Changing into a wolf has always been a slow and painful process. She would lie awake nights before the full moon, crying at the thought of having to go through it again. Never could she have imagined a moment where she would be grateful for what she has been given. But then, her life has always been about cruel jokes.
She lifts Toby up and hands him to her mother, who is already standing on the bed of the truck. She is about to climb up herself when she throws a look behind over her shoulder.
Their defence is crumbling. Creatures are launching themselves over the walls, glowing in the dark, like the stars at her ceiling at home. (The thought makes her sick.) Men and women are retreating while still firing their guns to buy the others more time to flee. Some of them are attacked and don’t get up again. Others do, but they are bleeding from bites and cuts. She pities the surviving more, for they will later have to find the courage to aim the gun at themselves, or have others do it for them.
Her eyes find her father amidst all the chaos. She sees him stepping back, stumbling, falling in slow motion. One of the creatures launches himself at him.
“DADDY!” she screams.
There’s no conscious decision. She runs.
She registers her mother shouting her name in a distant part of her brain, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the scene unfolding in front of her and what will happen if she’s too late.
Her feet are slamming into the ground, carrying her further and further which each step, faster than she’s ever run before. Images flash before her mind’s eyes. Her father, painting the wall of her bedroom when she is 5. Her father, building her a swing when she is 7. Her father, arranging glowing stars on her ceiling when she is 8. Her father, teaching her how the motor of a car works when she is 10. Her father, playing his old LPs for her, Genesis and Led Zeppelin and ACDC, when she is 14.
Her father. Her father. Her father.
She is falling forward onto all fours. Bones break and mend themselves within parts of a second. Her jaw dislocates as it grows longer and long sharp canines replace her human teeth. She can barely feel the pain.
She slams into the creature with the impact of a running freight train. They roll over the ground, snapping and scratching at each other. The creature’s claws digs deep into her side in the same moment as her jaw closes around its throat. Her teeth sink deep into the flesh. She bites down with all her force and feels the spine of the creature crack. She shakes it, then throws it away. It doesn’t get back up.
Other creatures have made it over the wall and are circling her now in a respectable distance.
She snarls, fur standing up, canines bared. They hesitate.
She doesn’t turn around. She’s afraid of what she will be seeing in her father’s eyes.