Midnight Rider preview
Sully returned to the room and stopped as she was going out.
“You leaving?” he asked.
“Yep. Take care of him, but you rest, too. Okay?” Lyra said.
“I will. I’ve got the feeling he’s not going to let me run off again,” he said, nodding toward me.
“Damn straight. Get your ass over here. We need to talk,” I said.
“See,” Sully replied to her. She patted him on the shoulder and left us alone. “I can’t believe you found a six pack of Crescent Moon.”
“I was hoping it would lift you spirits,” I replied. He didn’t speak, so I prodded him.
“I know you, Brother. You found something,” I said.
“I did, but it’s not what I’d hoped to find,” he said.
“Then, tell me what you found.”
“You need to rest.”
“You need to talk.”
He sighed. “You know, I love you even though you are an asshole.”
“Love you, too,” I replied.
He sat silently while mindlessly fiddling with the edge of the blanket that covered me. It was a blanket that the Aunt’s had crocheted for me, so it had a yarn fringe on it which was perfect for absentminded fiddling.
“Have you ever gone back to Whiskey Chitto?” he asked.
“I went there.”
“Why on earth would you do that?”
“She’s been there before. She hid you there. Her little Rougarou project. I thought maybe I’d find him there.”
“But you didn’t,” I surmised.
“No. I spent the night in Oberlin at this little back swamp hotel. I’d just gotten back from making a beer run to the gas station when this woman approached me. She asked me if I knew you which seemed odd. We are brothers, but I don’t think we look alike.” I perked up, because I couldn’t imagine who would have known me that could have connected me to Sully. “She said her name was Mariah Champes. She claimed to be married to a man named Leo who used to be a part of Whiskey Chitto.”
“Leo and I made our first run together after coming of age.”
“That was the night your father beat you for lying,” Sully recalled.
“Yes, only I wasn’t lying. He beat me to prove his power over me and over the pack.”
“She said she remembered that night. She asked if it was true that you had a new pack. I told her that it was. She said that she and Leo had left Whiskey Chitto to get married and joined Oberlin. They’ve never felt right there, but they were unsure if Shady Grove would take them. Anyway. She said that Leo wants to talk to you and that if you will agree to meet with him, then he will give me information about Callum and Araxia.”
I sighed. I didn’t want anything to do with Leo or anyone from Whiskey Chitto. However, Leo hadn’t made the kill that night either. My father had favored another over both of us.
“Something doesn’t feel right about it,” I admitted. I knew it would hurt Sully to say no, but we were always honest with each other.
“I agree,” he said.
“But you want me to do it anyway.”
“Yes. Please. I’ve never asked you for anything, Nick. To me, you have always been my brother, my family. You don’t owe me for taking you in and helping you find your way.” I heard the humor in his voice, but I heard his words, too. There was truth in them.
“We are family, and because of that, you should know that I’d do anything for you.”
“Not because Grace would wring your neck if she found out you could have gotten info on Callum and didn’t?”
“Was that your second strategy if the original guilt trip didn’t work?”
I chuckled. “Smart.” He shrugged. “Do you have a way to contact him?” I asked.
“Yes, they are in Steelshore waiting on my call. If the answer was no, I was going tell them how to get to Shady Grove,” he said.
“Can I sleep now? Or is this something we are doing right now?” I asked.
“You sleep. I’m going to set it up,” he said, slipping out of the bed. He flicked off the light as he left.