Mercy Thompson


Mercy Thompson Book 1 - Page 78

At first I thought it was the heat of my hands warming the haft, but as the blade broke through the manacle, I had to drop it because it had grown too hot to hold. Adam's hand slid off the chair arm to rest in his lap.

It took almost an hour to cut away the rest of the manacles and chains. Each time the knife heated up, it did so more quickly and took longer to cool off. There were scorch marks on the linoleum floor and a few blisters on my hand by the time Adam was finally free of the silver chains.

Jesse helped me to gather all the chains together and heap them on the bed. We had to be careful not to drag them on the floor because the sound of metal on hard surfaces tends to carry.

We were just dropping the last of it when I heard the sound of the guard's footstep on the stair. I dropped Zee's dagger on the bed with the silver, pushed Jesse toward the closet, and drew my gun. I aimed it about six feet up the door, and froze, waiting for the bolt to turn on the lock.

He whistled as he inserted the key and I steadied my grip. I planned on hitting him in the middle of his chest first, then two shots into his head. If he wasn't dead after that, he'd be incapacitated so I could finish him off. It would rouse everyone, but I had no options: I had neither time nor inclination to rebind the prisoners.

As I drew in a breath I heard a man's voice, distorted by the door and by distance so I couldn't quite make out what he said. But I heard the man outside our door. If I had to kill someone, I was happy it would be the one who'd hit Jesse.

"Checking on the prisoners," he said. "It's about time to shoot Hauptman again."

The second man said something else.

"I don't need orders to watch the clock," he said. "Hauptman needs more of the drug. He's not going to kick the bucket over a little silver. Hang what Wallace says."

I sucked in my breath as power crept up the stairway. Not Adam's or Samuel's caliber, but power nonetheless, and I guessed that the man talking to our guard was David Christiansen.

The guard growled, but he pulled the key out of the door and tromped down the stairs. I heard the sound of a short, nasty little argument, and when no one came back up the stairs I decided Christiansen had won his point and put my gun away again.

"Well," I told Jesse as I tried to steady my breathing, "wasn't that fun."

She'd curled up in the bottom of the closet. For a moment I thought she was going to stay there-but she was tougher than that. She gathered her courage and got to her feet.

"Now what?"

I looked at Adam. He hadn't moved.

I crossed the room and put my hand against his face. His skin was cool to my touch, which was bad. Because of their high metabolisms, werewolves usually feel warmer to the touch. I wondered how much of that silver they'd pumped into his system.

"I need to get some of that coffee into him," I told Jesse. "And I have some food, too-which should help."

She stood by me and looked at him, then looked at me. "Okay," she said finally, "I give. How are we going to get him to drink coffee?"

In the end, we dragged him out of the chair and propped his head up against Jesse's thigh. We dribbled the coffee, which was still hot, into his mouth. Neither of us could figure out how to make him swallow, but after a few dribbles, he did it on his own.

After the third swallow, he opened his eyes, and they were night-dark velvet. He reached up and grasped Jesse's hand where it lay on his shoulder, but his eyes were on me.

"Mercy," he mumbled. "What the hell did you do to my French Roast?"

I had a moment to believe all my worries had been for nothing when he dropped Jesse's hand and his spine curled backward, throwing his head farther into her lap. His skin went gray, then mottled, as his hands clenched. His eyes rolled back until all I could see were the whites.

I dropped the coffee and grabbed Jesse under the shoulders and dragged her away from Adam as far and as fast as I could.

"He'll hit his head," she said, beginning to struggle as she realized, as I had, that he was having a seizure.

"He'll heal a cracked skull, but you can't," I told her. "Jesse, he's a werewolf-you can't go anywhere near him when he's like this. If he hits you, he'll break bones." I thanked the dear Lord sincerely that he'd let go of Jesse's hand before he crushed it.

As if it had been awakened by the same demons that were causing his convulsions, I felt the sweep of power arise from him-as would any other werewolves in the area. Which, if Christiansen's figures were accurate, numbered twelve.

"Can you shoot?" I asked her.

"Yes." Jesse didn't look away from her father.

I pulled the SIG out and handed it to her.

"Point this at the door," I said, digging to the bottom of the pack for the. 44. " If I tell you to shoot, pull the trigger. The first pull will be a little stiff. It's loaded for werewolf. We have allies here, so wait until I tell you to shoot."

I found the revolver. There was no time to check it, but I'd loaded it before I put it in the pack. That would have to do. The Smith & Wesson was a lot heavier than the SIG, and it could do a lot more damage.

"What's wrong?" Jesse whispered, and I remembered she was human and couldn't feel the song of the Alpha's strength.

The music grew, abruptly doubling, and the focus faded until I couldn't tell that it was coming from Adam anymore. Light feet ran up the stairs and the bolt turned on the door. Jesse was still looking at me, but I had my revolver up and aimed as the door opened.

"Don't fire," I said, raising my gun and putting my hand on top of hers so that the automatic's nose stayed on the ground. "He's one of ours."