I pulled my arms around myself and stuck my mitten-covered hands in my pockets to keep them warm.
My mind would easily trick me in to thinking the worst. I’d had a rough life this far. I’d been picked on for every dam reason ever since I was a pup. After I turned thirteen, it had escalated. The females would mentally torture me. The males would be more physical. Everyone made sure I knew I was a low, worthless shit with a weak ass wolf. My wolf’s way of trying to keeping us safe was to instantly submit. It didn’t make it any better, it made us an easy target.
I shook my head to banish the memories. I was grateful to the Goddess every day for bringing Galina in to my life. Being around her kept the others at bay. She would go bat shit crazy on anyone that neared me with cruel intentions. She was never aggressive or dominant towards me, she was just kind and gentle. She protected me like a big sister, even though she was a tiny little thing.
The walk to work was about 20 minutes. It would’ve been a lot faster if I just shifted and ran, but I didn’t want to let her out unless I absolutely had to. I only shifted when the urge to run was at it’s worst, once a month, on the night of the full moon. It was enough to keep her quiet. When finally did let her out, I always tried to make sure I was with Galina, or that I was far away from other werewolves.
When I finally reached the Inn, I walked inside through the employee entrance at the back. I changed my shoes, clocked in, and went straight to the storage room. The smell of bleach and spring flowers hit me as soon as I opened the door.
I turned around to see Carl, the manager, walk towards me.
"Hello Sir!" I said and bowed my head.
"Clean my office before you go home. I have a bunch of meetings tomorrow." He said, stopping in the doorway.
I glanced up at him and saw his mind was far from here.
He was a middle aged man, a little taller than me. Deep wrinkles covered his forehead, revealing years of deep thoughts. He was strict, but never unfair. He had always treated me well. The thing I appreciated the most about my boss, was that he never raised his voice to me. If I ever did something wrong, he would simply tell me and give me the chance to fix my mistake without any repercussions.
"Yes, Sir." I replied while stocking my cart with supplies.
"Good" he said, turning on his heel and walking away. With my cart full, I made my way to the front desk. Mary, Carl’s wife, was sat in front of the computer. Her brown hair was pulled up in to a messy bun.
"Hello Mary, may I have the lists, please?"
"Sure thing, darling. There’s one guest that hasn’t checked out yet, so start with the others."
"Thank you, Mary." I replied, as I wiped over the counter.
"The cart with clean linens are on the delivery dock, would you be a doll and do that before you start cleaning?"
"Sure, I’ll get right to that"
"Thanks a bunch, sugar!" She said, turning back to the screen.
The layout here wasn’t optimal, but we managed. The delivery dock was at the other end of the hall with the rooms. There were two single rooms, five double rooms, two deluxe rooms and one suite. In the other end of the Inn there was a cozy little restaurant and a small bar. The front desk was right in between the bar and the restaurant. The decor was rustic with a modern twist. The building was a massive log cabin with all the newest features like steam showers, comfortable beds and flat screen TVs in every room. All the rooms had a different color scheme.
Walking towards the big, red metal door leading to the loading dock, a strange smell hit me. It was disgusting and intoxicating at the same time. Bile rose in my throat, and sent a pleasant shiver down my spine, making heat spread throughout my body. I felt intrigued, as well as repulsed. It smelled like something delicious had died and was rotting in a pool of regurgitated whiskey. I sprayed some air freshener behind me as I walked to my destination.
I pushed the red door open and let the fresh air fill my lungs and clear my nose. Putting away the linens only took me about ten minutes. I rushed back to the dock and grabbed my cart.
A wave of nerves suddenly hit me like lightning. It took me a few seconds to gather myself before I started towards the first room on my cleaning list.
I was almost done with the second-last room when I heard growling from down the hall. A door suddenly slammed, making me jump out of my skin.
What the hell was that?
I left the bed I was changing and ran into the bathroom. I felt safer here. I started cleaning the mirror with shaky hands, but was abruptly interrupted by heavy footsteps in the hall. They passed the room I was in and stopped a few seconds later. I held my breath and squeezed my eyes shut. The stomping started again and came back towards me. Cold sweat spread across my chest and my back. The footsteps didn’t slow as they passed the door, but continued down the hall in the direction of the front desk. I let go of the breath I was holding and immediately started hyperventilating as tears clouded my eyes.
No, no, no! This had nothing to do with me! Why are you reacting like this?
I gripped onto the edge of the sink and stared at myself in the mirror, willing myself to focus.
In, 1, 2, 3, out, 4, 5, 6. Repeat!
After a few minutes I regained control of my body. Grabbing the window cloth, I continued cleaning the mirror.
Fuck these irrational panic attacks! I hate them!
I finished up the room, and made sure everything was perfect and ready for the new guests. One more to go and I would be done with the rooms.
I pushed my cart out in the hall and the weird smell hit me again. It was not as disgusting as before, it was actually quite intriguing. But I had a job to do and I didn’t have time for this. Squaring my shoulders and sharply exhaling, I unlocked the suite door and pushed it open.
The stank hit me like a spray of stale beer straight to my face. I gagged, ran to the window and pushed it open. I stuck my upper body out the window and gulped the clean air. Holding my breath, I ran and pushed open the other windows and then ran out the room.
What in goddess’ name made this smell?
The odor in the room was revolting. There was still a whiff of something pleasant, but the nauseating stench of old alcohol was too strong, and it made me feel like shit. I had to take a minute to clear my nose, so I ran out to the loading dock. The combination of fresh air, diesel and garbage was so much better. I closed my eyes as I breathed deeply several times. The last 12 hours had really been weird as hell. Too much for my nervous soul.
I felt my wolf pacing.
Yes, yes I know the full moon is just around the corner. A few more days.
She let out a whiny growl, clearly displeased with me. Usually, it was enough to remind her of the upcoming run, but now she was more restless than normal.
I have to get back to work. Ease up, we will run, I promise.
I walked back to the suite and by now the odor had faded enough for me to stay and do my job. I surveyed the room. The mattress had partially slid off the frame, and the sheets were ripped. One of the pillows was torn in half. Feathers were spread all over the bed and the floor. I had to officially declare that pillow dead, there was no way to repair it.
What in the world happened here? Drunken twister?
I signed heavily and pressed the heels of my hands to my eyes. Better just get on with it. I pulled the sheets off of the bed and straightened the mattress. I removed as much of the free feathers as I could before vacuuming the rest. As I rolled up the used towels from the bathroom, I got a whiff of that smell again, the wonderfully delicious smell, this time without the repulsive stench. I closed my eyes as I moves my nose closer to the towels.
Fresh snow, fir and something… spicy?
Earthy, sweet and spicy.
Oh my... That, I… wow.