by Stephen J. Tillman
“Look at these,” Adan
said fiendishly. The photos showed Brendan, tied, gagged, and blindfolded. “If
you want your kid back, Planton wants forty percent of your bar.”
Tammy grabbed his arm
and twisted. “Get in my car, Adan.”
He resisted. Tammy
twisted further. Adan cried out and reached for his gun. Tammy took it and
slammed his face with it, rendering him unconscious. She threw him in the
trunk, bound him with twist ties, and drove to a remote location. He’d regained
consciousness by then.
“I’m the messenger,”
Adan whined. “I can’t help you get your kid.”
“If you want to
survive you’d better,” Tammy stated. “Where are they holding him?”
“ I don’t know!”
“Wrong answer.” She
broke the little finger of his right hand. He screamed. “You’ve got nine more
fingers plus toes. After them I’ll cut your balls off. WHERE’S MY SON?”
“If I tell I’m dead,”
Adan pleaded, his pulse racing. “What could you do? They’ve got six or eight
heavy hitters. You’ll get yourself and your kid killed.”
“Bored now,” Tammy
said. Adan’s struggles were ineffective as she stripped off his pants and
shorts, took out a knife, and grasped his testicles. “Say goodbye to them. Your
dick is next.”
“Wait, wait!” Adan
yelled. “I’ll tell!”
Adan described the
farmhouse and its location. She secured him to a tree, saying, “I’ll come back
and release you after I’ve rescued
“They’ll kill you and your kid! I’ll starve here!”
“You might’ve lied,”
Tammy said with a humorless grin. “I need to know where you are. If Brendan
isn’t there, I’ll come back, cut your nuts off, and we’ll go on from there.”
Tammy viewed the
single story farmhouse. Four thugs were patrolling. Each was armed with a
sub-machinegun and a handgun. Bright lights illuminated the area, but there
were dim spots near the corners of the house. Tammy could sense Brendan.
These people were never in the military, she thought. Their patrol routes are too regular. Easy to
A copse of trees was
twenty feet from the house. Tammy stripped and changed. The black leopard waited
until neither patrol pair could
see the copse. She darted to it. Leopards are the best climbers in the cat
family. She had no problem climbing to near the top of the tallest tree. From
there it was an easy jump to the roof.
“What was that?”
Planton asked. There’d been a thump overhead.
“I’ll check with the
boys,” his male subordinate said. He picked up a phone and called the men
outside. “The guys didn’t see or hear anything,” he reported. “Probably a
squirrel in the crawl space.”
“I got a bad
feeling,” Planton said. “The bitch is tough.”
boss,” Amy said. “I’ll take care of her. It takes a woman to handle a woman.”
“One of you go out,” Planton ordered. “Check
“I’ll do it,” Amy
sub-machinegun, she opened the door and surveyed the area. Seeing nothing, she
stepped out. As soon as she left the house, a weight landed on her back. She
got off one shot before her throat was ripped out.
Planton jumped up. A
black apparition charged into the house. He fired at it, but his shots missed.
Then the creature was on him.
Planton, the leopard turned to the other man. He shot her twice, but since the
slugs contained no silver, they didn’t penetrate. Seconds later he was dead.
The leopard changed. Tammy had no time to regain her
strength gradually. Breathing heavily, she took Planton’s gun and emptied a
clip into the two guards who’d run toward the house, killing both. She dropped
the gun and grabbed another.
The last two guards
stood about forty feet away. One called, “What’s going on. Why the gunplay?”
Tammy picked off the
speaker with a three shot burst. The remaining man ran away.
She searched the
house. Brendan was tied, gagged, and blindfolded in a back bedroom. She freed
him. He clung to her sobbing. “I knew you’d come, Mom. I told them you’d kill
them all. Did the leopard get them.”
“Most of them, Honey.
Never piss off a leopard. Let’s go home.”
emeritus professor of mathematics at Wilkes University. An avid reader of
mysteries and science fiction, I’ve had several stories in both genres
published. My novel Leopard’s Daughter
was published by Azure Spider Publications. I have a contract from them for
three additional were-leopard novels.