I heard him calling for me, but I kept typing.
There was a pause, and then I heard the voice again, a low growl, coming from my boss’s office.
“Yes?” Our office shared a common wall, and we often talked to each other this way. It was better than actually going into his office when he was already in a mood.
I shook my head. 7:55 and this is how we were starting the day.
I clicked back onto the calendar.
Mine is not an ordinary calendar. Every morning, I have to check a special calendar that shows the phases of the moon.
It’s important that I know exactly which phase we fall in, essential to my survival.
As the image came up on the screen, I drew in a breath.
Tonight would be the first night of the Mana, or as most people know it, the Full Moon. This is the kind of thing that you have to know when your boss is a werewolf.
Sometime this evening, he would change from his present, human form into something… else.
“Mary…” now he was standing in my doorway, not growling, but his voice still had a hint of irritation. “Have you completed those reports I gave you?”
“Yes,” I said, in my calming voice. The one I use when my five year old nephew is over excited. I enunciated each word carefully. “I emailed the document to you last night, Alan. The hard copy is in your in basket.”
My computer was facing away from the door, but I instinctively minimized the calendar. I straightened my back and looked at him, so that only my eyes were visible from above the screen. I smiled.
“There’s not a damn thing in my in basket,” he grumbled under his breath. I heard him reach into the pocket on his door and retrieve said document. He grumbled some more, the words becoming totally unintelligible. Then he went into his office and slammed the door. Knowing him, he was actually angrier that the report was there.
How do I know he’s a werewolf, you might ask? His behavior may be typical of bosses everywhere. But I did my research on him and I know the signs. I need to give you a little general information to help you understand.
Werewolves, in general, tend to be a friendly, gregarious sort. Remember that these are creatures of the pack. In their human lives they also tend to be very social. They like having friends and are often the life of the party. Did you know that many of them are entertainers? They tend to have beautiful voices in their human form, and there are a few of them that are internationally known singers. One of them went into her change on live television, and started pulling her clothes off. The host just held his microphone and stared at her in horror, while a bunch of her personal security guards rushed the stage and got her out of there. The whole network was taken offline for an hour.
The next day there was a bullshit story on the news about her having a nervous breakdown and being rushed to a hospital for an emergency intervention. It figures, werewolves are excellent manipulators of media spin. Some werewolves—not all—have a thing about flashing people as they enter the later phase near the Mana. So I’ll let you think about who else in Hollywood might be a Wolf.
There’s at least two actors I know of who won’t even shoot scenes for films unless they’ve already begun the change into a wolf. One of them scared an actress near to death in a film famous for scenes showing his maniacal anger, eyes bulging from his head, grinning and slavering. She said later that in the moment she’d been genuinely terrified of her costar. It was very easy to believe he was a monster.
She had it right.
But I digress. This tells you nothing about me or how I find myself in this particular situation. This is where I have to give you my confession. I have a gift for tracking these creatures. I am part werewolf myself, on my father’s side of the family.
He was only a quarter Wolf himself. He never went into Change, but did exhibit some of the familiar personality changes associated with the end of the fourth lunar phase and the beginning of the Mana. Short temper, listlessness, a propensity to drink more beer than usual. These changes were slight enough that you’d expect it from any middle aged Dad with a wife and two kids.
I never knew Great Grandpa, who was the Fullblood in our family, but I hear that he was a hoot. He made tons of money in the stock market, but he also had “interests” in oil and a famous gun making company. My brother and I always rolled our eyes at those stories. Between the two of us we figured that Gramps probably devoured his competition. Literally. To this day, because of him, no one in my family would ever need to work for money. Though my parents always worked. We grew up in a modest home, and it was always a strict secret that we had money. Amongst other things.
That makes me less than a quarter werewolf, which means I’m a normal woman. In most ways. I don’t change through the lunar phases. But I’m stronger than most. And I can feel Werewolves, sometimes from miles away. It’s as if something in my blood responds, some gene that is buried in my DNA recognizes them as family. I feel a warmth that radiates through my spine, and odd flush. And then I know.
Now, let me be clear. All werewolves are not bad. But hello, the majority of them are. Many of the deaths you hear about on the news can be attributed to werewolves gone awry. And who would tell the truth? No one wants to be labeled a crazy. Who is going to get on the evening news and say that a furry beast chased them down a dark alley in Los Angeles or New York? No one. And if they did, you’d laugh at your flat screen television in your comfortable home and say to yourself, wow, that guy’s a crackhead! Laugh while there might be something standing outside your window, just watching you. And waiting.
So, since I have this ability to track Wolves, it seems only right that I use it. It’s a sort of calling for me. Maybe, in a small way, I am paying back for all the people that Gramps devoured over the years, not to mention his parents before him.
So, back to my boss, Alan.
I had been reading some suspicious stories in the news about a rash of killings in and around Beverly Heights. There had been three within a period of 40 days, and the medical examiner was stumped. There were multiple, deep lacerations that could not be clearly identified as animal or human. And there were no witnesses.
Such occurrences are textbook in werewolf victims. So I started to walk the area in the afternoons, canvassed the areas where bodies were found. Long after all signs of bloodshed were gone, I was easily able to pick up the scent of the Wolf. So I walked the area until I found it.
The Wolf I found was Alan.
When I first saw him he was eating at one of the restaurants at Beverly Heights Mall, with two other men that were human. I was just passing by the window, and I stopped in my tracks. He almost saw me, but I turned and started to jog down the street.
After that, I followed him for a good two weeks, gathering information on the identity he was using. As it turns out he worked only a few blocks away from the mall, and lived in a house about the same distance away. So I began to formulate my plan.
By the time I applied for the job as his assistant, I was ready for action. I got the job, and I waited. The first two months were without a full moon, and he seemed fairly normal.
And being that there had not been a full moon for a while, I feared that the change could come early and be more severe.
I could hear him through the wall of his office. It sounded like he was talking in another language. This was a bad sign. It was the primal language of wolves, and I knew it well.
Not to mention, even an ordinary human could tell that the tone was not good. It sounded like he was speaking only in expletive.
I picked up my silver letter opener.
When I entered his office, I saw he was Changing. He shook violently, screaming, arms in the air, hands in fists. He had been killing people for at least two months, I reminded myself. I’d smelled his scent in places where the bodies had been found. And this was going to be my only chance to end this. He had reached the point where he could not control the change anymore, and his behavior would only continue to escalate.
There was only one word that I heard him speak that was not in the primal language.
Those were the last words he spoke before I plunged the silver letter opener into his heart.
Copyright: Lori Titus, 2008