Copyright 2007 By The Author-All Rights Reserved
Derek Lee shifted in the oversized leather chair and took another sip of his coffee. The moon hadn’t even rose yet, but he could feel the effects throughout his body. He glanced over at his new friends as they chatted. Fortunately, they didn’t seem to notice. They were wrapped up in their conversation, as usual.
He liked his new buddies, Andrew and Jason. Both were about the age he appeared to be, twenty-five, and, he got along with them very well. Derek hated changing residences every few years, but it was the only way he couldn’t draw suspicion. But, he smiled to himself, it did keep life interesting.
“I need a cig.” Derek rose from his seat with his coffee in his hand. “Take that nasty habit outside, would ya?” Andrew quipped, wrinkling his nose in disgust. “Yeah, sure,” Derek shrugged. “Be back in a minute.”
He stepped out the door of the quaint little coffee shop and inhaled a deep breath. The refreshing evening air filled his lungs. He reached into his jacket pocket and withdrew a cigarette from within. Derek placed it between his lips, flicked the lighter and drew the smoke into his lungs. Yes, he knew cigarettes were poison to his system. However, it was the only thing he could do at the moment to take the edge off his nerves.
Derek walked over to the curb and gazed out at the sunset. In a few more hours the moon would be rising in the late summer sky. It didn’t matter if the moon was full, waning, or new, he could sense the silver lady’s ebb and flow. It coursed through his entire body and had slowly become a part of his being…and he found the effects difficult to ignore.
“Hey! Hey!” A man’s booming voice jerked Derek out of his thoughts. He glanced up at the bar across the narrow street from the coffee shop. A sun-tanned man with a bushy moustache stood in the open doorway to the bar glaring at him. “Huh?” Derek flashed the man an inquisitive stare. “Don’t flick your ashes on my car!” the man barked.
Derek took a step back from the curb as he noticed the shiny, green Mustang parked in front of where he was standing. A flash of embarrassment pulsed through his veins. A low growl of irritation rumbled in the back of his throat. Derek quickly cleared his throat and shrugged. “Sorry, man!” he called over as the man gave a huff and stalked back into the bar.
“Asshole.” Derek muttered under his breath as he walked over to an ashtray beside the door. He ground out the last of his cigarette, then stomped back into the coffee shop.
“What was that all about?” Jason greeted him with a wide, toothy grin.
“Some asshole thought I was flicking ashes on his fuckin’ car!” Derek fumed as he plopped down into the leather chair. “Hell, I was flicking them into the air—not on his precious car, for crying out loud!”
“Hey, we’re in public here,” Andrew scowled. “Watch your language, huh?”
Derek glanced around the coffee shop. It was empty expect for the employee behind the counter. He took a deep breath and silently counted to ten. Sometimes he wondered why he even needed companionship.
“Don’t worry about it, man,” Jason consoled him with a warm smile. “Guys like that are just a bit hung up on their cars, ya know.”
“Still, he didn’t have to be such a dick about it,” Derek hissed. He cut his eyes to the window and stared out at the shiny, green car as his blood simmered. With the moon drawing towards its new phase, Derek’s irritation stewed. His nerves were on the edge and this asshole had just topped his ‘shit list’.
“Let’s see a movie,” Andrew piped up and briskly changed the subject. “I saw in the paper that the Manor Theater is having a double feature of Charles Bronson tonight.”
“Yeah!” Jason nodded. “Sounds cool. Let’s do it!”
“What about you, Derek?” Andrew raised an eyebrow in his direction. “Or are you going to stay pissed at that jerk all night?”
Derek tore his gaze from the window to his friend. A flash of bewilderment flickered quickly over Andrew’s face. Derek mentally tugged hard on the reins of his animalistic sense and managed a forced smile. He didn’t want them to detect what lied beneath his ordinary persona. Besides, the last thing Derek wanted was to scare off his newest friends.
“Sure,” he gave a cheery laugh and felt some of his edginess dissipate. “I think a double shot of Bronson’s just what I need!”
Derek had stayed behind by telling his buddies that he needed to drive over to the ATM before the movies. “Save me a seat, will ya? I won’t be long." He grinned, leaning into the open window of Jason’s car. “Are you sure you don’t wanna ride with us?” Andrew asked from the passenger seat. He just laughed and shook his head. “Nope. I’ll just meet you guys there.”
Jason started the car. Over the hum of the engine, he called over to Derek. “Don’t forget, man, the movie starts at nine.” Derek nodded and drew way from the window as his friend’s car pulled out of the parking lot.
As he watched them leave, Derek’s smile faded and his jaw squared with irritation. He glanced over to the bar across the street from the coffee shop. Under a street lamp, the green Mustang’s waxy shine shimmered. Guys like that are just a bit hung up on their cars, ya know.
Derek could still hear Jason’s comment in his head as he made his way to the backside of the building. Hung up, huh?
Derek responded mentally. The guy’s still a tee-total ass!
Recalling the incident in his mind, his blood began to boil. Derek turned his gaze to the dark sky. He closed his eyes and felt the magnetic tug of the moon on his body. Yes, it was happening now. The moon driven madness spiraled up from his gut and filled his entire being, and then the transformation happened.
In the past few years, each transformation to his wolf-self had gotten easier. This time, fueled by his irritation, it had happened so quickly, so smoothly that Derek had barely realized he had changed until he felt the chalky concrete underneath his padded paws. His eyes snapped open. His senses were keenly sensitive with the sights and sounds of the night around him.
Derek heard the muffled sounds of music and the voice of people as he trotted on all-fours past the closed bar doors and stepped off the curb. With smug satisfaction he headed toward the green Mustang and circled around the car.Take this, asshole.
He raised a hind-leg to the back tire and sprayed a wet mist over the shiny chrome hubcap. A strong, pungent odor filled the night air. Derek felt an ironic sense of release.
Whoosh! The bar door swung open. “What the Hell?” A rough voice boomed into the night. “Get away from my car, you Goddamn mutt!” The moustached man bellowed as he barged toward the car.
Derek quickly turned to face the man head on. He waited until the man drew close enough under the streetlight to see him more clearly. A loud growl rumbled from his throat as he bared his fangs. “Oh shit!” the man cursed, stopping in mid-step. The man’s face contorted into one of shock. Derek’s keen wolf-self smelt the fear that reeked from the man.
Cautiously, the owner of the Mustang took a light step backward. He was going to run, Derek knew it. He bolted forward before big man could turn around. The man let out a terrified screech and threw up his arms to protect himself as Derek’s wolf-self leapt up. His fangs sank into the man’s forearm. The skin gave way as the hot, metallic taste of blood filled his mouth. The man, still screeching, fell back onto the asphalt with Derek still latched onto his arm.
Somewhere near the bar, he heard a woman’s high pitched cries. “Wolf! Oh my God! There’s a fuckin’ wolf out there!”
The man’s arm was coated with dark blood as Derek withdrew his fangs from the flesh. Derek glanced over to the bar. The woman’s cries had sent a scurry of action through the building. It won’t be long before someone would be coming to the man’s rescue.
He lowered his eyes, smug with satisfaction and glared into the man’s face. The man’s features were twisted terror. Asshole!
He mentally conveyed with a final, harsh growl, and then leapt off the man’s chest with a single bound.
A loud pop resounded in the night air. He dashed, as fast his four legs would carry him, through the parking lot. There was another loud pop. Damn! Someone was shooting at him. A bullet whizzed past him and stuck the asphalt. Derek was grateful the yahoo was a lousy shot.
He jumped for the safety of the surrounding hedges and slipped into its foliage. The heavy, dark green bushes camouflaged his escape. Fortunately for Derek, the man with the gun didn’t pursue. Derek didn’t stop until he reached his car on the other side of the bushes.
Winded from the encounter, he slumped against the side of the car. His heart was thumping wildly in his chest. He could still taste the bitter tang of the moustached man’s blood on his lips. It was bittersweet satisfaction, Derek mused. Sure, he’d feel guilty in the morning, but, tonight, it just felt good.
Drawing a deep breath, he began to quiet himself. The transformation rippled quickly, effortlessly over his body. Derek felt the change over his body. With ease, his entire being swiftly returned from his wolf-self. Back in his human body, he wiped the sweat from his brow and straightened his clothes.
Off, in the distance, the sirens began wail. Time for me to go!
Derek opened the car door, slid into the driver’s seat and fastened his seatbelt. Through the windshield, he saw the whirling red and blue reflection of lights from the direction of the bar. He started the car and pulled out of his hiding place to head down the road.
Derek gave a quick glance over at the clock on the dashboard and smiled to himself. “That’s cool. I can still make the movies…just in time.”
Spicy Romance with a Touch of Magick