Not all my stories in this collection are light and fluffy. Sometimes my sense of humor can run pretty dark, with elements of horror. This is one of those stories.
Timothy tried to scream but it came out as a howl. This could not be happening. Not now. He had spent everything he had left from his last paycheck on this bottle of French-made, dry red wine with a bouquet that was supposed to taste like a sunrise and sing like the choirs of heaven itself. If he changed now, he was likely to drop the bottle.
His hands shook, whether from his current bout of sobriety or the change, he couldn’t tell. Bad enough he’d been so focused he hadn’t noticed the full moon above the alley behind Cultured Moonshine, the store he’d bought it from just before they closed for the day.
He set the bottle on the pavement, waiting until it was steady (mostly) before letting go and backing away fast enough to bump into a shadow.
A solid shadow. Even that caught his attention. The shadow turned, dropped the tools it had put near the shop’s lock and whipped out a knife. Moonlight gleamed along its sharp edge. Timothy lowered himself to the ground, his hands already becoming paws. He grit his teeth against the pain of transformation, watching the blade.
The shadow jerked it forward, its foot kicking the bottle Timothy had placed on the ground. He watched in horror as the wine flowed down to the sidewalk.
His wine. No one else’s. His primal brain registered that much.
In seconds, all that remained was the wind-red splotches on the wall.
When Timothy came to, the scent of blood and wine mixed. And yet, he was no longer outside the shop, but in a warm bedroom. On the nightstand next to him sat a business envelope. Still sore from his transformation and very confused, he took it and read it in the golden morning light, hoping it wasn’t a bill for the damages.
Or worse, blackmail.
Inside was a news clipping, describing how a thief had tried to break into his favorite wine shop. A stray dog had attacked him and caused enough noise that someone had called the cops. The owner swore that that dog would always be welcome at Cultured Moonshine. Always.
Also in the envelope was a carefully folded note. Inside the note, the owner of the store had written on company letterhead, Can you start Monday?
Copyright © 2015; Amy Keeley
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