We pulled into the parking lot of a Burger King and rested. We’d been driving for about an hour and Jen was barely getting over her desire not to speak to me.
“I’m gonna go in and get us some food,” I said, “It’s getting late and I’m getting hungry. What do you want?”
“Nothing,” she answered, “I’m not hungry.”
“You have to eat something. You’re gonna need your strength.”
“I said I’m not hungry.”
“I’ll get you a cheeseburger.”
“Whatever,” she said turning to look out the window.
I walked in, got the food, held the door for a mother and her children and hurried back out. I wasn’t going to waste any time in public, and if one of the Brethren spots me, everyone in the restaurant would be in danger. Werewolves do what they have to when their secret is at stake. Killing everyone in the place wouldn’t be a problem. After thinking about it, maybe we should have used the drive-thru. I guess I just needed to get out of the car.
Jennifer was still looking out the window when I returned.
“There’s one nearby,” she said softly.
“How do you know?” I asked. I began feeling behind the seat for my gun.
“I can feel him…He’s close.”
“Where is he?”
“I think…I think he’s above us…and he’s watching.”
“On top of Burger King. He saw you go in. He’s was going to grab you on your way out but those other people got in the way.”
“How do you know?”
“I just know.”
Because she was saying all of this, I knew we hadn’t gotten the wine out of her in time. Only a werewolf can sense another’s presence. Only a werewolf can read another werewolf’s thoughts and intentions. She was changing. I would know soon if she’d had enough to condemn her. A few moments of silence passed.
“You’ll kill me if you have to, right?” Her voice was beginning to falter.
“Don’t talk like that. I’m not gonna have to kill you.”
“We both know I’m changing.”
“Yeah, but it might be temporary. You and I both know that a human soul can fight it off pretty well. Even more so if you’ve been baptized…and you have.” I had to remind her of the religious truths that were normally kept out of the feature films on lycanthropy.
“I’m not sure if we got to it in time.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll do what I have to when the time comes. Until then, we’ll wait it out.” I was praying as I spoke, petitioning God to be merciful, demanding that he give her strength to fight it.
“He’s not on the building anymore. He’s behind us,” she said quietly, interrupting my silent prayer.
I carefully rotated my glance between mirrors. I started the engine. The .45 was cocked and loaded and resting in my right hand near the gearshift. Jen laid her seat back slowly.
“He’s coming…He’s moving toward us.”
“I can’t see anyone!”
“Where is he?!”
The rear window shattered in a cloud of glass. Shifting into drive and turning the wheel, I fired into the back seat while the car spun around and slammed into a parked car. I opened my door and threw myself to the ground with the gun aimed high. After a few seconds, I called to Jen to make sure she was okay.
“Nice job. Didn’t plan that one very well, did you?” she yelled back.
Well, at least she was still alive. The way I was firing into the back seat, I’m surprised I didn’t kill her, or even hit the gas tank and blow the car into a million pieces.
With the gun still raised, I got to my feet and crept around the car. Eyes wide and trembling, I wiped the sweat from my face. I shifted the aim of my weapon in all directions and tried not to hyperventilate. Lying on the ground, just a few feet away, was a boy, maybe no more than fifteen. I’d just killed a messenger. Messengers were always kids. The Remnant never sends an adult to deliver a message. It’s a lot harder to do what may be necessary, even if the one bearing the look of innocence could tear off your arms.
“Look in the back seat.”
“You’ll know it when you see it,” I said angrily, “Get it and let’s go.”
By now, several people had filed out of the restaurant to see what had happened. Jen grabbed the leather case the boy had deposited in our back seat and kicked open her door. We darted across the parking lot and into the alley darkness behind a nearby sporting goods store. I could hear the restaurant people screaming for help as we ran. We could hear the commotion as we ran, people screaming for someone to call 911.
Jen and I slipped away into a nearby subdivision and found a pizza guy making deliveries. With his Chevy Blazer unlocked and running in a driveway, we claimed the vehicle as our own. Cop cars flew past with lights flashing and sirens blaring. I could see the parking lot of the Burger King was becoming a pretty popular place. Without hesitation, we moved swiftly out of town.
“What’s in the case the kid brought us?” I asked.
“Looks like they sent us a message,” she said holding up a piece of papyrus. “The paper looks pretty old, and I think it’s written in blood.”
“Read it to me.”
“I can’t. It’s written in another language. Looks like Latin.”
“When we get a little bit further out of town, I’ll pull over and read it.”
Learning the workings of God as a seminary student had helped us in more ways than one since this ordeal began. It’s a good thing I didn’t sleep in Latin class, either.