Changes in the night

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Chapter 2

A walk round the park, I felt, would work wonders for my state of mind. Familiar things like the water fountain with its inky pool of stagnant scum, now no more than a glorified bird bath, grounded me in a reality I felt I could deal with.

Two lovers explored each others mouths, seemingly confidant that the threadbare hedge they had gone behind would protect the sensitive disposition of the general public. In a wooden shelter, thick with paint, two old folks sat huddled in silence. They looked out of place in front of a hastily sprayed image of a frantic drummer.

On the far side of the park, the "Chef & Brewer", with its almost palpable aroma of stale beer and fried onions, reminded me how long it had been since I last ate. A traditional pie and a pint would certainly hit the spot!

The chicken, ham, and leek pie was satisfactory, the nutty ale exquisite. A second pint would surely help me weigh up the relative merits of the cheesecake and the chocolate fudge brownie. I half-heartedly listened in to the conversations going on around me: football, soaps, an office romance. I could hardly tell them of my day so far - who would believe me? As three slick haired young suits started to determine empirically whose mobile had the most irritating ring, I decided to leave.

In the corner shop I was watched hawkishly as I made my selections. It wasn't that often that I shopped here, so I guess I wasn't familiar. In the back childrens' voices were raised in the eternal debate about which channel to watch.

I remembered to go in the back door, and had prepared myself for the worst. I was pleasantly surprised to find the kitchen clean and tidy. I had imagined it all. It wasn't until I went to put my bacon, milk, and butter into the refrigerator that I realised things were still very wrong. If I had imagined the whole thing then there would still be four pints in the fridge, which there weren't, and I wouldn't need this carton in my hand.

Two pints of ale an a long stroll in the cooling evening air has a certain effect. I ran upstairs, and into the bathroom door which was unexpectedly shut, and bolted.

"You can't come in!"

"What?" It took me a few seconds, but this was the voice of the woman who I had brought home last night.

"You can't come in. I need to ... um, change."

"Can't you wrap a towel round yourself? Things are pretty desperate out here." I listened at the door, and was rewarded with the sound of paws clicking on the linoleum. "Have you got that damn animal in there?"

"Yes, in a way." She began cussing quietly to herself. "Okay, I'm coming out."

You could have knocked me down with a feather. In fact she probably did as the next thing I recall was sitting in the lounge watching her pace up and down. She had on just an old t-shirt of mine, which was rather big on her. Her face was a delicate mix of human and canine features. Her long muzzle gave her a certain elegance, Alsatian like ears an alertness, the deep fur of her ruff (I suppose thats what I'd have to call it) a certain nobility. Most captivating though were her eyes: a golden green that demanded my attention.

I did steal a glimpse or two of her body which was certainly pleasing to me, although no doubt others would regard her as being too fat. A still distended tummy and soft hips and thighs were the only parts that clung to my baggy old t-shirt, helped no doubt by the long sweep of her tail. I could only assume that she was completely covered in the fur that enhanced the features of her face. My gaze was held by those eyes.

"What am I going to do? I can't go home like this. I'm stuck here." she concluded. "You'll have to get me some meat."

"Meat?" I repeated. My addled mind was having difficulty dealing with all this. "What sort of meat? I've some chicken in the freezer."

"A variety would be nice, about 25 to 30 pounds in all."

"Pounds! Don't you mean ounces?"

"I do mean pounds: its one of the trials of being a werewolf."