The following depicts situations of nudity, and bodily functions. While working on this chapter, I considered certain 'realities' of lycanthropic transformations in confined areas. I have toned it down the best I could. Reader discretion is STRONGLY advised.
"Ten minutes everyone."
Debbie sat on the cold stone floor, her arms wrapped around her bare legs, trying to keep warm. The other girls called out to each other from their cells, some laughing at their predicament.
"You all right Cub?" said Jessie, from the cell next to her.
"Yes." She said meekly.
"Just checking. You're pretty quiet."
She had every reason to be. This would be her second change during a full moon.
Debbie looked out the window. They were on the bus to the casino. Soon it would be a full moon. When she was with Anya and Nattie, they explained to her that the casino was a safe spot for both the Lupine and Vampire clans under Descharme's protection. Apparently, within the lower levels, there was an area where the lupine could change freely during a full moon. Tonight, she would learn more.
"It's not so bad." Jessie explained earlier. Kinda boring during the first hour, then comes the change, which sucks. But chances are, you won't remember any of it."
"Don't forget about the breakfast!" said Donna.
"Oh yeah! Afterword's, there's a big breakfast! They make the best pancakes!"
"And the omelet bar!"
"Of course! You'll love it!"
Debbie gave a weak smile. Inside, she was worried. The first time she changed was at the academy. She didn't know what had happened to her. All she knew was that she had the dreams, and she was sent to the Academy because of them.
At the thought of that horrible place, tears formed in her eyes.
The night she changed was… different. First, she felt ill. Then she was shaking uncontrollably.
Then the pain.
It felt like her whole body was on fire, as if something was trying to escape. She remembered little after that, but she felt like she had the dreams, except they were more vivid.
The next thing she remembered was a gentle tune, and waking up in Bianca's arms.
The tears continued as she thought of this.
"Don't worry. The first few times are always tough." Said Jessie, trying to comfort her.
She looked at her, and smiled. Shortly after her first change, she was taken in by Decharme's pack in Union City. They were people like her, who also had the dreams. They accepted her as she was.
They understood, unlike the Academy.
"We're here." Said the driver.
Moments later, they headed towards the freight elevators.
"Hey Jess!" said a familiar voice.
She smiled. It was Greg.
As everyone crammed into the elevators, they caught up.
"I haven't seen you since the gathering! Where have you been?"
"I live right across the courtyard where you live."
"Jess told me, but I never saw you…"
"I'm usually working. During the day, I work at an outlet mall just south of here. I'm usually back around six."
"That's when we leave for Wonderwings." She said dejectedly.
"Yeah, that's too bad." He then smiled. "I do have some time off coming, maybe we can get together sometime"
At that moment, they arrived in the lowest sub basement. As they exited, the men and women separated, and went to their respective areas. First, they entered a locker area. Each locker had their name. Immediately, everyone started to take off their clothes, and store them within their respective lockers. Debbie was hesitant.
"C'mon, you gotta do this. The change will do a number on your clothes." Said Jessie, who had started to take off her undergarments.
"Yeah, plus you have no control over 'bodily functions' when you transform." Said Donna, who had already stripped down.
Slowly, she started to comply. Having changed last month, she knew they were right. Still, she felt uncomfortable doing this in front of the others.
But she did.
As she undressed, she noticed that most of them had extensive tattoo work done on them, like Jessie. Some showed off their work to others, almost with a sense of pride. Jessie showed the others the one she had work on from Chronos. The one that got her in trouble with Descharme. Debbie, of course, had just the clan mark, and that was all she felt she needed.
"One hour ladies." Said a voice over an intercom. Immediately, everyone entered the next area. They passed a row of toilets. "If you think you need to go, go now." Said someone. After this, they proceeded to the next room.
They then entered an area which appeared to be a labyrinth of concrete walls, with strong metal doors, ten feet apart. In the front area, a couple of girls, one of whom Debbie recognized as part of Valerie's vampire breed, greeted them. "Okay ladies, let see if everyone's here", one of them said. She then looked at a clipboard, and started to read names. After everyone was accounted for, she continued. "Everyone go to your assigned room. We have full moon in 45 minutes." The girls complied. Each door had their name labeled. Jessie and Debbie were in adjoining rooms. As she looked in, she panicked as she noticed a slab of meat hanging from a hook. She showed it to Jessie.
"Oh, don't worry about that." She smiled. "That's in case your wolf form gets hungry during the change."
She entered the room. Someone closed and locked the door. Earlier, Jessie explained that they did this so that when she changed, her wolf form wouldn't leave and cause havoc. Despite this, she felt uncomfortable. The room itself had an antiseptic scent, was eight feet wide and long, and covered with metal plating. Some panels were covered with claw marks. She didn't have to guess what made them. On the floor was a mid sized drain. Above her, about ten feet, the ceiling was covered with a mesh wire, where the chain holding the meat slab was secured. Above that, she could see the ceiling a few feet above. Having nothing else to do, she sat down in a corner and waited. A few minutes later, some music played.
In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
In the jungle the quiet jungle
The lion sleeps tonight…
"Oh come on! Not that sixties shit! Play something from this century!" shouted Jessie, pounding on the wall.
In defiance, the volume was turned up, causing Jessie and a few others to swear loudly.
After a few more minutes, another oldie played, a somewhat gentler tune.
"Alright ladies, moonrise in one. Welcome to the night." said someone over the intercom.
Debbie held her legs tightly.
She felt her body shake, like before. Soon, the convulsions started. She rolled over like one possessed.
Then came the pain, and all went blank.
The beast was free. But she was trapped from all around. She threw her mass against a wall to no avail. She didn't know where she was, but she needed to escape, to feed, to hunt.
It was then that she noticed the slab of meat, its scent masked by hours of refrigeration, but undoubtedly sustenance. She leapt at it, and tore it off its hook. A she feasted, she heard the sounds, and felt the scents of others. One of them started to howl. She took a break from her repast to join in.
Yet she was still trapped.
It would be the same with the others. Some were vaguely aware of the why of their predicament. Others chose to break free.
Outside the cells in the control area, Blair and Sylvia monitored everything on display screens. All seemed normal, for now. A half hour later, there was a loud crash, which was felt in the booth.
The two looked at each other. "Better do a quick round." Said Sylvie. Blair sighed as she put on a face mask and started the round.
As she patrolled, she checked the metal doors to make sure they were intact. So far, so good. It was then that she heard another loud crash, as one of the wolven thrust her entire mass against the door. She arrived at the source of the disturbance.
Whoever was in that room, nearly knocked the door off it's hinges. She could hear the creature behind the door trying to get out. The impact was so great, it knocked the nameplates off hers, and the adjacent doors.
"Sylvie, shock room 8 NOW!" she said over her walkie talkie.
"You got it."
Moments later, the creature threw her mass against the door, causing it to bulge. This time, there was a zap, causing the creature to whine in pain. Moments later, it tried again, with the same result. It tried a few more times, but this time, it sounded like it was weakening. After a few minutes of silence, it was done.
She'd feel that in the morning, she thought, as she went back to the booth. When she arrived, Sylvie was looking at some readouts.
"Who was in that room?"
"I'm not sure. The nameplates for that row were knocked off."
"These readings are high. Descharme will want to see this."
The moon had set. The night was over. There was complete silence.
Suddenly, there was a cacophony of noise over the intercom. Sylvie played 'Good Morning' from The Beatles, which woke everyone from their slumber.
Debbie woke in her cell. She felt terrible.
The first thing she noticed, was the gore all over. She was lying in filth. She felt sick. She couldn't move. Her body felt sore all over, like before. This time, she felt a strange numbness on her left arm. In the center of the room, she saw that what was left of the meat slab, mostly bones and gristle, lay in the middle of the cell. Eventually, she was able to stand, and walk towards the door. She pounded on it. Moments later, it unlocked. She opened it, and looked in horror as a nude blood covered zombie approached her.
"You okay Little Cub?" It was Jessie. Debbie looked at her with a blank expression. "C'mon" she said, extending her hand. She took it, and nearly slipped. As she regained her balance, she followed her out of the room, where the others were heading towards the showers. Before she entered, she saw herself in a nearby mirror.
Like Jessie, she was covered in red gore, most likely from the meat slab (she hoped). Her hair was matted down, and her face was so dark from the gore, it emphasized the whiteness of her eyes.
Immediately, she bent over, and threw up.
"Jeez, you couldn't do that in a toilet?" Said Sylvie, who just arrived.
"Give her a break. It's her first time." Said Donna, stepping out of the shower. She helped Debbie get up. "C'mon. Lets get you clean."
She led her into the misty shower, where the others were. She stood under the shower head, covering herself with some bar soap, while the warm water covered her body, removing the accumulated filth from last night.
LATER, THE UPPER LOUNGE
In a private area, Descarme observed the pack enjoy the after moon breakfast from a windowed room overlooking the gathering area. He was beat. Normally, he would prefer to change, along with select others, at his estate up north. There they could roam free without concern, feeding on natural sustenance, rather than refrigerated carcasses. Unfortunately, the events from two weeks ago required him to remain here for the time being. Still, he reasoned, that would soon be resolved.
Near a window, he saw Little Cub staring blankly outside. Moments later, Blood Claw walked up to her. His eyes narrowed. He did not forget her insolence against himself and the pack. Had Little Cub not interfered, He would have taken that upstart down a notch. That, along with Valerie's intervention… complicated things. Still, he was able to plea bargained with her, and agreed to an acceptable term. He smiled. He couldn't wait to see her expression when she'd learn of this! It was then that Trey entered, along with Cassie and Sylvie.
Sylvie stepped forward, and handed him a copy of the readouts from last night. "You need to see this."
He thumbed through the report. His eyes widened when he saw the highlighted information.
"Who was in room 8?"
"We don't know. The…"
"What do you mean you don't know? Weren't the rooms labeled?"
"They were. But the impact was so great, it knocked off the labels."
He sighed and lowered his head. Irritating.
"We do know that Blood Claw's cell was in that aisle."
He raised his head slightly. Of course. Her. "What else?"
"We should expect the location of the attackers soon. I… had to call in a favor through collections."
"Fine. Is that all?"
"Trey, make sure you give Blood Claw her 'assignment.'"
He smiled. "I already passed it to Slate. She should know soon."
"Good. You are all dismissed."
As they left, he pondered this new information. If it was to be believed, Blood Claw was stronger than anyone anticipated.
She might be strong enough to defeat him.
Downstairs, Donna was getting another serving of pancakes when she was approached by Trey and Cassie. "What's up?" she asked, as she grabbed a clean plate.
"I'm just making sure everything's ready for your shift tonight. A lot of people and the press will be there."
"I talked to the others. They'll help set everything up." Added Trey.
"Okay, I'll let the others know." Tonight was the benefit for the victims of the attack. Some heroes from the Alliance and the In Crowd were scheduled to make an appearance to sign autographs and such. That reminded her…
"Little Cub won't be there. Last night did a number on her. Blood Claw will have to cover."
"She can't. She'll be busy here." Said Trey.
"What? But how…"
She started to protest, but decided against it. As head of the pack, he gets what he wants. She sighed. This was going to be interesting.
"Oh, one more thing…" added Cassie. "I need… a favor from both of you." Trey and Donna looked at each other, uncertain, as Cassie continued. "It concerns this girl…" she then pulled out a publicity photo of Turbo Jade.
Debbie stared out of the window, observing the view of Union City across the river. The others were enjoying the 'After Moon' breakfast buffet provided by the casino. She didn't feel hungry. Not after last night. Jessie walked up, her plate filled with pancakes.
"Aren't you hungry?" she said, her mouth filled with breakfast.
"I… had some toast."
"Yeah… I'm not… really hungry."
She shrugged. "Okay. Just so you know, we go back in half an hour."
"You aren't." said someone behind her. She turned to see Slate standing there with a grin that would make tough people cringe.
"What are you talking about?"
"Descharme wants you to stay behind and clean up!"
"WHAT!? I thought we settled that shit! Valerie stuck up for me and everything!"
"If you had stuck around, you would of heard that they settled on a lesser punishment."
"That's bullshit, and you know it!" as she said this, Trey, Trevor and a few other heavies flanked her. Seeing them, she bared her teeth.
"Don't even try it!" said Slate, who, along with the others, started to transform as well.
"Jessie… what…?" said Debbie, who was trying to figure out was going on. With this, she reverted back. "It's nothing Little Cub. Apparently they still want me to settle some shit from the last time." Debbie looked at the others, with a pleading look. "Don't worry, this isn't like last time. Shell be all right." Said Trey.
As they left, Slate whispered to Jessie, "Smart move. Now c'mon, they're waiting for you downstairs."
Later, Jessie, donned in a raincoat, surgical mask and goggles, started cleaning the cells. This involved blasting the walls and floors with a fire hose, and sending all the mess down the drains. Then she took a power cleaner, and scrubbed the tiled floors using a strong cleansing agent. Having done this before, she knew the routine.
One cell in particular was REALLY bad. There was mess EVERYWHERE! Not only that, some of the metal panels were nearly ripped off, and the door had nearly been taken off it's hinges! She sighed. It would take her at least an hour to clean this up. It was then that she realized that her cell was right next to this one.
This was Little Cub's cell.
ON THE BUS
Debbie looked out the bus window. It had been quite a night. She was tired, and her body ached all over.
"You okay?" asked Donna, who sat next to her.
"I'm fine. I It's just… I don't feel well."
Donna smiled. "That's okay. If you want, you can take tonight off. I'll find someone to cover for you."
Debbie lowered her head. "Thank you. It's weird… I had this nightmare during the change. It was so real! I knew I had changed, but I felt like I was something… else!"
"That's normal. We all feel like that during the change."
"Yes, and I tried to escape, even though I somehow knew I couldn't, but that I NEEDED to!"
"It was your wolf form trying to escape."
"Yes, and I… I mean my wolf form seemed stronger that I ever was!"
"It always is."
"I felt like it was thrusting against the door. It seemed to work, and then…"
She paused for a moment, then continued. "The door… hurt."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"It just… I mean it hurt when I slammed the door. I really can't describe it."
"I see. We'll be home soon. You really need to rest."
Hours later, Debbie rested in her room. She got up around five, put on a tee shirt and some sweatpants, and started to walk down the corridor. She looked out a window. Below, the others were getting ready for tonight. In the kitchen, she heard Nattie instruct the Vamps for tonight. She sighed. She couldn't believe she slept through the whole day. As she went back to her room, She noticed Jessie returned. She was lying on her mattress, her clothes still on, fast asleep. She must have come in when she wasn't looking. Rather than disturb her, she closed the door, and headed to the bathroom for a shower. As she was doing this, she pondered. What a life. Being and living with werewolves, magic users, and vampires. It was a far cry from her subservent existence in Bakkersville.
After she dressed, she looked out into the courtyard, to where the boys lived. She looked at a nearby clock. It was 5:30. Greg told her he got out of work around this time. She smiled. This time, she would be waiting.
It was a different life. And for the first time in her life, she was truly happy.