This story is by Thom Jenkins and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
It was a full moon. Annia knew it was coming. She could almost feel the change in the air. It was the one night of the month when all the crazies came out. She took a deep breath. She only had to walk the two blocks to her apartment complex from work. Surely that wouldn’t be a problem.
Dave waved to her from his glassed office. He mouthed the words, “You need me?”, walking his fingers across the air in front of him.
Hmph. The day she needed Oil Slick Dave was the day she hit rock bottom. Especially not so close to sundown. What good would he be? She waved goodbye.
She grabbed her rain coat. It was misting pretty heavily, although the weathermen had all predicted a sunny day. She wore grey dress pants with a sharp crease and comfortable wedges along with her tailored mauve silk blouse. Her black hair was done up in a tight bun and she was always careful to keep the neckline high and the makeup light. Men. They were all dogs. Give them the slightest nudge and they were ready to start humping your leg.
She gathered a few things from her desk and grabbed her purse. Annia had worked at the company for five years now, having started a new life in the city of Westborough. This was not her first time to start over. Some might call her unlucky, but she took it in stride. She was well read, educated and very self-sufficient. She didn’t have any photos in her cubicle, but one quote she had framed, written by Marcus Aurelius centuries before: “How unlucky I am that this should happen to me. But not at all. Perhaps, say how lucky I am that I am not broken by what has happened, and I am not afraid of what is about to happen. For the same blow might have stricken anyone, but not many would have absorbed it without capitulation and complaint.” She rather liked Marcus. He was in all the history books as one of the ‘good’ emperors of Rome. She snickered. There was always a backstory if you dug deep enough.
She stopped in the lobby and dropped a few quarters in the machine for snacks. The sun had just set when she stepped out. The street was mostly clear. A few last minute workers leaving the office building like she was. They briskly walked to their cars or hailed cabs. Quitting time was pretty strict on full moon nights, almost everyone had already left.
She turned to start down the first block. She was halfway down when she heard the howling. So it started. She made the corner and turned down the second block. This would be harder. There was a wide city park between her and home. That would be the place for the crazies to hang out. She sighed, cinched her coat tighter and pulled her purse closer to her waist. She reached in and pulled out the bag of snacks she had purchased in the lobby.
Her wedges made little sound on the pavement, but she knew that the wind was against her and they would scent her easily. She neared the park. The howling grew louder.
At the first entrance to the city park, a hunched figure stepped out in front of her. It threw back its head and howled. She could see the outline of the ragged ears, the snout, the humanoid form. The werewolf was bare chested of course. She didn’t know if that was an unwritten rule that they all took off their shirts, but kept their trousers on. It seemed uncomfortable.
The werewolf lowered his head to gaze straight at her. His yellow eyes gleamed in the dusk from within his mask of thinning grey fur. He growled and dropped to all fours. He crept toward her, snuffling and snarling. His teeth bared yellow and chipped. His spit dripped to the ground in anticipation of his kill.
He yowled in pain in his second step and stopped to press his muzzle against his hip.
“Mr. Jackson? Is that you? I guess you haven’t done anything about your hip yet, have you?” Annia asked.
The werewolf whined.
“How many times does it take for you to understand?” Annia continued. “A man of your age with a bad hip doesn’t miraculously get healed just because it’s a full moon!”
She brushed past him while Mr. Jackson put his head down. She patted his head. “Give my best to Mrs. Jackson, tomorrow.”
The block yawned ahead in the darkness. There were a few pools of light from the streetlights. As she looked, one light was blown out by a thrown rock.
In just a few steps, another wolf launched itself out of the park shrubbery. This wolf was a dark olive brown with lovely blue eyes. It jumped out just in front of her bringing her to a quick stop. He was a good bit taller that Annia, and quickly stretched out a claw in an attempt to rake her across the shoulder.
Stepping back to avoid the claw, and with a bit of disgust, Annia quickly noted that this werewolf was barrel chested, but had quite a gut to match. He wore not one, but two heavy gold chains around his neck. He had the effrontery to be pantless, but was still wearing his underwear. Emblazoned across the front were the words, “Keep rubbing to make your wish come true” with the shape of Aladdin’s lamp.
Annia rolled her eyes. “Down!” She commanded.
The werewolf stopped short and paused, confused.
The werewolf sat.
“Does wolfie want a treat?”
The werewolf’s tongue lolled out of his mouth and he began to pant.
Annia used her talk-to-babies-and-dogs-voice. “That’s a good boy. Sit. Here’s a treat.” She held out a treat from the bag. “Speak!”
The werewolf obligingly barked.
“Go get it boy!” Annia tossed the treat into the brush and the werewolf darted after it. She straightened her coat and began to walk again. She thought maybe he was Tony the car salesman. He probably called himself the Italian Stallion or something idiotic.
She had almost made it to the end of the block. She could feel eyes on her as she stepped past the last park entrance. Her apartment building was only a few steps away. Couldn’t be too careful though. She turned to see one last werewolf stepping out carefully to pause underneath a remaining streetlight.
This one was young and blonde. The change into wolf had done nothing but make this specimen better. Underneath his coat of fur, his muscles rippled across a broad chest and tapered down to a trim waist. He had on tight kahki shorts and stood upright, preening in the light.
Her breath came just a bit faster.
He dropped on his haunches, gazing at her with self-confidence bordering on arrogance. He licked his lips revealing pearly white teeth, straight and razor sharp. He growled.
He was probably a college student, maybe even an athlete. She groped for her treats. He began to move toward her slowly, and gracefully, deciding to forgo going on all fours. She spilled the treats on the sidewalk. He howled.
Lighting fast he struck as he launched himself at her with a gaping maw.
He grunted and choked as his attack was unexpectedly halted. She held him with one hand, arm extended, her fingers wrapped around his throat. His feet were off the ground and he began to paw at her and struggle.
“Hi, I’m Annia Galeria Faustina the Younger. And you are?”
The wolf struggled to howl, but could only gurgle in her grasp.
“Empress of Rome?” She looked at him quizzically. “Does no one read anymore?”
She continued to hold him at arm’s length as she turned toward the park.
“Let’s have a little privacy, shall we?” Annia said as she stepped into the dim park. “You look delicious.” The wolf panicked and began to scratch at her arms. The claws raked down, but no blood flowed.
“I’m rather dry, I haven’t eaten in a month.”
She threw the wolf down on his back and sat astride him.
“My first husband, Marcus Aurelius, said that death smiles at us all, but all a man can do is smile back. Smile for me, handsome.”
She bared her fangs and sank them deep into his neck. His elixir of life flowed freely with every passionate beat of his heart. Regular humans were fine for the occasional meal, but werewolves really satiated her lust. Their blood was earthy and full, like a fine strong red wine. It had been many centuries since she ruled Rome with Marcus. When she was turned by a sister vampire, he was her first meal, but definitely not the last.