Chapter 20Mature

Taking a second to make sure no customers were in the store, Alex got his smartphone out and opened the instant messenger; his hands trembled a bit as he did so. That had to be the reason.

While there were still no messages from his friends, his fingers went right to work. Typing out a message that he sent to Catherine. “Hey. Mind if I ask you a question?” Deciding to pass the time until a reply came, he set up his phone to alert him, hoping she would reply soon. He kept his thoughts on that one point, trying not to forget it.

He was almost done with the Animal Man comic when he heard the telltale sound of a reply. “Sure. What’s up?” was the message.

Alex almost sent a text asking if he could chat before deleting it. A second halfway created one meant to ask about Marcus’ coming birthday was also deleted. “What would you say if I told you this guy isn’t doing these things to cause a scene?” Alex typed up, shaking his head while doing so.

I would say ‘I’m listening’.” Catherine replied.

I think he’s doing it to feed himself.

Makes sense, I suppose.

The last two times I shifted, I was ravenous afterwards. Like I was suddenly a day starving.

Two zeros with a period between them, the IM face of horror or shock, was Catherine’s first reply, followed by an “Oh my God.

Yeah. I’m pretty sure that’s what’s up.” Alex quickly typed out the second part before he got a reply. “This guy’s transforming and killing animals to feed himself.” As he typed out the last message, he had to wonder about Angela again.

Catherine didn’t respond for nearly thirty seconds. “I’ll talk to you later. Got a customer rush.

Alright. Later.” Pocketing his phone, Alex went back to reading the comic, replacing it with another when he finished.

As 5:00 came around and his shift ended, he decided to head over to the bookstore for a while after getting some fast food. When he arrived, he could see Catherine from the parking lot, tallying up a customer’s transaction.

Inside, he was again met with the scents of aging paper as the bell got his friend’s attention. “Welcome to… Oh, hey.” Catherine said.

“Hey. Figured I’d stop by for a bit.” Catherine nodded before turning back to her customer.

Heading towards the Fantasy section, when Alex passed the spot where he caught the other werewolf’s scent the last time, he stood in place to survey the spot. All he had to go on to identify this guy was that, and he’d been rather lucky finding it. Otherwise, he had no idea where he would show up, or even if they knew who his friends were.

Looking back to Catherine, as much as he didn’t want to give her reason to worry, he at least owed her the courtesy of saying something. Waiting for a gap in the customer numbers, he walked up to her as she left the cashier’s booth. “There’s something I need to let you know.”

The End

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