Wolves of Mateo: Wolf Moon

Austin was taken by the hunters by the banks of Wolf Lake - deep in the forests of Mateo, Wyoming. Searching for him is Riley and Dante - his closest friends yet worst enemies. They both have very little time to save him from what's likely to come - a sacrifice for the Wolf Moon - a hunter legend engrained in their traditions. Trying to save their friend is only part of the deal, as new enemies emerge threatening the whole balance of things back home as both Riley and Dante set on a trail out of state in Colorado before they realise the real threat is oozing out from within. A new chapter unfolds. BOOK TWO IN WOLVES OF MATEO DUOLOGY.

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6. Chapter 6

Day twelve in the Santoro house. I felt like I was going insane.

There had been next to no developments on Austin’s side of things and that worried me more than anything else. Heated arguments kept spilling out between Lay and Dante over it and I could feel the tension. I was sure if it weren’t for Lay’s mom we’d have been kicked out by now.

Another worry was my own mom, who refused to pick up my calls. I guessed she’d passed the emotional stage and was at the point when she just quite simply didn’t care. It was better for us all not caring, I had reasoned, but it hurt. A girl sometimes needed her mom.

I felt like the only thing that was keeping me sane was Samira, who was able to relate to me on so many levels that others just didn’t. She wasn’t related to the Santoro alpha family, but due to some family issues she’d lived in the pack house for more than a year with her sister, Sabitha. Twins, but certainly not identical. Sabitha was proving to be just as great company as her sister. I didn’t prod for information on their parents and they’d always been part of the Santoro pack.

After hours of conversation and acting like best friends, I found a lot but at the same time nothing at all about them. In regards to the hunters, the situation was explained to me that they saw the hunters and they had very distinct scents in Dunsmore when they were out shopping. The hunters didn’t notice them, but they also seemed to be in a hurry and not on a mission to kill. Naturally, they told Lay who then informed us because he knew we were searching for the hunter’s and Austin.

All three of us were in the lounge room. We flicked through the TV and failed to find anything worth watching. “Some stupid made-for-TV movie or a crime show. I don’t know about you but I’d rather watch static,” I said as I passed the remote to my left, taken from my hand by Sabitha.

Sabitha smiled as she flicked down to a channel she liked and Samira immediately protested. “Hey! What’s up with that? I hate that channel!” They couldn’t have been any different.

I laughed at their antics, which were quickly interrupted by the slam of a door behind us. Lay’s office. Dante appeared in their doorframe, running his hand through his hair looking mightily dishevelled.

I got up as soon as I saw him and asked, “Have you been fighting?”

Dante shook his head and looked anywhere but me. Lay appeared behind him looking on the contrary completely fine and leaned against the doorframe Dante had just stepped out of. “What’s up, Lay?”

Lay was still a little uncomfortable with me, but he at least respected what I said now and tried to reply. He was a hard character. “I hate hunters,” he muttered.

I just blinked at them for a few seconds before it completely registered. “Have there been any more?” I asked, praying to god there’d been a development.

Dante nodded this time. “Got a call from a lady just a little further south of here. She owns a motel and a pair just booked in, but no sign of Austin. She sounds pretty scared – imagine it, hunters’ booking in to your werewolf owned motel. There’s no way the hunters won’t know she’s a wolf in the same way she knows they’re hunters.”

My mouth opened and closed much like a fish until I could fully get to grips once more. “We need to get out there, find them! Chase after them!” I yelled as Samira and Sabitha got up and joined me by my side.

Lay’s expression hardened as he began to speak, “I can’t have you chasing after them just yet – you think it’s as simple as getting up and hoping you’ll catch them? Not like than, hon.”

I shook my head frantically. “They can’t get away, we have to chase up the lead! We’ll never find Austin, Dante, what if he’s already dead-.”

Dante interrupted me and said, “No, Riley. He’ll last for that little bit longer. Trust us.” But his eyes didn’t match up with what he was saying. He was worried, more than worried.

I let it drop, knowing I’d get nowhere with Lay around us and listening in. I’d have to speak with Dante in private.

Lay soon left the room as did Samira and Sabitha to ‘give us some time’. Dante taken me out front, though, with the excuse for air. He grabbed my hand and towed me out through the door until we stood on their porch. He looked grim.

“Are we really just going to let them get away?” I asked.

Dante looked at me from the side as he leaned on the railings. “Well, that’s what Lay wants.”

That made me angrier. “Screw what Lay wants! It’s our friend who’s been taken, and it’s us who needs to find them!”

“Lay’s worried if we take Austin from them so close to his territory, they’ll snatch up someone from his pack to get back,” he explained emotionlessly.

I threw my hands up. “Well that’s just fine – His people are obviously worth more than ours -.”

Dante interrupted me with a small hint of a smile on his face. “Ours?” he asked.

“-the hunters are all of our problem, not just our pack. They could have come for anyone. If it weren’t for Gary, or Bianca, or Hilary it could have been anyone.” I finished, but Dante didn’t appear to have taken any of it in because he just sat smiling. “Dante?” I asked.

He turned away and peered out across the dirt track thoughtfully, and then mumbled, “Want to move on? Leave the Santoro’s? We don’t need anyone’s help anymore. They’re just holding us back now.”

“I could have told you that before we got here,” I replied with an annoyed expression. What could any pack have offered us other than what we already had? Fighting the hunters was a mind game more than anything else. The Santoro pack hadn’t offered us anything more than what we knew before we came, and that was there had at one point been hunters in the area. Not anymore.

Dante reached down and slowly taken his hand in mine. “Then…” he trailed off, “How about we pack a bag right now and get out of here and find these hunters ourselves?”

A grin slowly crept up my face, realizing he was completely serious. “Let’s do it.”

***

The car was speeding away down the road before anyone could notice we’d left. Our bags were packed and random items that seemed to fit in the cases the first time round that didn’t now were on the seats. It looked much like a dressing room and I had no doubt if we were on the road long enough that’s what it’d become.

“He won’t be too mad, right, when he realises we left?” I asked Dante, who had cheered up immediately as soon as we were out of sight of the house.

Dante shrugged as he tapped his fingers on the wheel as he drove. “Hopefully not, but he can’t do a thing about us. I mean, I’m totally thankful for all he’s done but to be perfectly honest he’s holding us back – just as you said.”

I shook my head with a playful smile on my face. “Should have listened to me.”

Dante looked down at me briefly before looking back on the road, which brought us onto a highway just out of town. “I should do that more often…” he trailed off playfully.

To change the topic, I asked, “So how did this sighting come about?” I didn’t know if I wanted to hear the answer, just in case it was bad news. Or something I didn’t particularly want to hear. Of course, though, I had to hear it at one point or another.

Dante replied, “Motel owner about 15 miles away spotted two hunters checking in. She couldn’t turn them away in fear they’d hurt her. They haven’t left yet. Hopefully we’ll get there before they leave.”

Suddenly, I couldn’t help but explore the countless outcomes of this situation and figured almost half involved us getting hurt. Was this really such a good idea? “What do we plan to do once we get there?”

Dante remained silent for a few seconds. “I haven’t planned that yet.”

I probably would have hit him if he weren’t driving, but unfortunately he was. “Dante! Do you realise how dangerous a situation we’re in?”

Dante snorted. “Of course I do. What do you take me for?”

“An idiot.”

“Shut up,” he mumbled in reply, not taking it to heart. “Why don’t you come up with some game plan then?”

We drove in silence, nearing the motel with every minute that passed. What would these hunter be like? Would they be one of the many from the night at Wolf Lake? Ones we hadn’t met before? What if… They knew where Austin was?

Dante neared the sign post up ahead that welcomed us to town, which looked just as small as Dunsmore. Our car jolted around on the torn up road littered with pot-holes and things that shouldn’t have been there. I quickly realised maybe Dunsmore was a little better up-kept.

We quickly pulled into the motel, the glowing sign shone above us with the typical open 24 hours sign beckoning us in. It was a miracle Dante knew the way, but I had no doubt he’d looked at the route beforehand.

“Now you’re sure this is the place?” I asked, opening my door and setting my feet down on the ground, dusty and cracked. I peered through the sun in the direction of the motel, and saw what was, well… A motel. I didn’t know what I was expecting, really.

Dante locked the car and put the keys in his pockets, leaving his hand there. “Yep, I’m fairly sure.”

His use of fairly didn’t reassure me.

Up ahead the door to the motel swung open and there we saw a figure emerge and grin at our arrival. “Dante?” the older woman asked as she made her way towards us with her hand outstretched. “Where’s Lay?” she asked as Dante’s hand held hers.

Her hair was wild ringlets of blonde, framing her older but beautiful face. I could have guessed she was perhaps the same age as my mother, if not a little younger.

Dante looked slightly from the corner of his eyes in my direction and I looked back. She didn’t know Dante had went against Lay and came here without him?

“Oh! Who’s this?” She asked as her piercing blue eyes landed on me.

Dante grinned as got the opportunity to introduce me to the strange woman, saying, “This is Riley, my mate.”

“You’re at that stage already? Next thing you know you’ll be having some pups. Send me a wedding invite!” She cooed as she turned on her heel and made her way towards the motel reception, where she’d just came from.

I would have went red, maybe if I was in someone else’s company – but Dante and I had heard it all before and we’d both just learnt no reaction was best especially when saving each other embarrassment. We followed behind her together slowly but awkwardly, not sure what to make of her. I doubted Dante had even spoken a word to her before.

She held the door open for the two of us and we were met by the conditioned air and the light hum in the background. The reception was tiny, but that didn’t matter.

The woman walked over to the counter and unhooked a latch. She lifted it up and held it for us, signalling for us to follow behind it. “I’m Wanda, by the way. Don’t belong to no pack, never will do. Like being independent.”

Dante and I both followed as he asked, “So you’re a rogue?”

Wanda’s lips downturned a little at the suggestion. “Rogue has so many negative connotations. I don’t consider myself one, no.” She opened another door that led to what might have been a backroom, but as we stepped in I realised she probably lived here.

We didn’t reply to that particular comment – unsure what to make of it. She was a rogue though by definition, but whether she’d choose to accept that was up to her I guessed.

Wanda warily looked around before closing the door behind us and locked it securely with several chain latches and two twist locks. She turned back to us and smiled reassuringly. “Just being a little cautious. You never know, hey.”

Dante sat down on a small tattered couch and pulled me down with him. He asked, “Sorry to be so blunt, but what’s the situation with the hunters?” Dante asked.

She shook her head with a sigh to accompany it and made her way towards the small food prep area that looked far too cluttered to be messed with. She pushed a button on the kettle to boil water and turned around to finally face us. “To be frank, I’m a little scared.”

Dante glanced at me and then turned around to ask her, “Is it that bad?”

She seemed to recoil into her small shell and pulled her arms around to hug herself. “There’s only two of them now, just passing through they said but I could sense who they were as soon as I saw them. They certainly knew what I was.”

She remained so calm considering she could have been in a lot of danger in the face of two brutal killers of her kind. “They’re not up to anything suspicious, are they?” I asked. I couldn’t help but feel bummed about missing out on Hillary and her mom.

“Not that I’ve been able to tell. Been keeping a sharp eye on them. Security cameras are focused on their rooms just in case, but these two guys haven’t left the room since they checked in,” She explained as the kettle began to bubble.

“Nothing at all?” Dante asked again, as if he was hoping for the slightest thing against them.

Wanda shook her head. “Nothing. It’s just suspicious that they’d come here and risk me giving away their location like I’ve just done. Those hunters know they have to be careful, but why not now?” She turned away to pour the steaming water into a mug, but set it down before explaining, “I just hope they leave quickly. They’re booked in for two nights. I would have turned them away if I wasn’t aware of your situation – it’s become big news among us. A lot of people know.”

Wanda scooted about the room suddenly and brought over a small trolley, laptops on every shelf. “I take my security seriously, always have done. I got a few pictures you might find useful of the men if you’d like to see them.”

Dante and I nodded immediately. “Of course.”

She opened the computer lid and typed so fast you couldn’t see her fingers on any individual key. In seconds she’d pulled up two images side by side of each individual man – grainy and not of the best quality like most security camera images, but they were clear enough that we both got a good idea of who we were dealing with.

“Both werewolves, yes?” Dante asked as he scanned the first with his eyes, taking note of his tall lanky frame lacking the muscle we’d seen on the other hunter at the lake.

She nodded. “Both werewolf hunters. I’m sure of it. The rogue werewolf kind, not human,” Wanda answered.

The other was a little bigger, but I wasn’t sure if it were fat or muscle, really. He was bald and resembled a security guard. Maybe he was in his other life, but right now he was the enemy, right now he was a hunter.

“They don’t look too threatening…” Dante mumbled to himself, but I was sure he knew not to judge based on appearance. They were no less of a threat than anyone else.

I turned to him and said, “Yeah… Well neither did Hilary and look what happened after that.”

***

We’d checked into a room ourselves, just two doors down from the people we were supposed to be checking out. It wasn’t grand, like any other motel, but it would do – especially if it were this over staying with Lay who had proven himself to be in the running for worst host yet.

Dante threw himself down on the lumpy mattress and kicked off his shoes. “I’m so tired,” he muttered as his eyes fluttered shut. He sighed as his body relaxed into the sheets.

I strolled over in his direction and sat on the chair in front of a vanity mirror by the window. I felt just as tired but when I remembered who was staying just next door, it kept me from falling asleep. If Wanda who’d lived here for much of her life was scared, it would be normal for us to be scared too.

Dante was being the weird one.

Suddenly his phone buzzed. Dante peeked an eye open and casually reached into the pocket of his pants and pulled out his phone. He flipped open the screen and tapped it a few times. I watched as he suddenly got up and frantically began to text back.

“What is it?”

He didn’t reply though as he tapped the screen some more and pulled it to his ear, his leg bouncing up and down frantically as his face transformed into anger. Either something had really pissed him off or he just wasn’t able to control his wolf this close to a full moon. I feared that he might actually crush his phone if he held onto it any longer.

“Dante! I called, but he wasn’t paying much attention. I got up and wandered towards him, settling down on bed beside him.

Whoever he was calling seemed to pick up after another time trying to call him. “Hey, yeah, Ethan it’s Dante – What’s happening?” he asked. As his face transformed. “What do you mean you can’t tell me? I am your alpha!” he yelled down the line.

Suddenly the line was hung up on and Dante had thrown his phone across the room until it was blocked by the wall in its path. Dante cursed several times before he stood and paced around.

“What was that about?” I asked.

Dante shook his head in anger. “I left my best man in charge of the pack – you know, to help keep things smooth while I was gone. My sister just texted me telling me they’d been kicked out the pack – but that’s not possible. They’re the alpha family by blood, they are related to me!” He fumed, unable to explain what had happened.

“They’re trying to drive you out?” I asked incredulously.

Dante let out an inhume growl and cursed out everyone he could imagine. “It seems that way, but Ethan has absolutely no power to do that. The only power he has is physical. I am the alpha blood.”

I tried to find words, but none were coming out. Surely that wasn’t possible. “Did your sister explain why? What about Ethan, what were his reasons? Surely your mom and sister must have done or said something…” I felt like I was grasping at straws. Dante’s mom and sister could have done something terrible but that still gave no one but Dante the right to kick them out the pack.  

Dante shook his head. “They can’t kick them out the pack. At best they’ve just kicked them out the pack house. They didn’t say what it was about but I can take three guesses.”

Before I had time to ask about these guesses, my phone beeped as well away across the room on the vanity table. I got up to get it, but Dante didn’t pay too much attention far too gone with his own problems.

I picked it up and scrolled until I found the source of the notification – a message from Sabitha. I opened it.

‘Riley, try and avoid Dunsmore for now. Lay’s pretty angry.’

I replied back to her, ‘I’m sure once we apologise he’ll come around. What’s happening back there with you?’

I got a reply straight away. ‘No! NO! Don’t come back. Seriously, there’s a ton of shit going down. Besides, Lay’s not even here.’

Where is he?’ I asked.

He’s left for Wyoming… Some town called Mathew… Mat-something. Idk.’

‘Mateo?’

‘Yeah! There’

Suddenly I didn’t feel so confident anymore as I realised the scale of the problem – a whole new problem. Lay had left for Mateo? With the situation back home and Lay knowing Dante wasn’t with his pack, what business would Lay have up there? Suddenly, an ill thought struck me.

“Dante?” I asked him from across the room.

He snapped out of his rage for a second and looked up at me. “Yeah?” he asked.

“Lay’s pretty pissed,” I said to him, trying to break it as lightly as possible.

Dante shrugged. “I’d be pretty pissed too, Riley, I mean-.”

“No! He’s really pissed. He’s gone to Mateo.”

Dante’s face took on a look of confusion. “Wait, why?”

I held up my finger, because I still wasn’t too sure myself, and began to text Sabitha again. ‘We’re not even in Mateo’, I texted her.

Yeah, he knows. That’s why he’s going.’

That wasn’t good.

“He’s knows we’re not there. Sabitha says that’s exactly why he’s going.”

Dante suddenly threw a punch at the wall before I could tell him to stop, leaving a large dent in the plaster. “He’s messing with my pack now, knowing I’m not there?” A billion thoughts must have been running through his mind. Ethan who he’d left in charge wasn’t transpiring to have been the best choice, and now a bigger threat was heading towards Mateo to take down what we’d left behind.

I couldn’t resist the comment that escaped my mouth before I could filter it. “Might not be your pack for much longer.”

 

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