A different take on the traditional M/M werewolf romance topic: less romantic, less traditional, more disturbing and with conniving wolves, vampires and submissive marines.

Comments or requests for more of Meta (& the Marines) can be emailed to Meta.JohnAR@gmail.com.

And if any military boy wants to start a MetaPack, let me know ...


Meta & the Marines III



"Don't say a fucking word," Al threatened quietly having ambushed Sam in the park.

Al was strong, he had always been strong. He'd been bred, fed and trained as a very special future enforcer since he'd been born into the Golden Chestnut pack.

Sam's instinct was to fight, but he wondered for a second whether it was better to go with it. Al's dark green eyes didn't look threatening as if he wanted to harm Sam, but more scared and worried. Sam nodded slowly not pushing the big, callused hand away from his mouth. For a second though he thought Prime would smell Al on him, and he would have to do a lot of explaining.

"Will you be quiet?" Al asked.

Sam nodded again.

Al's face relaxed. A bit of color returned to his cheeks, which normally were quite fair, showing Al's Irish heritage. The pitch-black hair, cut to half an inch without much regard for fashion, the light skin with the high cheek bones and the dark green eyes gave him something mysterious; Sam had always had the feeling that an old soul lived in Al, somebody who'd known King Arthur and Merlin.

Al removed his hand and pulled Sam at his upper arm away from the tree.

Sam nearly had to smile about the thought an innocent bystander could have misunderstood the situation assuming Al and him were making out in the campus park, a little bit off the beaten track. While he chuckled to himself, knowing Al was as straight as an arrow, he also knew he could really get into trouble with Prime. At least this time he wouldn't have gotten Colt killed. He couldn't have Colt killed, because he was gone.

"Where are...?" He wanted to ask.

"Shut up, or I'll beat the shit out of you," Al threatened in a way, which suggested he issued that threat on a regular basis.

Sam wanted to answer he wasn't the little scrawny rat anymore from two years ago. He was nearly as big as Al now and maybe only ten pounds off. And with CE's training, he was pretty sure he could fight Al successfully; or at least long enough until Al had to stop his kidnapping attempt.

But so far Sam wasn't in danger; and if he'd learned one thing from Colt it was not to jump to conclusions before one had have a critical mass of facts. And he hadn't enough facts. If the Chestnut pack wanted to get back at him, as they'd done a year ago, they'd have sent more goons than just Al. And if Al wanted to hurt him, he wouldn't have come unarmed. So Al wanted something else from him; and his job was to find out.

They walked to Al's car, an old 2002 Buick, boringly silver and battered from years of use by reckless drivers.

"Get in."

Sam nodded, stepped in. He could have made a run for it, when Al walked around the car to get into the driver's seat, but he buckled up instead and waited for Al to get going.

Once they were off the campus, Sam tried again: "Where ...?"

"Shhhh," Al said turning on the car radio, choosing a traditional country station, which played the best country songs of the 80ies. Sam rolled his eyes and shut up.

They left the town next to the campus driving up the hills. Actually, they weren't far off the place, where his pack had initiated him; were he'd gotten his chain and his cage. He sighed painfully at the memory.

Al was sweating. When he had to wait at a traffic light, he was nervously biting his fingernails.

Sam looked at Al's hands. As big and powerful as they were, Al had obviously a serious fingernail biting issue, they were short and torn from all the anxious misuse. Sam briefly looked at his own, perfectly cut short and clean. He smiled remembering CE checked his nails every week. Good old marine tradition he said; in reality CE was just an anal control freak; well, the whole pack was. Which reminded him. "Al ... if I don't check in with Prime, they'll get me ...," he warned.

Al grunted.

Sam considered this an okay and quickly typed into his phone. "Will be coming home an hour late."

"Okay," Brian responded quickly, as Prime was on a two-day offsite course for his a human resource class. He remembered Prime had been dreading it as they did a lot of psychological self-assessment to prepare themselves for interview procedures -- both as interviewers and interviewees. "Everything okay?" Brian asked.

Sam smiled. He loved his pack, even without Colt. They sensed when he might need help. "All okay, contact in 1 h," he wrote putting his phone away in order not to irritate Al even more, who kept biting his nails while driving up the hill.

Finally he stopped.

Sam didn't move, trying to take in smells. Al was nervous, his scent being sweaty and scared and courageous at the same time.

Al got out of the car and walked all around it to open the door for Sam, who looked a bit confused but got out without making a comment.

The air was pleasantly fresh up here. As he was a wolf shifter he didn't freeze despite only wearing one of his American Eagle polos, showing off his impressive chest.

He knew he'd become vain. Too vain for a man and a wolf shifter. But after having been this pitiful boy, shy and uncared for, he was so proud of having grown into this stud. He wanted to show to the world that he was a loyal and tough enforcer of his pack now. He wanted to show his physical strength, he wanted to show his pride in his physique and he wanted to be respected by other male shifters and adored by some gay boys and females alike. He would have never expressed this thought, as Prime and CE would have made sure he would wear the ugliest clothes possible to reduce the attraction of his body to others. And he knew over time this need to be admired would go away, when he had fully overcome his trauma of growing up unwanted in the Chestnut pack; a pack which had given Al all the support he could have ever asked for; and all the support Sam got nowadays from his pack.

"Thanks," Sam said finally to Al to make a point.

Al grabbed a pack of cigarettes and lit one of them taking a deep drag. He exhaled blowing dirty gray clouds into the air.

"Does your gamma know you smoke?"

"He's gone for the week."

"Oh, so you're in charge?"

"Kind of."

"Not a good example, smoking. You're a junior enforcer," Sam pointed out the obvious.

"When have you become such a stick-up?"

"Come on, you never noticed me before ... to busy hanging out with your cool friends," Sam said with an iron voice.

"They're not my friends. As a future Inner Circle pack member, I have social obligations," Al answered.

Al wore a nice white shirt hanging over his dark blue jeans. His Converse sneakers looked purposefully worn out. Sam wondered for a second whether Al could actually fight in those flimsy sneakers, but didn't say anything. His eyes wandered over Al's impressive bubble butt, after admiring the strong neck. He nodded to himself: Al was a good-looking enforcer; even if he wasn't the smartest one.


"Seen enough?"

Sam blushed a bit. "You look good Al, but you know that. The girls are all over you. But I'm sure you didn't `invite' me up here to talk about your cute ass."

Al growled turning a bit around so Sam couldn't see his ass, until he realized that now Sam would see his bulge perfectly.

"Don't worry, no intent to rape you. If I only touched you my Alpha would beat the shit out of me."

"Does he beat you often?" Al asked a bit concerned, which surprised Sam. The enforcer had never given a shit when he was really beaten by some of his old pack members.

"No, only once. When I really screwed up. Otherwise he's very supportive. Look at me! Would I look like this if I'd stayed in the Chestnut pack?" Sam spread his arms, nearly flexing a bit. Yes, he had become vain.

"No. You're right. You look good. And you smile all the time. You really look happy," Al said surprisingly sadly.

"I am, mostly at least. Much better than with you guys. Prime treats me very well. But he made it clear that I'm not going to have sex without his permission."

"Gay pack, I assume," Al comment in a strangely neutral manner.

"So what about you? Found your female?"

Al shook his pretty head, had another, last drag at this cigarette and threw it on the floor, using his feet to extinguish it completely.

Sam had to confess it looked very butch, 60ies James Dean style.

"Nope, no mate yet, still have few years before I'll get married off to a non-mate to breed enforcer pups."

"You don't sound very eager about that ..."

Al swallowed and grabbed another cigarette from his back pocket. After another smoke, he said: "I need to ask you something."

Sam lifted his eyebrows. Finally he would learn why he'd been taken to this little outing. "Shoot."

"Where is Colt?"

Sam's eyebrows might have taken off, so high he wanted to lift them because of his surprise. "Sorry?"

"I haven't smelled Colt for quite some time," Al clarified.

"Okay, but why would you be interested in that?"

"Do you know Colt was for some time in the LGBT action group? Some years ago ...," Al didn't answer Sam's question.

"I think he'd told us some time ago. Was quite funny actually. I met this Hank, the president or something like that. And he was so not what Colt is into that it physically hurt to see that fag sucking up to him to get to suck him."

"I was in that group as well ...," Al said with a hoarse voice, taking another deep drag to calm his nerves.

Sam cleaned his throat. "You were in that LGBT group? Why that? Did you want to beat up some fags? Not cool, man."

"No, I didn't beat up fags. I wanted to know whether I was gay," Al said looking into the far distance.

"Holy cow," Sam said, taking a step back to lean against the car. "You're gay?"

"I don't know. I have never found a girl I was interested in. Nor have I found a guy, if you're asking. So I went several times to their meetings."

Sam didn't say anything.

"Not that it really worked out."

"What do you mean?"

"Didn't find anyone I wanted to fuck there either."

"Not sure these groups exist to find fuck buddies."

"Well, felt differently, half of them wanted to get me up their ass."

Sam chuckled. "That's so you, Al. Always thinking that you're Fate's gift to the mortals."

"You think so? You don't think half of those fags wanted my dick?"

Sam tilted his head a bit. "You might be on to something, you're right. Sorry."

"No problem. Anyway, I wasn't interested in them anyway. So I didn't go anymore after some weeks. Was too dangerous anyway."


"Gamma, Beta, other pack members. If they'd seen me there, they might have kicked me out," Al said remembering how nervous he'd been attending on of those groups after he had stumbled on it accidentally the first time -- an accident because of Colt. He was lucky that a `how to stop smoking class' was in the same building pretty much at the same time, so he had a good excuse to be there in the subsequent instances.

"I think so. Happened to Prime and my Beta. -- So what do you want from me?"

"Not sure, I'm just confused."


"If I only knew. I mean. I still haven't found that sexy girl ... or that sexy boy ... but I keep looking at men more often than women ..."

"Maybe you are bi," Sam said not completely convinced. He had never believed that `bi' really existed, it was more code for `too scared to admit that I'm a complete fag.'

"How is to be a gay wolf shifter?"

Sam didn't answer. He looked at Al, who still refused to look at his ex-pack brother. And this time Sam didn't break the silence.

Finally Al turned around and said: "It's okay if you don't want to talk about it ..."

"I can, but you could have asked without kidnapping me," Sam turned the tables.

"Sorry, but if somebody from the pack saw me talking with you I would be screwed."

"And this way you would just tell them that you gave me a royal beating?"

Al blushed a bit. It was nearly cute given his very fair complexion.

"Still playing tough big enforcer, he? You know I could have fought you. I'm not that little rat anymore," Sam said proudly, nearly provokingly.

Al nodded. "I know, but I had to take the risk. And if we'd fought, it wouldn't have been an issue."

"Got it."

"So you don't regret coming out?"

"No, why should I? It's me. But more importantly, I'm in a pack now who wants me and who doesn't treat me like a stray dog, who gets the occasional scraps." Sam was surprised by the firmness in his own voice.

Al jerked a bit. "Understand. I guess I was an ass."

Sam stopped Al with the wave of his hand. "It wasn't you in specific, although sometimes I thought as a junior enforcer you should have also protected the weaker pack members ..."

"You're right, but you know what power does to teenage boys ...," Al responded surprisingly insightful.

"I know. Just saying, no grudge towards you in specific; except for being kidnapped and getting me into trouble with my Beta," Sam joked lightheartedly.

"Sorry, I guess we should fight a bit, so we have something to show for it to our bosses," Al suggested punching Sam on his shoulder nearly amicably.

"No, it's okay. It's quite tense right now, so I think it's better not bring home more trouble ... so can you get me back to the campus or do I need to walk back?" Sam tried to close the conversation.

"I'll drive you home. But you haven't answered my question yet.

"Which one?"

"Where is Colt?"

"Why are you so interested in him?"

Al swallowed. "Not sure whether you'll understand."

"Try me."

"When I was in this group ..."

"... the gay group ...," Sam clarified with a bit of schadenfreude.

"Yep. When I was there, he ignored me completely. He was always discussing stuff I didn't understand with that Hank and some of the other smart kids," Al clarified slightly annoyed.

Sam suppressed his grin. "So you were being ignored. That must have been a new feeling for you."

"It was. I mean I didn't mind with most of the guys. It was more like a test for me anyway whether I would get hot for one of them. Still, I have never felt so put into my place as back then when Colt treated me like the light fixture in the hallway."

Sam grimaced. "I'm not sure he did it on purpose."

"Maybe not."

"Colt is a very special man. I mean sometimes I feel he's a bit autistic. He normally doesn't notice when somebody likes him or finds him interesting. He doesn't pick up the vibes, he can only decode verbal and visual information."

"He's sick?"

"No, just very special. One reason why we have some issues to sort out at home."

"Sorry to hear that."

Sam shrugged. He didn't want to explain the whole vampire thing to Al.

"Okay, I'll get you home. Thanks for listening," Al said genuinely grateful.

"No problem. And next time sent me a message, we can talk without that kidnapping stuff," Sam instructed opening the passenger door.

"Got it."

"And you really need to stop smoking. The gamma is going to have your ass," Sam said looking at the big black-haired enforcer stamping out the cigarette.

"Don't you think I know?" he said a bit aggressively.

Sam lifted his hands defensively before he got into the car.

Al started to drive. "You still owe me an answer."

"I can't tell you where Colt is, you know that very well, Al. You wouldn't tell an outsider either where your alpha is, would you?" Sam challenged the guy next to him.

"But he isn't your Alpha," Al challenged him.

"Correct, still I can't and won't tell you. Unless you want to try to beat it out of me."

Al shook his head. "No, sorry."

"So now you tell me why you want to know. Do you want to beat him up because he humiliated you back then? You know we won't let you."

Al shook his head, while biting on his fingernails again.

"I think you need to stop the biting as well."

Al gave him a stern look.

"Tell me, big Al. Why are you so interested in Colt?"

Al didn't say anything. He drove reasonably carefully through the town to the campus, close to the house of the wolves.

"Not talking?"



"Can't. Anyway thanks. Obviously, this conversation has never happened," Al said conspiratorially.

"Got it. Bye," Sam answered bored and left. `Asshole,' he thought when he saw the car leaving before getting inside.

"Where were you?" Brian asked not unfriendly when Sam entered the kitchen to get himself some water.

"Hi, Beta, sorry, somebody from the Chestnut pack wanted to talk."

Brian frowned with his cute jock face. But Sam didn't disrespect the Beta, his smell made clear that he wouldn't be disobeyed. "What about?"


"Excuse me?"

"He wanted to know where Colt was," Sam answered truthfully.

"Fucking hell, do they still want to get back at him?" Brian answered. "Sometimes I think it's good that he's on the other side of the world."

Sam knew Brian didn't feel like that. He missed Colt like all the other pack members; they were sick without him.

"No, I don't think they would have only sent Al to ask for Colt in that case. I think it is something else," Sam answered thoughtfully.

"Oh!" Brian said with understanding. "I see. I guess we have to tell Prime tomorrow when he's back."

Sam nodded and went to their little gym to get ready for some serious boxing. It hurt to remember how much he liked to box with Colt, who would fuck the shit out of him after the training sessions still all sweaty and in the boxing outfit - after he had gotten the taste of this routine with the Beta.

"Control yourself, enforcer," Brian shouted through the house. "Or otherwise you'll shower with cold water for the rest of the month!"

"Understood, Beta," he answered obediently. Even if he could force his arousal down, he couldn't force his heart to stop missing his Meta.


"Where is that fag?" his gamma asked with undisguised disgust.

"He wouldn't tell," Al said, taking a deep drag from his cigarette.

The gamma was lighting his own cigarette and blowing blue smoke circles into the air. He was tall, slim, with a shaven head with a very dominant but straight nose. Al knew years ago Carl had been a successful swimmer on a national level -- unusual for a wolf shifter to like swimming. And the fact that he wasn't too bad at foreign languages like Japanese and Russian had made him a valuable resource for the pack. Of course, Carl had much higher aspirations than staying a lowly gamma. But to successfully challenge his alpha, he had to do more than just call for a fight. He had to prove his value to the wider pack before he could do that.

"He wouldn't tell? I though he had the hots for you?" Carl spit the words out as if he had just eaten camel's balls.

"I don't think he has, I think your info was wrong on that."

Carl growled threateningly.

Al shrugged. He wasn't scared of the gamma anymore. He wasn't 16 and didn't any longer believe everything he was told by the elders.

"Okay, the little fag boy didn't want to get into your pants, so what can we do to find that cunt?"

Al shrugged. "It's clear they have some problems. Sam didn't go into details, but it's not the same pack which beat up half of California's vampire population in one night."

"So they are vulnerable?" Carl asked, his eyes glowing aggressively.

"I think so."

"That's a good start. But we still need to find out where this nerd is ... we need him."

Al didn't answer and he didn't correct the gamma. `You need him,' he wanted to say, but bit his lips. "Well, I'll continue to stay in contact with Sam, I'll find out if and when Colt comes back."

"Do that, become that fag's best friend."

"What are you saying? Are you telling me to fuck him to get the info?" Al asked not hiding his disgust.

"If it helps."

"Carl, you're an asshole."

"Careful, pup. I'm still your gamma."

Al rolled his eyes. "Don't call me `pup,' understood?"

"Or what?"

"Would you like our alpha to know what's going on here?" Al asked threateningly.

"Are you blackmailing me?" Carl growled. He was close to shifting, a few fangs already had pushed through his gums.

"No, just letting you know I won't take any shit from you. In the end you want to get up the ladder by getting this Colt, not me. And I'm sure our alpha has some reservations about that ...," Al explained trying to stay as cool as possible. He didn't challenge his gamma every day.

"You're playing a dangerous game for a 21-year-old junior enforcer," Carl said trying to calm down his wolf, who was eager to taste Al's blood.

"I know, but so are you. So if you stop treating me like a 15-year-old, we can work together on this."

Carl nodded throwing the cigarette away. "Got it. So stay close to this Sammy boy, and find out more."

"Got it. Will fuck his ass if needed."

"Don't need to know it."

"Of course not, you wouldn't tell one of your pack members to commit immoral acts," Al smiled smugly.

"No, I wouldn't and of course you would never do such things anyway."

Al shook his head.

"I mean you going to gay meetings was an accident," Carl said without looking at the young wolf shifter.

Al bit his lips. `How the hell did Carl find out after all these years?' "Absolutely," he said calmly.

"That's what I thought," Carl commented dryly. `Got you by your little queer wolf balls,' the gamma thought without bad conscience. He knew how to deal with a young career-eager wolf shifter who wanted to play with the big boys.

"Anything else you need, gamma?" Al asked with pseudo respect; he just wanted to get out of here.

"No, that's it. Keep me updated."

"Will do."


"Where is that little bastard?" she asked staring into her glass of whiskey barely looking at the computer screen.

"Paris," Duke said munching on his second doughnut. The lady in California had odd preferences when it came to video conference timings, so getting into his office at 5 am meant he forewent breakfast at home.

"Paris? What the hell is he doing in Paris?" Bianca, also known as MaryAnn, said annoyed.

"MaryAnn, I told you he works in some hot shot consultant company; that means a lot of travel."

"Well, can't you stop him from coming back? Or redirect his plane?" she asked hopefully.

"Really? On which grounds? I know you think this is just another corrupt TLA agency, but I would need a very good reason to do that ... and that would mean that I would have to explain what I'm doing to a lot of people. Do you really want that to happen?"

"Okay," she looked out of the window, enjoying the darkness of 0200 in the night wondering for a second what TLA stood for. The moon was big and the stars sparkled especially shiny today. Who cares, she thought. "Okay, but maybe we could do something with the plane ..."

"Get real, MaryAnn; we are not going to kill hundreds of people because of a boy; a boy you couldn't kill for God's sake. Or whatever you want to do with him." He didn't know where he took his courage from to tell off the vampire, but she was clearly not thinking straight anymore.

"Well, if I'd been told he had another wolf, this wouldn't have happened ..."

"If your vampire friends in Afghanistan had done their job, it wouldn't have happened either," he countered, taking another bite. Third doughnut.

"So we can go on blaming each other," she said, looking at the Whiskey glass. Duke had drawn the wrong conclusions again.

"We can, but that won't help us. We need a new plan. You, MaryAnn, vampire empress, need a new plan."

"Don't call me that. Somebody wouldn't take it the right way. But I know that I need a new plan. It's just regular vampires won't do it anymore, he has already killed enough of my brothers, and they don't see a reason to risk dying again for money; and barely anyone gives a shit about the prophecy."

He put down his mug, flushing down the doughnut with fresh coffee. "Never understood anyway you guys are so scared because of some superstition about what's going to happen in the future ... we aren't in the 19th century anymore." He didn't know why but he was going after her bad today.

"You won't understand but that doesn't matter. I think we need to send somebody entirely human, who does these things professionally."

"And you want me to find someone ..."

"Well, if you could give me a name, I would handle it myself," she answered putting her glass away. She had had enough for the night.

"Okay, I'll see what I can do."

"So, do you know when he will come back?" She tried to come across as nonchalant as possible.

"Tomorrow. He's booked on a Delta flight from Paris, sending you details now," he read of his pad.

"Okay. Anything else I should know?" She took another sip.

"Well, you remember the `surprise' wolf?" he asked.

MaryAnn rolled her eyes remembering the ocher wolf last year, who screwed up her carefully planned plot. Because of him, she couldn't get to that dog lover Colt. "Of course, stinking mutt." She nearly spat out her Whiskey.

"Well, he's now officially out of the Marine Corps; I would assume he lives with the pack now."

"Got it. Any other recent additions?"

"Not that we are aware of; something is off anyway ..."

MaryAnn's eyes lit up. "Off?"

"We have problems monitoring them. They obviously found out we had hijacked their phones last time; so they're much better protected now, and we cannot access their phones without raising too many questions on our side. So we can barely read what's going on. And it seems some of them have changed phone numbers on top; all in all, though, the level of chatter has gone down quite a bit, so I assume something is going on ..."

MaryAnn put her hands against her hips getting closer to the laptop screen, capturing her face. "Are you saying the stinking mutt fucker is unprotected currently?"

"Well, he surely is in Paris."

"Great," she said sarcastically. "Do you want me to fly to France?"

"I thought you had friends there ..."

"My dear, you're really clueless. Do you really think any vampire in Paris is interested in killing a stinking American boy? There's barely a city in the world with so many good looking girls on the menu ...," she reminded him.


"You wouldn't believe it, I know. -- Anyway, he might be unprotected here in California?"

"Can't guarantee it, but there is some indication."

"You just made my night, Duke."

"Not sure my wife would approve," he chuckled.

"Oh well, get her some jewelry with your latest `fee' and she'll be fine," she ignored his joke.

"You're so romantic, MaryAnn."

"When you have lived 150 years, you tell me how romantic you will still be," she answered, part of her brain already thinking through options.

"Well, I should go back to work now. At the end this agency has some official work to do as well ..."

"Sure, talk to you soon. I think I'm going to plan a welcome committee for our wolf lover ..."

"Good luck."

She didn't respond and cut the connection without good-byes looking at her son's photo on her desk.


"Where is Parker?" Dean Haliburt asked his elegantly dressed friend looking out the penthouse admiring the vastness of Los Angeles below him.

"Paris. We put him on one of the global projects, so he travels a lot."

"Smart, separating him from the wolves," Haliburt murmured feigning agreement.

"Seems we don't need to do a lot on that front anyway," the other man answered handing Haliburt his cocktail.

"Don't underestimate him or them."

"I know you've told me. And I have seen a lot of evidence. But it has been very quiet in the past months, so I'm starting to wonder whether it's him after all." The elegant man was slim and tall, his white hair in a perfect rich guy's cut; the suit looked outrageously expensive as if custom made by a centuries old London tailor. His face was still tight, most likely supported by a little face-lift, and pleasantly tanned. He took a sip from his tall cocktail glass and stood next to his friend, the dean, with one hand on his back.

"Giovanni, it is he. You can be sure of that."

Giovanni, who was the North American head of his consulting partnership, nodded carefully. Still he started to doubt whether they were monitoring the right guy. Since he'd grown up on Sicily more than half a century ago, he'd heard about all kind of old stories; his mother, hopelessly and unhappily in love with a shifter for her whole life, had told him wolf stories like other mothers told fairy tales. And after all this time, one of the biggest prophecies was supposed to become true in the next years; and this Texan nerd would be playing some unknown role in it. "Well, the price on his head isn't going up anymore."

Haliburt chuckled. "Well after what they did last June, even you got tempted ..."

"I know. Just saying."

"Understand. He is 23, give him a bit of time," Haliburt asked, not doubting for a second that he was right. After all, he knew.

"Got it. So when are you going to retire finally?"

"Some few more years. Looking forward to the day without schmoozing fat old rich ladies or dealing with stupid jocks who can't keep their dicks under control." And much more.

Giovanni chuckled. "We need to celebrate when your time has come."

"We will." Haliburt smiled to himself; so not happening.

"And your successor. Does he know about the deal?"

Haliburt shook his head. "Successor hasn't even been decided yet; and unless it is McErickson, which I doubt, then no."

"So the vampires will do everything to get McErickson there," Giovanni reasoned.

"Yep. Quite ironic. But I don't mind anymore. I have had too many years dealing with those stinking half-deads," Haliburt said through his teeth.

"Tell me," Giovanni agreed. "They're becoming a pest. Half of our government is vampires by now, more than half of congress, and soon they will have the senate. Not even talking about the French, Italian, Spanish, Russian and part of the Chinese political establishment. The increased tensions with North Korea, the Iran, in Venezuela and all the problems in Turkey: fucking scheming vampires involved. Everywhere. I'm not sure we can keep them at bay very much longer.

Haliburt nodded, taking another sip. "I know. They're doing everything to hide it, but the true crime rates are getting out of control in Europe and the U.S.; if the trends continue, we'll have a collapse of society in 15 years. And the vampires will have reached their objective."

Giovanni straightened his tie, hand-made by a top couture house in Paris. "Yep, they've finally made it. Amazing what the right marketing can do even for vampires."

"And it all started with a stupid teenager TV show," Haliburt shook his head in disbelief.

"Well, you have protected yourself nicely."

"Had no other choice. They would have removed me without thinking twice. This MaryAnn bitch didn't have feeling even when she still was human two centuries ago. Found out quite some stuff about her. Had several slaves tortured and killed because they looked at her `the wrong way.' And you wouldn't believe what she made her son do."

Giovanni pulled air through his perfect teeth. They looked as if he'd spent the price of several cars on them; doing away with what he had inherited. "Not surprised."

"Anyway, I should be going home," Haliburt said, putting his glass on the sideboard, enjoying the view once more. He had enough money to retire nicely; but it wouldn't pay for such a penthouse on top. He didn't need that.

"Was a pleasure my friend, please let me know when you have your big party."

"Will do." Haliburt got his coat and was ready to go.

"One question. Why are you still so interested in that boy?"

Haliburt smiled mysteriously. "He's my joker."


"I know how to kill him if needed, getting me enough money to double my retirement pot. But I also know how to get him as an ally as I know things about his past he surely would like to find out. And I know more about his future, I think, than anyone else." Haliburt smiled self-confidently at his host, nodded his head to say good-bye and was gone.

Giovanni's wolf was itchy. Too much alcohol and too much talk about vampires. `You have no intention to retire, Haliburt,' Giovanni said to himself. He took his expensive suit off, preparing for a shift, even if only in his apartment. `You want to use you him as bargain with the Lord,' Giovanni thought, finally provoking his angry wolf.

And the dark brown wolf looked down at his city, howling weakly.

Note: This is a preview to "Meta and the Marines III (MetaShadowLands)" and the last chapter to be published on Nifty. For all MetaBooks sequels, check my website www.amazon.com/author/johnar.