What is this place?
Armin wiped the blood from his maw. The hunger was rising again and overtaking his sense of caution. He tried to recall how many he had bitten without finishing them. He drew a blank. Looking around, he found a spot and began to dig a trench for the corpses he created. He reached for the third one; it stirred.
Shit, it’s a pup.
He quickly covered the trench and snatched the pup and placed him on his shoulders. He bolted through the forest to his lair.
Gloria clears her throat, “I know you’re having a blast, Lorn, but isn’t there somewhere you need to take her?”
Lorn’s laughter comes to a slow halt, and he motions to Angie, “Come on. The truck is outside.”
Angie followed Lorn outside and saw his truck. The F-250 looked battered and the paint was faded. Angie guessed it was dark blue at one time, but it looked like faded denim now. He open the door to a bench seat that was ripped and had the cushion breaking out of the seams. She hesitated.
“Go on. The truck don’t bite.”
She looked back a Lorn, “Where did you get this? It looks ready to fall apart.”
“Hey! As long as it runs, it’s a good truck. I don’t see the need to fix anything but the important parts.”
“I can see that.” She climbed in trying to avoid the rips.
He got into the driver’s seat and turned the key. The hum of the engine sounded strange, not like any truck engine she heard before. He put the truck into gear and the scenery began to stretch and bend around them. The landscape turned into lines of color and as quickly as it faded, the scenery snapped back into view, but she didn’t recognize it at all.
Lorn walked around to her side and opened the door. The dizziness hit her when she got out of the truck, followed by her spilling everything she ate the night before onto the ground at her feet.
Lorn rubbed her back and handed her a pill along with a bottle of water, “Here, take this, everyone gets nauseous and dizzy when we use the tunnel.”
She used the water to wash the vile taste out of her mouth before taking the pill. Her eyes rested on what could only be the entrance to a cave.
Her shoulders slumped, “A cave? I know we’re werewolves and everything but a cave? Really? What do new vamps get trained in, a castle?”
Lorn scoffed, “Don’t be silly. They get a mansion.”
Angie’s lip curled up to the right side of her mouth, “Tell me you’re kidding.”
Lorn smiled and started walking to the front of the cave, “Come on, we’ve got to check you into the facility, and try not to say the usual shit everyone else does when they see the inside for the first time.”
Gloria continued to doctor the bodies of those who had loved ones and dissolve the ones that did not. She turned her attention to mixing a cleaning solution as she dialed her cell and waited for an answer.
Luckily for me the place isn’t too big. I should be done in a couple-”
“This is cold cases. You lose ‘em. We file it.”
“Oh, Gloria, it’s been a long while.”
She heard him sipping something, “What’s the concoction today, Benton.”
“Oh, today is a treat! Straight O-positive. I am over the moon, but that’s not why you are calling, is it?”
“As much as I would like to pour a warm one with you, no. Did Lorn call to report that a total of five new pups have been taken to The Den?” She heard him tapping at keys while she sprayed the concrete floor with the solution. She stopped only long enough to make sure the filter on her mask didn’t need to be changed.
Benton was thinking out loud, “Lorn… Let’s see. He reported four. Did he miscount?”
“I guess he decided I needed to report this one since I found her.” Gloria rolled her eyes. She began relaying the details.
Benton’s voice was still trailing as his fingers tapped the keys, “I will log that into the system. Seems like another cleaner reported two more. That makes seven. This is highly suspish.”
Gloria’s tone dropped and she stopped spraying the mixture, “We think Armin has resurfaced.”
She heard the phone receiver hit the floor. “Benton. BENTON.”
There was rustling and then, “Don’t yell, for vamp’s sake. Are you sure?”
“It’s not concrete yet, but I do need you to open the old file again.”
“I will get the proper authorization. Argus is going to HATE this.”
“I know, but we always feared that he would pop his scruffy head up again seeing how he got away last time.”
Benton spoke through gritted teeth, “The thorn in the side of the tracking division.”
“Yes. He’s the only one that escaped our grip. Anyway, Be a dear, Benton, and let me know when the case has been pulled?”
“Of course, Darling, anything for the person that got me this cush position.”
When Angie crossed the entrance to the cave, reality shifted again. Her eyes did not know where to focus first. The cave morphed into steel walls with posters and a concrete floor.
“This looks like something out Resident Evil.”
Lorn tilted his head to one side while pressing his lips into a thin line, “That’s a new way of describing it. I’m a little impressed.”
“You were expecting a TARDIS reference?”
She flipped her right palm up, “That’s so cliche.”
He chuckled, “You play games?”
It was her turn to nod, “I have a Twitch channel. I work it in with my practices and games.”
“You stay busy. That will help. The more idle you are, the more the wolf takes over out of sheer boredom.”
Her head did a quick shake, “I thought I only wolfed-out on a full moon?”
“As the moon waxes into a full moon, you will feel the transformation process become more difficult to resist. If you are idle, it can take over before a full moon, making you hunt earlier. The busier you are, the less likely you are to be overcome.”
“So busy is good. Got it.”
He waved for her to follow, “Yup, come with me. We need to get you checked in and get you a room.”
He led her down a hall which opened up into a reception area. There were six children there already sitting on fold-out chairs. They all looked to be either pre-teen or teen in age. Lorn shook his head as he looked at the one on the end who was fidgeting and could not keep still.
He nudged Angie and pointed, “That one is feral. You can tell by the way he fidgets and can’t calm down. It means his sire didn’t turn him properly.”
She tilted her head sideways toward Lorn, “There’s a proper way to do it?”
“When you bite someone to make them a pup, you need sink your teeth in completely. When you kiss them, it needs to be passionate and prolonged.”
“So like you’re French kissing for the second one and biting into a thick sandwich for the first?”
Lorn nodded, “Like that, yeah. His sire didn’t bite all the way into his neck. This means not all the saliva got to where it needed to go. This changes the chemistry of the pup and turns them feral.”
“He looks like a tweaker.”
“All ferals do. You can train them, but they take a lot longer and sometimes it doesn’t work.”
Angie shivered as she remembered what happened to those that are feral and couldn’t be trained.
Lorn walked to the front desk and pointed to Angie, “Hey, Krystal, I’ve got the one Gloria found.”
The woman chuffed and tucked a lock of chestnut hair behind her ear as she pointed to the seats, “Have her take a seat. Do you have Gloria’s prelim on her?”
He handed it over.
“Anything you would like to add to the prelim?”
“She keeps busy and is athletic.”
Krystal looked past Lorn to Angie with a sneer, “Cheerleader? God, I hate those. They make the most annoy-”
“Nope, basketball player and gamer.”
She jotted down the extra information, “Oh, good, we dodged a bullet there. I will call her when I get to her.”
Armin ran until he reached the cave he used for shelter. He placed the pup on a mat of pine needles and grass. He waited until the pup fully awakened.
Nick looked around as he rubbed his eyes and met Armin’s gaze.
Armin smiled, patted him on the shoulder and stood to make his way out of the cave, “Welcome to the pack, pup. I will get you some food while you finish waking. Don’t leave the cave. It’s not safe.”
“Where am I?”
Armin stopped at the mouth of the cave, “You’re in my den, and I am your sire. You’re a werewolf now, son.”
The kid looked up at the cave ceiling and smiled, “Werewolf, huh, this should be interesting.”
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