Idaho and its forests had been my home for nearly fifty years. I didn’t know where to go, but I knew I couldn’t stay there anymore. I would be too tempted to hang around and make things worse for myself. So I left it all behind. I mostly tried to stick to the cover of the trees as I headed north for the wilds of Canada. I’d still stick out like a sore thumb there, but at least they have wolves there.
I let my instincts work for me, trying not to leave myself too much time to think of anything other than survival. Of course there were times that thinking about what I’d left behind was inevitable, but for the most part, my plan to keep it all in the back of my mind was working out okay. I figured that I’d write a postcard to Line and the others once I’d settled down, to apologise for not saying goodbye.
I caught myself on more than one occasion missing Line almost as much as I missed Fate. When that happened, I went out hunting, preying on anything smaller than myself.
After a couple days, living rough got boring. I enjoyed the freedom, but I missed my creature comforts, and more than anything, I missed being able to drink myself into oblivion so I didn’t have to think. Only problem was I had no money. I knew exactly what I could do about that, though.
I waited until dawn before changing back to my human form and wandering to the edge of civilisation. This was an old trick I’d played many a time when I’d lost my clothes after a full moon. I’d curl up somewhere to go to sleep, wait to be found, tell whoever found me that I got very drunk the night before and must’ve had a good time if I’d lost my clothes. Out of the human instinct to cover nakedness, they would provide me with clothes and send me on my way, telling me to stay safe. It was an incredibly easy way of getting myself free clothes when I couldn’t afford them.
People hadn’t changed at all. The trick worked like a charm the same way it has for the last two hundred years. I wasn’t all that bothered about wandering through a town butt naked, but it would certainly get me arrested and that wasn’t a hassle I was willing to put up with. Once I was clothed and had had a breakfast forced down my throat, I was sent off on my way. My next stop was the kind of place I hadn’t set foot in for almost as long as I had been in America.
I stared at myself in the reflection of a shop window. I looked pretty shitty, really; I had the beginnings of a beard, my hair needed a wash and the guy who’d given me an old pair of his slacks and a jumper was probably equal to two of me at least. His clothes swamped me the way my own had when I was a child. I pushed my hair back out of my face, deciding I didn’t really need to perfect a look of desperation. I reeked of it already.
These places were never hard to find, really. All I had to do was follow my nose. And ears. I stood on the doorstep of the first one I found, breathing deeply. I’d have probably finished a pack of cigarettes by now if I had had the money to buy some. I told myself it was money and that I would need money to get a roof over my head so I could recover from the emotional shit-storm that my life had become lately. I’d spent nearly a hundred years as a whore, I could do it again. Though I think now they call it an ‘escort’ now.