eady.    Aim.     Fire!"

Five rifles spoke in unison.  The man slumped forward.

The command came again.  Ready.  Aim.  Fire!  The second man slumped forward.

This was to do with the Hermie case.  Let me tell you how this all came about.

William and Sharon both were still quite incapacitated in the hospital.  Less than a week back from The Gauntlet, Sharon was still having dizzy spells from the concussion which did not seem to be getting any better.  William wasn't getting better either.

Sharon had been sedated and out for the last twelve hours.  She was dreaming about the time her and William had been kidnapped and were sentenced to die.  That was back when they were quite young and were actually in the FBI.  William had nearly died when a grenade was tossed into the cell with him.

Over and over she dreamed about her and Melinda Mathers ripping the barely hanging door from the hinges and seeing the huge puddle of life spurting from the body of William.  His hands were bloody from his own attempts to staunch the deluge of blood oozing at a goodly rate from his body.  Losing that amount of blood had left him very weak and he was losing consciousness.

Both girls had ripped their tops off to use as wraps after Sharon had yanked his belt from his trousers to use as a tourniquet.

Modesty was nothing when an emergency like this was about to take the life of someone you love.  Since their experience in Las Vegas - Sharon, William, Melinda and Len had become the very best of friends.  Within a couple of years, William and Sharon had quit the FBI.  Now, no longer a part of the FBI themselves, Len and Melinda both had retired and were doing some kind of black ops for some private individual.  Some kind of relation to a company called Bighton Security and were traveling worldwide.

Only once since the formation of the Old Patriots Militia, had either William or Sharon seen Len, and that only for about fifteen seconds.  "Can't talk, got to go" he said looking down at his cell phone.  Looking back at William and Sharon, then back to the cell phone, he pointed at it with eyebrows scrunched up and a look of "you know how it is . . ."

He took off at almost a dead run calling over his shoulder "we need to get together."  But not one word about Melinda.  It was real odd, kind of stand-off-ish, because Len had always been a talker when he and William got together.  He sure seemed as if he was in a huge hurry to get away from them.

That was years ago, and much water had passed under the bridge in the five years since they'd retired.  Sharon got the odd feeling something was very wrong, but she had no way of gathering information now that she was no longer one of the 'sisters.'  It kind of stung that she was now considered an 'outsider' even though Melinda was also retired but kept her 'sisterhood.'  How had she been able to retain the 'sisters' connection was beyond Sharon's understanding.  They had been so close.

Sharon wondered at the oddity of this subject coming to her at this point in her life.  Here she was sedated . . . wait a minute.  Is this some kind of dream or am I actually awake?

Sharon's mind went again to the moment William was lying on the floor, blue, barely breathing.  He did muster enough strength to say "get Loping Wolf."  Melinda and Sharon just put it down to 'love you both."  They had agreed that was undoubtedly what he meant.  But the incident had played over in her mind many times, and recently, since the Gauntlet . . . a lot.

By now Sharon was coming to a state of semi-consciousness, still between being fully sedated and in a dim nether world.  It's here where one can not get a clear focus on what one is seeing . . . or, if they're really seeing it.  She was in this state of being physically powerless to respond to what one is seeing.  The proper term is sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis is maddening, and although one is struggling to move, the ability to move is simply not there.

And right at this moment, she felt fear at what she was seeing.  She had never seen it before, nor had she seen one with this kind of damage.  It was perfectly clear this was an old wolf who had seen many battles.  His right ear was missing, his tail had a definite and sharp right angle in it about mid way, and he had several scars on his body, the worst was on his right front leg.

Another very distinguishing feature was the back of this animal had been broken sometime, probably in a fall.  It along with the broken right rear foot was cause for the lope with which it walked.  The injuries were from this wolfs' many battles.

She was very afraid for William.  Whatever was going on with the wolf, had to do with his past, his ancestry.  She was screaming at William to wake up, at the Doc, Ladasha, but she could not find her voice.  The wolf was licking Williams face, and she continued to scream at it.  She was figuring it would begin to devour him at any time.

Suddenly, the thought occurred to her, what do I know about Williams past?  His ancestry.  As far as that goes, what do I know about my own ancestry?  At those thoughts the current situation lost its interest for her.  She once again returned to her dream, stepping back into a time in which she was not completely unacquainted with.  Yet, she felt as though she'd been here before but only in her subconscious.

From somewhere out of the misty confines of her memory came the old wolf.  But the familiarity with which she was trying to reconcile an era of her life kept fleeing from her.  From time to time she would look toward William but did not see the wolf again.  In her state of semi-consciousness, she would barely remember the experience.  But it would come back to her at a different time and when the need arose.

She would attempt to learn as much as she could about Williams past, and her own as well.  Both had been informed they had American Native Indian Cherokee blood flowing through their veins.  The Ancients would be on their side as long as they stood for what's right.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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Chapter I