Writers island time again.
The prompt this week is ferocious.
This is a heart-warming little ditty about werewolves.
Hope you like it –
Martha didn’t like the look of the kids in lock-up. Lean and sly. And good-looking like rockstars. The good-looking ones were always the worst, tried to manipulate you with their pretty faces.
They couldn’t be more than 19 or 20 but they had an air about them, something timeworn, ancient. It scared her.
The sheriff made her take in their breakfast. They disregarded the cereal but devoured the bacon and sausages, licking the grease off their fingers.
‘Is that silver?’ the girl asked, indicating the cross Martha always wore. Her eyes had narrowed to slits.
‘Yes, it is,’ Martha replied. ‘It was my mother’s.’
‘How can you wear that?’ A thin line of spittle was running down the girl’s chin. ‘It’s so heavy – and cold.’
Martha cleared the breakfast dishes away hurriedly, surprised to find her hands were shaking. The girl watched her, idly twirling a lock of thick, black hair around her fingers. ‘When can we get out of here?’ she asked.
‘That’s up to the Sheriff,’ Martha said. ‘Not me.’
The Sheriff was out on a call. The deputy, a flighty young man in his twenties, was talking on the phone. Martha cleared her throat, indicating the kids in the cell. ‘They want to know when they can leave,’ she said. The deputy continued talking, ignoring her. She heard the kids in the cell shuffling around, shaking the bars, and felt an edge of disquiet creep up the back of her neck. She closed the door to the office as tight as she could.
The Sheriff called in. He needed back up on an attempted robbery. The Deputy had to go.
‘Don’t leave me here,’ Martha begged. ‘With them.’ The deputy laughed, patting her hand. ‘They’re locked up safe and sound,’ he said. ‘Besides, they’re just a couple of kids.’
The afternoon wore on. Martha could see tinges of shadow edging up around the hills. The kids began to rattle the bars again. ‘Hey, Cross-Lady,’ shouted out the girl. ‘We need to get out of here. Now.’ Both of them began to shout, rattling the bars relentlessly. The shouting went on and on, getting more high-pitched until it turned into a keening, a whining, a howling.
Martha flung open the office door, panicked, thinking wild dogs were circling the lock-up. The kids stood there, leaning on one another.
‘Look, Cross-Lady,’ the girl spoke again, ‘we really need to get out of here. We need to take our medication before it gets dark.’
‘What’s wrong with you?’ Martha asked. ‘Are you diabetic? Are you heroin addicts?’
‘Not exactly.’ The boy spoke for the first time. A guttural sound, almost like a growl. She hadn’t noticed before that he had a beard and very large, hairy hands. ‘Let’s just say we have anger management issues.’
‘It would be in your best interests to let us go,’ said the girl. ‘There’s a full moon tonight.’ She looked out the tiny cell window at the lengthening shadows. When she turned back the whites of her eyes were yellow.
‘Let us go now or in under an hour we will rip this place apart with our bare hands. We will tear out your heart and eat it while it still beats in our hands, revelling in the blood and the power, ferocious, unrestrained. We will kill all we come in contact with. There will be no remorse or mercy. We will not be able to stop. The streets will be coated in blood. The world will be in tatters. But you can stop it. You can release us now while there is still time. The moon is not yet risen.’
‘I can’t let you go,’ Martha protested. ‘The Sheriff will be angry.’
‘Not as angry as we will be when the moon is full. Get the keys. Get the keys now.’
The girl’s face was changing. More elongated, angular. Hair began to sprout all over her body. ‘Get the keys,’ she cried.
Martha ran to the desk, stumbling, falling like a child over boxes of files and chairs not pushed completely under tables. The keys were in the top drawer of the Sheriff’s desk, along with his spare gun. ‘Please let it be unlocked, Please let it be unlocked,’ she repeated over and over.
The drawer was unlocked. Martha grabbed the keys and the spare gun, dropping them several times in her haste. The cell was dark, quiet, she couldn’t fit the key in the lock. As she pulled back the door she saw two pairs of yellow eyes watching her, and the slight outline of muzzles, pointed ears. The moon was almost completely overhead, full and beaming.
‘What are you?’ Martha whimpered. She could feel the cross, cold against her neck.
‘We are creatures of the moon. We do her bidding. We are black nights, sorrow, pain, death. We are wolf.’
A growl rose from the corner of the cell as the moon climbed higher, a deep, ruinous groan. ‘Run,’ said a voice, only just recognisable as that of the girl’s. ‘I can’t hold him off for much longer.’
Martha ran to her car, weeping with terror as she tried to get her keys in the ignition, moaning aloud as the moon ascended to its full summit. The car started and she punched the air in triumph, pushing the accelerator flat to the floor, speeding along the dark road with her heart threatening to hammer its way out of her chest.
A cry rose, biting at her heels, filling her head with blood, aching, everlasting, as joyless as the beginning of the end of the world, and she drove faster, forward, ever forward, as the moon lit her way.