Hidden In Plain Sight (wolves)
Hidden In Plain Sight (wolves)
Author: Klara Beth


                                                         Five Years Prior

Out of breath, Shelby runs into Gannon’s office as fast as her legs would take her. Under her breath she is panting, “oh my gosh, oh my gosh,” as she runs. Even in human form, Shelby was faster than most other non-shifter humans. Turning 180 degrees once through the door, she slams it shut and locks the deadbolt. Finally she pulls down the 2x4 into the brackets that bar the door from being opened from the other side. Gannon looked up from his paperwork with pen still in hand and a look of alarm on his face. Gannon jumps to his feet as he notices that Shelby seems not just out of breath, but upset or… terrified? Walking out from behind the desk, Gannon walks over to Shelby who is slowly backing away from the door while staring at it. As Gannon slides his hand around her waist, Shelby jumps and screams, “ahhh,” before her hand covers  her mouth. Gannon whispers reassuring, calming words into his little sister’s hair as he turns her toward him and envelops her against his chest. Shelby wraps her arms around her oldest brother’s waist, buries her face against his chest, and begins to sob uncontrollably. Gannon holds Shelby with one arm while stroking her hair with his other hand. Gannon finally after several minutes of Shelby crying and shaking uncontrollably, put one hand on each side of her face and tipped her tear streaked face up to his. Gannon’s hands are so big that his fingers rest at the nape of Shelby’s neck as his thumbs brush the tears from her cheeks. After kissing Shelby’s forehead tenderly, In Gannon’s deep voice, he says, “Shelby, you know you can tell me anything right?” 

Shelby nods in response but the tears continue to flow even as her eyes glow yellow. The yellow color of her normally brown eyes, is a sign not only of her distress, but also of her heritage. “Okay, so then please, tell me what has you running into my office and sobbing into my chest?”

Taking a couple slow, calming breaths, Shelby gathered her thoughts, cleared her throat, wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, and looked up from Gannon’s white and blue plaid, button down shirt to his dark chocolate eyes. “Ummm… well…” Shelby was struggling to put everything into words.

Gannon being a strong, Alpha male was at least a head taller than Shelby. Even though she loved and trusted her brother implicitly, it was intimidating to be this close and be about to tell him something he definitely was not going to like. “So, Tabitha has been dating a boy from another pack. She hid it from her parents and she was so sure she was in love..” 

Shelby looks down at Gannon’s chest again and pauses while she takes a deep breath. “Tabitha broke a pack law by emailing this boy in Canada.”

When Shelby didn’t continue, Gannon grabbed her hand and pulled her over to the sofa where they both sat down. Continuing to hold his sister’s hand for comfort, he sat back against the back of the couch in an attempt to make himself look laid back and easier to talk to. “So Tabitha broke a pack law? She is still a cub, not yet an adult, so I’m sure her punishment won’t be too harsh. So why are you so upset Shelby?”

Shelby glanced over toward Gannon’s huge wooden desk before taking another slow, deep breath. It appeared to Gannon that Shelby was trying to gather the courage to continue, but was having problems doing so. With his index finger, Gannon tipped Shelby’s head back so she had to meet his eyes, before ordering, “Enough stalling, spit it out!”

“This boy offered to come and see Tabitha. So… Tabitha gave him information that we are told not to share with other people.”

Gannon was still not understanding why Shelby was so upset. Tabitha would be punished to teach her a lesson, but it wasn’t anything catastrophic. Releasing her chin, Gannon sat forward and placed his elbows on his knees with his hands intertwined. When Shelby still didn’t continue, Gannon prodded her by saying, “and?”

“And she gave him our address, the size of our pack, some information about our genetic strengths and weaknesses, and then found out she was being catfished.” Shelby then sat back on the couch and glanced in her brother’s direction.

“Catfished?” Gannon had heard the term, but was not familiar with the meaning. “What does that mean?” Gannon leaned back against the back of the couch again, but never took his eyes off Shelby’s face as he awaited her answer. 

“Catfished means that Tabitha thought she was talking to a young adult pack member from Canada, but she was actually talking to a young adult human that attends the same college as the Canadian pack members.” Tabitha sat forward with her hands folded in her lap before delivering the final blow… “The catfish emailed Tabitha to let her know they weren’t who she thought they were, that they were in fact mercenaries hired to help eliminate the packs that are left in America.” Clearing her throat, Shelby finished, “The message said they will see us soon, they will eliminate us all, and not to bother to run because they will search to the ends of the earth until we are all destroyed.” Upon saying the final word, Shelby put her hand over her mouth to stop the sob that tried to escape.

“Hey, hey, Shelby. I need you to calm down for me. Can you do that? Can you answer a few questions for me?” 

Taking several slow deep breaths while nodding her head, Shelby bent the knee closest to Gannon, turned toward him, and slid her knee up on the couch with her shoe hanging off the front of the couch. Gannon waited until Shelby made eye contact again before speaking. “Okay, thank you. Now, do we know the real identity of this person and when was this message or threat sent?”

Shelby seemed to pull herself together, because there were no more tears. She remained very serious and somewhat somber, but was able to respond much more efficiently than earlier. “Tabitha received the email this morning in response to the email she had sent to who she thought was her boyfriend, last night. Tabitha was so upset and was too afraid to come tell you herself, so I said I would. The writer of the email simply told us they were human, not shifter, and that they had been hired to exterminate all shifters left in America. They went so far as to thank Tabitha for betraying her pack. That was why Tabitha was too scared to come to you. She thought she may either be murdered or ostracized for treason against the pack.”

Gannon’s eyes got really big and his mouth dropped open at the mention of a pack member fearing for their life. Yes, Tabitha made a serious mistake, and Alpha Gannon needed to decide how to correct the error, but Tabitha was not yet an adult and had obviously been hoodwinked by this catfish. Tabitha had been one of Shelby’s closest friends since they were pups. Gannon thought to himself:  I may have moved up through the ranks of the pack, but did they think that made me a monster? How could Tabitha think I would kill her or ostracize her? Wow. Obviously I needed to talk to the younger pack members more. “Okay Shelby, I need to see this email and I need to notify our security to be on the lookout for anything suspicious just in case there is some credence to these threats or warnings.”

Standing from the couch, Gannon finished with, “Do you have a copy of the email or know how I can access the account?”

“Yeah,” Shelby luckily had thought to get the account information and logged on to Gannon’s desktop computer. 

In seeing the email, Shelby had paraphrased it pretty well. One thing that struck Gannon was how ominous the email appeared. It was certainly meant to be a threat. The second thing noted was that the catfish signed the email as, “Canine Control Officer, Exterminator.” The term “canine,” led Gannon to believe not only that this person knew they were a pack of wolf shifters, but that they intended to end them. Wow, how the hell was Gannon going to protect his family and his pack? Another look at this email and the replies attached previously, showed Tabitha divulged the prohibited information late last evening and the response was sent early this morning. In fact, it was only shortly after 8AM now and Tabitha had received the email sometime between 6AM and 745AM. So the information had only been outside the pack for less than 8 hours. Gannon immediately picked up his office phone and asked his Head of Security, Heath, to round up the team and meet in the conference room as soon as possible. Shelby was sent to summon Tabitha in case there were further questions.

An Hour Later

One hour later the head of security had joined Alpha Gannon, Shelby, Tabitha, and the whole security team in the conference room. Alpha Gannon said in greeting, “Thank you for joining us. We are not here to chastise the mistake made, nor the pup who made it, but to come up with a fitting solution.” Gannon went on to explain the situation to everyone in the room.

The main concern raised by Gannon was that they did not have a backup location large enough for the whole pack. The oldest pack member on the security team, Stanley, was likely to tear into young pack members on a good day, and today was not a good day. Stanley stood up, looked at Tabitha and began to yell, “how damn stupid can you be pup? We have Pack laws for a reason. Now what the hell do we do, split the pack up? Leave the country? Move to the city? Why I’d love to be the one to institute your punishment!” Stan’s fists were balled up at his side, his face was red, and he was standing on the balls of his feet with gold color flashing in his eyes. 

Using his deep Alpha voice and moving between Tabitha and Stan, Alpha Gannon commanded, “Enough! Stan, sit down or take a walk.”

As he watched Stan indeed walk out the door, Gannon thought for a bit: The pack could split up and go different directions, but how would they ever get the pack reunited safely? How long was long enough to be in hiding before they could be a pack again? Could they safely live as humans without being discovered? Why did technology have to make things so much more complicated? 

After a long, heated meeting with the team, in which Tabitha had answered all their questions. Unfortunately the answers were less reassuring than the email itself. Not only had Tabitha revealed confidential information, but the questions they had asked of her were aimed at destroying their pack completely. Gannon knew this was a very credible threat indeed. Sadly, Tabitha thought she was talking to the teenage wolf shifter that had wooed her into love with him. Little did she know until the email showed up, this was all part of an extermination operation led by a wealthy businessman whose family had been camping years prior, and his youngest son was killed by a shifter. His son did not die immediately, but lived long enough to give a description of what had attacked him. It was a rogue shifter that injured the young man so terminally, but the father was now determined to wipe out their whole race. It mattered little if at all to Octavius Ongst, that the vast majority of shifters live quiet, peaceful lives, and are contributing members of society. Mr. Ongst just wanted them all exterminated. 

Alpha Gannon made the gut wrenching announcement, “ after careful discussion and consideration, a decision has been made to break up the pack. Each family will go their separate ways.”

A family contact was asked to give him a secure email address, where he could contact them when he felt it was safe, and there was an area large enough for the pack to live together as one again. 

Gannon knew splitting up the pack was going to have far reaching consequences, but in the interest of keeping everyone alive, there didn’t seem much other choice. Each family was given a sum of money to make it several months before they would need to procure employment and find a way to support themselves. Gannon asked each family to only take the most necessary items and leave the rest behind. School records were falsified for pups in each family that were still the age to attend school. False identifications were given to all the adults and birth records were changed so they couldn’t be tracked. Luckily much of this had been done ahead of time in a kind of “what if” type scenario, but they had hoped it would never be necessary. 

All the pack members acted as humans at all times except when they were on pack lands, but having to live as humans 24/7 would be a definite struggle for most. At least once a month, their wolves would demand to come out on the full moon, with rare exceptions. Gannon instructed them to find large cities initially and then to try to live on the outskirts or in more secluded areas but not far from humans. It would be easier to hide amongst larger numbers than smaller. Gannon assured the pack the best way to hide was in plain site. Although, when they shifted, they’d better hope they weren’t at a hotel or in a high rise, because it could get ugly fast. City folk tended not to take too kindly to giant wolves in urban areas.

None of the families were to tell others where they were going, in case the mercenaries caught up with them. If tortured long enough and hard enough, everyone would break eventually. If they did not know, there was no chance they could give each other up. All cell phones, vehicles with GPS, computers with locating software, etc… were to be destroyed or left behind so there were no bread crumbs to follow. Within 24 hours of the notification of the threatening email Tabitha received, the whole pack was scattering across the United States of America to be hidden in plain sight from the mercenaries that wanted to wipe them from the earth.

Gannon’s parting words to the pack were, “we will be together again. Check your emails at least monthly and may The Creator keep you safe!”

Related chapters

Latest chapter Protection Status