Andolian's Second

by ~~~§ara~~{@

This is a sequel to Andolian

J.D. awoke to see his six friends surrounding him. Sleeping wherever they could find a spot, they had all refused to leave. They had all been through so much in the past couple of days. J.D. couldn't believe it himself. He was a vampire. He was dead. Dead. The word left a sour taste in his mouth. How could he be dead and moving? Breathing?

J.D. stifled a yawn and could feel the sun going down. He didn't know how, but he knew the sun was almost down. He couldn't see, the curtain was pulled.

A flash of memory. Stefan Andolian, the great vampire. J.D. felt a tinge of sorrow for the former demon, but not enough to care about. Stefan had made him what he was. Dead, well, undead actually. Not living, stuck in limbo. J.D. didn't understand any of it.

"I'm goin' to explain all this to ya J.D., just as soon as we get some rest." Vin had said last night, but it wasn't last night! Thought J.D. It's night now. Yesterday then. Yeah.

J.D. already missed the sun. Missed the feel of it on his face, the warmth, the smiles.

"Hey kid, how ya feelin'?" A startled J.D. was wrenched out of his memories by his friend Bucks voice.

"I feel. . . . fine." And he did. He felt better than he had ever felt before. This surprised him.

"Kid," Buck said in a warning voice. "I know your 'fine'. If you don't tell me how you really feel I'm gonna have to stand up, and I don't wanna stand up."

"Oh, God forbid you have to stand Buck!" J.D. grinned, and Buck, seeing J.D.'s smile, grinned too.

"What's so funny?" Chris raised his head from his spot on the overstuffed chair.

"Nothin' Chris!"

Chris almost shuddered when he looked at the kid. White, smooth, perfect skin. The hazel eyes the seven knew by heart were no longer there, replaced by vivid green eyes. Eyes that could look into your soul and pluck it out, little by little. J.D.'s hair was still the long, unruly black. But it seemed thicker, and it was so shiny, and soft. Silkish.

Chris had awakened to the familiar bickering of Buck and J.D. Almost forgetting what had happened the night before. Almost. How could he ever forget Stefan Andolian? Vampires. Vampires weren't real! He thought again to himself, for the hundredth time. But they were real. Chris sat back and caught himself thinking, If vampires were real, what else was out there? That scared him more than he would ever admit.

Chris looked over and saw Vin sitting against the wall, his hat pulled down to hide his face. Vin knew what was going on, knew what was happening. <Sigh>

Christopher Larabee switched his gaze to the preacher, now opening the curtain and looking out at the night.

Chris once again felt sorry for the boy, and he would every time he rode out into the sun, or watched the sun set. J.D. couldn't do that anymore. Chris made a vow then, to never take the special things for granted. He had already lost too much to that. He took for granted that people were always gonna be there. And they always left, or something happened to them. He caught himself switching his mind to his dead son and wife. He missed them, he would always miss them,. He had taken them for granted, and he had taken J.D. for granted.

+ + + + + + +

Everyone was awake now, and in J.D.'s room. This is too weird, thought the boy. I gotta get out of here for a while.

"Um, you guys?" They all turned to see J.D. getting up from the bed. "I think I'm gonna go outside," he said, matter-of-factly.

"You sure you wanna do that J.D.?" Nathan asked with a worried look on his face. "I mean, well, what I mean is, do you, uh, feel . . . . hungry?"

J.D. sat silently. Damn! He thought. There's got to be a way to get around this. "What if I just eat nothing? What do you think it would do to me?" J.D. watched the men with hopeful eyes.

Vin pulled the hat off of the top of his head and stood. "J.D. I think I should talk to you now." Vin made his way through the men and sat on J.D.'s bed.

"This is basically what a vampire is." All the men listened intently, waiting for explanations.

"He's undead. He's not alive, but he's not dead. It pretty much means you don't have a heartbeat," said Vin, as he patted the boys chest. "Stefan told you he could make you immortal didn't he?"

J.D. sat silent for a moment, then whispered, "Yes." Fears flashed through J.D.'s head. He would outlive all of his friends, he would have to watch them all die.

"He's wrong."

"J.D.! I think you look a little to happy 'bout that!" Buck said as lhe ooked at the boys smiling face.

"I am happy!"

"There's a little more to it," Vin said. "The only way you can die is by sunlight, fire, or," Vin smacked his chest to emphasize, "a stake through the heart."

J.D. shuddered. That's what they had done to Stefan.

"So I'll live forever?" J.D. whispered, his mood lowered again.

"As long as those things don't happen, I reckon ya will." Vin sat back, studying the boy. "Bullets won't do nothing to ya. Oh yeah, and you heal real quick. And you have to eat J.D. Either that or you might die of starvation, in about a hundred or so years. Besides, I know you can't hold out that long."

"Mr. Tanner," came a southern drawl from the corner, "may I inquire how you came to know these facts?"

"I told you, after Amanda died, I looked up on it." Vin shot Ezra a glare that said to all the men in the room, Leave it at that.

J.D. sat, emotionally drained, energy raging though. "I'm goin' ridin'."

"I'll go with ya," said Buck, Josiah, and Chris at the same time.

"In the dark you guys? You can't even see!"

"And you can, mister?"

J.D. stared out the window in awe. "Yeah," he whispered through clenched teeth, "I can."

The men made their way to the saloon, which was pretty busy that night. They had decided that all seven of the men should go ride tonight, because they hadn't done it in such a long time. J.D. knew that was a lie though. He knew they didn't want to leave him alone for fear of what he might do. He didn't even trust himself about that.

Chris and Vin had wanted to stop for a couple shots of whiskey before they went, the others agreed.

The men walked into the saloon, as they had done so many times before, but this time, the room grew silent. A tall, very muscular, red-headed man stood in the back of the room and slowly made his way to the doors, stepping right in front of J.D.

"Get this. . . this. . . demon out of here!" he hissed, talking to everyone else, but staring at the boy.

"That's enough," said Buck , as he pushed the man back. "Shut the hell up before I put a damn bullet in your head!"

The muscular, red-headed man took a step back, but didn't sit down. "We know what that thing is!" The man pointed at J.D., who now had blank look on his face.

Ezra Standish studied the boy. Ezra had to be the best gambler alive, he told himself that all the time, and he knew faces. He could read faces without a second thought. But he could read nothing in J.D.'s face. There was nothing there.

J.D. took a step forward, feeling more powerful and intimidating than he had ever felt before. "And 'what' am I? Am I the devil?" The young sheriff glared at the man. "Because, if I'm the devil, you are one brave man."

No one in the saloon made a sound. Everyone was holding their breath. "Brave indeed." J.D. studied the man, the man seemed paralyzed as J.D. stared into his eyes, and walked closer. J.D. was so enticed with the man, he wasn't even aware of his friends saying his name.

J.D. was standing about an inch away from the big mans face, not exactly knowing how he had gotten there. "You will leave this saloon, and you will not come back." J.D. stared unblinking into the mans hard eyes. "Do you understand me? If'n you ever come back here again, I will kill you. I'll kill ya myself." And J.D. backed away, still staring at the man.

The other six men watched in astonishment. They had never seen J.D. act like that before. But that wasn't all J.D. anymore, he was part Andolian. Andolian was in his blood. Stefan Andolian had influenced the boy in a way that he could never recover from.

All these things went through Chris's head as he watched J.D. retreat through the door, and then gasped as he saw the big, red-headed man fall back into a chair. Unconscious.

+ + + + + + +

J.D. walked away from the man, he himself wasn't sure what had happened in the saloon. He felt his will pushed out of his skull, and he knew the man was listening, he knew the man had no choice.

Usually, J.D. would have been happy that he had stood up for himself against a big man like the one in the saloon. But this wasn't usual. It scared the young sheriff more then he ever thought he could be.

J.D. was just learning what he was, and wasn't even half-way comprehending what he could do.

Once again, for about the tenth time since 'the change' happened, J.D. thought about ending his life, well, his death. That's right, it's death. He thought about living for the rest of eternity, then thought about all of his friends dying. How he would have to watch them all die.

J.D. came back to reality and found himself about 2 miles away from the small town of Four Corners.

How can I live with myself? I can't. I can't.

J.D. found himself on his knees, sobbing. He was so angered and depressed, even with the keen vampire senses he now had, he didn't realize he was surrounded by evil of his own kind.

+ + + + + + +

"Hello son." J.D. pulled his head up slowly, wiping the bloody tears form his cheeks. He looked around, not believing that he could see this well in the dark, but he could. And even though he could see that well, he couldn't see anyone at all. He didn't know where the voice was coming from.

J.D. stood on shaking legs, looking around, intently studying everything.

Then he saw a man walking towards him as he turned to face Four Corners. Even in the dark, the newly made vampire could see the man's violet eyes, his shoulder length blonde hair, and his wicked smile.

"Wha. . what do you want?" J.D. stood his ground as the man seemed to drift closer. The man had to be about 6'4", but thin. Probably about 180 pounds.

"What do I want?" The man seemed to ask himself in a deep, smooth voice. "I think I want you," the man said as his violet gaze fell on the young sheriff of Four Corners.

J.D. started to back up and felt something solid behind him. He quickly turned around to see another man, not as tall as the first, but just as intimidating. J.D. stared into the man's pale blue eyes, remembering Stefan Andolian's eyes. He shuddered.

"What do you mean? What did I do to you?" J.D. found that he had used up all of his courage on the red-headed man in the saloon, he was terrified now. But he knew that these were not normal men.

"I would like to introduce myself." J.D. tried to turn but the man that was behind him held him like a vice. Even with J.D.'s new vampire strength, he couldn't move.

The man drew his face close to J.D.'s face, so close that J.D. could smell the stink of blood on the man's breath, but it didn't repulse him by any means. "Okay," the sheriff said calmly. "And who the hell are you?"

The Vampire's smile widened, showing the full extent of his fangs, J.D. suppressed a scream.

"I, my young friend, am Mikell Andolian." J.D. gasped. "Stefan's brother."

+ + + + + + +

Buck Wilmington found himself standing in the middle of the street in the middle of a small town called Four Corners. He was staring north, knowing that was the way that J.D. had gone. Wondering if his friend, no, brother, was ever going to come back. Buck found himself constantly worrying about the boy. He had always worried about the boy, but now, he couldn't explain the way he felt. Constantly scared.

Buck made his way to the door of the saloon and was suddenly shoved back with immense force.

"What the hell?" he said as he stared up at the tall man from his new found spot on the ground.

The tall man walked over to Buck and hovered there, studying him. "You J.D.'s friend?" the man asked with a sinister grin.

"If you touched that boy I'll rip your god damned head off!!!" Buck screamed at the man. He now knew he was worrying about the boy for a reason.

"Calm down," the man said in a smooth voice. "He's fine. But he won't be, we got plans for him. We got plans for you too! And your other five friends. It'll be fun!" The man never lost his grin, but his smile seemed to change. Buck held back a gasp as the man's fangs grew larger.

Buck now studied the man. Tall, about 6'2". Short, brown hair, average build. His eyes were startling, not because they were a vivid green, but because they looked so much like J.D.'s did now.

"You listen to me asshole . . ." Buck was kicked in the stomach before he could get another word out, and kicked again before he could take a breath.

"I don't think we should use profanity like that! It isn't nice." The man lifted Buck without and effort and took off. Buck couldn't lift his head, he was so weak. He didn't know when, or how it had happened, but when buck reached up and felt warm stickiness on his neck, he knew he had been bitten.

+ + + + + + +

Chris Larabee awoke with the worst headache he had ever had. Ache. That didn't even describe the way his head felt right now. He hurt all over, but he hurt more when he looked around the tiny room he was in.

He found all of his friends there, all unconscious, all with bloody wounds on their neck. He reached up and felt his own neck, only to find a sticky feeling, and then seeing the blood on his hand when he pulled it away.

Chris wondered why whoever had done this had not bothered to tie him or the rest of the seven up. Either they were stupid, or they knew they didn't need to.

Chris looked around the room and realized everyone was there except for J.D. Oh God, he thought. Hasn't that boy been through enough? The boy was only nineteen and he had already been through what most of the other gunslingers had, maybe more than most the gunslingers had. Of course, Chris wasn't counting that the boy had died. And hopefully, Chris grabbed his neck and rested his hand there, they all weren't going to die with the kid. But the kid's not dead! he screamed at himself.

Josiah Sanchez slowly came around and studied his surroundings. Well, he thought to himself, at least we're all here, well, almost. He noticed that J.D. was missing. Can't that boy ever get a break? Josiah looked up as he thought this then realized that Chris was awake as well.

One by one the remaining seven woke up, all with pounding heads and weak limbs.

"This is worse than that night I got drunk and went to that hotel with the Andrews Triplets."

"Buck!" Nathan looked up, rubbing his temples. "We really don't need to hear about that right now!"

"I know Nathan, just trying to get my mind off of some things."

"I do believe we have a visitor my fellow prisoners." Ezra looked at the man standing in the door.

"Oh, you're not a prisoner!" the man said with a smirk. "We plan to entertain ya plenty. It'll be better than that night with the Andrews triplets!" The man glared at Buck. Buck glared back, although he found it difficult looking into the man's eyes. They were violet.

The man's violet eyes turned to Vin Tanner, who sat silently watching the unfolding chaos.

"You." The man pointed at Vin.

"What the hell do you mean me?" Vin asked in a sharp tone.

"You're the one who killed Stefan?" The tall man took 2 long strides so that he was standing over Vin.

"Yeah, I am. I shoved a wooden pole right through the son-of-a-bitch's black heart!" Vin spit on the man's shoes before the man kicked him in the stomach. Chris was sitting across the room and he heard ribs pop.

"Hey!" came a yell from the gambler. "Your acquaintance deprived our friend of living. You cannot punish us. You did the same thing to us."

"Do you think I care if I'm being fair? I could not care less about your little sheriff. But he'll pay too, he'll pay the worst." With that said, the man started to leave.

"Why do you care so much about that demon?" came a so-far silent Josiah.

The vampire stared at the man, for hours it seemed. "He was my brother," he said, barely above a whisper, but all the men heard it. The vampire left and shut the door behind him.

"Okay," Chris said, plans already forming in his head. "First thing we do is get out of here, then we find J.D., then we kill those son-of-a-bitches."

"Chris, in case you haven't noticed, we're not in top shape here. We all lost a lot of blood," Nathan said from his little corner of the room.

"He's right Chris, we can't face these guys tonight. I feel like I have a hangover ten times over." Buck stood on shaky legs.

Chris studied the men for a moment, then studied the room. "Guess you're right. We can't take 'em on tonight, but we'll find 'em. And we can still get J.D."

"Hell yes we're still getting J.D.!" Buck said. "Now let's get out of this shit hole."

The six men, Chris in the lead, made their way to the door and turned the knob. Not locked, Chris thought to himself, now I know these guys are stupid.

The man stepped out and were immediately apprehended. Chris counted, seven vampires. Perfect!

The head vampire walked down the line studying each man.

"Cris Larabee. Your lost your wife and child in a fire. You weren't there for them." The man's smile grew. "They burned up. They burned to ashes, and it's all your faut. Too bad you weren't there, you could have saved them."

"Don't let him get to you Chris!" Buck yelled at him. Chris stared blankly at the mans violet eyes, tears forming in his eyes, then rage took over his features. "YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MY FAMILY! I LOVED THEM!!!"Chris adrenaline gave him a boost of strength and he temporarily broke free of the vampire's grasp. He tackled the man with the violet eyes, it was like tackling a brick wall.

The vampire sneered at Chris as he held him in the air. "Get. . . . back. . . . in . . . . line." The violet-eyed vampire threw Chris into the arms of the other vampire. "Hold him this time Bill. You let him go again, I'll rip your goddamn throat out."

The vampire stood back so he could see all of the men. "My name is Mikell Andolian." The vampire waited for reactions, there were none. "I was Stefan's brother. Until you killed him. I want to show you something. Bring 'em over here!!!"

The men were shoved through a grove of trees and pushed on their knees. All the men, with the exception of the man in black, looked up with tears in their eyes, a gasp came from Ezra, a staggered 'no' came from Buck.

All the men were being tied up now, tight. "Sorry fellas, we got to go. Sun's comin' up," the man chuckled. "You know what happens when vampires are caught in the sun don't you?" The man looked with mock questioning.

"We burn. Chris knows about burning don't ya?" Mikell stared a minute at Chris and laughed.

Chris finally raised his eyes for the first time and held back a scream at what he saw. J.D. was crudely tied to a pole, facing east. The sun was gonna come up and fry him. J.D. turned the best he could and looked at his friends, but there was nothing in his face. No pain, no fear, nothing. Just a blank face.

"You can't do that to him!" Vin Tanner yelled.

"Sure we can! I told ya we'd have fun didn't I? Bye fellas." Mikell left with a smirk and walked away, back through the grove of trees.

"J.D.!" Buck yelled. J.D. focused on Buck, still with blank features. Then suddenly, bloody tears escaped from his eyes. His eyes turned into a look of pain, of hurt.

"J.D. God son, you okay."

"I. . . I'm. . ." J.D. started to say fine but they all knew he wasn't.

Vin was already working on his rope's with the knife up his sleeve. The vampires didn't seem to look there. The knife had a cross on the handle. Vin would have smiled if his little brother wasn't about to die, for the second time, and he was only 19. Probably not even that old, thought Vin.

"I'm free," Vin yelled as he jumped up and ran to Chris. One by one the men were cut lose. They ran to J.D.

"Shit!" J.D. screamed as the sun poked over the horizon. J.D.'s skin started smoking, he was turning red.

"Get him offa' there now!" The men quickly worked to save their little brother, the one that held the group together. Kid, Chris thought to himself, God, you gotta make it. We can't make it without ya. Chris didn't take the time to wipe the tears from his eyes. Memories of his dead wife and son flashed through his mind.

The men finally got the screaming J.D. cut lose.

"Get him in the building!" Josiah yelled. The six men pulled the young vampire into the windowless room and shut the door.

J.D. lay on the floor, whimpering.

"He gonna live Nathan?"

Nathan looked up at Buck with a 'How the hell am I supposed to know?' look. "He should be alright, Buck. Just gotta keep him outta the sun." Nathan said this more to convince himself, and the whimpering young sheriff on the floor, now curled into a ball.

"It's gonna be okay J.D. Nathan said you'd be okay." Buck patted the boy's head, running his fingers through his hair and comforting the boy. Buck let tears escape when he saw the blisters forming on J.D.'s face.

"He looks so young." Ezra said, as he stared at J.D.

J.D. shivered in his fitful sleep. The men couldn't take J.D. out during the day, and they sure's the hell weren't going to leave him here. Chris checked outside every once in a while, not letting the sun come in.

"Lord God Almighty," whispered Nathan as he stared at the boy in awe.

"What is it Nathan? He okay?" Buck asked in a panicked voice as he ran over by the healer and the vampire.

"He's. . . . He's. . . healing!"

The men stared at the boy, not believing what they were witnessing. J.D. was healing right in front of them. The blisters were disappearing, his skin was turning back to its ivory white, his lips were returning to their disturbing shade of pale blue. Slowly, J.D. opened his eyes.

"Wha. . what's goin' on?" J.D. slowly sat up. "Tarnation! My head hurts. Where are we?"

"Well, kid. We don't rightly know." Vin looked down at J.D.

J.D. stood up and looked around the room. "There's no windows or anything." J.D. started to walk to the door.

"I don't think you wanna do that kid." Chris held his arm out and stopped the boy.

"Why not?" J.D. tossed Chris a confused look.

"Well, son, it's daylight outside."

"So, what's that. . . . . . . oh." J.D. turned his vivid green eyes downward. J.D. once again thought about his predicament. How was he ever going to live like this?? The answer came to him. He turned his eyes upward with new strength. He had to stop feeling sorry for himself. He had to stop focusing on himself. He had to make it through this for his family. Then, when they all died, he would then have a good reason to. . . . He had to do this for his family.

J.D. felt a tug in his gut. God, he was so hungry! But even the thought of food sickened him. He thought back to what Vin had said. You have to have blood. He decided not to bring it up, he could ignore it. He had to.

"You guys have to get out of here before it's night again! They'll come back!"

"We ain't leavin you J.D.," Chris said as he watched the boy, wondering what was going through his head right now.

"You can't stay here! They'll kill you," J.D. pleaded with his friends.

"Too late J.D." Ezra opened the door to reveal that the sun had almost set. J.D. walked outside.

"I think we should get out of here now." J.D. had a very bad feeling, and he could hear hooves approaching.

"They're coming," J.D. whispered.

"Well, if they're already coming then we don't have time to get out of here. We need a plan." Chris was talking to himself more than he was talking to the others.

"I say we hide and get the jump on 'em. I know we ain't in best shape, but we can take 'em." Buck smiled.

"Are you crazy Buck?" J.D. asked with big eyes. "You wanna 'get the jump' on a bunch of vampires! It's impossible! They're probably half a mile away and I can hear them coming. How do you think we can get the jump on 'em?"

"Easy kid. Distract 'em where they don't even notice."

+ + + + + + +

"Mikell, think it worked?" Bill looked at Mikell. "I don't hear anything, how about you?"

"No, I don't hear anything, but if it didn't work and they saved the boy you just gave us away by talking!" Mikell sneered at the other vampire.


"Yeah, oops." Mikell rolled his eyes as they pulled closer to the pole where J.D. had been tied. He spotted a pile of ash around the pole, the pole was blackened and looked like it had been burnt. Mikell could smell the burnt odor. He could also smell the sweat of the men that were hidden all around them. He also knew that when a vampire was killed by the sun, there were hardly any ashes left.

"It didn't work Mikell."

"I know."

"They know." J.D. looked at Buck as the vampires turned their glare to J.D.

The seven men stepped out of their hidden spot in the grove of trees. None would let the fear register on their faces. But Mikell could sense it, and, a surprised J.D. could sense the slight fear emanating from Mikell and Bill. There were only two of them here!

"Where's the rest of your blood suckin' posse?" Buck stepped forward and asked.

"Blood sucking posse? Well, they had. . . . prior arrangements." Mikell threw an amused look at Bill, who now had a wide smile on his face.

J.D. stood up beside Buck. "I think you should all just leave before you get hurt."

This caused the two vampires to bust into belly laughs. "Hurt??? You couldn't hurt us!"

"You think so? Well, we killed Stefan, shouldn't be that hard to kill you!"

J.D. was on the ground before he knew what was happening, looking into the violet eyes of Mikell Andolian.

Buck kicked the man off of the top of J.D. Mikell rolled on the ground and jumped up, sneering at the man, his fangs in full view. Bill was now off of his horse, flying towards Ezra and Josiah.

Mikell leapt at Buck and they both crashed into the ground. Mikell punched Buck once on the face and he was out.

It took all of the other man to go up against Bill. Vin had broken a branch off of a tree and was attempting to stab the vampire through the heart.

J.D. was now faced off against Mikell. "Well, well, well. I see what Stefan saw in you," Mikell snickered. "You do have spirit, I gotta give you that. Too bad you're so soft. You really wouldn't have lived long anyway as a vampire. You should thank me for what I'm about to do."

J.D. stared at the man, he knew he couldn't die. He had to live for his family. He would put up a fight. "Shut the hell up Mikell." And with that, J.D. leapt on the man, not knowing that Mikell had a wooden stake in his sleeve. J.D. felt a burning pain in his stomach. He missed!

Mikell felt the warm blood flowing over his hands and knew he had struck home. J.D. gasped and fell back, yanking the stake from his stomach, the wound closing almost immediately. Mikell had turned, thinking the boy was dead. It was the worse mistake the vampire had made in his 220 years.

J.D. stepped up behind the vampire and swung him around, plunging the stake into Mikell's heart. Mikell gasped and looked down, then brought his head and looked at J.D. "You. . . killed me. Yes. . . I . . . . can see. . . why. . Stefan picked. . . . you." Mikell burst into flames and died there, with a smile forever on his face.

J.D. stared at Mikell's burning body, until he heard his friends behind him. He turned to see Vin stabbing Bill through the heart. Screaming, Bill burst into flames.

The seven men stood there, staring at each other. J.D. noticed Buck lying on the ground, unconscious from when Mikell had punched him. J.D. ran to him and dropped to his knees.

"Buck! C'mon Buck. Wake up for me okay? Everything's over Buck, you can wake up now!" J.D. had Buck's head in his lap, stroking his forehead. Buck's eyes began to flutter.

"That's it Buck. There ya go." Buck slowly opened his eyes.

"Hey kid, how ya doin?" Buck asked as he slowly sat up.

"Um... fine Buck." J.D. smiled at his friend as he helped him to his feet. "They're dead Buck, we got 'em."

Buck felt relief flood through him, then fear replaced it. What the kid had gone through. Buck was worried, not really about the kid's physical condition, but about the kid personally. It was never gonna be the same. But it could be close.

"Well, I think we should all get goin'." Chris said as he studied the surroundings.

"Chris," Vin Tanner said his friend's name in a low voice, "we don't even know where we are."

"That's why I think we should get going. You're a tracker, right?"

"What are ya gettin' at cowboy?"

"Lead us home Vin!" Chris smiled at the tracker, who threw back an 'I don't wanna' look.

"Yeah guys! I really wanna go home," J.D. spoke up from his place next to Buck. "It's probably gonna take us a long time to get there. Besides, I'm really hungry."

The men exchanged looks, J.D. covered his mouth. "And we need to get home, or somewhere, before the sun comes back up."

Vin studied J.D. as they started through the woods. He knew the boy was trying, and he knew J.D. couldn't keep up his denial. He knew the boy had to 'feed' sometime, and he knew it would be soon.