PART ELEVEN

Late For His Shift

By Peter G. Reynolds


Part 11


Ron might have been short for a werewolf, but he felt ten feet tall with May and Kay on each arm. All his previous feelings of inadequacy were gone. He was Alpha.


As they walked to the front of the line, men looked at him with envy and respect. And the women - the women looked at him. Not his brothers or his cousins, him.


This is amazing, thought Ron, and though he'd never had a drink in his seventeen years, he thought this is what it must feel like to be intoxicated.


The person at the door was a giant of a man wearing a tight three-piece suit. He was all chest and arms, no neck in sight. Human, but tall even by werewolf standards.


The doorman placed his hand on a red velvet rope, which held back the throngs of would-be-party-goers like an electrified fence covered in barbed wire.


"Kid's gonna have to show some ID ladies," he said in a deep voice.


Ron considered joking that the doorman's voice was as deep as The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. But then quickly realized this might be precisely why he'd never kissed a girl and kept silent.


"Oh, come on," May said, her face awash in pouty disappointment.

"It's his birthday." Kay pleaded, "He turned twenty-five today. Isn't that right, Ron?"


May and Kay slipped their hands beneath Ron's shirt and rubbed his back reassuringly, their fingers making circles from the base of his neck to the small of his back. Ron suddenly felt a surge of confidence flow through him.


Who is this human to ask me for anything? Ron thought as he stared at the doorman, a deep guttural sound gathering in his throat.


The doorman, an imposing wall of authority just a moment ago, looked unsure of himself, his voice cracking.


"Well… I mean… he doesn't…."


Ron said nothing, focusing more on imagining what he'd do to this human if he wasted any more of his time. The images came unbidden. Violent, savage, fun. Ron had never felt this way before.


He liked it.


The doorman averted his gaze and unclipped the velvet rope. Ron strolled past and into the club.


As they entered, May and Kay removed their hands from Ron's back and linked arms again. Ron felt his anger dissolve away, like a fog lifting from his mind.


He looked down at his shirt and was surprised to see each sleeve was slightly torn at the bicep. His pants also had a tear in the inseam just above the knee. What just happened? He thought.


"Come on, Ron…" May said.


"…. let's grab a drink," Kay said.


As they led him through the club, Ron's head spun. There was too much of everything. The sound rattled his bones, the smells - there were too many to count, and the sights, oh the sights. Darkness held no secrets for his kind. People, a mass of humanity, dancing in the darkness; primitive mating rituals set to the beat of electronica lounge. Even the floor had a sensation, each of his steps slightly stickier than the last. Ron didn't want to know why.


They came to another doorman guarding a stairwell labelled "VIP." Ron saw May (or perhaps it was Kay) passing something to him as he waved them through. The stairs led to a private rooftop patio, and Ron felt like he could breathe again.


Old fashioned light bulbs, their filaments buzzing, crisscrossed high above the gathered crowd. In one corner, a small bar was tended by an older woman covered in tattoos. Ron looked out over the city and the rolling hills of the countryside beyond it. It called to him like never before. He gripped the railing tightly, resisting the urge to tear off his clothes and leap from the rooftop until the city, the people, even civilization itself, was far behind him.


"What's happening to me?" He said to the moon, which looked down on him like a giant white empanada. The full moon is still a week away; I shouldn't be feeling like this.


"We got drinks." Said Kay (or possibly May). She had a beer in each hand and passed one to Ron. May (or possibly Kay) followed, carrying her own beer. Ron could see tiny droplets of condensation forming on the outside of each bottle. Ron was not much of a drinker; he'd only tried it once. His brother Carl had goaded him into chugging one when he was fifteen. Ron had immediately thrown up, much to the amusement of Carl and his friends.


But the girls didn't need to know that, Ron thought.


Ron took the beer as nonchalantly as possible and held it at his side. "Thanks, but I really should be getting back."


The sisters looked heartbroken.


"Kay?" Asked May

"Yes, May? Answered Kay


"I think you know what we have to do."


"Yes. It's the only answer."


"Dance!" They said in unison, grabbing Ron and pulling him to a smaller dance floor at one end of the patio. Ron reluctantly let them lead him there. He didn't feel right, but he also liked being the centre of attention.


They danced for a while, and soon May and Kay were sweating from their efforts. Ron marveled at their stamina and enthusiasm. Their movements were sensual, almost ritualistic, and he began to feel powerful again as they spun around him. Powerful and angry.


No. Ron said, leaving the dance floor and making his way back to the bar where his beer sat, untouched. May and Kay followed.


"What's up, Ron?" Asked May


"Not feeling well?" Asked Kay


Ron sat down heavily on a bar stool. "I think I should go."


"Oh no!" Said May and Kay, their faces full of sympathy.


"You can't go now…."

"…we just got here…."

"You really should …."

"…just finish your beer."


It was not the response Ron was expecting, but it did sort of make sense, he thought.


"You can't go now…."

"…we just got here…."

"You really should …."

"…just finish your beer."


Ron didn’t think they needed to repeat it, he’d heard it the first time. Still, their words were making more and more sense.


He smiled and picked up his bottle. "I guess one beer can't hurt. Right?"


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