Monday, 10 August 2009

Too Close To Moonrise

Roland settled into a steady lope and covered the ground easily as he cut his way through the darkened suburban back gardens. He easily jumped any fences or walls that he encountered, and continued on his way without his heart beat rising one iota or breaking into a sweat. One of the advantages of being a werewolf was not having to go to the gym to keep fit!

He was not worried about the car; the police would never be able to identify him through it. It was his strict policy that none of the Clan vehicles could ever be traced back to them and they all had falsified registrations and insurance taken out under other names and linked to non-existent addresses. He would make no attempt to retrieve the vehicle; it just wasn't worth the trouble it could stir up.

He was also totally unconcerned as to the fate of the two vampires. Even if he cared what happened to them, he knew that they would have just drifted away from the scene of the crime in a puff of smoke, leaving behind two confused and frustrated police officers. He was also pretty sure that they were tracking him and would materialise as soon as it suited them.

The one thing that was slowing him down was the clothes he was wearing. The heavy black leather jacket, thick denim jeans and dark blue polo shirt were impeding his movements, stopping him from getting into his full stride. He considered stripping off, but did not want to be responsible for some old lady having a heart attack as he streaked past her lounge window!

He raised his head slightly to the sky and sniffed the wind. It was getting perilously near to the rising of the moon and soon her silver orb would be glimpsed scudding through the clouds and bathing everything in her ghostly glow. Roland had never risked turning out in the open in a densely populated area. He wasn't like some of the Old Kingdomers who revelled in shocking humans and creating urban myths about themselves. He believed that the safety of the Clan was better served by discretion; he did not like the current rash of films and TV series about werewolves and vampires. He would have preferred it if humans had never heard of them and didn't believe that they existed.

The turning was close. He could feel it rippling in his veins and muscles. His animal instincts were being heightened with every second that passed. Should he just preempt the inevitable and turn? He would be able to move much faster and would surely be able to find somewhere to hole up for the night? He could even be daring and go and hunt the deer in Richmond Park? He could cover so much more ground in his wolf self.

Twin thuds on the turf off to his left startled him and brought him to a halt. He turned to find the two vampires struggling to get up off the grass, and squabbling with each other as usual.

'Why did you have to fly into me like that! You could have hurt me!' he heard Vlad whine petulantly.

'You know that I have to fly three wing beats behind you at all times, My Leader. You should know better than to turn like that on descent!' retorted the Count.

Roland frowned. Petulant, arguing vampires was not what he needed right now.

'Look here' he started but the rest of his sentence came out as a loud, resonating howl. His thinking about turning when he was so close to it had set off the process and there was no going back now

'What's up with de Cazalrenoux' demanded Vlad, his eyes as wide as saucers. 'His body is writhing under his skin and he seems to be changing shape?'

'Have you never seen a werewolf turn before?' asked Count Antonescu sneeringly.

'No never' replied a horrified Vlad 'Is it going to be horrible? Will we be safe with a wolf?'

As he uttered these words, the silver disk of the moon rose above the horizon and Roland's body seemed to be thrown into a paroxysm of agony. His limbs writhed, flailed and began to change shape. His facial features contorted and ears pricked. And finally, under the shocked gaze of Vlad, Roland split out of his clothes and grew a thick, ruddy pelt. The wolf that was Roland sank down onto four huge paws and looked at the two vampires with cold green eyes. Seemingly not satisfied with what he saw, he threw back his head and gave throat to a deep, bass howl. Only of course there were no other Clan members who could answer him that night.

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