Hey everyone, I hope you had a good weekend. As for me, this weekend I began writing the follow up novel to The Cactus Killer. I have a really good outline for the story and I’m excited to see it unfold. With that in mind, each week I’m going to post chapters of The Cactus Killer here for you all to read. There will really be no rhyme or reason to my postings, but I’ll do at least one chapter a week. If you sign up to follow my blog, you’ll get the email postings when the next chapter pops up or you can check out my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ragnarokonicev2) as I’ll put notifications up on there too. Well, let me go ahead and stop talking and get right to the reason you’re here… Chapter 1 of The Cactus Killer by Jeremy Croston
If you happen to be driving through New Mexico and get lost, you might run into the town of Full Moon. About an hour south of Truth or Consequences, Full Moon is a quiet town that isn’t on the list of places to see. We still have a general store, run by the same family for generations. There are no skyscrapers, or busy intersections that take four turns to get through. That’s not to say we don’t have some modern conveniences and a pretty good bar scene. Add in the fact that most folks live in the subdivisions surrounding the town, and I’d say we were doing just fine. We are friendly people here, don’t get me wrong, but most folks wouldn’t fit in. See, our town is one of the largest werewolf settlements in New Mexico.
Yep, werewolves, and there are a lot of them. All three of the major Northern American packs have folks who live here and somebody who is in an important position. The Silver wolves are the oldest pack and the mayor, Archibald Argent, is their pack Alpha. The Black wolves are the most populated pack and the District Attorney Charles ‘Chaz’ Freely leads them. Finally, we have the Red wolves. The pack is almost as old as the Silvers, but much less populated than either pack. It might be a good time to introduce myself, I’m Sheriff Victor Inglewood but you can just call me Vic.
Unlike Chaz and Archibald, I am not the Reds pack Alpha (far from it actually), that would be my dad, Callum. He was the sheriff for many years, but last year he retired and I got the appointment. Granted, I had been deputy since my twenty-first birthday and I have a criminal justice degree from New Mexico State so I am qualified. Plus, due to my unique condition amongst werewolves, the town trusts my judgment.
I’ve lived in Full Moon most of my life except for three years of college. Taking care of this town has always been my calling and even though I am its youngest sheriff in generations, at thirty-two, crime has never been lower. My gun is my trademark, an Adams Percussion .50 caliber that the locals named Roscoe for some reason. Whatever do I care, if it keeps them all law abiding, than they can call it Sweet Willy for all I care.
I’m unique amongst werewolves. Most of us answer the call of the moon and transform for the first time on our thirteenth birthday. I did not because something no one can explain happened the night of my thirteenth birthday. Instead of transforming into a full wolf, my senses went crazy. My hearing, sight, taste, and touch are always that of the wolf; it never turns off. I also got a little boost in speed and strength, but nothing that would ever let me confront a fully transformed wolf.
For awhile, I couldn’t control the overwhelming feeling that comes when your senses are turned up one hundred percent twenty-four hours a day. It took plenty of training and seeking help from others, but I managed to control myself and my gift. That is why I am the sheriff of this town, now-a-days nothing can get by me. I can track a person across this country, if needed, and everyone knows it.
Driving down the main stretch of road to the station is always nice, especially on a Saturday morning. With little traffic and a breakfast sandwich in my hand, I switched the radio on to get caught up on the latest news around the country. It must have been a slow night as the only thing that really seemed odd was a bar in a small town in the northeast getting busted up by some lunatic. Fortunately, no one was injured but there were two people missing. Seems the incident was turned over to the FBI which I thought was a bit strange, but oh well.
I pulled into the station not too long afterwards and I saw my deputy was already there. William Westchester was a good guy and did a lot for me, but he was a bit eccentric. First, he called himself Billy the Kid after the outlaw and second he was scared to death of guns. The town didn’t budget me a whole lot, and since he was the only one who wanted the job after my promotion, I took what I could get. I parked my sixty-seven charcoal blue Mustang in the dusty side lot and headed towards another fun day.
“Morning Vic! Thought I’d pop in early and see what calls came in last night.” God bless Billy’s enthusiasm. Billy was a Black wolf and his appointment to deputy turned out to be a popular decision in the community.
“What do we got? I swear if our first call this morning is from Lee Wilson complaining about the new cubs howling too late last night, I will go down to his house and shoot his phone off his wall.” The older wolves sometimes were out of hand with their complaints. They forget what it was like to be young.
“Not this morning boss, but we did get an all points bulletin for a Hector Alvarez. He is a Silver on the run from Howling Canyon. Killed two Reds up there and killed a civilian while running in Albuquerque. Sounds like a dangerous dude.”
Nothing was more frowned upon in the community than killing a normal person. People left us alone because they didn’t know we were here. Killing civilians, as we called them, brought unwanted attention to the community. This Alvarez was a danger to our way of life. “Alright Billy, make sure all the nearby communities know to be on the outlook. Relay to Sheriff Munoz in Howling Canyon we got the APB and will coordinate everything through him. We can’t let that guy continue.”
“What should we do sir, capture or put down?”
I hated this situation. Everyone deserves a fair trial, but when you go against the pack orders and kill a civilian, the rules are in place. “He broke pack law; he has to be put down. But Billy, if we are the ones to find him, we will try to capture first.”
The young man smiled and went about his tasks. Billy was the only pacifist deputy I ever came in contact with and he kept the department on its toes. Just as I was about to walk into my office, Detective Talia Jacobs entered the station. Another Black wolf, Talia was as serious as a heart attack. Murder was her turf as detective, so I motioned her to come into my office.
I sat down and Talia came in and shut the door. She, as always, was dressed to kill. Whereas Billy and I were the blue jeans and buttoned down shirt kind of guys, Talia was in dress pants, a white blouse, and a blazer. Even though it was February, it still gets hot in New Mexico. It didn’t matter to her. Not even a strand of her blonde hair was out of place.
“Morning sir, what do you have already?”
“I wish I had better news, but a renegade wolf killed a few Reds in Howling Canyon and then a civilian in Albuquerque. We got the APB this morning, so we need to keep an eye out. Dig up what you can around town; see if anyone knows this Hector Alvarez and can point us in the right direction.”
I handed her the paperwork and she gave me a curt nod and left. I felt for any guy that tried to unwind that one and wished them all the best. After Talia left, the rest of the morning went by pretty smoothly. No big issues from the night before and Billy got all the local communities up to speed on Alvarez. I figured it was soon time to go grab lunch when I got a knock on my door. I looked up and for the first time in forever, I had a visitor I didn’t recognize.
“Door’s open, come on in.”
The door opened and a woman entered. She had black as night hair, incredibly white skin, and the sharpest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. She appeared to be in her mid twenties, if even that. I sniffed the air; there was no scent at all. Taking a deep breath, I was able to calm myself. Much like Talia, she was dressed in a business suit herself, but I knew no amount of heat would ever bother this one.
“Sheriff Victor Inglewood, it is a pleasure to meet you.” She had an accent too. I couldn’t place it, but the chills I got told me this one was old.
“Ma’am, always a pleasure to be introduced to someone as lovely as yourself. What can I do for you today?”
She smiled at my charm. I’m not sure if it’s the badge, the five o’clock shadow, or the shaggy hair under my beat-up old cowboy hat, but I definitely used whatever it was to my advantage.
“I know it is unusual to see someone like myself out here, but I am in need of help. I was told you were the best in the business in certain fields. I came here to solicit a request to you.”
“For starters, you can call me Vic. And yes, it is unusual to see a vampire in werewolf country, but I don’t hold any prejudices. I’ll listen to your request if you answer two questions for me. Is that a fair deal?”
“Of course, Vic.” She smiled at me and I caught a glimpse of her fangs. It reminded me to be careful with how I worded my questions.
“First, might you do me the pleasure of introducing yourself? It always helps to know how to address someone.”
“Forgive my rudeness, my name is Elizabeth Swansea. Much like you, I shortened my name, so you may call me Beth if you would prefer.”
Okay, a name to look into later, perfect. “My second question, Miss Swansea, might cross a line and if it does, I will not be upset if you choose to decline.” She looked at me with those blue eyes, no malice, just curiosity. “How is it possible you are up and about with the sun blazing down on us? I know a bit about your kind and you aren’t tan for a reason.”
“Your way with words is quite amusing!” She was laughing, which was a good sign; I hadn’t offended her or stepped over my lines. “As a measure of good faith I will answer that. Once my kind reaches a certain age, we become immune to the effects of the sun. Most of us, for different reasons, either do not make it to that point, or if we do, we keep it to ourselves.”
“Oh I see, sorry for my ignorance in the situation. It was just professional curiosity.”
“No sheriff, I have no problem. In fact I am quite proud of my achievement. In the new world, most of us never make it well past one thousand years old like I have.”