She wandered during the night, up and down dark alleys, through broken fences. Sometimes miles would extend behind her, and she'd find little gems, trees hiding ponds no one could see, buildings with rare treasures that'd been shut in for years. When she found a good enough spot she would hunch down and crane her neck towards the moon, singing long and slow until the need to breath returned to her. Her eyes would twinkle a little as she stared up to the sky, waiting for some answer to her ballad.
But besides the occasional bark from far off and the sounds of traffic and trains passing through the city around her, only silence would answer. It was a lonely night.
With that, she would return home, padding silently in so her parents couldn't hear her. She would ascend the stairs, nudging her door closed with her snout, and crawl back into bed before the first rays of dawn stretched over the land. It was a lonely morning too.
When the sun was high enough in the sky to make the morning deceptively chilly, she fed herself a quick breakfast and jogged out the front door. A quick wave signaled her goodbye to her mom before she turned down the street and headed for school. Her trips to and from school were tiresome, choosing specific routes so she headed uphill both ways, but she enjoyed the feelings of her legs burning under the pressure and her lungs taking in short gasps of vitalizing breath from the frosty air.
Her nighttime trips took her down into the valley or over the next hill, sometimes off to the neighboring suburbs, sometimes into the big city. Up the hill from her house was forest, masking the signs of the towns she was sure were there. Such deep dark greens stood out amongst the brisk gray sky and shiny little buildings that poked their roofs above the tree line. It was nice, it was home.
She arrived at the school, hidden on most sides by trees, just on time. The time didn't really matter to her, since she had a natural divider between her and the rest of the student body. They poured in like zombies, moaning for sleep or desperately grasping at caffeine that would only tire them out later. She jogged in with a smile, instantly missing the feel of cool air in her lungs and a cool breeze through her hair.
Her friends were used to her being a morning person, but held it against her anyway. They whined when she offered her help to the teacher for the first period, and drug them through their morning exercises in the next period.
It'd long since been established that she was just made of energy. No one understood why, or questioned it, but the rest of her friends had tired themselves out by the end of the day when she finished cheerleader practice and started on soccer practice. Most often it was just figured to be who she was, but sometimes there would be the odd person out who put too much thought into it.
That's what she thought later, when what she found, tucked away in her gym locker, was a pink envelope. She frowned slightly when she picked it up and regarded it. It was scented ever-so-softly, unintentionally even. Pink, with hearts, in the girl's locker room. One of the soccer players wore that same perfume, she would smell it occasionally as they would pass. A shy little girl, quite the opposite of her own outspoken persona.
With a frown, she tucked the letter away and started her jog home, hoping to catch a few hours of sleep before the cities fell asleep. Love letters were tricky business, she mused as she jogged. In her experience, it was all too easy to break the hearts that went into those notes, especially when one was as timid as she knew she was. Either that, or they took it too far and turned into a stalker or crazed fan.
Her plan was simple enough, to ignore the letter for now and do some homework before drifting to sleep. It didn't seem that simple though. She jogged around the fence and into her yard, pausing when she caught sight of the girl before her.
"Jessica," she said in greeting, tipping her head in an ever-so-small bow. As she'd expected, the girl was shy and timid, fidgeting nervously under her gaze. Despite her demeanor, she was actually almost as tall as herself, just shy of six feet and an athlete too. Her goalie.
"Ah! Mi-Miss Sonya, I thought you might want a-" She awkwardly jumbled her words, but offered her a towel all the same.
Sonya offered a reserved smile, taking the clean towel to dry the sweat off her head and neck. "Thanks. Been waiting long?"
The timid goalie shook her head. "Just a few minutes," she admitted.
"Would you like to come in?" Sonya offered, stepping around the girl and up to the front step of her house. "I have this feeling we have some things to talk about, you and me."
"No, thank you." The goalie squeaked. "But, um-"
"Might as well just say what you're going to say." The older of the two drawled sagely.
"That note, from earlier… Could I- um, have it?"
She pulled the pink envelope from her jacket and looked it over with a slight hint of confusion written on her face. For all the "I Love You"s and "Be Mine"s she'd received for being tall, buxom, and beautiful, no one had ever asked for it back. Still, it didn't seem right to pry, so she held the envelope out and Jessica snatched it away before nodding and squeaking out an apology.
A raised eyebrow followed Jessica as she scampered off with a curt goodbye. Sonya scrunched her eyebrows in confusion, shook her head, and continued on inside. That went easier than she expected though, the last fellow athlete to try ended up with a restraining order at a different school.
"Honey, is that you?" A voice called out as she stepped through the portal. The heat inside may have been nice to anyone else, but it was stifling to her, and she panted while she felt herself overheat.
"Yeah, ma', it's me." Sonya called.
"Who was at the door? A girlfriend?" The way her mom phrased it, she could just imagine her wiggling her eyebrows impishly.
"No, ma'. She just wanted to know how I got my hair so red." She didn't feel like burdening her mom with anymore worries anyway, and tugged at her hair in emphasis when her shoes were off and she was walking into the kitchen.
Cynthia was a lot like her, tall and beautiful, but with hair several shades towards brown. She wasn't all too much older either, having had Sonya at an unnaturally young age, and there were just the slightest hints of age showing on her face. She could've easily been a sister, and prided herself at that. Despite that, Sonya still didn't know why she'd gotten pregnant so young, and the subject always brought a hint of pain to her mother's eyes. She didn't mention it, but Sonya could see how much she worried about her potential 'interests' too.
It wasn't so much that she worried Sonya was gay. Both of them were almost sure of that, in fact. She just didn't seem to trust anyone who got within twelve feet of her daughter with their minds anywhere near the gutter.
She hugged her mother, eating the dinner she had prepared as quickly as she could. Cynthia's husband still wasn't home yet, and she planned to get plenty of sleep before he arrived and started causing a ruckus.
"Homework," Sonya excused herself, heading up to her room.
"Oh, honey," her mom called, pausing her near the top. "Watch out on your way home to school tomorrow, I hear there've been wolf sightings recently."
Sonya swallowed the sudden lump she found in her throat. "I'll be extra careful."
That night, after her parents had fallen asleep and the grating roar of her step-dad's snoring could be heard from her room, the moon peeked out from behind the clouds. It might not have been anything special to anyone else, just a little sliver of light in the dark sky, but it called to her.
The moon's song was sweet and bashful, tugging at the strings of a second heart she left buried from the world. The heart purred, growled, and yipped in response, and Sonya found herself on her hands and knees in bed, smiling down at the moonlight that splayed against the covers.
This second heart was as much a part of her as her eyes or ears. When she looked, it looked too, when she smelled, it was through a nose as much its own as hers. Truthfully, she never gave it a second though unless it stirred awake, and it only seemed to do that when it felt the call of the wild beckon to it.
Now it felt happy, jubilant at the thought of being released once more. The more it tugged and pulled at her mind, the more she smiled and laughed and nodded her head.
"Alright, girl. The night is yours," Sonya whispered to her heart.
The eyes that looked down at her bed were no longer the beautiful dark brown of the girl. They were a light golden color that widened as the majesty of the world was laid at its feet.
She felt more alive than she had all day, and immediately the need to run, to climb and jump and hunt, overtook her. She could hardly keep herself quiet as she slunk out of her room and down the stairs, through the back door and into the cold fresh air.
It was dark, lit by streetlights and a faint sliver of moon. It gave her just enough darkness to sneak through the backyards of no less than a dozen neighbors, many of whom were just turning off their own lights for the night, some who sat facing their porch windows with television sets blaring out noise that upset her as she fled. But she was Sonya, and she knew these back ways by heart. She knew her way into and out of every building within a mile. She also just happened to be starving, and knew a nice butcher shop with a roof that was lower than the road where she could sing.
She crept down the hill, from her own peaceful suburban den into the land of strip malls and convenience stores. Cars occasionally sped past on the roads just a block down from her, but this strip of road just lead to the school and homes, and few entered after work let off.
Tonight she managed to cross the road to the butcher's with no trouble, but whined when she found the back door to be locked and bars installed so the window couldn't be broken again. The human in her considered visiting the butcher directly, she knew his son, and knew where he lived, not too far off.
The beast in her picked up a scent she hadn't noticed before while part of her was plotting, one that stood out against the toxic smell of the city. It was all oil, fumes, and garbage, normally, but this was different. This was… Rotting.
She poked her nose back into the alley, moving deeper until she found a dumpster that was open. It was shorter than her considerable height, and she peered over easily, sniffing through the layers of oppressive alcohol and chemicals until she could pull it out.
The hunk of lamb was rotting and purpled, looking like someone had chewed on it already, but human and beast together drooled over it. Neither could say no to such a meal, so together they leaned in and tore a strip off the fleshy mass, chewing and moaning at the near-orgasmic mix of flavors in the raw meat.
She only managed to devour half of it before her instincts warned her that something was wrong. Her ears perked up, nose flaring as she tried to tell exactly what it was. Whatever it was, it wouldn't take her bounty from her. There were only three things out in the city, humans, her, and everything else, and her size towered over that of any other animal within twenty miles.
The beast in Sonya firmly believed that there was nothing that could tear her away from her meal, until the human noticed the nets hanging over the dumpsters surrounding her.