Claire stared down at the purple-rimmed wound on her thigh. The jagged bite mark managed to start healing only a few hours after the damn dog bit her, but even three days later, it remained painful and sensitive. She used a fingernail to pick at the scab, wincing at the pain but unable to stop. It was a good pain, it reminded her that she was human. One finger pushed up at her shorts as she cocked her head, a high-pitched ringing filled her hearing as she inspected the top of the wound.

With a sigh, she let her shorts slide back into place and stared up at Jacob. He blushed deeply and practically strained his neck from snapping his head to look at his computer. The glow of the monitor reflected off his glasses and the sweat on his brow, but Claire didn’t care. It was Jacob. He may have been obsessed with her since the third grade, but there was and will be nothing between them.

She scratched at her wound as she looked around. It was night with the full moon. She found herself unable to tear her gaze away from that swollen circle of light. It was as if she heard a choir, as she began to feel the echoed sounds in her pounding heart. Tears burned at her eyes.

Jacob snapped his fingers, “Found it!”

His voice gave her the strength to look away and she scratched at her wounds again. It hurt but it felt good. That was important, “Found what?”

She knew she had a faint British accent, completely out of place for the school, but she didn’t care. It was part of who Claire was: cheerleader, social butterfly, queen of the school, girl who got bit by some damn dog in the middle of the night.

“This dog. You said it was a large one, about the size of a Rotweiler, but had reddish hair, right?”

She grunted in agreement and grabbed a chair. Spinning it around, she sat in it and pressed her breasts against the back. Jacob swallowed hard and Claire smiled to herself; it was always fun teasing him. He grunted and pointed to the screen. He managed to get Google maps to show a line of markers snaking from Colorado to their little town in Missouri.

“What is this, Jac?”

“Attacks, by a reddish dog. Took me a bit of looking around, searching newspapers, and police reports. I even–”

“Jacob?”

“Um,” he blushed, “Yes?”

“Shut up, and tell me what this is about?”

“Well, I was looking at the articles.” He hit a few buttons in rapid succession, and an article showed up on the screen, showing a report of an attack in a small town. Jacob hit another button and another article appeared. Another button, another murder.

“What does it mean?”

“Well, this dog… wolf actually attacks only women who are… um,” he blushed, “cut or bl…bleed…”

He gave her a nervous look and Claire rolled her eyes, “Yes, I’m having my period.”

She felt him shudder and the movement sent a shiver across her skin. Curious, she held her breath and listened, surprised when she heard both of their heartbeats beating. Hers was rapid but steady, his was beating half a million beats per minute.

“Well, I-”

“Jacob!”

He jumped, “Sorry. There isn’t much, but a few days after the attacks, the wolf can’t be found, but there are more deaths from wolf attacks.”

An itch annoyed Claire, but she wiggled slightly and tried to listen to him. His heartbeats and swallowing were almost drowning his booming voice, and she turned her head slightly to break up the sound.

“Well, they all end the same way.”

She narrowed her eyes and turned back to him. The itch continued to grow, and she reached back to scratch at it, right at the base of her spine. In the indelicate place that Jacob would have a heart attack if he could see.

“The deaths all end with the girl who got attacked in the first place dies.”

She felt a bump at the base of her spine and scratched harder. It hurt, but it was a good pain, like the leg wound. The more she scratched, the better it felt, “Jacob?”

He swallowed nervously, “The murderer was the girl, Claire. The girl who got attacked.”

She shrugged and scratched harder, “So?”

“I think, the wolf turns his victims into a murderer. And this report–” he tapped a few keys and another page showed up. The headline caught her attention.

LOCAL GIRL IS A MURDERER IN WOLF CLOTHING!"

She read through it, frowning as the report talked about a girl found who had been terrorizing the town before she succumbed to a shootout with the police. The reports that she wore a wolfman costume were only marred by the fact they couldn’t find it during the following investigation.

Claire read it twice before sitting up. She felt wetness on her fingers and stopped scratching. Curious, she looked at it in the light of the moon and realized it smelled like blood. Giving Jacob a nervous glance, she cleared her throat.

“Are you saying I’m going to kill someone?”

Incredulously, he nodded.

“And… and you might have been bitten by a werewolf.”

Standing straight up, Claire snapped at him, “Are you insane!?”

Jacob wilted in his chair, pushing it away from her as she towered over him. Claire kicked the chair away from her as she reached over and grabbed him by his throat. In a surge of sudden rage, she picked him out of his chair as easily as a rag doll and tossed him into a wall.

The sudden strength surprised her and she had to bite down on her lip to stop from storming over to Jacob and ripping his throat out. Letting a long, shuddering breath out, Claire grabbed her chair and sat back down on it. Her butt itched like all hell, and she felt more than anxious. Her cramps weren’t helping. And it wasn’t a light period this time, it felt like every muscle from her knee, up along her backside, and clear up to her shoulders decided to tighten up painfully.

Jacob clutched the wall as he leaned into it. It took him a moment to stand. Breathing heavily, Jacob limped back to his seat and sat down, not looking at her. She could hear the aches in his body, his labored breathing, and even the tiny whimpers he tried to hide from her. She realized she had cocked her head again and straightened it. She used her sleeve to wipe a sudden flash of sweat from her brow.

“Jacob,” he tensed up, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to."

He pushed his glasses up on his nose, “I-I… I know you didn’t. But, it means that my werewolf idea might be not that unreasonable.”

“How so?”

Jacob gave her a flash of a smile, “You have never thrown me like that before.”

A long uncomfortable silence stretched out between them. Her skin itched like hell, and she scratched at the small of her back until it grew slick with sweat or blood again. With Jacob looking at her, she didn’t want to figure out which, so she just wiped it on the chair and forced her hand to rest against her thigh.

“How long?”

Surprised, Jacob looked at her with a silent question. Claire rolled her eyes again, “How long before I start killing everyone?”

“Oh, that,” he turned to the computer.

“Looks like the average is five days, with a standard–”

“You mean tomorrow,” she didn’t mean to seem so harsh, but she was more than uncomfortable. Jacob pretended to think; she could hear him holding his breath and realized that she liked this ability to listen.

“Yes, tomorrow. But, I think I could figure out something to slow it down. Just,” he paused, “give me a little bit.”

“Mind if I get a fruit smoothie?”

“You better not.”

Annoyed, Claire got up and headed out of the room. Jacob’s house was pretty large, his parents were rich but never home. She padded down into the kitchen, pried open the stainless steel kitchen and immediately slammed it shut while gagging.

“Oh god, your milk is bad!”

From upstairs, Jacob yelled back, “How? The maid got it yesterday!”

Holding her breath, she opened the fridge and yanked the milk out. It smelled even worse outside of the fridge, but the label said it won’t expire for at least two weeks. Making a face, she poured it down the sink and tossed the container aside. Opening the fridge, she winced at the pain and pulled out some cheese. One sniff and she could tell it was rancid. She almost threw it away before she tested the yogurt, cookies, and even a perfectly shaped apple. All bad.

Hesitating, she set everything back in the fridge. Her fingers trailed down to the meat tray, and she opened it. It was a steak, lined with veins of fat and looking very red. Just the sight of it made her stomach rumble. Pulling it out, she gave it a cautious sniff.

It was perfect. Complete and utterly perfect.

Ravenous, she peeled open the plastic and looked around for a pan to fry it in. She found one and tossed it on the stove. She started to turn it on, but the first smell of cooking meat turned her stomach and she shut off the flame.

Giving the ceiling a dark look, she grabbed the meat and breathed in the smell. It was glorious, raw, and bloody. Without thinking, she took a bite out of it, ripping it with her teeth. As it slide down her throat, she almost orgasmed from the taste. She hesitated, then took another bite. Moments later, she was licking the blood off her finger and feeling sated and full.

The itching returned full force, both in her leg and along her spine. She let out a long hiss of annoyance and jogged to the bathroom. Locking the door, she turned around and inspected her rear in the mirror. It was perfect, as she knew it would be. Hours of cheerleading practice pretty much guaranteed that. It was the bloody stain on her shorts that worried her. Panicking, she stripped off her shorts and thong and inspected the itch. It was raw and bloody, lined in purple just like her wound. She whimpered at the sight of it.

It was not a good pain, she decided, but she couldn’t stop scratching it. It felt shallow, like something she could work out. Splatters of blood splashed down on the white tile as she refused to let it go. She whimpered in pain, safe that the soft noise would be hidden from Jacob’s pathetic hearing.

Blood coating up to her knuckles, she managed to wrap her finger around something and tugged. It hurt like hell but it came out. Letting out a sigh of relief, she washed her hands and started to clean her backside when her fingers brushed against something unexpected. She cleaned it off for a moment, then realized what it was.

A tail.

She let out a scream of shock and fear, stumbling back. Moments later, she heard Jacob stumbling down the stairs, “Claire!? Claire? Are you all right?”

Gasping with shock and fear, she reached up and unlocked the door. Jacob slammed it open, nearly clipping her, then froze as he stared down at her bloody legs and the lack of clothes on her bottom.

“C-Claire?”

She scrambled up and turned around, “Look!

Jacob stared, then she jumped as she felt him touching it light.

“Oh my god, its a tail, Claire.”

“A tail!? How the fuck can I have a tail!?”

Her voice echoed shrilly off the walls. She inhaled to scream, almost choking on the scent of soap and perfume. Jacob snatched his hands away.

“I don’t mean it, Claire, but it looks like a tail.”

She spun around, “I am not a damn werewolf!”

Jacob blushed, “C-Could you put some clothes on?”

Claire stared at him for a moment, with his heavily pounding heart and bright red blush. Then, she blushed herself. A moment later, she ejected Jacob from the bathroom and managed to get dressed. She left and headed toward the stairs.

At the last moment, she stopped and went into the dining room. Fumbling through the drawers, she found a lined box filled with silver flatware. Nibbling on her lip, she picked up one of the forks and hefted it. High quality silver but at least it didn’t–

When she saw smoke rising up from her fingertips, she tossed it aside with all her strength. She stumbled up the stairs, feet skittering on the ground. Bursting into Jacob’s room, she announced, “Okay, I’m a werewolf.”

He let out a long sigh. “At least we figured that out.”

“Now what?"

Jacob turned back to his computer, “I found five or six things that might help. It looks like there are some–”

As he spoke, she returned to the computer. Seeing just lines of text, she half-listened as she stared around the room. She realized that it smelled differently to her. It didn’t have the bitter smell of too many comics, computers, and anime. Instead, it had a musky smell. She breathed in deeply, her new tail twitching with her concentration. The scents filtered through her, the smell of musky male and something else. Her eyes locked on Jacob and he smiled nervously.

“What?"

Leaning down, she held her face only a few inches away from Jacob’s. She could smell his excitement and fear on his breath. She could hear how his heart pounded painfully in his chest.

Slowly, she lowered her mouth until it was almost touching his lips. Her hands reached up to take his head in her palms. Their hearts pounded as one as she leaned forward and kissed her childhood friend.

It was tender and gentle. She breathed in the scent of male and realized it was also the scent of meat. Raw, delicious meat.

An hour later, she left Jacob’s house as the morning light rose over the horizon. Her clothes were stained with blood, but her tail wagged strongly from the hole torn through her shorts. She smiled as she licked the blood from her fingertips.

Slowly, Claire turned and looked back at Jacob’s house. Her yellowed eyes rose up to the second floor window. The only sign that Jacob was home was a single bloody hand pressed up against the glass.

Her heart hurt at the thought of his death.

But it was a good type of hurt.