Alasdair the Grey made his way from the small clearing quietly and quickly, making sure he wasn't being followed. It wouldn't do for anyone to find out what he was up to just yet. When he was far enough away, he open a small portal and stepped through. The doorway snapped shut with a hiss behind him, its outline glowing softly in the night. On the other side, no trace of the portal remained, at least he hoped. The way things had been going, he couldn't be sure. He warded the door so that a stray animal would not wander through it, and then turned to survey his surroundings. Instead of the copse of trees he expected, he now stood in a pasture. Sleeping cows dotted the landscape. A few feet away a bull eyed him once, and with a flip of his tail, dismissed him. In the distance a small farmhouse sat nestled between two giant oaks trees. A welcoming light shone from the porch. He started forward. Half way to the house, he noticed a vehicle heading toward the house from the opposite direction. Slowing his stride, he watched as it pulled into the driveway and parked. Female voices carried across to him. Kneeling in the grass, so as to not be seen, he strained to hear their conversation.
"Wait here. I'm not sure what kind of reception we might get."
"He's your grandfather, for crying out loud." A different voice, impatient and worried.
"A grandfather I haven't seen in 15 years."
"Right, I forgot. Well, hurry. I don't think Emily will stay passed out much longer."
So there were at least three of them he thought, not bad odds. Not that he anticipated trouble, but it was good to know just what he was walking into. He already knew that there was likely to be only one person in the house from an earlier visit. The lone inhabitant of the farmhouse was a friend, but one he hadn't seen in a very long time. His reception was in question also. Listening, he heard the knock on the door, and a few minutes later the surprised voice of his friend.
"Sophie? What's wrong?"
"Hi, Gramps." Alasdair heard the nervousness in her voice. He inched his way forward, careful to make no noise. His friend was distracted by the girl, but Alasdair couldn't take any chances on being discovered until he was ready. A few bushes on the other side of the fence afforded him cover, plus the car blocked anyone from the porch seeing him. Tinted windows prevented him from getting a look at the passengers.
"What's wrong?" The question was repeated, more forcefully this time.
"I need some help. Or rather, a friend needs some help. I didn't know where else to go."
The front door creaked as it was opened wider, and heavy, booted footsteps told Alasdair that his friend had stepped out onto the porch.
"Are you hurt?" Concerned had replaced the shock in his voice.
"It's not my blood," the girl rushed to explain. "It's my friend. I need to get her inside."
"How bad is she hurt? Can she walk?" Alasdair was surprised. Obvious questions, ones he would have asked, had been left unvoiced. Who is your friend? How did she get hurt?Why did you bring her here? Instead he simply moved down the steps of the porch toward the car, the girl following.
"She's been shot.