"So, there I am, trembling, tugging this damned threadbare red cloak around me, but it’s no match against the consuming cold. I inch closer to the fire and lean in, rubbing my hands together over the last flicker of flames. A blasted burst of freezing air whips under my cloak and makes my stiff nipples scream.”
“Bloody Hell, Kate, you’re putting me on,” Judith said. “No sane girl would go into Gray Wood at night, especially with nothing but a cloak.”
I slammed my tankard down, wiped froth from my lips with a grimace, and motioned for the barkeep to bring me another before turning on my stool toward Judith. “Really?” I pulled the cloak open enough to reveal my naked breasts.
At that moment a tankard was set down before me. “We have rooms for that sort of thing, Kate,” the barkeep grumbled. I told him to piss off and took a hefty pull of mead.
“Okay, it’s true, but why?”
“I had convinced myself that I was doing it because of what happened to Granny,” I said and drank some more.
“And?” Judith shrugged. “Why? Get on with it.”
“That damn apothecary, he said, ’You’re the only one that can do it,’ and thrust a pouch of wolfsbane into my hand. ’The gods and the stars have ordained you for this task. Follow my instructions carefully and you’ll have your revenge upon the murderer of your grandmother.’ Then the idiot pushed me out of his shop.”. I shook my head with a sigh, wondering who was really the idiot.
“The truth, Judith, he chose me because the blood moon and my time of the month coincided with his fresh shipment of wolfsbane. And, because he knew the memory of Granny’s savagely abused body and what I had narrowly survived would motivate me to endure a brutal night in the forest, risking spending eternity as a werewolf’s bitch.”
Judith’s changed expression asked what she really wanted to know, but all she said was, “And?”
I went on, “The rustling leaves were unsettling, so I removed the leather pouch of wolfsbane from the cloak’s pocket, grinding it into an oily pulp that soaked my hands. Fear grew in the pit of my stomach. The cold and the wind had me so twisted up I didn’t notice the brush thrashing until a man was standing over me. I cursed myself for my foolishness.” Judith was shaking with anticipation.
“Can you say stupid?” I picked up the tankard, gulped the rest down, and let out an unladylike belch, then motioned for two more. “So once I realized he was every bit as human as me and pulled the cloak tighter around me, I let him sit beside me.”
The barkeep dropped off our drinks, and I kept on, “He was a quiet man but kept fidgeting. It made me more nervous than I had been, so I growled at him to knock it off. If anything that agitated him more. His heavy breathing made me notice some drool dripping from his chin. Then, I heard the cracking of bones and realized he was transforming. His body began to reshape, starting with his jaw. It stretched rapidly, turning into a fang-filled maw. He let out a howl of pain. I jumped up as a mutating clawed hand reached for me. It was so fast and sharp. I saw the deep slash open my forearm, and the blood, but didn’t feel any pain. I swung a fist at my assailant. It slammed into his jaw. Caught in the middle of his change, the blow staggered the werewolf. He growled and rolled to a defensive position. His clothes were torn to shreds, hanging from a body that had practically doubled in size. A thick coat of brindle fur covered his massive frame."
Judith grabbed the tankard and downed a big gulp while waiting for me to continue the horrific tale.
“Just like I had seen at Granny’s house, his giant cock was bobbing between his massive thighs. ‘The wolfsbane must go on his raw flesh,’ the apothecary had said. All I had to do was get my coated hands wrapped around that terrifying thing, but I began to feel faint. Suddenly he was on me, shaking me piteously and slapping my face with his clawed hands. I wanted to fight back so desperately. I tried, but he grabbed hold of my wrist and dragged me along the ground. It was over, he was taking me to his lair to finish me off. I kicked, punched, and screamed but nothing worked. I was getting weaker, and weaker. Then, he wasn’t dragging me anymore. I had been tossed over his shoulder like a sack of flower. With ungodly strength, he threw me. I felt myself flying through the air until I splashed down in the river that runs through the middle of the forest. I came up sputtering, trying to push the water out of the way. I was gasping for air."
“Good Lord, Kate, what happened? Was he, it in the water with you?”
“No, Judith, there was a man on the shore, bent over in laughter. I started to come to my senses and realized it was the apothecary. He straightened up, rubbed his jaw, and said, ‘You throw a mean punch, but you sure as hell don’t know how to follow instructions. I told you, wolfsbane is poisonous and causes hallucinations. That’s why I said, don’t get it on your skin.’”
Judith burst out with a loud laugh and slapped me hard on the shoulder. “Damn, girl! I tell you what, you make it worth coming to the pub. I don’t think anyone else tells a story like you do. Watch out werewolves and other denizens! Kate the Killer is on the loose!”