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In the December of 1984, a study found in the British Medical Journal, volume 289, suggested that the full moon increased criminal behavior due to "human tidal waves", whatever that means—something about gravity and water in the body. However, ever since the article debuted, there've been debates regarding the validity of such a claim. Some suggest that, due to the moonlight conditions during full moons, misconduct is more likely to occur. Others, a whopping seven to nine percent (depending on which bias you hold), believe that the full moon can transform certain individuals into actual werewolves. All that to say, no one really knows what the hell is going on, do they?

And, so, our story begins...


Chapter 1: The Pharmacist and The Druggie

Fullmoon

That button. It sets off every phone in the pharmacythat stupid, obnoxious drive-thru button that people can’t help but press. He had already pressed it two—make that three times, now. And he just pressed it again. Seriously? Four? Maybe it was a prank—a practical joke. It had to be. No sane-

He pressed it…again. Okay, maybe it was urgent.

Hello? Hello…? Hey!” The man rapped his knuckles against the thick glass window. The knocking was so loud that it sounded…painful, almost—like his knuckles were about to start bleeding if the pharmacist didn’t show up. No one ever knocked that hard…unless they were a user. Which…would’ve made sense, given the hour.

“Hi, yes, the button works. Thank you.” The clearly betrodden pharmacist leaned away from the microphone and pinched between his eyes, atop his nose, pulling that gunk from the sagging skin around them. He flicked it at the window.

And that’s when he noticed it: the man wasn’t in a car. Rather, he was just…standing there, just out of reach of the fluorescent light that shown down onto the oil-stained concrete.

“Uh, sir,” the pharmacist said, once again leaning back into the microphone, “this is a drive-thru.”

“Yeah. And?”

“And, uh, you’re not driving. This drive-thru is for vehicles only.”

“I don’t have one,” the man said. “Can I come inside?”

“No, we’re closed,” the pharmacist groaned, “but you can come back tomorrow- ”

“Tomorrow’s too late,” the man interrupted. “Look, I just need this refilled, okay? It’s an emergency.”

The shadowy man stretched out his long, boney arm, crisscrossed with deep etches across the wrist, until it reached the metal drive-thru drop-off box and dumped an empty pill container inside, letting it clink around with echoed rattles. This lengthy stretch gave the pharmacist enough time to get a good glimpse at the man, who, at that moment, was cast in the harsh and fluorescent overhead light. He definitely looked like a user: disheveled hair, dark rings around his sunken eyes, and a five ‘o clock shadow that clearly missed the five ‘o clock memo. It was seven-forty-five now, and the sun was slowly trading places with the full moon above.

And, for whatever reasons, that moon was really setting the guy off—he couldn’t keep his bugged-out eyes off of it, as he fiddled around with the buttons down his shirt and religiously checked the watch across his scabby wrist.

“Please hurry,” he spat, some hitting the glass window.

“Will do, uh- “ the pharmacist began as he glanced at the name on the bottle, “-Scott. Just hang tight. M’kay?” The man nodded, but clearly wasn’t “hanging tight” all too well. He looked like he was gonna have a seizure.

Maybe he was having a seizure.

The pill container was all-too strange, unlike any kind the pharmacist had seen before. It clearly was supposed to be a prescription, but the nomenclature was either extremely foreign or illegally produced. Aside from the man’s name, “SCOTT LAWRENCE”, the bottle was incredibly bare—with no mention of the prescription number or any identifying features.

“Where’d you get this prescription from, Mr. Lawrence?” the pharmacist slowly asked as he rotated the bottle around in his hands, noting the instructions: “TAKE ONE TABLET BY MOUTH EVERY FULL MOON.” In his six-plus years of pharmaceutical work, he had never seen instructions denoting such an odd and specific usage.

“My doctor—but he’s not available right now and I need it filled. Even just one tablet. Please.”

The pharmacist shot his glance from the man down to the bottle. He turned it in his hand as he squeezed the orange plastic, biting his lip. This was always his least favorite part about the job—and even if he wanted to help this man—whom at this point he was growing quite tired of—he couldn’t, as the foreign text was nearly illegible.

“I’m, uh, sorry sir, but I’m gonna have to refuse the refill. Unless you can get your doctor on the phone I…just don’t have enough reliable information to- “

“Just…fill it, please! Dammit! You don’t understand- “

“Sir, if you’re having a medical emergency, you need to go to the ER, or if you’d like I can call and have them out front in a couple of minutes.”

“I don’t- “ the man stopped halfway through his thought, sighing as he heaved a frustrated and jotty breath onto the chilled window, that at this point was but inches from his sweaty face. He calmly looked up to face the pharmacist, heaving, once more, into the cool, autumn air. “Look…if you don’t refill that bottle,” the man said in a low, somber tone, pointing with a finicky finger, “people are going to get hurt.”

The pharmacist didn’t understand if the man’s demand was a threat or a warning, or perhaps a mixture of the two. Either way, he couldn’t give him the prescription, now. And he didn’t want to.

“I’m…terribly sorry, sir- “

“No. You’re not. Not yet. But you will be,” the man said, less so angry and more so sad as his voice shook. The pharmacist swallowed deeply, reaching for that little button beneath his register and pressing the cold steel against his fingertip.

Sir…am I gonna have to call the police?” the pharmacist asked, lowering his tone aggressively. The man wagged his head sorrowfully.

“I’ve tried. They can’t help me. I thought you could’ve- “

And with that, the man ran off into the night.


Chapter 2: The Detective and The Rookie

There were bigger things at play than a streaker, but that’s what the rook dragged in—not a gangbanger, or a pimp, or an axe murderer…a streaker. All the guys on the force gave him crap for it, but, hey…a crime’s a crime.

“Yeah, but not as bad as what we found down on Fourth and Cherry.”

“What’d you find down there?” the rook asked, leaning back in his seat, awaiting yet another anecdote. Senior Detective Louis buckled his fists beneath the scruff along his chin, leaning in real close to the rookie.

“Two bodies—one male, one female…both maybe mid-40s…probably married, maybe joggers. We found the woman’s guts hangin’ out and runnin’ along the street. Talk ‘bout a jog.”

“And the man?”

Detective Louis shook his head with a shot of hot breath through his nose.

“We can’t find his. Whatever managed to drag ‘em there must’ve taken a meal to-go- “

“That’s disgusting. Those are human lives.”

Yeah,” the Detective stood, “get used to it, kid—there’s more where that came from. Granted, it was probably just some wild animal unless we got an absolute nutcase on our hands.”

“And what about the streaker?” the rookie asked.

“Yeah, what about him? Talk about a nutcase. Ol’ Wolfy’s been in-and-outta here more times than we can count. He’s just a nudnik—he’s harmless.”

Wolfy?”

Detective Louis laughed throatily to himself, slapping his palms on the table before the rook, who had no idea what was going on.

“Ah, you’ve gotta lot to learn, kid. His name’s Scotty Lawrence, but we all call him Wolfy. Not to his face, of course, but it’s not like he’d care. He’d probably like it. He uh…he thinks, anyway, that, uh…he’s a werewolf.” Detective Louis lost it in a fit of hilarity, repeatedly slapping the table.

“You’re shittin’ me- “

“No, I swear it. He’s a nut, I told you. My guess: it’s some kinda kink—maybe drugs, too—I don’t know. Every full moon we find the guy sprawled out, butt-ass naked, somewhere in the city. He’s the only repeat offender we don’t lock up. He’s hilarious. And, more importantly, he’s harmless.”

“But, what about the bodies?”

“What about ‘em?”

“Well, I mean…the ‘werewolf’ guy was out-and-about when these two corpses popped up on Fourth and Cherry. Who’s to say- ”

Nah, nah, nah, nah…see, here’s lesson number one kid: correlation…doesn’t equal causation. Just ‘cause two things happen to happen at the same time doesn’t mean one caused the other. Crime rates are always way higher on full moons, but that don't mean e'rybody's the freakin' wolfman! You like ice cream?”

“Uh—yeah?”

Boom, see? You’re a murderer. Homicides go up thirty-five percent in the summer, which just so happens to be when everyone, including you, by your own admission, eats ice cream. Therefore, ice cream causes homicide and you’re a murderer. See? The logic’s wrong, kid.”

“Yeah, but this guy told the pharmacist at Dingle’s that he was gonna start killin’ people last night.“

“They all say that. E’rybody and their mother wanna kill somebody. Look, if it makes you happy, we’ll book him. Granted, indecent exposure, if we’re lucky, will get him, like, thirty days max. But I’m telling you…the guy’s harmless.”


Chapter 3: The Bail and The Bondsman

On the third ring, he answered, sounding as if he had just awoken from a fresh nap.

“H-hello?”

“Mikey, it’s me.”

He knew that voice, which was never a good sign in his line of work.

Scotty? Scott—where’ve you been?”

“Mike, I need you to- “

Wait, wait, wait…where are you…right now?”

“Uh,” Scotty swallowed, “-jail.”

If Mikey wasn’t fully awake before, surely he was now.

Shit. Scott, I cannot do this again.”

“Michael, listen…if I stay in here, I’ll never get the pills I need and I’ll- “

“-start hurting people, I know—you’ve told me. Four times. But, what good has it done? You’re right back to where you always start!” Mikey caught his breath and puffed it out. “Listen, who else did you call?”

You,” Scotty said as he scratched his neck, looking around the bare and yellow-tinted room, flashing a quick glance at an unamused corrections officer.

“You get three calls, Scotty.”

“I know. You didn’t pick up twice.”

“Son of a bitch, man! I can’t do it. I’m sorry. You’re a nice guy, but you’re absolutely insane. Goodbye- “

Wait! Wait! Michael, listen, please- “

Mikey pressed his forehead against his wooden desk, tapping the receiver of the corded phone against the same, unforgiving wood beside him. He lifted his head as a trail of drool piled from his mouth onto the desk and his long-sleeved shirt, with which he wiped it.

“Did you post bail?”

“Yeah.”

“How much?”

“Fifteen.”

Mikey leaned back, raking his fingers through his unkempt hair as he sighed into the phone, which was jittering due to the tapping of his foot beneath him.

“You don’t have a grand and a half to your name?”

“No. After Melissa- “

“I don’t need to hear another sob story. Look- “ Mikey paused, locking eyes with the framed picture adorning the eastern wall of his office: a ship passing through a rugged sea. It gave him ideas.

Mikey?” Scotty asked, “You there?” Mikey couldn’t answer, as a thousand different scenarios racing through his head demanded his attention. Eventually, his present reality caught back up to him.

“Do you fish?” he finally said.

Scotty didn’t know how to answer.

“Do I fish?”

“Yes.”

“Uh—I used to. But I gave up that and hunting after- “

“I didn’t ask you that. Now, when you did fish…did you ever use live bait?”

Scotty scratched his head, avoiding eye contact with the officer beside him who, peripherally, was giving him an unamused look.

“Mikey, I don’t- “

“Because, if you’ve ever used live bait, Scott, then you must’ve seen a few sharks.”

At that word, Scotty pieced together the plan that Mikey was forming; the offer he was making.

“I’ve, uh, never seen a shark before- “

“But would you…I mean, if you couldwould you?”

Scotty clutched the phone with a sweat-laced palm, eyeing the ring that encircled his fourth finger. He sighed.

“Yeah…I would.”


Chapter 4: The Muscle and The Sheep

Coming!” Miss Moore shouted as the door escaped her. It seemed further and further away with each step and each day that passed by. She was somewhat of a reclusive old soul and didn’t get frequent visitors in her neck of the woods, but every now and then the local Girl Scout Troop would visit and-

Well, these clearly weren’t Girl Scouts.

There were two men perched atop her front porch—one bearded, muscular, and chiseled, a single cigarette dangling from his lip, and the other a shorter, yet still tone younger man, though not as cocky-looking as the first. They smiled down at the woman, half-assedly, and each took a step closer to the now opened door, with the bearded one huffing a blow of smoke from his mouth and into the woman’s face.

“Well, I’ll be,” the woman said, choking on her stunted breath, “I didn’t expect any visitors today—maybe the Girl Scouts, but not a couple of young men, such as yourselves.”

So,” one of the men, the bearded one, said slyly, leaning against the doorframe, “you can pay for cookies, but you can’t pay back Mr. Hanson. I see.”

What?” the woman asked, hard of hearing, “Mister-?” she stopped, realizing then why the men were there. She took a step back, just behind the doorframe, and contemplated, just for a moment, if she ought to slam it in their faces. It wouldn’t have done any good.

“Mind if we come in?” the younger of the men said, solemnly. She couldn’t speak other than a silent nod, as the two men brushed by her into the quaint, little home.

“Nice place you got here,” the bearded man said, spitting his cancer stick onto the carpet and crushing it with his boot. “Very…uh, home-y.”

“T-thank you,” she nodded with the most insincere of smiles, silently pleading to the younger of the men to let her be. He did his best not to acknowledge her, but those soft eyes couldn’t lie to anyone—especially not to a feeble, old woman.

“So, Grandma doesn’t make her own cookies?” the bearded man said, still eying the woman and lifting a knife in the kitchen and dragging it across the countertop.

Pardon?” she asked.

Girl Scouts. You said you were waiting for ‘em.”

“Oh, yes. They come by this time of year and I- “

“Funny. So do we,” the man said, crossing his arms and looking over to the younger man who stepped forward at his prompting. “Do, uh…you know who we are?”

The woman stood stilly in the middle of the living room, clutching her own wrist that hung against her body.

“You said you were with Mr. Hanson, is that it?”

The man nodded.

“You, uh…you did business with Mr. Hanson about two years ago, didn’t you?”

“I did.”

“And, uh,” the man said while surveying the room, “about how much did Mr. Hanson loan you—give or take, no need to be specific.”

“It was about…uh…about ten thousand.”

The man whistled, looking ironically over to the younger man who remained respectfully quiet, leaning against a wall near the front door.

Ten thousand, huh? That’s a lot of paper- “

“Sir, I only have six more months until I pay off the mortgage on this house, and then- “

“Mr. Hanson, our boss—mind you,” he said as he flashed the younger, meeker man a look, “has waited two years to get back his investment. And what does he have to show for it?”

“I told Mr. Hanson it would take about three years to pay off the debt,” the old woman cried, “as soon as the house is paid off, I’ll- “

“Mr. Hanson doesn’t want the money in six months, you old bitch. He wants it now. ‘Cause, if he didn’t, we wouldn’t be here. You understand?”

The old woman nodded submissively in reply to the man’s condescending and incessive bobbing.

“I understand that sir. But I don’t have that kind of money just…lying around.”

The bearded man hung his head as he leisurely approached her…as if he already knew she was a hopeless case from the start. He breathed heavily over her with his nicotine breath as he stared down into her quivering eyes.

“That’s too bad…’cause we can’t leave here emptyhanded.”

Colton, the meek and quiet voyeur, knew to leave at that point. And as the front door shut behind him, he could hear the wails of the poor woman from within the house, forcing him to wince and grit his teeth. Then, after about three minutes or so, Leslie emerged, tossing something over to his younger accomplice. Colton opened his hands and nearly gagged, throwing the finger into the grass as Leslie cackled behind him.

What?” Leslie said, “I thought you liked keepsakes from our little trips.”

“Not like that,” Colton said, holding his stomach and forcing back bile.

“Damn, man. Hold yourself together,” Leslie said, scratching his beard and retrieving a keychain of car keys from his pocket. “She gave us the car. Guess she’ll be taking the bus to the hospital.”


While repo work wasn’t typically in the job description for muscle heads, it seemed that Mr. Hanson planned for any and all circumstances—including the towing of a 2003 Ford Station Wagon which, while not worth half of the debt she owed in its current condition, would amass to a semi-average down payment for the unfortunate Miss Moore.

It was a long trek back to Mr. Hanson in the city, but rather than vegetate into a catatonic slumber, Colton watched the blur of trees flicker by in the darkness to the faded, memory-staining sounds of the old woman’s cries, contemplating why he was doing this at all—wondering if there was any way back to normalcy. A rigid thump due to the road’s unevenness prompted Colton to sit up, looking over to Leslie who was dazedly eyeing the road.

“So, why’re you so into this?”

Don’t,” Leslie snapped, neglecting to take any glance over to Colton.

“Don’t…what?”

“Don’t try to do the small talk thing again. I don’t want it.”

Colton considered dropping the conversation altogether. He kept prying.

“Why not?”

Leslie sighed, wiping his face, and applying the same greasy sweat onto the wheel.

“Because once you talk, you get attached. We’re not here to talk, and I don’t wanna know anything about you, other than what I already know- “

“Which is?”

“Which is that you’re a pussy. And you like to hoard shit. Look, we did the job and we’re going home. That’s the only thing that needs to be said.”

Colton tried to dismiss the dialogue, but the silence that filled its place was earsplitting. He would’ve rather been chewed out than chug along like this for another two hours.

“I just wanted to know who I’m working with. That’s all. I mean, what, this is our fifth outing together and I forget your name half the time! What’d you do…before all this, Leslie?”

Leslie rolled his eyes to the back of his head, breathing heavy and adjusting himself in his seat. He sighed.

“Do you know how much a professor makes?” he asked. Colton shrugged. “It’s good—it’s really damn good. But y’know what isn’t?” he asked rhetorically, “when one of your students goes to the dean and says that you…sexually harassed her or some shit. Then you lose your job and your family.”

The carload fell back into silence before Colton could speak again.

“Man, I’m…sorry. I had no idea,” Colton finally murmured. Leslie snorted to himself with glee.

“Don’t be too sorry,” he said, “she wasn’t lying.”

Colton didn’t say a word for a long minute.

“Well, I can…respect your…honesty- “

“No, you don’t. You respect me as far as you can throw me,” Leslie said. He was right, too. “You think you’re all ‘high and mighty’ ‘cause you’re in this for the ‘right’ reasons, according to you. Hmmm? You got…’mouths to feed’, is that it? You gotta put ‘bread on the table’ or some shit? Funny thing is…you and I are not so different—we’re both willing to do what it takes to get what we need…and we’ll turn into animals to do it. That…is what separates the sheep from the wolves.”


Chapter 5: The Shark and The Ring

Boys—you’re back! Please…sit. Leslie…Colton…allow me to introduce you to our guest: Mr. Scott Lawrence.” Mr. Hanson gestured over to the out-of-place scrawny man seated across from him. Apparently, Mr. Hanson partakes in a highly unorthodox ‘no questions asked’ policy. And any friend of Mikey is a friend of his, according to him.

“Now, lemme get this straight, Scott. Mikey tells me this was your fourth time in the clink, huh?” Mr. Hanson asked, hands clasped and resting on the desk before him. Scotty nodded. “And the reason that you keep winding up there is because you like to flash your shit all over town—you’re a streaker. And the reason you’re a streaker is because you claim that you’re…a werewolf.”

Leslie coughed into a fit of laughter before being snapped at by Mr. Hanson.

“Leslie, enough! Show our guest a little…hospitality,” he barked, turning to Scott with a smile. “Now I must admit, Mr. Lawrence, that we’ve had all kinds of characters in need of our…services: hookers, gangbangers, gypsies, pimps, pickpockets, murders, thugs…but werewolves? Now, that’s a first.”

“Will you help me?” Scotty pleaded, too fatigued to argue his case. Mr. Hanson smiled wider.

“Of course,” he gleamed, “I like you already, Scott. Now, and I do hate to bring this up, but the payment. My boys just came back from speaking with a client who was very…hesitant to give me what I was owed. And as much as I love helping others…I’m not a philanthropist. This is a business. You understand, right, Scott?”

Scotty nodded.

Excellent. Now, considering that you’re an extension of our common friend, Mikey, it would be fitting to extend his ten percent down payment policy to our current negotiation, would it not?”

Scotty nodded again, just trying to leave the place at this point.

Excellent. Now, do you have any form of payment on you, by chance, or- ?”

Scotty pulled the ring from his pale and boney fourth finger, the sweat creating a type of lubricant that allowed it to slide off in an instant, leaving behind an even paler skin that hadn’t seen the light of day in years. He gently set it onto the table and sighed, refusing to let it go until the final second with which he sat back up, staring directly at Mr. Hanson. The display garnered the attention of Leslie and Colton, who both watched from behind.

“That’s seven grams of sterling silver and four grams of twenty-four karat gold. That’s well over the ten percent rate.”

Mr. Hanson picked up the small, metallic ring and examined it in between his fingers.

“Quite beautiful,” he said with a smile, “though the silver is practically worthless, the gold is, at least, sixteen to seventeen percent. It’ll do, Mr. Lawrence. It’ll do.”

Scotty nodded, rising to his feet. He turned to get a good look at the two men behind him, locking a sympathetic glance with Colton, before turning back to Mr. Hanson.

“You can…imagine where that ring came from,” Scotty hushed, refusing to look at the tiny object that Mr. Hanson was handling. “It brings back a lot of memories for me, and not all of ‘em are good,” he nodded as if remembering every one of them. “I need you to promise me that you’ll take care of that ring. And don’t you dare pawn it.”

Mr. Hanson eyed the two men behind him, before focusing his eyes on Scotty, who was on the verge of tears.

“Mr. Lawrence, I will guard it with my life,” he smiled. Scotty nodded.

Good,” he said, turning to walk away.

“And, if I may, Mr. Lawrence,” Mr. Hanson started, stopping Scotty from leaving, “may I ask what became of Mrs. Lawrence?”

Scotty didn’t move from his position. And as he still faced the doorway, he slowly blinked away a fleeting memory, though he could never truly.

“She was sick,” Scotty said with a heavy breath of painful words, “and I was stupid. I thought I could ‘get rich quick’ and avoid the debt we’d be in but…I hurt people. Then one day some guys and I were robbing this place and a silent alarm must’ve triggered ‘cause we were surrounded by cops within five minutes. I tried running…but I couldn’t outrun the dogs. And that’s when it started—my curse. First, it was Melissa,” he nodded, “but then it was the moons. And…now I’m the sick one—with a doctor that skipped town and a prescription I can't fill...or afford. And there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Well,” Leslie gruffly joked, “there’s always one thing you can do ‘bout it.”

No,” Scotty defeatedly sighed, “I’ve tried that.”


Chapter 6: The Where and The Wolf

The summons for Scott Kessler Lawrence to appear in court was slated for thirty days after his arrest, which just so happened to coincide with the monthly full moon—though given the local criminal justice department’s repeated and ongoing hassle with Mr. Lawrence, happenstance may’ve not been the only reason for the scheduling on such a lunar event—an event which, given his superstitions on the particular moon phase, would likely result in his absence from the hearing.

“This is what you wanted, right?” the rookie asked, prompting the senior Detective to roll along the rickety wooden wall until he faced him, “contempt of court? You knew he wasn’t gonna show.”

What? ‘Cause of the moon?” the detective asked sarcastically, “I, uh…might’ve had somethin’ to do with it. And lemme guess…you still buy the whole werewolf thing, huh?”

“Of course not,” the rookie replied, rolling his eyes, “but I do think he’s our murder suspect. He’s probably whacked out on drugs or mentally deranged. Hell, he’s probably got multiple personalities or some shit.”

“I hope you’re right, kid. ‘Cause, we’re going through a lot of shit to nab a streaker.”


The door to Hanson’s office slammed open halfway across town. It wasn’t loud enough to reach the courtroom, but it was loud enough to wake two snoozing muscles.

Dammit. That son of a bitch!” Mr. Hanson shouted, chucking his phone against the wall. Colton had never seen him so angry—so uncomposed.

“What’s wrong, sir?” Colton sheepishly asked, hearing the grunts of the still-awakening Leslie from behind him.

“That was Mikey,” Hanson sharply said, “you remember that werewolf prick, right?” Colton nodded. Scotty’s story had touched him, despite the fact that he was a complete wacko. “Yeah, well…he didn’t show for his hearing this afternoon,” he said, shaking his head and biting his tongue. “That lying sack of shit—he’s wasted my money, and more importantly he’s wasted my time. And my time is certainly not free.”

Mr. Hanson marched over to his desk, snagging a drawer open and snatching out a tiny, metal object: the ring. “Mikey forwarded me his address. See to it that he suffers well before the cops get him—no, better yet…we’ll bring him in. Perhaps there’s a reward.” Hanson gleamed as he flicked the ring over to Colton, who clasped it tightly within his hand, looking from it up to his boss. “And when you’re finished,” Mr. Hanson said, “sell that bastard’s wedding ring.”


The sun had just begun to set as the shark’s two muscles pulled into the dusty, old driveway of the Lawrence residence. It was a home well-off the beaten path, lacking a woman’s touch, or any touch, for that matter. And had their boss not given the directions, they might’ve thought it to be abandoned.

The door slammed behind Colton as he trudged through the high grass, meeting Leslie in front of the shared vehicle as the headlights cast their silhouettes onto the front, blinded windows.

“Guess we shoulda brought silver bullets, huh?” Leslie smirked, sliding a magazine into his Smith and Wesson. Colton forced a smile, looking down at the little silver ring gripping his fourth finger against his beretta. Leslie noticed the sheen of the ring and sneered. “I know you’re not gonna sell it, are ya?” Colton looked over to him with a concerned demeanor but was interrupted before his lips could part into a lie. “Don’t worry…I’m not gonna tell Hanson. You’re gonna add it to your sick, little collection, aren’t ya?”

“It’s not sick,” Colton sighed, “it’s a way of remembering- “

Remembering brokeass dead people? Yeah, it’s sick.”


Colton knocked twice before being shoved back by Leslie, who already had his finger on the trigger of his loaded handgun, pressing the barrel to the lock and firing three times. The door rattled, nearly off its hinges, as Leslie kicked it open, allowing the fading orange sunlight to drape the raggedy carpet inside and exposing the fleas burrowed within it.

Colton looked anxiously over to Leslie who was already halfway inside, lifting his gun and firing a warning shot into the ceiling, bits of drywall snowing down onto him as he wheezed.

“Alright, wolf boy…come out, come out…wherever you are,” he snarked, “or I’ll huff, then I’ll puff, and I’ll- “

Leave! Now!” a muffled yet piercing voice rang out from somewhere deep within the battered house. Leslie turned to look at Colton and gestured for him to follow, however, Colton was nearly scared stiff. Leslie noticed, and strut right over and into his face, but not before looking past him, through the swaying blinds, and into the night sky behind him; a plump and full moon pushing its way through the gloomy clouds. He rolled his eyes, which then focused intently on Colton, who got a few too many whiffs of his cancer stick breath.

“Do you actually think he’s a werewolf?” he asked, a hot breath shooting into Colton’s sweaty face.

“No.”

Do you?”

No!”

“Then, why’re you so afraid of him, huh?”

Colton didn’t have an answer. At least, not an honest one.

“He could have a gun,” he finally said. Leslie held up his and rolled back his eyes before turning back into the house, and down a shadowy hallway, which led to a single, locked door that baked in an overhanging light. Colton followed, hesitantly, as the crunchy carpet snapped beneath his feet, emitting the smell of a wet dog. Colton watched as Leslie punched his fist against the old wooden door repeatedly as the hinges moaned back at him. And then, after a moment, another moan came from behind the door—down, from the basement:

Please! For God’s sake just- “ the voice sharply cut off, and in its place, a low, gargled, and jagged screech shot up and through the entire house. It somewhat resembled a human scream mixed with the belching of vomit, but it was far too deep and animal to be human at all.

And then the sound just stopped, and all that could be heard throughout the cramped hallway were the heavy, chopped breaths from Colton, and the cocking of Leslie’s gun as he raised it to the door, finger on the trigger. The clicking of the gun shivering in his hand suggested to Colton that, for the first time in his career, Leslie was afraid—or at least nervous. Colton took a step back, kicking an unlocked door open with his heel, and scrambling inside.

Leslie turned to face the sound of the door’s squeaking, as he flashed a display of disappointed and mocking teeth at Colton with a shake of his scraggly head. But he must’ve not heard what Colton was hearing: those thuds ascending the stairs—not in successions of two—but four.

Then, there was a loud pound as the wooden door instantly snapped in two. Leslie shot his head back to the doorway, firing a nervous gunshot into the wall, as a large, hulking figure filled the voided, dark space. Colton threw himself fully inside the empty room and slammed the door, just as Leslie let loose a horrifying whimper before his cry abruptly ended; the sound of snapping bones and tearing muscle filling the silence.

And then a howl. It was thick, and loud, and hot.

Deep and rapid inhales were the only sound that followed before a series of heavy thuds along the carpet led up to the door of the barren room.

Then there were two huffs, one puff, and the door crashed down.

Standing, on two hind legs, and filling up the doorframe with its hulking body was, what looked like, an overgrown dog. Its hair was matted and clinging to the boney appendages that drooped from its hunched-over body, which supported an equally knotted and terrifying snout that snapped as the thing lurched into the room.

Colton elbowed a nearby window with all of his might, screaming that someone might hear him and pressing his trembling body against the furthest wall from the thing. It snapped that jaw again, flicking goopy drool across the room as it charged over to Colton, clasping down on his free hand with a mouthful of ragged teeth. He wailed again as he began punching the snout of the powerful beast with his fist, ramming the silver ring into its skin until it bled. The creature pulled itself back with tremendous force, howling, but this time in agony. It locked, almost with a sympathetic stare, its black and narrowed eyes onto Colton’s.

With a boisterous thud, the beast fell backward—limply onto the carpet. Before his very eyes, Colton watched as the massive dog shriveled into a familiar form. Scotty, blood gushing from his gashed-open nose, twisted his head over and offered a smile up to Colton, as he spat his final words:

Thank you.”


Twenty minutes later, Senior Detective Louis and the rookie arrived at, what was left of, the Lawrence residence. Inside, they found the body of Leslie Smith—at least, what was left of it. And as they pulled Colton from the room in which Scott Kessler Lawrence lay, and through the red-stained hallway back out to the nightly air, all they had were questions.

“Did that man in there shoot Scotty Lawrence?” Detective Louis asked, pointing to within the house. All Colton could do was shake his head side to side. “That’s the only logical explanation!” the detective shouted as if to comfort himself.

Remember Louis,” the rookie said, “correlation doesn’t mean causation- ”

“Then, what the hell happened?” Detective Louis begged the stunned man, his voice exasperated and panicked. “Whatever. Dammit. Rook, call for backup!”

And the rook did just that.

Stay here!” the senior detective barked, rushing back into the empty house, full of blood.

The rookie turned to face Colton, still in shock and unable to mutter even a single word. His lip twitched and his eyelids seldom blinked…before they closed tightly and opened up his dry and bloodshot eyes to the junior detective, who gripped his arm with a sympathetic touch—as if understanding every impossible event that had just occurred before him.

Colton’s eyes swelled with salty tears—in part because, finally, another man offered up the same, soft gaze as his own, but all the more because of the full moon’s beam that continued to dawn over the rookie’s shoulder.



Written by MakRalston
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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