At the top of a foggy bluff, a wolf stood in the moonlight, lustrous fur gleaming in the twilight. Its expectant nose twitched in anticipation as it savored the delicious scent of an unsuspecting villager in the town far below. The great wolf ripped out a shrill, unearthly howl to signal the imminent hunt.
The transformation from fragile human to relentless carnivore was never easy, but Ludlow thoroughly enjoyed it. The thrill was unlike any other he had ever experienced. True, the toll upon his body was taxing and the tearing of limbs excruciating, but like the master athlete who gladly endured the searing pain of sport, so did Ludlow endure his lot. The pain was a small price to pay for the resulting power he was gaining. And turning was addictive.
Over the weeks since he’d begun turning, Ludlow had gained immense strength and massive, defined muscles he loved to admire during the daylight hours while he was human.
Along with a rock-hard physique, he was gaining second sight. This made him very adept at predicting future occurrences. He’d found the extra money from betting at the track a welcome bonus and Ludlow looked forward to quitting his day job soon.
The most appealing aspect, though, was his ability to read the minds and capture the scent of humans from miles away. He enjoyed knowing what people were thinking. It gave him a supernatural advantage on everything and something he intended to exploit in the near future.
All of these things: physical, mental and spiritual, provided benefits far outweighing the discomfort of pain and injury that turning imposed. It was the turning itself that caused many of his new abilities.
He stood on his haunches gazing down at the sleeping village. His tongue flicked his lips craving for flesh, hungry for meat. It had been days since he’d fed and it was time. Muscles rippling, Ludlow threw back his head and let out another enthusiastic howl. As he leaped from his haunches, a searing shot rang out in the dark and Ludlow flopped to the ground like a lead weight. The glint in his eyes flattened to dull lifelessness and his tongue drooped from his mouth and lay on the ground. In the blink of an eye, the great werewolf was dead.
Across the road, a radio squawked. “Headquarters, I think I’m gonna need more of them silver billets,” reported the man with the gun. He placed the mic in its cradle and got out of the van, then grabbed the hook he kept in the back.
He speared the carcass and dragged it across the road to the rear of the truck. He opened the double doors and heaved the corpse inside. In the murky darkness, the silhouettes of 8 or 9 wolf-humans could be seen, each stacked carelessly on top of one another, each in various states of transformation.
The man closed the doors and locked them tight. The sign across rear of the van read “Animal Control” in bold, black letters. Beneath them, in lettering almost too small to see were the words, “and Werewolf Removal – You Report, We Exterminate.”
The van sped off, destined for the office and more silver bullets. With a full moon like this, it was going to be a long night.