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   Chapter 9 Free Fall The Society Book 2

Free Fall: The Society Book 2 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 18900

Updated: 2018-03-13 11:51


Chapter 9

Ivy slept poorly. Dreams of nameless horrors stalking her and friends falling ill and dying in waves followed her through the darkness. Around three in the morning she started awake. Beside her Russell lay breathing deeply. In his corner basket, Bugsy snorted quietly in his doggy dreams. Ivy took a second to look Russell over, making certain his face did not contain the sores listed in William's accounts. His face was as it always was and his deep breathing let her know there was no shortness of breath. Satisfied her dreams were more fears than reality, Ivy looked at the ceiling.

She concentrated on her own breathing, calming her racing heart. Once her body was back to normal she closed her eyes and tried counting sheep. Unfortunately in her mind's eye, every fifth sheep was snatched by a wolf before it could jump the fence and be counted. Ivy sighed, gave it up as a bad job and decided she might as well get up since she clearly wasn't going back to sleep anytime soon. Quietly she slipped out of bed, disturbing neither man nor dog as she grabbed a thick pair of socks and her robe.

Ivy left the bedroom and entered the small sitting room designated as part of their private suite. She closed the bedroom door and cautiously made her way to one of the floor lamps rather than flipping the switch to turn on the overhead lights.

The sitting room aptly contained several comfortable chairs, a couch long enough for Russell to lay down on, a coffee table and a couple of side tables. Against the wall was a television and the brackets needed to mount it on the wall, but thus far there had been no time to actually place it on the wall. In actuality the other furniture hadn't really been placed either. It was more or less dropped into the room, someone taking the time to put the coffee table in the center and the other furniture more or less orbiting it. In the corner Ivy could see the rolled up carpet meant to go over the wooden floor and under the furniture leaning against the wall. The curtain rod was leaning next to it and the curtains were on the couch. A couple of framed prints were also on the couch.

Ivy shook her head. Wanting to get William's trunk, and its contents out of the more public areas of the house, everything was moved here. The box containing the plague information was kept out, mostly because Ivy wanted to make certain it didn't accidentally get locked again. She slipped on her robe, wincing as she was forced to move her injured hand. She then sat down and pulled on her thick socks.

The box was placed on the coffee table and Ivy leaned forward and lifted the lid. The loose pages were on top. Ivy picked them up and retreated to her comfortable armchair under the glow of the lamp. Slowly she read through the long chains of chemical equations, trying to figure out exactly what she was looking at. She worked her way through the first page and then moved on to the second. Her brain fitted the various molecules together as she read. When she reached the end of the pages she set them down in her lap and closed her eyes, thinking through the fit and working out the intent.

She jumped and let out a yip of surprise as a cold nose touched her hand. Ivy opened her eyes and looked down. Bugsy's stump of a tail was wagging and he barked excitedly at her.

"I guess you found me, " she told him. The dog barked again and then raced back to Russell who was standing in the doorway.

"Good job, " he told his partner in crime. "You know when you try to figure that stuff out your lips move and your fingers wiggle."

"They do not, " Ivy said as he plopped into one of the other armchairs. Bugsy sat down at his feet and Russell rubbed his head while still studying Ivy.

"You do. Find anything?" he gestured to the pages with his free hand.

Ivy looked down and sighed. "It is certainly a virus."

"Like that black death stuff, bubonic plague?" He asked.

Ivy shook her head. "That was a bacterial infection. Yersinia pestis to be precise. This is more like… influenza. Although I think it was engineered rather than naturally occurring."

"Engineered?"

"Yeah, someone created this one. Most of it is fairly normal but there is a repeating chain that seems a bit odd. If I was of a suspicious nature, I'd say that was the part that let it infect wolves. I didn't see any mates listed in the sick and dying so either William didn't write about the death of his pack's women or it didn't affect them and was designed to only take out wolves." Ivy shook her head. "Or shifters. I'm not quite certain how specific the difference is although I'm pretty sure you'd need a different compound for each type of shifter as the enzyme is targeted to only work on one substrate. This enzyme here is linked to metabolic conversion and would actually use the shifters ability to metabolize things quickly against him."

Russell chuckled and shook his head. "I'll have to take your word for that as I didn't understand more than half of what you just said." He sighed and shook his head. "What I'd like to know is why it didn't kill all of them if it was designed to do just that and if there is any cure in case The Brotherhood tries to bring it back."

"It would be nice if we could find some common thread, " Ivy agreed. She gestured to the box. "I was going to look through the appointment books and start making some lists, you know seeing if anyone contracted the disease but survived as well as looking at the dead. It would help if I knew the names of those who joined your pack from William's as they would be on the survivor list or they n

I've identified you to the guards they will let you pass even if I am not present."

"There may be some information I need in the mage archives, " Ivy told him, thinking of the two mages Jerome named. Even if Nikos was looking there might be more information that never made it to a computer.

"I can arrange for him to meet us there and if he approves the search he can grant you access, " Hackett told him.

"Should I call him?" Ivy asked, uncertain of the protocol.

"No, I will do that since this is pack business."

Ivy nodded. "The archives are located only a few blocks from my apartment building. I can easily stay there while I do research. I'm mostly in a holding pattern here. As my family likes to point out we all have our place in the circle of life, they tend the animals and grow the plants while I turn them into food and other random concoctions." She smiled. "Someone will need to make certain to keep everyone fed though."

"Afraid we will all starve to death without you?" Russell asked.

"This from the man who thought my making waffles was magical?" Ivy replied.

"True, but I won't be here. I'll be coming with you." He smiled. "Just in case anyone gets any bright ideas once you leave Wildwood. That way you won't have to run around armed with a pot roast."

Ivy rolled her eyes.

"Not a bad idea, " Hackett agreed. "And we can call the diner and see if one of their cooks would be willing to relocate in your absence." He stood up. "It will take a few days to set up, I will call Russell with details."

Settled on the matter, Hackett headed towards the door preparing to set things in motion. Although Ivy was curious as to what he planned to do with the napkin filled with cinnamon rolls, she wasn't curious enough to watch Hackett strip in order to find out.

"I have a call to make, " she told Russell. "We can talk about pack hierarchy later."

"I had the feeling it would come up." He sighed. "I'm not going to fight my brother, " he told her.

"I wouldn't ask you to, " she told him. "But if you defer to him and part of the pack wants to fight for you instead, we need to come up with a plan to make sure it is clear that our support is for Simon." Russell frowned and Ivy shook her head. "Or did you and Simon merely plan to stand back to back and fight anyone who opposed you?" The look on his face let her know that was exactly what he had planned. "Why don't we come up with a plan to convince them first and leave the bloodshed as option B?"

"I'm fine with that. As long as we can come up with an option A." he told her.

"Good. I take it you didn't tell Hackett all about William's sons?" Ivy asked.

"No, just that William had them and that's how we got you lot. I figured that might be for the best."

"Probably, " she agreed. She looked towards the door where Hackett disappeared.

"Are you stalling?" Russell asked.

"A little, " she admitted looking back to him. "Calling Albert doesn't exactly fill me with joy. Still I need to do it before Hackett talks to Hamilton. What are your plans today?"

"Not much, mostly help where I'm needed. Why have something you need done?"

"I was thinking of Jerome. He might know if any of those that survived had anything in common. I figured asking him before I start the research might help."

"You want me to take a run out there?"

"If you wouldn't mind. I don't know if he'll be more comfortable with you than with me."

"He might be, " Russell agreed. "He never found his mate so he's probably more comfortable with pack."

"Well, if he's interested, invite him to dinner so he can start getting used to us. We'll be having pork chops."

"I'll see what I can do."

"And I'll stop stalling and go call Albert."

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