The full moon hung in the sky, spreading it's brilliance across the ocean surf with sparkling light. The surf was quiet, swells that whispered up the sand and drew back silently.
The beach was deserted, void of human life as the ocean brushed up against the sand in quiet, almost measured beats. Salt filled the air with the scent of seaweed and fish. A cool breeze raced along the sands, teasing the grasses into long dances in the darkness.
And the moon watched from above, lonely and primal.
A giggling pierced the measured noise of the surf before a woman ran up the dunes near the back of the surf. Her hair was jet black, except for a single streak of white that highlighted her face. She was wearing a simple blouse and long skirt. Her bare feet pounded the cool sand as she dodged to the right. Behind her, a blond man scrambled up the dune. His glasses were half-off his face as he stopped at the top, breathing hard.
Chelsea looked out over the ocean and felt the tranquil beauty catch her heart. Her mouth opened softly as her gaze moved up to stare at the brilliant disk of light above her.
Still panting, Jubal walked up to her and wrapped his arm around her waist. His spare hand pushed his glasses back into place.
Chelsea nodded, her eyes locked on the disk. A sense of primal seemed to ripple through her, filling her with the call of the moon above her. Jubal held her closer, his breath teasing her ear.
She pointed up, the words lost to her. He looked up and a faint fear flashed behind his glasses. His hand tightened on her waist as he looked up with frustration and anxiety.
“That. How did I forget?”
“Because I can control it?”
Her voice was wistful and soft, sounding like she was on the verge of tears. Jubal looked at her sharply, worried. She blinked and looked back, a half-honest smile on her face.
“I can… sort of.”
“Still feel the need?”
Chelsea nodded and tried to untangle herself from Jubal's arms. Determined, he stepped forward to wrap his other arm around her in a tight embrace. She struggled for a second, then melted in his embrace. He held her, his mouth brushing against her ear.
“Is there anything I can do?”
A few tears began to gather in her eyes as she fought the urge to shift. The urge to shift, to change, was beginning to pound in her ears and she trembled with the effort to contain it.
“I… I don't know. Every day it gets worse. Last month it got so bad I was ready to lash out at that old lady that cut me off in line.”
Jubal chuckled, “Yeah, I thought she was going to jump out of her skin when you growled at her.”
Blushing, Chelsea dug her head against him, “I-I didn't mean to.”
He didn't say anything, just held her tightly.
“Try hunting small things? Rabbits? Deer? Lawyers?”
Stifling a laugh, she shook her head, “No. I'm afraid that if I caught one, I wouldn't stop at just one.”
“Well, if you take out a few more lawyers…”
She poked him and smiled at him, “Jubal.”
His heart stopped for a moment and he leaned forward to kiss her. Her hands pulled him closer as she passionately returned the kiss. Inside, she could feel the song of change begin to grow louder, a primal hunger that pushed her, tugged her.
With a gasp, she pushed herself away. Jubal looked over her and grinned.
“How about sex? You never know, the twenty-ninth time might be the key.”
Giggling, Chelsea shook her head, “No, not right now.”
“Maybe later?” his voice was more than hopeful but there was still the playfulness she counted on. He motioned out toward the ocean.
“How about a swim?”
“In this weather? I'd freeze.”
“I doubt it.”
“Want to join me?”
He looked at the cold water and made a face. Chelsea giggled at his expression.
“Didn't think so.”
Jubal sighed, “Anything else? Singing? Sex? Dancing? Running around? Playing video games?”
She frowned, “Dancing might help.”
“Great. The nearest dance club is about three hours away.”
“What if I… change?”
Frowning, Jubal responded after a second, “You'll probably scare the hell out of everyone, eat some lawyer and run away.”
She smiled, “What is it with lawyers today?”
He shrugged and Chelsea thought for a moment.
“Dancing might… but I can't do it there.”
Jubal pointed to the beach, “So do it here. No one's watching.”
Arching an eyebrow, “Going to join me?”
“And risk being a kitty snack? Uh…”
The song of change was pounding in her ears and she was already moving to a clear spot on the beach. Jubal watched her, sensing power and need in his love. He started to follow, but sat down heavily, well out of the way as she looked for a spot.
As he watched her wandering up and down the sands, he muttered to himself, “It's a beach, how can the sand be more sandy?”
Further down, Chelsea found a spot that felt… right to her. A wave of embarrassment washed over her before she took a deep breath. The salt air teased her senses as she wiggled her toes in the damp sand. A few long steps away, the ocean washed up, reaching for her with cold fingers.
She took another deep breath and stamped her feet. She started with a walk around in a circle, about five steps in diameter, but spread out as she tried to dance to the song in her heart. It jumped and twisted at her, begging for release, to change.
Moving faster now, she tried to let more of it go, but not to change. The movements came out smoother, more graceful as she began to spin slightly with the circle. The song pounded in her heart, beating against her chest with each footstep.
With an effort, she tried to match her movements to the song of change, without letting it go. The need to shift grew stronger, but she manage to just keep that last part of the song from releasing. Her heart pounded in time with her frantic movements; her feet splashed through the damp sand and kicked it up high as she felt her embarrassment slipping away.
From the dune, Jubal watched with surprise. The point where she was fumbling through the motions disappeared between one step and the other. Now, she was moving to a silent song that spoke of hunger and sensuality. It's affect on him was purely physical, but he was glad he was watching from his position and not closer. The speed and grace of her movements would have been ruined by his own fumbling.
Chelsea continued to spin in her movements, the thoughts of the hunt and change in her thoughts. The urge to change was still there, but she managed to dance around it, pulling off the need and desire and throwing it into her movements. Her body felt alive, the heat of movement surging through her veins with each footstep, each pound of her heart, each spin.
She threw everything into the dance and images began to flash in her mind. Of killing, of hunting, of loving. Her dancing changed with each thought, going from a predatory beauty to a seductive slide faster than she could imagine it. The song inside her rose higher, straining to escape.
In her fingers, she felt for the buttons of her blouse. She tried to undo them, to escape to stifling clothes, but it kept slipping out of her sweat-soaked fingers. With a snarl, she tore her blouse open, throwing the tattered fabric high in the air as she screamed out in her dance.
Her movements grew faster and more sensual, sliding around an imaginary circle as she spun and jumped. Between one spin and another, she store at the edge of her skirt, throwing it aside as she continued to spin. A few more revolutions of her silent dance and she was naked. Sweat speckled on her skin, but she was lost in the dance, teasing the change and translating her needs into dance.
Spinning around, she jumped and pounded. Her breath pounded in her chest, but she was already moving into the next motion. Each one led to the other, with no rhyme or reason.
The only thing mattered was the dance.
Chelsea was panting heavily now as she felt her arms and legs straining with the effort. Dull flickering of pain, from her bare feet on the sand, drifted through her senses and she stumbled. A flicker of anger washed over her, but she clamped down on the sudden surge to change, to transform.
The panther inside her howled, as she spun one last time and knelt heavily on the ground. Her breath came in strained, shuddering gasps and her body felt alive. Each joint, each muscles, each tendon felt burning hot as her fingers dug into the sand.
The song inside her was screaming for release and she shook with the effort to contain it. The howling inside her grew louder, more insistent until she screamed out as loud as she could. Her voice didn't echo back over the ocean surf, but she felt everything drain out of her as the scream faded from her throat.
Gasping, she dropped her head to the sand and stopped moving. Her body shivered with the sudden coldness in the air.
Then Jubal was next to her, draping his jacket on her shoulders. She looked up with exhaustion on her face. He smiled and knelt down next to her.
She nodded, unable to speak.