Courage

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6

After the teens left, Dean walked back to the bar. They emptied their beer and hailed the barkeeper for another.

“Not to be nosy, but do you know those kids?” The tall man asked Dean when he put the beer in front of them.

“Not really.”

“So, what's your business with them?”

“That would be nosy,” Dean told him, looking up.

“One last question: how long have you been hunting my kind?”

Dean froze. They contemplated going for their gun, wondering if they could get to it, before the barkeep would leap over the bar. But even if by a small miracle, Dean would be faster than this wolf man, that left about 15 other patrons of the same kind. Dean decided to sit very still, with their hands around their glass.

“About seven years,” they answered the question.

“Killed some?” The barkeeper asked in a conversational tone that unnerved Dean.

“A few.”

“And what have they done to deserve that?”

“They killed humans,” Dean answered truthfully.

The tall man behind the bar nodded. “Then, I guess, you had every reason to.” He looked at Dean.

They weren't sure to trust the words from the barkeeper, but couldn't detect any misgivings or hidden meanings behind his words. “You're not angry?”

“More like sad. But I don't condone murder, not by humans, not by werewolves or any other kind. I'm just glad you don't just go killing my kind for the fun of it, or as a sport.”

Dean frowned. Of course, they knew that some hunters did this. They also knew that sometimes people just went out and shot a werewolf accidentally, taking it for an animal. Human beings were the only kind of animal who killed for sport, but Dean had never engaged in any of that.

“That's not what I do,” they said.

“Good. So, can I get you anything to go with that beer? Some dinner?”

Dean thought for a moment. “You got burgers?”

“Sure.”

“A hamburger with some fries would be nice.”

“Coming up,” the barkeep said and turned toward the window to the kitchen giving the order. Then he turned back to Dean. “By the way, my name is Cord McEllis.”

“Dean Sutter.”

“Nice to meet you,” Cord said, then turned to draw a beer for another customer.


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