Chapter 8Mature

“What?” Marcus hadn’t noticed anyone talking up to this point, paying more attention to the screen and gameplay. Catherine pointed him towards Alex’s exposed arm.

“What happened?” Catherine asked, leaning on the table. As he was slowly being surrounded by his friends, the scents from each of them grew stronger. “When did you get bitten like that?”

“About two weeks ago.” Alex replied, finally dropping his sleeve once Marcus saw the injuries.

“Two weeks ago, when you stopped near my place at night?” Nathan asked. Alex nodded to him.

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?” Catherine asked.

“Because I’ve patched up bites before. I didn’t really need to.”

“That didn’t look like surface damage to me.”

“Guys, it’s OK. They’re fully healed, and I’m just fine.”

“Wait. Is this why you tried to tell me about someone using attack dogs on Angela?” Nathan said.

Alex tried to respond first, but Marcus beat him to it. “Say what?”

“Remember that girl we found?” Nathan looked back to Alex once Marcus nodded. “You said that…”

“…someone could’ve used dogs on her? Yeah.” Trying not to tremble outside of his chest, Alex kept talking. “Dogs will go after someone’s legs first, and she was crawling away from something when we found her, not running.”

“Makes sense.” Marcus said.

“Yeah, but I have a hard time believing someone’s doing something like that.” Catherine said.

“It was just a thought I had.” Alex said. “Maybe I’m overthinking it, or something.”

“Still, what came after you? Did you see it?”

“Not clearly but I saw the pelt. It was solid black, or dark grey, and tan. That’s not from any dogs I know.”

“Grey wolves can have colors like that.” Marcus explained.

Alex paused to think, acting as if he was trying to remember. “I stand corrected.”

“Still, why didn’t you just go to the hospital or something?”

“I can’t stand hospitals. Never have.”

Catherine sighed lightly. “At least you’re OK, though.”

“Yeah. The police likely know about this thing already, though. Evening and daytime patrols are up.”

“Guess that explains the three pull overs we saw coming here.”

Looking to Nathan, Alex gave him a look concerning Angela’s missing body. His expression said it was better to not say anything. “Anyway, you guys want to order out or go eat? I’m up for either one.”

Going with the option to order out, as the group filled their plates, Bailey walked around them with his head held up looking at each person with a plate. Rubbing his head, Marcus asked if he was able to be fed anything from their pizzas, handing several pieces of cooked hamburger to him with Alex’s approval. After each one, Bailey sat awaiting more as if they were training treats.

Noticing his pet behaving that way, Alex suggested something to Marcus. “Try telling him to shake or roll over before you give him some more. He’ll listen.”

Marcus nodded, looking over to Bailey and getting him to sit. “Good boy. Roll over.” Lying down on his chest, Bailey listened but stopped at lying on his back, his tongue lolling from his mouth. “Not quite, but that works.” Holding the hamburger piece near Bailey’s muzzle, he lapped it out of his fingers but the meat bounced off his nose and to the floor, making him upright himself and scarf it down before Nathan went next. Catherine was slightly apprehensive about trying it but resorted to simply tossing meat to him.

The remainder of the night well into midnight was spent quickly as the four continued eating and talking between bouts of watching internet videos on Nathan’s laptop. Having his friends nearby and laughing up a storm as the videos played helped take Alex’s mind off the coming transformation.

The End

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