"Where is he?? He’s late, he's SO late! And on a day like today...what was he thinking!” I thought to myself, waving my hands in frustration. At least I thought it was to myself. The puzzled look on the old woman sitting on the bench across from me told me I was mistaken. To be honest, I didn’t care if she saw how flustered I was. I didn’t care that I probably looked like a complete and total lunatic right there on the monorail platform. It was only her and I there now anyway. It was nearly dusk, and Edgar still wasn’t answering my calls. How dare he leave me alone in this god forsaken city. I understand he’s a family friend, but he IS still the butler, after all. I check my notifications again. Nothing new.
“Bastard!” I yelled, throwing my phone onto the concrete.
“Young man, are you alright?” She called to me in the oddest tone. This perfect stranger seemed half concerned, and half annoyed with me.
“Fine, thank you.” I grumbled.
“Well, you could have fooled me!” She scoffed. I ignored her and walked toward the edge of the platform.
“People here are so nosey.” I thought to myself. Nightfall would be here any minute I still didn’t have my answers. I looked up toward the skyline. Not much time now. The sun was starting to set, and I’d have to find my way home alone, and skip my real destination, the gene historian’s office. I hated to travel all this way, small towns give me the creeps, but Google did not prove helpful in finding someone in his field anywhere near home, and when I mentioned him to Edgar, he gave me a suspicious look, as if he knew the man. I thought I was on to something there.
Anyway, I thought maybe, just maybe, he’d be able to tell me about where I came from, and why I am the way I am. Since grandfather died when I was a child, I never got to hear his stories. Mother and father were never around to tell me. Now I’d have to risk the possibility I’d never truly know all because that fool couldn’t be bothered to meet me on time. I could feel the old woman’s eyes burning into me with her stare. The last thing I wanted to do was encourage her to keep talking and ask questions. But she didn’t need much reason to pry.
“Young man, it seems whomever you’re waiting for won’t be here for some a while. The same is true for me. Why don’t we wait it out together and pass the time?”
I felt the dread wash over me. But when I turned and saw the sweet, hopeful look on her face, I couldn’t deny her company, even if she was a bit annoying. I studied her as I walked over to the benches again. Her beige tartan skirt suit looked like it was made from my grandmother’s couch. The short pixie cut flattered her, but the thing that stood out from her dreadfully ordinary, wrinkled appearance were her bright amber eyes with a thick scar through the right side. Trying not to stare, I sat down beside her, trying to keep my distance without seeming cold.
She extended her wrinkly palm toward me.
“My name is Mrs. Travers. What shall I call you then, dear?” I shook her hand quickly and let go.
“Tobias. Tobias Radcliff, ma’am.” Her face scrunched, as if I’d said something familiar and offensive.
“I know that name. Tell me boy, are you a junior perhaps?” She asked.
“A third, actually. My grandfather’s name passed down. I was never really a fan of it myself.”
“Nonsense. It’s a fine name and it suits you. In any case, who are you waiting for?”
I pondered to myself a moment why she’d ask about my namesake, and how she knew if the name of a stranger suited him well or not. But I thought it best not to ask and invite more reason for her to pry.
“My…” I didn’t want to say butler at the risk of sounding pretentious. “A family friend. He was supposed to get me here and accompany me to meet someone, but it seems he got held up. Strange thought, he’s usually early. In any case I’ll just take the next train alone.”
“Oh, dear. I’m sure you didn’t know this but on Sundays, the last train leaves at 5pm. It’s quarter past now.”
“Damn it!” I shouted. Not only did I miss my chance, now I’ve missed my only way home.
“Come now, that’s no way to behave. I know you’re frustrated but maybe I can help. My house is just up the block, let’s sit there and wait for your friend, it’s getting dark and I can’t see well at night.” She said in a soothing tone. As if I hadn’t noticed the light starting to fade. I hesitated.
“But what about the person you were meeting?” I pried.
“Oh, I think they had something better to do. Besides, this is far more important.”
What choice did I have? I’d need to find cover soon. I picked up my cellphone off the pavement and nodded.
“I can’t stay long. Edgar, erm, my friend, should be here any minute. What’s your address? I’ll send it to him.”
“15 Nottingham Way.” She replied, getting up from the bench. Let’s get going. As she lead me to her car, I let out a gasp, then a smile creeped across my face.
“A yellow 55’ Bel Air. Nice!” I said with a grin. She beamed with pride.
“Isn’t she lovely? My husband kept her in tip top shape when he was alive.” Her smile faded. “Well anyway, hop in, I’m just a moment away.”
Her house was old like the car, small and quaint, like a little cottage. The walls lined in floral wallpaper, the couch a hideous pink paisley. An old, worn out blue recliner sat in the corner. It had a deep divet, showing it had been sat in many times over the years, but a layer of dust, telling me it hadn’t been used in quite some time. I suspected it was her husband’s spot.
“You sit there dear.” She said, motioning to the couch. “I’ll go get us some lemonade.”
I planted myself on the firm cushion, checking my phone once again. I texted the address to Edgar just before we left, and still, no response.
As I waited for the old woman to come back, I noticed the photos hung all around the house. There were children, she and her husband, family portraits, and then I noticed something odd.
“No, couldn’t be.” I thought to myself. I picked up a photo sitting on the end table. Sure enough, standing next to what I assumed to be her husband, was my grandfather.
“So, you know now then. Well, that’s okay.” The old woman’s voice called from behind me. I knew you were Tobias’ grandson the minute I saw you on that platform. In fact, I was hoping to run into you there.”
“How do you know my grandfather?” I asked, backing away from her slowly. ”And…wait, how did you know I’d be there today?”
“I knew you’d be there because the historian tipped me off. Didn’t you know? He’s Edgar’s cousin. Their family and ours were friendly once. Sworn to secrecy about our little…ailment. My boy, how much do you know about your grandfather, really? Do you know he’s the reason you have that little secret of yours?
“What are you talking about?” I asked, my eyes wide with fear. Did she know? A sudden pain washed over me and I realized she must be the reason Edgar never showed up.
“Oh yes, I know all about you and your family. How every month on the full moon, you lose your mind and are reborn into an evil beast. I know how your eyes glow amber, just like mine, and you crave a fresh kill.” She grinned, stepping closer and closer as I backed away.
“How could you possibly know that?” I asked, dread in my voice. What was she playing at?
“Because dear, I’m the one that cursed you.” I gasped and shook my head in disbelief. It was like I was in a movie, watching my own life play out before me.
“Oh yes. I’m afraid I did it. The three of us, my husband, your grandfather and myself went on a hunting trip. I didn’t care much for hunting, at least not as a human, but the men insisted I come along. I hadn’t kept close enough track of the lunar cycle that month and sure enough, we were out late, and the moon hit peak hour. I changed, right there in front of them. My husband was the first to go, poor thing. I couldn’t help myself. He had suspected me for some time. Thinking I had bridge once a month. He had to go. I suspected he told your grandfather his suspicions when the man insisted on trailing behind me with his gun to my back the entire trip. I couldn’t risk my secret getting out. I had to kill him. But he was a feisty one. He put up a fight and got away from me. But not without me leaving his mark on him.” She grinned and the sighed.
“That’s why he ran from the family. After the first lunar cycle it became too much for him. But it was too late, your grandmother was already pregnant with the next member of the pack. I suspect she thought he ran because of the baby, until your father started changing too. Without Edgar I don’t think she could have done it. He’s an expert in raising our kind, you know. Anyway, there’s the story. Your story. Now you know. And now I’ll have to put you down. Can’t have you spreading the truth.”
In the horror I happened to catch a glimpse out the window. The moon shone bright, at peak hour. I felt the hair on the back of my neck raise. A bolt of pain struck through my body as my bones began to crack as they extended. Fur grew from my chest and my face started to morph as I took my true form. A silver wolf stood in front of me. Mrs. Travers had undergone the same transformation. She looked strong, but aged and weary from many battles. I was no longer afraid. I would get revenge for my family. It was time to make my grandfather proud.