It was some time after John had gone to bed that I decided to follow. He’d left a lot for me to do again, and the idea of following the same nightly routine caused me to take longer to pull myself up from the cool tile. It wasn’t really his fault. He spent every day going between classes and work, and while I had no experience with either of those, I can only imagine sitting in one place listening to someone go on and on about one thing while you wrote so many notes that your fingers threatened to fall off is enough without going spend the remainder of your time standing behind a counter doing whatever was asked of you when someone walked up. At least, I wouldn’t want to do it.
My eyes drooped heavily, not seeing what movie was playing now as I pressed my nose against the power button, a little irritated to hear the static right before the television fully powered down. I was glad he had colored the different knobs with different markers. Sure, they were for him when he was too out of it to focus on anything, but it also helped those of us who couldn’t read. It was easier for me to spot the red circle than it was to make out the strange characters that spelled out the options. It was also easier to toss his discarded shirt over my back than it was to carry it between my jaws as I went on to my other tasks.
Again, he’d left the back door unlocked. I know it’s not facing the street, but how was this acceptable? I came from the woods though that door, didn’t he know there were things out there that needed to stay out there? As the deadbolt clicked into place, I sighed. He did know. I remember looking up when he came outside to see the pack of angry wolves coming for me when I found myself laying on the porch, seeing a gun anyone else would have pointed at me pointed at them instead. It probably wouldn’t have done more than sting them if he had used it, but they let the chase go. Still, why didn’t he just leave me out there?
After pulling the curtains and turning off the bathroom light, I stepped into the bedroom, pausing to glance at the sleeping figure on the bed as I continued to think about him. I spent months rejecting him after he took me in; not letting him pet me or even sit near me, sneering at the food he kept giving me, growling when he kept trying …I’d even tried to leave the next day after being saved, but for some reason hearing him ramble about how animals from the same species could be so unforgiving to each other, knowing he didn’t actually mean the pack coming after me made me stick around.
My limbs shortened and lost the dark fur as they lifted me onto the bed, sending me from a walk to a crawl, my scratchy and sharp clawed paws slowly recognizing the feel of the sheets as they softened into hands and flimsy nails. Even if my parts changed, my senses stayed focused on the sprawled out form that snored beneath my gaze, no longer sharp and yellow, but round and soft eyes to look over his terribly attempted facial hair and shadowed eyes. For nearly two years now I had been the least friendly house pet anyone could have, and he was always nice to me. Even on bad days he had never taken anything out on me, and I doubt it was because I was technically bigger than he was. He was just a good guy all around, and the most I could do in return was to lay silently nearby while he occasionally told me about what weighed on his mind.
Shaking my head at his silliness, I leaned forward off of my knees and brushed the back of my fingers over the side of his face. My claws were gone right now, but my mind would always warn me not to hurt him. His skin was warm and instinct told me to curl up against his company, but I knew to stop here. Any more and I would wake him, and I was already lucky not to scare him the way he knew me. Poor John …he didn’t know he had something in his house that he would never want around.
With a final sigh, I turned for the foot of the bed, my bones crackling and insides groaning like the bed as he shifted in his sleep, covering up my late night return to something no one liked. The thought of John being one of those people – if he knew – made my eyes burn as I settled in just in time to hear his breathing pause. I held mine, too, listening to him slowly sit up. The silence carried on until he eventually reached out to pat my back.
“Goodnight, girl,” he yawned, laying back down, probably thinking it was just my climbing onto the bed that woke him.
Poor, naive John. The fur below my eyes soaked up tears unnatural for a wolf as I closed them for the night. Poor, dumb me.
Disclaimer: The photo is not my own, nor do I claim it.
The words in this scene, however, are my own! Thank you for reading!
– Caitlin Popplewell, http://www.fiverr.com/mrspopplewell