Tom had just finished bringing his family’s supplies over to Rachel’s underground bunker and was getting Raven and Michael settled. Mary was at the base of the ladder, catching the extra pillows and bedding they were going to use tonight. The five of them had decided they would go “puppy pile” for the night, shifting to their wolf form and curling up together to share body heat. It was the warmest and most comfortable way for them to sleep in the shelter, which was ten feet underground and was a constant fifty degrees or so. The other advantage was their vision as wolves were better, and lighting was almost nonexistent. “Rachel, do you have any more double A batteries? We should stockpile down there for the flashlights.”
“I’m not sure; I brought down the new stuff from the drawers already.”
“Did you get them from the remote controls? Flashlights that don’t work? Toys and games?”
“No.” She looked outside, the sun was rising, but they had all the curtains drawn to keep the harmful light out. “Let me grab what I can; just give me five minutes.” Moving around the house, she found a few dozen and a few other sizes as well. The odd sizes she left in the drawer, the only flashlights that still worked were the headlamp LED flashlights they found in a box in the back of the shelter. “Hey, Tom, did we ever figure out why those flashlights work and nothing else does?”
“They were underground, the bunker surrounded by steel rebar and sheet metal, and they were In a metal box. The electromagnetic pulse wasn’t strong enough to harm them.” He thought for a moment. “You know, that’s something we missed. We should go around to the empty houses, and grab batteries and check their basements to see if we find anything else working. Above ground, there’s nothing anymore that still works.” It was true; you didn’t understand how vulnerable your society was until in a moment everything was taken away — power, lights, transportation, even the ability to go outside. Flick a switch, and you are back in the dark ages.
Rachel was just about done collecting batteries from all the toys in Raven’s room when there was a knock on the door. Moving into the living room, she sniffed. It wasn’t a Pack member; it was a human. Two humans. She linked to the others in the house. “Two people are at the door; the adult is female. I’m going to check it.”
“Wait for me.” Tom moved up from the safe room, grabbing his Colt 1911 pistol and placing it in the back of his jeans. He silently lowered the hatch and told Mary to move to the top of the ladder. If anything went bad, she would secure it from the inside and protect the children. When dogged from the inside, no one would get in without a shitload of dynamite. “OK, I’m ready. See what they want.”
Rachel put her back to the wall, out of the way of the door should it be kicked open. “What do you want?” She snuck a peek through the glass, the woman was in her twenties, with long brown hair in a ponytail, and was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt. She was holding a girl who looked to be about six years old.
“Please, I need shelter. The sun is coming out. Please, if you’re still alive, you must have a place to wait out the day.” Rachel used all her senses and her wolf; the woman was frightened, but not aggressive. After a quick mental communication, she unlocked the deadbolts and opened the door. The woman came in, nervously squeezing her daughter. “Thank you so much. I’m so glad I saw the curtains move earlier, I was running out of time, and it isn’t safe out there on the road.” She set her daughter down. “My name is Abigail Dawson, and this is my daughter Autumn.” Her daughter peeked around from behind her mom and waved hi.
“Rachel Mendez. Come on in; we need to talk. You look exhausted, have you had anything to eat?”
“Not since yesterday.” She looked around the house nervously. “When all the cars died, we noticed our eyes starting to hurt, so we ran over to the ditch. There was a drain culvert running under the road; we went in there and in hindsight that hiding place saved us. Everyone who stayed up on the road, we found dead or blind that night.” Rachel was gathering up some ziplock bags full of grilled meat and some bottled water, along with some fruit juice. “We started walking and have been at it all night. It’s rough out there. I can’t believe what has happened.”
“What do you mean?”
“There are so many dead. Those that aren’t are taking whatever they want. Men took our backpack, our food, everything. If you resisted, they just killed you.” She looked down. “They had gangs of youth… drunk, horny and there was no one to stop them. I was glad I heard them, we left the road and walked around even though it took half the night. We barely made it here.”
Rachel had been sharing the conversation over the Pack bond. “Alpha, what do you think?”
Her dad’s answer was simple. “Follow your gut. If you can help them, we should help them. I can’t see more innocent children dying.”
Rachel packed everything into a plastic shopping bag and waved for them to follow her. “Come on, you’re right. We need to get underground. You can eat down there and continue your story.” Using the link, she told the two kids and Mary to shift to wolf form while Tom remained human. She ordered the children to stay as wolves with the humans around. They were safer in that form.
Rounding the corner, she saw Tom had already raised the hatch and was going down. “This is my neighbor Tom. Be careful going down; it’s pretty dark down there.”
Abigail helped Autumn get onto the steep ladder, and when she got to the bottom, Tom gave her a headlamp. Looking around, she quickly spotted the one large and two smaller dogs. “MOMMY!!! PUPPIES!!!”
“Be careful, dear; we don’t know if they are friendly.” Abigail was looking down the ladder, trying to help her.
“Don’t worry; they are very good with children.” Abigail went down the ladder, then made room for Rachel after the hatch was closed and secured. “There is a tiny bathroom in the back, it has a sink, but we have to conserve water so just get your hands and face wet then wash up and use a little more to rinse off.”
“Oh, thank you.” She moved her daughter back there, sharing the dim light from the headlamp. A few minutes later, they were sitting around the small table with Rachel and Tom, digging into the food.
“Don’t be shy,” Tom said. “With the freezers down, we cooked every piece of meat we could last night. I haven’t eaten that much meat since we went to Fogo de Chao last year in Seattle.” He smiled at Autumn. “And it’s too bad you weren’t here earlier, all the ice cream melted.”
Abigail paused between bites; she was starving, but she didn’t want to be rude. “How bad is it in Salmon?”
Tom looked at her. “It’s as bad as anywhere, I guess. We’re far enough out that we don’t see as many people. It was weird when it happened, though.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I’m a firefighter in town. The problem was, we had no phones, no radios. We couldn’t start our fire trucks; we couldn’t even get the doors open to the firehouse. Plus, we lost all the water pressure. We sent people out, told people to get to the basements. I rode my bike home to take care of my family, and in only fifteen minutes, I got sunburned.”
“You don’t look bad.”
“Well, I heal quickly I guess.” He looked at the two. “So, what were you doing on the road?”
“Returning from a trip to visit my sister in Idaho Falls. We live up in Corvallis with my parents.” Seeing the look, she quickly added. “I’m a widow. My husband died in Iraq when I was pregnant with her. I moved back in with my parents, went back to school part-time while raising her.”
Rachel reached over and put her hand on hers. “I’m sorry. You’ll like my husband; he was combat wounded in Iraq.” She looked at her daughter. “I’m glad you found us.”
“I found the puppies!!” Autumn looked up at them, she had one puppy on each side of her, heads in her lap and she was sneaking them little bits of meat when she thought no one was looking. “Puppies are nice. What are their names?”
“The black one is Raven, and the brown one is Mikey. They seem to like you.” Autumn giggled as the dogs licked her face. “Maybe they will sleep with you and keep you warm.”
“Can they? Please??” She gave the puppy dog eyes to her Mom.
“If they want to, but you can’t force them, all right? Now, I need you to eat so we can get cleaned up.” When she was eating the pear on the table, Abigail resumed the adult conversation. “Where is your husband now? Will he make it before the sun is too high?”
Rachel sighed. “He’s a doctor; he was at a clinic up in North Fork when this happened. Of course, with the phones down I haven’t been able to talk to him.”
“He’ll be fine; he can take care of himself.” Tom started to pick up the trash. “I’ll get the beds ready for them.”
By the time dinner was done, Rachel had set up the shower for them and had found some spare pajamas that would fit them. “You’ll have to go one at a time, and I warn you, it’s cold. The shower and the sink are fed from a cistern that collects rainwater, so it’s Navy showers. Wet down, then wash with the water off, then rinse. Towels are here; the clothes are next to them. Whoever is outside gets the headlamp.” Rachel had to laugh when Autumn’s shriek came out; she hadn’t been kidding, the water was cold, so cold that someone taking a Hollywood shower would never be a problem. When they were both done, she led them to a full-size bed set up on a small platform in the corner. As soon as Autumn was under the covers, the two dogs jumped up with her. As Abigail was getting in the other side, the two puppies were nosing their way under the sheets until one was curled up by her feet and the other was in her arms, her face resting against the soft fur of Raven’s neck. Abigail waited until Tom and Rachel were in their beds, the big dog jumping up to sleep with Tom.
Her eyes started to tear up as she thought about how lucky she was to have found them. Softly, she said her prayers over her daughter, giving thanks for her new friends and asking for her parents to be all right.
“Amen.” She turned off the light.
She woke up hours later when she felt the bed shift. She heard the dog jump off, then the click of its nails across the cement floor towards the bathroom. She was just about back to sleep when the small toilet flushed. She clicked on her headlamp in time to see a naked young girl opening the curtain of the bathroom. She watched as the girl dropped to the ground, transforming in a few seconds to the black wolf puppy that had been in bed with her.
“Doc, wake up. The girls are coming around.” Eric was gently shaking him as he tried to wake up enough to function. His training kicked in, one thing about residency and the military, you learned to wake up quickly when you need to. He sat up and looked over at the girls in the dim light of the oil lamp that was burning on the table.
“Have they said anything?”
“No, but they are restless, they will wake up soon we figure.”
Marcus nodded and moved off to the small bathroom in the corner of the shelter. After relieving his bladder and washing up, he used some unscented deodorant then found a clean T-shirt and pulled it over his scarred torso. The scars were not near as vivid as before his change, but they would always be a reminder of his time in the Army. He moved back to the cots where the twins were resting, their mates sitting against the wall where they could keep an eye on them.
Checking Bethany first, he noted that the severe sunburn was gone, leaving behind some peeling skin. The blisters were now white spots, rapidly healing as the werewolf change boosted their immune system and hastened their recovery. Looking at her makeshift chart, he could see that she was becoming stronger with each hour. He covered her back up with the thin sheet and smiled at Derek. “She’s recovering well. She should hit the change fever soon.”
He nodded, preparing himself for the inevitable fever and sickness that accompanied a change. He would be with her throughout, he couldn’t stop it but he could and would take her mind off it. “What about her eyesight, Doc? Wil the change fix it?”
Marcus leaned over and gently lifted an eyelid; her eyes had lost that glazed-over whiteness from before, and he saw the beginning of a glow. “We won’t know for a while, her eyes are changing right now. We could see anything from no change to a complete recovery. I really don’t know; nothing like this has happened before.” Sitting up, he looked into Derek’s eyes. “Either way, she’s your mate so will it matter?”
“To me, no, she’s my mate however she is. I want her to be able to function, to see the world, to watch our children play.”
“We all do. Keep talking to her and holding her; the mate bond will comfort her and help her heal faster.” Turning around, he did the same exam on Britney under Eric’s watchful eyes. She was also healing well, her severe sunburn gone now. He was worried about her heart, so he pressed his ear to her chest to get a better listen. Eric growled at him; he just looked at him with amusement. “I’m helping her, Eric, you just hold her and let me do my work.” When his face relaxed, he laughed to himself. “There’s no more jealous mate than a new mate.”
“Except a mate of a pregnant female.” Derek elbowed his brother, he could read his face like a book, and he knew what he thought as he looked down at her naked form. “Don’t focus on that, remember, we’ve got some explaining to do when they wake up. It’s not all about the sex, you know.”
“Not until she accepts the bond, then we will be thinking of little else for a few days. I’ve been waiting my whole life for her; I can wait a while longer.” He caressed her scalp and the back of her neck, some of the few places that hadn’t been hurt by the UV rays while they were sunbathing. They were all shocked when Britney let out a quiet moan, then shifted her head slightly as her eyes scrunched up.
Eric pulled his hands back, only to have Britney groan. “Nooooo… don’t stop, that felt good.” Opening her eyes, she looked around in the dim light and didn’t recognize anyone. Panicked, she tried to sit up but that hurt so she didn’t struggle when Eric gently pushed her back down. “Where am I? Where is Bethany?”
Marcus moved to where she could see his face in the light. “You’re safe, Britney. I’m Doctor Mendez, and you’re in a cot recovering. Bethany is in the cot next to you, and she is also recovering. Can you tell me how you feel?”
She closed her eyes, and they could see her wiggling fingers and toes while moving her arms and legs slightly. “I’m tired, really sore, and my skin is sensitive.”
Marcus nodded. “Now that you’re awake, I need to check a few things. How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Good. Now, I’m going to touch a few areas where you were injured. I want you to tell me on a scale of 1 being no pain to 10 being you wish you could die instead, how bad the pain is. All right?”
She nodded. Her face was only 2’s and 3’s; the ribs were the highest at 5’s. “All told, you’re doing very well, Britney. How does your chest feel? Any problems breathing?”
“It feels like someone beat me up.”
“Sorry about that.” Josi had woken up and moved opposite Marcus next to her cot. “You gave us a real scare, Brit. Your heart stopped last night, and we had to give you compressions. We might have cracked a few ribs.” Josi had tears running down her face, and Britney started to cry too. “I’m so happy you made it.” Britney reached up to her and was startled when strong hands gently lifted her shoulders to a sitting position.
She turned around and looked at the man who was behind her. “Who are you?” Then she looked at her sister and the twin sitting behind her cot. “And him?”
Erick massaged her neck and shoulders while he tried to figure out what to say. “I’m Eric Becker, and this is my twin brother Derek. We were with Doc when you were found, and we brought you here.”
Britney relaxed into his fingers, not knowing why, but for some reason, she trusted him; she almost craved his touch. His fingers left ghostly shivers on her skin, little tingling trails that seemed to be connected right to her core. Looking at her friend, she was confused. She reached for Josi again, only to have the sheet pool at her waist, revealing her naked torso to all. She grabbed the sheet and pulled it back up, quickly laying down on the bed as she turned crimson. “Josi.. why am I naked around these guys?”
Josi smirked, she wasn’t going to spoil the surprise, plus those guys did the biting so that they could do the explaining. “Sorry girl, but you had a bad sunburn, remember? Blisters forming all over, you were hot an in pain, and clothing just made it worse. Everyone here is helping you. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”
Britney relaxed a little, and moved her arms up in front of her face, rubbing them gently. “I don’t feel any blisters; I don’t feel much sunburn. How long was I out?”
“About twelve hours,” Marcus said. “Hopefully Bethany will come out of it soon as well. Your bodies were so injured, your minds just shut down for a while.”
Britney stretched her arm out until her fingers grazed her sister. “She’s going to be all right too? What about her eyes?”
Marcus looked around. “We have to tell you a few things. Derek, can you get her a T-shirt, so she is more comfortable?” Derek nodded and came back with a shirt of Eric’s, knowing his wolf would feel more comfortable if she had his scent on him. The men turned around while Josi sat her up and helped her get the large shirt on.
It was big enough on her to be a dress, and she took a deep sniff of it as she was pulling it down. “Mmm, this smells amazing.” Eric snickered softly while she finished. “OK, I’m decent.” The men turned and faced her. “Now, start talking. Sunburns that bad take weeks to heal, not hours. What the hell is going on?”
Marcus and Josi backed off, motioning for the boys to explain. The two moved down the cot on either side. “Yesterday there was an event, we aren’t sure if it was a nuclear attack or a solar flare, but whatever it was destroyed the ozone layer and released a lot of radiation. The two of you were in the direct sun, and that’s why you got the severe sunburn, and why Bethany’s vision was lost.”
Britney looked panicked and turned to Marcus. “So she’s blind?”
“We don’t know yet. Her eyes were damaged badly by the sun, yours too but not to the same extent. It may be a few more days before we know how bad her vision is damaged, and whether it is permanent. The treatment could help, but it takes three days.”
“Treatment? What treatment?”
“Well,” Derek looked around nervously, “I bit your sister on the neck, and Eric bit you.”
“YOU FUCKING BIT ME? WHAT KIND OF WEIRD SHIT IS THIS?” Britney looked ready to kill, and Josi was laughing. She wasn’t the only one; her outburst in this small place combined with wolf hearing meant any pack member who was awake heard it. No one said a word, though- their Alpha had made it clear that the boys were responsible for her.
Eric looked into her eyes as he held her hand. She wanted to pull away, but the tingles kept her from doing it. There was something about this strapping young man that calmed her down again. “We’re werewolves, Britney. Biting you was the only way to save your life, and I had to save my mate.”
Her mouth could have caught flies. She looked at him for a good thirty seconds, barely breathing, waiting for everyone to start laughing at the joke. As she stared into his eyes, she realized he was serious. More than that, she saw the love for her in them. Finally, she closed her mouth and eyes before responding. “Werewolves. Twilight shit, right?”
“Twilight is a story; this is real, my love. Derek and I were born werewolves; we’ve been shifting between wolf and human forms since we were babies.”
“Bullshit.” She looked around. “You guys are hiding something.”
Josi looked at Marcus. “You mind showing her?” He nodded and stood up, pulling off his shirt. He stayed in the light but turned around as he dropped his shorts.
“What the…” Britney covered her eyes.
“No, watch.” Josi pulled her hands down from her face. “It’s nothing to be afraid of. These men saved us; they won’t hurt you. Just relax and watch.”
Marcus bent forward at the waist as he let the change overtake him. His bones popped and shifted, fur sprouted all over his body, and he dropped onto what were now paws. She watched as his artificial leg fell off when his leg lengthened and changed. His jaw and face shifted into wolf form, and a three-legged wolf turned to greet her. Britney was catching flies again, so Josi called him over, and he licked her face before she hugged his neck. “See? Nobody would lie about this. They are werewolves, and they showed up last night while the two of you were out. You rode on Eric’s back here, and I got to ride on Doc. It’s so cool…”
Britney still wasn’t reacting, so Eric got up and sat behind her on the cot, his back leaning against the wall. He pulled her back until she was leaning against his chest, and he held her until she relaxed into him. “Maybe we need to back up a little. Some of the stuff you read about werewolves is fact. We do shift back and forth to wolf form, but it doesn’t matter what the moon phase is, we can do it when we want. We aren’t bloodthirsty beasts; we’re just like you- except we have another form. Another difference is that we mate for life.”
Derek picked it up. “The Moon Goddess provides each werewolf with a soul mate, someone who is meant to be theirs and to complete them. We find them by smell, as we hit puberty the smell of our mate is imprinted in our minds. Finding our mate is the most important thing in our lives, for only with our mate can we be whole, can we be truly happy, and only our mate can have our children.”
Josi perked up. “So you can only impregnate your mate?”
“We can only have sex with our mate.” The girls looked shocked. “The smell of our mate is linked in our minds with sexual arousal. No mate smell, no erection, no sex.”
“So you’re still…” Britney shifted nervously, the hot bar pressing into her lower back was distracting.
“Yes, I’m a virgin. My mate will be the one and only person I am with.”
Britney sat up and turned on him. “LIAR! If what you say is true, why do you have this?” She pointed to his obvious arousal that was tenting his basketball shorts.
He blushed. “I didn’t lie. I’d never lie to you. This is because of you. Because of your scent, as soon as I caught it my wolf was going nuts for you, demanding I find you. Because you, Britney, are my mate and I love you already, and I’ll do anything to keep you safe and happy.”
She was catching flies again, her mouth slowly opening and closing as her brain tried to catch up. “And Derek?”
“I’m Bethany’s mate.” She looked down to see he was holding her hand tenderly.
“This is so weird.” She looked closer at the man who was gazing upon her with such love. “I don’t even know you, what if I don’t like you?” In her mind, there was an answer. “He’s our mate; we will love him.” She covered her mouth. “What the hell was that? Why do I hear a voice in my head?”
Marcus smiled. “It’s your wolf. She’s part of you now; she will be your constant companion and help. What did she say?”
“That he’s my mate and we will love him.” She closed her eyes. “Don’t I get a choice in any of this?”
“Of course, my love, you always have a choice. You can accept me and become my mate, or you can reject me and move on. As painful as that would be, I would have to respect your choice.”
“Yes, you see, the mate bond started when we first sensed each other, and when I bit you, it became stronger. Breaking the bond is painful. After the bond is fully, um, consummated by making love and biting each other during the act, breaking the bond may result in death. It’s that strong.”
“Wait, if we’re not fully bonded, what happened when you bit me?”
Eric hugged her as Marcus picked it up. “You were dying. The damage was so extensive that you wouldn’t have made it to morning. Their wolves knew this instinctually, and by biting you, they gave you a chance. The bite of a werewolf brings a transformation to the human, it changes your DNA and causes a number of physical changes, but the most important for you was it accelerated the healing process and helped your body repair the damage much faster than a human could. Last night, Britney, your internal organs were so damaged by the radiation you were bleeding into your stomach and your heart stopped. They got to you just in time.” He looked around the area. “Do you see all these people? They were also humans, townspeople here in North Fork. These are all the survivors from yesterday, a town of two hundred now down to the Pack and a baker’s dozen of human survivors. The only way they would survive was to be bitten, so they are going to change as well if they survive.”
“So I’m becoming a wolf?”
“Yes, my love, you will live to be a wolf. A beautiful wolf, and we will run through the woods side by side, and howl with joy to the moon.
Josi moved back to her cot, her loneliness hitting her hard. Looking back, Britney was now resting on Eric’s chest. He had showed her how to communicate mentally and they were now having a very private and intimate conversation as they got to know each other. Meanwhile, Bethany was starting to shift in her sleep so Derek was holding her hand and stroking her face. She’d never felt like such a third wheel; they were all completely lost in each other.
She would have tried to go back to sleep, but Marcus sat on the edge of her cot while he put his artificial leg back on. “New mates… they are like this. They don’t mean to ignore you, it just ends up that way.”
Josi snorted. “How long does this last?”
“Weeks.” Marcus finished with his prosthetic and straightened his leg out. “Your friends will be fine. The twins are good men, and will be great mates for them. And you know, it will only get more syrupy after they make the change. The good part is that with the mental bond between them, you don’t have to listen to them.”
“That’s good.” She looked over to the cot where the two lovers were tenderly kissing. Looking back, she changed the subject. “You were changed by your mate.” He nodded. “What will happen as they turn?”
“Right now the infection is coursing through them and changing their DNA makeup. The advantage is that it has resulted in the rapid healing, in another twelve hours they should be completely healed. Then the fevers and the body aches will start.”
“How bad are they?”
“They are really bad. The wolf nature is pushing forward, and the entire body is preparing for the first shift. That part lasts about two days, they will be delirious, in and out of consciousness. You think you are going to die, but you don’t. Then on the third day the shift begins. It’s incredible pain, the worst I’ve ever had, and you’re all alone. You can’t take drugs for it, you can’t stand for anyone to touch you. The sound of your bones breaking and your body reforming is something you never forget, it’s like gunfire in the back of your brain. They will be coached through it, encouraged by their mate and their new Pack. Eventually, you complete the shift, and the pain ends, but then the fun starts.”
“Well, you now have a powerful wolf body, coursing with energy, but your wolf nature is forward, and if you aren’t grounded, it can go bad. The horror stories about werewolves have a basis in fact; newly turned wolves can go feral and attack. The human part of the brain gets pushed aside, leaving only base instinct- and when you are hurt and frightened, the instinct is to lash out. That is why it is so important to have your mate or your Alpha around when you turn. It gives your wolf an anchor, something to hold onto through the pain and the change. With that help, your wolf and human natures can merge, and you become a stable member. Your wolf is happy being in a structured environment; a mate helps, but the wolf needs an Alpha too. It’s how werewolf brains are wired.”
“So… the twins will be staying here then.”
Marcus nodded. “Their place is here now, their mates and their Alpha are here. Are you all right with that?”
She looked at her hands. “They can make their own decisions. When I look at Britney, she’s never been this into a guy. Ever.” Looking back up at him, she felt tears forming in her eyes. “Am I stuck here now too?”
“No, you aren’t, but it isn’t safe out there either. We will keep you safe if you let us, you are important to us. Same thing for Willow and Cheyenne. You can stay here if you want.”
She shook her head side to side. “No, my mom… she dropped us off then went to visit a friend in Idaho Falls. She’s probably worried sick about me. I know our families back in Pocatello will be going nuts as well. We need to get back to them.”
“I’ll talk to the Alpha later today. I need to get back to my family in Salmon, and my two escorts are no longer in play. Get some rest, all right?” He pulled the blanket over her and let her settle down again. Leaning down, he kissed her forehead. “See you in a few hours, partner.” She smiled, and soon, her breathing evened out, and she returned to sleep.
Marcus turned over the Bethany watch to Willow, as Eric had his mate ensconced in his arms. Returning to his cot, he removed his leg and tucked himself under the thin blanket. In combat, you learned quickly to get your sleep when you could so he was fast asleep in moments, dropping into dream space. As always, his Rachel figured prominently in his dream.
He had awoken from the pain of his first shift, and the first thing he noticed was that his eyesight was far better than before. The room was dark, but it didn’t matter as his wolf vision in his remaining eye worked well, the grays of his night vision clearly showing the furniture. He took in a deep breath, and the smells were overwhelming. It was like listening to an old AM radio, then suddenly being in a theater with surround sound. The layers and depths, he could make out every scent, his mind picking through them until he found the one that pulled him in. Fresh rain, Scotch pine, and mint, his wolf rushed forward in recognition. “MATE!”
Rachel moved into his field of view; her hand gently stroked the brown fur on his shoulder. “You’re beautiful, my love.” Her left hand moved to the back of his head, scratching his ears as his mouth hung open and he started to wag his tail. The pain from the shift was now gone, and his body pulsed with new energy. He looked down at his back legs, and his face fell as he saw that the left leg ended in a stump. He whined, causing her to move her face down closer. “The change can heal, but it can’t create from nothing. You won’t get your eye or your foot back, but that is all right. A three-legged wolf can get around better than a two-legged man.”
“I was hoping,” he thought to her. “I don’t want you to feel like you got the wolf who can’t run with you.”
She pulled off her shirt, exposing her pert young breasts to him, then stood and removed her shorts. In their initial lovemaking, he had caught her smell, but nothing like it was now. The room soon filled with the scent of her arousal. He sat up and stretched his nose towards her sex, his wolf tongue reaching out to lap the dew from the dark hairs that covered it. If he thought she smelled amazing, her taste was positively addicting. He crept closer, causing her to jump slightly when his cold nose brushed her clit. He took a long lick, curling his tongue around her lips as she shivered in pleasure. He continued his assault, causing her knees to buckle as the sensations built rapidly. She grabbed the headboard with her left hand for strength as her right hand fisted in the short hairs on the back of his neck. When she leaned back, he curled his tongue, making it rigid, and pushed forward into her tight canal.
“FUUUUCK!” The first orgasm blindsided her, causing her muscles to lock up and her tunnel to grab on to his questing tongue. He didn’t let up, in between spasms he pushed it even farther in then curled the top up to brush her g-spot. She reached for the bed, lowering herself onto the pillow as his tongue continued to ravage her in the best possible way. She opened her legs wide as her hands on his neck urged him forward. He pulled his tongue out, lapping the free-flowing juices from her until she relaxed, then he pushed his tongue back in. Over and over he did this, his wolf and his human side both loving how much pleasure their mate was taking in his touch. He looked up; she was massaging her breasts and pinching her dark brown nipples as she moaned and told him not to stop.
He didn’t. He dove back in with gusto, his tongue flinging juices in all directions as he built her up to a finish. “Oh god… so close… please…” He pulled out, then pushed his tongue into the dark star. She screamed as it went past her anal ring, and that was enough to light her rocket and send her into orbit. He had trouble staying in place as her hips bucked up, collapsed and bucked again while she screamed his name in pleasure. Finally, she pushed him away, begging him to stop because it was all becoming too much. He watched as she relaxed into the bed, quickly falling into a sated sleep.
He looked around his apartment; he could tell she had cleaned up while he was out for the change. He stood on the bed, learning how to stand in wolf form. He walked up to her, licking her face she just moaned and went back to sleep, so he jumped off. Working with three legs took some practice, and he fell a few times on the soft carpet until he figured out how to coordinate everything. He moved out to the kitchen and used his teeth to pull the refrigerator open. She must have gone shopping because there were packs of steak in the place he kept his beer and takeout leftovers. He sniffed the lot before selecting a large sirloin; he pulled it off the shelf before nosing the fridge closed. He ripped the plastic wrap off with a paw, then held it down with it while his teeth ripped off a chunk. Steaks had never tasted this good.
Once he was full, he went back to the bedroom and curled up with Rachel for a nap. She woke him an hour later, in wolf form. The gleam in her eye and her posture, butt up and front legs flat to the bed, told him she was ready to play. “Catch me if you can, Marcus.” She leaped off the bed and nosed open the sliding door to the back deck, racing through the night towards the woods in back.
“You can run, but you can’t hide, Rachel.” He moved outside and howled to the quarter moon. “And when I find you, I’m going to pound you hard, then fill you with my knot until you pass out from pleasure.”
Five minutes later, his wolf had her trapped under his chest. His jaws gripped her neck, pushing her down until she stopped struggling. He gripped her rear legs with his front legs, pulling her backward until the red head of his wolf cock aligned with her swollen sex. He plunged forward, causing her to yip as bottomed out. He howled in triumph as he started to pound away at her. Soon, his knot formed at the base of his cock, and he held her tight as he slowly pushed it in. She whined in pain as he stretched her even wider, then she collapsed back down as it finally seated. His thrusts were shorter now, and the knot was doing its magic inside her. Every time it moved in she felt it massage her, and with each partial withdrawal, it stimulated her G-spot. The sensations caused her to bounce from one orgasm to the next until with a final thrust; he pushed even farther before he started to fill her up. He lost control of his rear leg, and his knot pulled her to the ground with him.
Abigail’s eyes remained wide open as her mind tried to process what she had just seen. That friendly dog wasn’t a dog. A dog wouldn’t use a toilet and flush, couldn’t wash her hands. The young girl had looked right at her before transforming into a wolf and going back to bed.
She was lying next to Autumn. Her daughter had a werewolf by her neck. Probably two, the brown one was a werewolf too.
She looked around, trying not to move her head or make noise. Rachel was asleep in her bunk, and Tom was gently snoring, his head resting on the neck of the huge wolf. That must be the mother werewolf; she wondered if the two humans sleeping were really that or not. She had traded the horrors of humans for the horrors of the inhuman. She was trapped, locked in a room with demon creatures that probably lost their humanity.
She had to get them out. As quietly as she could, she pushed the blanket back and sat up. She wanted her knife, anything for protection, but her backpack was gone. She looked around in the dim light of the oil lamp until she saw it on the shelf. The butt of a pistol left near the ladder. She moved slowly and quietly out of bed, padding across the room until she was able to pick it up. She looked at it, a Colt 1911 Government .45 with tritium night sights. She held the pistol out, the three dots glowing in the darkness as she held it with practiced hands. Her husband had owned one and had taught her to shoot, she didn’t like the recoil or the weight compared to his others, but she was a good shot with it. She could tell it was customized; the trigger was drilled to reduce weight, and the handgrips were custom engraved.
She held the pistol with her right hand by her hip as she moved over to the bed her daughter was on. She debated what to do; she could probably get her out of bed, but there was no way she would get across the room and up the ladder without waking someone. She couldn’t work the hatch and protect herself and her daughter at the same time. She squeezed her hand on the pistol grips as she worked through the possibilities, and finally decided on a strategy to get out.
She put the cocked and locked pistol behind her back and pushed the slide between her jeans and her belt to hold it. Carefully moving the blanket aside, she got her hands under her daughter’s shoulders and pulled her clear of the two werewolves. The black one growled but didn’t wake up as Autumn’s arm dragged across her neck. When she was clear of them, Abigail picked her up and set her on the floor next to the ladder. She woke up as her mom put her hand over her mouth. “Quiet, Autumn. We are leaving now. I need you to keep your eyes closed and stay still until I come to get you. Can you do that?” She nodded and closed her eyes.
Abigail moved over to the bed where the big wolf slept with Tom. Her right hand went behind her back and brought out the pistol, while the left hand reached for the oil lamp. She positioned herself so all the humans and wolves in the room before turning the knob up so she could see clearly. Then she knocked a few cans of food off the shelf and let the noise wake them.
Tom sat up as his wife Mary rolled onto her stomach, growling as she looked around for the danger. Rachel also sat up, while the two youngsters moved under the covers but didn’t look out. It only took a second for them to focus on Abigail holding the .45, both hands steadying her aim as her right thumb snapped the safety off. Life and death now rode on a few ounces of pressure on the stainless steel trigger. “Everybody FREEZE.” She moved the pistol between the two beds, making sure nobody tried to attack.
“Abigail, what are you doing? No one wants to harm you.” Rachel looked at her, confusion on her face as everything had been fine when they went to bed.
Abigail pointed the gun at Mary. “You’re a werewolf, aren’t you.” She aimed the pistol at Rachel then back to Tom. “You’re all werewolves, right?”
Tom looked at her. “What the hell are you talking about? Werewolves aren’t real.”
Abigail moved the muzzle slightly to the left and squeezed the trigger. The sound of the pistol was deafening in the small space and the flash of the powder lit the room as the bullet fired. It hit some canned beans on the shelf, exploding them over the bed and covering Tom and Mary with brown sugar sauce. “DON’T FUCKING LIE TO ME.” She waved the pistol in the direction of the children, two heads were poking out of the covers and shivering in fright. “I watched the black one change from a girl to a wolf. You’re werewolves. Now, all of you change back before I start shooting again.”
Rachel held her hands up. “All right. Nobody wants to hurt anyone here. Michael, Raven, change back.”
Abigail watched as puppies became human children. The two hugged each other as they sat in the bed. She looked back to Tom’s bed, as the wolf was replaced by a naked female.
She sat up and grabbed a T-shirt from the bedside table and pulled it on. Mary looked at the two; her eyes were sad. “I’m sorry we scared you. We are better able to protect ourselves in wolf form, and you and your daughter were unknowns. We weren’t out to hurt you. When the sun goes down, you are free to go.”
“Forgive me if I don’t believe a bunch of animals.” She ignored the low growls. “Let us out now.” She pointed the gun at Tom. “Open the hatch and move back to the bed. If you try anything, I’ll shoot the women first.”
Tom raised his hands and slowly got up, clad only in his boxers, he walked across the room. “All right, we will let you out. Please point that thing away from them, nobody wants to die today.” He went up the ladder, removing the dogs that held it closed then he pushed it up and out of the way. Light streamed in since it was two in the afternoon. He came back down the ladder and moved back to the bed, sitting next to his wife and hugging her to his side.
Abigail moved back to where Autumn was sitting, her eyes never leaving the five of them on the beds as she did so. “Autumn, open your eyes, honey.”
She did, they were wet with tears because she had been frightened by the gunshot. “Mommy, what’s going on?” She looked around and pointed to the boy and girl sitting in her bed. “And who are they?”
“Don’t worry about it, honey. I want you to climb up that ladder and wait for me upstairs.” She pulled her to her feet and nudged her towards the ladder.
Rachel looked at them with worry. “Abigail, think for a moment. It isn’t safe up there. Sundown isn’t for another six hours. You’ll hurt your daughter, maybe even kill her before you can find shelter.”
“I can’t stay with a bunch of demons. I’ll take my chances up there.” She waved the pistol as she watched her daughter disappear out the hatch. “Now, none of you try to follow me. I’ll shoot you where you stand.”
“You’re making a big mistake, Abigail.” Mary was pleading with her to no effect.
“All of you turn around and put your hands on the wall. Don’t move or I’ll shoot you.” She waited for them to follow her directions, then moved to the ladder. She kept the pistol in her right hand, using her wrist on the ladder rungs as she climbed up while still keeping an eye on the people. With one last look, she got out and slammed the hatch down.
A few moments later, there was a thump, followed shortly by the scream of a young girl. Everyone in the shelter was looking at the ladder as the hatch was thrown open and the little girl climbed back down, sobbing as she did so. “HE HURT MOMMY!”