Ninety Three

The children come streaming from the woods just as Sloane, Sarah and Cassie trot in.
“Everyone’s crummy.”
Mani, “Come on Sarah, I need a shower too, we’ve been cooking in the sun.”
Sloane says, “Water please Emma B.”
She brings a glass of cold water. Our water comes from the mountain snowmelt, filtered and purified, it is amazing out of the tap and makes crystal clear ice. There aren’t any public services out here, everything from power to water and sewage is self contained. We’re solar, the overage goes to batteries. 
“How was the run?”
“Great, we slogged up about a mile, past the meadow and through the east woods. A wolf appeared and ran with us nearly all the way back. I think there are cubs, she broke off and headed west.”
Dasha comes out, “Children strip off clothes and go to the dorm to clean up. Kota B will have water for you, drink it, do not get dehydrated.”
“Da Mama.”
Emma B collects the pile of jeans and t-shirts, sneakers line wall, “They weren’t too filthy, smudges look like they were in the trees. I must soak them first,” she goes inside to the laundry room.
“So glad we have the bots, I’d be stuffing clothes in the washer all day long.”
Oceane and Janah come up from the dock, Janah says, “I’m sun steamed, time for a shower, care to join me Oceane?”
Oceane smiles, follows Janah inside, she’s about to get lucky, I suppose it’s more accurate to say they’re both about to get lucky. But if I know Janah, Oceane will get lucky first.
Nikko, “Suppose I should wait to clean up, half the house is running water.”
“We have several zillion gallon water heaters, I don’t know, maybe so many showers at once affects the water pressure.” 
Nikko, “We haven’t been on any refocusings lately, Janah close the Society?”
“Hardly, she’s just farmed out the work, it’s been mostly common stuff,” I retell the story of the alleged suicide.
Nikko, “Christ, what a load of crap. It’s stupider than that ages ago bit about the beauty queen girl, what’s her name? You know, the people in Colorado.”
“Jon Benet Ramsey.”
“That’s the one. Story about a mystery man breaking in. Either daddy or the brother killed her. That kid was getting abused by one or the other and she died as a consequence. They waited forever to report her missing, then discovered her in a sealed off, what, wine cellar or something?”
“I think so. Of course it was nonsense. They sat around concocting a story before they reported her missing, my bet is to keep the brother from going to prison. But it could have been the father. From the photos I remember, she was tarted up, full on makeup and red lipstick, she was a cute little girl in any case.”
“Mommy needed to find something to do besides pimp her daughter in kiddie beauty contests, how stupid is that?”
“Not good, not as bad as Amaya’s parents pimping her to pervs. But kiddie beauty contests may be the gateway drug.”
Morshchiny didn’t go up with the kids, I’m absently stroking her head, look down, she could use a rinse. 
“Come on Morshchiny, time for a wash,” she follows me to the rear of the house.
We have a six by three foot fish filleting board, with a drain that runs to the lake. There’s also a hose attached to clean the board afterwards. It has a temperature adjustment, we need hot water to clean the board properly. I lift her up, geez, when she’s grown it will be a job for Dasha. She sits patiently while I rinse her off with warm water, squirt the big paws clean, then dry her with a couple of big bath towels.
I pick her up and take her to the rear porch and open the door, “Okay sweetie, find the children.”
Find the children is our code phrase, say it and she will, well, find the children. Kota B taught her in the event the children go missing, unlikely, Kota B keeps a sharp eye out and all of us are GPS enabled. A little tab Eloise developed that is inserted under the skin just beneath the shoulder socket. 
Kota B is in the process of teaching Morshchiny find by individual name, find Uma, find Devona, until she learns to locate any one of the eight individually. Dogs learn by repetition and reward, Kota B is a bot and can spend as much time as it takes without getting bored or distracted. 
In the kitchen, I hear Karol upstairs, “Morshchiny, you’re damp, did you go swimming?”
I climb the stairway to the dorm, girls are spread out on the beds that circle the center of the room fireplace, “I rinsed her off.”
Zofia and Uma are lying side by side looking at something on a phone, the mastiff hops up and squeezes herself in between them.
Zofia giggles, “Morshchiny, chtoby byt' v seredine.”
It’s true, she is always taking the middle. The kids tend to sleep in pairs, but they mix it up, it isn’t always Uma and Zofia. Morshchiny picks a pair and takes the middle spot.
Devona, “She wants to be surrounded by her friends.”
Downstairs, Ellen is prepping tea, “What do you want with the fish?”
Dasha, “Creamy corn and baked potato,” she pulls out a tray of chocolate cookies from the oven, then another, then a third.
“Smells good, you put almonds?”
“Da, also besides cocoa powder, melted dark chocolate, buhter and whipping crim, just a leetle. Now for cooling off,” she sets the trays on the counter racks.
“What can we have with tea? I assume cookies are for after dinner.”
“Whenever, eef they want wiz tea, ees fine, we haf  also cocoa dusted almonds and Ghirardelli squares.”
Girls wander down, get a cup, the chocolates are popular, Janah sniffs, “Cookies smell scrumptious.”
“Want one, they’re still warm,” not really a question, I fold one in a paper towel and hand it to her.
“I suppose I’m having dessert before dinner.”
“You can have a second dessert after dinner.”
Dasha and Daria bring tea upstairs for the children, a cookie for each.
“Children, dogs cannot anyway haf chocolate, do not feed her cookie.”
“Da Mama.”
A cup of tea, a cookie and a double cheek kiss from the Mamas. In lieu of a cookie, Kota B gives Uma a doggie treat for Morshchiny. She doesn’t much chew food, it just gets inhaled, Uma giggles.
Morshchiny stares at her cookie, “Chocolate will make you sick, your dinner is in a little while.”
She appears resigned, lays on her tummy, front paws stretched out with her head lowered in between
Kota B, “She is most intelligent, we are teaching her commands in Russian, so outsiders will not know what she is going to do.”
Daria, “What commands?”
“Sidet', ostavat'sya, zakhvatit, vypusk, drug (not drug like a drug, pronounced droog), sit, stay, capture, release, friend. Then to follow a scent. We will practice that in the woods while we are here. She will have them all down before we return to California.”
Daria, “Khorosho, a dog is happiest when it knows what it is supposed to do.”
Kota B, “I have researched mastiffs thoroughly, she will be quite healthy and an excellent companion for the children.”
Nadia, “The Gids have promised that she will have a long life. If we are alive, Morshchiny will be alive with us.”
Dasha, “Sister and I are happy to have children forever. You will keep learning though, understood?”
“Da Mama.”
Kota B, “They are like sponges, they soak up Japanese, Shakespeare, Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie. There are many new authors, but they prefer classics and the ancients, Greek mythology is a favorite. They were okay with Anna Karenina, but preferred Crime and Punishment.”
Daria, “We do not care what century they explore, nor that they take no interest in technology. The family is full of technology experts. The children travel through time and visit worlds no one else has ever seen. What technology do they need? Besides, your are their technology, you and the Zycyryn.”
Dasha, “Dinner ees six thirty for children, downstairs. Then Kota B will find some entertainment by the fire, a movie maybe. After that, to bed.”
“Da Mama.”
The twins collect cups and bring them to the kitchen.
“Kids good?”
Dasha, “They are best possible. We sometimes worry about travels wiz Zycyryn, but they seem to have only best eenterest of children in mind. They do not anyway seem more crazy than rest of fahmahley.”
Amaya, “I beg your pardon.”
“Eemaya, you are craziest of all. You will go someplace, we haf dinner to prepare. Go outside and tell everyone how beautiful you are.”
“Do not forget talented, and smart, and simply amazing.”
“Go away Eemaya.”
Ellen laughs, “I have the grills fired up Daph, potatoes are baking, creamed corn is ready to heat. Maybe dinner rolls?”
“Good idea, the fish will only take minutes. We can screw around a half hour, then start.”
Ellen, “Then it’s time for an Elijah Craig, can I get you a vodka Dasha?”
“Spasibo.”
A half hour later Ellen and I are grilling fat fish filets, Morshchiny is helping, sitting next to me her nose in the air. I cut a chunk off the tail end of a filet, let it cool and flip it to her, snap, gulp, gone.
Ellen, “Think they’re done, let me see,” she cuts a filet in half, middle is just firm.
We stack fish on platters and pass them through the window to Emma B. Dasha has the tables set. Kota B serves the children who are absorbed in a discussion of Russian history, in Russian. I have no clue what they’re talking about.
Janah, “Pre-communist days, at the time of the first World War, the Tsar, Nicholas II refused to listen to his legislature, the Duma, and took advice from his wife, who got her advice from an ignorant peasant, Gregori Rasputin. That led to the elite assassinating him in 1916. But the damage was already done and the people revolted.  In short, Lenin and the soviets came to power and with them, socialism, then Marx and Communism. Russian history is complex and brutal.”
“Interesting dinner conversation.”
“Kota B’s doing. She’s charged with the children’s education, along lines they are interested in exploring. Russia is in their blood, like the Mamas, and Katya and Katja.”
“Then it makes sense.”
“It does, and Kota B is a focused bot, she’s incapable of nonsense, unlike Grace B, who is programmed differently. Emma B is someplace in the middle.”
“I knew the bots were programmed with differences, it’s evident in their behavior. Never occurred to me how complex programs must be, subtleties are harder to develop.”
“Testament to Daria and Susan, they did it with guidance from Amaya. Amaya doesn’t know squat about writing code, but she knows a lot about manipulating behavior.”
Janah doesn’t mean manipulate in a negative sense, although if she chose, Amaya could do that as well. She did it as a child, starting with learning how to dress as a child model, cute yet provocative, innocent and enticing. People paid fifty bucks a month to engage with her image on a computer screen. One wonders who was exploiting whom.
I glance down the table, Amaya is looking at me, a sly smile on her flawless face.

Ninety Four

Days pass, we hiked to the falls. Morshchiny met a wolf but there was no animosity. They both made the hike, the wolf stuck with Sloane, Morshchiny has only one interest and she stay in the middle of the children. 
Other days were boat rides, fishing, Oceane for a swim. The kendoka did kata outside, the kids are getting quite accomplished. We come here to retreat, but we don’t retreat from practice, skills in anything, sport or academics, are hard to get and easy to lose.
Today is overcast, perhaps rain, “Children, if you want to be outside, I suggest you go for it after breakfast, appears we’re in for a damp day. Oceane, no swimming, lightning can crop up at any time, no boat outings today.”
Chloe, “No sun anyway, and it’s cool, almost chilly.”
We’ve made pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs with cream cheese, all of which disappears in short order. Our active family isn’t shy about eating. Amaya, Lauren and Nikko are the most cautious, careful about quantity.
Amaya, “I have choreographed a new dance, the children can begin to work learn it this afternoon, after rest time before tea.”
Karol, “Is it ballet?”
“There are ballet moves with modern dance overtones and gymnastics light. Leotards and leg warmers are in your closet. Please be ready promptly at two.”
Kota B, “Where?”
“I was going to have it on the back balcony, but the rain prohibits, so the dorm. Kindly clear a space.”
“If I move the art tables is that sufficient room?”
“Yes, today we will be doing the opening, which includes everyone. Individual parts can wait.”
Nadia, “Does the performance have a name?”
“Dystopia, my vision of what might have gone wrong if the world had not adjusted to the realities of climate change. You are all going to die.”
The children giggle, Valeska says, “We will never die Tetya Amaya.”
“It is a drama, fiction, I made it up. A happy performance is boring, a dark one is intriguing, mysterious, threatening.”
Uma, “Can I have a death mask?” 
We laugh, children love scary stories, a thrill older than even Grimm’s.
“I have masks in mind for all of you. After breakfast Oceane and I are going to hide away and design them. Everyone is invited to buzz off.”
Dasha, “You are feenished children, Kota B find something for children to do inside until lunch.”
“We have Japanese and art.”
Dasha, “Lunch ees cheeken salad, aig salad feenger sandwich, cheeps. Twelve thirty to one, eef you miss you can starve until tea. Now everyone go somewhere, we haf to clean up. Ellen, boil eggs, Dahfoney, make cheeken salad. I will chop ohnyon.”
Girls go off to chill, reading or quiet chats are popular when we aren’t doing something active. The skies have darkened already, there’s no outside today, Kota B will find something to occupy the kids.
I’m opening cans of chicken breast, feel a nudge on my calf, Morshchiny is staring up at me. I open an extra can, she doesn’t care about the salad part, a can of chicken in a bowl will do. It lasts all of two bites, then she’s out the back door for personal necessities before heading up to the dorm.
Ellen, “You spoil that beast.”
“I suppose, she’s learning lots of things and watchful of the kids, it isn’t like she’s lazy. Mastiffs are guard dogs, good ones, they don’t do warning barks. Wrong person reaches for one of the children they’re going to lose use of a hand. Kota B is teaching her a few basic commands, sit, stay, capture, release, friend. She’s learning them in Russian though, we’ll need a lesson when she’s done.”
Francois calls, “Bonjour Daphne, some bad news I’m afraid.”
“Are you guys okay?”
“It isn’t to do with us. Two couples from a lodge farther up the lake have been found murdered. The police were here, they asked if your house was occupied and I told them yes. Your clan is not a suspect of course, the police know who you are. They wanted me to call for obvious reasons.”
“They haven’t caught the killer yet.”
I reach out to Janah and Nikko, “You need to tap into this.”
“So four people are dead, at the lodge or in boats, where?”
“Their boat was found on your side of the lake, up against the shoreline, the bodies were in the woods maybe thirty yards in. They were found by a guide from the lodge, he went looking for them when they didn’t return on schedule. All the rentals on the lake have GPS. The police said blunt force trauma, hit on the head with something hard, could have been a rifle stock. The women were, um, violated, then killed.”
“Then this is more than one killer, two at the least.”
“Yes, tracks in the area were messed up, the rain has things pretty messy.”
“How far from here?”
“West about five miles. Apparently it rained there, but it hasn’t gotten here yet, soon though, you see the sky.”
“Yes, we’re holing up inside today. How did the killers get there? Another boat maybe?”
“They don’t know that part. All the rentals are accounted for all around the lake. I am not even sure why they went out, but it was early and the storm hadn’t come in yet. You can’t always tell, they pop up over a mountain unannounced. We’re always up and checking the weather reports, I don’t know what happened up the lake.”
“Perhaps the killers weren’t in a boat, nobody should be on the water today.”
“What I thought. If they were on the ground already, I would think they beat it out of there quickly.”
“The people were robbed?”
“Wallets were found, no cash, cards and licenses were left. In any case, be careful. Like you said, if they weren’t in a boat, they would head for whatever vehicle brought them. The nearest road on that side is at least three miles from the murder site though, just an unused logging road, maintained for fire prevention.”
“Where does it lead to?”
“There’s a blacktop road behind your mountain, it goes to a highway about twenty miles further on.”
“Ah, yes, we’ve climbed to the top, I recall seeing a bit of it. If that’s how they got in it will take a while to get to the highway.”
“True, it is a switchback road, up and around the next mountain, they can’t do more than twenty or twenty five for much of it. Still, no one is sure what time it happened, if it was early, they could have cleared it and made the highway.”
“Until they’re found you can’t let boats go out.”
“The guests have no inclination, they can’t go today anyway, but even if the weather clears tomorrow, nobody is going anyplace. One couple is considering leaving in the morning.”
“Don’t blame them, but they may be safer in a guesthouse run by Shaolin monks. You have rifles, for sick or rabid animals?”
“Yes, just twenty twos, but effective enough. We have three, generally under lock and key.”
“Get them out and keep them loaded. It isn’t our preferred protection, but you have guests to think about. You will have made arrangements for guard duty?”
“Yes, we will all sleep in the guesthouse, the lounge area is big enough, and it will make the guests feel better. I doubt it’s a problem considering where the murders took place, the other side of the lake. We are more concerned about your people.”
“Francois, we’re up to our elbows in laser guns, some of the girls like to practice with them. There are three kendo masters, two Shaolin priests, both sets of twins  are talented ground fighters. I have a wolf child and a mastiff. If killers show up here they have a major problem on their hands. We also have two bots who monitor the external cameras twenty four hours a day and can light up the exterior like a football stadium.”
Francois laughs, “I’ll reassure the others. You will keep a line open?”
“Yes, Emma B, you have the contact site, she can do messaging, voice and video and it is all instant. If you need to get to us, use the site or the sat phone.”
“Okay. We will check in with Emma B during the night if that is acceptable.”
“Certainly, thank you for your concern. I’ll get her to start researching the incident, if anything comes up you should know about, we’ll be back to you.”
“But what can she find…oh, of course, you have..um…certain resources.”
“A few friends, yes.”
Francois knows we have connections, he doesn’t know we also hack the crap out of any law enforcement agencies we need to. 
We disconnect, Janah and Nikko are next to me, we call the family in, including the children. They need to know to pay attention just like the rest of us.
When everyone is having finger sandwiches, I cover the information I have.
“Emma B is digging out any details that seem relevant. The police just started the investigation a couple of hours ago, they might not know much yet. Janah will call around and see who’s in the loop and what’s happening. We’ll have a feed within the hour. In the meantime, Katya, please organize the laser troops. Daria and Nikko, assign girls to monitor external cams, Emma B and Kota B will also monitor as well, Emma B, connect to Grace B in Malibu and include her. If she’s hibernating, wake her up. I’m being over cautious.”
Amaya, “You are being smart, I’ll take cam duty right away Nikko.”
Nikko, “Good, me too. The cameras are available to anyone with a tablet, laptop or phone. Feel free to pick a camera and watch, more eyes are better. You spot something out of place or questionable, send an alert, it will ding everyone on the system.”
Sloane, “I’m going to patrol the perimeter and alert my friends. I don’t want them getting shot or otherwise injured.”
There’s a thunderclap, “Try not to get struck by lightning, I’m going with you. Let’s get into foul weather gear and get moving.”
Sloane, “I can cover more ground alone.”
“Did I speak in a language you don’t understand?”
“I meant to say, great mom, be good to have company.”
“Better.”
Sarah, “I’m going too, you may need a killer with a laser gun.”
Waterproof  boots and rain suits, water proof hats, I don’t want hoods restricting our vision. We hit the door and begin circling the perimeter, expanding the circle by ten yards each circuit. We stay within arm’s length, nobody out of the others’ sight.
A wolf shows up, Sloane has a silent chat, he trots off into the woods. Ten minutes later there’s an owl hunkered down on a tree branch, sheltered from the bulk of the rain under the canopy. I explain what we’re doing, looking for two or more people who may be armed and don’t seem to belong. That we do not have a description.
She blinks at me, then the Great Horned spreads her wings and is aloft.
The animals don’t want humans with guns in their forest. They don’t want humans in their forest. We get a pass because we can understand, and we have helped them in the past, as they have helped us. It has been many years, but the story of the human who received a transmission from an owl, who can communicate with eagles and owls, has a grip like talons, eyes that can see a rabbit a mile away and ears that can detect a rustle under the snow from twenty or even thirty yards, has circulated through successive generations. 
Then Sloane was gifted with a transmission from the wolf, and has the speed, scent capability and jaw strength of her grantor. My dear daughter even has pointed molars and can snap an arm like a dry twig. She’s done it in fact, more than once…it’s bloody work.

Ninety Five

Back at the house we strip off raingear on the porch then go inside, “Nothing around for now, the animals are hunkered down in this torrent.”
Nikko, “Cameras tell the same story, we decided to keep the drones inside, they are lightening magnets and we don’t want to lose one out in the woods.”
“The Mounties will have drones up, any news?”
“Kota B, we have to get into details, take the children up to the dorm please.”
A herd of little ones followed by Morshchiny and Kota B retreat up the stairs. The conversation may be more detailed than the children need to be exposed to. 
Lauren, “Daria and I fished around local law enforcement, rangers and Mounties. Two men broke out of a prisoner transport van aided by one or more parties. The guards in the van were killed. Whoever sprung the prisoners had transportation. It isn’t clear where it happened exactly, somewhere between a local jail and a Canadian prison in Edmunton.”
“That’s, what, a thousand miles from here?”
“Then the likelihood the one thing has nothing to do with the other is a possibility.”
Janah, “Except that the prisoners were charged with three brutal home invasions, including rape of two adult females and a twelve year old girl.”
“Puts a different slant on it. Still, who would help murdering rapists escape from a prison transport?”
“More murdering rapists.”
“A gang of rapists? Doesn’t that tend to be a solitary activity, or maybe one other guy, but three or four? I don’t know, it’s a big world, anything can happen.”
Grace B is on the screen, “Could not function without me, huh? I knew it, you go off with two bots, one a nanny and the other a Brit lady in waiting, and wind up targeted by insane assholes.”
Eloise, “We wanted to let you hibernate for a month, the idea was to rest your systems.”
Grace B, “Let us get the fuck on with it. The killers are still on the loose. Nothing has turned up on the blacktop road, or the main highway. Given the distances, they cannot have made it further in the time frame allowed without a helicopter. I doubt that was the method of escape. Ergo, they are in the woods someplace, lurking. They find you they are going to think they won the fucking rape lottery.”
“They find us they are not going to get much time to think, only to regret.”
“At least you have the crazy Russians and those other three psychopaths. Do not go outside, like you just did, idiot.”
“Won’t happen again, we needed to clue in our forest friends. Do you have photos of the two?”
“Thought you would never ask.”
Two mug shots and the convictions records pop up on the screen.
Amaya, “Eeeeww, those are two horrendous visages, they appear to be inbred.”
I read the reports, “Clarence Rendell, six counts of rape, one attempted rape, five armed robbery, three first degree murder, two manslaughter. Apparently Canadian murder categories are like American ones. Terrance Rendell, ah, that says something, brothers, basically similar charges.”
Zi, “One can only imagine their young upbringing, or can it be genetic?”
Janah, “Perhaps both. Grace B, anything on the parents?”
“Foster homes, a long list. Before that, mother unknown, no birth records, father died from a drug overdose when they were six and seven.”
Amaya, “From the looks of them, mommy was daddy’s sister.”
“Any information on who they might know that would take the risk of hijacking a prison van?”
“One cellmate from a prior prison term was released, Arthur Cannon, multiple sex offender, voyeur, pedophile. He was being monitored for three years, then dropped off the radar. No other known acquaintances from prison. Cannon, however, lived in a sex offender community until he disappeared. They tend to congregate since people do not want them living next door. A neighbor, Hugo Fontenot, also on the registry, disappeared around the same time. The cases were not thought to be connected, it was two months later and it seems these guys go awol fairly frequently.”
“Photos?”
“Duh.”
Two more whackos pop up, Amaya, “Slimy looking pair, pussy goatee, I despise those things, the other a mess of greasy long hair. Small wonder they have to rape, even the skankiest prostitute is going to pass on these four.”
Nikko, “Drug addicts will fuck anything for a fix.”
“True.”
“In short, if these four are hooked up, it’s a nasty business for anyone who encounters them.”
Nikko, “My scenario is, the two sex offenders have nothing to lose so they effect the escape. Given the nature of their crimes and today’s digital world, they need to hole up off the grid, way off. The wilderness is about as off as it gets shy of the Arctic circle. They camp, kill and eat what’s available, no campfires, a non-smoking fuel to cook. Water is plentiful. Their major problem is winter, but the real cold is months away, time for the search to go as cold. By accident, two couples hit the shoreline, perhaps to take care of personal necessities. Our boys spot them and here we are.”
“They wouldn’t kill the couples near their camp. That means they spotted the boat elsewhere and stalked them, or the men were out hunting and came upon the four.”
Janah, “And they became targets of opportunity. The killers’ mistake was due to being out of touch. They didn’t know the rental boats were GPS enabled or that anyone would go looking for it.”
Amaya, “Being in prison will do that. Based on what these pukes look like, I doubt they can spell technology, much less operate any of it.”
“Unfortunately, their technical expertise seems limited to old fashioned guns.”
I hear Francois beep in, Emma B gives him an update.
“Thanks Emma B, nothing unusual here but rain, no sign of trouble on your side?.”
“None, thank you for checking.”
He blips off.
We can’t do much, there’s still thunderstorm, lightening slashes appear over the lake. We have a cleared area around the house, first to have sight lines, second because of lightening. We don’t need a huge tree smashing the roof, repairs of that sort are a major undertaking considering where we are.
“Should we build a road that connects to the main road?”
Nikko, “We’d need several vehicles considering the number of people. There’s plenty of room to build a garage, plenty of electricity to keep them powered. We would also need permission from British Columbia government. Behind our property is national forest. We could call it a fire road, built at our expense but available to fire crews, and it would create a fire break.”
Janah, “Look into it, we can seal off the road at our property line. We don’t need it to protect the house, if there’s a fire no fire department is going to get here in time to help much.”
“The place has enough sprinklers to drown out anything inside. Forest fires up here are almost nil, too much moisture, and we have a wide swath of bare rock and pea gravel around the house.”
Daria, “What is the road for? I mean, when would we use it? And it invites the curious. As Nikko said, we would need at least three or more four wheel drive vehicles, a place to keep them, all for the two or three months the house is occupied.”
We laugh, she’s summarized the non-need for a road, the idea flames out.
Nikko, “Thank you Daria, you saved us a quarter million or more.”
“Dobro pozhalovat.”
Nothing to do, the rain seems to have slowed, just a lazy drizzle, distant thunder. Nap time.
I steal away to Oceane’s room, she’s drawing, she didn’t participate in our discussion. Cassie is floating over her bed, she settles down onto it when I come in.
Oceane looks over at me and smiles, she knows what I’m after. And she’s already deliciously nude. I close the door, lose my t-shirt and slip onto the bed with Cassie, Oceane gets up and takes my other side. Lesbian things ensue.
An hour later, I’m in a post orgasmic reverie, and decide to see what my other is up to. When I peek into Janah’s brain, I see Sarah’s face, part of it, she’s busy between Janah’s legs. Then I see a cock headed to her mouth, Sloane and Sarah, J is having a lovely time.
Get my voyeur on, I go to Amaya’s brain, a whip slim torso I recognize, Amaya is working our resident movie star. Through her eyes, I see Chloe’s happy face as Amaya looks up at her.
On to Nishiko. Well, well, through her eyes I see her rock hard tummy and my daughter Lauren servicing the samurai. Nikko’s glass slick thighs around Lauren’s lovely head.
Nikko’s in my head, “Enjoying yourself?”
“Absolutely, and you?”
“What do you think?”
She goes off, holding Lauren’s head, the sign to keep her tongue right where it is. A string of Japanese expletives as Nikko tingles. The I see Lauren’s face, her lips and cheeks moist, she slides up Nikko’s torso, Nikko licks her lips, they kiss.
Like cam porn in my brain.
One last voyeur visit, through Dasha’s eyes, I can see the remains of twin twincest, both sets piled on the bed, it appears the follies are over, just a bit of post coital making out.
Unfortunately, whatever Ellen, Mani, Zi and Eloise got up to remains a mystery, I can’t get in any of those heads.
No crazed killers have stormed the house, maybe they opted to monitor the cameras in lieu of sex.
I refresh, kiss Cassie and Oceane, go downstairs to arrange tea. 
Ellen, “Have fun?”
“Always, Oceane and Cass, a delectable double.”
“We had an interesting time. While two of us kept an eye on the cams, the other two tried to distract us. Zi and I watched Mani do what Eloise loves best, tush tingle, then Eloise screwed her brains to porridge. When they wrapped, Zi and I distracted them. The floor in front of the fireplace never had it so good.”
Ellen is leaning against the kitchen counter, still nude, the other three are staring at tablets. I take liberties, run my hand up the inside of Ellen’s tight thigh, use my finger to test the territory, she bites her lip, we kiss. Then I kneel and take time kissing the legs by which all other legs are measured, work my way to the sensitive spot and get busy. She’s so creamy.
After she climaxes, I use take advantage of my position and kiss the legs a few more times, then hear a familiar voice.
“Ees enough sexy time Dahfoney, we will make tea now, you can lust over Ellen again later.”
Ellen pulls me up, her soft tongue explores mine, “Your turn next time honey.”
I grin, Dasha slaps my butt, “Get busy before Ellen drags you upstairs and we do not haf any tea.”
I show her who’s boss, I kiss her, leetle anjul has the most amazing lips.

Ninety Six

Tea at four, cocktails at six, girls go light tonight. We still don’t know where the killers are. They could be several hundred miles away, or a few hundred yards into the woods. Drinkers make do with wine in the event the evening requires a clear head.
Exterior lights flood the perimeter, our bots are on alert. Some of us are on the porch, the children are restricted to the house but Morshchiny is flopped down on the porch next to my chair.
Nikko, “The dog seems to take to you, not like the children, but more than the others.”
Dasha, “Dahfoney ees feeding her samples all the time, aig at breakfast, cheeken or tourkey at lunch, piece of steak or feesh from grill.”
“She needs protein, look at her, coat is shiny, she’s alert, Kota B has her in training and she doesn’t miss a trick. She might be the healthiest dog on the planet.”
Nikko, “What’s she weigh in at now?”
“Sixty five on the way to one thirty or so.”
“As much as you.”
“I’m taller.”
Nikko and I are both five ten and weigh almost exactly the same. We’re slim and our breasts don’t weigh us down, we hardly have any, think apples, not melons.
Morshchiny’s ears pick up, she stands and trots down the steps, staring into the woods to the west.
“Amaya, ask Zi to come out, also Sloane and Katya, Katya should have a gun, you stay inside, everyone else too.”
Amaya gets up, she sees I’ve gone on alert, she doesn’t ask questions.
Zi comes out, “Problem?”
“Don’t know. You and I are going to walk the perimeter, turn up your radar.”
Sloane comes out with Katya, she has a laser pistol on her hip, a sighted laser rifle slung over her shoulder.
Katya, “Ellen, Sarah, Katja and Mani are armed and at the entrances, Ellen is going to the roof with a scope and take a look around. The others are with the children, Nikko and Chloe have katana, Dasha and Daria have themselves.”
“Good enough, we may be searching for zip, I’m going off Morshchiny’s cue.”
The mastiff hasn’t moved, not a quiver. They don’t get rattled, they don’t growl or bark. When they attack it’s like and explosion out of silence.
We step off the porch.
“What is it Morshchiny? What’s out there?”
She steps to the woods, we follow. Katya has the rifle in her hands, ready to lift and fire, Sloane’s nose is in the air, her head moving from side to side, looking to catch the scent of human.
The breeze after the rain is faint, but we are downwind of whatever caught the dog’s interest.
Sloane kneels next to Morshchiny, they take in the scents together, “A human, none to clean, and blood.”
We’re at the edge of the woods, I’m peering in with owl eyes, I can see infrared. I catch the rusty yellow glow of body heat to my left, then another flicker twenty yards right.
Zi, “Two, thirty, forty yards deep, one left at ten o’clock, the other at two..”
I catch the snick of round ratcheted into a chamber, “Hit the dirt!”
We dive, a bullet zings overhead, then a second from the other side.
“Distract them Katya.”
The laser goes continuous, it’s slicing through an arc starting from the first shot to the second and back. Then I see another laser from above, Ellen on the roof. We hear crashing, they’re running deeper into the forest but are unprepared, no lights, and it’s dark as death in there.
“Sloane, take Katya left and run him down, Zi, back to the house, we’re going in, tell Ellen not to kill any of us,” I tap the mastiff, she turns to look at me, “let’s go girl, find the man.”
We take off. Sloane can use her wolf sight and scent to track one, I have my vision and Morshchiny’s nose to get to the other.
While we chase, I get in Nikko’s head, “Send Chloe to backup Katya and Sloane, you come in behind me.”
“Already outside, she’s tracked Sloane already, I’m thirty yards behind you.”

Should have known the samurai wasn’t going to sit around admiring her katana.
“Morshchiny and I are going to circle and get ahead of our boy, take our guy.”
“I see you, in flashes, Morshchiny is invisible in this black.”

My pal and I are even with the one, I can see his body heat to my left. He’s slowed then stops to listen. If he’s waiting to hear a Shaolin priest and a stealth mastiff making our way through the woods, he’s wasting his time. Eyes shine to my right, one of Sloane’s buddies blinks at me. Morshchiny keeps me moving, she’s picked up another scent. The wolf trots along a few yards away.
A light in the distance, perhaps a hundred yards. I zero in, a smokeless camp stove, the infrared outlines of two bodies sitting along either side. We keep moving, silent as death, I take us farther right, I want to come in from up mountain.
We take ten minutes to traverse the distance, now there’s a wolf side by side with a mastiff and me crouched down watching two men pass a whiskey bottle between them. Good, slow their reflexes.
“Where’s the brothers, a coupla shots, then nothing.”
“Mighta taken over the house, maybe we need to go over and check it out, if they’s pussy, we want our share before them brothers tear ‘em up.”
The other one laughs. They have to be Cannon and Fontenot.
“Nikko, the brothers are the ones you guys are stalking, the other two are here, it’s Cannon and Fontenot, I recognize them from mug shots.”
 “I have one, he’s giving me hard looks, but my katana is in his neck and my short sword is making his back bleed, his rifle is on the ground.”   
“March him here, we’ll have the other two by the time you show up.”

I hear a yelp to the south, then a wail, my guess is Sloane has her jaws on him, but maybe Katya took a knee with her laser.
Cannon looks at Fontenot, “What the fuck?”
“Morshchiny, zakhvatit.”
The mastiff takes off silently, the wolf is right behind, then I’m right behind both.
Fontenot stands, Morshchiny snaps and locks on his forearm, yanks him to the ground. The wolf leaps him and the camp stove and is on Cannon, her powerful jaws around his throat, one screams, the other can’t say jack. I’m in, looking down on two human wrecks, I kick the rifles away, Fontenot pulls a handgun. My foot lashes out, kicks the gun which flies up and over his head. I snatch it out of the air and point it at Cannon who has a hunting knife ready to stab the wolf. I fire and his hand is empty, with a hole in it. The wolf shakes her head, Cannon’s head wobbles around like a bobble doll.
I use the gun butt to put a dent in Fontenot’s skull, then leap the camp stove and kick Cannon’s temple with my steel toe. Three down.
Sloane races in, Katya has the laser pointed at Rendell’s head, his leg is injured, doesn’t look like a bite mark, she shot him with the laser, which also cauterized the wound.
“Well well, a murder party, Morshchiny, vypusk,” she lets Fontenot go, he’s out but she stands over him, eyes never leave her prey.
I scratch her behind the ears, “Good job girl.”
Nikko and Rendell II appear, Rendell II, “Who the fuck are you?”
“Sherlockia Holmes and her friends. Sit down and shut up.”
He hesitates, Nikko takes an ear, after a scream and her short sword at his throat, he sits. 
“She cut off my ear, fuck.”
“Maybe you can be the next Van Gogh.”
He stares at me like I’m insane, he’s not that far off.
Chloe stays in the shadows, she’s not had time to disguise and she’s famous, we don’t need her recognized now that we have control. 
I move next to her, “Glad you were able to stay out of it, go to the house with Sloane and be invisible. If the cops spot you it’s bound to leak.”
She turns and eases into the darkness.
“Janah, Chloe’s  returning, make her disappear, Amaya too, and call the troops.”
“They’re on the way, helicopter.”
“Sloane’s leading Chloe back, she can lead the cops here, give them coordinates for the meadow, I don’t want these guys to get another look at the house.”
“Emma B is guiding them there now.”

Twenty minutes later, we’re entertaining four Mounties around the camp stove.
We have a Superintendent Bly, an Inspector Morse and two sergeants, Tourneau and Middleton.
“Didn’t send out the lightweights, I’m Daphne Sylk, pleasure to meet you.”
Bly, “Miss Sylk, you have undertaken a dangerous mission, lucky to be alive I’d say. Whatever were you thinking?”
“I was thinking my family was being stalked by assholes and I was not inclined to let that happen. We’re out here in nothingness.”
“What, may I ask, was this gentleman shot with?”
“A laser gun.”
“You have a permit for such an advanced weapon?”
“Sure do, we make them.”
I go to my girl, “Janah, get this clown off my case.”
“He’s getting a call momentarily.”

Bly, “You make them? You are a weapons manufacturer, in the states?”
“Superintendent, we captured four extremely violent criminals, two of which your team couldn’t keep in custody long enough for a simple transfer. They and their psycho pals slaughtered four people not five miles from our home.”
“I understand that, however there are certain questions that require answers.”
“I don’t think so.”
Bly smirks, “You shall find out…,” his phone rings, “excuse me one moment,” he answers.
“Bly here…but sir, they have speciality weapons of their own manu…,yes sir, I understand sir, only trying to do my…yes sir…right away sir…thank you sir.”
Now that’s some serious groveling.
Bly is so red he’s crimson, he turns to his Inspector, “Collect the evidence, the rifles and hand gun, everything. Then march the prisoners to the heli and let’s not make things any more difficult for our American friends.”
Inspector Morse glances at me, sly grin, he turns to the sergeants, “You heard him, we’ve rounded up vicious killers, let’s not make a muck of it.”
While they gather what evidence there is, I tell Morse, “They’ve been slogging around the woods since they murdered the fishing party. Likely have some blood on them, and I assume you took DNA from the rapes.”
“Yes mum, we think they believed that no one was going to find the bodies, woods are full of predators only too happy to clean up.”
“They were out of touch with current technology, lucky for the authorities.”
Morse, “Mum, if I may ask, how do we explain the capture?”
“Assistance by alert citizens. Those four may try to expand the meaning of assistance, but I doubt it. Nothing in it for them to admit four women and a dog laid them out. You have them cold, they can babble all they want. If it comes up, tell your Super, we don’t answer any more questions, we don’t give a statement, we don’t testify, we don’t talk to the press. We finish our quiet retreat in your beautiful wilderness and go home.”
He grins, “Bly is okay, bit of a stuffed shirt, but he’s rank, you know how it goes?”
“No worries, we aren’t taking anything any further.”
“I doubt there is further to take it, the only person who can talk to him like that is the Commissioner, don’t know how you got to him so quickly.”
“We didn’t, don’t even know who he is, but we have your PM on speed dial.”
He cocks his head, “You’re having me on now Miss.”
“Am I?”
He’s not sure what to think, but his men have collected what they can, and they need to get medical treatment for the prisoners.
“Morse, do try not to lose them again. If we have to chase them down one more time, we aren’t being so gentle.”
He shrugs, “Part of me wishes you hadn’t been so gentle this time, but you didn’t hear me say it.”

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