*The following tale is fiction. It contains
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Denn's Mobile Circus
Something was different about me.
The revelation came just as I got ready to laugh along with Taj.
I found I had to agree with it.
Something was different. I didn't know what it was exactly. But I had a feeling that whatever it was, it had to be the source of the aggression that kept creeping up and putting me in a headlock.
It was a concern that needed to be asked about.
"What're you laughing about?" Imani beat me to speaking. She was talking to her brother.
"Private moment. Had to be there." Taj answered.
"Let's just be glad there's laughing instead of the two of them trying to pile drive each other into the grass." Kyla remarked.
"How did you know that?" her comment was just a little too accurate.
She got ready to answer then paused.
"Oh..." she seemed to realize something. "You two actually went at each other?"
That'd just been a comment she'd made. She didn't actually know the truth. Now she did. So did everyone else who was present.
"Don't worry. I went easy on the Pup. Not like I want you up my ass." Taj looked over at Kev. "He doesn't like me. But he doesn't hate me."
Taj looked at me.
"Am I right?" he inquired.
"Yeah." that was pretty darn accurate on how I felt about him. "That about says it."
"You're welcome." Kev nodded.
Taj let out a quick sigh.
To me it came out with a tone of relief.
"Let me pre-empt you before you even open your mouths..."
Taj put his back to us and left for the main house. Silence skipped through the yard as he made his way, arrived at the back door, opened it, went through it, then shut it.
"Is it freaking anyone else out how much you two are acting like each other?" Jo-C pistol whipped the silence mid-skip.
"More than you know." Imani acknowledged.
"With that said." Kev waved as began to separate from the rest of us. "We'll see ya'll inside. This one and her brother need to get some food in `em before they do their last bit of business, then get their asses in the bed."
"Oh yessuh, massa." Imani rolled her eyes at Kev, but there was a smile on her lips.
"Uh..." I raised my hand. "Kev, I don't know where you think you're goin'."
He stopped and looked at me.
"To my house, but you sound like you got somethin' to say." he invited.
"Why didn't you tell me about Break Out and Ascension last night?" I inquired. "Shit should've been in the top five things to tell me about what to expect."
"Sayin' something about Break Out before it happens would've been arming your alarm system with more restrictions. Instead of just looking and listening for you, it would've looked and listened for any intruding Packmates. Makes for a much dirtier entry and extraction." he answered.
"Why would that have happened?" I asked.
"Remember when I told you not to say mine or Jo-C's name?" Aurey answered.
"Yeah." I looked to him.
"I told you that `cause your mind knows the names of your Packmates. Learns `em during recovery from the Blackout. So you'dve said our names out loud, you'dve triggered the alarm."
If that didn't clear up quite a bit about that entire experience.
"Is there anything else that's going to happen to me that you can't tell me about?" my sensei wasn't off the hook yet.
"That was it." he answered. "Sorry I couldn't tell you. But trust me I almost did."
After learning what I'd just learned,
"I'm glad you didn't." I said.
"Me too." he nodded.
They both resumed taking their leave as Jo-C came over to where I was standing.
"Can I get Denn's Blues off you? Too lazy to go get mine." he asked.
"Yeah." I answered, taking Denn's pack out of my front pocket and handing them to him.
He was just about to take them when I realized,
"You ain't old enough to smoke." I pulled the pack back.
"Age isn't..." he started, before he seemed to realize something and laughed.
My Pack began to chuckle too.
"I miss something?" I clearly had.
"We're laughing because everyone is remembering Kyla's little outburst when it came to letting a thirteen year old smoke." Kyla filled me in.
Struck me as odd that I had a vague understanding of what she was talking about.
"I wasn't there for that." I meant to think the comment.
"'Bout two years before you." Aurey said.
"So...how come I think I remember it?"
"Thank the Pack Bond. If you were fully connected, you'd remember like you were actually there." Jo-C answered.
"I'm not fully connected?"
"Not until every member of the Pack has shared their energy with you and you with them."
"So I take it werewolf kids are allowed to smoke?" that issue hadn't been resolved yet.
"Only Blues. Helps keep that Animal in check." Jo-C answered.
Old word. New context.
"Animal?" I inquired.
"How `bout we not load his head with too much to worry about." Kyla suggested.
"Please. Our brother just gave death the middle finger. I think he can handle the truth." he remarked.
"That's the exact reason why we should give him a chance to breathe." Kyla persisted.
"Well..." he rolled his eyes the same way he had back in the safehouse. "Have you ever thought about the fact that he might already be starting to feel the Animal and maybe it would help him out..."
"Just...lay it on me and let me sort it out, okay?" I interrupted. "Good lookin' out, Kyla, but the name is already out there."
"Just tryin' to save you from a bigger headache is all." she held up her hands in surrender.
"Appreciate it." I nodded.
I turned my attention back to Jo-C.
"Lay it on me." I invited.
"Later tonight, maybe. But lately have you started to feel like you're not yourself?" he inquired.
"Yeah." he brought my main concern back to focus and away from his first sentence. "Is that what it is? The Animal?"
"Remember when we were breaking you out and we were on the elevator? The aggression?" he hit it again.
"That does taper off, right?" I hoped.
"That..." something in my hand moved.
Looking down, I saw Jo-C's hand was taking Denn's pack of Blues from my hand.
"Is what these help with, among other things." he shook the pack a few times. "Which is why I can smoke them."
I was over that. I was now concerned about this Animal.
"So the aggression doesn't taper off then?" sounded like that but I just wanted to be sure.
"No." he shook his head. "Comes with the species."
Well. That absolutely sucked.
"It's only overwhelming to you right now because it's new. You'll get used to it." Denn said.
"Yeah? How long does that take?" I didn't see myself ever getting used to it.
"You'll be surprised."
"I hope so..." my sentence quit as I realized I'd missed a point. "So the aggression is normal?"
Le fuckin' sigh.
At least I wasn't experiencing something else out of whack.
"Why is it so strong?" I inquired.
"We feel emotions in a more raw form than humans. Stack being male on top of that and there you go." he answered.
Did make sense. The males were most often the more aggressive ones.
"Guess I should apologize right now to everybody for anything I might say or do while I get this under control." I said to everyone.
"You've got a free pass. But we won't let you get too carried away." he assured.
Him and my other Packmates settled in to have their smoke.
In the ten minutes before Kev stuck his head out the back door and told us to come eat, I got further education on the Animal. My emotions weren't all it was going to change. It was going to change my perspective, making me seeing things in a much different light. That was why I had the sense of not feeling like myself. I'd asked if I was ever going to feel like myself again, but the answer was no. That "self", so to speak, didn't exist anymore.
So this was goodbye to being human.
"No" I was told.
It was goodbye to a lie.
I wanted to argue with that but I couldn't.
I wouldn't forget what it was like to be human, however. It was one of the main things that helped keep the Animal in check. True animals never knew what it was like to be anything else but what they were. Werewolves did.
This was what I had to think about as we all got up and headed toward the main house. Kev's call reminded me that I hadn't eaten in over twelve hours. I was surprised I hadn't gotten the shakes.
As soon as Denn opened the back door the smell hit me. Didn't even have time to decipher all the smells before my stomach let out a huge growl.
"Somebody is ready to get their grub on." Kyla remarked over her shoulder to me.
She'd been in front of me as we walked into the main house.
Before I could respond her stomach let out a growl of its own.
"Oooh let me shut up." she chuckled.
I did too.
We'd entered the main house through the kitchen. Two new people I hadn't met yet were in there. A female stood at the counter tossing a big bowl of salad. She had her back toward me, so I couldn't see her face. She was taller than me by a head. Her figure was two steps above thin, quite a few away from chunky. It was very nice.
A male was cooking at the stove. Most of his back was to me. Couldn't even get a good profile shot. He was tall. And not that lanky kind of tall. He had some meat on his bones. Just the right amount to match the tallness.
The female gave a casual glance in my direction, started to turn away, then looked back. She was of the "ese" decent. There was supposed to be a way to tell from the way the eyes slanted which "ese" a person was, but I could never tell Japanese, from Chinese, to Vietnamese. Her face had a natural beauty. Just the right amount of young and the right amount of mature.
"Hey!" she greeted. "You're Micah, right?"
"Yes." I greeted back. "And you are?"
"Kyoko." she answered.
Her attention went over to the male cooking at the stove.
"And the anti-social at the stove is Takuro."
"Tak." the male cooking at the stove said without turning. His voice was deeper than I'd expected to be.
And he was wearing glasses. Or at least what looked like glasses. I could see the black handle resting across the top of his ear. From the angle he was standing at I could only see part of the left lens. What I saw in that lens was something I had never seen on one before. My eyes focused on the lens a bit tighter. What was blurry and unknown cleared up to present itself. The reflection coming off the lens looked like the image from a computer screen.
"For the man who couldn't find his own dick without his computer." Aurey sent to me.
Realized I was able to tell the difference between telepathy and vocal speech.
A smile broke out across my lips. Had to fight a little to keep it from turning into a chuckle.
"It looks like there's a monitor in his glasses." I sent back.
"The left lens can see the computer screen of the computer he's working on."
"How is he working on a computer, telepathy?"
"Is that his Trait?" a question I had to ask now.
"Usin' his right hand. Gadget he has attached to the glove he's wearin' works like a keyboard. Check it out." Aurey directed me.
My eyes went to Tak's right hand. Sure enough there was a glove. To me, it looked more like a hand brace. Standing out from the center of the glove was a small, black, oval shaped object. It was in the perfect place for Tak to hold his palm over. His fingers were extended and moving like a spider moved while it was spinning its web.
"That's an entire keyboard?" I didn't see how that was possible.
"Half. Thumb is used to move back `n forth between the different sides." Aurey answered.
"So he can see the keyboard?"
"That's what in his right lens. Keys are on a clear background so he can still see. That's how he's workin' `n cookin' at the same time."
And I had to watch him work for a moment with technology I didn't even know existed, let alone possible.
"Is that..." had to think for a sec. "W.I.L.D equipment?"
"Probly in the next four years. Right now, it's only used by that man `n four of his other brainiac buddies." Aurey replied.
"C'mon, boys. Keep it movin'." Kyla reminded me I had been walking through the kitchen .
"Aurey is probably talking his trash again." Tak completing a full sentence revealed his accent. Very present but not sharp to forget that the letter "L" did exist when speaking engrish.
"Only `cause I'm jealous, cousin."
"Anyway." Kyoko reminded me she was still present.
Tuned in just in time to see her finish eying Takuro and Aurey in amused attention. Her eyes returned to me.
"I'm glad you're here to eat with us." she concluded.
"Me too." I nodded.
"We all are." Kyla added.
I fell back into walk behind Kyla and followed her out of the kitchen and into the dining room. A good sized long oaken table was the place we'd be sitting at. Some food had already been brought out. Four dishes sat in the center of the table in a horizontal line. A plate of toast with a plate of eggs next to it. Both sides had two carafes next to the plate of eggs. One was clear and had what looked like orange juice in it. The other was black and looked like the ones I had seen in restaurants that held coffee. There was a gap between the two plates of toast. Figured it was for the other stuff that hadn't been brought out yet.
At the places we were sitting; plates, silverware, and drinking glasses had been set out. Everyone from my Pack, except for Denn and the final lady of my Pack (whose name I didn't know) were already sitting down. I didn't know how many Kev had in his Pack but I knew Taj and Imani already.
Had to check the scene for a sec. Who would've imagined a bunch of savage creatures sitting around a table about to have a meal like a group of civilized people?
"Food is ready! Let's eat!" Kyoko summoned from the doorway of the kitchen.
She was present at the table a moment later. She'd split the salad I'd seen her tossing earlier into two bowls that were half the size of the original one. Those were placed beside the two plates of toast. Tak appeared without announcement to my other side and closed the gap with two plates larger than all the others. On those plates were some of the thickest steaks I'd ever seen in life.
A light tug on my shirt from the bottom left side called my attention to pulley.
"Gonna have a seat or just stand there?" Jo-C said.
I'd stopped just before the chair that was in front of me.
"I'm going to stand here, obviously." I answered.
Expression told it before the words.
"Uh...really?" he hadn't expected me to say that.
"You never heard of the E.W.Y.S.U diet?" I persisted.
Now he looked really confused.
"You never heard of that?" I continued.
"...No." he shook his head.
"The Eat While You Stand Up diet? Do you know how many calories you burn if you eat while standing up? How else do you think I keep this slim ass figure?"
His confusion melted away into a grin of realization.
"Oh you got jokes?" he remarked.
"You put it out there. I had to mess with you." I replied.
"Well why don't you mess with that chair and sit down in it."
"You ain't my daddy. I'm a grown ass man. I'll sit down when I get ready to sit down."
I took my seat.
"See?" I finished.
Jo-C busted up laughing.
I smiled too.
...But it began to fade.
I didn't know Jo-C. We'd had two actual conversations. In both cases they'd been about what I was going through. None of them had been about him. But from the moment he'd tugged at my shirt to get my attention, I'd known how to respond to his question. I knew I'd be able to catch him off guard with it. Ultimately, I knew it would amuse him and make him laugh.
"You cool?" Jo-C sent.
"Yeah. Uh...yeah. I'm good." I answered.
"Liar." he retorted.
"Maybe. But it's not for you to worry about."
"Too late. So just tell me."
"How did I make you laugh?" I decided.
"Uh...you're funny?" he said it like the answer should've been obvious.
"Okay." I was going to have to reword myself. "How did I know that was going to amuse you? Why did it feel like suddenly..."
"You knew me?" he cut in.
And hit the nail right on the head.
It seemed he had a knack for that.
"Yeah." I answered.
"That would be The Pack Bond and our connection to each other in action."
I got ready to ask how that worked.
"Everybody's here. I'll tell you about it later. It's not bad. It's normal. So don't worry." I was interrupted.
Remembering I was even at the table, I looked and saw that it was full. Kev had joined us along with a new black female I hadn't met yet. Tak, Kyoko, Denn, and female unknown from my Pack had also taken their seats.
"Everybody join hands." Kev instructed.
The others did it. I did too.
"Bow your heads." he continued.
I saw other heads bowing. I bowed mine too.
"We bless this food and the hands that made it possible. We bless the fact that we are all here another day gathered at this table to eat this food. We welcome a new addition to this table. We thank you for blessing him with the power to survive his trials and be here with us today. Your mercy has not gone unnoticed. Let the church give thank you and amen." Kev led us.
"Thank you and amen." I heard everyone else say it along with me.
My stomach felt that was its cue to give notice that it was ready to eat. It let out a quiet growl as the hands joined to me loosened and let go. Everyone began reaching for the various dishes. I joined in.
* * * * * *
I figured I'd barely be able to make it through one of those king sized steaks. I ate four. Ravenous for each and every one of them. They'd been cooked rare, which had I known that in the beginning I wouldn't have eaten one. I was paranoid I'd get a free serving of food poisoning if I ate my steak any other way but dead. When I took my first bite and steak melted in mouth, while taste buds couldn't find a word fabulous enough for the flavor, paranoia got floored.
It got back up and into the ring when I realized what the flavor was. It was the red juice that was pouring from the steak and onto the plate from the fresh cut I'd made with my knife. I knew what it was. Blood from the meat. It didn't taste like blood though. Not nasty and salty. Instead it was like a gravy that accompanied the meat so perfectly that it brought out its truest, realest taste.
"Normal people eat steak rare." I told myself.
Then a second thought hit me.
Werewolves looked like normal people.
My stomach, which wasn't worried about such nonsense, snatched my attention back to filling it up. Along with the four steaks came helpings of the other food that was on the table. I even had salad, which I usually didn't touch. Had two glasses of orange juice and was on a second cup of coffee when it dawned on me how much I'd eaten.
"Never thought you could eat that much didja?" Aurey, who was sitting to the right of me, had also noticed my appetite.
"Not in a million years. I'm still tryin' to figure out where I put it all." I replied.
Stomach felt satisfied. I was expecting bloated, full, and ready to burst.
"We've got a heartier appetite than humans. It's even more so when you wake up from your Blackout."
"At least we know that's normal if nothin' else." Taj interjected.
I looked over at him, only to meet that little grin on his face. It was amazing the range of things he could communicate with just that one item.
"Nobody said your name, Beyonce. This is a A & B conversation." I countered his tease.
"I'll C my way in anyway." he rebounded.
"You always do." Imani remarked.
That got select chuckles from the table. I was one of them.
Taj's eyes cut to his twin.
"Oh look who's talkin'." he shot.
Imani paused. She was just about to take a bite of the salad on her plate.
"I'm talking to you. I'm not in their conversation." she said.
"Pow!" Kyla threw out there.
"Oh please don't help your girl out. She can do bad by herself." Taj shook his head.
"You know we come as a pair."
"I bet you do." Jo-C interjected.
"And that's enough out of you over there mister potty mouth." Imani looked over at him.
"You know you love it." he grinned.
"Love ain't got nothin' to do with it honey."
Jo-C chuckled and went back to finishing what little was left on his plate. Imani finally took that bite of salad.
Quiet time returned to the table as those who still had food on their plates finished up. Since I was already finished, quiet time meant thinking time. And all I could think about was what'd happened between me and Jo-C.
I remembered Kev telling me about the Pack Bond. I'd understood that to mean that the members of my Pack would know who I was and I would know who they were. Knowledge about each other would get exchanged. That would be why we felt like we knew each other. Apparently that was incorrect.
I waited for an opportunity to touch base with Jo-C, but I couldn't catch a break. It didn't take long for everyone still eating to get finished. They all seemed to finish close to the same time. Once everyone was finished, we cleared the table. With the table cleared (and the dishes rinsed and in the dishwasher) everyone moved on to the next set of tasks to be done.
Jo-C would be meeting with Taj and Imani. Even though they had plenty of intel on the Fat Woman from being in my mind, they would need his side of things as well. The Fat Woman had officially become a W.I.L.D case file. All procedures had to be taken. Lucky for him, they wouldn't be getting inside his head. All they would need for him to do was talk about what happened and they would be able to see the scene as if they were there themselves.
Me, Kyla, Aurey, and Andy were picked to do a store run. We took off shortly after cleaning up.
I'd missed it before while we were going inside the main house to eat, but I saw it the moment we made our exit and wondered how the hell I'd missed it. Parked in the driveway that ran alongside the main house (which ran up to the front of the safehouse) was a huge black RV.
"Where did that come from?" I pointed at it.
"Must've come back from wash and repair." Kyla answered.
"They pulled up and dropped it off while we were eating." Andy confirmed.
"Which explains why I wasn't paying attention." I remarked.
In W.I.L.D speak, I was educated a moment after, the RV was called our M.C.V. Mobile Command Vehicle. It was like a base on wheels. It also doubled as our living quarters while on the road. I'd been in it before. It was part of the trip after the alley and to Kev's place.
The M.C.V was parked facing forward. Behind it was the black truck I'd gotten into back in the alley after the fight. That was what we took to do our store run. Aurey drove. I sat in the front passenger seat. Wanted to sit in the back and be anonymous but Kyla'd said: "girls in back, boys in front."
We'd been rollin' for a few minutes when Andy said:
"I just realized this is gonna be your first time out in the world as a full fledged werewolf."
"Shouldn't be different from any other time I've been out in the world." I remarked.
"Why do you say that?"
"Haven't I always been a werewolf?" I was under that impression.
"Yes in the species sense, no in the lived it sense."
"Anything I should look out for?" I inquired.
"Are you feeling like you know people a little too well all of a sudden?" she took my mind back to that with a stunning accuracy.
"Mind reading your Trait?" I didn't say it nasty. Meant it as a serious joke.
"No. That would be called Masking. Jo-C let us know before we left."
"...Oh." that was (un)expected of him to do. "Good lookin' out for him then."
"Brat does have his moments." Kyla remarked.
"He said it was the Pack Bond doing something with our connections." I kinda wasn't clear on that. "When did we establish connections?"
"Back in the elevator with the kisses." Aurey answered.
The purpose behind the kisses in the elevator had been to connect me to the Pack Bond. Not to them.
...Except for the part where I introduced my energy to them and they to me.
"That didn't just connect me to the Pack Bond did it?" I was beginning to understand what was actually happening.
Aurey shook his head.
"It sure did not."
"So...I must've missed the part where I had a choice in the matter." it didn't keep me from saying it.
Choice on my part was gone the moment my Break Out happened. I might've been able to deal with things better if I'd known what I was signing up for with those kisses. But how convenient. A werewolf couldn't be told about Break Out before it happened and couldn't be told while it was taking place.
I didn't even have a choice when it came to the kisses in the first place. I hadn't asked for them. Both Aurey and Jo-C had just sprung `em on me like it was the new shit to do.
"This phase you're in right now? It's the main reason a lot of werewolves walk." Aurey revealed.
It being the hardest phase wasn't news to me. It being the main reason to make werewolves walk was.
"Walk as in..." I needed clarification.
"Take the ten year deal." Aurey did so.
"That's right, sweetie. You aren't the first or the last werewolf to feel this kind of way about it." Kyla turned my stall into silence.
Told me that what I was going through, and what I was feeling, was normal. No tweaks or twerks. Jo-C hadn't been lying when he'd said that.
"Any of you ever walk?" I found myself asking.
"Me." Kyla answered.
"I called the police." Andy answered.
Aurey and Kyla laughed. I could hear Andy giving a few chuckles of her own. I felt like I knew what they were talking about. But as it had been with Kyla and her moment with Jo-C and the Blues, it was deeply faded.
"Why did you call the police?" I decided to clear it up.
"Our Pack? I thought they were all part of some cult that'd kidnapped me and was brainwashing me to believe I was a werewolf, just like them." Andy revealed.
"That's actually pretty good. Thought never crossed my mind." I had to give her credit on theory.
"Unfortunately the cops didn't think so. They thought I was trying to pull a prank." she continued.
Since she was sitting behind me, the best I could do to see her was to look in the rear view mirror.
"You didn't actually tell the cops that did you?" I had to see if she was serious.
"Mmm-hmm. I sure did." she answered in a mock-cheery voice.
Couldn't help laughing a little.
"They probably thought you were on some of that good shit."
"Yes they did." she nodded. "I found out that if the phone I'd scavenged hadn't been untraceable, the cops would've been on their way to pick me up and lock me up for misuse of 9-1-1."
Couldn't help but think "wow" again.
"But I don't want to hog the spotlight. Kyla?" she spoke in a bright tone.
Was enough to break the seriousness and make us all smile.
"I waited until I thought everyone was asleep and left." Kyla started. "It was after two in the morning. I was walking down a street in a neighborhood I'd never seen before. I'm confused. I'm scared. Then this car rolls up next to me. In it is some dude with exactly six random teeth in his mouth, hair all over his head like it'd missed the invention called a comb, and reeking of what smelled like shitty kitty litter and booze. He had his passenger window rolled down and he asks me: "What's a good looking lady like you doing out this late? Do you need a ride?"
"Oh my goodness." I chuckled.
"For real, right? But I'm nice and I tell him "no thank you" and keep walking. That should've been the end of it, but he keeps on rolling next to me trying to convince me to go with him until I finally tell him to get lost. And that's when he puts the car in park, gets out, and tries to come and get me."
"Please tell me you whooped his ass." I hoped.
"Didn't have to. Brendi did it for me. She'd been tailing me ever since I'd left. When ol' sleazy got out the car is when she announced her presence by walking up next to me."
Short for Brendianne.
That was the name of the only female from our Pack that I didn't know.
"Please tell me she whooped his ass, then." I said.
"Even better. She tells him: "get your nasty ass back in the car and get the fuck on before I rip your little dick off and shove it down your throat."
I cracked up laughing.
"Did he?" I had to know this outcome.
"Dude didn't even budge. Brendi turned around, took me, and we left his ass standing there. He never said a word." Kyla answered.
That almost got me laughing again.
"Brendi sounds like she don't play." I'd just learned her name and that I liked her a lot more.
Kyla nodded, smiling,
"If you mess with her kids, she'll beat that ass."
That cracked us all up.
"You're up country boy." Kyla passed the torch.
"Mine is nowhere near as fancy as the other two you heard already." Aurey got giggles from the girls. "Denn gave me his little speech before I actually walked away."
"What was it?" I inquired.
"He says: the street runs both ways, Aurey. Imagine a complete stranger walking into your life, walking into your family one day. But it feels like they belong perfectly from the moment you lay eyes on `em."
That sent my jaw to the ground.
Usually when it came to a new werewolf joining an existing Pack, all the others had already changed. The new werewolf had no effect on them. No connection. Often times the new werewolf wasn't even told what they were. Spent half the movie figuring that part out by itself.
Now that I knew it, I wondered why the hell I'd never thought about it before. Kev had even said it.
They become a part of you. You become a part of them.
"What did you say?" I asked.
"I'm here ain't I?"
"Heh." I nodded. "Yeah you are."
"So yeah. We know exactly how you feel right now." Andy said.
And I could not argue with it.
"Keep in mind something else Denn said. It's only overwhelming to you right now because it's new. You'll get used to it. Might even find that you like it." Kyla said.
Guess I was going to find out.
* * * * * *
We pulled into the parking lot of the store a short while after. I was looking around for a supermarket logo. Vons. Wal-Mart. What I got instead was an old school market. One of the kind that didn't sell packaged meat. There was a meat counter. You talked to a person and told them how many pounds of whatever meat you wanted and they'd hook you up with the freshest cut or ground. It sold fresh produce that came in daily, carried canned foods that didn't have dust on top of them. The place even had a luncheonette. That was why there were so many cars once we arrived. The store was called "Leeds Market" and it was owned by the Leeds family, whom just happened to be werewolves.
"What is that smell?" it flowed in as soon as we opened the doors to get out. It wasn't overwhelming but it was definitely present.
"What does is smell like?" Aurey replied.
"Cologne, perfume, and body funk."
"That would be the humans you're smelling." Andy said.
I'd smelled all those things before. In an office space. Enclosed proximity.
"How can I smell that in such an open place?" I wondered.
"That would be your sense of smell telling you it's enhanced." Andy answered.
"Oh." I nodded, remembering. "Forgot about that."
"Happens at first."
"You two stay out of trouble while we're gone." Kyla said.
Her and Andy were going inside the store to get the supplies. Me and Aurey were going to hang out at the truck. Didn't know why we weren't all going into the store but I figured there was a method to the madness.
Aurey joined me on the passenger side and tossed me a pack of Blues.
"Those are yours." he said, reaching into his pocket and taking out a lighter. "This too."
"Thanks." I accepted, pocketing the lighter so I could have both hands to open my pack.
Reminded me I hadn't had a normal cigarette in almost twenty four hours. Wasn't even feenin' for one.
Another realization took over for the previous as I took the first pull on my Blue. My balls were tingling.
"Ready for some L&D?" Aurey took me from my realization.
"What was that?" I hadn't been paying attention. That middle part between the L and the D was cloudy.
"What do you think I said?"
"If I was ready for some LSD?"
"You want some?" he raised his right eyebrow a bit.
"You uh..." I scratched my shoulder and twitched once. "You got some, man? `Cause uh...I'm hurtin'."
Aurey cracked up laughing.
I started to.
Then I remembered what was at work.
"Remember. Two way street." Aurey seemed to know what was on my mind. "And laugh. I'm startin' to feel awkward."
Comment caught me off guard. I did exactly what he said.
"See? It ain't so bad is it?" he shrugged. "We could be standin' out here not knowin' what to say to one another."
That was true.
"Can I be straightforward?" I was about to get real.
"Please." Aurey invited.
"Give me one good reason why I should trust you. I don't know you. Not really. And I'm not going to just because some mystic connection tells me that I should."
"Well, one: the Pack Bond doesn't automatically make you trust your Packmates. That still gets handled the old fashioned way. Two: I could pose that same question to you."
...Yes. He could, actually.
"Ah, don't go all dickless about it. I ain't offended. I understand." he had to have noticed the look hitting my face.
"I'd like to strike that previous statement from the record." was the best I could do.
"Why don't we pick up where we left off? I said L&D, which stands for Learning & Development." he went back to our earlier topic.
"What did you have in mind?" I asked.
"Focus exercises. Teach you how to use those new tuned senses of yours."
"Ready to try it out?"
He looked around the parking lot.
"See those ladies walkin' toward the store?"
"The one in the black dress and the one in the black pants and blue blouse?"
"That's them." he acknowledged. "Tell me what they're saying."
I gave him a "seriously" look.
"From here?" the ladies weren't close to us at all. They were halfway across the parking lot.
"Just focus on them like they're the only two things in the world and listen." he instructed.
"Okay." I shrugged.
He knew how to do this. I didn't.
I put my full focus on the two ladies.
The lady in the black dress was closest to me and was the only set of lips I could see from my vantage point. They were moving when it was her turn to speak. Couldn't hear the words that were coming out of them during any of them.
"It's not working." I shook my head.
"Keep at it. Don't push so hard. Just look, focus, and let your ears do their thing."
The ladies were almost to the curb of the sidewalk in front of the store. I put my attention on the one in the black dress and focused specifically on her lips.
A rippling sensation traveled down my ear canals.
"Tell...about...happened...class today." the words came in at just above a whisper, yet they seemed to stand out from all the other noises.
I let my focus become a bit more full.
The rippling sensation flowed again more strongly in my ears.
"...ittle heathens do?" the words came in louder.
"Tommy decided to come to class today while high." the lips of the lady on the left matched the words.
"Oh my god! You're kidding?" the lady on the right gasped, I assumed.
"High as a kite."
They were at the doors to the store.
They stepped inside.
"So?" Aurey's voice sent the ripple through my ears again.
The rest of the sounds came back in full.
"Teachers talking about a student coming into class high today." I answered.
"Sounds like it worked to me."
"Only after I focused on their lips." I informed.
"That'd be the smart thing to do if you're trying to listen to someone."
"You could've told me to do that in the first place." I sent a Detta Walker look with that.
"It wouldn't be L&D then now would it?"
"Man, don't get all correct on me and screw up my argument." I shooed him away.
That cracked him up.
"Now. Take that." I added.
"Lesson ain't over yet." Aurey lifted that eyebrow again.
"Hit me with your best shot." I invited.
"Smoke break while I work on that."
Blues were indeed asking for attention. As we gave it to them I wondered how I hadn't dropped mine during my first L&D. That'd been the last thing my attention had been on.
Good on me.
I took a second pull and exhaled, happy in the fact that I could enjoy the effect of the Blues and not be impaired. I also found it informative.
Weren't the Blues something that helped keep the Animal in check?
What would my experience be like if I didn't have the Blues to help?
I looked over Aurey. I figured he'd have my next assignment up and ready. He was looking toward the front of the store. Blue was held like it was about to get to mouth but something had stopped the process.
I knew (but didn't) the look on his face.
"Something up?" I asked.
"Take a look at the front of the store by the doors." he answered without turning.
Even the exit to the store was old school. A single push or pull door for the entrance, with a single push or pull door for the exit right next to it. No electronic pad to step on before the door to make it automatically open. People were entering. People were exiting. With the exception of a boy who looked like he was in his mid-teens standing off to the side (but out of the way) of the exit door, everyone was either coming or going.
"What am I supposed to be looking for?" I wasn't sure.
"What do you see?" his reply confused me.
"What am I supposed to see?"
"Just tell me what you see."
"The front doors to the place. People walking in and out. Some teenager standing around waiting for somebody." I reported.
"Who do you think the teenager is waiting for?" he inquired.
"I don't know." I shrugged. "His ride?"
"Why don't we wait `n see?"
We did. Waited for a good five minutes. Cars pulled in and parked. Others pulled out and left. None ever came up and stopped at the curb in front of the teenager. He just stood there scanning the parking lot. He also kept getting texted every now and then. He'd take his phone out of his pocket with his free hand, read, respond, then put it back in his pocket.
"Sure is taking a long time for his ride to show up." I said.
"Yup." Aurey replied.
"I'm surprised his nose isn't buried in that phone."
"Yup." Aurey agreed.
I gave our subject another once over.
"But he's holding a bag from the store in his hand." I observed.
He had a white plastic bag (with a pattern of red lettering on it) held tight in his left hand.
"Take a look at the store sign right above the entrance." Aurey directed me.
A red sign that read "Leeds" stood up above the entrance/exit doors. It was spelled out in that long ago neon technology that nobody used nowadays.
"Take a look at the bag in his hand now." he continued.
Even though he should've been too far away for my eyes to clearly see what was printed on the bag, the more I focused, the more it came into view. In no part of that red colored, neon technology had I seen a target symbol.
"That bag is from Target." I said.
"Yup." Aurey nodded. "There's one `bout two blocks from here."
I was beginning to see the wrongness of this picture.
"He's not looking out for his ride, is he?" that was becoming clear.
"What do you think he could be lookin' for?" Aurey finally took his drag.
"Excuse me, guys." a new male voice spoke from behind me.
Aurey looked, still exhaling the smoke.
Dressed up in a dark blue uniform was a security guard.
"Um...yes?" was my response.
"What can we do for you?" was Aurey's.
The security guard looked from Aurey to me.
"What're you doing out here?" he asked me.
I held up my Blue, hoping he wouldn't notice that it wasn't like other cigarettes.
"Trying to respect other people and not smoke up by the building." I answered.
"This is a parking lot. Not a smoke shop." he remarked.
"No! Really?" I wanted to gasp, but instead,
"We're waiting for some friends of ours that went into the store to buy something."
"Well you should know there's no loitering in the parking lot." he informed me.
And yes. Homeboy had just officially unlatched my held tongue.
"Well you should take a look at that boy standin' by the door of the store you're supposed to be lookin' out for." Aurey spoke up before I could.
The security guards eyes snapped over toward him.
"I don't believe I was speaking to you." he had the nerve to say.
"Regardless." Aurey didn't seem fazed by his words. "Be smart `n take a look."
Surprised me when the idiot did.
"Bag he's holdin' ain't from this store. "`N I think he's been standin' there lookin' out for you." Aurey told him.
At that exact moment, the boy received a text message. He took his phone out his pocket, read it, and answered quickly. He slid his phone back into his pocket, turned, and walked into the store.
"Yeah?" the security guard started.
He was interrupted by the sound of an alarm going off. It was new school. Digital. Had a wail only a computer could create.
The security guard nodded.
"Sorry for the interruption." he said, before starting back toward the store.
Right as he did, another teenaged boy walked out of the exit door. Unlike the other one, he was carrying a bag from the store. From the way the bag had shaped itself around the products inside, I guessed it was soda or liquor bottles he had in there.
Continuing to walk, the new boy took a quick look at his surroundings.
His eyes fell on something.
Whatever it was caused his step to falter.
Only the one though.
His next step picked him up into a faster pace.
"Excuse me, young man! I'm gonna have to ask you to step back into the store!" the security guard called.
It was him the boy had seen. The guard was in the exact direction his eyes had fallen on to make his step falter earlier.
Boy didn't hesitate.
Gripping the bag tighter, he broke into a run into the parking lot.
"Hey!" the security guard broke into a run of his own after the boy. "Stop!"
Other people were in the parking lot. Some stopped and stared. Others kept moving but observed. None of them made a move to stop the boy.
"Follow." Aurey hit me lightly with the back of his hand in my stomach, and began to walk toward the front of the truck.
The tingle I'd forgotten about in my balls reacted to the impact of my foot on the ground on that step. It sent a tingling wave across that side of my waist and upper leg. I was already taking my second step by the time analysis of my first step was complete. The tingle waved out on that side. Something was going on downtown. Something that had never gone on before. I wanted to speak up about it. But I was more curious about the current situation and what Aurey was up to. I sat it aside for the time being. The tingle hadn't been painful. So nothing was broken or out of place.
We walked in a quick stride on passed the truck, passed the car that was parked in front of it, and hit a turn after we reached the back of the car.
"What're we doing?" I inquired, taking a light tug and pull at the bottom of the crotch of my jeans in hopes it would make the impact waves stop. It didn't.
"'Bout to show that boy it's not a good idea to steal from this store." he answered, as we reached the shopping cart return station.
Aurey pulled a shopping cart out of it and resumed walking forward. Even the shopping carts were old school. They were made of metal instead of plastic and were just smaller than a supermarket shopping cart.
We went down two more spaces before we came to two open spaces. The spaces across from that were empty as well. Only one space each was open on the next set of parking spaces beyond.
Stopping, Aurey turned the shopping cart forward. His attention went back to the fleeing boy, who was now halfway down the parking lot but not yet where we were located.
"See any cars or people?" he asked. Eyes still on the boy
I scanned the area for any cars pulling out, or driving in front of us, and for any nearby people.
"No." I answered.
"Then here we go." he pulled back on the shopping cart, held it for a moment, then launched it forward.
The shopping cart shot through the two open spaces in front of us, across the driving lane beyond that, and through the parking spaces that only had one car for space. It passed the first vehicle perfectly. The second vehicle on the other side (and to the left) was one of those diesel sized trucks. Its wideness made the cover for its back wheels stick out further than a normal truck. Unless the shopping cart could change its trajectory, it was going to hit the side of the wheel cover.
"It's going to hit that..." was all I got out before impact was made.
The truck's alarm screamed in anger as the shopping cart banked off the back wheel cover. The bank had changed its trajectory so that it was rolling forward again but almost at a crawl. It eased out slowly from behind the truck and parked a few feet past it.
Distracted by the truck's screeching alarm the fleeing boy crashed right into the shopping cart. The shopping cart tilted from the impact and landed on its side. The boy fell onto it. Just before impact he held the bag up above him. It kept whatever he'd stolen out of harm's way even as he ate shopping cart.
This gave the security guard who'd gone in pursuit the time he needed to catch up to the thief.
"Where did you even come up with that?" I had to give Aurey bonus points for that.
"Just came to me." Aurey smiled a lopsided grin that I thought fit his face perfectly. "Thought it wasn't gonna work for a minute."
"What would you have done if it hadn't?"
"Well then me `n you would've had to play a game of chase."
A slight pang of disappointment slid through me at that revelation. Chasing the boy down sounded like...fun.
"Let's get back to the truck." he started to walk away.
I began to follow when the tingle decided my balls were no longer enough for it. On the first step it spread into my dick. On the second step the tingle exploded and invaded my body. What felt like pure horniness walked up and slapped the taste out my mouth. My knees went weak. I looked like I had to pee for my next two steps.
I could feel my heart beating faster. I was starting to breathe faster. It felt like it was getting warmer all of a sudden. Especially downtown, where business was having a tent sale. I reached down to adjust myself off instinct. That made my dick feel a rapture like it'd never been touched before. Rattled my body so hard that it brought me to my knees.
"Aurey..." his name came out of my mouth at a whisper as I struggled to recover and stand.
He looked over his shoulder at me, kept going for a few steps, then stopped.
"Damn it, Micah. You couldn't wait to do this until we got back to the house?" he shook his head.
"What this?" I was ready to be informed.
"Take my hand."
I was back on my feet. I extended my hand. He moved the extra distance to grab it.
"Follow me." he instructed.
A quick, painless spark jolted somewhere in my brain. Before I could give that any attention, Aurey started forward. The first step he took I felt myself take a step at the exact same time. It happened when he took the next step and the step after that. It was like I wasn't even telling myself to move.
Aurey led us in reverse along the same path we'd taken to get to our destination until we were back where we started. My dick throbbed the entire way in time with each impact my feet made in step. It turned what had begun as a want for attention into a full on demanded. The need to oblige got harder and harder to resist the closer we got to the truck.
"Get in." Aurey opened up the back door for me.
Thought I wasn't going to be able to. Thought my legs would be like: "Nope. You ain't goin' nowhere." Luckily they cooperated and let me climb inside and take a seat.
Aurey let go of my hand and shut the door. I watched through half open eyes as he jogged around the back of the truck, opened the door on the other side and got in.
"What's happening?" I needed to distract myself. My resistance was becoming more futile by the second.
"I'll explain in a minute." he answered, shutting the door and scooting over to sit next to me. "Right now I need you to look at me. Right `n the eyes."
Something gripped me between the legs. Right in the spot that had just about worn me down. A wave of pure ecstasy rolled out from there and across my body like an electric current. It felt so good. Wore out whatever resistance I had left in me.
I needed to get this done.
I had to get this done.
I took a single grind into whatever was gripping me. I felt my eyes start to flutter as another wave rolled through me.
"Eyes open `n on me." Aurey's voice snapped my eyes back open and onto his.
Another painless spark snapped somewhere else in my brain. It was stronger than the last. And that's when I felt it. The felt-like-horniness was moving to hit its peak. I could feel what was coming. It could feel its power. And it was coming at me like a fifty foot tall tidal wave on a mission. I had no intention of moving. I invited it to hit me. It proudly obliged.
I felt myself bust like I had never busted in my life. The ecstasy of release was so intense I expected to scream. I didn't. All my body could do to express it was to spasm and gasp uncontrollably as I was snatched into the climax's powerful vertigo. I let it keep me there and spend me like money in the hands of a gold-digger.
And I never blinked once.
My eyes were fastened onto Aurey's. I watched as they darted back and forth. Not looking completely left to right. It was more like a really quick and repetitive stutter. The stutter stopped as I finally caught my breath. The grip between my legs left.
"Oh shit!" the thought put me back into myself as I looked down at the crotch of my jeans.
I expected not just the crotch but the entire surrounding area to be saturated. Both front and back. It confused me when that wasn't what I saw. The jeans looked dry as could be. I also didn't feel wet.
I looked back at Aurey. My eyes had been so focused on his that I hadn't noticed his face. It was flushed red.
"You cool?" I inquired.
"Oh yeah." he nodded, then let out a deep sigh and swept his brow. "Whew! You were packin' some serious heat there."
My mouth opened to ask what the hell had happened just as the back doors to the truck opened. The girls were back.
"What're you two doing back here?" Andy asked.
"And why does it smell in here?" Kyla added, before her look became playfully sly. "What kind of L & D have you boys been up to while we were gone?"
"We'll tell ya once we're rollin'." Aurey answered.