Wolf's Lullaby

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Geriatric Drunkards

PHILIP

“Hey! Sunshine, get your ass out of bed! You have school today!” Stephan pulled the sheets underneath me, sending me flying over the edge of the mattress, landing on the floor on my back.

I groaned, rolling on my stomach.

I didn’t want to go today.

My head was killing me. Last night, as Stephan and Luca watched the game, I finished a whole damn lasagna by myself and got into a major food coma. It was worth it, though.

“I raised no slacker! Daddy is very disappointed!” he said in a high-pitched voice, smacking my ass. I jolted up, blinking at him, incredulous.

“You should check yourself in some institution,” I deadpanned.

He smiled, “Get up, I’m going to work and you are gonna be late for class. Here.” He said in his normal voice, as he threw a bottle of my medicine to me.

Begrudgingly, I got up and gulped the disgusting liquid and padded to bathroom. As I was rubbing my eyes and yawning, turning towards the toilet to do my business, I heard a snore.

Immediately, now more alert, my eyes blinked the sleep away. I saw Luca. On his ceramic throne he sat, looking like a goddamned thinker statue, only drooling, fast asleep.

The urge to slap him was strong but, I had a better idea. Reaching behind him, I pulled the tiny rope and flashed the toilet.

I did not think this through.

Startled, the idiot jumped up, looking around like some crazed caveman, giving me a flash of all of his naked glory.

And now I neede to bleach my eyeballs.

“Oy! Dickhead! Occupied!” Luca’s naked, crazy ass self came at me swinging, and I ran out of there like he got cooties, slamming the door in his face. “Motherfucker.” he mumbled, smacking the door with his palm.

“First cover up Goldilocks, then swing at me! Nobody needs to see that Cthulhu shit this early!”

Luca chuckled, “You’d be surprised how many actually do. Consider yourself blessed.”

“Ok, that’s it,” I walked down the hall to kitchen towards Stephan, who was standing at the isle drinking coffee. I pulled on my T-shirt, giving him a pointed stare. “Stephan, hold me back or by the Gods I’ll neuter him.” Stephan snorted in his cup, spilling coffee all over himself and the top of the aisle.

“Shit, I need to change. You idiots, stop fooling around. You’re gonna be late. Clean this.” He put his cup back down, turning to go to his room.

“Hey.” I said to him, remembering something as I saw a light blue shopping bag next to the couch in the living room. Lifting it up, I placed it on the aisle, “Can you take this to Theo?” I slid the bag towards him.

“You’re not going again?” he asked, peeking into the bag.

I didn’t answer. Stephan didn’t prod further, just gave me a tight smile.

We were late. Though who cared?

Math was the first class. I usually slept through it, anyway. As I was coming closer to the classroom, my nose got overwhelmed with the same scent from yesterday.

Well, fuck my life.

The headache that was fading slowly was now coming back. Silence fell over the classroom as I entered, all eyes on me. I nodded to Mr. Hersh and took my seat.

Great, she sat so close to me I was drowning. She hunched down in her seat scribbling something to Ivan next to her. She looked even smaller like that. Her hair was down today, falling in brown waves to her waist. It looked pretty. Suddenly she turned, and our eyes met. I immediately tensed, furrowing my brows.

Now she looked pissed. She scowled. Though I didn’t know if she was trying to intimidate me or whatnot, but it wasn’t working. She just looked like an angry baby fawn. Which was rather cute.

Where did that come from?!

Then she stuck her tongue out. That childish act seemed adorable. An involuntary smirk escaped me and I frowned, as I turned away and laid on my backpack, closing my eyes so I might fall asleep. Which proved futile, because I was very much aware of her presence. So as soon as the bell rang, I ran out of that torture chamber like my ass was on fire.

Fingers crossed, I won’t be in any more classes with her today.

And I wasn’t. Thank Fuck!

After school, I headed to Anna’s place. She owned a bookstore slash tea house downtown. It was a big black and white building with an arched porch and huge, black wooden double door over which stood a sign in a shape of a teapot that read “What the Book?” That was the extent of her husband’s idea of humor. I loved the old man, but being funny was not one of his qualities.

When he died five years ago, Anna took over. She didn’t change a thing, said this way he’ll always be with her.

I wondered how two so different people could function properly together and not kill each other. Boris, Anna’s husband, was a quiet man, calm, collected, smart. A gentle soul. While Anna was an energy ball and bat shit crazy. Still is.

She loved to experiment with different fashion styles. When I was younger, she was into pin up style hairdos, polka dot dresses and shit. Now it was biker chick style, leather jackets, leather pants, tattoos, crazy colored hair in a pixie cut. Tons of jewelry, Mister T would approve of.

The pack enforcer, now retired. One of the best. She could still kick some ass, but I was scared that she might throw her back or, gods forbid, break a hip.

Yet despite their differences, their relationship was really great. They were disgustingly in love.

Barf.

As I entered the room, the smell of books, dust, herbal and aromatic teas hit me, and I felt calm, at peace. I loved this place. It was my favorite hangout when I wasn’t with the two other idiots.

The bookstore was well lit. It had huge windows on lower and upper levels, with big comfy window seats and a bunch of pillows with small wooden tables in front of them and between the aisles of bookshelves interspersed were tables for two.

There were no customers in right now. Actually, maybe one or two people. I didn’t see them, but I could faintly scent them.

I walked to the reception counter slash tea brewing station slash cash register and behind, between the tea containing shelves, was a door to Anna’s office.

The door was slightly open, and then it hit me.

The overwhelming scent of whiskey and cigars.

I groaned and rolled my eyes as I entered the room. It looked like a casino exploded in it. There were papers, money, poker chips and playing cards everywhere. And what was this? Confetti? Guess somehow, they turned poker night into an all-night party. The table had six whiskey glasses, some empty, some had liquor in them. Are those dentures?

Sure enough, there were dentures in one glass. Empty bottles laid on the floor. A huge coffee stain on the table, cigar buds overflowing from the ashtray.

I scrunched my nose in disgust and walked to the window, opening it so the place could vent.

“Anna?” I called as I didn’t see her, though I could smell her in the room. Turning away from the window, I froze. My heart dropped to my feet, stomach twisting. I saw her lying on the floor, between the green old couch and the coffee table in the room’s corner. She looked like she wasn’t breathing. In a nanosecond, I was next to her.

“Anna? Anna! Wake up!” I panicked, fear gripping my heart. She didn’t respond, even when I shook her as gently as I could with my shaky hands.

Her makeup was all messed up and smeared, and she was pale. I lowered my head to listen for a heartbeat, “Grandma, come on!” As I uttered those words, with a loud grunt, a hand gripped the hair on the back of my head so hard I thought I would have a bold spot.

“It’s Anna! Runt! I’m not old enough for that ‘grandma’ shit!” her raspy voice reprimanded me as she shoved my head away and sat up.

“What the hell, you violent hag?! Young my ass, you’re 80 years old!” I screeched, scratching the back of my head. “Gods, you almost gave me a heart attack!” I scolded her.

Anna snorted, “I don’t plan going anywhere till I’m 150. I’m in no hurry. Can’t get rid of me that easily!” she huffed, slowly lifted herself, and sat on the couch, groaning. She might actually outlive us all. For all her filthy habits, she was healthy as a horse.

Contrary to the popular fantasy fiction bullshit, we were not immortal. We had longer lifespans than humans and our physiology was drastically different, but we still aged. And with age came the inability to shift, though our reflexes and senses stayed enhanced.

“I see you had an eventful night? You guys played poker?” I asked her, walking to the coffee machine.

“Yeah, I slayed! I deceased them! Is that how you kids say it? Made old Joe cry!” she laughed all giddy. I shook my head, smiling.

I sat down the cup of freshly made coffee in front of her. “You’re such a sweetheart. Thank you.” She smiled, taking a sip, then sighed, looking at my face. “What happened to that sweet little boy? He was all smiles. Now look at you. You frown so much you’ll have more wrinkles on your face than I have on my ass.” Not the image I wanted in my mind. She pinched my cheek not so gently, then patted it, giving me a concussion. I bet, judging by the dizziness I felt.

Her love always hurt, as she had no restraints. I remembered when I was a kid and Mom worked here. She brought me with her often, and Anna used to chase me around the library to squeeze my cheeks. I had finger print bruises every time. Once she said I was so cute she could eat me and the crazy bat bit me on the cheek.

Pointing to the small door next to the coffeemaker, she said, “Be a darling and get me wet wipes and a mirror from the bathroom. I probably look like something they fish out of a sewer drain.”

“You should seriously take more care of yourself. You didn’t even go home last night. I seriously thought you kicked the bucket.” I said, entering the bathroom and stepping on something soft that squealed.

I looked down, finding old Joe lying on the floor. He looked at me with eyes half opened, his clothes disheveled, all three strands of hair in disarray on top of his head. He gave me a lazy gummy grin. Denture mystery solved. He croaked something unintelligible, pointing to his walker on the other side of the bathroom.

Sighing, I pinched the bridge of my nose.

Great. I had two geriatric drunkards on my hands. Good thing one was Luca’s problem. Got to call him.

A few minutes later, I paced the room while Anna and Joe sat in silence and sipped coffee.

“Seriously, guys?! You act like kids!” I raised my voice, throwing my hands in the air. Both of them winced.

“Oh, hush there, runt! Keep it down, will ya! I have a headache!” Anna said, frowning. “You should party too! Get that stick out of your ass and mingle a little! Party pooper!” she added, rubbing her temple.

“You went off on the new kid. That’s bad manners.” Joe added, directing the line of fire to me, not even looking at me, as he found his cup quite interesting. How does… Oh, Luca… That big mouth. I’m gonna kill him.

“WHAT?!” Anna yelled, then winced, rubbing now both of her temples.

“I didn’t! She just antagonized me a bit!” I defended, but that would not fly with Anna as she gave me one of her ‘Don’t bullshit me’ looks.

“That’s not what I heard…” Joe lifted an eyebrow and tilted his head. He looked so much like Luca when he was being smug. I mean, if Luca was 87 years old. “She is pint-sized. How does that intimidate you, exactly?”

“Chihuahuas, those nasty little buggers are freaky and they are also pint-sized!” My analogy fell flat.

“So, you are telling me a chihuahua can scare a werewolf. I didn’t know I raised a pussy.” Ana deadpanned.

“Ok, I got pissed off. What do you want from me? It’s almost full moon?!” I winced inwardly. Way to go champ. Not sounding like a pussy at all. “There is something off about that girl, I tell you!”

“How so?” Anna asked, skeptical. She knew all about my situation and that I was more unstable before the full moon. God’s it sounds like I’m on a freaking period.

“It’s her scent… Something is off with it… It was repelling yet not quite… I make little sense now! I don’t know, I’ll just stay away!” I ran a hand through my hair, frustrated.

“So, you were a dick to her because you are... sensitive…. You need to apologize, young man, or I’ll bite your cheek so hard my dentures will permanently stay stuck to your face!” Anna threatened, pointing a finger at me.

I tensed up. The woman didn’t make idle threats. I swallowed hard and just nodded. There aren’t many things I was afraid of, but Anna was definitely one of them.

Ok, I can do that. I was out of line a bit.

Ok a lot. The girl didn’t really do anything.

Fuck. Me.

Shit.

I learned a long time ago not to be apologetic about my behavior. That nobody actually gave a fuck what I said or did because they interpreted it how they saw fit.

So... why does me being a dick to an unknown chick even matter? Why doesn’t it sit well with me?

Can’t I just ignore her like I try to ignore everyone else?

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