12 June 2010

Brute, Part 4

I don't know what happens when other people suggest to their friends that they should kill their werewolf fiances with silver bullets, but Lea didn't react in a very happy way. I mean, I really wasn't serious. Of course not, that would be cruel. But Leandra didn't really get that part, so her reaction was that of a person being told to coldly create puree out of the love of her life. Oops.

Leandra was so shocked by the suggestion that she didn't even look at me. She looked past me, at a little aberration in the tile on the wall of the kitchen. I know this because I turned around, saw it, too, and stepped in front of it. Leandra blinked.

"Lea. Joking. We're not going to kill him," I said. She nodded dumbly. I picked up my glass and started to lift it to my lips, silently searching for a less bloody solution. I had no idea what to do. Usually in the stories this was the part when some expert werewolf hunter or crazy-cool vampire turned up to help the heroines out. Inadvertently, I glanced around the small room, and then smiled when I realized I was waiting for the door to slam open to reveal the black trench coat and rakish hat of someone not unlike Van Helsing.

Nothing happened. I'm pretty sure nothing happened for a while, because suddenly I blinked and Leandra wasn't standing in front of me anymore. And she wasn't outside with Jeremiah. Crap. Where...?

Something crashed down the small hallway, and I bounded (as literally as possible) around the corner. Leandra was extricating herself out of the tiny guest bedroom, which serves double duty as a storage area. She had changed into a white longsleeve shirt that probably was her fiance's, and she was carrying a couple of golf clubs. Oh, and she was wearing a monstrous silver chain -- the kind usually used in industrial zones -- around her shoulders like a scarf.

"What?" she said when she saw my face. "It's cold outside." I opened my mouth without realizing it and tried to say something that wasn't stupid. What the heck were they doing with a chain like that in the hall closet?

By the time I got around to verbally reacting to her appearance, all that came out was, "A little." Leandra stopped in front of me and stood up straight so she could adjust the chain.

"OK, here's what's going to happen. We're going to convince him he's a wolf. And then go from there. Yes?"


"No, you can't question the 'yes'! It's either a solid 'yes' or no 'yes' at all!"

"Ah," I said, not feeling entirely sure about the whole thing, especially since she felt it necessary to bring out the clubs. My golf lessons had involved tiny white balls, not wolves. Nevertheless, I held out my hand and she placed one of the clubs in it. I hefted it like I would a tennis racket, trying to figure out what exactly I was going to be using it for. The idea of hitting anything in the face with it was making me a tad queasy.

"I'll try first," Leandra said. She moved past me, holding her club casually in front of her, and exited through the back door. Should I stop her? I thought. Ha, was my answer. She wasn't going to be stopped. At least, not by me or anything else in the immediate vicinity. Her tennis shoes squeaked on the metal threshold and I winced at the sharp sound. It was a moment before I reminded myself that we didn't need the element of surprise. No matter what, Jeremiah was gonna be really surprised in the next few moments.

Holding my club just below the rubbery grip, I went to stand in the doorway. A cool night breeze blew my hair into my face and I choked again on the smell of bunny blood. Leandra only looked at me once more, just before she crouched down and reached out her hand toward Jeremiah's head. Her fingers clenched almost before they had a grip on the fur around his neck, at least, it looked that way from my point of view. I knew she had a good grip on him because Jeremiah flinched.

"Ow!" He said. "Hey!"

"Sorry, babe," Leandra said. "But you have to listen to me. You turned into a dog...wolf...thing. You didn't cook that rabbit; you killed a bunny with your teeth."

Jeremiah looked back at me. I screwed up my lips and nodded. He put his head back down and sighed, "But I don't feel like a wolf." He paused and looked down at himself, moving his paws experimentally. "I look fine to me."

"Jer," I said as I stepped down onto the cement step. "You really did, and you are. You just...can't tell." A cricket chirped happily. The blood was getting to me, I could feel more than see my vision going black, since it was already so dark. Leandra still had her hand on Jeremiah's neck. Suddenly, he jumped up, baring his teeth at us and growling. If I'd had any more water in me, I totally would have peed my pants.

"I don't believe you, you girls are crazy!" he yelled, breaking into a low growl and baring his teeth at us. I bent my knees, preparing for some sort of attack. "Why are you saying this?" he snarled. Leandra and I exchanged looks, speechless.

"Look at the steps, Jeremiah! There's blood all over them! How do you explain that?" Jeremiah took the tiniest of steps forward so he could see the concrete, which was indeed stained with bright blood like venomous nail polish. I blinked, trying and failing to figure out where that comparison came from. I don't even own red polish. Weird... Blinking again, I yanked myself back to the present, where Leandra and Jeremiah were yelling at one another. Every thing Leandra used to prove Jeremiah was a werewolf of sorts, Jeremiah scoffed at.

"I'm not!" He screamed with a note of finality and, with a grace usually attributed to panthers and other great cats, Jeremiah turned on his fuzzy doggy legs and leaped over the fence. He landed soundlessly on the other side and even though I knew we couldn't get to the fence fast enough to stop him, I sprinted after him and ended up slamming into the fence. Leandra tried jumping the fence but she was too short to get anywhere, and we looked at one another dumbly.

"Now what?" I asked. Leandra bit her nail and stared at the ground, looking like she didn't want to say what she was thinking because she knew I would make her do it. The downcast angle of her eyes told me that asking again wasn't going to make her talk sooner, so I turned back and partially climbed one of the trees in the yard. Obviously I was hoping to see the retreating form of the doggy fiance, but no luck. It was so dark that even lightly colored objects were a pain to keep track of. I got back down and stood with my arms crossed. Lea suddenly nodded.

"Ok. I know what we're going to do," she said. I waited. She hesitated. I raised my eyebrows and tried to look in her face; she looked away. And then she bit her lip just before saying, "Iknowyou'regoingtohatemebutwehavetogotalktoAvel."

I took half a step backwards and dropped the head of my golf club to the ground. It thumped dully and seemed to perfectly explain how I felt about the situation. Avel? She would say that we had to go see him. Idiot. When I think of Avel, the little voice in my head says, "Freeekimpher grumbleassolpher stupid Avel." There are several variations; that just happens to be my favorite.

Avel is...Avel. He was the last, well, involvement I had. Not quite boyfriend, not quite friend, that sort of thing. It had lasted far too long, and sometimes when I heard his name my stomach would vault into butterfly somersaults before I remembered that I hated his guts. I grimaced and looked at Leandra, begging her with my eyes to take it back even while knowing that she was right. Avel was the only one who would be able to talk to Jeremiah without causing terrible things to happen.

They were, after all, twin brothers.

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