After a vigorous scrubbing in the shower, Curt packed his bags. As a blogger, he could work from anywhere and he tended to move around often anyway. He planned to stay in the city longer but after waking up next to a corpse he decided it was a good time to move. His memory of the night was blank; the last thing he remembered was laying down to sleep in his own bed. He had no idea how he ended up in the field, but something in the back of his mind insisted he killed the stranger. He pushed the uneasy flashes of guilt to the back of his mind while he worked on getting out as fast as he could.
Three and a half hours after waking up, Curt was driving out of town. He felt good about his headstart and realized he was starving. As he drove he noticed a new place he’d never seen before. A bright red neon sign said, “Donna Chang’s” and a smaller “Open” sign lit up beneath it. It looked like Chinese food and he decided to stop in since it was open unusually early; it wasn’t even 10 a.m. yet.
“Good morning!” an elderly Asian woman greeted Curt as soon as he stepped in the door; a jingling bell hung at the entrance announced him. She stopped and looked him up and down. “Just you?”
“Yep, just me.” The old woman nodded, grabbed a single menu from a nearby stack and led him to a red and gold booth. Curt admired the decor as he followed her. Dragons, in one form or another, populated almost all the artwork in the restaurant. “I’m surprised you guys are open so early,” Curt said when he sat down. The woman placed a menu in front of him and smiled.
“Open 24 hours,” she said then winked at him. “All kinds of people show up.” Curt felt like was telling him something, but did not know what. He started to worry she somehow knew about the murder he probably committed. He glanced at the menu to check if what he wanted was listed; then, he ordered before she walked away.
Once she left Curt pulled a silver bullet out of his pocket. He grabbed several from the corpse, and its cash before he left.
“Everything okay?” Curt jumped in his seat and dropped the bullet on the table when the woman startled him. He looked up and saw a concerned look on her wrinkled face. Her eyes flitted between the silver bullet in his hand and his face.
“Yeah, fine,” Curt chuckled and grabbed the bullet from the table. “You just startled me a bit.” He expected her to walk away; she did not.
“Why do you have that,” she asked. Her eyes focused on the bullet in his hands and she nodded her head at it.
“Found it,” Curt replied. “in a dead man’s hand,” he kept that part to himself but he felt like he was telling the truth. “It looked neat.” She laughed at him as if he’d told the funniest joke she’d ever heard.
“It looked neat?? HAHAHAHA” She walked away still laughing. Curt watched her walk into the kitchen through a swinging door. When it swung forward he heard a different, deep rumbling laughter come from in the kitchen. He felt the floor under his feet vibrate.
After nearly 10 minutes of wondering whether they were laughing at him, the old woman walked out of the kitchen carrying a plate of steaming food. She placed the plate in front of him then looked at him through narrowed eyes.
“Do you know what you are?” she asked.
“a murderer?” Curt thought, but he managed to get out a safe reply. “Hungry?” he asked. The woman sighed and sat down in the booth across from him.
“You’re a werewolf.”
“Uh…” Curt had considered the possibility given his circumstances. The poor sleep quality he was getting as well as the stranger he likely killed. He didn’t think werewolves existed; but, hearing someone else say it to him made seem so obvious. She knew he was a werewolf and she still remained seated in front of him. Curt assumed she knew a lot more and decided to trust her. “How do you know? I, uh… I didn’t figure it out until right now when you told me.” The old woman smiled and golden star-like patterns formed around the pupils in her eyes.
“I can see you.” The glow faded. “Silver is not something you want to carry around,” she advised. Curt nodded and reached into his pocket. He gave her the few silver bullets he stole. He thought maybe he could pawn them, but now that he was a werewolf it seemed like a bad idea. As he gave her the bullets he held on to the last one and rolled it in his fingers.
“Why can I touch it?” he asked, then dropped the last one in her waiting hand. She shrugged.
“Werewolves are people too. Not all the same; different silver sensitivity. But,” she looked at him with a stern expression. “It will kill you.” Curt nodded in understanding.
“You have somewhere to go?” Curt shook his head. He did not think that far ahead, his current plan was just to leave town; something he hadn’t accomplished yet. The woman nodded. “Kill anyone?” She asked so matter-of-factly that Curt thought he could trust her.
“I think so. I don’t know for sure but I woke up next to a body this morning.” She nodded again.
“You probably did, okay. You’re safe, I’ll make arrangements for you. Do you have friends or family?” Curt shook his head. He tried hard to keep his attachments minimal, it’s what helped him move around so freely.
“Okay, eat. You go to new home after,” she stood and walked back into the kitchen.