out a large telescope, setting it up so it faces the waters just beyond the main island. He then hands me a set of binoculars.
“Keep your eyes on the water surrounding the main island. We are expecting a lot of movement soon,” Tylen instructs. From his pocket, he pulls out a radio and puts it on the table. “Comms with all the units. You don‘t have a mindlink with us so this is the next best thing.”
He sets it to channel two.
“Think about your family,” Tylen sighs, patting my back. “It helps to think of something important during a war. It makes it feel like your fight is worth something after all.”
My mind, however, wanders to my father, wondering what it will be like to face him now in these circumstances. We last saw each other after I was beaten and thrown out of the pack and now I‘m fighting a war against him and my former pack. It suddenly dawns on me that I will be fighting the soldiers I grew up watching as they trained.
Is it wrong that I don‘t feel any remorse for switching sides? I wonder. Scarlett Haven was never our pack. Grayson mutters. You don‘t have to feel anything towards them.
I ponder this thought a little more when I hear the hum of an engine just above us. Tylen seems to hear the humming too and we search the foggy skies for the source.
“I see it,” Tylen sighs, in annoyance. “It‘s just an agricultural aircraft. Probably got lost in the fog. There‘s a huge farm just south of there.”
Tylen turns back to the water but I keep searching for the plane until I finally have it in sight, I temporarily lose it
as it flies over the hood of the tower from the north west, but I rush to the other side of the tower and lean over the
A light stream of dust follows in its wake, and I stick my hand over the ledge to feel
As soon as the mist makes contact with my skin, my bare flesh begins to burn and I cry out in pain, clutching my arm protectively.
“F–fuck, it b–burns,” I groan, wiping the residue off my arm with my pants.
Tylen grabs my arm and inspects it carefully, lightly pressing around the scorched skin. His face pales when he accidentally touches some residue of the powder with his fingers and he yelps out in pain.
“S**t, that‘s silver chloride,” Tylen curses under his breath, grabbing the gas masks. “They‘re spraying us with silver. Put your mask on so it doesn‘t get into your lungs.”
He tosses me a mask and places his own mask on, checking mine to make sure it‘s on securely. I take some gauze from my medical kit and dress the wound quickly before rushing to the siren.
“No, don‘t ring,” Tylen snaps. “The soldiers will think it‘s time for battle and come running out. We need them to hide. I‘ll mindlink my father.”
Howls of pain start ringing out like sirens as the plane flies over the harbor and across the main island, dropping its load on its unassuming victims below.
“S**t!” Tylen mutters. “What do we do?” I ask, using my binoculars to search the main island.
“Nothing. Our only job is to stand watch and make sure no one gets through there,” Tylen says, pointing to the passage between the main island and ours. “Here,” he adds, handing me an assault rifle. Anything that moves in the water, kill it.”
practiced how to use the rifle all last night, but it‘s a different ball game when the target is alive and moving.
“Don‘t worry about being accurate. Just make them dance,” Tylen says, grabbing his own rifle and resting the butt against his shoulder.
mimic him, pointing my gun towards the water and letting my cheek fall against the stock. Tylen glances at me ––– from the side and pushes my elbow in.
“Arms down and elbows in,” he instructs and I nod, using the scope to survey the water. Through the fog, we see shadows of movement on the water. “Hold,” Tylen says, holding his hand up. “We don‘t want to give away our position.”
Silence fills the air as we watch the shadows move closer to the harbor on the main island, Tylen mindlinking the soldiers to prepare. We see the tip of a boat emerge from the mist and the once quiet waters come to life as the cliff Euns begin to fire the magnesium and silver nitrate pellets at the base of the boats.
Pieces of wood, metal, and smoke rise over the water, creating a dark cloud we can‘t see through. Several gas canisters release their poisonous mist but we hear no cries from the boats.
“T–there‘s no o–one in the b–boats,” I realize, Tylen and I exchanging glances.
Before we have time to process this discovery, gun fire erupts from the water below and a second wave of boats speed through the debris.
“Hold,” Tylen says, grabbing onto my shoulder as I prepare to aim. “Wait until they dock and start climbing the cliff wall. They‘re easier to pick off and our soldiers from the main island will start shooting. They won‘t know which direction we‘re coming from.”
Inod and we watch several small armed boats float into the harbor. A small platoon of Ravenstone wolves arrive, some in wolf form, others in human form with weapons, and they begin to fire at the intruders. Scarlett Haven wolves and humans jump out of the boats into the water, ready to engage in fight. Only a handful of canisters go off, most having detonated during the initial raid. We watch with rifles ready as the two sides meet in a bloody battle of bullets and canines, my finger resting on the trigger.
While the battle ensues at the harbor, several more boats move past it towards the nearest cliff. Their heavy artillery makes quick work to take out our guns positioned along the cliffs and they shoot grappling hooks onto the face of the cliff to climb it.
“Hold,” Tylen instructs, both of us focusing on the wolves scaling the rocky cliff. A number of armed Ravenstone
wolves peek over the cliff and begin to shoot down at the intruders, only to be met by gunfire from the group of Scarlett wolves remaining on the boats.
“Take out the shooters. We take out the shooters, our soldiers can take out the climbers,” Tylen explains.
I take a deep breath to calm myself down and look through the scope, aligning the crosshairs with my target, a shooter looking up from the base of the cliff, Squeezing the trigger, I follow the movement of my gun, the shot just grazing my target‘s ear. Meanwhile, Tylen aims perfectly and hits his target in the back of the head, killing him instantly
I aim again, this time my shot hitting my target in the neck. I fire several rounds, not all hitting my targets but creating the perfect cover for Ravenstone wolves shooting from the cliffs.
To my dismay, several Scarlett Haven wolves do make it past the warriors at the harbor and rush to the cliffs to help out their companions, attacking our soldiers on the cliffs.
“W–we should he–help,” I suggest, Tylen shaking his head.
“We are helping,” he snaps. “We are following orders. No matter what happens on the main island, we don‘t leave our post. We protect the bunker island. That was our direct order from the Alpha.”
He continues to shoot, taking out the remaining two shooters on the boats.
I want to argue that I do not take orders from him or Toran, when from the corner of my eye, I notice Taryn being cornered near the ledge of the cliff by three Scarlett Haven wolves. She appears to be wounded, her leg torn open and bleeding profusely as she limps to the edge. Just below her, a Scarlett Haven wolf is climbing up, only an arm away from reaching the top.
Ttap Tylen and point to his aunt, Tylen immediately aiming his gun at the wolves cornering her while I focus on the lone wolf climbing up. I miss the first two shots but am able to strike the wolf in the back, the wolf instantly plummeting into the water.
Looking up, I am able to see Tylen hit one of the wolves cornering his aunt in the shoulder, but before falling over, the soldier lunges at Taryn and drags her into the water with him.
Tylen‘s breath hitches as he watches his aunt collapse into the water, still struggling against the wolf who took her down. Tylen aims his rifle at the water but neither he nor I are able to get a clear shot in all the turbulence and fog.
A canister of gas goes off and we hear a howl coming from the water.
“W–We have to go help her!” I shout, setting down my weapons and climbing over the railing of the watchtower.
“Zane, get back here!” Tylen snarls as I climb down the ladder. “We got our orders. No matter what happens on the main island, we don‘t move! Do not take another step–“
Grayson pushes through to the surface as I reach the base of the tower. “I don‘t take orders from you.”