Winter Rain, part 65

“How long have we been waiting?” Keely whines, turning from the large window.

Brennan scowls at her from his post by the door.

“I don’t know . . . ” I reply, with a little more edge than I’d intended—I soften my tone—”three minutes longer than the last time you asked?” She drops her gaze.

But I’m not really annoyed at her. It has been nearly an hour since we arrived, and it’s going to be sundown soon.

Where the fuck is Torrin?

Keely returns to the view out into the forest twilight. Even through the glass, the river chortles noticeably in the near distance.

This trip is not going as planned.

Brennan leans casually against the ornate oak trim of the entry archway, but his foot is live—pressed firmly against the wall, ready to spring—and has been since we arrived. Expecting trouble.

And I know what he’s thinking: he wants us to screw Torrin—and anybody else in our way—and proceed posthaste to Carrigan’s. And who am I kidding, I’m feeling much the same way, too.

But we already have enough enemies. We can’t afford to make more.

Fuck it.

“Brennan, give me your phone.”

“Huh?” he replies, but pushes himself off the wall.

“Your phone,” I reply, this time with exactly as much edge as I intend. “I want to call Faolan.”

He pulls his phone out of his pocket as he walks over and hands it to me. Keely turns back from the window, suddenly interested.

Probably never seen a cellphone up close before.

“It’s quick-dial one,” he adds, as he returns to his post by the door.

I key in the appropriate sequence and wait for it to connect.



“Hello?” comes Elish’s voice from the other end of the line.

“Hey, Elish. It’s Tiergan. Faolan around?”

There’s a pause—too long—before she answers, sympathetically, “Um . . . he’s . . . out right now.”

“Out?” I reply, with a sudden and intense feeling of dread in my chest. “Where is he?”

Another long pause. The sense of dread spreads to my stomach and shoulders.

“He’s at Aiden’s.”

Son of a bitch!

“Aiden’s?” I reply, and even I can hear the desperation in my voice. But I can’t help it.

And I don’t care.

“How long’s he been there?”

Another pause.

What the fuck is it with the pausing!?!

“Most of the day . . . ” she finally replies. Again, sympathetically. “He left about an hour after you did.”

That son of a bitch! That lazy, good for nothing, mother-fucking son of a bitch!


“Tiergan?” Elish asks, and I realize several breaths have passed.

“Okay,” I force myself to say into the receiver. “Thanks. I’ve got to go now.”

“Tiergan,” she asks, “are you sure you’re o—”

I snap the phone shut and squeeze it tightly in my hand. Harder. And harder still.

At my feet, Garvey barks sharply and pulls his head from under my legs. My heel smacks into the wooden trim on bottom of the couch.

Keely says something, but I can’t hear the words.

I want to hit something. I want to hit something. I want to throw the phone against the wall and watch it smash. I squeeze it more tightly in my hand, but it refuses to give me even a crack.

Goddamned quality construction. Goddamned Brennan who couldn’t buy a cheap phone.


Screw it! I twist and hurl the phone with all my might into the open fireplace. It smashes hard against the stone and shatters into a dozen pieces, that scatter about the room.

But it isn’t enough.

I need to hit something. I need to hit something NOW.

“What the hell did you do that for?” Brennan yells, running over to examine the ruin of his phone.

The muscles in my right hand start to protest from the strain as I clench them harder. Harder. Harder still. But not enough. GODDAMN IT NOT ENOUGH.

“What is it, Tiergan?” Keely asks, with concern and fear in her voice. But I don’t care.

I can’t break anything here.

I need to break something, and I can’t break anything here.


I want to slam my fist into my thigh. Anything, to make this go away. But I can’t. I’m in charge here. My SON OF A BITCH brother saw to that. I can’t just let this out, I can’t.

Brennan is staring at me, pissed.

Did he know, that this was all an excuse? I’ll bet he fucking did. Son of a bitch has been laughing at me all fucking day!

My arm is shaking from the strain in my hand.

I surge up and cross the room. I feel Keely step toward me, but she hesitates before she gets too close.

I step over to the bar and pour myself a tumbler full of whiskey. I drain it—it scrapes down my throat and makes me want to puke—and pour another.

“You knew, didn’t you, you son of a bitch!” I growl, turning on Brennan with the full glass in my hand. It sloshes around, and some of the liquid spills down my hand and onto the hardwood below.

I raise the glass to my lips and drain it in three gulps. This time, it tears a strip off the back of my throat and it takes every ounce of will to keep from puking it right back up. The muscles of my face contort in protest, but I hold it in.

I consciously force myself to place the glass back on the bartop—gently—and release it unharmed.

“Know what?” he demands, feigning indignation like a pro.

And I almost believe him.

I smash my knuckles into the bartop, and the pain leaps gleefully up through my wrist.

“You son of a bitch!” I reply and stomp toward the doorway.

“Fuck you. And Faolan, too,” I growl as I step through.

“Where are you going?” he asks, as I take off down the hall.

“Out,” I yell, and drive my fist into a stone column as I turn the corner.

I hear Garvey’s nails on the floor behind me, but I don’t care. I slam the door open as I reach it and drive my feet into the ground with as much force as I can as I take off into the woods. Over the first hill, I tear my clothes from my body, and chuck them against a tree. One shoe bounces down the slope, but I don’t give a shit.

Faolan be damned. Brennan be damned.

Torrin be damned, too, for all I care.

I change, and take off into the trees. Garvey follows behind.

13 Responses to “Winter Rain, part 65”

  1. Piosenna says:

    Ok.. so is Torrin dead?  What in the world is going on here?!  I hope you post chapter 66 very soon!  The story is amazing so far.


  2. Hi Piosenna — Torrin dead?  I hope not — it would be news to me.  ;-)  That said, this part references stuff that happened in a lot of other parts — as far back as 35 — so don’t feel bad if you feel a little lost.  And part 66 should be up next Monday.  :-)

  3. Come to think of it, some of the underlying tension here has been hanging around since part 1.

  4. Vercin says:

    Wait, Tiergan’s logic is that Faolan put him in charge so if he wussed out and called home and learned about the follow-up visit to Aiden, he’d be too impressed with his own importance to rush back and make trouble?

    This from someone who’s shown massive disregard to Tiergan’s feelings in the first place? Here I was thinking he’d just waltz over and try to take what he wanted, whenever he damn well felt like it—screw the diversion.

    Elish may not be nearly as smart as she thinks she is.

    There are also good reasons for Faolan to visit Aiden . . . Tiergan didn’t discuss his business there (taking out Rian, which is going to be some serious shit), he only gained passage. It’s reasonable to think that Faolan is engaged in heavy diplomacy with a lot of people, and used Tiergan for Carrigan because it was convenient for any of several reasons.

    Also recall from Ch 35: “Forget about my daughter, Tiergan.  She’s not for you.  Not until you are strong enough to take her from me.” I’m not saying he’d hold out for Tiergan if Faolan showed interest, but any other potential courtship (or sale, if you prefer) seems to be far from everyone’s radar.

    Busting up his host’s home, having a mental breakdown, and roaming his territory in wolf form may have been very, VERY impetuous on Tiergan’s part . . . 

  5. Well, something had to happen.  I got tired of Sarah telling me “and we still haven’t met Torrin!”  :-)

    And do bear in mind that Tiergan isn’t omniscient.  He’s reacting, here, for reasons he doesn’t really understand, and he’s making broad assumptions about other people’s motives and agendas as a result.  They may be right, they may not be.  In any case, I don’t consider him to be thinking particularly rationally, here.  I mean, he did just dump 6 shots of whiskey into his stomach two minutes before changing into a form that doesn’t metabolize alcohol very well.  ;-)

  6. Hmmm, now may be the time for me to give some consideration to their cellular makeup — would an organ like a liver have different capabilities when in one form or the other.  Probably something I should decide before saying things like that.  :-)

  7. evie says:

    could it be possible that “garvey” is actually torrin?  and he’s been just observing tiergan and company? that would be interesting . . . 

  8. srsuleski says:

    Oohhh, I like Evie’s thinking.  Though . . . I suppose that Tiergan and Brennen could tell the difference between a regular dog and an, er, werewolf.  So maybe not.

    In that case . . . whines we still haven’t met Torrin! :-P

    Really good installment though.  And so long. :)  Tiergan really does have quite the pent up rage inside him.

    One thing, though.  I may be remembering wrong, but didn’t Faolan outright tell Tiergan at one point that his intention was to ask Aiden for Keira’s hand in marriage?  So why the diversion, and why the surprise on Tiergan’s part?

  9. Evie’s idea is fun — I kind of wish I’d thought of it myself.  However, no, they’d all know the difference.  We have yet to meet Torrin.  :-)

    As for motivations and thinking, I’m hoping that Tiergan is a complicated mess of conflicting wants and needs.  He’s angry, alright, but I don’t think for a second that he’s aware of all of the reasons why.  And stuff leaks out.

  10. Vercin says:

    I love posting comments here. Chris always takes them personally and responds with paragraphs of defense cackle

    A character in this story is real enough that I’m happy to speculate about their motives and pick on them for their missteps. That doesn’t mean I don’t know why they’re doing it, or that I think they’re poorly written :-P

    The writing is fine, including all the points you stated (most of which I inferred). Tiergan is the dope.

    Possibility 1: Elish is observant. Faolan is erratic. Tiergan is justified.
    Possibility 2: Elish is a busybody. Faolan is pulling many levers and turning many gears, but “hit on that wolf chick” is a distant 3rd, at best. Tiergan is emotional.

    Ch. 7, T to F: “How did you think it was going to work?  We’re together for a year an a half and one day, out of the blue, I tell her I’m done with her?  And the next day you show up asking her parents for their daughter and an alliance?”

    Everyone involved knows the score. That smells less like “diversion” and more like “overreaction”. I’m not convinced Brennan’s indignation is feigned.

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