Now for my next piece of business. I phoned the Globe and Mail. Eventually I managed to get through to a crime reporter. His name was Geoff Friel, and he was skeptical to say the least. “Mr. Friel,” I told him. “Since I was the subject of an attempted kidnapping that was coincident with my father’s so called accident, it is logical to assume that it there is a significant chance that it was not a bit of terrible bad luck, but murder. If you wish to confirm the kidnapping attempt, you should check with Inspector McDonald of the Oshawa branch of the OPP. Shots were fired.” With that he took things a bit more seriously. Then I had to call to Mrs. Dallas again, to let her and Jen know I was still fine, and would be back to school tomorrow, another barefaced lie. I was getting all to good at them. After that I chucked the second cell phone into a passing garbage truck. Glad I had two more. Now was a good time to move on. I had fifteen or so billion reasons to be careful, and several thousand wolves to protect.
After a substantial dinner with the Hattons I made my apologies, and told Linda, “I need to move on now.” I think she was astute enough both not to ask questions, but to also guess why. That was it now – guessing. I had to outguess whoever was after me. I had already told my agent I would make the audition, yet another lie in case her phone was bugged. I decided I would think better while I was riding, and set off with the usual bland promises to stay in touch. I wondered if I would ever see them again.
I set off towards Ottawa. I really didn’t want to go anywhere near pack lands, especially as they could easily be hostile. Once I reached themain road and was cruising at a steady speed, I tried to think. There were lots of wrinkles. Who could it be? It had to be an Alpha, probably one with strong sons to get his back, and who knew how many allies. There were thirty packs spread between the US and Canada, but fully two thirds of the wolves belonged to the packs my father had controlled. I needed to think like an Alpha wolf – and a male one at that. That was my first insight. Daddy had brought me up to think like a regular human, while still understanding wolves. Whoever I was up against most likely couldn’t think like a human, and that might be my only advantage.
Suddenly, I had another insight. Daddy had anticipated that I might need to use human laws and human institutions to protect myself. For instance, by pack law, having shifted, I was an adult. In contrast by human law I was still a minor, at least for the next eight weeks. I needed to do the unexpected. I might have to use the media more, and, I suddenly realized, I needed Jen’s dad. Being human, and a friend of dad’s, he was one of the few people I knew I could trust. After a good long ride, I settled down for the night in an anonymous motel, but not before buying and using a bottle of blonde hair dye. It wouldn’t fool any wolves, but who knew how many humans might be on their payroll?
I had visited Jen’s parents’ house in town on several occasions, and as I knew how to find it, I was there by mid morning. Leaving my bike at the curb, I rang the doorbell. A few seconds later, a voice came through, asking, “Who is it?”
“Let me in, Davis,” I replied, making sure he had a good view of my long blonde hair through the camera. Moments later, the buzzer sounded and I pushed the door open.
“Miss…” Davis struggled with my identity as he came to greet me in the hallway, before managing, “…Moon, how good to see you.” He had initially thought I was Jen. Just what I had hoped.
“It’s good to see you too,” I told him. “Will Mr. Cross be home this evening?”
Davis, a middle aged and balding man who served several functions for his boss was still at a loss. It took him a second or two to recover. “Yes, Miss Moon,” he said, “however Mr. Cross has an evening engagement, so he will only be coming home to change. Mrs. Cross is here, and I am sure will be glad to see you.”
“Thank you,” I replied, “I would love to see her too. Meanwhile, is there somewhere I can put my bike, and can you get Mr. Cross a message?”
“Mrs. Cross Is not at her best, but is in the sitting room. I will look after your…bike. What message would you like to get to Mr. Cross?”
“Please tell him I need to talk to him, and it will take fifteen minutes or so of his time.” I didn’t think Davis approved of my bike leathers, or the bike itself, but he took the keys before leading me to Mrs. Cross.
“Grace, how nice to see you,” I blurted out as soon as I saw her. She appeared tired and run down, and was curled up in a comfy chair with a rug over her knees.
“Moon, my dear, I’m so sorry about your father, how are you bearing up?”
“I’m doing alright, I suppose.”
Grace was a very nice and kind woman, not at all what you would imagine a successful politician’s wife to be like. She picked up a newspaper from the table beside her, and tapped it. “Says here that some people tried to kidnap you round about the time your father had his accident. You want to tell me about it?”
As I said, she was a very good person, the mother of my best friend, and I would need her husband’s help. Before I answered, I took her hand, mostly to emphasize my thanks for the offer, and to show how much I appreciated her gesture. That’s when my healer skills kicked in, and I felt the wrongness in her body. “Give me a minute, Grace,” I asked.
No doubt thinking I needed the time to get my thoughts settled, she said, “Take all the time you need.”
So I did. What she must have thought as I used my skill to inspect what was wrong with her insides, I couldn’t guess, but it was way longer than a minute when I finished. Before I said anything, I pulled up a chair so I could sit right in front of her, and the extra time that took helped me solidify my decision. “Grace, your daughter Jen is my best friend,” I began.
“Oh, my dear Moon, we know that, and you are hers. We have heard nothing but good things about you.”
“Thank you so much,” I said, reaching for her hand again, “but I’m not exactly what I seem, and Jen knows.”
“She never said anything to us.”
“I didn’t think she would, as I have some pretty big secrets, and she is very discrete. Even so, I haven’t burdened her with all of them. Now, I presume you know that you have pancreatic cancer?”
She tightened her grip on my hand, “How did you know; even Jen doesn’t know?”
“Jen knows that I am a healer. It’s a gift related to what I am. I can touch people, and know what is wrong with them, but best of all I can cure. Now, may I help you?” She started shaking, so I said, “I know it’s hard to take in, but you can ask Jen if you like.”
It took her more than a few moments to decide what to do, then, without saying anything, she picked up the phone from her side table, and dialed. It took several minutes, as they had to get Jen out of her class to speak to her mother, and longer than that for Jen to tell her about me. Eventually she put the receiver down gently, saying, “Do what you can, Moon,” in a tired voice that was nevertheless full of hope.
Without having another person to pull energy from, I could only manage around ten minutes. When I had done what I could, I told her, “I couldn’t fix everything in one session, but it’s now confined to the pancreas. I also found and removed some internal scarring, so you may have to go back on the pill. I’ll finish the job tomorrow when I have recovered.” She started crying, so I put my arm around her, and asked, “Do you want to know more about me?”
“No, dear, that’s quite enough for one day. I think I should get some sleep now.” I agreed, and walked with her up to her bedroom, where she said, “Thanks, I feel much better already.”
When I got back downstairs, I met Davis, and after I advised him that Grace had gone to lie down, he said, “Miss Moon, I spoke to Mr. Cross briefly, and he suggested that the best time to speak to him for more than a couple of minutes would be while he was on his way to his evening appointment. In the circumstances, he also strongly suggested that you accompany him, as Mrs. Cross is unwell and cannot attend.” He took that moment to glance over my outfit which he clearly felt was inappropriate. “When I advised him of your attire, he said that you should choose something of Jen’s to wear, as you are both the same size.”
Although I wasn’t keen to be seen in public, I had to agree, as I needed his help. “Thank you very much, Davis. Do you know what the event might be?”
“It’s a reception at the French Embassy.” Well, knowing that that would definitely help me choose what to wear.
It took me an hour to choose an outfit I thought would be appropriate for the evening, by which time Davis found me and said that Grace would like for me to keep her company for lunch in her room. “Thank you, Davis,” I told him, “I am very hungry.” I hoped that would be a hint for a decent sized portion, as healing always took it out of me.
“I really feel wonderful,” Grace told me as I went into her bedroom. “But I thought it best to keep playing the invalid, for appearances sake.” Before she could say anything else, food arrived, and once the maid had fussed over her, we were left alone. After a few mouthfuls, she remarked, “I have my appetite back too, Moon. I don’t know how to thank you except by not asking any more questions. You must be so despondent with your father dead, yet have the time to be so kind to me.”
“I haven’t had the luxury of being able to mourn my father yet, as his death wasn’t an accident and has set a lot of things in motion.” I eant back in the chair the maid had set beside her bed, and let out a deep breath. “He sort of prepared me for this eventuality, and I have tons of things to do, including finding his killer, before I can allow myself to revert to being a crybaby.”
“You can still have a hug, can’t you?” she asked, spreading her arms. I collapsed into them for a good long time, but shed no tears. “Feel better now?” she asked as we separated. I nodded, as I did.
After the meal, I excused myself to call Hamish. Locked in Jen’s room for privacy, I called him on one of my remaining cells. “Hamish,” I greeted him when he answered. “How did it go?”
“It was all very strange. Your mother was there, and about thirty or so very big men whom I had invited. In fact everyone on your father’s list was there. At such short notice I found it very unusual. Anyway I had to read them the sealed document I mentioned, and I had no idea what was in it until I read it. May I email it to you, as it’s rather long?”
“Of course,” I replied, giving him an email address I used occasionally, instead of my main one.
“Fine, I’ll be here for hours yet if you have any questions.” It sounded more as if he was the one who had the questions. A quarter of an hour later, I sat at Jen’s desktop computer and started to read:
If Mr. Burton is reading you this, I’m dead. As you may have guessed, I have prepared for this eventuality as I do not wish my estate to become divided in any way. I also wish to protect my daughter and heir, Moonbeam, from harm, because I have probably been murdered.
Now, if anything happens to her before she has natural heirs herself, certain provisions of my Will will come into force. None of you will like them, as they will entail certain parcels of land being sold to farmers and property developers who will erect fences. You will not be able to buy them back.
Likewise all funds that I have granted to you for upkeep will cease. There are many worthwhile charities that deserve my support.
My wife Joanna will get this house and all the land attached to it, as well as a substantial income. If she is harmed in any way, hunters will be allowed free access to all my lands.
If either my widow or daughter is found to have married against their will, even more untenable sanctions will be applied.
You are now all responsible for each other’s actions, and those of any others that you feel need to know.
Mr. Burton will read my Will here, once Moonbeam has been advised of its contents.
Moon, that was it. I hope you can understand it better than I can. Several men wanted to know who was in charge of his estate, as you are still a minor. I told them that I was sole executor of the Will, and was therefore in charge. I also told them that I was acting with very specific instructions, and if I was incapacitated in any way, another of my firm would step in and would be obliged to follow those instructions. I also told them that regardless of the extent of your legacy, since the estate was so large and complicated, probate would not be granted before you achieved your majority. That rendered moot any question concerning your possible need for someone to manage things on your behalf.