Ahhh, the famous werewolf story. This is perhaps my favorite story that I ever posted on Elfwood. I wrote it in October 2005. The story “Hunted” is a sequel.
Cale took a deep breath as the bus stopped to let him on. There were no seats available, so he stood, clinging to the horizontal bar. The smells of humanity–the blood and urine, the sweat and perfumes were enough to make him gag. At least he didn’t think he was going to vomit. This time.
Closing his eyes, Cale tried to focus on the more positive smells on the crowded bus. The bag of groceries sitting on that woman’s lap. The pure smell of soap. The… Cale’s eyes popped open, and he looked about wildly. There she was, eyes locked on him, grinning.
After a few stops she stood, and indicated to Cale to follow her off the bus with a tilt of her head. “There’s a nice little café not far from here.” She said, once they were both clear of the awful bus. “We can talk there.” They made the short walk in silence, examining each other’s smells.
Taking a table outside after placing their orders, the woman’s gaze suddenly became intense. “You’re new here.” She said, finally. “You haven’t been around very long.”
“Is it that obvious?” Cale laughed. “I’ve only been here a few weeks. You’re the first wolf I’ve met.”
“Well, there aren’t very many of us.” She said. “By the way, my name’s Nichole. Nichole Cameron.”
“Radley.” Nichole frowned at the cup of coffee that the waiter placed in front of her. “From West Virginia? The Moore pack?”
Cale blinked in surprise. “Yeah, exactly. Except Greg Moore was challenged a few years back, and Christopher Western now leads the pack. Most of the Moore’s broke off, and formed a new pack after that. How did you know?” He pulled out a cigarette.
Nichole chuckled. “I’m a genealogist by day,” she said. “That allows me to keep track of all the packs across the country. Christopher Western, you say? I’ll remember that.”
“Speaking of packs…”
“There’s not really one here.” Nichole sighed, absently rubbing her wrist on the edge of the table. Scent glands there would mark that she had been there. In human form it was…impractical to mark territory the way canines did. “For some reason, cities seem to attract the loners. You know, I think you’re the first wolf I’ve ever met who smokes. It really messes up your smell.”
“Maybe that’s why I started.” Cale said. “Like you said, loners… you don’t mind, do you?”
Nichole shook her head. “Not really. So tell me, what brings you here?”
Cale shrugged. “A job offer, a chance to get out of West Virginia. I never really felt like I belonged to my parent’s pack.”
“Same as everyone else, then.” Nichole murmured, sipping her coffee. “I don’t think there is a single one of us who were born here.”
“How many wolves are in the city?”
“Eighty seven, eighty-eight, now, counting you.” A man with dark hair and pale skin wearing sunglasses walked by, smirking slightly at the two wolves. He exuded such an air of glamour that it elicited a flurry of whispered arguments from the teenaged girls at a nearby table as to whether he was famous.
Cale grinned openly at the man. His contact insisted that Cale spend as much time in wolf form as possible, keeping his senses heightened. As a side effect, Cale’s teeth kept a particularly wolfish tint. The vampire flinched and hurried away. Vamps went down easier than wolves, though they had a tendency to not stay down.
“What about his kind?” Cale indicated the vampire hurrying away.
Nichole shrugged. “Perhaps twice as many, I can’t really say. They’re much more adapted to city life than we are.”
“I suppose your right.” Cale added his own scent to the table, not realizing he was doing so. Across the street, a well dressed man was trying to tug a poodle past the café. The animal was balking, smelling the two werewolves. “I’ve had a devil of a time adjusting.”
“It’s not so bad, once you get used to it.” Nichole said.
Cale grunted noncommittally, concentrating on his coffee. Nichole smiled across the table.
“Look,” she said, “I know it’s hard being away from the pack for the first time. Here,” she dug in her purse and pulled out a piece of paper, and scribbled furiously. “This is my address and phone number. If you ever need anything, just give me a call.”
“I appreciate that, I really do.”
Nichole glanced at her watch and grimaced. “I have to go.” She said, standing up. “It was nice to meet you, Cale. I know you’ll love it here before long.”
Cale smiled at her. “You have no idea how much easier my life has gotten since meeting you.” That was the honest truth. “I hope that we can get together again, sometime.”
Nichole winked at him before walking away. Cale watched her go, sipping his coffee slowly.
When her scent had faded to a memory—something that took a ridiculously short amount of time in the urban environment, Cale pulled a cell phone out of his pocket and dialed.
“It’s me.” He said, once his contact picked up the other end.
“I do, I found one.
“A bitch. Do you want her address?” he fiddled with the paper Nichole had given him “1424 Munroe Avenue. Apartment…okay.
“Yeah, she said there isn’t really a pack, but I have a better idea of what I’m looking for now.
“She agrees with you about the numbers, too by the way. There are definitely less than a hundred in the city. She says around eighty or ninety.
“I’ll be looking forward to it.”
Cale hung up the phone and returned it to his pocket. Hailing a cab, he reflected that he should spend a few more hours searching the city, but instead, he headed home. The sun was sinking fast, and he didn’t think there would be any wolves out tonight. While the stories humans told about changing under a full moon weren’t completely true, Cale found himself wanting to slip into his canine form. His mouth and teeth were particularly uncomfortable, and had been so all day.
Upon arriving at his apartment, Cale headed straight for the shower, to try to wash away the smells of the city. Without even bothering to dress, he threw a blanket across the couch, then sat at his computer, where he made a few notes to himself with the information that Nichole had given him. Finally, dry, tired and with his work done, he transformed into his wolf form, hopped up on the blanket spread over the couch—no sense in spreading more fur around the apartment than necessary, and fell asleep.
The next morning, Cale woke to the sound of a knock at the door. Groggily, he returned to human form, and wrapped the towel he had used the night before around his waist. Upon opening the door, he found the daily newspaper, with a hand written note from his contact directing him to the ‘local’ section. Cale smiled to himself as he retrieved the paper.
Cale brewed a pot of coffee and got dressed before examining the paper left by his contact. The story he was directed to was about a woman found murdered outside her apartment building on Munroe Avenue. Apparently, she had been both stabbed and shot—the perpetrator had even gone so far as to retrieve the bullets from her body. A side article talking about forensics indicated that the police could match up the knife used as easily as the gun.
The paper was wrapped around a thick envelope, stuffed with cash with ‘good job’ written on the front.
Cale smiled again as he sipped his coffee, enjoying the early morning sunlight. Later on today, he would get a phone call from his contact, instructing him to go to a meeting place, were they would talk about the next steps of his hunt. He had no misconceptions about his safety around his contact—he would remain alive so long as he remained useful in the hunt. When the rest of the werewolves were gone from the city… Those were thoughts for later. For now, one down, eighty-six to go.