This story is by Candace Cox and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
It wasn’t long before the clouds covering the moon vanished, revealing the light that shone on the streets of Los Angeles. Within the past week, L.A. had become a ghost town, with barely a sign of human life. Only a few fur-covered shapes prowled the streets.
One of the few remaining open buildings was a store, though the lights were dimmed. If the light wasn’t too bright, there was less of an opportunity for the threat to attack. The sole occupant kept glancing toward the window.
Why did I take the night shift? Abigail thought, as she surveyed the area in her mental “battle plan”. Plenty of objects were around that she could use as weapons, and most importantly, the register was made with a silver coating.
Silver stops werewolves, right?
Even so, Abigail was uncertain. Sure, that was what the legends said, but legend differed from reality. Silver might not hurt these werewolves at all—no one she knew of had killed one to be sure.
The “outbreak”, as she termed it, had occurred two weeks earlier, at the turn of Halloween. She felt her mind drift back to that moment…
“Don’t look directly at it. You’ll go blind!”
“That’s solar eclipses, Lance, not lunar ones!” Abigail scolded playfully, ruffling her friend’s dark brown hair.
“Oh, sorry! Did the necklace points hit you?”
Lance brushed it off. “No, no, it’s fine,” he said, the points of the jagged half of a heart swinging around his neck.
Abigail stopped the movement of the heart, pressing her own half of the heart-shaped necklace against his. Together they made a “Best Friends” necklace, Abigail sporting the “Best” half while Lance had the “Friends” half.
The pair smiled at each other before looking up at the moon, slowly beginning to turn from white to red.
Abigail pulled her blonde hair into a ponytail. “You’ll write to me while I’m in college, right?”
“Of course I will,” Lance assured. “I’ll come visit you every weekend!”
“You really don’t have to do that—”
“I insist, Abby!” Lance said with a grin. “We’re best friends and we’ll always stay together.”
“Promise?” Abigail asked, resting her head on his shoulder.
Before Lance could respond, what happened next silenced any words that were to come out of his mouth.
The red of the moon suddenly deepened, as if a switch had been thrown. The entire area was bathed in an unnatural red glow, swallowing the light of the Los Angeles skyline.
Whatever this was, it wasn’t a normal eclipse.
And then the howling started.
A growl jolted Abigail out of her thoughts. Whipping her head towards the window, she saw brown shapes obscuring the moon’s white light. Pairs of inhuman eyes fixed at the spot where she was, and Abigail tensed up in fear. She wanted to move, she wanted to run, but her legs kept her frozen in place.
Before she could make a move, the pack burst through the window, sending shards of glass littering the floor. The werewolves moved in almost perfect synchronization, their eyes fixed on Abigail. She backed up, but one of the wolves had circled around to block her path—too late to run now.
But Abigail’s focus was drawn to the leader of the pack, who locked eyes with her. She noticed the silver heart fragment that hung around the wolf’s neck.
To her surprise, the werewolf nodded, opening its mouth to speak.
Abigail gripped her own half of the locket to her chest. Silver didn’t have an effect after all. “You’re not going to… to kill me, are you?”
“Of course not.”
Lance stepped closer, and Abigail was transfixed by his golden eyes. She could see the word “Friends” glinting on Lance’s half of the necklace.
“We’re best friends,” Lance said, “and I promised we’d stay together… remember?”
Abigail felt sharp teeth dig into her arm.
Eventually, awareness returned, and the first thing Abigail was conscious of was that she was outside. The second was that the colors of the trees around her looked muted, and the park’s sounds and scents were overwhelming.
What the heck is going on?
Abigail tried to stand, but her hands and feet seemed to be paralyzed. What she saw upon turning caused her heart to stop. Rather than seeing her dark blue jeans and shirt, her body was covered in dusty brown fur. Her hands and feet, likewise, had turned into paws. And she had a tail, of all things!
Memories came flooding back. Lance. He had bitten her. That meant…
“Oh no, no, no!”
A laugh broke Abigail out of her panic. “Don’t worry, I freaked out too.”
Abigail turned around, and saw Lance laying down on a rock in his wolf form, his front paws crossed. Even as a wolf he appeared to be smiling.
“Lance, you’re a… I-I’m a…”
Trembling slightly, Abigail tried to get used to standing on four legs, eventually able to be nearly at eye-level with her friend. “Why’d—”
“I had to be the one to bite you,” Lance said, “if you’re bitten by a werewolf, you sometimes become like them. I didn’t want to risk my best friend going savage.”
A howl echoed from the city. Another followed. Abigail’s ears perked up and she felt a tugging at her heart.
“You could come with us, if you’d like.”
Abigail trained her senses on the city she could see in the distance. “I’d like that.”
The pair took off, Lance at Abigail’s side. Though she faltered, Abigail soon began to run faster, as if she had been racing on all fours for years.
“You know,” Abigail said, “aren’t werewolves supposed to be half-human half-wolf?”
“Legends are wrong sometimes,” Lance chuckled as their necklaces glinted in the moonlight. “Right, Abby?”
Abigail couldn’t help but have her mouth curl into a smile. “Right.”