We sped to the address the bartender had given Calix. I was still shocked at how close this mansion was to where Beta Keaton lived with his daughters, Moxie and Roxie. We parked down the street from the place. The grey brick mansion stood in sharp contrast with the bright white snow blanketing its roof and the lawn.
The house gave off the impression of being vacant. It was the lack the personal touches: no decor or furniture on the porch, no mail sticking out of the mailbox, no trash in the receptacle and no lights on inside, insinuating that no one was home, We weren’t about to ring the doorbell anyway so it didn’t matter if anyone was at home or not.
Calix snuck around the side of the house, inspecting windows and doors, hoping one might be unlocked or easy to jostle open. The house was locked up tight save for one window. My jaw dropped when I spotted it. Above us, one of the first story windows was wide open.
“Look, Calix, I said, keeping my voice low.
I pointed at the wide-open window. Calix climbed onto Felix’s shoulders without hesitation. Felix hoisted him through the window. I flinched hoping there would not be a thud when his boots made contact with the floor inside the house. To my relief, there wasn’t. Calix poked his head through the window and gave us a thumbs-up.
“Should we all go through the window? Asked Felix I hushed tones.
“Calix, whispered Danny. “Let us in one of the doors on the ground floor,” he suggested.
Calix nodded eagerly. He pointed to the back of the house. We made our way to the back yard in silence and stood near the back door, waiting for Calix to let us in. A few minutes passed by in silence. I was beginning to get a bit tense. This shouldn’t be taking so long. Felix and I exchanged a worried glance. Was Calix okay? What was taking so long?
I was amazed by the interior of the house. I did not know what I had been expecting exactly but this wasn’t it. The walls and floors were of grey stone on the inside too. No paint. No wallpaper. No tiles. No hard wood flooring. Just high ceilings and an archaic vibe to the decor. There were many strange objects that seemed to be antiques.
My heart was racing not due to fear but due to excitement with a tinge of anxiety. I was extremely hopeful that I would just stumble upon Chasity with duct tape on her mouth and bada bing bada boom she would be rescued at last. I moved through the house in silence, choosing my every step carefully.
There were large fireplaces with beautiful designs but all of this was upstaged by the artwork. The rooms were adorned by ornaments, sculptures and paintings depicting the strangest combination of subject matters. It took me a little while to notice the ongoing theme but it struck me like a lightning bolt when I did, Every single piece of art seemed to contain both beautiful women and foxes.
Oddly enough, many of thé foxes were hidden: their furry heads poking out from behind trees in oil paintings, their forms hidden in the clouds of watercolour paintings or their outlines etched in the wood of tables and chairs.
I stared at a colossal painting of several beautiful women of varying shades, all of them lavishly dressed. They were holding hands, forming a circle, as though playing ring around the Rosie. I almost didn’t spot the fox. My eyes trailed over the huge work of art. It took up an entire wall of the house. There! The fox was coming up out of its den which was cast in shadow by a tall gnarled tree. In other painting the women were being admired by gentleman callers and suitors in parlours of noble homes while foxes peeked in through the windows.
Weird as f**k but wonderful, I thought, quoting Felix.
He often said that about his favourite artists and their artwork. I had the urge to look for signatures on the paintings to see if this was all from the same artist. The styling was different though the subject matter was the same. Perhaps, it was a group of like-minded artists?
Calix! What are you doing? Let us in! Hissed Alex in my mind, making me jump.
I hadn’t realised how on edge l was till then. The house did have an eerie feel to it. I focused on finding a staircase.
l’m coming, Okay, I said to Alex.
I stopped dead in my tracks. That smell! The most beautiful smell in the world. I followed it, all thoughts of locating a staircase forgotten. Coincidentally, the scent led me down a staircase to the ground floor. I followed the aroma to a dining room. There was yet another fireplace in this room along with a long thick wooden table with only two chairs, one at either end. I sniffed the tabletop. Chasity! My mate had been herel My Goddess had been right here! I felt like bursting into tears.
CALIX! Felix’s voice thundered in my head.
I needed to show them this. I practically flew to the backdoor, meandering through the maze-like house with relative ease now. There was nothing like Chasity to motivate me. I unlatched the back door. My brothers, Chance and Danny hurried inside.
I found Chasity’s scent, I said immediately over mind-link.
Felix sniffed the air and was gone in a flash.
I caught her scent immediately, a mere second before Baby Boy Calix mentioned it. Her heavenly aroma filled my lungs. I ran to it. I found it concentrated by a table in a strangely medieval-looking dining room. My Baby! That was her smell! would know it anywhere! l inhaled deeply, running my fingers across the smooth wood of the table, looking for anything else that could be helpful: a hair, a scratch. Something unnerved me. I frowned, rubbing the bridge of my nose, trying to make sure I was not mistaken.
Something was wrong.
Something is weird about it. It’s different somehow. It’s still amazing but there S a new element to it, l explained over mind-link.
My heart was racing Why had her scent changed? Was she hurt? Was she losing her strength?
They’re using magic to mute the scent and weaken it to hide her better, said Chance, narrowing his eyes in anger.
Yeah, said Danny, nodding. Her scent has been watered down. It’ll help the kidnappers hide too so you won’t smell her on them, explained the P.l.
My wolf came forwards instantly. We let out a low growl.
We wanted to crush the life out of whoever was concealing Chasity’s scent and keeping her captive. Alex threw me a warning wide-eyed look, placing a finger to his l*ps. He was afraid of being overhead.I didn’t care who heard me.
When l get my hands on the people who took Chasity, I’m going to peal their skin off their flesh, I snarled.
I had never felt this way about anything before. Every time l thought I had been furious in the past paled in comparison to this.
Guys, look at these, the painting, the sculptures, the knick-knacks! Said Calix.
who cares?I grumbled, feeling anxious.
Her scent stopped at the table. It didn’t lead anywhere. I kept circling the table, hoping to find a scent trail.
What’s bothering you, son? Asked Chance, looking at Calix with concern.
The girls and the foxes! Exclaimed Calix.
1s that a band?! I snapped, annoyed.
He was distracting me from tailing Chasity’s scent. I was the artist and art fan here and even I didn’t care about the paintings right now so why should he?
There are beautiful girls in every piece along with a hidden fox! Chasity is a beautilul girl! Said Calix pointedly.
That gave me pause, I had to admit: even a broken clock was right twice a day. I tore my eyes from the tabletop and examined some of the nearby paintings. Had they kidnapped Chasity for her beauty? My blood was boiling. Was this the work of some sick deranged secret admirer? Did this have anything at all to do with her being a Luna? Did it have anything to do with her being our Luna?!
Suddenly, I caught a whiff of her scent somewhere other than the table.
This way! I said.
We followed the scent trail to a bedroom. There was an adjacent bathroom. Both rooms smelled of Chasity. I breathed in the distinct fragrance of her skin and hair: honey and roses… and something else. There was an added element I couldn t quite put my finger on.
I sniffed the sheets and found her scent was strongest here, even more potent here than on the table. I did not pick up any male scent on the sheets. Just Chasity. Thank goodness. A massive relief washed over me. Calix lay down on the bed, curled up in the sheets coated with Chasity’s scent. I sighed. He had done the same thing on our birthday when he had laid down on the cot in Chasity’s tiny old room.
I wanted to go back to that day and never let Chasity out of my sight. Maybe we should have moved out of the pack house the moment we had found out we were fated to her?
Maybe we should have stayed on the island or on the yacht, enjoying one blissful day after the next? Maybe we should have just never gone to that stupid f**king party with those stupid f**king girls!
We don’t have time for this, ok, Calix, we have to keep moving, said Alex, his tone gentle but insistent. It seems like she was here but isn’t now, he added sadly.
I didn’t want to say it but it was the heartbreaking truth. Her scent lingered but she was gone from this place and we needed to find out where.
They must have taken her to a second location. I can find out from the real estate company who was leasing this house or who owned it and we can go from there, proposed Danny.
Something else is different about Chasity’s scent though! I said.
The change was beginning to concern me. It wasn’t the fact that it was faded or not fresh. It was something else entirely.
Alex’s grabbed my arm in a flash, gripping it tightly. The sudden movement startled everyone, even me.
What? l asked, alarmed.
I know why Chasity’s scent is different, said Alex, looking so woebegone all of a sudden.
I could hear his heart beating frantically.
Why’s it different? Asked Calix immediately, his tone anxious.
Alex stared at Calix and then at me. I couldn’t take anymore suspense. Alex needed to speak up now. Thankfully, he did.
The new element is another person..a baby… Chasity’s pregnant revealed Alex.