Greetings all. As I near the completion of my fantasy adventure novel, I’ve been prepping to adopt one of my scripts into novel form, the werewolf/crime thriller Scarlet Gate. As an exercise, I free wrote a scene where one of my lycanthropes finds himself stuck in a library after dark and goes through the change. I’ve posted it here for your entertainment. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.
Kotori Dan George sat alone in the campus library of San Francisco state. It was early evening now, and the big game was coming up against the visiting team from Texas. All the boys had gone back to their dorms to prepare for the occasion with the usual tribal chants, and all the girls were busy getting annoyed when the boys got too loud. Of course there was another reason the library was empty today, other than the student body not taking their dwindling university time seriously.
A student had attempted suicide at the reception desk a few hours ago. Floyd Darnell, Kotori thought the name was. The college was like an old ladies’ bridge club. News always traveled fast around the campus grounds. Floyd was an architect major. His family wasn’t well off and blew a lot to send him to this place, so much that he couldn’t afford any of his class books. So he had to check them out of the library instead. Problem is others were in the same boat as him.
Darnell couldn’t find a studying partner, and in one crucial class he turned in a D on his first exam. Wasn’t that unusual and not the mark of a future failure, but Darnell thought it was the end if he couldn’t get his hands on that book. But the other student checking it out would return it and renew their lease, keeping it away for weeks at a time. Darnell had just missed them by ten minutes. Knowing he would never get the book in time, Darnell pulled the scissors out from his pocket and unzipped his jugular. It wasn’t exactly a half assed attempt. This kid meant business.
The receptionists didn’t much want to work their afterwards. They did all their receptioning down by the coffee machine. Whenever someone asked why, they would inevitably see the blood. It hadn’t been cleaned up all day because old Timmons was on duty in the library that day, and he was too busy because someone dropped a deuce in one of the upstairs urinals. Timmons viewed his urinals like museum exhibits. He always worked them to a fine mirror shine. He somehow failed to grasp that they were specifically made for excrement, and would flash any student a dirty look should he find so much as a drop of piss on the side.
That must have been why the deuce took priority over the bloodstain that Darnell had been so kind to donate. Kotori could hear him ranting and raving in the superintendent’s office when he first came in. Timmons ranted and raved himself right out of a job, and they couldn’t find a custodian to cover the shift. None of the staff wanted to get anywhere near it, so they sloppily threw up some wet floor tape and hoped that would do the trick until the night crew came. The night crew was still around forty five minutes away.
The blood. Koori could smell it from here, and so could the thing inside him.
Sweet like honey, the beast thought. Sweet like honey.
It was always like that when the sun hung lower. Most of the day the beast slept soundly, but from dusk onward, it began to stir. It demanded to be fed, always before its time. Always ravenous.
Kotori had to endure the whispers often. He would go back to his dorm, but the parties would be in full swing by now. He wouldn’t be able to read a single word with all that ruckus going on. He would join in, but Kotori never had much interest or use for the game. Watching a bunch of grown men kick some balls around wasn’t his idea of a productive use of one’s time. Of course the hick Ethan always dragged him to a game whenever he could.
For the food he always said. Admittedly a good stadium hot dog wasn’t a bad midday snack. Of course the thing inside him didn’t much like it. The beast thought it tasted bad. He could always hear it whispering even when the sun held it at bay.
This is bad meat, it would say. Not like the real meat. The good meat.
Somewhere in the back of his mind it looked at the players on the field, all the fresh bodies in the stadium, and drooled.
That’s the good meat, it said. The real meat. The thing inside him always wanted the meat.
Kotori looked back over to the stain of blood on the floor.
Sweet like honey.
It wasn’t like that girl he and Ethan had found earlier this morning. Even the thing inside him didn’t like seeing what was left of her. Bad meat, it said. Very bad meat.
It took a lot to turn off the beast.
The cellphone in his pants pocket fluttered to life. A song by Creedence Clearwater told him who it was.
“Hey, Jordan.” he said. “Not at the station?”
“Got off early tonight.” she said. “Hopkins birthday. Boss decided to give her some more air time and extra pay.”
“Not bad news for us.” Koori said. “You find a good prowling ground for tonight?”
“Eating might be good down on Pier 39. You getting out here soon? Sun won’t wait.”
“Well, give me a few more minutes. I’ve got finals in a week.”
And Jordan did like she always did. She gave him two minutes. And Kotori, like he always did, took those two minutes and turned them into thirty. Maybe it was him focusing on the book so he could stop thinking about that blood.
The stain that smelled sweet like honey.
By the time he tore himself away from the textbook, the sun was already almost down.
He reached up to scratch the back of his neck. It always started with an itch, and whenever he scratched it, so many thick black hairs would spring from his skin and stand on end, just like they were doing now.
Kotori looked to the clock on the wall. 7:15 pm
“Son of a bitch!” He always let time get away from him. A book will do that to you. He wondered what he should do now. Could he run back to his dorm? When the beast started stirring he could get a pretty good pace going. But it was half a mile away. Even running that was ten minutes. Outside the sun was already gone, casting the sky above in a faint violet as the stars began to shine.
And the change was happening. He could already feel his own human self slip into a half slumber, and the beast clawing its way out a little bit at a time.
“Not yet!” he ordered it, but the beast never listened. This was its time now. The darkness belonged to it, and it wanted every moment.
Kotori felt his fingernails change shape, from the dull trim job he’d done this morning, to a lethal set of claws that could slice leather like butter. His teeth climbed out of his gums, stretching his jawline long as if someone had attached a wire to his canines and pulled it into this new shape. It didn’t hurt. Not really. It felt like a series of minor electrical shocks, or like when you lean on an arm and cut off the blood to it so long the arm will feel like it’s full of marbles.
While he still could, Kotori stripped out of his cloths. If he didn’t, the beast would tear right through them. Unlike Darnell, Kotori could afford his books. Clothing was something he couldn’t afford to keep replacing.
Kotori threw his jacket, shirt, pants and shoes onto the floor. He was working on his boxers but it came too quickly. When he tried to take them off, his now fully formed claws tore right through the fragile cloth. He felt the hair grow out from the back of his neck and spread all over. His shoulders arched backwards and his head hunched down.
It came different for everyone. Jordan always shook when her’s came out, like someone stuck a live wire under her shoe. Each little tremor brought the thing out a little at a time. Ethan always fell and squirmed, like a fly trying to writhe its way off a pin. For Kotori it came in lurches. Great, big, heaving lurches that threw his bones into new, grotesque, and strong shapes.
The final lurch always came from the spine. That last bit always got both him and the beast. It arched back, like the drawing of a great bow. Koori could feel the bones cracking and bending in ways that should have brought agony, but never did. This was his second life. He relished in the feeling as it bent back, further, and further.
The bow was released and the spine snapped and straight.
The beast was now out.
He looked around this strange place he found himself in night after night. A clump of strange, colored fur like things lay on the floor, and he knew they were important. The beast’s daylight voice never let him forget.
Don’t leave those, the daylight voice said. I need them.
The beast crawled over to these strange things and prodded them with its thick, leather like palms. He knew these. He had no use for them, but the meat outside always wore them. He always became like the meat in daylight, and would again once the sun returned.
From a nearby opening in this strange place, he could hear the howls of the other two, the Alpha and the Little Brother, crying up into the night. The hulking thing knelt down on all fours and darted over to the opening, out to the forest of square mountains and metal trees that stabbed into the sky. The other two howled above it all, their voices carrying above every murmur from the grass below.
The beast howled back at them, letting them know he would be along, once he had his meat. He looked to the campus beyond, filled with ripe, fresh bodies, walking along, completely unaware they were being watched by hungry yellow eyes. He could see the blood flowing under their skin.
It smelled sweet. Sweet like honey.
Meat, the beast thought. Good meat. Tasty, rich, juicy meat. He need only go out there and take whichever one he pleased.
But that would be bad, he thought. Most of the meat you couldn’t take, because it would bring others. You had to find the ones that lurked in the shadows like they were seeking meat themselves. They were the ones none of the other meat missed. You took those, the enemies wouldn’t come.
But he had to have something. The daylight voice was growing more quiet, and though the beast was proud and able, he knew that somehow he needed the daylight voice. The daylight voice was smart, a guide that sought to keep them both from harm. The voice knew the ways of this good meat, and how to avoid being caught. It could be trusted, so the beast had to find some way to keep him. But he was losing that other voice, and would need something, anything to keep him from slipping away. But the only way to keep this voice from daylight was the meat, and there was none. None close enough to quench the growing, rabid hunger that would silence the guide and send the beast on a rampage.
Then he smelled the blood. A big stain of it on the strange grass that surrounded him, wet, thick and red. The aroma lured the beast over to the great red circle, blocked off by a strange yellow web with black markings. The beast tore through the web and threw itself onto the stain.
The daylight voice whispered to him. Go ahead. It’s yours.
The beast pressed its tongue to the blood and licked, each lick bringing the daylight voice back a little more. Alpha and Little Brother howled again, calling the beast forth to the hunt, where they would prowl the square mountains in search of their meat. He would be along now, once he was done with the blood in front of him.
Sweet like honey.