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He wanted to walk away...
Fate wouldn't let him.
Copyright Lexi Ander
Chapter Twelve – Standing His Ground
No one visited Zane. As far as Alonzo could tell, Zane was friendly to the townsfolk, but he didn't have friends. Zane hadn't gotten get close to anyone to bring their scent home until today. So the arrival of the vehicle didn't bode well. With the el Chupacabra and the mysterious people Zane had dinner with, the same people who refused to give Zane their truth, Alonzo wasn't willing to take any chances. Their quiet had put Zane in danger, and that, Alonzo wouldn't allow to happen again.
He stepped out onto the front porch, the wood planks groaning softly under his bulk. The chilly wind ceased to bother Alonzo as he concentrated, and his hair thickening, protecting him from the elements. He'd told Zane he was Maricoxi, but since Zane didn't react, Alonzo was under the impression Zane didn't know what being Maricoxi meant. It made him wonder if Zane was suffering from mild shock. He was concerned about their impromptu coupling in the kitchen. But Zane had shown Alonzo what he'd needed, and Alonzo hadn't been able to deny him. He would have spent time introducing Zane to who he was if these intruders hadn't arrived. Any moment now, Zane would see the form Alonzo was born to. He would be a liar if he said he wasn't worried about Zane shunning him. Zane wasn't a part of nor had any knowledge of the paranormal world around him. How would Zane react when the information settled? Fortunately, Alonzo didn't have time to dwell on what-ifs. For now, he would do what he was born to do.
Giving his full attention to the approaching vehicle, Alonzo stepped off the porch, his bare feet sinking into the chilly, crisp snow. Within moments, he stood on the driveway, blocking the path to the cabin. He was ten feet tall and almost three hundred and fifty pounds, covered by a long, thick pelt.
Instead of screeching to a stop as soon as the driver saw Alonzo's forbidding form, the vehicle rolled to a halt several feet away. If he listened hard, he could make out six heartbeats. Only one thrummed faster than the others, but not at a rate the would indicate fear. The driver was staring at Alonzo with his mouth agape and interest in his eyes. The man's long curly black hair fell over leather clad shoulders. On the passenger side sat a Nordic blond with a full beard. His expression was wary but calculating. Alonzo frowned at him.
The driver turned off the car but left the headlights on. The rear doors opened but no one exited right away. The men conversed in low voices so Alonzo only heard a word or two of their argument. Instead of concentrating on eaves dropping, Alonzo mentally tracked Zane. Acutely aware of Zane's presence. He'd sensed Zane as soon as the man had stepped out of the house. Zane had exited, using a side door and stalked the deeper shadows along the walls until he stopped at the backside of the garage where he could watch from the corner. Obviously, Zane didn't trust the newcomers… or Alonzo's changes had scared him.
The front doors of the vehicle popped open and all six people piled out of the car, coming around the front but not moving any closer to Alonzo. Besides the two in the front, there was a black man with freckles and close-cropped hair. By the dangerous glint in his eye, Alonzo pegged him for a killer. A fractured sheen flitted over the irises, revealing the man wasn't human. The scent of loamy earth, summer mountain breezes, and lush jungles came from the dark haired Hispanic, reminding Alonzo of home with a pang of longing. Two of the men smelled of cold, windy seas and rolling verdant hills. Not one among the six were human.
Alonzo growled, the sound having nothing in common with wolf, bear, or cat. Maricoxi were an ancient people, becoming aware in a prehistoric era when the prey and predator alike were larger than modern day elephants. His noise of warning reflected that ancient lineage and a couple of the trespassers took several steps back.
The one who reminded Alonzo of his homeland inched forward, hands out in a gesture of friendship. "Mighty guardian, I am called Midnight Cordova. You are far from home. What brings you to the cold North?"
Alonzo stared hard at Midnight, wanting to trust someone who was aware of his people but knew that he could not. He stared so long Midnight shifted his feet. "This is my home," he finally said, for the first time verbally claiming ground as his. If Midnight was familiar with the Maricoxi, then he would know the significance of Alonzo's words.
Midnight's warm complexion turned ashen, his eyes darting around at the deep shadows. "Your clan is here? Why ever for?"
"That is none of your concern," Alonzo rumbled. "Why are you here? You were not invited."
The male with sides of his head shaved and smelled of salty sea grumbled, clearly impatient before he snapped, "We came because—"
"Shut up, Raine!" Midnight moved to block Raine's view.
"All we came to do was make sure the el Chupacabra didn't follow Zane home. Obviously, they didn't and if they had—" Raine flung his hand in Alonzo's direction. "The giant would take care of them."
Fear entered Midnight's expression and he darted a pained glance at Alonzo.
"What is wrong with you?" Raine snapped, his expression twisted in annoyance as he pushed Midnight out of his way, oblivious to Alonzo's soft rumbles of warning.
Alonzo seethed, his breaths coming in quick pants. "You," he snarled, staring at Raine, waiting from the man to give Alonzo his full attention. "Zane shared a meal with you this evening, yes?"
"Uh…" Raine looked at his companions and shrugged. "Yes, he had dinner with us."
Alonzo breathed in and held his breath. Raine's eyes widened when Alonzo grew in height and breadth.
"Someone was shot at," Alonzo continued, his gaze going from man to man.
The Nordic blond with the beard regarded Alonzo with a wide almost covetous gaze while the others shuffled their feet, different shades of guilt crossing their features.
Midnight swallowed audibly and stepped away from the group. "I… Yes, someone shot at me."
Alonzo's jurassic rumbling became louder and he took a step toward them. "And you did not warn him?" his voice grew louder the hotter his anger burned. "You allowed him to go into the night, chasing a shooter when… how many of you could scented the el Chupacabra?" Every one of them refused to meet his gaze. "You knew the danger and sent an unwary human against them? What kind of men are you?"
"He wasn't alone!" snapped the one with long blond hair. Of all of them, he dressed as if he came from wealth and stood with a regal bearing. "I, too, hunted the shooter."
"Stop it, Prince!" Midnight snarled. "You are only making things worse."
"How can this get any worse? Zane wasn't harmed," Prince volleyed back.
Alonzo drew in another breath and grew again. "How?" he boomed. "I will tell you how. Zane put what he thought were dead bodies in his truck and brought them home to dispose of them. Imagine his surprise when two of them came back to life!"
"How were we to know he would take them?" Prince boldly moved closer to Alonzo, ire burning in his eyes.
"He told me he asked for answers. Tell me, Formorian, what did you say?"
"How do you know what I am?" Prince snapped before his mouth clacked shut.
"You set him up!" Alonzo released his rage, his body hair shaking out as he experimentally swung his arms and then charged.
The man with the long, dark curly hair darted as quick as a wolf, grabbing up Prince and running. Alonzo barely missed them with his kick. His foot hit the grill of the SUV and it was as if he kicked a football. The vehicle lifted off the ground, rising high in the air in a graceful arch before coming back down somewhere on the lower slopes. Silence reigned for several heartbeats.
"Holy shit!" Raine exclaimed. "How are we supposed to get home now?"
"You don't need to worry about that," Alonzo promised. "You'll be buried on this mountain before dawn."
Table of Contents
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers