Another hump day rolls around and it’s time for #1lineWed over on Twitter with a new theme. Whether it’s hard to be humble, you’re eating humble pie, or came from humble beginnings, you can play along. For me, I’m sharing another snippet from Digger’s story. At the moment, I’m considering NIGHT FALL as a title. This scene is fairly self-explanatory. Lots of stuff went down and Gravedigger went a little feral. Hardass, the Club’s VP and former combat medic, went looking for him. This is what happened when Hardy found Digger.
Hardy sat, back braced against a broad tree trunk. He stared into the underbrush, his gaze fixed on me. “It’s time, Digger. You need to come back now.”
His voice was low, with a hint of alpha command in it. Not that it would work on me. We’d never tested who was the stronger wolf but I was damn sure he couldn’t force me to change. Only the Russian was capable of that.
“I brought your clothes, bro. It’s been two weeks.”
I sank down on my haunches, regarding him unblinkingly, a snarl on my muzzle.
“You don’t scare me, Dig. You forget. I work for the Russian and I served under Mac McIntire. You’re tough. But you ain’t either of them.”
“And not to sound humble, but I can take you.”
I snorted, which came out more of a sneeze. Like hell.
“I need to check your wound. I suspect you haven’t been shifting nor have you smeared any of the antibiotic ointment on it. That means you’ve been licking it. We heal fast but that was a wicked wound and wolf spit won’t do squat.”
I growled, even though he was right. That’s exactly what I’d done. If it worked for our wild kin, why wouldn’t it work for us?
“I was long gone by the time Bricks recruited you.” Hardy continued to talk. I growled again. “You were what? Eighteen when that raid happened?” He stretched out one leg, crooking the other knee to use as a prop for his arm. “Bricks didn’t have time for his own kid so he damn sure didn’t have time for any child that wasn’t his. Weird that. Seeing that most of us are hardwired to protect pups.”
His head thunked back against the tree and he stared up through the branches to the night sky above. “Once upon a time there was another little girl. Much younger than your Shy. I was fourteen, barely past my first couple of changes. She was in a bad place but she saw me in wolf form and thought I was a lost dog. She would sneak food to me and left an old bowl out, filling it with fresh water every day. I knew she was mine. I don’t how. I just did. But I was thirteen and she was maybe four.”
I didn’t want to hear this but to get him to shut up, I’d have to change and I wasn’t ready for that. I should just run back into the woods and stay away. The problem with that, we were Wolves and we were pack animals. Lone Wolves didn’t do well. The Club depended on me. I had a place in the hierarchy. My place. I growled and stretched out, listening because it suddenly occurred to me that not many Nightriders were left who knew Hardy’s story.
“Bricks caught me. Went apeshit when he found out her folks were drug addicts and had some tie to the Hell Dogs. Even back then they were our enemies. He called child protective services. Anonymously. Not to protect the kid. To punish me. She cried when they took her away. Not for her parents. For me. Bricks made sure I was there to see it.”
Fuck. I shifted. Hardy heard my bones popping and stopped talking, thank Christ. When I walked out of the trees, he tossed a bundle of clothes to me. I dressed but Hardy didn’t say anything else. The bastard was going to make me ask.
“The little girl.” My voice cracked from not using it.
Hardy shrugged. “No clue. I haven’t seen her since that day. But I learned something.”
He stared at the sky again, not speaking. I finished dressing and sat down to pull on my motorcycle boots. Hardy still hadn’t said anything else. Asshole. He was doing it on purpose. Then I caught a faint scent. Magnolias. I really looked at the man known as Hardass. He wore an aura of sadness like a quilt. I hunkered down beside him.
“She wasn’t really mine,” Hardy murmured. Louder, he added, “You wouldn’t have known, Dig. Not back then. No way.”
“Then why did I save her?”
“Because you weren’t a homicidal fuck like Bricks.”
That startled a laugh out of me. “Good to know.”
And that’s it for today. If you have some hunble words to share, please do. Enjoy your slide to the weekend. 🙂