Prey Universe AU (Ezra, Seven)
Notes: Prey was a short-lived TV program that I really enjoyed. I take no claim whatsoever in creating this AU. I guess you could say Im borrowing it for my own purposes. However, Im not using any of their original characters, just the idea. No infringement intended.
Important, Please Read: Im ending this story the same way the series ended, and for the most part I follow the original plans of the Prey series. The MC was a character named Tom Daniels, and Ezra is going to take on his role (grin).
Disclaimer: Prey is owned and created by William Schmidt and Warner Bros.
Special thanks to: Antoinette and Katherine youre just awesome!!
Please send comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Steven Travis entered his home and tossed his keys on the kitchen table. He had finished with his research for tomorrows story in the paper, but how was he supposed to write it? Hed just witnessed the execution of Dale Harper a killer unlike any other. Steven had covered Harpers career as a serial killer, and unlike any murderer hed ever written about, this man had enjoyed slaughtering for the pure pleasure of it. The only motive he had was to kill: to take a life that wasnt his, to murder for the enjoyment of it. It had taken three doses of the lethal injection to finally end Harpers life. That in itself had never been heard of.
You all right? Mary asked, turning on the light in the kitchen.
Steven shook his head. He wasnt all right. Can you do something for me? he asked softly.
Anything, she responded, taking a step closer to him.
Dr. Jackson is doing the autopsy on Harper tomorrow
And? she pushed.
I asked him to do a genetic test, Steven answered, looking up at his wife.
Why? Mary asked, trying to suppress a chuckle.
He Steven paused, trying to find a way to explain Dale Harper, he wasnt human, Mary.
Steven, she sighed, youve been working too hard. Take a few days off from work Keifer will understand. This whole situation has been taxing on you.
Thats the same thing Nathan said to me, he sighed, before heading up to their room.
Dr. Nathan Jackson looked over Dale Harpers blood work for the umpteenth time. Something was wrong. Hed actually laughed when Steven Travis had asked him to do a genetic test to discover if the murderer was even human. For reasons Nathan didnt understand, or wasnt privileged to, he went ahead and complied. After three tests, all of them the same, the results were highly unexpected.
Nathan slumped back in his chair and stared at the computer screen. Harpers DNA was 1.6; in laymens terms, it was the difference between humans and monkeys. The significant difference, however, was that Harper looked exactly like a normal human being only he wasnt.
Could it be possible? Nathan thought, a new species of man. His computer read out told him it was possible three different times and all three tests had the same result. He jumped when he heard a knock at his door.
Everything all right, Brother? Josiah Sanchez asked, entering into the doctors office.
Nathan flipped off his computer screen and nodded. Fine, he said softly, everythings fine.
Josiah looked around the MEs office and sighed: You sure?
Nathan nodded and stood up, grabbing his coat in the process. I finished Harpers autopsy, he said casually.
Really? Josiah questioned. What did you find?
He was murdered, Nathan replied, shaking his head.
Josiah slapped his friend on the shoulder and headed out of the office.
The saloon was quiet for a Friday night and the few people there sat at the bar watching the game on the TV that was positioned in the corner. The smell of cheap cologne, smoke, and alcohol filled the air. The bartender continued to dry out the beer glasses while rooting for his team.
Josiah sat at the table with Nathan and waited for their friends. Their Friday night poker game, a weekly ritual, was scheduled for seven. Beer spattered over the edge of the pitcher as the bartender casually placed the loaded tray on the table. Glasses clanged together, but the older man didnt seem to notice his team was winning.
Nathan reached out and poured himself a glass and then filled one for Josiah. You ever think about evolution? he asked, leaning back in his chair.
In what sense of the word? Josiah asked, looking toward the door.
Nathan shrugged: Do you think that man has stopped evolving?
Thats a hard question to answer, Josiah said, to say that weve stopped evolving is in essence saying weve stopped growing or learning. He stopped when he noticed Nathan chuckle. What?
I meant, biological.
Josiah laughed: Youre the scientist.
Hey, Doc Josiah, Buck Wilmington said, grabbing a seat at the table. He scratched his dark mustache and reached for a glass of beer. This here is JD Dunne, he motioned to the younger man who quickly seated himself, he transferred in from Boston.
JD stuck his hand out and shook the mens hands, his long black hair falling into his face hiding his youthful brown eyes.
That there is Nathan Jackson: hes the Medical Examiner. Josiah Sanchez, former FBI, now workin for the department as a head shrink, Buck said with a chuckle.
Think youll like workin in a small town, JD? Josiah asked, passing the pitcher of beer closer to the newcomers.
Oh, yeah, he replied.
Kids the youngest detective in the department.
Thought Peterson was up for that position? Josiah asked.
Buck shook his head: Chris had a fit about it. Didnt want to work with the man so Travis told Chris that if he wanted another dick on the force hed have to find one. He laughed. JD was the only response, so Chris hired im.
You got family, JD? Nathan asked.
The kid shrugged his shoulders. My mother passed away last year and I never knew my father, he admitted.
What made you decide to come out here? Nathan pushed.
My captain at the precinct told me about the job opening and he thought itd be a good opportunity for me, JD said, grabbing a tortilla chip and dunking it into the salsa. Always wanted to come out west.
Everyone looked up when Chris grabbed a chair and sat down at the table. He nodded to the others and took a deep breath. You all get introduced? he asked, looking from JD to Josiah and Nathan.
Yep, Buck answered, pulling out a deck of cards. He passed them to Josiah who quickly started shuffling and dealing. Ante up, kid, he said, tossing a dollar on the table.
So whats it like around here? JD asked, arranging his cards.
Pretty quiet, compared to other towns of this size, Josiah replied.
And a hundred miles from nowhere, Buck chuckled, at times feeling slightly confined.
Chris tossed his cards on the table when his beeper went off. Shit, he swore, so much for quiet. He stood up and looked around the table. Buck, JD, he motioned for them to follow, looks like weve got another homicide.
JD tossed his cards down and followed the other two men out of the bar. Nathan watched them go. He was hoping to get home tonight and get a good nights sleep. Now, however, hed have an autopsy to perform. Josiah stood up and grabbed his coat.
Well, Brother, the big man sighed, looks like well all be busy tonight.
The body of Steven Travis lay on the cold steel table, staring up at nothing. Only a light blue sheet covered him. Hed been murdered, shot in the back of the head execution style. Nathan looked at the body. Hed known Steven, not well, but hed known him. And now, he was supposed to perform an autopsy.
Sometimes he hated his job.
Mary Travis tried desperately to maintain her composure, but she was failing. How was she supposed to talk to Chris about the death of her husband now? She couldnt even think, she couldnt remember, she could hardly speak.
Chris watched her with the experienced eye of a detective. He knew Mary, and hed known Steven. The newspaper reporter had been writing about crime in the city of Four Corners for as long as Chris could remember. After all, Chris was the leak to many of the stories Steven had written, and as a result, helped solve many a crimes.
I told him to take some time off from work, Mary said softly, wiping her eyes.
Why? Chris asked, focusing all of his attention on her.
Hed come home after watching Harpers execution, and he seemed so distant. He even said that he asked Dr. Jackson to do a genetic test on Harper, she said the words as though she didnt believe them herself.
Chris brow furrowed and he nodded in understanding. Why would he ask something like that?
Mary shook her head and dabbed her eyes with a tissue. He said that Harper wasnt human.
Chris nodded and reached into his jacket and pulled out a card. If you remember anything, he paused looking up as Buck walked into the home, please give me a call, Mary.
Feds are here, Buck said, scratching the back of his neck. He knew Chris would be angry about the news. As far as the detective was concerned, the bureau couldnt catch a cold.
Detective Larabee? a man asked, reaching out to shake his hand. He pulled back when the gesture wasnt received.
Whore you? Chris asked abruptly, getting to his feet.
Special Agent Wicker, the man responded, his Southern accent filling the air. Though not easily intimidated, he knew when not to overstep his bounds, and obviously he wasnt welcomed. He looked around the inside of the home, branding everything into memory. His dark green eyes danced in the low light, his short chestnut hair and soft features made him look more like an actor than an FBI agent.
Isnt your presence a bit premature, Chris said, motioning for Buck and JD to step closer.
Im simply here to observe. He smiled, revealing a dimpled grin and a gold canine tooth.
Fine, Chris snapped, just stay out of our way.
If youll excuse me, Mary said, and then quickly left the room. She could hardly maintain her composure.
Whatd you find? Chris asked, turning his attention to his men.
Not a damn thing, Buck replied, Crime scene is still goin over the garage with a fine tooth comb, but they havent found anything useful. Thompsons still lookin for prints, but he doesnt think hell find anything.
Okay. Chris nodded. Get back to the house and work on your reports. Im going to talk with Nathan, and get Josiah working on a psychological sketch. He looked over in the direction of the FBI agent and shook his head. He didnt want any difficulties to occur and usually the presence of the FBI meant difficulties.
Nathan looked up when his office door was opened. He knew who it was. He watched as Chris grabbed a chair and seated himself across the large desk that was covered with papers, reports, and files. Nathan grabbed the small plastic bag that held the bullet that hed retrieved from Stevens body, and handed it to Chris.
He was dead for at least an hour before Mrs. Travis discovered the body. Theres a muzzle impression with singing at the entry site. I didnt discover any signs of struggle, but he was on his knees at the time he was killed.
An execution style killing, Chris said under his breath.
I sent blood and urine to the lab for a drug test, but I dont think anything will be found.
Chris nodded and looked at the bullet that was contained in the bag. Whyd Steven ask you to do a blood work up on Harper? The question came strong and determined.
Nathan ran his fingers over his face and sighed. Hell, Chris, he paused, youre the one that caught the man and Steven was on your ass about him.
Harper killed six people, Chris said flatly.
Nathan cleared his throat: Steven asked me to do a genetic test because he didnt think the man was human.
He wasnt, Chris agreed, but out of curiosity he asked, Whatd you find?
I ran the same test three different times and came up with the exact same results, he paused, bringing up the test results on his computer screen. According to my findings, he wasnt human at least in the genetic sense of the word.
Chris shook his head not understanding the results he was seeing. What am I looking at?
Homo sapiens DNA is 1.5. Harpers is 1.6.
Its less that a point, whats the big deal?
The DNA of a monkey is 1.4, Nathan answered in disbelief, still shocked by the results.
What do you think it means?
I dont know.
Mary paced back and forth across the room, only occasionally glancing at the three detectives sitting at the large table. Steven recorded all of his conversations with Harper. When I listened to them, he never referred to himself as I or me she paused looking at the men, it was always us and we.
Mary, Chris started, I dont know what this has to do with your husbands murder.
Steven started asking questions too many questions. She threw her hands in the air. I think he was killed because of it.
Go home, Chris suggested. Your son needs you. Leave everything to us.
Im not afraid to pick up where my husband left off, Mr. Larabee, there was a hint of warning in her voice and everyone knew it.
Youre an entertainment reporter, Chris snapped, Dont do anything stupid, Mary.
Im going to the FBI, she stated, maybe Agent Wicker will help me, she retorted. Hastily, Mary picked up her purse and jacket and then stormed out of the room.
Shit! Chris snapped, getting to his feet. Buck, give Josiah and Nathan a call and get em down here. Im going with Mary before she starts running her mouth off.
Good luck, Buck replied sarcastically.
The offices where the government agencies were located werent in a federal building. The town wasnt large enough to warrant such a need. Despite that, the FBI and ATF were located on the seventh floor of Mesa Corporation, a banking firm that ran a billing agency and several other small businesses.
Chris flashed his badge, letting the security at the door know that the uncooperative blonde woman was with him. He grabbed Marys arm before she had a chance to enter the elevator. Slow down, he ordered, pushing the button to the seventh floor. At the rate youre going youll get kicked out before you have a chance to ask for help.
Im not getting any from you, she snapped, crossing her arms over her chest.
If you ask the FBI for help on this case youll get laughed out of the building, he responded, keeping his eyes on the door.
There is more going on here than youre willing to admit, she bit back. I want to know what.
Fine, Chris responded, motioning for her to exit the elevator as the doors opened.
Mary huffed past him and marched up to the front desk. I need to see Special Agent Wicker, she said, looking to make sure Chris had followed her.
Can I have your name? the desk attendant asked, grabbing his phone.
Detective Larabee, Chris answered for her.
Take a seat. Ill let him know youre here, came the sharp impatient response.
Mary moved past Chris and seated herself in the farthest chair. The detective just shook his head and moved to join her.
I understand your grief better than you think I do, Chris said softly, grabbing a magazine off the coffee table.
Perhaps, Mary responded, but you have a shitty way of showing it.
Chris smiled despite himself. He looked up when an older gray haired man stepped out into the waiting area.
Detective Larabee, the man said deeply, Im Agent Wicker.
Chris looked at the man in question. Was this some kind of a joke? He looked at Mary who was in shock. This wasnt the same person whod spoken with him on the night of Stevens murder.
Chris ran his hand through his hair, his mind racing for answers that werent there. I was told to come down here and see you about the death of reporter Steven Travis? he asked, hoping to find some kind of recognition.
I heard about his death, the agent admitted, but this isnt an FBI case unless, of course, youre in need of our assistance.
No, Chris answered. There must have been some kind of a mix up at the department.
In any case, Wicker said, pulling out one of his cards. If you need anything he let the statement hang, as he handed the card over.
Thank you, Chris said, taking the card and motioning for Mary to follow him.
What in the hell is going on here, Chris? Mary asked, as the elevator doors closed.
Chris rubbed his eyes, not knowing what to say. Dont say anything to anyone about this at least until I can get some headway.
Chris Mary protested.
I mean it! he snapped. Think about your son, Mary. If Steven was killed over this then whats to stop them from killing you.
Mary nodded: Harper wasnt human was he?
Not here, Chris responded, looking up. Someone might be watching.
Chris looked up when Josiah, Nathan, and another younger man stepped into the living room. Mary sat across from him, leafing blindly through the paper. Whos this? he asked, getting to his feet.
Vin Tanner, Josiah answered, and then introduced everyone. Vins a bounty hunter.
I dont think
Hes the best there is Josiah said confidently, if we need to find someone, hes the man well need.
Chris nodded: Okay, he said, believing in the older mans assessment.
Once they got seated at the large dining room table, Nathan handed out files for everyone to read through. Nobody seemed to notice the medical bag hed brought and rested close to his chair. As soon as the files were opened and glanced through, Chris stood up and cleared his throat.
Anything that is said in this room, stays in this room, the words were a warning, and everyone knew it. As far as I can tell he paused and looked at Mary, Steven Travis was killed because of something he was getting too close to. He was asking a lot of questions regarding the serial killer Dale Harper. Less than 24 hours after Harpers death, Steven was killed. We know he was murdered execution style with a small caliber handgun probably a derringer. Ballistics is still trying to run a match. However Chris paused unsure how he was going to continue, before Steven was killed, he asked Nathan to run a genetic test
Whats that? Vin asked, not understanding what the papers in front of him meant.
He asked me to run the test to discover if Harpers blood matched the DNA of humans, Nathan interjected. Now, at first, I thought the question was highly unusual, and frankly I thought Steven was crazy for even asking. But, after careful consideration, I went ahead with the test.
And? Buck pushed.
Harpers DNA was considerably altered from human DNA. After careful examination I discovered his blood carried 10 times the normal range of antibodies. His heart was 15% larger than humans, same with his lung capacity .
But he was human wasnt he? JD asked, trying to understand what was being said.
No, Nathan admitted, he wasnt.
Maybe it was a fluke a problem with the tests, Buck offered.
I ran the same test three times and every time the result was the same, Nathan responded. I dont believe hes the only one. I do believe he paused, that were seeing the beginnings of a new species of man.
Evolution, Josiah said softly.
So youre sayin that theyre not Homo sapiens, but something else? Buck questioned.
Homo genius, Nathan answered.
What did you mean when you said that he wasnt the only one? JD asked, looking around at the others.
I ran some tests with the blood that I had on file and everything came up normal, until Nathan paused, scratching his head, I ran my own. He looked at the others in the room. Im 1.6 as well.
So whats the big deal? Buck asked, getting to his feet.
Upon further examination into my genetic makeup, I discovered that my mother was a dominant a 1.6, if you will Nathan wanted to continue but he couldnt.
Nathans mother suffered from mental illness, Josiah said, folding his fingers together. She wasnt perfect or pure, if you want to refer to it in that manner. According to the records our brother has of his mother, she was abandoned at age two and adopted by a family in New York. After having four children, she committed suicide. He looked at his friend, knowing he was uncomfortable.
I was adopted, Vin spoke up, my ma adopted me when I was two. The similarities were eerie.
Species have a tendency to stay together. And all of us here have extraordinary qualities, but we all have our faults. Josiah looked at the men around the table. My strength, Nathans intelligence, Chris speed, Vins eyesight, and Bucks
Animal magnetism, JD joked, trying to lighten the moment.
Thats why I want to test everyone here, Nathan spoke up, reaching for his medical bag. The test isnt mandatory, strictly voluntary, he said, laying out the vials and needles.
Chris started rolling up his shirtsleeve. We need to know what were up against, he looked at Josiah, Can you come up with some kind of profile.
Ive listened to the tapes Steven made of his conversations with Harper and concluded that there is an underlining society that hasnt been recognized until now. Harpers constant use of we and us implies that there are more like him, and his society is in agreement with his actions.
To murder? JD asked, trying to understand.
Josiah nodded: But until we can find one of them that is willing to cooperate, all of our assumptions are just that assumptions.
So how are we going to find one of em? Buck asked, rolling down his shirtsleeve after Nathan had taken a sample of blood.
Mary stood up and retrieved a photograph out of a file shed had stashed. On the night of Stevens murder there was a camera crew here covering the news. I called a friend of mine and had him take a still off of the footage. She placed the picture on the table. Thats the man who claimed to be FBI.
Chris picked up the photograph and then watched as Vin allowed Nathan to take his blood. Though the image was slightly fuzzy, the man therein was definitely the FBI agent.
You think hes a dominant? Buck asked, Like Nathan said before?
Chances are good that he is, Chris answered. If these dominants can infiltrate the FBI theres no telling how far they are capable of going. More than likely hes not alone.
As soon as I know the results of the tests, Nathan spoke up, Ill start to work on a sedative thatll take him down.
Wont a regular one work? JD asked. I mean what if hes human. Wont a stronger one kill him?
Well make the decision when the time comes, Chris said. Until then, everyone remains quiet. Nobody and I mean nobody goes after him alone. He looked around the room making sure everyone understood the seriousness of the situation.
I want Billy tested too, Mary spoke up, turning her attention to the window, myself as well. She looked toward Nathan.
Bring him down to the hospital, and Ill take care of everything. Nathan counted the vials, five in all, and making sure they were all carefully labeled, he stuck them in his bag. I need all of you to fill out a medical history sheet, and get them to me as soon as possible. He handed out the packets containing several pieces of paper that had been stapled together. Dont worry about anything that you dont know well work that out later.
Everyone nodded in acceptance and looked toward the door when a small boy rushed into the house and threw his book bag onto the chair.
Billy the door, Mary scolded, with a chuckle.
Mary shut the door to her sons room after making sure he was tucked in and asleep. She smiled to herself, thinking about her son and her husband. She turned the hall light off and headed for the kitchen for a late night snack. She hadnt taken Chris advice and let him handle the situation. How could she? Shed made some calls and dug deeper into Stevens contacts, but shed come up short. Nothing made sense and she hoped, with all her might, that Billys and her blood work came back normal.
She reached up to turn the light off after making a sandwich and saw the cold steel of a gun pointed in her direction. She screamed, dropping her plate, sending it crashing to the floor and backed away. She couldnt see his face, but she could see his eyes. Shed seen those eyes before, on the night of her husbands death. The man whod claimed to be an FBI agent. It was him, hiding in the shadows with a gun pointed at her. Please, she pleaded, not wanting to die. Billy! she cried out, when her son rushed towards her wrapping his arms around her waist.
When Mary looked up, the man was gone.
Chris looked at the test results. He couldnt believe it. He and the others were dominants. He gazed at the men sitting around him, unsure of what to say, not sure how to tell them. What did this mean? What could they do? Thankfully, Mary and Billys blood work had come back normal, whatever normal meant.
Josiah stood up and cleared his throat. He knew. He was there while Nathan ran the tests; he was there profiling them, profiling the men he considered friends and brothers. We all came back positive, he said, looking from Vin to Buck and then JD.
What? came the collected question.
As it turns out, Nathan started, JDs is the only one whose blood work came back 1.5. However, after a closer examination, hes still developing, and in a matter of two or three years he will be 1.6.
Why is it taken so long for the kid to develop? Buck asked.
JD said that he didnt know his father and his mother died of cancer leukemia to be exact. After further examination of Harpers blood, I discovered that dominants have a natural immunity to diseases of the blood, Nathan responded, looking at the kid, which means his father was a 1.6.
What about the rest of us?
Vin and Chris are the only ones whose parents were both dominants. Chris was adopted when he was three and a half, probably abandoned by his birth parents because of a hormone deficiency in the brain, which controls the bodys ability to reject addictive agents such as alcohol, caffeine, and even chocolate. Vin was adopted when he was two, more than likely abandoned because of his dyslexia. Josiah paused while everyone absorbed the information.
But at age two, how is someone going to tell if a kids got dyslexia? Buck asked.
My guess is that dominant children develop faster than human children, and when Vin failed to accomplish what he was supposed to, same with Chris, his natural parents abandoned him.
Why abandon them why not kill them? Buck asked.
Nathan shook his head: I dont know.
What about the rest of us? JD asked, looking to Josiah for an answer.
Bucks mother was a prostitute, and she died of a drug overdose and no abnormalities were discovered in her autopsy, Nathan answered, so Bucks father was the dominant.
What about Josiah? Vin asked, tossing his Coke can into the garbage.
Mental illness also runs through my family, more than likely on my mothers side. She was adopted when she was a child as well, Josiah answered, looking around the room.
So what does this mean? JD asked.
We need to find one of the dominants who are within the community, find out what their plans are, or if they even have one, Chris said, getting to his feet. I want to find this guy. He tossed the picture Mary had managed to get onto the desktop. I want to know if hes one of them and what he knows.
How do you intend to catch im? Vin asked, his interest now spiked.
Anyway we can, Chris answered.
Vin loaded the tranquilizer dart into the long-range rifle. The weapon, though similar to the ones hed used in the army, wasnt nearly as heavy but it seemed more advanced. He peeked through the scope and looked out the window. The weapon felt good in his grasp and he was confident hed hit whatever he was aiming at.
If youre sure youve hit him the first time, Nathan said, dont hit him again. It may take some time for the morphine to reach his system, but it will work.
You sure its strong enough? Chris asked.
Tried it on Josiah last night, Nathan answered. Knocked him out for twenty minutes.
Josiahs a big man, Chris said, this guy he aint any bigger than Vin here. You sure it wont be too much?
Itll be fine, Nathan reassured.
Chris nodded in acceptance. Vin, youre with Nathan. Buck, you and JD take the car and keep to the back roads. Josiah and Ill try and fish im out.
How come youre so confident that were goin to find im? Buck asked, grabbing one of the tranquilizer guns.
Seems he showed up at Marys last night
What? Buck questioned, his voice harsh.
He pointed a gun at her, but, he shook his head, he didnt kill her. Im guessing that hes still around, close too.
Why didnt he kill her? JD asked.
Well have to ask him when we find him, Chris answered, grabbing the last gun and then heading out the door.
Hed failed in his mission and he couldnt go back. Failure was not an option. Hed killed before, but this time, it was different. This time there had been a child involved a child whod already lost one parent because of his kind. Didnt she realize what she was doing by asking all those questions? Hadnt her husband? What would it take to keep them quiet? Was the leader of his kind right in saying that the human race had to be annihilated?
Running a hand through his wet hair, he paused and looked up the road. Businesses were closing for the night. He sighed, wondering about his future. Not all of his kind was like him. Some of them had escaped the destination that was due them. Some of them had left to build their own lives, living like normal human beings, hidden within the norms of society. Others had stayed behind to fulfill their destinies.
Rain continued to pour out of the sky and he took a step forward, unsure of what lay ahead.
Chris folded the picture back into its original position and motioned for Josiah to follow him out of the bar. Nobody had seen the individual whose image lay captured on the piece of paper. It was as though he had never existed. Chris had used every resource available to him, and he still came up short.
Perhaps another night? Josiah said, stepping out onto the rain drenched sidewalk.
Hes here, Chris said confidently. Its just a matter of flushing him out. He reached into his coat pocket when his cell phone started ringing. Yeah, he answered, motioning for Josiah to get into the truck.
Theyd found him.
Vin tapped Nathan on the shoulder and pointed to an individual walking alone down the street. When the man stopped suddenly and turned in their direction, Vins suspicions were realized. It was him. The man took off at a run while Nathan and Vin jumped back into the old jeep.
Vin got the rifle ready while Nathan drove and contacted the others. They didnt want to lose him.
Turn here, JD! Buck yelled, grabbing hold of the dashboard.
JD took the corner hard and the wheels of the squad car squealed in response. They find im? he asked, placing more pressure on the gas pedal.
Yep, Buck answered, placing his cell phone back into his pocket. Should be right around here.
OH SHIT! JD screamed, slamming on his breaks.
Vin rolled down the window and brought the rifle up to his shoulder. It took only a moment for the hunter to seek his prey, and like a seasoned professional, he squeezed the trigger, hitting his target in the thigh. Got im, he said, carefully placing the weapon in the back seat.
Nathan slowed the vehicle down, knowing it would only be a short time before the man went down.
He felt the sting in his leg, but he continued to run. He never saw the car coming down the alley, only the pain that followed after being thrown up onto the windshield, the pop of his shoulder and the blood trickling down his face as he hit the ground.
Nathan threw the jeep into park and jumped out. He looked at the windshield of the car JD had been driving and sighed. The man they were after had been hit hard, and Nathan only hoped he was still alive. He looked up when Chris truck pulled to a stop. The doctor then suddenly went down on his knees next to the form that lay crumpled beside to the front wheels of the car.
He alive? Buck asked, rushing to Nathans side.
Yeah, the doctor responded with a sigh. We should call an ambulance.
No, Chris said, stepping into the beam of light coming from his truck. We cant risk it.
If we move him it may cause further damage, Nathan protested.
Ill take responsibility, Chris responded, squatting down next to them. We cant risk it. His eyes said what his words couldnt. There was no telling what could happen if they involved the community.
Then you move him, Nathan snapped. I wont have any part!
Brother, Josiah said, stepping into the light. He looked around, thankful that nobody had seen them. How would it look, a bounty hunter, four members of the local police department, and a doctor, kidnapping a citizen? Nobody would understand. People wouldnt accept that kind of behavior from them. Lets get him out of the rain, he said, kneeling down next to the mans shoulder.
Nathan stood up. He knew the possibilities of what could happen if they moved him. Watch his neck, he warned, as Josiah carefully maneuvered himself under the mans shoulders, while Chris got under his knees. Put him in the truck under the canopy, Nathan said, grabbing his medical bag out of the jeep.
Buck pried JD out of the car. The kid was still shaking, fearing that hed killed the man they were after. Buck forced him into the passenger seat of the jeep and then shut the door.
He all right? Nathan asked with concern.
Think hes in shock, Buck answered honestly.
Get him out to Chris. Ill check him there. Nathan headed for the back of the truck where Josiah was trying to make the stranger comfortable.
Vin grabbed some blankets out of the back of the squad car and tossed them to Josiah who quickly formed one into a pillow and used the other as a blanket. Chris shut the tailgate and moved to the drivers side of his truck.
Vin, he looked at the bounty hunter, can you drive the car, follow me to my place?
Vin nodded and then quickly jogged over to the squad car. He kicked the broken windshield out so he could see, and then started the engine. Despite the rain, he followed Chris, knowing they had to get off the streets in a hurry before someone saw them or worse, questioned them.
The home was small but elegant and the one-time touches of a womans hand were evident in the décor. Though it had been some time since itd had a thorough cleaning, cobwebs now embraced the silver candlesticks and photographs on the fireplace mantle. Ashtrays and remnants of cigarettes littered the end tables on either side of the sofa. Magazines and videos, all haphazardly placed around the entertainment center, sat unused and unread.
The house reeked of cigarette smoke and stale beer, but it wasnt dirty. Not in the sense that the homeowner was a slob, but it appeared that the home wasnt lived in and hadnt been for some time. Even the remnants of a childs game still rested on the floor next to the bookcase, a game that had been stopped abruptly and never finished. The green peg had been winning.
Chris clenched his jaw when Josiah grabbed the afghan that had been lying across the back of the recliner. He didnt say anything, but he wanted to. He watched as the big man threw the blanket over the prone form on the sofa, while Nathan bandaged the long gash just below the mans hairline.
He all right? Chris asked, moving closer to where Buck sat with JD.
Im fine, Chris, JD reassured. I just
You did fine, JD, the tall blonde emphasized. You handled yourself well.
JD nodded but continued to watch Nathan look the man over.
Youre goin to have to hook all this shit up, Nathan, Vin said, stepping away from the computer and scientific equipment.
Ill do it, JD offered, needing to get his mind off of things.
If you could get the laptop going, JD, Nathan spoke up, Ill hook up the rest when Im done here.
He goin to be okay? Chris asked, stepping closer to the sofa.
Nathan shook his head out of frustration. His BP is 40 and respirations are only 15 per minute, he spoke softly, not wanting the others to hear.
You think hes human? Chris asked, praying that he wasnt.
If he was human hed be dead, Nathan answered bluntly. Im going to take some blood just to make sure, but he paused, Im worried. He turned expressive eyes up at Chris.
The physiology of a dominant is different and I dont know what is normal for his our bodies. Im a medical examiner, not an ER doctor and he could have internal injuries. Nathan shook his head. Josiah didnt react this harshly to the tranquilizer. Ive bandaged and stitched the gash on his head, but I want to wait until he wakes up before checking him over for further injuries.
Youre doing great, Nathan, and we need you, Chris said softly. Itll work out.
Josiah sat quietly, watching the form beneath the blankets. He could hear the others talking quietly to Nathan as he ran the genetic test. Was this stranger a dominant? Could he tell them what they needed to know? Does he know anything? And would he share it if he did?
Josiah reached out to place his hand on the mans forehead and was shocked when he violently pulled back. He was met with sharp green eyes and a look that revealed nothing. The stranger moved to sit up on the sofa, and looked around the room, before turning his attention back to the man sitting across from him.
Nathan, Josiah said softly.
Who are you and what do you want? came the accent filled question. He pushed himself further away from the large man, careful not to jar his shoulder.
Im Josiah Sanchez, came the calm voice. You were hit by a car.
Chris looked up from Nathans paperwork when he noticed the stranger was awake. He motioned for Buck and the others to look over, before getting to his feet.
Whats your name? Chris asked, stepping up behind Josiah.
Detective Larabee, the man said softly, might I presume that the consequences for kidnapping is the same for an officer of the law?
You tell me youre the FBI agent, Chris replied sarcastically.
Whats your name? Josiah asked softly, not wanting to aggravate the situation.
What do you want with me?
Are you a member of the new species? Chris asked flatly.
The man chuckled and ran his fingers through his hair. He paused when he felt the bandage and squinted when he felt the pain that followed.
Whats your name, son? Josiah asked again, his voice firmer this time.
Im not your son, came the short quipped reply.
Josiah didnt miss the cold steel in those eyes when the words were spoken. Nor did he miss the tension that seemed to thicken in the room. Okay, he said softly. But whats your name?
The room went still, allowing even the softest sounds to be heard. Nathan stood up, the results of the blood test in his hand, and walked over to where Chris stood. Buck, JD, and Vin followed. For reasons they didnt understand, they all felt as though the man sitting cornered on the couch would strike out and at nobody in particular.
Whats your name, or Ill place you under arrest for impersonating a government official, Chris warned, crossing his arms over his chest.
Or we could just beat the livin shit out of ya, Buck commented casually, not bothering to hide his smile.
With or without your car? the man questioned. He turned his head slightly: Someones here, he said softly, looking toward the door.
Chris started to shake his head to disagree, but stopped when he heard the doorbell.
Shes alone, the man said, focusing his attention back toward the man sitting in front of him.
Chris looked in Nathans direction and he shook his head. He didnt understand either. Quickly, Chris moved across the room and opened the door, finding Mary waiting impatiently outside. She wanted answers for her husbands death. She moved inside without an invitation and looked questionably at the man sitting cornered on the sofa. His legs were still covered with blankets and his shirt was untucked and wrinkled around his upper body.
Mary looked at the man a long minute and then spoke, Did you kill my husband?
The man turned his eyes from Mary and toward the door.
Did you? Mary snapped, becoming more agitated. Why didnt you kill me?
Perhaps I should have.
Marys face visibly paled and she looked up as her arm was grabbed. Chris forced her into a chair. Dont move, he ordered, moving back to his original position behind Josiah. I dont know what kind of a game youre playing but I dont want any part of it.
Youre in it whether you like it or not! the man snapped, carefully getting to his feet. He held his left arm against his body, not wanting to jar it.
Whats that supposed to mean? Buck asked, taking a defensive step forward.
It means youre just like me the boy, however, wont reach maturity until his 27th year.
How do you know this? Nathan asked, wanting to understand.
Its a sense, he snapped, getting flustered. The pain in his shoulder was increasing as muscles and tendons demanded relief. He backed up against the wall, feeling like a cornered animal.
What do you mean? Nathan asked, his scientific mind rushing over the possibilities.
Just what I said, he quipped, Its like a smell or sight, even touch.
How come we dont have it? Chris asked, watching the scene intently.
You do, he responded, but you havent been trained to use it!
We want to help you, Josiah said, stepping forward.
The man stared at him in disbelief. You want information, which youll not get from me.
Nathan grabbed hold of Chris shoulder before the man could take a threatening step forward. Let me take a look at your arm, the doctor spoke softly, trying not to be aggressive.
Its fine, came the defensive reply. He took a step back, working his way into the corner of the room.
Its only going to be a matter of time before someone else discovers who you and your kind are, Chris said casually, grabbing a chair and sitting down. If you let us well help, otherwise
You have no idea, the man said in disbelief, looking at the individuals in the room.
You tell us your name, let Nathan fix your shoulder and you can leave. Chris picked up an old package of cigarettes and pulled out a smoke. He tapped it on his knee and then lit the end, inhaling the thick smoke into his lungs and releasing it through his nose. JD, Ive got some beers in the fridge, you mind getting them? He leaned back and pulled another drag.
Got any food? Vin asked, pausing at the seat Chris was in.
Cupboard next to the sink, the detective answered.
Nathan grabbed his medical bag and slowly made his way towards the individual who had managed to trap himself in a corner. Josiah sat on a chair next to the sofa, watching intently. Buck leaned against the fireplace mantel, not sure about his own thoughts. He looked towards Mary, who picked impatiently at her cuticles.
I just want to look at your shoulder, Nathan said softly, approaching the man as though he were a skittish colt.
Ezra, he paused, my father named me Ezra. He said the words as though he didnt quite believe them, but at least hed said his name.
What about your last name? Chris pushed, watching as Nathan carefully pulled back Ezras shirt exposing his dislocated shoulder.
Standish, came the gasped reply, as Nathan quickly and efficiently forced the bone back into its socket.
Nathan took a step back as his patient moved forward, and like an animal released from a trap he moved across the floor with ease. He grabbed his jacket that had been removed and quickly put it on.
So, Ezra Standish? Chris questioned, Am I goin to have to arrest you, or kill you, next time I see you?
Ezra turned: I dont know, he answered honestly, but youll have to get in line. He disappeared out the door and was gone into the night.
Chris ran his fingers through his hair. Whatd we learn? he asked nobody in particular.
More than I thought we would, Josiah answered, looking through the doorway.
Ezra entered his home and looked around. There wasnt any furniture or belongings of any kind, except a small narrow black rectangular object that was used as a bed. A pattern had been cut into the top, allowing light to elevate up towards the ceiling. The bed hadnt been made for comfort, but rather, efficiency.
The small town was well lit, despite the fact its residents had gone home for the night. Rain continued to pour out of the sky; the sound became mesmerizing, causing Ezra to lean against the window frame overlooking the small hamlet.
Hed been caught.
It would only be a matter of time before the news spread and Jones would come after him. Having first failed in his mission, and then getting caught by Chris and his men, would only mean that hed be taken, if not killed, and then retrained. Our training is our only link to survival, the words echoed in his brain like the dull sound of a hammer striking a nail. If it was assumed that he was a traitor to his kind, his demise was inevitable.
Chris sat at the table and watched Nathan work on his computer, running test after test. Buck had taken JD home, and then the ladies man went off to be with one of his lady friends. Josiah sat across from the detective, writing, researching, and in general, profiling. This time, however, he wasnt profiling a man he was profiling a community.
Way I see it, Vin said, finishing off his beer, dont see what the big deal is. Hell, we cant be the only species on earth thats capable of murder.
But we are, Josiah said, or we used to be. He put his pencil down and cleared his throat. The discovery of a new human species is not something that is going to be taken lightly. It proves the theory of evolution, and it complicates every science known to mankind.
Whether or not this discovery is something thats going to get published or plastered on national news, we need to find out why these so called clans willingly give up their children, and just how many of them are killers. Chris tapped the tabletop with his fingernails and sighed.
Obviously, Josiah started, we know that these clans are educated, perhaps trained is a better word, in skills that we dont understand. We know they exist and we know theyre capable of murder.
Why didnt you arrest Standish for Travis murder? Vin asked, resting his elbows on the table.
He never admitted to it and I dont have anything to hold him on, Chris answered flatly.
Unlike the rest of us, Nathan interjected, his blood gases and red cell count are perfect. His immunity is higher than Harpers was, and his blood type isnt one Ive ever seen before. Its similar to AB negative, but its not. He looked hard at his computer screen. And his immune system is off the charts.
Could that be a result of eating habits? Chris asked.
No, Nathan admitted, Its more of a result of his culture: where he grew up, the types of illnesses he was exposed to as a child and any antibodies that are natural or introduced later.
So why dont the rest of us share em? Vin asked, not understanding.
We were all raised human, and therefore, follow more closely the culture we grew up with. Ezra wasnt, we learned that tonight. Josiah scratched his head, wanting more than anything to learn about this society, wanting to know about their philosophy and ways of life. Were they so different than everyone else? Like most societies there is probably a leader, someone who dictates what is going to happen and when. Since Standish didnt kill Mary he paused, thinking for a moment, he may be in danger, not only from our kind, but his own as well.
Nathan cleared his throat, still looking at his computer screen. Ten years ago, death rates increased 4% in patients that were given blood transfusions. He scratched his head. Standishs blood wasnt one of the types that humans are which could explain the deaths.
You mean in dominants? Chris asked.
Nathan nodded: In dominants that dont know theyre the new species a blood transfusion could be, and possibly is, fatal.
4% dont seem like much. Vin said, leaning back in his chair.
On the contrary, Nathan replied, its been steadily on the rise since then.
How could the difference not be caught? Chris asked, not quite understanding.
I only noticed the difference after closer examination. Most patients who require blood transfusions are tested with a standard type identifier.
How come you didnt notice it with us? Vin questioned.
Our blood is muted not as pure. Nathan looked up.
Which may explain why none of us were ever integrated into their society, Josiah said softly. Chris addiction to nicotine, my alcohol abuse, Vins dyslexia, JDs migraines, Bucks
Ego, Chris answered with a chuckle, putting out his cigarette.
And my familys history with suicide, Nathan answered, working things out in his head.
So youre sayin this Ezra character is perfect. Vin looked around the table with his brow furrowed.
No, Josiah answered, But hes within the norms that his society accepts.
Shit! Chris snapped, getting to his feet. We dont know anymore than we knew eight hours ago.
No, Brother, Josiah disagreed, we know a lot more.
JD entered the detectives office and looked at Chris and Buck who seemed busy with paperwork. The kid grinned from ear to ear and carried a small tray to the desk where the lead detective sat.
Whats up, JD? Chris asked, signing his name to some papers.
I went home last night thinking about everything that was said yesterday. He paused, too excited to continue. He placed the tray on the desk and stepped back as though the instruments would explain themselves.
Chris raised his eyebrows and looked at the kid: Whats this?
I snuck some surveillance equipment from the department last night and worked on this, he picked up a button and rested it on his finger. Its a bug, the kid whispered. When realization never came to Chris face, JD sighed. Look, we can plant this on Ezra and then listen to the people he hangs with you know, get to know his contacts.
You know where he hangs out? Chris asked sarcastically.
Its an idea, JD protested.
Chris pushed himself away from his desk and sighed. Its a good one, JD, but we dont know where to find him.
We can look like we did before.
We almost killed him last time, and I doubt hell be out in the streets again.
Need to do somethin, Buck responded, leaning against the wall.
You guys seen the news? Vin asked, bursting into the office. He looked quickly, capturing the sight of a TV and then turned it on.
Chris stood up and headed to where Vin was standing, trying to get the rabbit ears positioned so the news would come in clearly on the TV screen.
Whats goin on? Buck asked, filling his coffee cup with the sludge the department claimed was drinkable.
When the crawl came across the bottom of the screen, everyone watched. With their eyes glued to the screen, they never noticed Josiah enter the room and step up behind them. The crawl read: New Species of man identified in Four Corners, Oklahoma. New Species called Dominants are considered dangerous.
What the fuck! Chris snapped, looking around the room. He shut the TV off when the screen went fuzzy again and then he threw the pen hed been carrying against the wall.
Mr. Larabee, Commissioner Travis said, entering the office. Im assuming youve seen the news. His presence was undeniable. Though not a big man, he walked with an authority that demanded respect.Every move he made was intentional. Do you want to explain to me what is going on? My phone has been ringing off the hook for the past four hours.
I dont Chris started to say.
Dont try and bullshit me. I know what my son was working on before he was killed. I also know what his suspicions were.
You knew? Buck asked, taking a step forward, not sure if he understood what he was hearing.
Are his suspicions true?
Josiah cleared his throat and leaned against the front of Chriss desk. From what weve discovered it is true.
Orin took a deep breath and looked at the men surrounding him. You are? He looked at Vin.
Vin Tanner, Chris answered, hes a bounty hunter weve been working with.
What do you know about this new species? Travis asked, getting right to the point.
Not enough, Chris sighed, not nearly enough.
Howd the story get broken? Vin asked, grabbing the half eaten bag of M&Ms from JDs desk.
Doesnt matter, Travis responded, deniability is the only chance we have at keeping everyone from a panic. He grabbed a chair and seated himself. Ive sent Mary and Billy to Ohio until this gets settled.
She willingly left? Chris asked, slightly surprised.
I can be very persuasive when I want to be, Detective, Orin responded. However, she still plans on coming back and picking up where she left off. He leaned back and cleared his throat: I want to know everything and now.
Ezra poured the gasoline throughout his home, over the bed, onto the walls, and out onto the porch. He took a step back, wanting to look the home over, and then he lit a match. The fire ignited and the flames followed the path of fuel. It moved over the front steps like a slow stream of water; however, it was anything but.
Leaving with only the clothes on his back, Ezra slipped into his car. He didnt know where he was going, and he wouldnt get far. He knew that. He knew Jones wouldnt stop until he was found.
The road to his house was lined with trees, rocks, and an old fence that created the allusion of a maze. The place had been well hidden, just like the others just as it was supposed to have been. Though not far from town, it wasnt a place that was easy to find.
He pulled up to the mountain crest and looked out over the town. Slowly he got out, trying to soak in the cool night air. His wasnt the only home burning. He looked up when the motorcyclist slowed his bike and pulled up against the car. Ezra knew who it was, and he kept his eyes toward the city. His calf-length coat blew gently in the soft breeze.
Vin pulled his helmet off and paused before getting off his Harley. He wasnt sure how hed be welcomed. Slowly, he maneuvered his way up beside the man hed been looking for. He noticed all the fires burning in the distance. He thought something had been going on when he passed a few fire trucks on his way out of town. Vin paused a moment, not sure what to say, and folded his arms across his chest.
Whats happenin? the bounty hunter asked, his voice soft and easy. He was hoping he could get this man to open up, maybe even help the rest of them.
Theyre moving on, Ezra answered, turning his head slightly.
Not all of them are killers. Ezra moved slightly, looking towards the wooded area behind them. Some of them want to live normal lives, but there are some who wont let us.
Vin caught the last word and wanted to ask about it, but in the blink of an eye, Ezra grabbed him and threw him to the ground up against the car. There were only three shots fired, but enough to let them know they werent alone.
Ezra paused before rolling to the side, getting off of Vin. It was dusk, but despite that, he kept a keen eye out, looking for more trouble. Vin did the same, slowly getting to his knees and carefully looking over the truck of the car toward the tree line behind them. His senses seemed to heighten, knowing what it was he was searching for. His eyes scanned the dense trees with the ability of a hawk.
Theyre gone, Ezra said, getting to his feet.
I know, Vin said softly, grabbing his right arm after feeling a sudden burst of pain. Shit, he sighed, pulling his hand away.
Ezra grabbed the bounty hunters arm and pulled a white handkerchief out of his pocket, and then carefully tied the dressing around the wound. Perhaps Mr. Jackson would be better suited to care for the injury.
Whyre they shootin at me? Vin asked.
They werent, Ezra answered, They were shooting at me.
Vin nodded as though he understood, and didnt realize that Ezra had pushed him around to the passenger side of his car. My bike, he pleaded, refusing to get in.
Unfortunately for you, Mr. Tanner, blood loss is detrimental to our survival, Ezra said as he forced the wounded man into the car. Your bike will be fine, he assured, getting into his own seat and starting the engine.
Nathan finished wrapping the white bandage around the gunshot wound of Vins arm. The injury wasnt bad, but it had bled quite a lot.
What happened? Chris asked, tossing his coat onto the chair next to the table. Buck, JD, and Orin Travis followed. Josiah was on his way.
Ezra leaned against the wall next to the window overlooking the town with his arms across his chest. Isnt it obvious? he said quietly.
Got in the way of a bullet meant for Ezra, Vin said with a chuckle.
What in the hell is goin on? Chris asked, his anger penetrating the room.
May I presume that this is the dominant? Orin asked, looking in Ezras direction.
Chris hadnt told him everything.
Ezra looked to the detective, knowing some of his story was missing. Ezra wasnt the only dominant in the room, but for reasons he had yet to understand, he decided to keep quiet. Yes, he said returning his gaze toward the window, Im the dominant, the words came out distasteful almost bitter.
Orin took a step back, hearing more in the mans voice than was evident. Im
I know who you are, Ezra responded, turning so his back was against the wall.
Orin nodded in understanding. The FBI is getting involved, he said, making sure everyone was listening. I want you, Mr. Standish, to keep a low profile. I dont know if the Bureau is aware of your existence. If they are, theyre keeping it quiet for now. He leaned against the desk that Nathan normally worked at. In my news briefing today, I announced that the rumors of a new species is a complete and total fabrication. However, the fires around town are raising questions, of which, Ive arranged Lt. Parker to give a briefing blaming the fires on arson.
What about the FBI? Chris asked, looking from Travis toward Ezra.
They believe something is going on, and whether you like it or not, youll work side by side with them. He paused and looked toward the window. Special Agent Kirk will be here by morning, at which time youll meet with him, Agent Larabee, and youll willingly give over any information he needs.
Do you know Kirk? Buck asked.
Yes, Orin replied, and I trust him. He paused and looked at the man in question. Is it true about the elimination of humans?
Ezra returned the gaze: Yes.
But not all of em are like that, Vin said, slipping off the countertop. He paused until the dizziness passed.
Enough of them are, Ezra responded, returning to look out the window.
Did you kill my son? Orin asked, his voice filled with hope and trepidation. He needed to find the killer for Steven, not just for justice but for closure as well.
No, Ezra answered honestly, turning to look at everyone, but I know who did. He wouldnt go into any detail.
He was asking the wrong questions.
What does your kind want? Orin asked, angry and disappointed.
My kind, Ezras sarcasm wasnt lost on those in the room, wants humans dead, and we will go to any extent to see that happen, his words came out sharp and clear.
Why? Orin asked, trying to understand what lay ahead.
You told Vin that blood loss could be fatal for dominants. Why is it fatal? Nathan asked, trying to ease the tension in the room.
Ezra shook his head and sighed: Our hearts are larger and lung capacity is greater. However, we breathe slower and pump less blood, causing the rest of our body to utilize the extra oxygen. It causes us to be more sensitive to other things. The downfall, however, is even the smallest amount of blood loss can cause us to lose our senses.
Are you trained for this? Josiah asked, wanting to get as much information as he could while Ezra was talking.
Why were they shooting at you? Chris asked softly.
To warn me, Ezra answered. It wasnt too late to go back at least not yet.
How many are there? Orin questioned.
I dont know.
Where were you born? Josiah asked, trying to focus on Ezra and not just the problem.
I dont know, he answered softly.
What were you trained to do? Josiah slowly moved onto a chair.
Ezra paused, not understanding why he was answering the questions, only knowing he wanted a normal life. Kill, he responded softy.
Youre a hit man? JD asked, surprised.
Assassin, Ezra corrected.
Is everyone trained to kill? Chris questioned.
Have you ever killed anyone? Travis asked, his tone serious. If a murder had been committed, an arrest would have to be made.
Ezra didnt say anything, turning instead back to the window. He was done talking.
I have a friend in Houston whos a bioanthropologist. He might be able to do a diagnostic on a blood sample and give us some kind of an idea of where the species originated, Nathan responded, wanting answers as much as anyone in the room.
I dont want this spread around, Orin said, not wanting a national scandal on his hands.
Ill disguise it.
Can you do that? Buck questioned.
Nathan smiled: Yeah.
Then do it, Orin agreed, getting to his feet. Ill see you boys tomorrow.
Chris watched the commissioner leave and then looked around the room at his friends. You feelin all right, Vin?
Just a scratch, he reassured.
How soon can you get that blood sample off, Nathan? Chris asked.
Ill send it tonight and I should have a result tomorrow or the next day depending on how busy he is.
Chris nodded in acceptance: Lets meet back here in the morning before Kirk gets in You going to join us, Ezra?
No, came the sharp response.
Will they kill you if they find you? Chris questioned, already knowing the response.
I dont know.
Theres an extra room at my place that youre welcome to. The lead detective grabbed his jacket.
Ezra paused, unsure if he should accept the offer. Thank you, but Ill make other plans.
Last I seen of your place, Ezra, it was on fire maybe you should take Chris up on his offer. Days might be warm here, but the nights can be a bitch. Vin pulled his jacket up over his shoulder, careful of his wound. Shit, he swore, I need someone to take me up to Pikes Peak to get my bike.
Josiah grabbed the bounty hunters shoulder and pushed him forward. Ill take you, Brother.
Take Buck, Nathan interjected, Vin isnt up to driving yet.
Chris looked at Ezra and paused, the man hadnt turned away from the window, almost as though he were in another world. Come on, Ezra, he said, think of it as protective custody. He grinned, seeing the look of disbelief cross the dominants face.
Ezra nodded in acceptance, knowing his life as he knew it was over. He pushed himself away from the wall and followed the detective out of the building.
You can sleep in here, Chris said, tossing a couple towels onto the double bed.
Ezra paused at the doorway and looked around the room. He didnt think Chris had the creative talent needed in order to decorate. But the room was inviting, and looked to have been used. Pictures hung on the wall. Images from the detectives past that he obviously tried not to remember. A flowered bedspread, and what seemed like fifty throw pillows covered the head of the bed.
Who is she? Ezra asked, stepping up to the dresser. He picked up a framed photograph of a beautiful woman embracing an infant.
My wife, Chris answered flatly. Showers down the hall, and theres plenty of food in the fridge if you need anything.
Ezra nodded and watched as Chris left, closing the door behind him. The woman in the picture must have died: Chris didnt seem like a divorcee. And what of the child? Ezra replaced the photograph and then turned on the light next to the bed and sat down. He was at a loss of what to do. His life had always been so organized, so planned out, so programmed. Now all of that was gone.