Chapter 22Mature

Watching for a gap in traffic near the entrance, Alex veered off and onto the winding road leading to the park. Through his helmet, he couldn’t identify much beyond a collection of pond and pine tree related scents. Likely the strongest ones he was about to encounter. Despite the sun being out, and the other werewolf greeting him with normal small talk before, he felt less safe the further he drove.

At the parking lot, two other vehicles were there: a truck and a sedan. Neither one he recognized, nor the people he could see. With a few potential witnesses around, his chances of encountering the other werewolf felt slimmer. Unless he didn’t care if anyone saw him.

Once his helmet was off, Alex’s nostrils were quickly flushed with plant, water, engine and food. Ignoring the ones of food as best he could, he made his way over to the walking trail, the winds coming through the wooded area as he walked it. They shifted between south-bound and west-bound every minute or so, the swaying pines showing where the scents he was picking up on the currents were likely coming from.

Before long, Alex could no longer see the parking lot. It was just him, and whatever else could be out here. If anything was. When he reached the furthest point west the trail would go, he checked his GPS again. There was at least a square mile, if not more, of forested area beyond. Full of stagnant pools of water, dead brush, and countless other things from what he could see. The scents from those overpowered the other weaker ones in the breezes.

Crouching down to try and catch some scents near the ground, those from the fallen leaves and bark became stronger instead. While he did notice what he thought was someone’s body scent, he didn’t recognize it. The werewolf wasn’t here.

On the way back to his bike, Alex felt some relief at not finding the guy, mixed with slight annoyance. Getting a chance to tell this guy he was on to him would have been enjoyable, but possibly maybe life-threatening to him and his friends. As he readied his keys for the ignition, he thought of patrolling everyone’s workplaces again, just in case. His mind changed on that as he left and approached the highway. If his friends saw this guy, he was willing to trust they would say so.

As he left his first class the next day, he felt his phone vibrate with a received message. Although expecting something bad, his preconception proved incorrect when he checked it. “Guys. I was wondering if you all wanted to see a movie or something before we go out to eat tonight. Oh, and Happy Birthday, Marcus.” As noon rolled around, both Marcus and Nathan had responded with some variant of Yes, along with himself.

Foregoing a trip to the skateshop to pass the time, Alex instead rode around the perimeter of the mall to achieve the same ends. The afternoon foot traffic, of which there was very little, allowing him to ride without fear of running into anyone.

As though he was expecting to be called into work, Marcus arrived wearing his work T-shirt underneath an open short sleeve shirt. He was also the only one of the group without a jacket, despite the drop in temperature since yesterday.

The End

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