More Monsters

November 7, 2015

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween.  I spent mine watching moderately scary movies (not scary at all) and eating far too much.  I had a pizza delivered and the pizza guy was wearing a vampire costume - it was awesome.

 

At the moment I'm preparing the next in the Grey Wolf Pack series and the Supernatural Enforcers.  But I also hope to do some short stories for Christmas.

 

For now, my latest Monster Love is still available.  It's a collection of short stories and includes a short with characters from the Grey Wolf Pack series - which is below if anyone wants a read.

 

 

That thing sure is hairy

 

“They must be stopped!”  Britt slammed the two enormous pizzas onto the table with perhaps a little too much aggression.

The two male wolves actually stopped hands frozen in mid-air.  Her face must have been a picture because there really wasn’t much that would stop these particular wolves from gorging themselves.  But then it probably wasn’t just her face.  There was always the hair, the arms, the neck – in fact, every inch of her currently held the capability of stopping traffic.  Craig and Eric Tanner were not the only patrons of the pizza parlor eyeing her without pretending to do so.  They were the only two pretending not to laugh, though.  No, Eric was now laughing outright, and Craig seemed to be trapped mid-blink.

She was green.

There was no other way to say it – she was green.  Some little bastard of a wolf shifter had put a copious amount of green food dye into the shower head and – hey presto – the moment she took a shower she turned into Kermit’s less froggy cousin.  It must have been industrial dye because two days later, and countless baths, showers, and scrubs had not managed to put a dent in the color. 

Of her elder brothers, Acksel – the responsible one – had told her in no uncertain terms that they needed to sort it out amongst themselves.  It was what her mother would have said.  Her other brother, Hans, usually so reliable to overreact and do something crazy like beat the wolf who did this to a pulpy mess, just laughed at her.  No, not just laughed – he bellowed with laughter.  A full belly laugh that had he possessed a gut it would have jiggled like jelly.

It was all down to her twin sister, Gwen and Gwen's idiot boyfriend Darryl, older brother to Eric and Craig.  They were all wolf shifters in the same pack, and at that moment her wolf wanted to break free and maul the pair of them.

In the absence of parents- their mom had gone on a yoga retreat and the Tanner’s parents were visiting family - Gwen and Darryl had been playing pranks on their poor siblings like crazy.  It wasn’t like Gwen – she was more prone to bitchiness and generally too lazy for pranks.  No, this was Darryl’s influence and they both needed to be stopped.

Darryl and his brothers were supposedly being supervised by their older brother, Mal, but he was too busy with his new baby to pay much attention to his siblings.  Britt couldn’t blame him for that.  The little tyke whipped up some very uneasy feelings in Britt’s young stomach.  Whenever she saw the chubby little cutie she had the urge to make googly noises and she was far too young to start going gaga over babies.

“Something wrong?” smirked Eric.

Britt and her wolf growled at him before stalking away.  She was stopped by a large hand clamping on her arm.  She turned to find Craig giving her the puppy dog eyes.  He’d been doing that a lot recently.  He was only fourteen and seemed to think that they should be dating.  She was seventeen and far too old for him, so there was no way, even if he did look older than his years.

“Hey, it’s not that bad,” he murmured in deep, soothing tones.  In spite of herself, her wolf did feel happier at that.

“Not that bad?” she hissed.  “I look like a freaking Muppet!”

The previous pranks hadn’t been nearly as bad as this – cellophane on the toilet, one of those trick tumblers that make you spill liquid and so on.  But the green dye was a step too far.

He shrugged and gave her a goofy grin.  “You look cute.  Like that hot chick from Guardians of the Galaxy.”

That shouldn’t have made her happy, but it did.  Her wolf simpered before Britt pulled herself together.  “Be that as it may, they have to be stopped, and I have an idea to get back at them.”

“Babe, it’s not going to work.”

Britt huffed.  “It is going to work and don’t call me babe.”

“It won’t work, cuddle bug,” she rolled her eyes, “because you’re not like them.  They’re sneaky dicks.  You’re too sweet to pull this off.”

Her wolf whined and wagged her tail.  A gooey feeling bubbled in her stomach, and Britt let out an inward sound of disgust.  “I can be just as sneaky as them.  And don’t call me cuddle bug!”

Craig cocked his head to one side and grinned in a way that she definitely didn’t find adorable.  “Nah, you can’t.”  He paused and then added, “snookums.”

Britt folded her arms.  If steam could come out of her ears, it would.  “Are you onboard with my plan to get back at them or not?”

“Well, sure, I’ll help you, but…”

“Good, now here’s the plan.”

*

Britt flicked her eyes at Craig.  He waggled his eyebrows, and she scowled at him.  She caught sight of Gwen and Darryl smooching in the back seat, and that just annoyed her even more.

It was Halloween.  They were driving out to a former pack mate's party who lived over two hours away.  Until Britt offered to drive there and back none of them thought they were going to go.

Gwen was surprised her sister would want to come.  Gwen told Britt, with her usual catty charm, that she was usually too boring to want to enjoy herself.  Britt had smiled sweetly through her sister’s insult, and Gwen hadn’t suspected a thing.

Everything was going to plan except for one small wrinkle.  Craig, the dolt, had chosen a Halloween costume that matched hers.  She’d yelled and snarled when she first saw him.

He’d held out his hands and said, “I didn’t know that you were coming as the green chick from Guardians.”  He was dressed as Starlord from Guardians and damn it if he didn’t look kind of dashing.

“But you guessed I would, didn’t you?” she had said, crossly.

Then, he had the nerve to smirk.  “Well, yeah.”

“So you did it on purpose!”

“Only mostly.”

“People will think we’re a couple!”  Matching costumes meant couples – you didn’t have a matching costume with just anybody.  You wouldn’t just turn up to a party matching your second cousin’s, niece’s neighbor’s costume.

“I didn’t think we were actually going to make it to the party,” he said, far too reasonably.  “And besides, so what?  Who cares if people think we’re a couple.  Who cares if they’re right?  Or if they’re wrong,” he added, quickly.

Britt had steamed and suffered through her sister’s jibes about her new boyfriend, but it didn’t matter.  He was right, it wasn’t like they were actually planning on making it to the party anyway.  No one would see them with matching costumes.

The more she thought about the situation, the more she relaxed, and mentally steepled her fingers in the tradition of all evil villains.  Darryl and Gwen continued canoodling, totally oblivious.  Good.  Her wolf yipped in agreement.

She wasn’t planning anything completely outrageous.  She just wanted to scare them a little.  She was going to pretend to break down and then drive away when she’d lured the two of them out of the car.  She and Craig would then double back, and she had a pair of Wolfman costumes in the trunk for her and Craig to use to scare the heck out of them.  She figured they’d just chase the couple through the woods for an hour or two… or three.

Her wolf pawed the ground impatiently, and Britt almost bounced in excitement.  Should she be this excited about playing a prank on her sister?  Probably not, but she’d worry about that later.  For now, they were on a nice dark road, and driving near some very convenient woods - it was time to put the plan into action. 

Britt slammed on the brakes and was met with matching grunts of annoyance from her passengers.  “Darn it!” she exclaimed.  “There’s something wrong with the car; it’s not working properly.”

“Oh what a surprise,” murmured Gwen.

Craig got out, and Britt followed.  Theatrically, they started looking around at the vehicle.  Unfortunately, they should have paid more attention to what was going on inside.  She flinched at the sounds of the automatic locks and yelled 'no' as Craig pulled her to the side of the road.  Darryl and Gwen were hi-jacking her darn car!  Although technically she shared it with Gwen - that was not the freaking point!

Britt stared openmouthed, ignoring her yapping wolf as the car disappeared.  Gwen stuck her head out the window, her long blonde hair, whipping behind her.  “Did you really think we’d fall for that?” she yelled.  Her giggles and Darryl’s rumbling chuckles echoed through the night.

Britt wriggled out of Craig’s arms – which had been wrapped around her far too tightly.  “Come back you… you buttholes!”

“They’re gone, babe,” said Craig.  She and her wolf snarled at him, but he ignored her.  Craig rolled his eyes to the sky and then looked at his phone.  “No signal.  We should start walking.”

Britt pouted and folded her arms.  “No, I’m waiting here for them to come back, and if I die of starvation or if I freeze…”

Craig mumbled something too low even for her wolf hearing.

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“No, you said something.  What was it?”

Craig looked pained as if he had to do something he really didn’t want to.  “You always say that I act like a kid and yet…”  He left it hanging.

She was about to argue but thought better of it.  Wasn't she supposed to be the adult between the two of them?  “You’re right.”

Nervousness, relief and perhaps fear of a trap crossed over his features.  “I am?”

“Yes, you are,” she said, resignedly before quickly adding, “don’t get used to it.”

He grinned like a wolf pup on his first hunt.

“Come on, let’s get walking,” she muttered.  A few hours and maybe they’d reach life again.

Britt stumbled a few times and seriously regretted the three-inch heels.  They looked great, but she usually lived in sneakers.  She almost went flat on her face before she let him take her hand, her small, slim one fit very well in his large one.  She shook her head.  Nope, not thinking about that.

She frowned at him.  “You don’t seem surprised that we’re stuck out here.”

He cocked his head to the side.  “When people trick other people all the time, they’re not exactly easy to trick.”

She considered that.  Crudely put, but he had a point.  “You’re right.  I’m an idiot.”

Craig shrugged and smiled, boyishly.  “You’re not an idiot.  Playing pranks on people isn’t something to be proud of, and besides, there are worse ways to spend Halloween.”  He squeezed her hand, and she considered once again telling him that nothing was going on between the two of them, but she decided against it.  She had been a dummy, and he was sweet.  She didn’t deserve it, and at least he wasn’t saying ‘I told you so’.

Britt felt some of her ironclad resolve melting.  “You know sometimes you seem older than you are.”

“Yeah, my mom’s always saying that,” he told her, proudly.  “If they didn’t know me down at the grocery store, I reckon they’d sell me beer.”

“I don’t mean in looks, and I don’t think you should drink until you’re twenty-one – the law is in place to protect us, after all.  Only when we’re twenty-one will we be able to make the proper decision for ourselves about whether we should...”  Her shoulders slumped.  “Gwen’s right, I am bossy and lame.”

“Nah, you’re sweet, and I agree compl…”  He stiffened and looked into the woods.

“What’s…”

“Shhh,” his eyes shifted to the amber of his wolf.  “Thought I heard something.”

Britt pricked up her ears.  There was a slight shuffling in the woods as if something was moving very slowly.  Her wolf growled lowly, and she sniffed the air.

“Can’t smell a thing.”  But then she had flunked the tracking class three times.  All young wolves were supposed to learn to hunt and track, and even with her brother, Acksel teaching the class and giving her pointers, she still couldn’t manage a pass.

“No, me neither,” he whispered.

Craig had passed first time – top of his class.  Her wolf chuffed.  That gave her an unexpected glow of pride.  No, stop it, not now!

He squeezed her hand.  “Let’s keep moving.”

He sped up with Britt trotting to keep up.  She was naturally fit and enjoyed running as her wolf, but was completely unused to running in heels and ended up stumbling after him.  Perhaps they could strip and turn into their wolves, but that presented two problems.  One - how would they carry their clothes?  If a car did happen to pass by, they wouldn’t stop for two wolves or two naked teenagers.  Or at least, the right type of person wouldn’t stop for naked teenagers.  And that was the second problem – the nakedness.  She’d have to take off her clothes in front of Craig.  He was still fairly new to shifting yet he seemed to have no issue with walking around at pack runs as naked as the day he was born.  She, on the other hand, ducked away from the crowd and shifted away from everyone else.  She was still a little shy – she was sure she’d get over it one day, but today was not that day.

A crash sounded to the left of them, and a growl seemed to shake her very bones.

“A bear maybe?” she breathed.  “Or a bear shifter?”

There were louder crashes and more growls.  “Either way I’m not sure we want to introduce ourselves.”

Something erupted onto the road about a half-mile behind them.  Yes, something was right.  It didn't look like a bear, but it was something wild.  It seemed to lumber on two legs, but it didn’t seem quite human.  It’s eyes glowed red.

“What is…?”

“Let’s not wait to ask.”  Craig pulled her into the woods.

They ran full pelt ignoring the scraping of twigs and branches on their skin.  She could hear it behind her - the crashing and the snarling.

Britt squealed as she twisted her ankle.  Stupid heels!  Craig grabbed her and pulled her onto his back, barely breaking momentum.

“Can you shift?” he panted.

“I’ll get tangled in my clothes.”

He gave a short nod and pushed himself on.  She peeked over her shoulder, to see the creature running behind them; thankfully it didn’t seem overly co-ordinated and lumbered into every single tree.

“Up the tree,” gasped Britt.  “We should be okay up the tree.”  She doubted it could organize it's legs enough to climb.

He gave her a boost almost propelling her half way up before scrambling after her.  They perched on a branch that creaked, worryingly.  Craig was a big guy; at no time in its life, did the tree probably expect to have to hold this kind of weight.

They could hear the thing prowling around the ground, rather than see it.  It was dark and even with their enhanced sight they could only make out the red, demonic eyes.  It gave off no scent either.  What the hell was it?

But oh, they could hear it.  The scratching and the pounding of it’s feet as it slouched around etched into her nerves.  In spite of herself she pressed herself closer to Craig.  Yes, she hated everything about being a dumb damsel in distress, but her heart and wolf were vibrating with fear at that moment.  She was a woman who could change into a wild animal and yes, in general, she wouldn’t consider herself a scaredy wolf, but even she had her limits.  And Craig’s big, warm body offered a modicum of comfort.

“What do you think it is?” he murmured, his eyes roving over the ground below, hoping to get a clue.

She shivered.  “Rabid bear, maybe.”

He rubbed her arms.  “It was running on two feet.”

“Bears do that.”

“It looked too skinny.”

“Malnourished, rabid bear.”

Craig shook his head.  “Whatever it is, that thing sure is hairy.”

“Whatever, I just don’t want to face it head on.  Hopefully, it’ll go soon.”

“Or come back with a ladder,” he quipped.

“Funny,” she hissed.

“Yeah, that’s me, the funny guy everyone laughs at,” he muttered, darkly.

“Thank you for, you know, carrying me back there,” she said shyly.  Her wolf bowed her head, coquettishly, and Britt gave the animal a mental kick.

“I wasn’t going to let you get eaten.” 

“Thank you.”

“I do that you’ll never be my girlfriend.”

Britt groaned.  “That’ll never happen anyway.”

“We’ll see,” Craig said with far too much confidence.

Ugh.   “It’s gone quiet. We should climb down and make a run for it.”

He gave her a look of concern.  “Can you run on your ankle?”

Britt bit her lip.  “If I shift into my wolf, I should be fine.”

He nodded and his lips twitched as if he was holding back a smile.  “We’ll have to leave our clothes behind.”

She ignored his bubbling teenage excitement at the thought of seeing her naked.  “Well, we won’t get our deposits back on the costumes but at least we’ll be alive.”  Always look on the bright side.

She moved to climb down, and he stopped her.  “I’ll go first, and I’ll call you to come down if it’s safe.”

She opened her mouth to object, but he hushed her.  “Don’t argue for once.”

Once again, she opened her mouth to object but after a small whine from her wolf changed her mind and simply nodded.

He climbed down, and she listened on tenterhooks as he quietly walked around the tree.  “It’s fine, come on,” he called, quietly.

On reaching the ground, Britt found him already half-naked.  He must have practically ripped his clothes off.  He smirked, knowingly.  “Turn around,” she snapped.

Surprisingly, he did, and she started stripping out of her own clothes.  She was down to her underwear when she squeaked, and her wolf snarled as a camera flashed at them.

“Gotcha!” cried her sister.

“You idiot!” Britt roared, her wolf prowling furiously.

Craig snarled and tried to shield Britt from the dangers of the… well, the dangers of a demented twin wielding a camera phone.

“You moron!” howled Britt, angrily pulling her clothes back on.  It was all clear to her now.  That stupid creature was just her dumb sister and her dumber boyfriend playing a trick on them.  The nerve of them!

Gwen grinned.  “What?  We only did what you were planning on doing to us.”  She waved her phone.  “Come on out, babe,” she called.  “I got an awesome picture of them al fresco.”  She waggled her eyebrows.

Britt growled.  “Fine, you got us.  Happy?  You always get us!”

Gwen pouted.  “Lighten up, sis.  It’s just a bit of fun.”

“Fun for you maybe!”  There was nothing fun about walking around looking like the Hulk’s puny lovechild.

“You just make it more fun because you’re so uptight about it.  Everyone else just ignores us.”

“Whatever.”

Darryl appeared, laughing like a hyena on crack.  “That was awesome.”

Britt scrunched her face up, and Craig patted her shoulder before punching his brother’s arm.  “Yeah, fine, you scared the bejeezus out of us.  That was an awesome costume by the way.”

Darryl wiped a tear out of his eye.  “What costume?”

“The one you were wearing when you chased us up the tree,” snapped Britt.  Any good mood she ever possessed was lost to her at that moment.

“We just arrived,” said Gwen, idly looking through the pictures on her phone.

“So… what did you mean?” asked Britt, slowly.

“We just abandoned you – like you were going to do to us.”

“But weren’t you…”

They froze as they heard a howling noise – unlike any they had heard before.  And they were freaking wolves!

“I think we should get out of here – pronto,” whispered Britt.

“Ah, come on,” started Darryl.

It snarled again.

“Yeah, let’s get the hell out of here.”

“Right now!”

*

Britt placed the pizza on the table, sneered at her giggling sister and Darryl and walked back to the kitchen.

Craig snagged her arm, and she smiled at him.  Her skin was slowly fading back to its normal color.  At the moment, she was only mildly green and just looked like she was suffering from food poisoning.

He gave her the puppy dog eyes and her wolf yipped.  “Hello, Craig.”

“Babe… ah, Britt.”

She’d let him have that one.  The next time he called her that he was getting a kick to the shins.  “I’ve been checking the news, and there’s nothing about an escaped… well, there’s nothing about a strange animal roaming the woods.”

Craig shrugged unconcernedly.  “We were probably just seeing things.”

Britt had her doubts about that, but she was trying to be less stubborn, so she was trying to let it go.  “Yeah, probably.  Thanks for taking care of me the other night.”

A smile lit up his face, and he tweaked a lock of her green hair.  “My pleasure.”

*

Hans grunted as he watched the interaction between his youngest sister and one of the idiot Tanner boys.  Craig, he thought, or was it, Eric?  They were all interchangeable as far as he was concerned.  Even the oldest one, Mal, sitting opposite him and bouncing his baby on his knee was no better than the rest, in his opinion.

He felt his wolf snarl as the boy touched his sister’s hair.  “I thought the idea was the scare the hell out of the kids into stopping their pranks – not get them to slobber over one another.”

“Tanner men are irresistible,” cooed Mal as baby Seth burbled, happily.

His brother, Acksel smiled at his hotheaded brother.  “I still have the costume; maybe we should pay the kids another visit…”

The end

 

 

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