Winter Rain, part 53

Brennan slams it into reverse and floors it back up the hill. There are stone walls on either side of the road—no chance we can turn. I check behind.

We’re too late.

“There’s two of them—we can’t get past!” I say.

“I know.”


Well, I guess there’s only one choice left.

“Stop the car.”


I turn back to face him and growl impatiently, “Stop the fucking car!”

He glares at me and hits the brakes. We screech to a halt. They roll up behind us and stop about five yards out, one beside the other, completely blocking the road. There’s two men in each car.

“Keely, stay put.”


“Don’t you dare argue with me! You’re the one they want. We are not making it easy for them!”

I haul myself out and step forward.

Our favourite drunk, Declan, climbs out of the passenger side of the leftmost car, a bit unsteady, and glaring to curdle milk. His driver is more of a threat, but at least he’s further away. He’s sixteen stone, easy—and sober from the looks of him. There’s something in his right hand, but he slips it behind his leg as he gets out. A pipe, maybe. Too narrow to be a cricket bat. The second driver is a bit slimmer, and unarmed, but his nose looks like it’s been broken a few times. Huge hands. Probably a brawler. His passenger is tall, and top-heavy. Probably used to dominating with his fists, but won’t have a clue what to do with his legs.

Still, all in, we’re nearly fucked. This can’t come to a fight.

I step forward, into the gap, and fake my best smile. I sense Brennan moving to follow me, but I wave him back, as subtly as I can. “Gentlemen! We seem to have taken a wrong turn. Would one of you mind pulling over so we can back out past you?”

Declan stumbles forward and snarls, “Give ush the girl, and you two can be on yer way.”

“The girl?” I ask, feigning confusion.

“You heard me.”

“And what, exactly, do you want with the girl?” I ask, trying to stall while I figure out a plan.

He steps forward another step—his motion is just off, just a little bit slow. He, at least, shouldn’t be a problem, if it comes to it.

“That’sh none of your conshern! Give her over, and be on yer way!”

“Hmmm,” I say, nodding as if considering his point. “I think her father might disagree with you on that point. I’m fairly certain, in fact, that he would consider this very much my concern.”

“That girl is a evil!” Pipe-man growls. Brawler and Top-heavy sound their agreement. “She’s in league with the Devil!”

I raise an eyebrow. “Well,” I say, “I can’t speak to that, but I’ve found her to be quite pleasant company, so far today.”

“She’s a werewolf!” Declan spits. “I’ve sheen her change with me own eyes!”

I stare at him for a moment, then burst out laughing.

“A werewolf? Fuck, Declan—the publican was right—you have had a few too many, today!”

“Gentlemen,” I continue, to the group, “clearly your friend here has been having his fun with you. I mean, werewolves? Seriously?”

Declan snarls, “It’sh none of your conshern! We will have her, and you”—he jabs his finger towards me—”won’t shtop us.”

Pipe-man backs up Declan’s threat by shifting his pipe out into full view beside him—it’s three feet long, and lead, from the looks of it. His grip tightens on it as he glares at me. I hear Brennan shift his weight forward.

I laugh again, and return my gaze to Declan. My smile slips from my eyes as anger—and fear—jabs upward, but I hold it in as best I can. Declan’s the lynchpin in all of this—if I can dissuade him, the others will follow.

“Okay, okay. Let’s say for a second I do as you ask, and give you the”—I snort—”werewolf. What next? Silver bullets? Wolf’s bane? Beheading? What exactly do you plan on doing next? Hell, do you even have a muzzle for her? I mean, you wouldn’t want her biting one of you, now, would you? You know, turning you into a creature of the night.”—I sneer.—”Fuck, you really haven’t thought this shit through at all, have you?”

I see doubt cross three faces, but not the one I need it to. He steps forward, clenching his fists, and snarls, “That’s not your problem. Give ush the girl. Now!”

I’ve lost. Pipe-man moves over to his side, and Brawler steps forward, too. Top-heavy hangs back, but that won’t last. I feel Brennan loom up near me, to my right, and, this time, I don’t try to stop him.

I glance at Pipe-man—I can take him, I think. If I keep moving. Brennan will be better against Brawler, anyway.

Yeah, and Top-heavy’s just going to wait.


A last desperate thought bubbles up, and I let it out. “Fine, Declan—fine! You want the truth? She is a werewolf. Has the strength of three men, easy. In league with the Devil, all of that.

“But you know what? You’ve got a bigger problem.

“Did you seriously think her father sent her on a roadtrip with a couple of humans?”

14 Responses to “Winter Rain, part 53”

  1. Vercin says:

    Cliffhanger much? ** glare **

    if Tiergan reasons through this, there’s no way what he said can be written off as bluff or humor, now. Four men are going to have to disappear. Better stories than corroborated accounts.

    This is also likely to result in Dugan owing Tiergan a significant favor, politically speaking. He might come out of this thing smelling like a rose.

  2. I do, in fact, cliffhanger much.  :-)

  3. Miladysa says:

    That last line is awesome!

  4. Gudy says:

    Nice cliffhanger. But that was pretty darn desperate. I tend to agree with Vercin: I don’t see a way for Tiergan to bluff his way out of it now, so while that may or may not solve the immediate problem by scaring off the locals, it’s bound to create more problems for Keely and her family in the long run.

  5. Nisp says:

    pant pant
    fight or flee, what will it be???

  6. K says:

    I suppose this is an odd place for a first comment, but I’ve been much too shy about reading Winter Rain.  I love this story, and you deserve to know it.  I can’t imagine that you don’t have many, many, more readers than the volume of comments implies, so I thought I’d do my bit to fix that.

    Also, I don’t doubt that Tiergan intends to kill these four men, but he’s clever enough that I won’t be surprised if he surprises me.  But I do wonder how he’s going to manage it.  He and Brennan are both clothed, so I can’t imagine them changing.  So far, I haven’t seen much to indicate that werewolves in human form are particularly lethal, and they don’t have good odds on this fight.

    Then again, this story has been making very understated revelations about the nature of werewolves, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is something lethal about human werewolves that I haven’t seen yet.  There is certainly room for it: the only physical conflicts we’ve been witness to (Tiergan and Conlan, Tiergan and the gunman) were (perhaps) both conflicts between werewolves rather than between werewolves and mortals.  Also, everything we’ve seen of combat hasn’t anywhere excluded the possibility of something strange.

    Tiergan seems much too fast and strong and athletic to be treated like the runt at the bottom of the pack, but he’s definitely the sort of person that would end with status lower than he deserves, so this may or may not pertain to the general physical prowess of werewolves.  Biting out somebody’s throat is not something I think a normal human set of jaws and teeth could do easily, not being built like a predator’s jaw, but the writing doesn’t really make it clear how easy it was or how exceptional Tiergan’s effort was.

    Perhaps I like speculating as I read far more than is healthy (I’m certainly considering not posting all of this), but all this leaves me expecting to be surprised in the next chapter.  I’m just not sure which surprise I should be expecting.  I could just as easily be wrong on both counts.  Also, in case I haven’t made it clear, I’m am a huge fan of the understated revelation of information about werewolves.

  7. K says:

    In retrospect, my comment contained far too many sentences written in the negative, and a few in double negatives.  I suppose I can only say it seemed natural at the time.  Negative and doubly negative verbs seem to make more sense than positive ones when speaking from incomplete information.  This may be a habit from speaking Korean and Japanese.

  8. I guess we’ll find out shortly.  ;-)

  9. Hi K,

    Thanks for commenting!  Don’t worry, I had no trouble understanding what you wrote, and I really appreciate you taking so much time to do so.  I’m going to refrain from commenting on what might happen in the future because, well, I’m a nasty writer.  :-)  That said, the WR54 I have right now has to be rewritten, due to the changes I made in WR53 before posting it.  It’s cool — I know what’s going to happen, and I think it will be fun to read.

    Again, thanks for commenting.  I’ll try to continue to make things unexpected. 


  10. srsuleski says:

    I predict that Declan and his . . . clan . . . are fucked.  I mean, we can’t leave any witnesses, now can we . . . .

    Or maybe I’m just bloodthirsty.

    • rubs hands together *

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