There’s No Such Thing As A Werewolf
As any werewolf knows, smells and emotions and even raised voices have colors and texture. And as any blind werewolf knows—not that there were any besides him, to the best of his knowledge—you could
take those smells, emotions, and conversations and do a pretty good job of seeing. Not a great job, comparably speaking, but enough to get around. Enough to have a solid sense of the world.
“But I can‟t be pregnant,” Mrs. Dane was saying. “There‟s just no way.”
“There‟s at least one way.”
“But I‟m infertile! The clinic said!”
“Accidents happen,” he said cheerfully. He knew she was stunned, but pleased. And as soon as the shock wore off, she‟d be ecstatic. He could have told her that her fallopian tubes had managed to unblock themselves over the years, but that would raise awkward questions. After all, he was just her G.P. He wasn‟t treating her for infertility.
“I‟d say you‟re…” Thirty-nine and a half days along “…about six weeks pregnant. I‟m going to write
you a scrip for some pre-natal vitamins, and I want you to take two a day. And the usual blandishments, of course, ease off on alcohol, don‟t smoke, blah-blah-blah. You know all this.” Mrs. Dane was an OB nurse.
“Yeah, but…I never thought I‟d need it.”
He heard her weight shift as she slid off the table, and thus was ready for it when she flung her chubby arms around him in a strangler‟s grip. “Thanks so much!” she whispered fiercely. “Thank you!”
“Mrs. Dane, I didn‟t do anything.” He gently extricated himself from her grip. “Go home and thank your husband.”
“Oh, I‟m sorry.” Now she was brighter in his mind‟s eye, glowing with embarrassment. “I read somewhere that blind people don‟t like it when their balance is thrown off.”
“Don‟t worry about it. You couldn‟t throw off my balance.” Not without a truck. “Don‟t forget to fill
this on the way home,” he added. He could write perfectly well, which was to say his prescriptions didn‟t look any less legible than a seeing doctor‟s.
“Right. Right!” She darted around him, nearly careened into the closed door, and left without her clothes. The gown flapped once as the door closed behind her.
“I don‟t think they‟ll let you in the pharmacy dressed like that,” he called after her.
* * * * *
“I‟m just saying you should think about it,” his nurse, Barb Robinson, argued. “I hate the thought of you going home to an empty house every night. And it would—you know. Be helpful.”
“Put a harness around a dog and expect it to lead me around all day?” He tried not to sound as aghast as he felt. “That‟s awful!”
“Drake, be reasonable. You get around fine, but you‟re not a kid anymore.”
“Meaning, since I‟m looking at the big four-oh, it‟s time to check out nursing home brochures?”
Barb‟s scent shifted—it had been lemony and intense before, because while she was embarrassed to broach the subject, she was also determined. Now, as she got annoyed, it intensified until she damned near smelled like mouthwash.
“Very funny,” she snapped. “Pride‟s one thing. Your safety is another. For crying out loud, you don‟t even use your cane most of the time.”
“Will it get you off my back if I start lugging the stick around?”
“Yes,” she said promptly.
Oh, for God’s sake . “Fine. You may now refer to me as Dr. Stick.”
“It‟s just that I don‟t want you to get hurt, is all,” she persisted. “You bugged me about moving to a
“Oh, hush up. And you‟d better get going—isn‟t tonight another one of your big nights out?”
You could say that. “It is indeed.”
“Well…maybe you should take it easy. You look kind of worn out today.”
“I was up late,” he said shortly. “Give me the damned cane.”
He heard her rummaging around beneath the counter, and then she tapped the floor in front of him. He
out of her hand. “There, satisfied?”
“Also, you‟re fired.”
“Maybe next time.” He obediently started tapping his way to the front door, though he knew perfectly
well it was
eight feet, nine inches away. “See you Monday.”
“And think about the dog!” she yelled after him.
“Not likely,” he muttered under his breath.
The small gang—two boys and one girl, not one of them out of their teens—followed him off the
subway. Typical thugs; they needed reinforcements to rob a blind man. He led them down Milk Street and let them get close.
“Just so you know,” he said, turning, “in about half an hour the moon will be up. So this is a very, very bad idea. I mean—” They rushed him, and his stick caught the first one in the throat. “—it‟s a bad idea in general. There are only about a thousand—” His elbow clocked down on the skull of the second. “—more
respectable ways to make a living.”
He hesitated with the girl, and nearly got his cheek sliced open for his trouble. He pulled his head back, heard the whisper of steel slide past his face, then grabbed her wrist and pulled, checking his force at the last moment. She flew past him and smacked into the brick wall, then flopped to the ground like a puppet with her strings cut. “Seriously,” he told the dazed, semi-conscious youths. “You should think about it. And what
are you up to?”
“Nothing,” the other werewolf said cheerfully. “Just came down to see if you needed a hand. Christ,
when was the last time these three had a bath?”
“About two weeks ago.”
“How‟s it going, Drake?”
“It‟s going like it always does,” he said carefully. He had known Wade when they were younger, but it paid to be careful around Pack.
He held out his hand and felt it engulfed by the younger man, who smelled like wood smoke and fried trout. Drake was a large man, but Wade had three inches and twenty pounds on him. If he wasn‟t such a pussycat, he‟d be terrifying. “Still keeping to your place in the country?”
“Sure. This city is fucking rank, man. I only came in to stock up. The day got away from me.”
“Try not to eat any of the populace.”
“Yuck! Have you seen what they eat? I wouldn‟t chew a monkey on a bet.”
“That‟s not nice,” Drake said mildly.
“Yeah, yeah, pardon my un-fucking PC behavior. Humans, okay, and never mind what they originated from. No, really! They should be proud to be shaved apes.”
“Hey, I‟m glad I ran into you. You should head out to the Cape, say hi to the boss and Moira and those
you hear Moira got hitched?”
“I did, yes. To a monkey, right?”
“Yeah, well…” Wade stretched; Drake could hear his tendons creaking and lengthening. Their change was very
close. Luckily, adolescence was far behind them both; they would stay well in control. “The new alpha gal,
Jeannie, she heard about…uh…she noticed that none of the Pack…uh…”
“Was cursed with a devastating handicap?” he asked pleasantly. He tapped his cane for emphasis.
Wade coughed. “Anyway, she hit the fucking roof when Michael told her the score, and they pissed and moaned about it for, like, a damn month, during which time our fearless leader was so not getting laid, and
finally Michael said it wasn‟t an automatic, it would be up to the parents, and they both had to agree.”
Drake was silent. For the Pack, this was forward thinking indeed. Handicaps were so rare they were nearly unheard of, and when a Pack member was born blind, or deaf, or whatever, it had been tradition since time out of mind that the sire killed the cub. The dam was usually too weak from whelping, but was almost always in agreement.
His sire, however, had died in Challenge before his birth, and his mother had wanted him. Had hidden him away at the time so the well-meaning Pack leader, Michael‟s father, couldn‟t find him and kill him. Had raised him defiantly and heartlessly—absolutely no quarter given, or asked.
Drake had eventually left the Pack on his own, made his way to Boston, made a life among humans. Here, at least, he could hold his own. Humans didn‟t care about Challenges. They didn‟t even know about
“Well, maybe I will pay them a visit,” he lied. “It‟s been a long time.” Michael hadn‟t even been pack
us brat, one of the few who‟d tried to talk him out of leader when he‟d left…Moira had been a precocio
No. Done was done.
“A long time?” Wade was saying. “Yeah, like about twenty years. It‟s a little different now. Michael‟s a
dude. No one will fuck with you.”
“Thanks for passing on the news. But I didn‟t leave because I was afraid of being fucked with.”
“You did win all your Challenges,” Wade admitted.
“I left because I was never allowed to be myself.”
“You think you‟re allowed that here? In Monkey Central?”
He shrugged. Loneliness was such a central factor of his life, he barely recognized it anymore. “It
“Well, think it over. I know Jeannie‟d like to meet you. If nothing else, to be proved right. She lives for
This was said in a tone of grudging admiration.
Drake heard Wade inhale, and stretch again. “Fine, be a stubborn ass, I don‟t care. Better beat feet out
Gonna be a long one. Last night of the full moon.”
“Happy trails,” he said dryly. “Again, try not to eat anyone.”
“Again,” the larger man said, loping off, “don‟t make me puke. Company coming.”
“Yes, I—” He nearly fell down, right there in the alley. “I know.”
“Jeez,” the girl said, coming closer. She glanced over her shoulder at the rapidly retreating Wade, then
turned and glared at the unconscious gang. “You gigantic losers!”
Everything was suddenly very bright, very sharp. The exhalations of the would-be attackers, Wade‟s
retreating footsteps, the girl‟s perfume—L‟Occitane Green Tea.
He could see her.
Not sense her, not get an idea of where she was and how she felt by her voice. See her. Everything
around her was shades of gray, but she stood out like a beacon.
She was short—her head stopped right around the middle of his chest. And her hair was that light, sunny color he assumed people meant when they said blonde. Her eyes were an odd color…not blue like ice
was blue, and not purple like people had described irises…somewhere in between.
Her hair was brutally short and so were her nails. She was wearing six earrings in her left ear, and eight in her right. She had a nose ring, a hoop through her left eyebrow, and her shirt was short enough to show off the bellybutton ring. Her stomach was sweetly rounded, and she was wearing shorts so brief they were practically denim panties. Her black tights were strategically ripped, showing flashes of creamy skin. Her tennis shoes (what color was that? Red? Orange?) were loosely tied with laces that weren‟t any color at all.
“Are you all right, guy? I‟m really sorry if they tried anything. I told them to cut the shit. I didn‟t think they, y‟know, meant it.”
He gaped at her.
“Oh, sorry,” she said, glancing at the cane. “I didn‟t realize. Do you need me to walk you somewhere?
“I can see you!”
“Ooooookey-dokey.” She took a cautious step backward. “Listen, I‟ve got stuff to do tonight—last
need me to call you a cab or something?”
“Holy Mary Mother of God!”
“So, no. Well, „bye.” She turned, and, frozen, he watched her walk away. Her butt was flat, and she
hitched up her shorts, which gaped around her waist. He couldn‟t begin to imagine her age—twenty-two?
Twenty-five? He had at least fifteen years on her.
He heard a crack, and dropped the cane—he‟d been gripping it too hard, and it had split down the
middle. Why could he see her? Why now? Was it a function of the full moon? If so, why hadn‟t it ever happened before? Who was she? And where was she going in such a hurry?
The clouds scudded past the moon, and suddenly he had twice as many teeth.
Crescent stood on the rooftop and stared down at the street. It wasn‟t so far. One measly story. Shoot,
and besides, she wasn‟t a regular person. Probably. people fell that far all the time and survived…mostly…
If she was ever going to fly, now was the time.
She put her hands on the ledge and started to boost herself up, when she felt a sharp tug on the seat of her shorts and went flying backward. She hit the gravel rooftop and all the breath whooshed out of her lungs. So she lay there and gasped like a fish out of water, and when she was able, rolled over on her knees.
The largest wolf she had ever seen was sitting three feet away. She was too startled to be frightened.