By the time we managed to pull out of the little cabin that Krissie’s parents lived in, the sun was pretty much gone. I couldn’t really tell if it had set yet- spring was always the middle ground of sunset, not too early but not late- due to both the woods of northern Minnesota, and the overcast sky. By the time I turned our little Impala sedan on the highway south towards Minneapolis, it was starting to rain.
I kept down a sigh as I turned on the windshield wipers, only to see an empty road.
“We could have just spent the night, you know,” Krissie said from the passenger seat. “Mom and Dad always love having guests.”
I huffed. “Don’t worry, it’s just some rain. Besides, there’s some stuff I had planned when we get back… Not to mention, your dad was getting a little hard to deal with.”
“Oh, Martin,” she sighed. “I know you guys don’t see eye to eye, but you don’t need to make him an enemy.”
“Hey, Krissie, c’mon, I was just joking,” I smiled at her. “It’s sort of a hate love thing. Gotta find something to do there anyways.” I chuckled a little. “Your old man can sure put in beers, can’t he?”
I felt a smack as she socked my arm. “You jerk,” she said, but she was smiling.
Krissie’s folks always had some reason or another to bring her and her brothers up to their house for a dinner. Her dad and I have some form of rivalry, but in reality we just poke fun at each other. It’s fun, but tonight I think we overstayed our welcome a bit.
We drove on in silence for a while, just listening to the rain splatter the windshield. We must have been pretty close to Brainerd when Krissie leaned forward and turned on the radio- of course, it immediately started playing the local country station. Wait, what was I saying? Up here, ALL of the stations are country.
“And that’s why I don’t turn on the radio up here,” I muttered, switching the channels to the state news station. The stories filtered between world and national stories, weather updates (chance of showers in Northern Minnesota), before a local story caught my attention-
Farmers around the Brainerd area have been reporting increased predator activity around the region. There is believed to be at least one wolf pack that has migrated into the area. Local farmers are complaining to city and state officials, especially in concern to the moratorium placed on wolf hunting after the wolf hunt in late 2012-
I turned down the radio.
“Good on the wolves, I guess,” Krissie said.
I shook my head. “That doesn’t seem right. My family’s gone up here for some time, but we’ve never seen any wolves this far south. And especially after the hunt, you’d think they’d all be up by Canada.” I shrugged it off, and noticed the clouds thinning outside the windshield. “At least the rain stopped.”
As I reached down to turn off the wipers, Krissie gasped. “Martin!”
I shot my head up to see a deer race across the road. My heart leapt up and I let off the gas, but it was safely across by this time.
I had just enough time to sigh and chuckle when something smashed Krissie’s side of the Impala, sending us careening over the road.
“Jesus Christ!” I cried as the car spun on the slick road. My hands were a blur as I spun the wheel to counteract the spin. After what seemed like an eternity, the car turned sharply right out of the spin and shot perpendicular to the road. I slammed on the brakes just as the tires crunched into the damp grass off the side of the road. The car stopped just a few feet from one of the forest trees. The right headlight was shattered, but the left one shone into the woods.
We sat there for a moment. My heart felt like it was going to break right out of my chest as I gasped, trying to burn off the adrenaline in my system. “Kristina? Are you ok?” I turned my head, noticing her window was cracked, but the airbag wasn’t deployed. She looked at me, pale, but nodded.
At the same time, the little OnStar system attached to the Impala’s rearview mirror chirped.
“Mr. Sheffield, this is Mark at OnStar, it appears you’ve been in an accident. Are you okay?”
I shook my head to clear the approaching stars, and pressed the Call button on the mirror. “Hey Mark, yeah, uh… we’re okay, me and my wife.”
“Alright. Your 2007 Chevrolet Impala sent us impact data around the front left fender. Can you confirm this?”
“Uh, yeah, we did hit something. Or, well, some animal hit us. Hang on, I’m gonna go see if I can find out what it was.” I turned to Krissie. “Hey, you alright here for a bit, just talking to Mark?”
Krissie nodded. “I’m fine, Martin. Just a little shaken is all.”
“Yeah, me too.” I pecked her quick on the cheek and opened the door, stepping into the moist grass.
The wind picked up a little, and I shuddered, drawing my jacket tighter, before walking up the small incline and back onto the road. Looking up, I noticed the moon was shining bright in between cloud gaps, but then turned my attention to our Impala, sticking into the woods.
Walking around to Krissie’s side of the car, I realized just how big this thing was. Her window was cracked into spider web patterns, somehow not broken. The mirror? Toast. Nothing was left. Going a little farther, I saw the silver body of the car crumpled and broken, all the way to the shattered headlight. I rapped on the windshield and waved at Krissie, who waved back.
I looked back down the road. Was that thing still over there, whatever it was? Looking down the highway both ways, I trotted back the way we had come. The road was too slick for the car to leave any skid marks, but it didn’t matter, because I could tell that creature wasn’t still there. Well, good for it, if it survived-
A scream split the night air like a knife. Whirling around, I knew exactly whose scream it was.
“KRISSIE!” I shouted back as I sprinted towards the car. I could see the taillights of the car rocking back and forth, and as I came closer, I saw it.
I didn’t know what to think of it. It was huge, almost the size of the Impala. My only guess was that it was some bear, but that didn’t seem right. The tail was too long, and its fur was oddly colored.
As I got closer, Krissie screamed again and tried to lock her door. The thing, however, raised one of its paws, nails glistening in the moonlight, and in one swipe ripped the door right off its hinges. Before I could do anything, it stuck its head into the Impala, and undoubtedly was trying to eat my wife.
Not even hesitating, I stooped over to pick up a large stick, and raced up to the beast. “Get away from her!” I shouted at it, and swung the stick like a club. I missed its head, and instead hit the thing on its shoulders, the stick breaking in half. The beast turned around, and just as I before I could process a reaction, it lunged at me. As it tackled me, I raised one of my arms above my face, and felt hot knives bury themselves into my flesh. I cried out in pain as the beast shook its head like a dog, with my arm still inside its mouth. Just when it felt like my arm was going to be torn off, it let go, and turned back to the opened car. I got to my feet again, and shouted at it. “Hey! Over here! Yeah you, ugly! Right here, come on!”
I scrambled over the hood of the car, and gasped as I felt my right shoe get torn off, and my foot erupted in pain as those teeth bit into it. I kicked with my good foot, but it stubbornly held on. Looking down, I saw into its eyes, nothing but golden balls, and realized that it couldn’t be a bear. It looked more like a massive wolf.
Suddenly, the Impala’s horn blared, causing the wolf thing to let go and crouch back. I slid off the hood and back into the driver’s seat, and Krissie took her shaking hand off the wheel. The thing snarled at us from the windshield, but I blared the horn again, and turned on the brights. That was enough for the thing, and it turned around and vanished into the woods.
I slumped into my seat for a moment, but then shot up again and looked over my wife. Her head was slumped, and I shook her shoulders slightly. “Kristina! Hey, Krissie, look at me, are you ok?”
She moaned, turned her head, and looked up with moist eyes. Three huge gashes in her right cheek dripped blood onto her shirt, which was torn open on one side. Her thigh showed a massive bite mark, pants torn up and bloody as well. She looked at my arm.
“Martin, your arm…” I put my attention to it, and realized blood was dribbling off my skin. I took my arms off of Krissie and hit “Call” again. “Mark, are you still there?”
The man answered immediately. “Mr. Sheffield! I heard your wife’s screams, and I’ve notified local police of your location-“
“That’s- that’s great, thank you. But, listen, we’ve-“ I grunted as a shot of pain came from my arm, “-we’ve both been mauled by some animal, we need an ambulance right away. My wife’s covered in bite marks and scratches.”
“Okay, I’ll send help right away. A patrol car should arrive within a few minutes. Just hold on.”
“Ok. Thanks Mark. You’ve been a great help.”
I looked at Krissie. She was staring out the windshield, almost dreamlike, as the moon came all the way out of the clouds. Suddenly, her back arced, and she grunted in pain.
“Kristina?” I asked with concern. She doubled over lighting fast, moaning. I reached over to her, but she shoved me away, stumbling out of the car. “I’m- I think I’m gonna be-“
She dropped to her hands and knees and screamed, her back flaring backwards again. I could hear the cracking vertebrae from the car.
“Krissie!” I leapt out of the Impala, and staggered on my bad foot. Before I could even try to rush over to Krissie, it felt like God sucker-punched me in the gut. I dropped to my knees, and fought the urge to vomit. I couldn’t stop the drool leaking from my mouth as I gasped great, wet heaves.
Then it began to happen.
I shook uncontrollably, hands digging into the asphalt. My spine realigned itself with a wet pop, but before I could do anything, my muscles tightened. I couldn’t help screaming in pain. Oh god, it was like a body-wide charley horse times ten. I thought, over my cries, I could hear Krissie screaming as well. I wanted to say something, tell her it would be okay, but I couldn’t say anything over my own agony.
I squeezed my eyes shut as my hands popped and cracked. I felt the tips of my fingers split open, my nails expand out, scraping the road. My feet buckled and stretched, and I felt my remaining shoe break apart. My jeans suddenly felt tight, squeezing my legs as my muscles ripped apart and regrew. With a loud tearing, they gave way, and my shirt followed short.
I flopped onto my side, my screams turning into whimpers of pain. My legs felt itchy, feeling like some blanket was growing right out of my skin. I shot one of my deformed hands back, and felt thick, coarse fur at thigh level and continuing to march up my side. I rolled onto my stomach, yelling again as the fur made it up past my groin. My back arched again as my spine stretched, bursting out of my rear, growing fur and muscle at the same time. My new tail shot between my legs as soon as the muscles worked.
The fur wouldn’t stop. It was over my arms now, and up my neck, when my skull suddenly began to stretch out as well. I clenched my jaw as I felt my teeth sharpen, and my canines grow into enormous fangs. I moaned, tears running down my eyes as my mouth and nose merged into one, growing outwards into a snout. As the fur took over my face, my ears stretched upwards, and flattened themselves against the side of my face.
With a final snap, it was over. My new body clenched up, whimpers escaping my muzzle as I felt my muscles throb. Something began to come over me, and I felt myself drift away.
Keep yourself together, you can do this, you have to do this, I told myself.
Your name is Martin Sheffield, you live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Your name is Martin Sheffield, you l-
You are MARTIN. SHEFFIELD
I am Martin Sheffield.
I am wolf.
Wolf hears the moon sing to him. I raise my muzzle up and sing back. Another voice, nearby; female, wolf’s mate. The woods call, the smell of prey nearby. I start to go-
Sounds, like screaming, but not. Lights. I growl at intruder, and hide behind metal box. Another box comes up. So many lights. But also prey. I can smell them over the box’s waste. Two prey. Bipedal. Meaty. Scent much stronger. I hear them.
“Jesus, Frank, do you see that?”
“No crap… what did dispatch say happen, bear attack?”
“… Right. C’mon Kyle, those folks are still over there.”
Their scents increased. Wolf’s tail swished in anticipation.
“Hey! Is anyone over here?”
I drop down and move alongside the box, growling as I see them. They see me.
“What the… Oh my god….”
I sense their fear. It makes wolf eager, waiting to strike. Alpha human approaches.
“Hey, you! Go on, git!”
Wolf rises on hind legs and howls, breath misting against the moon.
“Kyle, you got your taser, right?”
“C’mon, Frank, you don’t think that-“
“I don’t care, get it-“
The Kylehuman screams. Female has come out of the woods, and is on top of him. She tears through cloth, blood on her maw. I lunge.
Pain. Wolf jerks, and collapses. Can’t breathe. Heart racing. Bangs. Female cries in pain. Wolf looks, and sees her, bloody. I snarl, try to avenge her. More pain. All is black.
The first thing I noticed was the strong smell of antiseptic. Ugh, it was blasting through my nose! I wanted to pinch my nostrils shut, anything, but I couldn’t move. As more lights came back on in my head, I heard people talking.
“How long has he been like this?”
“It’s been about eight hours since they were brought in, two since he… changed back..”
“What do you suppose-?”
“Ask for yourself, he’s waking up.”
“… Mr. Sheffield? Missstterrrrrr—r-rrr She…fieeelddd-“
I was drifting off again. I felt my head droop to the side, but I shook it slightly, and slowly opened my eyes with a groan.
“… Mister Sheffield?”
I looked up. As my eyes focused, I could tell I was in a hospital room. The blinds on the window were closed, but sunlight streamed through the cracks. A felt a small poke in my arm, and looking over, I saw a long IV tube connected to a pouch full of liquid, dribbling into my system. My head swam again-
Oh, moving past formalities now. I turned my attention to whoever was speaking. At the foot of the bed was some balding doctor in his fifties, clipboard in one hand, the other adjusting his thin glasses. Beside him, a police officer was looking right at me. He must be the one talking.
“Uh, yeah, that’s me-“
I tried raising my arm to shake hands- but it was stopped by something. Turning my head down there, I saw my wrist was… handcuffed to the bed?
The fog started to lift, and I shook my head. “Officer…”
“Nelson, Mr. Sheffield.”
“Officer Nelson, am I under arrest? What’s with the handcuffs?”
The doctor interrupted the cop. “Officer, I’m sure we can take these off now, he is obviously not a danger anymore-“
“Wait, danger? What are you talking about? I was injured in a car accident, how-“
“One moment, Mr. Sheffield,” the cop said. He leaned down and unlocked my wrists, and then grabbed a file off of a counter, tossing it onto me. He sat down in a nearby chair, and motioned for me to open the folder. He started talking as I looked closer at the file.
“… Mr. Sheffield, last night two officers were dispatched after your OnStar service notified us of an accident. You said you were attacked by an animal?”
“Y-yeah, some giant thing came out of the woods and hit our car.” I rubbed my arm as I remembered that thing.
“What all do you remember about last night, Mr. Sheffield?”
I looked down, trying to think. “Um… there was the initial impact, then that thing woke up and attacked us, and….” I shook my head. “It’s all hazy after that.”
“So there was only one?”
I looked at Officer Nelson with a questioning look. “Yeah, there was only one, unless the one we hit was killed. Why?”
He nodded to the folder on my lap. “Open that up, please, and I’ll explain.”
Giving the cop another glance, I opened the folder. Inside were several sheets of paper and large photographs. I looked closer at one of the papers, and realized they were transcripts. The one I was looking at was taken from OnStar.
As I read through the list, Officer Nelson started talking again. “Last night your OnStar service forwarded a call to us that you and your wife were attacked by some animal.” As he talked, I noticed how many lines of the transcript simply read: “screams”. I shuddered at whatever happened last night.
He kept going. “Two State Patrol officers were nearby, and arrived at your car a few minutes after the call. However, instead of one animal, they found two. Both were neutralized; one was tasered and the other was shot several times after it attacked Officer Lorenz.”
Turning over the document, I noticed several photos of our mangled car on the side of the road, and blood on the asphalt. One photo caught my attention though: two huge creatures were in the back of an ambulance. My eyes widened as I realized they looked remarkably like the one that attacked us.
I pointed at one of them. “Why are these in an ambulance, and where are they?”
Nelson paused. Looking up, I saw he seemed hesitant. Licking his lips, he asked me: “Mister Sheffield, take a closer look at these- does anything seem familiar?”
I held the photo closer and rubbed my eyes, trying to get a better look. Both of the things- they looked like giant wolves- were a brown-gray color. Their eyes were shut, but mouths open slightly as if growling. I scanned what I could see in the picture, before something hit me.
One of the wolves was more muscular, while the other had a more curved chest area.
The curvy one had earrings.
My heart thudded against my chest as I looked at the gems that stuck out of that pointed ear. Two were in this one, while the other only had one: Krissie was never a fan of symmetry.
My mouth was dry, and I tried to comprehend what I was looking at. “W-wha-?”
The cop sighed. “The creature with the earrings has been identified as Kristina Sheffield- your wife.”
As he moved his finger towards the other one, I tried to look away, but I was frozen. Before he spoke, I knew what he was going to say.
“And this was you.”
Everything around me faded as I looked at- well, me. Or what I had become. My mind just spun as I stared at the wolf in the photograph.
“We’re at as much of a loss as you are, Mr. Sheffield,” the doctor interrupted. “These photographs were taken eight hours ago. Kristina was more heavily wounded, but she recovered faster. You were tasered, and the electricity must have done something to your nervous system, so you didn’t change back until just a few hours ago.”
I barely listened as I kept looking at the picture of me and my wife as… well, I guess as werewolves. It was just too much to take in: this kind of stuff didn’t exist, couldn’t exist, like Area 51 and those UFO’s. But here we are…
I suddenly realized that the sheet Krissie had been lying on was soaked in blood. Something inside me jumped when I realized she was injured. I shot up in the bed.
“Krissie! Where is she?!”
The doctor took a few steps forward. “Settle down Mr. Sheffield, your wife is fine-“
“No! I need to see her!” I managed to throw off the sheet and step off the bed. Surprisingly, I didn’t stumble as I landed on the floor. Officer Nelson came up. “Martin, stop-“
I elbowed him out of the way, knocking over a table in the process, and rushed past the doctor and out the door, not realizing I was in nothing but a small hospital gown.
“Mr. Sheffield! Get back here!” I heard the cop come after me as I went into the hallway, but I ignored him. I had no clue where I was to go- Krissie may not even be on that floor. However, something guided me along, as if pinging out her location. Not missing a single turn, I quickly found a door and pushed it open.
Krissie lay in her bed, head down. She was silently crying, tears rolling down her cheeks onto her sheets.
“Krissie!” I ran over to the foot of her bed and put her hand in mine. She looked up at me, confused, before hugging me and choking back a sob.
“Hey, hey, it’s alright now, we’re okay…”
“Okay?” She pulled away from me, and wiped her tears away, with a shuddering laugh. “Martin, no, we’re NOT ok. We’re…” She choked slightly. “We’re monsters. What we did.”
“That wasn’t us,” I reassured her. “Well… it wasn’t us us. It’s not our fault.”
She looked at me again, and sniffed. I don’t know how long she was up, but she was a mess. I brushed some of her hair back behind her ear- the one with two earrings.
Officer Nelson finally caught up with me and entered the room, panting for breath. “Are you quite done?”
I nodded, and looked Krissie in the eyes. “Yeah, sorry… I’m fine now.”
Krissie looked away from me up to the cop. “Well… what happens now?”
He shrugged. “An investigation, figuring out what caused this… and also observation of you two.”
“Wh- what about that policeman…”
“Officer Lorenz was… infected. His partner tranquilized him before any serious changes, though- he’s fine.”
He shook his head. “Once the media hears of all these cases of lycanthropy, we’ll all be flooded with reporters and photographers.”
I looked over at Krissie again, chuckling a little. “Well, we always joked about being famous, but never quite like this.”
She looked back at me, and smiled a little. My heart jumped up just from seeing her even the slightest bit happy. “So, we’ll manage then?”
I smiled back. “What, the first two public werewolves in history? I’m sure we’ll be ok.”