*The following tale is
fiction. It contains graphic descriptions, intense situations, and consenting
sexual material involving
men, women, and in some cases teenagers. If this kind of material is illegal where you are, if you are underaged, or if material of this
sort offends you, you are urged to turn back RIGHT NOW. Otherwise please enjoy.
**Questions, feedback, and constructive criticism are very welcome. Please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
*** Apologies for the long time between chapters. I have NOT given up on this story! I just have a bad habit of wanting to make sure a chapter is at its absolute best before presenting it. It's the least I can do if I'm going to ask for a reader's time to read my stuff. The wait for the next chapter shouldn't be nearly as long as the wait for this one was. And now...
Denn's Mobile Circus
The Amazing Dreamwalkers
Wanted them immediately.
Too bad it was an issue opening my mouth to do that.
A few moments after getting into the black truck and sitting down, the light-headedness jumped me and beat my ass into submission. The sickness didn't come with it. But what came instead made me wish it had.
It started with the heat flashes returning. I'd already been introduced to those, so I didn't suspect anything until I was introduced to the countering cold flashes. They went to work on me like a see-saw on crack. Back and forth between being so hot that I wished I could take my skin off like some clothes, to being so cold that I thought my bones were going to snap because I was shivering so hard.
Then it spread to my senses. My sight kept transitioning between too much color and no color at all. Hearing would focus on one sound at a quiet volume, then expand until I was hearing every square inch of every possible sound at screaming volume.
I only had one question.
"What the fuck is going on?"
"Micah? Can you hear me?" a voice that seemed to come from all directions asked.
Very clearly in fact. Separate and strong from the blended blast of noise my ears were delivering. I tried to answer and failed. Mouth was like: "nah".
"Don't try talking. Think what you want to say then think about me when you say it. It's the kid from the house. Use that as your visual." his voice instructed. Again, clear as a bell.
I did as he said. Seeing him in the kitchen for the first time became my image. I expected this to go as well as trying to speak had, so it was completely unexpected when the image held.
"Yes." I thought. Didn't know if my mind could handle more than a single word without trippin'.
"Good." the kid's voice came from my left.
It had an echoing ring to it. It wasn't loud, but I could feel its vibrations in my body, as I turned to look at the source of the voice. At first I thought I was trippin'. The kid was there, but not completely. It was like looking at a ghost. I could see the seat he was sitting in right through him.
"Hold your focus on me." he instructed.
I followed. Mind cooperated again. The vibrations from his voice intensified for a quick moment before they stopped completely. The lightheadedness retreated, taking the flashes and sensory issues with it. And the kid became solid. But he looked slightly different.
His face was clean as a whistle. No bruises. No blemishes from the earlier fight. His buzz cut hair had grown out, revealing it was actually curly and not straight. It reminded me a lot of what Justin Timberlake's hair used to look like before he went solo. Even his clothes were perfectly clean and undamaged. Aside from those things, everything else about him was the same.
"How did your hair grow all of a sudden?" I thought it, and heard it through my ears in my own voice as if I'd spoken it.
On top of that, my lips moved in time with the words I'd thought. I wasn't even thinking about moving my lips. They just did it on their own.
"What we look like in here is a little bit different than what we look like out there." the kid answered. His lips moved just like mine had. "For instance, you grew facial hair."
I checked and found that I had. It didn't feel like mane on my face, but I could feel that my beard and mustache had grown back in. With my hand still on my beard I realized,
"I can move again!" I almost spoke it before remembering to think it.
"Yup." the kid nodded. "Shouldn't be a problem while we're in here."
"Where are we?"
"Dreamwalking. Which, by the way, you shouldn't be able to do right now. It's only been a few hours since your first Shift..."
Old word. New context.
"Shift?" I didn't mean to interrupt, but the questions were ready to begin.
The kid started to say something, stopped, then said,
"We can both agree it's been a real weird day for you today, hasn't it?"
"Oh, we left weird about two states back." I responded.
I had more to go with that, but the kid said;
"So you'll know I'm not bullshittin' you when I say that the weirdness is because you're a werewolf. Today is the day you become aware of it."
I'd been prepared for a rather abnormal explanation of what'd happened at my job and at the empty house. But I was not prepared for what the kid actually said. Almost didn't compute for a minute. Especially when I didn't remember either of us sprouting fur and turning into dogs since the entire situation began.
"You did just say werewolf, right?" I wanted to be sure before I got started.
"Yeah, I did." the kid rolled his eyes. "And is this the part where you're gonna say werewolves don't exist?"
"Actually, it's the part where I say what kind of werewolf are you talking about? I don't remember us turning into no wolves."
The kid's expression let me know that that wasn't the response he'd been expecting.
"Well...that's `cause we didn't. Real werewolves don't work quite like that." his tone confirmed it.
"Then how can I be a werewolf if I don't even change into a wolf?" I finished.
I expected the kid to get frustrated. Mad even. Instead he said;
"'Cause it's not your body that's a wolf. It's your spirit. Wolf spirit in a human body."
"How is that even possible?" my werewolf lore didn't include any explanation like that.
"Some say it's divine. Something done with and on purpose. Some say it's a mistake. Wrong spirit put into the wrong body. I personally think it's the first thing. If it was a mistake, none of us would go through the Transition."
"Is that what's wrong with me?" sounded like I might have a name to my ailment.
"That's what's happening to you." the kid corrected.
"And what's happening exactly?"
"Your mind is becoming aware of what you really are. You were always a wolf. But up until now your mind has always figured: `hey, I look human so I must be human'."
"This doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard about werwolves." I had to be honest.
But I couldn't front. What he'd said made a strange kind of...sense.
"That's `cause you were talking to the wrong people." the kid responded.
"And you're the right people?" I remarked.
"Wouldn't be Dreamwalking with you right now if I weren't."
I'd forgotten we were even doing that.
"So how did this happen to me? Did one of you bite me or something?" I decided to further test my lore.
"You were born like this. Your mind can wake up to the truth from the first second you hit puberty all the way to a split second before you hit thirty-one." he answered.
"So for eighteen years this could've happened to me from out of nowhere like it is now?"
The kid answered by nodding.
"And when your mind first becomes aware of the truth it goes into a kinda shock. That's what happened to you at your job with that woman. We call it a Blackout." he added.
I was about to continue, then realized something. I hadn't told him what had happened at my job. Just as I got ready to say it, though, I remembered what Tina and Suzette had said. It'd been a kid who'd gotten me to calm down and let the woman go.
"So that was you at my job then?" I asked.
"Yup." the kid nodded. "He is I and I am him."
"Thought they said you had a hat on."
"I did, `til that five time overweight champion shredded it in half when she decided to get crazy at the dumpster on you."
The kid gave a short sigh and shook his head.
"I liked that hat too." he said, before scowling a little. "Fat ugly bitch..."
His attention turned to me, a look of realization on his face.
"Wait. They? Who told you I had a hat or that I was even there?" he inquired.
"My co-workers who saw you. One of them thought you were the one who made me let that woman go." I answered.
"Shoulda just let you finish." he confirmed. "But yeah. I got you to take your rage level down by a couple of notches."
"I asked you to let her go before you made a mistake that would screw you up later with the law."
True. The way I'd been told it, I was trying to kill the woman. Murder in front of an entire audience would've been one hell of a mistake.
Which raised another question.
"How were you able to reach me when nobody else was?" I asked.
I mean if people I knew hadn't been able to get through to me, why some kid I didn't even know?
"Because, as you know, we're both werewolves. But mainly because we're in the same Pack." he answered.
He'd said that before. Back at the house. It was who we were supposed to be waiting for until mamacita grande arrived and went to showin' her fat ass.
"So if you and me are in the same Pack, then the rest of the people in this truck are in that same Pack too?" I let the lines connect.
"You do pay attention." the kid acknowledged. "Yeah. Everyone in here is part of the same Pack. I couldn't have found you otherwise."
"Were you looking for me?"
"Yup. It's why I asked if we could stop in town for a little bit instead of passing through, like we were going to. I'm pretty sure Denn knew why, since he always seems to know everything, but the others were probably clueless."
"Is he Denn?" I asked, pointing to the other black man up front on the cell phone.
"Yup. Our great and powerful leader."
"What do you mean?"
"Know how regular wolf packs have alphas? So do werewolf Packs. Denn is our alpha. The lady driving is our beta."
Looking back toward the front seat I became aware of something. Somethings actually. Everything in the truck was as it was before the Dreamwalk. Everyone was sitting where they'd been sitting before. The truck was traveling. Scenery was passing. However there weren't any road or truck sounds. Not even a sound from the other black man in the front seat as he talked on his cell. Only me and the kid seemed to have voices and make sound.
How I was just barely noticing that then shocked me.
"Why are we the only ones who're making sound? Why can't we hear anything else?" I inquired.
"When you Dreamwalk only the people who are doing it with you make sound." the kid replied.
"And how does Dreamwalking work exactly? I mean am I the one that's dreaming or are you the one that's dreaming? Are we even dreaming?"
"We're both dreaming. But those instructions I gave you earlier brought you into mine. You might be fast, but I highly doubt you could dream every detail of this truck and you've never even been in it before,"
"Hell, Jo-C, five minutes ago I didn't even know I could do any of this.
"Neither did I. Just had a feeling you might..."
His sentence halted. A hint of a smile came to his lips.
"What did you just call me?" he asked.
It was my turn to halt as I realized I'd actually stated a name in my last comment.
"...Joseph-Carter." the thought speech came out as a whisper.
It was just there in my head from out of nowhere.
His full name.
How old he was.
...Even a bit about who he was.
The kid, Jo-C let out a triumphant laugh and clapped his hands a few times.
"Fuckin A!" he smiled. "I can't believe you just did that! You shouldn't have been able to do that for like...another week! I don't know how, but you're killin' this! This has got to be the fastest Transition ever!"
"Is that bad?" the way he was reacting didn't seem like it was, but it also didn't sound like it was normal. Hadn't since his first comment about me being able to Dreamwalk.
A thoughtful look crossed his young face, taking away the smile and jubilance.
"Doesn't feel like it so far." he began, before thinking a bit more. "As the matter of fact it feels...normal."
He let out a quick sigh and a shrug.
"Guess that's what's throwin' me most." he concluded, before the thoughtful look was gone and his smile returned. "But with the way you're burning through this, I'd say you'll be through your first Transition phase in a day versus a week."
"Good, `cause I've gotta be back at work day after tomorrow." I'd meant to actually think the sentence to myself and...whoops.
Jo-C gave me a look, like he wasn't sure if I was joking or if I was serious.
"Oh, yeah. `Cause that's what you're really gonna do." he scoffed.
"Then why don't you tell me what I'm gonna do?" I invited. "Not go home? Not go to work? I've got priorities. It's not like I can just vanish into thin air and have folks forget I ever existed."
Pointing to Denn, Jo-C said;
"He's takin' care of all that right now."
And again with that...knowing.
Denn was short for Dennis.
"And how is he doing that?" I was curious. "Can't make arrangements for somebody you don't even know."
"We're a society, just like humans. We got connections. You aren't the first or last person who's ever had to be uprooted on zero-hour notice." Jo-C answered.
Before I could form a thought-response, he looked forward suddenly, seeming to listen.
"All right. Gotta let you go. If I get the chance to come back and check on you, I will." he said.
The last words of his sentence sent those strange vibrations through my body again, and the world around me simply winked out like a light. For a moment I was in a calm darkness. Then my body and senses remembered they were supposed to be on full tweak and went back to it with renewed vigor.
* * * * * *
My eyes popped open. Didn't even know I'd fallen asleep. Didn't know how I'd fallen asleep with my body and senses going off the wall crazy. But they weren't anymore. They'd come back from their trip during my unexpected nap and I felt normal again.
I didn't get long to enjoy the concept though, as I realized that I was no longer in the truck. I was in a room. A bedroom to be exact. To my left was a wall, a doorway (which was shut) a tall chest of drawers (as the wall resumed), a double door closet in front of me, more wall to the right of me, and a nightstand at the right head of the bed. There was a long window on the right wall. Someone stood smoking a cigarette out the open portion of it.
Up until this point I hadn't moved. But I had to lift up to get a better look at the person. My movement was slight, if that. The person at the window still turned to look.
"Hey! What's real, Brainy Smurf?" a voice that I hadn't heard in ages greeted me.
I lifted all the way up then.
There were only a few people who knew me by that childhood nickname.
The only light in the room was coming in through the window from the moon, but I could still clearly see the face of the person speaking to me. And that hit me just as hard as the nickname. Harder actually. Took my breath away for a couple of seconds.
"It can't be you." I spoke when I finally could.
"Why not?" the person responded.
"Because unless this is a dream, why would you be here?"
"Probably because you're at my house."
"Your house?" that dream theory was starting to seem like a possibility to me.
Didn't see how else, or why else, the person would be there talkin' about I was at thier house.
"Simple question. Simple answer." I figured skip the pretense. I needed to know if who I was seeing was real or not. "Are you one of us?"
Person didn't answer. Just gave a matter of fact nod.
"Do you know what I'm talking about when I say..." my sentence dropped out suddenly.
It dropped out because of what happened to the person's eyes. It started out dull at first, before it lit up the entire cornea in a bright yellow glow. The person let that linger on my mind for a minute, before they closed their eyes in a long blink, and opened them. The glow was just finishing with dulling out completely.
"So are we clear on that or do I have to convince you further?" the person asked, but I'm sure they already knew the answer. I know it was written all over my face.
What I was seeing was true.
Who I was seeing was true.
"...Kev?" I was in equal shock and question.
He chuckled to himself.
"And here I was thinkin' you might not remember a nigga." he answered.
How? I didn't know.
But somehow it'd happened.
My sensei was with me again.
All growed up.
...And a werewolf.
His body had filled out with more muscle and it looked like he'd gotten a foot taller. His face was still youthful and the short and kept goatee was the only facial hair present. And his hair, which was in a short natural last time I'd seen him, was close cut.
I chuckled at his comment.
"I never forgot you. It's just that you're the last person on earth I expected to see right now."
"Thought you could use some familiarity in a place where nothin' ain't." he responded.
"You thought right." I shook my head. "I mean...part of me is still thinkin' this can't be real."
Kev sighed and shook his head.
"It's not a easy pill to swallow at first." he spoke with what sounded like knowing.
"So you went through this too?" I decided to see if I was right.
"Why wouldn't I? All werewolves go through it."
"Really?" this was news to my ears and another slap across my lore's face.
"We're a species not an affliction." his answer made me chuckle again.
"Hey, don't act like I know the first thing about any of this shit." I held up my hands. "I'm just going off what I think I know."
My reaction got a chuckle out of him.
"Yeah, yeah, your right." Kev shook his head "You gotta forgive me. I ain't been around no Cub since...damn."
"What you're considered right now. New to all this."
Cub? Thirty years old and I was a Cub? Yeah. Liked that classification like a root canal without novocain. The "new to all this" was the only thing that saved it.
"So when did you find out the truth?" I shifted the conversation back to the previous topic.
"Remember when I went into the service?" he asked.
"Yeah." I nodded.
"That was a lie. I went into Transition."
"You know, I always wondered why you went into the service when you used to swear up and down you'd never do it."
"Now you know I never did."
"How in the world did you sneak some shit like this past Miss Andelle?" I wondered. "Did you just tell her you were going into the service or what?"
"Mama already knew." Kev's response sent my jaw to the floor, where it stayed for a spell.
"You mean...she knew what you were?" I asked, once my jaw quit its impression of a snake.
"Shit was like a kick in the balls." Kev shook his head and took a drag on his cigarette, before putting it out in the ashtray sitting on the window seal.
Kev got ready to speak, paused, and said,
"I don't think you're ready to go into that yet."
"Oh skip that. You can't just leave me hangin'." I objected.
Again he got ready to speak, paused, longer this time, then said;
"She knew what my father was. Once he realized he had feelins for her, he broke it down to her, showed it to her...gave her the truth."
"But how did she not freak out? I mean its one thing to be what we are and deal with this. I can't imagine not being what we are and dealing with it." I said.
"She never told me all the details. Just that it took her awhile to accept. She loved my father. Says she's never loved another man like she loved him. Through two kids they made it work. But bein' human, she didn't understand his connection to his Pack. Didn't understand that he could never be completely hers. In the end that's what made her walk."
"Damn." was all I could say. "Sorry that happened."
"Usually does in human/werewolf relationships. At least theirs was one of the longer lasting ones."
"How come she never told you?"
"She couldn't until I hit Transition. One of the main rules of human/werewolf relationships if kids are involved."
I sighed and shook my head.
"I see what you mean about that kick in the balls. Don't know what I would do if my mother knew something about this and was here right now telling me." I said.
"That's only because she didn't live long enough to be here." Kev's response hit me like the kick we'd just talked about.
"What?!" the effect was in my voice. "What do you mean?"
"My father and your father. Brothers." he answered.
Now I knew why he'd kept hesitating so much. He'd known where my questions would lead. To not just one, but two healthy kicks to the sack. Just like Miss Andelle, my mother had known all the time what I really was. And never once had it come out of her mouth. Now I knew why.
"No wonder our mamas got along so well." I remarked.
"Brings a whole new perspective to their relationship, doesn't it?"
"Like a whole new perspective..."
My sentence trailed off as mind grasped another revelation.
"Me and you are cousins." I realized.
"I was wonderin' how long it'd take you to catch that." Kev confirmed. "And yeah, we are. All three of us."
"Myron." his name came out as a whisper.
"He's gon' trip when he finds out you're here."
"Where is he?"
"He's part of another Pack. They're in O.K.C right now helpin' the newest member of their Pack adjust."
Instant gratification followed by instant disappointment. It would've been icing on top of the cake to see my oldest road dog again. This disappointment was suddenly eclipsed by another possibility of gratification.
"So I take it you met your father?" I asked.
"He was there with mama to explain what was happening to me too." he replied.
"Have you met mine?" I inquired next.
"How come he's not here now?"
"Our fathers were killed in action. Their entire team was about four years ago."
That sunk my gratification further than hearing Myron wasn't with us. My father, the other half of me, was just like my mother. Dead and gone. Even though I didn't remember the man, I still felt the loss.
"What happened?" I asked.
"Official word is that other werewolves did it. But unofficial, on the down low word, is that it wasn't werewolves. Whatever did it didn't register in the system." Kev answered.
"Whatever killed them wasn't human and wasn't werewolf. And since there isn't such thing as vampires, that means we're dealing with something brand new."
"Vampires don't exist?" that part of the sentence surprised me most.
"Not unless the woman you a lil' man scrapped with is what a vampire is supposed to be." Kev responded.
"I don't think so. Last time I checked, vampires had fangs and didn't look like Mileena from Mortal Kombat II in the face. Bitch took a bite out of my hand with those sharp ass..."
I lifted my hand to show Kev where I'd been bitten only to notice the bite mark wasn't there. Nothing but clean, undamaged flesh was on my hand like the bite had never taken place.
"That healed up a long time ago." Kev remarked. "But you see where I'm goin' with this."
Not at first. I was still stuck on the fact that my hand was completely healed. I took a few more seconds to marvel at that before getting back on topic.
"That woman. Jo-C kept saying it was something you guys had never seen before." I said.
"And it's been around for four years at least. You and lil' man are the only ones to get a look at it and live to tell about it."
"You think that's what killed our dads?"
"We think so."
"Do you know why?"
Kev shook his head.
"We figure it was some kind of ambush by whatever this new thing is. Why they ambushed the team? No idea. But we do know there was more than one." he answered.
"You mean there's more of those things out there?" that wasn't good news.
"Maybe a whole lot of `em. But because the muthafuckers don't have a scent, we can't even track `em."
"Wait...huh?" I figured I hadn't heard that right.
"You heard right. These things don't have a smell."
"How is that even possible?"
Kev simply shrugged.
"Guess that explains how they've stayed under the radar for this long." I said.
"And will keep doing it until we find another way to get at `em." Kev said.
A very bad thought came to mind at that moment.
"So they could be out there right now and we wouldn't even know?"
"Because this place is decked out to the blades of grass with security, no. Anything uninvited tries to step in here, it gets seen." Kev put that fear to rest.
"Is that something werewolves do? With the security I mean?"
"One that's absolutely paranoid might. But as a W.I.L.D Agent, it's standard procedure."
"Werewolf Investigations and Law-enforcement Division."
Werewolves having their own law-enforcement division. Wanted to laugh at first. Lore had taught me that werewolves were barbaric. Complete animals that when they turned went straight guano on everything in sight. How could animals have their own law-enforcement division? Just one more pimp slap to my lore's face.
"Is that just you or your entire Pack?" I asked.
"My entire Pack. Yours too." Kev answered.
"Yeah. My Pack is a stationary unit. We're called the Watchdawgz. Yours is a mobile unit called Denn's Mobile Circus."
"Which would explain why we're here. Our Packs are working on this situation together."
"One of the reasons. The other is you. It's a lot easier to go through the Transition process when you're stationary, plus the added bonus of being around someone you know. On top of that, we figured it wasn't a good idea for you to go back to your apartment."
"Why is that?"
"Someone broke into your car at your job before it could be recovered. We think it was that woman and we have no idea what she might've stolen, but we know she was looking at some of your bills."
Bills which I'd planned on paying after I'd gotten off work, before the plan got changed. I got ready to ask why she would've been looking at my bills when the answer came to me.
"She was trying to get my address, wasn't she?" I inquired.
"We think so. She hasn't made any moves yet, but we've got your place under watch for when she, or anyone else, does." Kev answered.
"You think she or another one of them might show?"
"We're hoping so. It's our only lead since she was attentive enough not to leave any prints."
"These things are damn careful."
"Must agree on that." Kev said. "Anyway, enough of that conversation for tonight. We'll have all of tomorrow and beyond to get deeper into it. Let's go outside and have a smoke."
I actually wanted to continue with the conversation. I was now just as concerned about this new thing as Kev was, and just as curious to find out what it was. But I figured it best to let it rest. Until the morning.
"How'd you know I smoked?" I went with the switch.
Kev tapped his nose.
"I can smell the cigarette smoke on your clothes." he answered.
"For real?" I didn't quite believe him.
"You smoke menthols, don't you? And sometimes those cigars that smell like grapes?"
"Yeah." I nodded, honestly amazed. "So werewolves do have enhanced senses?"
Mine hadn't seemed any different since coming back from their set trip.
"We do." Kev answered, starting to walk. "Let's walk `n talk. Shoes are at the edge of the bed if you want `em."
I got out of the bed (noticing I was still in my work uniform) and walked around to the front of the bed, grabbed my shoes, and slid them on. I'd worked the shoe strings so that I didn't have to keep untying and retying the shoe every time I took it on or off. Found I could get a shoestring to last longer that way. With those on I followed Kev out of the room.
Beyond the room was a somewhat narrow hallway. We hit a right turn down it to go out the front door of the house and outside. The front door walked out onto a large rectangular concrete slab. Beyond that was a pretty big fenced in yard. To the right and up ahead was the back of another house. A group of plastic chairs sat out unoccupied in the yard in front of the house we'd exited. We took our seats there.
"I ain't seen a house with a backhouse since I was a kid." I remarked.
"That's one of the main reasons we brought it. Makes for a good safe house." Kev said, reaching into his pants pocket for something.
He found what he was looking for and took out what looked like a pack of cigarettes. I didn't notice a brand name on them. Just a color. Blue. Opening up the pack, he took one out and handed it to me.
"Appreciate it." I thanked him, taking the cigarette and noticing it was wrapped in blue paper.
It wasn't the same bright shade as what was on the box. This was darker. There was no brand logo on the smoke either and it didn't have a filter. Reminded me of Lucky Strikes. First type of cigarette I ever smoked.
Then I realized something.
There weren't any lights on in the backyard.
The only light that was on was the moonlight. Moonlight could be bright. But bright enough for me to be able to see a shade of blue that should've looked like black? Bright enough to let me see Kev's face and the entire room so well it never dawned on me to look for a light source?
"I just realized something. I can see." I said.
"Thought you always could." Kev remarked, lighting his cigarette with his lighter, then holding it out for me to light mine.
"No." I started, lighting my cigarette. "Like do you realize how dark it is out here?"
Kev started to speak, paused, then laughed.
"Know how we were just talkin' about enhanced senses?"
"Looks like yours are kickin' in already. Sight is first, then hearing, then taste, then touch. That's one of the signs that you're in the second phase of Transition." he said. "Which means you're goin' through this faster than anyone on record."
"How long should I be taking?" Jo-C had said a week earlier, but I wanted to check the facts.
"Usually you're out like a light after your first Blackout for a week while the first phase of Transition takes. We had some ultra rare cases where the person did it in 24 hours. You've done it in 12."
"So I would've been asleep for a week straight?"
"Sounds impossible, but yeah. You wouldn't have even noticed that the time passed."
And I'd been thinking that sleeping for twelve hours straight was big news.
"Is it bad that I did this in 12 hours?" I'd already asked Jo-C that question. But I wanted to see what Kev had to say.
"You wouldn't be out here smokin' with me if it was. Just means the fastest time for first phase is 12 hours." Kev answered, then pointed to my cigarette. "And you need to handle that smoke before it goes out."
I went ahead and took a long drag on my cigarette. I exhaled slowly, ready for that first rush of nicotine. It came through a few moments later, starting as a buzzy feeling in my head, before spreading out like a warm wave across the rest of my body down to my toes.
For a moment, I thought it was because I'd gone awhile without a smoke that the cigarette tasted and felt so good. I took a second, smaller hit, and began to change my mind as it settled over me.
The flavor of the cigarette was like no cigarette I'd ever had before. It had a mellow, fruity flavor, and actually tasted good. Always the thing about smoking. Tasted like dead farm animals. It was the effect that eventually made a smoker see passed the taste.
And that was the next thing. Effect.
Nicotine usually gave a quick buzz rush as hit the system. In order to keep the effect going, one had to take another puff. But not with this. There was buzz, but no rush. This cigarette calmed me. Calmed me like a hit on a quality joint. It was faster, though, and without the case of stupids.
"Tell me you didn't lace this with some of that business, Kev." I said. "Because I ain't never had a cigarette like this."
"No lace. Just tobacco grown and cultivated a certain way." Kev replied. "Takes a werewolf to enjoy `em, though. Humans would only notice that the taste was different."
"Let's just say they help calm our inner beast."
"What do you mean?"
"We'll cross that bridge when you get to that phase."
"Which reminds me, how does this whole thing work? Transition, I mean."
"There's four phases to it." Kev answered. "Awakening, Bonding, Unification, and Totality. When you woke up tonight, it put you on the second one.
"What can I expect?"
"This is the phase where you become one with your Pack's Bond."
"A connection that links all the members of the same Pack together by spirit. You become a part of them, they become a part of you. It'll make you feel like you've known them since before we met."
"It's that strong?"
"Like nothin' you've ever experienced before. But there's pros and cons. The pros are that you'll be able to do some pretty tight shit. You'll be able sense any member of your Pack, and to a lesser extent any other werewolf. And you can communicate with your Pack, and any other werewolf, by thinking instead of talking."
My mind flashed back to the Dreamwalk with Jo-C.
"So that's how I suddenly knew Jo-C's name, his age, and even a little about who he was during the Dreamwalk?" I now had a reason behind the "knowing".
"That would be how." Kev confirmed. "Sounds like you entered second phase earlier than I thought. No wonder Denn gave in so easy and let me be here with you instead of him."
"What do you mean?"
"Because of the cons to phase two. When I say that you become a part of them and they become a part of you, I mean they acquire everything about you and you about them. So if you got any secrets you been keepin', that's all about to be exposed."
"I don't think I like that shit."
"Who said you had a choice in it?" Kev said.
"Me." I answered. "I mean, if I don't want that to happen then the shit ain't gon' happen."
"Be nice if it was that easy."
"And it isn't because?" I wanted to know.
"It's just as much in your control as the Blackouts you had earlier. Ain't no other way around it but to go through it."
I wanted to argue. Wanted to find some kind of overlooked loophole. The Blackouts were one thing. Having a whole group of people suddenly knowing everything about me was a whole different cup of tea. Yeah, I was going to know everything about the members of my Pack. I understood that. But that was only my set of eyes on each of them versus all their eyes on me.
"Now you know why we call this the hardest phase out the four." Kev informed. "That's the good news."
"Bad news is right now I have to deal with this intrusive bullshit."
Kev nodded knowingly.
"Felt the same way myself when it was my time." he said.
"How did you accept it?" I wondered.
"Not by choice. I'll tell you that. Hard to let go of that front at first."
"The one that keeps us from telling people every little thing about ourselves for fear of being judged, or causes us to lie to get people to view us a certain way."
"Which is why I think I'm gonna hate this every step of the way. I am not feelin' being judged by a whole group of people I don't even know."
"You don't know them yet. But you will. And you'll see it wasn't any reason to trip after all. Because the judgment you're expecting, it ain't gon' happen"
I didn't even try to hide my disbelief in that statement.
"How can it not happen? That's all folks do is judge." I said.
"Because it's not allowed. They don't get to judge you and you don't get to judge them." Kev answered.
That revelation made me pause.
"Oh?" I inquired.
"Oh." Kev confirmed.
I took a pull on my smoke, noticing it would be to the point where it wasn't safe to smoke without tweezers soon, before continuing.
"So if I was a killer, and I was out killing kids before my Transition, I wouldn't be judged by any of you for that?" I wanted to make sure I comprehended this concept.
"Not unless you kept doing it once your Transition was over. And trust me, you wouldn't." Kev answered.
"Our society doesn't bullshit like humans do. A werewolf goes out and does something like that without the best reason, they get hunted down, incarcerated and disassociated."
Old word. Very sinister sounding next to incarcerated.
"From their Pack. It's like being disowned. Once that happens a werewolf isn't allowed to ever rejoin their Pack, but they'll always be connected to them because of the Pack Bond. A werewolf can last six months maximum away from their Pack before they go balls to the wall crazy and die." Kev explained.
"Will that happen to me if I'm away from my Pack for too long?"
"Nah. You haven't been asked to join your Pack yet, so you won't be affected like that." Kev answered. "Transition is like a trial period. You get to sample what your life would be like as a werewolf with most of the pros and a few of the cons. If after that you still want to go back to life as it was before, you can decline the invitation."
"So I can say no to all this?" a ping of hope shot through me.
"Oh yeah. But you only get ten years to live if you do."
That murdered the little ray of hope in the worst way.
"Please explain." I encouraged.
"Body can't exist without the spirit." Kev responded.
"Which is wolf?" I remembered what Jo-C had said earlier.
"Yeah." Kev nodded. "Who told you that?"
"Jo-C during our Dreamwalk. He was telling me how the mind realizes the truth and that begins the Transition."
"He was right on that."
"So would my spirit get killed or something?"
"It would get put back to sleep and the Pack Bond would be severed between you and your Pack. You'd feel sick like you've got the flu for about a week, and both you and your Pack would experience a kind of memory loss. You guys would remember each other, but it would feel like it was a long time ago, and the memory would be vague."
Noticing my cigarette was nearly dead, as was his, Kev pulled out an old coffee can that'd been sitting behind one of the chairs. Both of us put our smokes out on the grass, before throwing the butts into the can.
"So he wasn't lying when he said that I was born like this." I hadn't fully believed Jo-C at the time. But a nap and a lot of knowledge later...
"Like I said before, we're a species not a plague." Kev replied, reaching into his pocket for his pack of cigarettes again. "One more while I finish tellin' you the rest."
He took out a cigarette and handed it to me.
"You mean there's more?" I meant it more as a joke, but there was some serious in there, as I took the cigarette.
"Startin' to feel sorry for asking?" he took out his lighter and lit it for me to light my cigarette.
"Little bit." I lit my cigarette. "But I guess I'd rather know what's coming instead of not knowing."
"I can agree with that." he lit his own and put the lighter back in his pocket. "Now if I lose you on any of what I'm about to say, let me know, `cause it can get confusing."
"All right." I nodded.
"You know what chi is?"
"That's like life energy, or body energy, right?"
"That's it." Kev confirmed. "Each Packmate has their own unique energy. When you combine that together with the other Packmates, you get the fuel that powers the Pack Bond."
"So the more members you have in a Pack, the stronger the Pack Bond?" I evaluated.
"Close, but not quite. The closer a Pack is to having all its members is what makes the Pack Bond stronger. So say you got a Pack of five and a Pack of ten, and both have all their members. The Pack Bond for that Pack of five is just as strong as the one for that Pack of ten.
"Ah." I understood. "I got you."
"Now even though you got your own energy, the Pack Bond is made up of all the energies of the Packmates. That means your energy flows through them and their energy flows through you. But you don't produce their energy and they don't produce yours, right?"
"So in order to get the energy that isn't yours, you have to go to the source and get it from them."
"How do we do that?"
A unicorn could've galloped up next to us, stopped, hit a backflip, morphed into a woman, and walked back out the yard like the shit she just did was a normal part of hers and our everyday, and I still would've been more shocked/surprised by what Kev said. My reaction and look on my face made him laugh.
"Didn't expect that, huh?" he asked.
"Hell no! How does that even figure into the equation?" I answered.
"When you have sex it produces a lot of raw, pure energy. Not to mention it's the best way to physically connect with someone."
"True." I nodded, just as realization hit me. "Wait. Is this like male/female sex or...?"
"Male/female, male/male, female/female. Whichever energy you need is where you'll go. Gender don't matter."
"But what about age? I mean, Jo-C's only fifteen years old. I can't be doin' that with no kid."
"I'm not gon' lie, that'll mess with you for a minute. One of my Packmates was fifteen when he hit Transition and all us older folks tried our damndest to find another way to share our energy with him."
"No dice, my nigga. There's only the one way. But keep this in mind; it don't mean you suddenly wanna go out and bang every kid you see. Just like if you're straight, you don't suddenly want to go out and start bangin' other men. It's only between Packmates."
How could something be so strong that it could force one to have sex with a person that under normal circumstances they wouldn't even dream of touching? And on top of that it could make a person want sex with people they didn't know, as well as make a person's sexual orientation take a back seat?
I was homosexual. Had to finally come to terms with that at the age of nineteen when I realized I loved the company and affection of a girl, but didn't feel anything sexually for them. It'd broken my heart at first. With the way the world's attitude was toward that type of stuff back then, it was the last thing I wanted in my life. And there didn't seem to be a way to "fix" myself as folks believed was possible back then. The more I tried to fix it, the more it fought to stay the same. That was how I came to understand that nobody chooses to be homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual. It's hardwired and built in from the start. The only choice the person gets to make is accept or deny.
Much like finding out werewolves were real and that I was one of them.
But it was going to be near impossible to accept sex with a fifteen year old.
"At least he's only a year younger than the age of consent in a lot of places. It's what we had to tell ourselves." Kev tried to help me out.
"Still won't keep it from feelin' absolutely wrong." I remarked.
"No. No it won't." he agreed. "But let's go ahead a put a finish on this. Within the next few days, from out of nowhere, you're going to start feelin' horny. It'll be directed at a certain member of your Pack. When that happens it means you need a refill on their energy."
"Do they feel it too?"
"Yeah they do. You'll wanna get it, they'll wanna give it. So if they come at you in a forward sort of fashion, like they want some, that's what it's about."
"This is gon' be some crazy shit." I sighed.
"At first? Oh hell yeah. But it's part of what we are. You'll settle into it." Kev said.
"Guess we'll see."
Our cigarettes were both a little over halfway gone. With my tutorial out the way, we sat and enjoyed the silence for the rest of our smoke.
"Should be able to get back to sleep for a few more hours or so. I'll take you back inside." Kev said as we put our smokes out and tossed them into the can.
"Actually, I think I'm..." I paused. "Feeling a little bit sleepy after I slept for twelve hours straight."
"Body's still gettin' its equilibrium back."
He put the can back behind the chair he'd taken it from and stood up. I stood with him, surprised I was able to with the effects of the cigarette going on. Wasn't messing with my motor functions like something else would've.
We went back into the back house and Kev showed me to my room.
"If I ain't said it already, let me say it now. It is good to see your black ass again, Micah." Kev said.
"Likewise, goddammit." I sent back.
We hadn't yet, so we gave each other the black man handshake into a hug.
"See you in the morning." he said.
"Yeah." I nodded.
He nodded and closed the door behind him. I listened as he walked down the hall, opened the front door, walked out, locked it, and left.
I could've stayed in my work uniform, but I got down to my boxer shorts. Could never sleep in anything but my underwear. As I settled down to let myself rest for a short while, I couldn't help but think;
"What a day this has been."
* * * * * *