|ʀᴀғᴇ ᴊɪᴍéɴᴇᴢ. (maginus) wrote in repose,|
@ 2020-06-03 14:50:00
Is what it is, better here than still six feet under. Those words had stuck with Rafe ever since reading them on the forums, something about them taking root in his mind and refusing to be shifted. There was something to it, much more than a simple slip of the tongue (figuratively speaking, given the format) or a failure on the behalf of autocorrect. Rafe had considered the latter but hadn’t been able to think of what anyone would have been intending to type that could come out the way it had been posted instead. It just didn’t make sense.
Honestly though, what about this whole situation did?
Before that last fateful mission Rafe had existed in a world that was little more than ordinary. He had been raised to believe that there might be more out there, things that they might not be able to explain but things that could very well be real all the same. His mother had had a very open mind and had done her best to raise her children with that same quality. It had definitely rubbed off on Rafe, not to the point where all the things he was learning and discovering now were easy to digest, but at least enough that it hadn’t yet pushed him well and truly over the line from sanity to madness. All the open mindedness in the world never could have prepared him (or anyone else for that matter, he was sure) for the violent complexities that were part and parcel of life as a werewolf, just how messy and difficult things could be when you had a very real beast living inside you, one with its own consciousness and outlook on everything. The wolf didn’t so much have thoughts as it did very strong opinions, and it was challenging enough to contend with those a good deal of the time.
But now there were so many other things being thrown into the mix. Whatever had happened to Audrey had been new for him, very much so, and he had been at a loss to explain it ever since first getting word of the disappearance. Even now that the young woman was back there were still just as many questions as ever, if not more given Audrey’s apparent (and fairly complete) memory loss. They couldn’t just ask her where she had been and how she had gotten there from her room in her house after vanishing from the spot in front of her desk without a trace. They couldn’t ask her how it was that she had come to be out more or less in the middle of nowhere at the side of the road covered in dirt and seemingly dazed to the point where she couldn’t even acknowledge her surroundings. They couldn’t ask her what had been wrong in the days leading up to her disappearance.
What they could do, however, or what Rafe could do at least, was investigate. Take a closer look. Use the abilities that his condition granted him naturally and see what he could find. There likely weren’t many answers to find out here, but what few there might be he was determined to find. And if he had learned anything about werewolves, or at least the sort that he and Sarge had become, it was that there was no fooling their noses.
So he was out there, more or less in the middle of nowhere, as close to the spot where someone called Holly had found Audrey, looking around at the surrounding area, waiting for something, anything to catch his interest. He had driven out to a point not far away and come the rest of the way on foot, knowing that Holly had taken Audrey from here by car and therefore there wouldn’t be any trail to follow from the spot where he had picked her up. It didn’t take him long to find that exact spot, or as close to it as anyone was ever going to get without having witnessed the moment firsthand. From there it wasn’t difficult to follow her scent, trace back along the short path she had taken from the roadside, where the trail led and then just stopped.
It was like her room all over again. Dead end. No more. As if she had just reappeared in this unremarkable spot by the road, materialising out of thin air.
Frowning, Rafe lowered to a crouch and touched the tips of the fingers of one hand to the ground, scrutinising the patch of dirt where the scent simply began with no explanation. Did it look disturbed? Yes, he determined, it did, and beyond a certain distance the earth went back to being fairly smooth and ordinary. But this point, where the scent began? It looked rough and choppy, almost as if something had been digging.
The wolf paced, restless and dissatisfied, baring its teeth and snorting, offended by the thick sulfurous taint in the air. It was heavy, at least to him, and thoroughly unmistakable. There was something else to it as well, more layers that he was able to pick apart as he remained crouched there, examining and compartmentalising, the sounds of the nocturnal creatures who called this area home beginning in earnest as the last of the day’s light faded from the sky.
Heat? No, not exactly. Burning. Or something similar. And was that--his frown deepened and he bent even lower to the ground to draw in a slow, long breath. It didn’t make a lot of sense but there it was, tangled up with everything else and as indisputable as the fact that day was becoming night and the sun would rise again the next morning.
Musk? But not the same sort of muskiness that all wolves carried. This was something else. Something much more feminine. The undertone of floral notes cemented as much.
Rafe settled back into his crouch and sighed, rubbing the pad of his thumb over his fingers and the dirt that had clung there, scattering tiny flecks of it on the ground beneath him. Feminine and yet not really in the same way that Audrey’s scent was feminine. And Rafe knew that as certainly as he knew his own name because another thing about a wolf’s nose? It never forgot.
As for what all of this meant? He had no idea.
So much for getting some answers. All he had now were more questions.