Plan of the Shusheen
By Vic James
Copyright 2013 by Vic James
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We pulled up to a gate. There was a guard.
"Will you tell Mike that Ben is here?"
The guard got on the phone.
I saw Mike running toward us. He stopped.
I called out "Mike, this is Ernie. He helped find my way home. I know I've changed. I had a very difficult time."
"Did Ar-Tan help you escape?"
"Yes. Without her, I'd still be a captive."
Mike had the gate opened and walked up to me. He hugged me. "Ben...Ben. I was afraid I'd never see you again!"
"Did you fix the fence?"
"Oh, yes. That won't ever happen again."
Ernie called out "Hey, Mike. Why aren't you kissing your mate?"
I said "He's shy."
"Let's get you inside, baby!"
"Mike, Ernie's mate may be here. He smelled her."
"Come on, Ernie. We'll go into the house."
We walked to the house.
"What day is it Mike? I was unconscious part of the time."
"It's Sunday." I had been kidnapped on Friday.
"Ernie, are we heading in the right direction for your mate?"
Ernie started running towards the house. Then a guy grabbed him.
"Is that one of your security people?"
We caught up with Ernie.
"He's OK. He's coming with us," Mike said to the guard.
Being grabbed by a guard didn't dampen Ernie's spirit. He was practically dancing.
Evie was standing in front of the house looking excited.
Ernie took off running again and grabbed Evie. He swung her around.
"I guess Ernie found his mate!" I said.
Ernie and Evie were kissing. We passed them and they didn't even notice us.
We went into the house and into our bedroom.
"Shift me back, please."
My fake clothes and boobs disappeared. I grabbed Mike and hugged him. He didn't hug me back. He was crying.
"It's OK, Mike! I'm OK!"
I hugged him tighter. We stood there for a while.
"Are you crying because my giant boobs are gone?"
Mike looked at me. He started chuckling through the tears. And then he hugged me back.
"Ben, I thought I'd never see you again."
"Well, you can't get rid of me that easily! I plan to stick around."
"I am so, so sorry, Ben!"
"Why, what did you do?"
"Security was my job and I let them get you." He kept crying.
"Mike, I don't blame you for that. However, you haven't kissed me, and that is all your fault."
Mike pulled me tightly to him and kissed me, thoroughly. I pulled back and I sighed.
Then he started crying again.
"Mike, what is it? I'm back!"
"Ben, I am so, so sorry!"
"What are you so sorry about? I don't understand."
"I didn't remember to call the private detectives until Saturday." He was crying again. Sobbing. "And I forgot to remove David from the list of people allowed to enter the estate."
"I had called them on Friday, it might not have happened. If I had removed his security clearance, it might not have happened."
"So he did it?" Mike nodded.
"Oh." I sighed. "Well...we didn't even talk about it until late Friday afternoon! And we were busy having sex. Was anyone else taken?"
"Well that's good."
"Yeah." Mike sighed and said, "But I shouldn't have forgotten something so important! The security clearance could have been changed from my laptop."
"Mike, it's not like you put it off a week. We were having sex! I'm glad you weren't on the phone or on your laptop at the time!"
Mike laughed and hugged me. Then took a deep sniff of me.
"Do you know what he was planning?"
"Yes and no."
"He claimed that they were going to drop you off in Alaska and let you try to make it back on your own. He told me to give you a few days to get home."
"That doesn't make any sense. Why would he think I wouldn't just call you and you would buy me a ticket home?"
"That's what I said."
"What did he say?"
"He couldn't talk any more. He was dead."
I looked at Mike. He was very serious. I wasn't sure how I felt about that. I wasn't sorry he was dead.
"Did you do it?"
"Yes. I didn't intend to kill him. He actually started flirting with me. He said he found out you were fired from your job for stealing and he was afraid you only wanted me for my money."
"Well, that's not true."
"I know. I was there when you quit over the phone."
"David said he wanted to prove that you were just after me for my money and that while you were away in Alaska he could find the proof. Then he said 'I did it for us'. I...I lost it. I hit him so hard I broke his neck."
"Well, he brought it on himself. It's not like he isn't Vin-Ta and doesn't know what a mating bond is. I hope you don't feel too guilty."
"I don't feel guilty at all."
"So I guess the private detectives didn't know about it."
"No, they didn't even get all the surveillance equipment set up until late Saturday. Evidently he had made the arrangements and snuck people in by then."
"Mike, I'm starving. What time is it? My fake clothes didn't include a fake watch."
"It's about 4:30. Let's go get you some food."
I put on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. We walked to the kitchen. Mrs. Lawry wasn't there.
"She's probably out watching Evie and what's his name."
"Ernie. And I wouldn't be here without him."
"Looking the way you did, you wouldn't have had any trouble getting a ride."
"I didn't. I stepped up to the highway and two cars slammed on their brakes. One of them fish-tailed. I thought he was going to roll his car."
"Did you like the way I looked, Mike? If you say yes, I will never speak to you again."
"No. I hated the way you looked."
"Oh, honey. You still love me."
"Yes, it's true."
"Ben, let me get Mrs. Lawry."
Mike walked out of the house. He came back about thirty seconds later with Mrs. Lawry.
"Mike said you were back, Ben. How was your trip to San Antonio?"
I looked at Mike and he nodded.
"It was fine. I'm glad to be home. I'm starving though. If you have any roast beef, will you make me three or four sandwiches? I haven't eaten anything all day. I was in too much of a hurry to get home."
"Mike, I would love a screwdriver."
"Coming up, baby. Why don't you wait on the veranda?"
"I walked out there. I looked in the backyard. The cedars where I'd been taken were gone.
I sat down. I began to realize that Mike had a much harder time of it than I'd had. I knew I was OK, but he didn't.
He brought a pitcher of screwdrivers and poured me one.
I said softly "So who knows what happened?"
"My parents and my brother Jack. I wasn't sure who to trust before I found David."
"I know it was horrible for you, Mike. It wasn't horrible for me. Someone shot me with a dart, I lost consciousness. I woke up in a cage inside a wooden crate and was out of it immediately. I was in Colorado and had to find my way back with no money. With Ar-Tan-Bey's help, I flew back. We flew in the shape you learned, but colored to match the sky to prevent us from being seen.
"Last night I washed dishes at a cafe to get money for food. Then today when I got hungry and had to land, Ar-Tan-Bey changed me into Benjamina..." Mike laughed. "I literally was at the highway waiting for a ride for about ten seconds. I was starving again because I had used up so many calories flying. Ernie bought me four Big Macs. You should have seen his face! I told him I had low blood sugar. I had fries and apple pies too with the Big Macs. He told me he had a feeling he should help me, and then on the way here, he started smelling his mate.
"It was scary waking up in the crate, but I was only in it a little while. I could have just hitchhiked the whole way, but I was worried about you. I didn't know if they'd taken you captive. You might not have been able to escape. I was afraid to call you because I didn't know if the call would be traced or eavesdropped.
"Unfortunately, I had to leave my clothes and wallet on the truck. I had to squeeze through a quarter inch space to escape."
"A quarter inch?"
"Yeah. I guess I turned into a flatworm for a few seconds.
Mike said "I had you tracked to the truck. We got the truck driver, but he hadn't loaded the truck and didn't even know what was on it. He was told to drive the truck to Montana and someone would meet him there. I was able to get your wallet and clothes. I was afraid you were naked and dead somewhere. But once David was dead, there weren't a lot of leads to follow."
"God, Mike. If you hadn't been here, I don't know what I would have done. I wouldn't have had a clue what to do or who to ask for help finding you."
I whispered "Do we have to worry about the police showing up?"
"No. It was an accidental death."
"Oh! That's great! Well, maybe not great. No, it is great! He was a king sized rat and he won't be able to fuck up anyone else's life. I don't buy that Alaska thing. Why would you put someone in a dog crate to drive them to Alaska?
"I'm worried about who David hired to do it. Are they determined to finish what they were hired to do?"
"I don't know. We talked about going to my lodge. I think we should move there for a while."
"That sounds good."
The sandwiches arrived. I ate them all and a lot of potato salad.
I smiled at Mike. He smiled back, but he looked exhausted.
I whispered "How do you feel about what you...had to do?"
"I really don't know. If all he was going to do was drive you to Alaska, then I feel bad about it. But that story was pretty ludicrous. What he said about doing it for us, made it sound like he had something permanent in mind."
"I wonder why he just didn't shoot me. That would have been a lot easier. Not to mention foolproof. It is a relief to me though. It means only I am or was the target. Not you and not your family.
"I think we should make an early night of it, Mike. What do you think? You look tired and I'm horny from sitting on Ernie's lap for two and a half hours."
Mike looked furious!
"I'm just kidding! He was flirting with me and I pointed out his wedding ring. He said his wife wasn't his mate. Then he quickly corrected himself and changed that to true love. I told him I did have a mate and he stopped flirting.
I wonder if I was carrying a little scent of Evie and he was picking that up."
"I guess it's possible."
"When we leave, who all will be going with us?"
"I think just you and me."
"You won't miss your family?"
"The fewer people who know where we are, the better."
I didn't know what to say to that. I was all for safety, though.
"If there's no one else around, we'll be bored and we'll have sex all the time."
"I didn't think of that. It will definitely be just the two of us.
"But seriously, Ben. I don't know if anyone else was involved. Probably not, but I can't take a chance with you. You are everything to me. We can send my family postcards.
"Eventually, we will probably be able to return. I'm going to keep the investigators on the case. They are very, very good."
"Let's go to the bedroom." I got up and took Mike's hand.
When we got to the bedroom, I pulled off my t-shirt and shorts. Then I got in bed. Mike smiled at me.
"Do you want to take a nap, or maybe have sex several times?"
Mike got undressed and got in bed. He pulled me to him and kissed me. Afterwards we laid side by side facing each other. I stroked Mike's cheek, then the side of his head. Mike closed his eyes. I kept stroking and he fell asleep.
"Ar-Tan-Bey, you heard what Mike said about David. I know how you feel about killing. Are you OK with it?"
"I'm sorry it happened, but in a way the Shusheen are partly responsible. We are the ones who implanted the mating bonds. Mike's reaction to your kidnapping is in part due to the mating bond. I am glad he didn't kill him deliberately."
"OK. Thanks. Seeing Mike so exhausted makes me realize what he must have been going through. Not knowing whether I was alive or not.
"How much work remains to be done on the detectors?"
"Not long. Maybe a few days. By the time Mike is ready to move, I should have them."
"Do you think the Shusheen could still be where they were forty eight thousand years ago?"
"That's very doubtful. One of the things we will do, I hope, is locate the beacon. We may learn more there."
"That makes sense."
"How will you feel about meeting yourself? Or has that already happened in other members of my race?"
"If it has, I would have no way of knowing. I have a copy of her mind and memories made when your species was under development."
"I'll be sorry to leave this place. I've spent the happiest time of my life here."
"Mike is right. Being perched around a very public lake is not very secure."
I backed up against Mike. He wrapped his arms around me and I went to sleep too.
I woke up about ten PM. I was hungry again. I was tempted to just raid the refrigerator, but to be honest, I was a little scared to go there by myself.
I shook Mike. He opened his eyes immediately. "I'm hungry. Will you go with me to get something?" I felt like an idiot for saying it.
"Of course, baby."
Mike pulled a pair of nylon running shorts out of a drawer and put them on. They hid nothing. I liked them!
I put my shorts and t-shirt on and we left. We looked in the fridge.
"What are you in the mood for, Ben?"
There was a casserole dish with macaroni and cheese inside. "I'll have the macaroni and cheese."
"What I would really like is an omelet. But I can wait until morning."
"I'll make it, baby."
"You look like that and you can cook too?"
Mike laughed. "You tend to pick up a few skills in ninety seven years."
Mike told me he was going to make a spinach and mushroom omelet.
Mrs. Lawry wandered in the kitchen.
"Out! This is my job!"
"How about some biscuits to go with the omelet?"
"That sounds great!" I told her.
Mike and I went and sat of the veranda. I couldn't take my eyes off him. I shook my head.
"What is it, Ben?"
"I was just thinking how lucky I am that I'm your mate."
"Well, I haven't been a particularly good one the last two days. But I'm a fast learner. You are my first mate, you know."
"That reminds me. Is Mrs. Lawry's mate still alive?"
"No, he died about seventy years ago."
"She must ache everyday about that."
I could smell the food.
"I wonder if Evie is going to quit, now that she found her mate. I feel sorry for Ernie's wife, but he said she was starting to notice that he wasn't getting older."
"Speak of the devil," Mike said.
Evie and Ernie were standing at the doorway. Ernie looked at me and then sniffed.
Oh, shit, I thought. What should I tell him?
"My name is Ben."
"What do you need, Evie?" Mike asked. Ernie was still looking at me.
"Mike, I wanted to ask if it would be OK if Ernie spends the night in my room."
"Sure, Evie. Have you two made any plans yet?"
"No. Ernie needs to split up with his wife. That will take time. I don't want to make any plans until all that is dealt with."
"Ernie, I'm in your debt for your help," Mike said.
"No problem at all. If I hadn't helped...her, I would never have found Evie.
"Is Benjamina all right?" Ernie asked me.
"She's fine, Ernie," I said.
He paused before saying "My father once told me there is more than one kind of shifter. Do you know if that is true?"
I looked at Mike and he shrugged.
"I've heard that too, Ernie," I said.
"Good night," she said.
"Nite, Evie," Mike said.
"Good night, Ernie", I said.
They went back inside.
I smiled at Mike and said "They aren't going to get any sleep at all!"
Mrs. Lawry brought the food out. The biscuits were fabulous.
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