In Which Max Battles the Neighbor Dog

"THIS is idiotic."

Max ignored Elliot. Right now, all of his focus needed to be on the neighbor's dog. It barked at him every time he ventured into the backyard. Then it would urinate between the slats of the neighbor's fence, leaving its mark on their lawn. Max's response was irrational, he knew that. And this was likely a step backward in terms of his recovery, but he couldn't take it anymore.

He had his claws out, something he tried not to do in broad daylight in the middle of the suburbs. Today he was making an exception. For each post of their neighbor's fence, he dug his claws into the wood and dragged them down. Then he took the claws on his bare feet and scratched up the dirt all around the bottom of the divider between their yards. Elliot stood back, watching and shaking his head.

"Are you sure you don't want to pee on it, too?"

"Don't be stupid, Elliot." Max grunted as his toe hit a rock which he viciously dug out of the ground. "I'm a werewolf, not an animal."

"Uh huh." He was so caught up in the immense satisfaction of marking his territory that Max wasn't bothered at all by the skepticism and condescension in the vampire's tone. "This seems like the precursor to some concerning behavior. Do I need to notify Rudy?"

"No, Elliot. I'm just fine."

"Really? Because you're in the middle of a standoff with a poodle named Snowball."

Their neighbor chose that moment to open their backdoor and release said poodle into their enclosed yard. Immediately, the dog ran straight for Max, barking like it was the end of the world.

Any progress he'd made in curbing his more animal instincts flew out the window. A deep growl erupted from Max's throat. Snowball yelped and ran for cover provided by the shed ten feet away.

A high-pitched whine pierced the air, snapping Max out of his territorial daze. He whipped around and saw Elliot holding something to his lips. "Is that a dog whistle?" he shouted, plugging his ears.

"Yep." The whistling ceased as Elliot pulled it away from his mouth to twirl the instrument between his fingers. "Now back inside before we have a dead poodle and a very angry neighbor on our hands."

Grudgingly, Max agreed and trudged up to the back porch. He glared at the dog over his shoulder. This was not the end, Snowball.