Nature's Calling.
By Brendan Moore.

It Was Time. The moon was once again full and I had managed to get out of town in time. Thank God the moon showed itself before sunset.
Even though the moon came out early, I had also been tracking the days since this last happened. Since another two or three died. Since the last time I Changed.
I parked the car on a side road in the forest I knew too well. I let the diesel engine of the Highlander idle itself down. It wasn’t exactly a cheep mode of transport but it was affective. I studied myself in the vanity mirror before it grew too late to recognise my human self anymore, for this time it might be the last I see of it.
Yep. I was still there. The female brunette staring back at me was as scared as hell and there were no signs of Change yet.
Then it hit all too suddenly. I jumped out of the car as soon as I felt the pain corse through my head. It was like a migraine right at the front of your brain, directly behind the eyes. Good thing it only lasts a few minutes after the Change, but it would still be enough to get this she-wolf as annoyed as the Change made me hungry.
Lying on my side in the snow, I was writhing in cranial pain so extreme I could have been tricked by anyone into thinking my skull was fractured.
And I would have easily believed them too.
The Change was quick this time. My hands and feet, and the appendages they were attached to, had turned to paws and to a shorter length within seconds. My tail sprouted quickly, if not painfully, out of the end of my spine and split a neat hole in my pants.
That'll need repairing.
Once my face had rearranged, my jaw lengthening and pushing out and my ears elongating and rising to the top of my head, the fur started growing. That was the worst bit. The itch was unbearable.
It was all over within a minute and I wriggled my way out of my clothes and into a new world.
After pacing the car a while, sniffing for food and finding none – always forgetting to pack that – I decided to explore the woods, to keep me occupied and away from humans.
A few minutes into the forest and not one thing found. Oh, wait. There’s something.. A light. A house light, belonging to the front porch of a Tudor home.
Damn. Humans. Well there goes my night.
Dinner was evident. A girl playing in the snow. No one else around and no faces in the window. Easy pray.
I walked into the clearing slowly out of the shadows and the girl spotted me instantly.
She didn’t scream.
She didn’t run.
But now the hunter had become the hunted.
The whole nation knew I existed, but I didn’t count on everyone to be prepared for me. This girl surprised me by calmly walking back inside and returning minutes later with a .44 Colt.
Once I spotted the gun, I bolted. After a few shots were fired and a plume of snow sprouted on my flank, I ducked behind a fallen tree.
This girl had been trained to hunt me down when the time presented itself. I preyed to God that I’d survive the next few days keeping out of her sights.
But if God heard me, then he must have felt challenged, for the next thing I heard was the bark of a gun and the tree in front of me splinter.
I took off again, this time to the east of my assailant, hoping to track around her flank or behind and take her by surprise.
The snow was crisp underpaw and the air was clear this night. I could smell her, and the gun.
With a vision in my head that I would win this battle, as I have done before in the past, I rounded a tree that I thought would bring me out to her six.
But there she was, as if waiting for me, staring at me. I saw total surprise in her face for a second, then hate, and the barrel of a gun.
RUN!
I gasped.
Too late.


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