Authors: Jeff Strand
Tags: #Urban Fantasy
WOLF HUNT 2
By Jeff Strand
Wolf Hunt 2 copyright 2014 by Jeff Strand
Cover design by Lynne Hansen
All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the author.
For more information about the author, visit
Also available in a deluxe hardcover collector's edition from Dark Regions Press.
Catching Up With George and Lou
George Orton and Lou Flynn sat in their living room, which was also their kitchen and bedroom, sipping margaritas and watching a terrible but weirdly addictive
"That kid's not really his," Lou said.
"You're out of your frickin' mind. She doesn't have any feelings for Ramon."
"That's what makes it so tragic! She's carrying his baby and she doesn't even love him. Ignacio suspects, though. You can see it in his eyes."
"No way in hell did she hook up with Ramon," said George. "They're totally wrong for each other."
"You can't tell me there's no way they didn't hook up even once. He's hot, she's hot, they're both recovering alcoholics—I'm telling you, that baby is his. Just watch. You'll see that I'm right."
"Not a chance."
"Want to put some money on it?"
"One peso. Just to make it interesting."
"We're not going to be here long enough to find out how it turns out."
Lou sighed and reached for his drink. He reached with the wrong arm—the one that no longer had a hand—then switched and picked it up in his right hand. He kept one of four different handkerchiefs wrapped around the stump. Today's was dark blue. "I know we said that we were just laying low for a while, but I like it here. Nobody telling us what to do. Catching up on our reading. Learning a new language."
George glared at him. "You understand that we're living in a shithole, right? An inferno shithole. I used to fantasize about beautiful women; now I fantasize about not being drenched in sweat twenty-four hours a day. I whack off to pictures of glaciers. Don't you miss A/C?"
"Sure, I wish it wasn't so hot," Lou admitted, "but isn't it kind of nice to lounge around in shorts? We always had to dress up before. I hate ties."
"Don't talk about ties. If you remind me that we own a tie, I'll use one to hang myself."
"I'm not saying that if I could pick anyplace in the entire world to live, this would be it. I'm just saying that being broke and hiding out isn't as bad as I thought it would be."
"Well, thank you Mr. Pollyanna Sunshine Sparklepants. Who needs running water when I've got a great big ray of optimism with me? Your radiant smile just fills me with—"
A bullet came through their wall, shattering George's margarita glass.
Several more gunshots fired as George and Lou dove to the floor. They'd been living in Costa Rica for two months, and about three days ago George had finally gotten out of the paranoid habit of keeping his gun with him at all times.
George scrambled across the floor toward his bed as bullets continued to tear through the very thin walls. There were at least two different shooters.
Lou let out a cry of pain.
George glanced back at him. Lou hadn't been shot; in the chaos of the moment he'd tried to crawl with his stump.
The shots stopped just as George reached under the bed and grabbed his loaded revolver. He could return a few blind shots and hope to get lucky, but lots of little kids lived in this area, and George didn't want to take a chance on shooting one who was trying to see what the excitement was all about.
George grabbed Lou's gun and slid it across the floor to him. Because their crappy floorboards were warped, it came up a couple of feet short.
Another shot. This one cracked the TV screen.
George fired at the new bullet hole in the wall. Somebody on the other side let out a yelp. Disappointingly, it didn't sound like a fatal yelp.
He looked around at the dozen or so bullet holes, trying to keep track of all of them at once, waiting for somebody outside to block the light. His whole body was tense and somehow he'd found new sweat to pump out of his pores.
One of the holes right next to the window darkened.
George fired. A few specks of blood hit the glass.
He got to his feet and rushed for the front door. It was a risk, but hiding under the bed wouldn't keep him alive for very long. He opened the door, quickly peeked to the right, and saw a man clutching at his bloody side. He'd dropped his gun.
George shot him in the leg. He fell to the ground.
Lou followed George outside. "I'll check on the other guy," said Lou, hurrying around the corner of their shack. The injured guy made a grab for his gun, but George stepped on his hand and crouched over him.
It was a young guy, maybe twenty-one or twenty-two. Nobody George recognized.
Some of the neighbor brats were already coming over to see what was going on, so George shooed them away. "Get out of here! You wanna get shot?"
Lou came back around. "Other guy's dying. I don't see any more of them."
George pushed the barrel of his revolver against the young guy's face. "Are there any more pieces of crap like you around here?"
The young guy shook his head. "Dude, call an ambulance."
George glanced at his wounds. "You're not going to bleed to death yet. Did Bateman send you?"
"Bateman? Where've you been? Got his head chopped off weeks ago."
"Oh. Good. So you work for Dewey?"
"You seem pretty green. Is that the best he can do, send a kid after us?"
"Ummmmm...how important do you guys think you are? This was a training job for me. I don't even get paid. You killed my mentor!"
"How much cash do you have on you?"
"Because I'm going to steal it, numbnuts. Roll over."
The kid rolled over with a wince. George took his wallet out of his back pocket and flipped through the contents. About sixty bucks in United States currency. George was ashamed to admit that this was a pretty big score.
More children were starting to gather. George waved his gun in the air. "I said, get out of here! What's the matter with you?" The children scattered.
"You gonna kill me?" asked the kid.
"Nah. Lou's going to use his switchblade to carve a message into your back to deliver to your boss. It'll say 'To whom it may concern, please note that Mr. George Orton and Mr. Louis Flynn wish to express their displeasure over the fact that a low-level underling was sent to end their lives. They would like to officially register a complaint about this disrespectful treatment, and formally request that it never happen again. Most sincerely yours, George and Lou.'"
"That a joke?"
"I don't wanna die."
"I already said that we weren't killing you. Stop being so whiny. What proof were you supposed to bring back?"
"Proof of our demise. Photographs of our corpses? Our heads? What?"
"Seriously. You think I want severed heads in my car when I'm crossing the border? And I can't go around taking pictures of dead bodies when I've got my phone set to synch with the Cloud." The kid coughed up some blood. "Not to be rude or nothing, but again, you're not as big of outlaws as you think you are."
George shrugged. "Fair enough. So are you willing to go back and tell them that you killed us? It's win/win."
"Sure, sure. I'll do that. No problem."
George glanced over at Lou. "Pack our stuff. We're getting out of here."
Lou, looking sad, walked back inside their shack. He came back out a moment later and tossed George's vibrating cell phone to him. George frowned and touched "Accept Call" on the screen. "Ricky?"
"Thank God you answered! Hey, I know I'm not supposed to know that this phone number exists, but I need to warn you that Dewey sent two men to hunt you down. They could be at your place any minute now. I'm taking a huge risk by telling you this, and I could end up on their list if anybody finds out that I gave you a heads-up, but you and Lou need to get out of there as soon as possible!"
"You're a bit late."
"Oh, no! Did they get Lou?"
"Oh. Okay, good to hear. You're not going to squeal on me, are you?"
"So how are things going? Is Costa Rica nice? I thought I might check it out someday."
George hung up on him and stuffed the cell phone into his pocket. Lou went back into their shack. George returned his attention to the kid.
"The story is, your mentor put a bullet in Lou's forehead. Then I killed your mentor. He died bravely. I shot you, but you took me out before I could finish you off. Sound okay?"
The kid nodded. "Yeah, yeah, I'm all for that. Can you take me to the hospital?"
"C'mon, Mr. Orton. I've got a shot leg."
"A good Samaritan will help you out." George waved his gun at the children again. "I said, get out of here, you suicidal twerps! Don't you know what bullets are?"
George knew that the kid wasn't really going to stick to their story. Still, they had to abandon this place anyway, so he and Lou might as well buy themselves some time by pretending that they believed he'd lie on their behalf.
It didn't take long for Lou to fill the trunk of their car with their meager possessions, and they drove off, unsure of the next stop on their journey.
* * *
"It's frickin' freezing," said George. How did anybody live in this environment? He and Lou were wrapped in blankets, huddled next to their tiny space heater, but it wasn't doing enough to counteract the Northern Ontario climate.
"It's not so—"
say anything positive about our situation! I mean it, Lou. This is not a time for the glass to be half-full. This is a time for misery and complaining."
"I will break a fucking icicle off my chin and stab you with it if you try to be happy."
"Maybe you should grow a beard like mine. They're pretty warm."
George ignored him. They sat there for a while, shivering.
Lou finally spoke again: "Better than being hot, though, right?"
"Yes. And having a toenail yanked out is better than having a fingernail yanked out."
"Is it? I'd think that a toenail would be worse."
"Are you crazy?"
"They're bigger. More surface area to hurt."
"You only have one hand," George said. "How can you possibly say that you'd rather have a fingernail ripped out?"
"I guess I was being more hypothetical about it. And maybe you're right; I bet a finger has more nerves."
George sighed, watching his breath mist in the air in front of him.
Lou smiled. "At least I have one less hand to be cold."
Their front (and only) door burst open. Three men rushed inside, all of them wearing facemasks and holding guns.
"Lose the blankets!" said the man in front.
George and Lou tossed their multiple layers of blankets to the floor, revealing their lack of weaponry.
"At least shut the door behind you," said George. "You're letting out all of the heat."
A fourth man walked into their shack, closing the door behind him. Jonathan Dewey grinned at them. "Hello, George and Lou. How nice to finally meet you in person."