Courage

By Cori Kane All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Horror

2

Entering town, Dean slowed their car. They were frowning since they'd seen a couple of men coming down the street with fishing polls. They'd waved. What kind of werewolves waved at strangers? What kind of werewolf community put up websites to invite strangers to visit, for that matter?

Something wasn't right, Dean could feel it. Even now, as they were looking around the place while slowly steering their vehicle down Main Street, everything seemed far too normal, almost idyllic. And more people were waving and smiling at Dean as they watched them. To say Dean had a bad feeling about all of this would have been an understatement.

Dean made their way to the inn, parking their car in front. It was a wooden structure, well settled, and home-y looking. Dean contemplated whether they should gear up with a visible weapon right now, just to send a clear message, but then decided against it. They didn't know the rules of the town. If Dean wasn't careful, they could get thrown into jail for wearing a weapon where the inhabitants would then make a meal of them come full moon. Dean wasn't going to make it that easy for them.

They exited the car and took their overnight bag from the backseat. Then Dean entered the inn. It was like walking into a fairy tale where everything looks nice and cozy like grandma's house, but the hairs at the back of your neck told you there was a wolf hiding inside granny's nightgown. The wolf of this particular establishment smiled at Dean from behind a reception counter.

“Good morning. I'm Grey, how may I help you.”

“Morning. My associate has booked a room for me. The name's Sutter,” Dean said as they came closer.

“Let's see.” The man, in lack of a better word, busied himself with his computer. He was typing in the slow speed of someone unused to working with it, Dean noted. “Sutter, Dean.” Grey looked at Dean for a long moment.

“Is something wrong?” Dean asked.

“You are Dean Sutter?”

“Yes, why?”

Grey blinked a few times. “I guess, I would have expected...a man?”

For a second, Dean fought the impulse to laugh. He'd thought that maybe the people of Courage had heard of them, that their name was enough to make them unwelcome. But the man behind the counter was obviously confused by Dean's gender.

Dean looked Grey straight in the eyes, unblinking.

“I'm sorry, M...Dean Sutter. That's a single, no smoking, for two days?”

Dean nodded. “That's right.”

Grey pushed the register at Dean, asking them to sign and how they were going to pay.

“Credit,” Dean said and pulled their wallet from the back pocket of their jeans. They gave Grey their credit card.

The whole registering process took less than ten minutes. Dean watched every movement Grey made, but nothing seemed out of place, nothing indicated that the person working in this more than ordinary inn was anything but a man. And yet Dean knew better.

They took their key and credit card from the counter and started ascending the stairs leading to the upper floor.

“Ahhhh...Sutter?” Grey called, before Dean could even reach it.

“Yes?”

“Have a nice stay.”

“Thank you.” Dean shook their head. This place was too weird for words, and they would only relax when they would see it in the rear view mirror of their car – hopefully following the school bus with all the kids and their teacher inside.


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