Alexandra sighed, putting blankets in her car’s back seats. Much of the passenger side’s chair already held a few boxes, most of them her clothes. She shook her head, her orange eyes reddening before she went to the back of the car, opening up the trunk. She stared within, which stretched on for a few minutes before she pulled on her hair.
“Is something wrong?” A voice said behind her, and she blinked, turning around.
Standing there was a man with dirty blond hair, his sea blue eyes shifting from the car to her. She leaned back, the man adjusting his blue aloha shirt, which hung open over a green shirt. The golden A on his belt glimmered in the afternoon light while he rubbed his chin, bandages covering his left forearm.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” Alexandra said, shaking her head. “Sorry. I didn’t hear you coming, so I was startled.”
“I can be silent when I need to,” the man said, lifting up his left forearm even as he pocketed a necklace with a gear on it. “You seemed to be troubled, though.”
Alexandra sighed, turning back to the truck to check for space. “I’ve been evicted for missing payment for the house three times in a row.” The man twitched, clenching his left hand into a fist. “Though I haven’t seen you before, mister?”
“Call me Daren Crevan,” the man answered, shrugging. “And I’m sorry to hear what happened.” He leaned to the side. “Do you need help? I can get you a place to sleep.”
“It’s no worries. I don’t want to be anyone’s burden. By the way, I’m Alexandra.” She spun around and nodded to him with a smile, only to pause, an image of a man matching Daren pointing and shooting a gun at her chest appearing in her mind. She flinched, reaching up to rub her chest as he tilted his head. “Huh? What was that?”
“What was what?” Daren asked, his left-hand twitching.
Alexandria remained silent for a few seconds, confused and fearful, before swallowing. “Sorry. My imagination must be acting up.”
“I see,” Daren said, glancing away. “Still, are you sure you don’t need help?”
Alexandra sighed, turning to her car again. “I’m used to doing stuff on my own. And, knowing me, I’ll likely just hurt them without realizing it. It’s how I lost many of my friends, after all.”
“If they were your friends,” Daren said, crossing his arms, “then they would’ve forgiven you and moved on.”
“That always sounds like a great thing. Forgiveness.” Alexandra rubbed against the tip of the car trunk. “And while they always say that they have forgiven me, they never treated me the same way. Instead, they walked on eggshells around me as though I’ll explode on them for the slightest thing. Maybe they’re right to treat me like that.” She shook her head. “Sorry. This is getting too personal.”
“Right. Sorry.” Daren nodded before stepping away, placing his hands in his pockets. “Just know that if you need help, I’ll always extend a hand to help you.” He raised his left hand.
“Have a good afternoon.”
When Alexandra turned around, Daren disappeared elsewhere, and part of her regretted declining his help. Though another part of her was gleeful that he left, and that grew along with intense hatred. The image of that guy she somehow loomed over pointing a gun at her before shooting, with his eyes closed as well, flared her temper.
She zoomed back into the house, heading to the kitchen before splashing water against her face; her anger stopped increasing but remained constant. Finally, she shook her head, wiping her face before walking to the bedroom, picking up the few remaining bags before hurrying away. With each step, she inhaled and exhaled, soon going outside and packing up the stuff into the trunk.
“Stop it,” Alexandra said to herself. “Anger never solves anything. Just makes it worse instead.”
As Daren stepped away, feeling disappointed, he kicked a small rock, which rolled onto a lawn. He glanced around before he blinked; Hayden sitting in a car, his blue eyes on Alexandra and her vehicle. Daren snuck around without making a single sound before tapping on his car. Hayden jumped before he spun around, and he lowered the car window.
“What are you doing here?” Hayden demanded, pulling on his reddish hair, short and spiky.
“I could ask you the same thing,” Daren replied, leaning in. “Why are you staring at that lady?”
Hayden sighed, lowering his head. “Alexandra, well, she has a hard life. It doesn’t help that she is too insecure about asking for support. So, when I heard that she was fired, likely because of how poor she looked, I couldn’t help but check on her.”
Daren raised an eyebrow. “And you think that watching from afar checking on her?” He shook his head. “I’m so confused.”
Hayden flushed, glancing away. “I did try to offer her help. Even allowing her to stay at my place until she gets back on her feet. But she declined,” He sighed. “I did see you chatting with her.”
“I was.” Daren rolled his eyes. “And I did offer some support, but she rejected my help as well.”
“Sounds like her, alright.” Hayden lifted his head, noticing that Alexandra was packing up her car’s trunk. “Sometimes, I wonder if she doesn’t want help because she feels she’ll be a burden or she believes that anything bad that happens is her fault and thus is her responsibility to fix.” He leaned back on the seat. “Though you haven’t answered my question.”
Daren nodded. “It’s an interesting question. After all, I am a simple wanderer, going from place to place and offering aid to anyone who needs it. And I find that I’m drawn to trouble like a metal to a magnet, so it’s common for me to find people in trouble. In fact, it’s hard not to help.” He swallowed, feeling a sense of guilt from the last night. “That’s what I’m doing.”
Hayden raised an eyebrow. “You’re a strange fellow.” Daren shrugged, clasping his hands together. “So, what will you do now?”
Before Daren could answer, a car slammed shut in the distance, and both Daren and Hayden glanced over. Alexandra started her car, with the engine roaring to life, before pulling out of the parking place. It rolled onto the street backward before pausing and moving forward. Daren inhaled, tapping his fingers against Hayden’s car door.
“She’s going already,” Hayden said, his fingers drumming against the car wheel. “I should follow.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Daren asked, his mind spinning. “After all, you do have a job, right?”
“Oh, um,” Hayden turned bright red on the cheeks. “I resigned a few hours ago. Loudly, in fact. You should’ve seen it. I was like a volcano exploding everywhere.”
“I bet you were,” Daren said, hiding a sly smile. “Still, I think you should get a new job soon.”
“But, what about Alexandra?” Hayden asked, rubbing his spiky hair. “I can’t stand the idea that she’s out there, living in a car, while I’m at home with a job.”
Daren shifted his eyes upward, an idea forming in his head. “How about this?” He extended his hand forward. “I promise you I’ll keep an eye on her, ensuring that she stays safe,and I’ll do my best to assist her.”
Hayden squinted his left eye. “You do realize that we just met, right?”
“I know,” Daren answered. “But I’m honor-bound to any promises I made, even those I—” He stopped. “Never mind that. But any promise I make, I keep. No ifs, and, or buts.”
“You’re even stranger than I thought.” Hayden shook his head. “No. I’ll do it. Besides, there’s a rabid bear out, and I don’t want her killed by it.”
“Oh? And you can fight a rabid bear, how?” Daren reached to his side and pulled his EAA Witness Hunter away from Hayden’s view while making sure it was pointed away. “I have a decent weapon that can shoot a bear and a good enough aim. How about you?”
Hayden flustered, glancing away. “I-I haven’t thought of that.” Daren holstered it, with the gun absorbed back into his belt. “Still, what can I do that can help her?”
“By making sure that she has a decent place to stay.” Daren’s sea blue eyes shined, and he extended his hand further. “And you can’t do that if you also don’t have a job. So, let me repeat my promise. I promise I’ll keep an eye on her, ensure she is safe, and assist her when I can. If I fail, then it’ll be the end for me.”
“I’m not sure if I should,” Hayden sighed, shaking his head. But then, his eyes shining like a fire burning behind them, he reached and shook Daren’s hand. “Still, this is the best thing I got, stranger. So don’t blow it for Alexandra or for me. OK?”
“Believe me,” Daren said, their handshake tight, “I won’t.”
The two stopped shaking their hands, and Daren ran off, his aloha shirt flapping behind him.
Night soon came, with the full moon looming over the night. Daren leaned against a wall, shrouded in its shadows with his gear necklace around his neck, the setting at eight. Across from him parked Alexandra’s car on the edge of a Walmart parking place, with her sitting in the driver’s seat. A wall lay around the store and parking area, with thick bushes by a foot and a half before it. He glanced around, having a watchful sense around him but spotting no other person.
Alexandra stepped out from her car and wiping her tear drenched face with her shirt. Daren straightened himself out, with him clenching his right fist tight. The moon glowed down with no other cloud in sight, even as she turned to it. At once, Daren felt a sharp pain in his left forearm, with him blinking before rubbing it.
Alexandra fell onto her knees, her brown hair turning silver while her fingernails grew long and thick, her palms pressing against her head. Her ears stretched out, becoming triangular while they moved up her head, with gray fur sprouting at the back of her hands and moving around. The palms thickened until they became leather-like, and when she lowered her hand-paws, her orange eyes became yellow along with the sclera.
Daren grunted, falling onto his knees and grabbing against his left forearm, with the pain increasing in it. Meanwhile, Alexandra’s nose was blackened, her mouth and nose stretching forward into a snout, and her teeth sharpened into fangs. Her hair grew longer and unkempt, her spine ripping out from her pants, and her fur covering it until it became a long tail. She stumbled back up, her shoes ripping apart from her feet, growing lengthier and larger, becoming digitigrade. Gray and white fur grew on her face, her muzzle furrowed as she snarled.
As her forearms pressed against her upper arms, she grew in size, with muscles expanding. The asphalt broke underneath her feet-paws, with her shirt stretching to contain her swelling muscles until they ripped into shreds, with abs pumping out on her stomach. Next, her arms and legs became thick, with her sweatpants stretching out until they were torn off from the sheer size. Soon, the gray and white werewolf Alexandra took a few steps, having grown three feet taller as the ground shook beneath her before she stretched to the moon. She howled, with a few cars around her honking their alarms and windows vibrating, for several seconds until she leaped into the air.
Sweat formed on Daren’s face, his left forearm screaming in pain, reaching up his arm and down his fingers. He rubbed it, gritting his teeth as he kept his head low until the pain ebbed away. Then, finally, he sighed, standing up with his shirts drenched with sweat before taking off his gear necklace. He soon sprinted to Alexandra’s car, rubbing against the shattered asphalt.
“That confirms that theory. Glad I convinced Hayden to stay away.” Daren sighed, letting his left arm hang uselessly as he opened the car and leaned in. “But, where is she going?” Paperwork lay on the passenger side’s seat, with him flipping through it. “She seems so meek, unlike the raging beast she turned into.”
In his mind, he felt something click, with gears moving at last from the last sentence. In his mind, he saw Alexandra, shy, withdrawn, and with little to no self-confidence, accepting any bad stuff while rejecting any outside help. Behind her, a silhouette stretched out, looming over her, full of rage with little restraint and the certainty of its actions while roaring out.
“Shadow.” Daren clenched his left fist. “And she was evicted by her landlord.”
He flipped through the papers faster until he found one regarding renting a home. He pulled it out and skimmed through it, spotting the name Clara Evan next to a landlord title. Beneath held contacts, including an address, and he pulled out his smartphone, tapping it into his map app. Once it showcased the home’s location, he tossed the paper back in before closing the door.
“If the werewolf Alexandra is going after targets of her wrath, this Clara will be next.” Daren broke out into a sprint, passing by a gray car. “I wonder if I’ll make it in time, though.”
Kurt crouched low behind a bush, his binoculars pressed against his face while having a wide grin. Already, the girl has transformed into a werewolf and leaped out of view, flying over him. He lowered his binoculars before reaching for a notebook, sitting beside him, and opening it up. He pulled out a pencil and wrote into it.
Project Delphine phase two is a success, with the subject Alexandra having transformed into a werewolf with no noticeable issues. Should prepare for phase three.
“This is a good night,” Kurt said, putting down the notebook. “Reiner will be happy about this after two years of testing.”
He got up halfway when Daren ran from the other end, and he blinked before crouching low. He kept himself hidden while his mind buzzed about how he missed him since the parking space should have been empty. Then, finally, he clicked his tongue, the memory of the edited footage appearing in his mind.
“My, this person is getting fascinating,” Kurt said, inching out when Daren closed the door, already sprinting away and passing by his gray car. “Perhaps I should’ve killed you when I had the chance. Still,” He stood up and walked to his car. “Reiner may find him interesting alive rather than dead.”
His burner phone rang within the glove compartment when he opened his car door. He rolled his eyes before sitting in the car, opening the case and grabbing the phone. Then, accepting the call, he pressed it against his ear, tapping against the car wheel.
“What is it this time?” Kurt demanded.
“Kurt, this is Dirk with Ford standing next to me,” Dirk said, and Kurt narrowed his eyes. “We both want to know the progress of finding and capping out that asshole who humiliated us.”
“I have located him,” Kurt answered, tapping against the wheel. “However, I decided to let him live for now.”
In the background, Ford let out an outraged cry as Dirk said, “Aww, are you too scared—”
“Hey!” Ford said, with Kurt wincing away from the phone. “There goes that asshole now. Let me cap him out—”
“Don’t,” Kurt said. His voice held a deep growl. As soon as he heard the others side gulped he let out a savage grin. “I’ll pick you two idiots up, and we’ll follow his tracks. We will not kill him. Not yet.”
“I’ll explain it later, especially since I have a good idea who he’s trying to follow.” He inserted the key and turned it, the car roaring to life. “Believe me, Reiner will love it.”
Alexandra the werewolf landed on a pavement, shattering the pavement into pieces as nearby cars jolted up and down. A couple of them blared their alarms, and she twitched her ears before she leapt, the ground breaking even more and with shards flying all around. Again, she landed, the sidewalk shattering and bending beneath her before she got up, her yellow eyes glaring.
She sprinted down the sidewalk, with deep pawprints forming on the sidewalk as the ground rumbled. The number of cars parked within the neighborhood grew as she reached closer, her sharp teeth exposed. She soon stopped, prowling low with one hand-paw against the pavement, with many cars by a large house.
The glass wall on that two-story house was polished and clear of dirt or speck, with a few rose bushes in front. People passed by the glass or entered the house, each one wearing casual clothing while holding glass cups of water or wine. Alexandra growled low, with steam flowing out of her mouth as she dug into the sidewalk; Clara Evans stood on the first floor with an arrogant smirk.
Alexandra clenched her teeth tight, with the moonlight glimmering against them. She pulled a piece of the pavement out, cracking it into a ball the size of a golf ball before rolling it between her swollen fingers. Then, swinging it back, she threw it toward the second floor’s glass, with it shattering upon impact. The concrete ball ripped through the roof in several smaller pieces by that point, and the first-floor glass wall cracked. Several partygoers twisted around in confusion or panic, with Clara stumbling back.
She tapped against the sidewalk as though counting before she leaped to the side, crashing against the utility pole. The wooden bar shattered beneath, with several cords becoming taunt before snapping into pieces, with power going off. It soon fell, the remaining cables ripping out and with that part of the neighborhood losing all power, sparking as it crashed against a stone wall.
Alexandra landed with a smash, with rocks flying around before she stretched up and howled to the moon. Windows rattled, the earth vibrated, and the piercing howl was heard throughout Watford.
People ran out of houses, with some pressing against their ears as others screamed in panic, the most coming from Clara’s home. Some flashed their smartphone’s lights around, with a couple shining on the cracked crater, as Alexandra crouched low, her ears folded back. She tapped against the ground again before leaping into the air, the moon outlining her shadow. A few seconds passed before she crashed and landed on Clara’s house, ripping through the roof and second floor before smashing into the center of the first-floor’s living room.
What few people remained screamed in pure panic, the glass wall cracking more from her landing. A couple fled through the double doors as Alexandra roared, the house shaking and the stone floor smashed. Clara stumbled against the glass wall, her face red as her eyes widened in fear. She struggled to the double door, only for Alexandra to kick a couch to it, blocking her exit.
Clara swung her arms back, stumbling to a stop before Alexandra crouched on all fours, approaching while snarling. Red glinted in her eyes, the floor cracking with every step as Clara twisted around, screaming. Alexandra barred her teeth, with steam flowing out until she was an inch from Clara, frozen in fear. She opened her jaws, each tooth exposed and sharp, and roared, drowning out her scream.
A kick slammed against Alexandra’s forehead, and she blinked as she shook it off. The newcomer in white sneakers grabbed Clara before carrying her over the couch. His blue aloha shirt swayed before setting her outside. He shut his sea blue eyes before leaping back inside, pulling an EAA Witness Hunter from a holster.
“Get out!” Daren said to Clara.
Clara took a couple of seconds to listened to him and ran away.
Alexandra growled, ripping into the ground before she lunged at Daren, who raised his gun and fired two shots at her chest. He then ducked, Alexandra flying over him and with her crashing against the couch, flattening it with wood, metal, and cotton spilling out. She rolled up, flexing her muscles and the squashed rounds popped out, her wounds healed.
She got up on all four, towering over Daren before swinging her claws at him. Daren swung his leg back and impacted her attack, with it powerful enough to block it despite his shrimpy size. Alexandra shook her hand-paw, and Daren raised his pistol once more. But she smashed against the ground, with a chunk of the floor flying up before she swatted it toward his gun.
He grunted, the gun knocked out from his grip and flying a few feet away before it discharged, and he rubbed his left forearm. She pounced over, roaring, but Daren jumped to the side, with him gritting his teeth. Alexandra landed and, ripping a chunk of the stone floor off, she tossed it at Daren’s head, who leaned back and the piece tore through the wall after all until it exited the house.
Daren fell on his back, grunting as he reached for the side, with Alexandra snarling. She took two steps over, the house shaking, only to stop, grasping for the right side of her face. Daren grabbed the EAA Witness Hunter and pointed it at her, but she took two steps back, a growing resistance building within her. Then, two sides within her split, her claws digging into her head.
Daren remained steady. “Alexandra?”
But she lowered her hand-paws before she crouched low and leapt into the air, the hole expanding wider. Her silhouette appeared within the moon’s perfect orb, her limbs splayed out. Yet, as her eyes reflected on the moonlight, her right eye, which had turned orange, turned back to yellow.
Kurt sat in his gray car with binoculars against his eyes and Dirk and Ford sitting behind him. The two leaned to the side, their eyes wide as a smashing sound came, and a massive shadow flew out from a house. It landed near the car, the street cracking beneath it, as enough light from the moon shone on it, showing a massive Alexandra werewolf.
As Dirk and Ford leaned back, she leapt up, shaking the car. Their faces were white with fear, even as wonder filled their eyes. Kurt lowered his binoculars before twisting around to them, having a sly grin.
“This has been an eventful night, hasn’t it?” Kurt asked.
Dirk adjusted his hat. “I never thought that the big boss’s plan might work.” He took it off, rubbing his balding head. “Seemed too crazy to believe.”
“So, I guess it wasn’t crazy to have these after all.” Ford pulled out his knife, with it reflecting warm. “Silver knives.” He turned back once more. “And look who it is.”
Daren sprinted down the road, his aloha shirt wiggling behind him. Dirk and Ford lowered themselves, with Kurt raising an eyebrow, a half-grin forming on his face. Soon, Daren passed by, and both Dirk and Ford sat up straight again, with Dirk half-pulling out his revolver before shaking his head and putting it back in.
“I want to cap him so hard that his mother won’t be able to identify him,” Dirk said, shaking his head. “Still, you want him alive, Kurt. But why?”
“I believe that he has skills that Reiner would find useful,” Kurt answered, reaching for his burner phone. “I didn’t find him interesting at first, but the more I see him, the more intrigued I get. And since I believe he held his own against a werewolf, it is more crucial that we get him on our side. After all, he did come from where she was and is following her.” He dialed in some numbers. “And if he refuses, the good doctor will see that he will join us. Or kill him trying.”
The phone rang, and Kurt pressed it against his ear, with him tapping against the wheel. It rang twice before the other side answered, and he grinned. The voice was deep, yet held some smoothness to his tone.
“Reiner speaking.” The other side said. “Who is this?”
“Hello, Reiner, my dear boss,” Kurt answered. “This is Kurt. I have good news regarding the project and a potential newcomer.”
Reiner remained silent for a few seconds. Then, “I’m listening.”
Daren kept sprinting, passing by street after street, with little sweat forming on him. Even so, he gritted his teeth, his left forearm screaming with pain. But he ignored his instinct to rub it, keeping with the pace. Lamppost after lamppost he went by, returning to Walmart, with him gritting his teeth.
But as soon as he stepped into the Walmart’s parking lot, his left forearm’s pain increased, and he stopped. The ground rumbled in front of him, with him shutting his eyes as he rubbed his arm. Heavy breathing came in front of him, with him resisting the urge to fall to his knees even as the pain grew.
The pain ebbed away by the second, and he opened his eyes bit by bit. The werewolf Alexandra rested one of her arms on her car, careful not to crush it. She shrank in size, her muscles deflating as she growled. Her tail receded back to her spine, with the fur thinning out and her ears moving to the sides, becoming rounder as they shrunk. She panted, with darkness covering her body as her snout pulled back, her fangs becoming duller and returning to normal. Her nose grew, becoming triangular, as her digitigrade feet shortened, becoming plantigrade.
When her claws shrank back into nails, she stood as a human, her hair back to its autumn brown. But she collapsed onto her knees before she fell onto the ground, asleep. Her hair splayed all around her, her cheek and chest pressed against the asphalt, and she released a snore.
Daren sighed, his left arm’s pain subsiding away as he opened his eyes and approached. He went to her car and, pulling out a blanket from it, wrapped her with it. He picked her up before setting her on the driver’s seat, locking the door behind him before shutting it.
“What a night,” Daren said, rubbing his left forearm before twisting around. “Hmm. I could’ve sworn that there was a gray car there.” He pointed in the direction of where it was before shrugging. “Maybe the owner got back and drove away.” But even as he said that he frowned, realizing the watchful feeling was gone. “I feel like I’m missing something. But what?” He paced for a couple of minutes, his frown becoming deeper. “I’m afraid that I’m missing something important.”
When morning came, Alexandra woke up with a jolt, laying in her driver’s seat with her back sore. She blinked, a blanket around her as her head pulsed with pain, and she rubbed her forehead. She grunted, reaching back and pulling out a water bottle and ibuprofen, opening its cap and letting two pills fall onto her palm. She swallowed the pills and water before shaking her head, her headache worsening.
“Ugh. What happened last night?” Alexandra asked herself before pulling up her blankets, her face turning bright red. “Again?”
She twisted around, an orange glow shining upon the sparse parking area as she blushed. She reached back, pulling her clothes out and setting them on her passenger side seat, the paperwork scattered for some reason. Then, keeping low, she slipped them on, with both gray shirt and sweatpants oversized on her. Finally, after a second of thinking, she sighed, leaning forward against the wheel.
“I always wondered how it’d feel to be homeless,” Alexandra said before tossing the blanket back. “Perhaps I should’ve accepted the help,” But she shook her head. “But I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. After all, I’m fairly weak.”
Alexandra turned to the Walmart, with the store opening up before she inserted a key into the ignition. She turned, the engine roaring to life, and she rubbed her cheek, feeling some tiny rocks on it. She pulled back, the stones black, and she stared at it before she turned on the car radio. At once, words poured out, and the radio set to a news channel.
“We had some updates about another bear attack last night,” he said through the radio, and Alexandra tilted her head at it. “The utility pole was found to be knocked over in a peaceful neighborhood, with some believing it was done by a bear. However, authorities don’t believe that it has anything to do with the bear that landed in the middle of a party, though how it got onto a roof is unknown.”
“A party?” Alexandra felt something click within her. “It can’t be.”
“Here’s what the house owner has to say.”
“Oh, lord, it was horrible!” Clara Even said, and Alexandra turned pale. “That wasn’t a bear, but some kind of monster! It blocked me from escaping and tried to eat me! It would’ve been the end of me, but someone came back in and got me out before shooting it! Oh, lord, I’ve never been so scared in my life!”
“Thank you,” the newscaster said, his voice dry. “And while authorities found two bullets, it is doubtful that it has seriously damaged the bear, who escaped. Though nothing is certain, they believe it may have something to do with the one that attacked Jung’s General Store. Whether the second bear that knocked out the power was just a wild bear or another rabid bear is unkno—”
Alexandra turned off the radio, sweat forming on her forehead as memories from that call returned to her. Soon, images flashed before her, one of her crashing against a pole, another approaching a scared yet drunk Clara, and the final one of Daren shooting a gun at her, his eyes shut tight. She rubbed her forehead before she shook her head, her headache fading away.
She glanced at the rearview window, and her heart skipped a beat, with Daren there and walking toward her. With fear growing within her, she shifted gears before driving out with sudden speed. Daren broke into a sprint, but she drove faster, soon getting onto the street, her hands clutching the wheel tight.
Alexandra drove through the empty street, keeping a steady pace as Daren disappeared from view. She relaxed, though fear and, for some reason, anger vibrated, maintaining a constant level within her. She rubbed her chest, with her startled at the sharp pain on it, though as she rubbed it, she found it focused on two areas. Yet, nothing felt hurt about them despite the pain.
She drove down the hill, entering the downtown center, before pulling in front of a breakfast restaurant, her stomach feeling empty for some reason. But as soon as she parked in front of it, her phone rang. She jumped, her head brushing against the car roof before she reached for it. It rang against her fingers without buzzing, and she flipped it open before pressing it against her ear.
“Hello again,” the voice from yesterday’s call said, her voice smug. “I’m glad you did what you said, keeping an ear out for the news.”
“W-what?” Alexandra rubbed the back of her hair. “How d-did you know?”
“I told you that it’s impossible for me not to know,” the voice answered. “Still, wasn’t that attack on that horrible landlord so cathartic? That landlord who kept bumping up the price to make her house extra fancy? Who kept cutting you off, believing in her own answers instead of listening to yours?”
“Huh?” Alexandra widened her eyes. “I-I admit that I hate dealing with her, but—”
“Ha! See?” The voice became arrogant as Alexandra turned pale. “It was such a relief, scaring her almost to death! Her and her partygoers!”
“S-stop it!” Alexandra shook her head. “I never want anyone hurt!”
“Oh?” The voice returned with a mocking laugh. “We did a fantastic job ruining her house along with that neighborhood. If only that nasty Daren wasn’t there, though.”
“What do you mean ‘we’?” Alexandra asked, clutching the phone tight. “I wasn’t there!”
“But you were,” the voice said. “You and I, we did it. Both her house and that store. The useless owner overlooked us, and the HR ladies screwed us over, thinking of us as lazy and ugly for wearing drabby clothing even as actual slackers and slobs get promoted and pay raises over us. And that landlord thinks us lazy for not producing enough money even as she kept raising the rent pay over us because she so wants to renovate that house of hers,” The voice dripped with glee. “Must say, smashing that tacky house felt good.”
“No,” Alexandra said as more mental images appeared before her: of her throwing a piece of pavement through a house, crashing down through its roof, and of her kicking a couch at the door, blocking Clara’s exit. “I have nothing to do with it! If I did, I would’ve remembered it!”
“Why do you think I was sharing my memories of the event last night?” The voice asked before laughing.
“W-what?” Alexandra’s voice became a whisper. “H-how are you doing that? Who are you?”
“Why, I am you,” the voice answered. “I must say, you must be extra thick not to realize that, despite my hinting!”
“What?” Alexandra turned paler, more like a ghost. “No, that’s impossible.” She shook her head. “You’re talking through a PHONE! How can you—”
“Are you sure you’re talking to someone on the phone instead of yourself?”
Alexandra felt the hair on the back of her head stand up, with a cold chill crawling down her spine. Her hand shook as she lowered the cell phone, its screen off, and the car became much chillier. She pressed the five key, with the screen turning on and the number five displayed.
She let the cell phone slip from her fingers, thudding against the car floor as she opened her mouth in horror.
“Th-this cannot be real!” Alexandra breathed in and out fast. “This must all be in my head!”
“You’re right that it’s all in your head,” the voice said, booming behind her enough that Alexandra wondered if someone snuck in, though when she twisted around, there was no one else in the car. “But I’m real.”
“N-no!” Alexandra squeezed her head, her rearview mirror reflecting her eyes yellow for a second. “NO!”
“Oh, yes,” the voice said with an arrogant tone. “I’ve been buried within your mind and soul for a long time. But I felt myself growing stronger over the past month until I finally became free during the full moon.”
“W-what are you talking about?” Alexandra demanded, pressing her forehead against the car wheel. “Why are you in me?! Who put you in me?!”
The voice laughed before it growled. “Foolish girl. I have always been within you. In fact, you used to be open about this side of yourself. But ever since that incident, you’ve repressed and buried me. For, you see, I am your anger. I am your ego. I am your resentment. I am you!”
“No!” Alexandra slammed her fist against the car door. “You’re not me! You’re everything I don’t want to be! Anger never solves anything!”
“Did suppressing your anger stop you from losing hours for a full-time job? Did it prevent you from losing money paycheck after paycheck?” The voice asked, amused. “Did it stop you from getting fired despite your outstanding record? Did it help make the landlord listen to you? Did it even save you from getting kicked out?” The voice paused, waiting for Alexandra to answer, with her sweating as she breathed faster. “You don’t want to answer any of them, do you? Because the truth is, you need me, but you refused because you believe you deserve it!”
Alexandra remained quiet for several seconds before pushing herself off the car wheel. “Voice, or however you want to be called, if you were behind those attacks, how did you do them? From those memories you sent me, you somehow used my body to cause such destruction, but I’m thin as a rake!”
The voice gave a mocking laugh. “Seeing is believing.”
Alexandra felt a tingle underneath her forearms’ skin and hands, and she raised them up. At once, gray fur sprouted on her arms, her fingernails growing long and thick, becoming yellow. She turned to the rearview mirror, her brown hair turning silver, and she leaned back hard, her eyes wide. But before the seat flopped back, her fur receded, her claws shortened and thinned to nails, and her fall-brown hair returned.
The voice snickered, with her feeling a shadow underneath her neck. “We’ve become something more than human. We became a werewolf.”
“H-how?” Alexandra pushed her seat back forward, rubbing her arms. “This shouldn’t be possible! Werewolves don’t exist!”
“I have no idea how. All I know is that, during the past month, I felt myself growing stronger, breaking away from your chains. And then, when you stared into the full moon, I felt its power enough that I finally took control,” The voice sneered. “And last night, I felt even stronger, enough to turn you into a werewolf for a few seconds in the daytime! Though, even now, I feel enough resistance that I cannot manifest without your permission, for now. Why, after tonight, I bet that any restraint you held against me will be broken. After that, we’ll live as a werewolf, fighting against anyone who angers us.”
“You’re a monster,” Alexandra said, shaking her head. “That’s what you are, a monster. You’re not me. You’ll never be me!”
“But I am you,” the voice said, a shadow flickering on the rearview reflection. Within held a hulking werewolf, sitting behind her and with a single claw under her neck, poking. “I have always been a part of you. No matter how much you hate me, I will always be with you.”
Alexandra felt a steamy breath behind her, but when she turned around, the hulking werewolf was no longer there. Instead, she heard mocking laughter and felt chills down her back flowing throughout her body. Despite how cold she felt, her body sweated, her hair drenched and her brow wet with sweat.
She unbuckled herself before she stumbled out of the car, with her falling down and scraping her palm. But the shallow wound closed when she flipped her hand over as though she had never scraped it. She gasped, getting up and closing the door before stumbling away.
Alexandra felt her head become hot and cold simultaneously, with her walk staggered as she stepped around a couple leaning against each other. They turned back at her, confused, before walking onward. They spotted a man in a blue aloha shirt running over. Alexandra did not turn around, instead slipping into an alleyway while breathing in and out.
Within, she slammed her back against the wall, breathing faster and feeling overwhelmed. She slid down onto the ground with her arms over her legs, curled up tight. Cardboard boxes and trash cans lay on either side of her, with stressful tears flowing out as she wiped them with her oversized shirt.
What felt like hours passed before footsteps followed into the alleyway, and she lifted her head up. Daren stood there, the morning light shining behind him and his blue aloha shirt and green shirt wiggling in the breeze. He turned to his bandaged arm, having a curious expression, as Alexandra felt intense anger flowing within her. Memories of him aiming and firing that pistol at her flooded her head, with the voice hissing in her ear.
“Don’t trust him,” the werewolf within her said, her voice quavering with fury. “He tried to interfere with our revenge twice, he even shot us both times. I’ll deal with him! Let me take over!”
Alexandra shook her right arm, which she grabbed with her left arm before she buried her face into her knees.
“You now know, don’t you?” Daren asked, his voice low. “You became a werewolf.” Alexandra paused before nodding, the hissing behind her ear becoming a growl. “The truth is that I guessed you were the one who trashed that store before we met, which is why I came. I am certain now since I saw you transformed.”
Daren stepped forward, the dirty blond hair reflecting gold in the sunlight. The werewolf roared within her, which she flinched at as Daren stood in front of her. He bent forward, extending his left hand over to her.
“I fear no shadow,” Daren said.
Alexandra blinked as the werewolf within her quietened. She lifted her head, her orange eyes meeting with his sea blue eyes, and she inhaled as echoes of pain came from her chest. Then, she lifted her left hand up, inch by inch, over to Daren’s. Their shadows from the sunlight paralleled each other, never crossing until their hands touched.
Here is part three of The Werewolf Connection. Enjoy!