an excerpt

When I awoke, it was nearly sunset, the hole in my window allowing a cool breeze to flow in. "I'll have to fix that," I said, sitting up, trying to get my wits about me. I started to call Ted, but then thought the better of it. He was busy at work, and, besides, what was I going to tell him? That I broke into Steven's house and he informed me that I was a werewolf? And then what? I mean, a straightjacket on a gay boy clashes something fierce.

Instead, I watched the sun as it dipped behind the buildings, the sky turning from blue to orange to pink, from medium rare to rare to friggin' bloody. My heart was racing again. "Stupid Steven Littleton," I grumbled. "Asshole mind-fucker." Oddly, said asshole was no longer in said mind. It seemed like I'd broken free. "Maybe he hypnotized me the other night. Maybe that's why I can't remember anything. Why I've felt so out of control these last few days." Sounded good. Reasonable at any rate. I looked up at the darkening sky and grinned. "Werewolf?" Then I chuckled. "More like queerwolf."

And then the moon broke free from behind the ever-present summer fog, appearing like a silver disc in the sky, gradually rising, the broad face smiling down on me like a long-lost friend. I held my breath as I watched it. "Nothing," I said, finally exhaling as it took its place in the heavens, my hands gripping the sill as I stared out through the hole in my window. "Nothing," I repeated, gulping as the first bead of sweat broke free, trickling down my face before it was followed by another and yet another. "Nothing." The third one came out hoarse, the fourth like a growl, the fifth not at all.

My eyes went from the moon down to my hands, watching in awe and fear as they elongated, the bones within crunching together, fingers stretching, nails as well, then the hair, sprouting, pushing through, blanketing my skin completely, utterly, wholly. All this I watched, detached. No pain. It was, well, as I said, nothing. Like I was nothing. Or fast becoming so. Replaced. Changed, as Steven had told me. One brain flicked off, the other on, timed to block out the agony of it. It was Mother Nature at her finest.

I yanked my hands free from the sill, the nail marks evident from where they had dug into the wood. I sank to my knees, reaching for my face, my jaw line stretching, cheeks sinking in, nose becoming muzzle. Then fur, piles of it, until there was no flesh to be felt. I stood, gazing down, mouth in a pant as I spotted my feet, now clawed and long, calves and thighs all sinew and muscle, dense with black hair. It was the same hair I'd plucked from my window days earlier, I quickly realized.

A distant memory came flooding back to me. It was hazy, like a dream. I'd changed with Steven Littleton. That much I knew. More of the memory came in fits and starts: my body fighting itself; running through the night; launching onto the ferry; the poor sea lion, in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was just images flickering across my brain, but it was real. This was real, yet just as unreal.

And all the while, the adrenaline that had been boiling at the surface at last blasted free. I was alive, strong as steel, standing tall as my head tilted back, jaw open, a lone howl spewing out, shaking the walls around me, the body below, even the floor beneath my clawed feet.

When the change had played itself out, I listened, lungs rumbling, nose sniffing the air. I could hear so much more, smell so much more. In fact, I could hear them all, all of them howling into the night. Every last howling one of them.

I wasn't alone.

Not by a long shot.