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What started as mist has turned to drizzle.
What began as a drizzle has become a downpour.
The rain washes us, cleanses us.
But bloodstains run deep and require more than just tears from heaven to disinfect us.
We need soap.
A proper shower.
We need to get home before the moon sets, the sun rises, and the sedation settles into pure sleep. With a wet and bloodied doggy-bag in claw, we play hide and seek within the shadows, criss-crossing the park until we reach the street. Metal carcasses carrying their sheeple to drowsy destinations go this way and that.
We may be werewolves but we are not stupid.
Aromas of ham and swiss seep through the rain-soaked and blood-spattered paper bag in our grip. Our little lamb tasted not-so-very good. She had been pickling her body with booze for some time it seems. Her flesh and organs were not as supple and sweet as she had looked.
Sheeple should hydrate more.
But her heart, it tasted just fine.
Source-blood, there’s nothing else like it.
Like marrow plucked from the bone of a living creature…
But that does not come close to describing what we feel. The jolt of energy, a rush of pleasure so physically orgasmic… we remember devouring hearts that have brought epic erections. Such thoughts make us regret not fucking our little lamb before ripping her heart out.
Apparently we were more hungry than horny.
We yawn, eyes heavy, body relaxing.
The sun crests some horizon somewhere. We must find our way home and we must find our way home fast. One more car and we finally get our chance. We cross the street under electric lights that erase friendly shadows along the way. Tightening our grip on our doggy bag, we do our dogged best to race home before the sleep comes.
The door is open.
You drop the wet bag in our hand. Do you remember leaving the door open? Didn’t you close it? You’re certain you must’ve closed the door. Don’t you always when you leave? You give a theoretical scratch to the top of your head and wonder. But then it occurs to your sleepy brain that you’re currently covered in blood and it’s early morning. This is not the way to meet your neighbors, so you pick up the leftover ham and swiss sandwich—secretly hoping some of the lamb’s blood made its way into the bread—and walk through the open door.
After setting the doggy bag on the kitchen counter, you return to the front door. Stepping outside, you look this way and that as you pull the door softly closed. Certain you’re alone, you properly mark your territory. You can’t be sure if you had left the door open or not but you can be certain to make sure you cover the door, the door jamb, and the un-welcome mat with your urine. It’s the only way to be left alone and you have no desire to be bothered for the next few days. Having fed, there is no reason to go back out.
Once back inside, you close the door, and turn the deadbolt.
Then after a lengthy shower, after depleting a full bar of soap, you manage to make it into bed.
You curl up with warm blankets and soft pillows and let the sedation come.
Unaware of how long I’ve been asleep, I drag my wracked body out of bed, and make my way to the kitchen Muscles and tendons ache with every bit of motion. I feel like an old man, diseased and decrepit, ready to succumb to the horrible reality of a nursing home.
This is not the way a middle-aged man should feel.
My stomach grumbles and reminds me why it is I have awoken.
It’s time to eat.
Stuck between molars feels like a bit of flesh. Leftovers, sweet sweet leftovers. I manage to get the soft and stringy piece of lamb’s flesh unhinged and swallow it as I relish memories that feel distant and unreal. Vodka notwithstanding, I don’t think she tasted all that bad.
Before turning the light on I can make out the sweet smell of ham and swiss. There’s a metallic undercurrent of blood swimming throughout air and I hope the sandwich’s bread is soaked in it. I flip the light switch on and examine my fingernails. Dried blood sits dead and brown and caked underneath.
Cake sounds good but I’m too hungry to go through the steps of baking one.
And I certainly don’t trust myself to head out to buy one.
My best bet stares back at me from atop the counter.
A partially eaten ham and swiss cheese sandwich hidden inside a bloody doggy bag. I tear open the bag. Its wet parchment falls away easily and reveals my prize. Unfortunately the sandwich sits inside a Styrofoam container like some sort of culinary themed Russian nesting doll. I pull my sandwich out of the container and eat it with as much gratitude as I can muster.
But the lack of blood disappoints us.
And in our stomach the hunger seems to be getting worse. In our achy muscles we feel a perpetual vibration, like a constant flow of low level electricity. We pace our domain, walking from kitchen to living room to kitchen to living room to bedroom to bathroom to living room to the couch where we sit, already mentally exhausted from the hell we know we are about to experience, already experiencing, unable to stop, cannot prevent.
Fuck. Feed. Fight.
We’ve fed, we insist but the bitch inside our brains won’t stop chattering.
The physical man that we are lets out a whimper.
Feed, feed, feed, feast, devour…
We growl with discontent—maybe a pizza is in order.
Unlock, lock, unlocked—the door opens and our pizza boy stands in the shadows. He appears uneasy, adjusting where his feet are planted. He’s careful to avoid my un-welcome mat as his nostrils flare with agitation. “Smells like piss around here, mister.”
We say nothing, only stare at the giant pizza box in his grip.
Pizza boy, he tries to be professional,.“One Bambino’s Giant Party Pizza with extra cheese and sausage, but totally light on the sauce. That’s twenty-four inches of meat piled atop our world famous New York style crust.”
“How much do I owe you?” we manage to say.
“Oh dude, it’s already paid for. I just need to confirm the credit card and get your signature.”
“Our wallet’s inside. Set it on the kitchen counter.” We pull open the door and walk away but the pizza boy, he ain’t moving. “It’s okay, we don’t bite.”
But he offers his best fear-laden smile and replies, “If it’s all the same to you, mister, I’d just as soon wait out here.”
A soft growl escapes us and the pizza boy steps back half a step.
“Just wait here, a minute.”
“Thank you, sir.”
When we return, our hands briefly touch his while we exchange our credit card for the pizza. We have a slice hanging from our mouth before he hands us a pen and the receipt to sign. Our hands touch again during the trade and his scent rises up and into our nose. The pizza boy, he holds the receipt against the door for me so that I can sign it on a hard surface without letting go of my giant party pizza with the extra sausage, extra cheese, and light sauce. This pizza is an extremely long shot at staving off our incessant starvation.
But this pizza boy, he smells like weed and chocolate donuts.
“Seriously mister, you should set up a camera or something. I think somebody may have peed on your door or something, man.”
“You working all night?” we ask, handing him back his pen, making certain to make contact for a third time.
“Yeah, I work the late shift.” He tries to pull the pen from our grip but we don’t let it go so easily. We let his perspiration and odor get on us as thickly as the moment allows. His fear feeds his sweat and our senses all at once.
Unsure what else to do, the pizza boy yanks the pen from our grip, “Um, I have other deliveries. Thank you for your order.”
We say nothing as he turns to leave.
Gnawing on a piece of crust while watching the third repetitious hour of a 24-hour news channel and we can’t get pizza boy’s scent off of us. The aroma seeps into our brain like some sort of somnambulistic seed that continues to grow with every disregarded moment that passes. We raise the crust to our mouth and chew.
Feast and fuck and frolic.
All we can smell is that damned pizza boy’s odor and it’s enough to make us howl.
Yes, yes! Go after it. Get it.
Within the dim living room light coming from the television, hair grows, teeth elongate, and pain is consumed. The change completes us and we manage to close the door behind us this time. We put our muzzle into the winds and breathe in deep. The scent, his scent, it’s faint, barely there.
But there it is!
We run down shadowed streets and avoid any light that is not coming from the moon above. The moon wanes in the midnight sky but our brain is filled with chatty moon-glow. The pizza boy’s scent grows stronger with each and every stride. We can’t help ourselves—we take a pause for the cause and howl as loud as we can.
Before we take our next step, we hear a return.
In the distance a howl calls back to us.
The wolves are out.
Ripping and running, no doubt. But this prey, this pretty pizza boy prey is ours and ours alone. There is no need to share him with others when there are so many sheeple out and about.
We pick up our stride and head straight for the restaurant.
Bambino’s Pizza Parlour sits on the corner of Seventy-Second and Sealth streets. Our prey’s scent has grown so strong on this side of town, it is the only thing our wolf-brain can focus on. The restaurant is closed, only just recently. But there are three cars parked on the side of the building.
We slip behind a Dumpster and watch.
The hunger inside us, it’s rooted so deep that we can’t help but wonder if it belongs to wolf or man. What’s the difference between man and beast when both desire bloodied flesh so equally? We wonder if we aren’t a werewolf after all, but instead some sort of crazed lunatic bent on cannibalistic bloodlust.
And then the doors to the restaurant open and reveal four workers from within.
Only one is our prize tonight.
His body shimmers with heat as the others blend into the background.
The others look to be like two males and one female. One of the males take the female by the hand, then walk to a car and climb in. The car starts up and drives away. After the taillights have faded into the distance, pizza boy and the remaining coworker go about passing a pipe back and forth. Plumes of cannabis smoke waft towards us and does nothing to settle our impatience. In the distant night air that wolf howls again. Pizza boy and his smoking buddy stop what they’re doing and turn their ears up to the sky.
That wolf, he’s closer and we can’t be certain if he’s after the same thing we are.
All we want is pizza boy on a spit, pizza boy broiled, pizza boy roasted. Pizza boy fried. All we want is the pizza boy lying supine on a bed of rice and seaweed like a piece of human sushi. What we want is for the pizza boy’s buddy to go away so that we can begin our banquet. If they don’t go their separate ways soon, we’re going to have to decide if we’re hungry enough for the both them. The problem is if we aren’t, we’ll be stuck burying bones and wasted flesh. It’s not a bad thing to prepare for winter but it’s much too early in the season for that kind of work.
Pizza boy’s friend hands the pipe back for what appears to be the last time. After he puts the pipe into a pocket, they part ways, pizza boy in one car, his buddy in the other. And just as our luck would have it, the friend starts his car up first and leaves right away.
Another howl in the distance.
But this time it is not so distant.
There is no time.
We escape the shadows of the garbage Dumpster and pounce. We land on top of our prey’s car with a thud, the metal roof caving in where our claws and paws seek stability.
“What the fuck!” pizza boy cries out. He jumps out of his car to get a better look, which is a big mistake because this makes our hunt that much easier. The better move when a werewolf jumps on top of your car is to put it into high gear and drop the pedal to the metal. It isn’t hard to tear the roof off of the car like an orange rind and rip the driver out of their seat. It just takes a little more effort.
But tonight pizza boy wants to make it easy on us.
But not that easy.
We’re used to our prey paralyzed on sight but pizza boy, he turns tail and runs. Standing on top of his car, we watch him get to the restaurant and pull and shake and rattle the locked doors.
They do not budge for him.
But we do.
We howl and leap from the car and just as we are about to land in front of our trapped and frightened prey, we are slammed to the ground. Knocked down and unable to land on our feet. From the pavement we look up at our prey but all we see is our competition—another werewolf, presumably the howling dog from the distance. He stands before the pizza boy, blocking me from my prize.
We scramble to our feet and growl, “Move,” but our hunger has us impatient.
We lunge forward.
The other werewolf does the same.
Pizza boy seizes the opportunity and slips away. We strike at him and can get just two claws to tear across the back of his shirt, but the other werewolf slashes at our arm, drawing blood and a whimper from us. As our prey scurries across the parking lot to his car, we use our anger and hunger to jump forward. Our rage allows us to draw blood across the werewolf’s chest, but that is all. The beast blocked the worst of the attack.
And that’s when we notice the old dog has only one arm.
The right arm is nothing more than a stump that ends at the elbow.
We strike forward again, aim for the beast’s chest, its heart. Spit and saliva overflows from our mouth as we anticipate tasting werewolf’s source-blood for the first time. But our foe’s one working arm slashes and defends, blocking our attack. We quickly look to our prey, our reason for leaving the den.
The pizza boy makes it to his car, slams the door shut, and speeds away.
We want the flesh that has already been made manifest in our minds, in our stomachs. In the entire core of our being we want to feed upon the pizza boy, not this old mongrel. “Get in our way again and we’ll make you a matching pair,” we tell tripod, motioning to his missing arm. And with that said, we turn to give chase to the pizza boy’s car.
Two steps forward but we are yanked backwards and slammed to the ground. We feel a pressure tighten around our neck. The old dog is behind us, wrapping his good arm around us, squeezing tight, tighter, ever tighter. We struggle, twist, turn, shake, and shimmy. But this werewolf’s grip is tighter than the restaurant’s doors. We try to bite but can’t move our jaw. We try to kick free but our movement gets hampered and slower each passing moment. Tripod wraps his legs around us and interlocks them, squeezing tight. It becomes harder and harder for us to breathe until finally we pass out.
When we come to, we think perhaps the rain has started again, but instead we find old tripod peeing on us. His urine has mixed aromas of brick and grass and burnt wood and something else we’ve never smelled before. Had this been any other werewolf our heart would’ve been torn from our chest.
“Kill us while you have the chance.”
Not on this night. Finished marking me, the werewolf says, “Want me? Then come find me, bitch.”
Being choked out by a one-armed werewolf is bad enough, but to be marked like this is beyond even our comprehension—we know we’ve lost this fight but unless he kills us, he’s a dead dog.
We will track him down, rip the face from his skull, and devour his still-beating heart before his body drops to the ground.
But not tonight.
Tonight all we can do is watch the mysterious one-armed werewolf race into the shadows.