Sunday, May 25, 2014


 Genre: Horror (Werewolves)

Daniel Skye 

Sunrise Mall closed its doors that Thursday at nine o’clock sharp. Once the night guard, Rory Callihan, set the alarms and made his final rounds, he retired to the security room to start the first hour of his ten hour graveyard shift.
            Rory Callihan was new to the job, assigned to the position by his company, Blue Arrow Security. He had been stuck there every night for three lousy weeks and he’d never been so bored in all his life.
            Occasionally one of the stores security alarms would trip, but the alarm systems were so sensitive that something as tiny as an ant could set them off. Usually it was just a stray mouse that found its way in from the food court.
            Rory was the exact opposite of his brother, Eddie. Eddie Callihan was a loner, an outsider, a misanthrope. Rory was soft spoken, pleasant, congenial. He enjoyed a cold pint at the bar on his nights off and mingling with all the single girls on Ladies Night. He was a talented dancer and the girls always lined up to be his partner at weddings and parties.
            Dancing was another interest that was not mutual with Eddie. Not dancing came with being an outsider; always watching, observing, but never interjecting. But dancing was a habit that Rory couldn’t break. He’d hear the music and something inside of him he didn’t even know he had would just come to life and take over for him.
            And it was a hell of a way to dazzle and impress the ladies. After a hot night of dancing at a club, Rory would always leave with one or two girls under his arms. It wasn’t just a hobby or a skill; it was a guaranteed way to get some action.
            Action–the one thing his job was lacking. Eddie watched the security monitors with bland interest. There was never anything to see, no thieves to thwart, no action or excitement. The cameras just panned back and forth, showing empty corridor after empty corridor.
            Rory thought about the date: February, 14, 2013 A.K.A. Valentine’s Day. He thought about all the action he was missing at the bar that night. And he thought about his brother Eddie, the cab driver who was no doubt spending the evening alone. February fourteenth was a day that Eddie Callihan was accustomed to spending alone. But this was the first Valentine’s Day Rory had spent without the company of a young lady in years.
            He stared at the monitors, his eyes saying what his mouth did not. He wanted something, anything to happen. A fire, a robbery, a car to come barreling through the façade of the mall.
            And as luck would have it, he got his wish. Camera 17 caught a flash of something on the mezzanine floor and Rory zoomed in. He could make someone out, hiding behind a dense support column, waiting for the camera to rotate. And as soon as it did, he made his move.
            The glass of the convenience store shattered, tripping one of the alarms. Rory quickly entered his code to deactivate it. He didn’t want the police to be notified. He wanted to handle this solo.
            The thief–his face full of bumps and craters, like a pothole–helped himself to chocolate, cigarettes, cash from the register, and all the lotto tickets he could stuff into two brown paper bags. The cigarettes and cash he stuffed into his pockets. Most of the chocolate was in his belly by the time Rory’s blinding flashlight was being waved in his face.
            Pothole’s eyes met Callihan’s and he dropped his loot and froze, stymied with both hands at his sides.
            “Put your hands up!” Rory shouted.
            “You got a gun?” Pothole asked, one hand now drawn over his face to shield his eyes from the light.
            “I’ve got a flashlight,” was his retort.
            “That’s it?” Pothole chuckled.
            “I’ve also got two fists I’m not afraid to introduce to your face, and two size ten boots to stomp your ass inside out with.”
            The thief, Pothole, raised his arms high into the air and Rory caught a glimpse of something quite alarming.
            Pothole’s index and middle fingers were exactly the same length, an indicative sign of lycanthropy.
“How’d you get in here?” Rory inquired.
            “I went into one of the dressing rooms in Marcy’s and waited until the place closed. I just locked myself in and never came out. Nobody ever even bothered to check. Some staff they got working here.”
            “So you decided to stick around and help yourself to some scratch-offs and candy bars?”
            “Everyone’s gotta make their living,” Pothole shrugged, his arms still in the air. “So are you gonna arrest me? Oh, wait, that’s right, you’re just a security guard. You probably don’t even have handcuffs.”
            “I can call the police and detain you until they arrive.”
            “Can you?” Pothole asked, but it sounded more like he was laying down a challenge. “You wanna see something you don’t see every day?”
Pothole went through a full body spasm. A horrible scream echoed through the mezzanine as he collapsed to his knees, fingers digging into the granite tiled floor. The flesh pulsed beneath his clothes, his chest swelling until his black shirt ripped in half. Then the flesh began to strip away, the torso splitting down the center to reveal a vest of thick brown fur. A snout emerged as the face peeled back, and Pothole shed his old flesh like a snake shedding his skin to reveal the true monster that lurked beneath.
            “Impressive,” Rory nodded, wiggling his fingers at his sides. Rory didn’t have much in common with his brother, Eddie. But he shared one thing in common with Pothole. His middle and index fingers were identical in length.
            His body quivered as the transformation commenced. A cold feeling rushed through his body, intense but brief. Layer by layer, he shed his clothes and then his flesh. A hideous wet snout took shape and a thick grey tail materialized, wagging beside the mound of abandoned skin. Its dense grey coat didn’t detract from the sharp, prodigious claws that took the place of Rory’s fingers.
            Pothole bolted from the mezzanine and headed for the stairs. The chase was on.
            Rory trailed him all the way to the third level and found him wandering the food court, looking for an escape route. Cornered, Pothole had no choice but to engage him.
            The beast lunged at Rory, causing the granite tiles to crack when he took a spill. The beast mounted him, strands of drool dangling from its white jagged fangs. The grey wolf dug its claws into the beast’s sides, producing a furious roar.
            Wriggling free, the grey beast slashed at its adversary, claws oscillating wildly in Pothole’s direction. Suddenly, the grey beast formerly known as Rory Callihan realized he wasn’t the least bit bored. This was exactly the kind of action he craved.
            Dripping blood from various lacerations, the brown-furred beast lunged forth again and collapsed atop Rory, a rectangular food court table splintering under their weight. Other square-top tables and green plastic chairs were scattered about the food court as they bowled across the granite tiles, both creatures fighting to gain leverage.
            Rory kicked himself free and reached his feet, lunching himself like an oversized dart towards Pothole, who was stumbling from the food court.
            They both tumbled over the safety barrier, their bodies spinning through the air as they plunged three stories to the ground level, landing directly in the fountain.
            Pothole had broken Rory’s fall, but he was filled with sharp stinging sensations, as if his grey exterior was being jabbed by a swarm of angry wasps. As he crawled from the fountain, it hit him. The water was filled with coins, silver coins that people had tossed in misguided attempts to give them their hearts desires.
What an odd tradition, Rory thought. You donate your pocket change to a stagnant pond and you make a wish. Only problem is half these people are senseless enough to think it will come true.
But right now, Rory’s only wish was to escape from the tainted water that was slowly destroying him. You’ve heard the theory of werewolves and silver bullets. Well, it works with all forms of silver. To even come into contact with it could be fatal for a lycan. He crawled from the fountain, shaking himself off like a dog that just scampered in soaked from a sudden downpour.
Pothole was thrashing in the water, his body feeling the effects of silver polluted water. Rory did the righteous thing. He reeled Pothole in from the fountain. A defeated Pothole gazed up at his savior, his white fangs gleaming.

            When all was said and done, Rory returned to his post, licking his lips. Not a scrap of Pothole remained.
            His uniform was tattered and shredded beyond repair. But luckily Rory carried a spare change of clothes with him for emergencies of this kind. He’d make an excuse about his uniform being ruined. He could say the dryer cleaner shrunk it. Or he could pull the old homework trick and say his dog ate it, which wouldn’t be too far from the truth.
            Rory leaned back and watched the security monitors, content.
            Maybe this job’s not too bad after all, he thought.

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