I’d had one of those dreams again, it hadn’t been pleasant and I’d bit my tongue hard enough to draw blood. After rinsing out my mouth, I showered, washed my hair and had some breakfast. Toast and half a grapefruit – I was out of juice.
The doorbell rang; I considered ignoring it, but after a few moments of sitting there while it patiently drilled into my skull, I gave up and prepared a pleasant greeting. It was none other than the local pastor, Father Travis. He’s a born-again I think.

Face drawn and grey, he began “Good mor-“ but I cut him off in my excitement. “Oh thank God you’re alive! I had this dream a few nights ago, I dreamt that under the light of the full moon I transformed. First my bones began to change, stretching and twisting and before that was finished dark hair sprouted up through my skin all over my body. But most of all I remember the way my maw lengthened as my teeth were forced into fangs.”

He made as if to speak but I forestalled him with a wave of my hand. I recall noticing the stale coffee smell on his breath.
“Anyway, after the pain had passed I took full advantage of my new form. I ran, I felt the cool night air rush past me and I screamed my terrible joy for all to hear. Then I tasted the scent of a man, he was walking along the side of the highway with a can of petrol. I figured I’d have some fun with him, so I herded him into the woods – ever notice how there’re always woods on either side of the highway when it’s the middle of the night?”
I didn’t give him time to answer.

“So after a few minutes of chasing him I kinda got bored, so I knocked his legs out from under him an began to tear through his body; fat, sinew, bone and finally marrow. After I had gorged to my satisfaction I made to leave, but just as I turned to head off I noticed something that made me pause even in my lupine state. It was you.”

I paused and smiled for effect, he was ashen.
“Same stupid little haircut (I gestured to his stupid little haircut at this point) and all. So you can see why I’m glad to see you for a change.” I smiled pleasantly once more.

He worked his jaw for a few moments, but no sound came out. I was about to offer him some grapefruit (since when do I eat grapefruit?) when he croaked, “My brother, Jason, went missing several nights ago.”

Shit. Twin brothers.
“My twin brother, he was visiting from out of town,” he paused to swallow and continued hoarsely, “He was found yesterday, in the woods, a hundred yards or so from the highway. They say he- they say he was… savaged. By some kind of animal. It…

Talking about it obviously pained him, but that wasn’t going to help me.
I was only joking?” I ventured.

The sun in its spite beamed through the slats in the blinds, angled in such a way as to land exactly where Zach's eyes were. He tried and failed to ignore it, and eventually was forced to wake up.

Blearily he blinked around the room-- the living room of the apartment-- and at first, nothing seemed amiss. However, the longer he looked, the more he realized how badly he'd messed up.

Toppled trash bin and torn trash bag spilling its contents onto the carpet. Dead skunk on the adjoining kitchen floor-- also torn open and spilling its contents.

He turned so as to better look in the kitchen, and saw a yellow puddle pooled along side the wall. Then more, up against the counter. And still more by the door to the laundry room

"Oh shit!"

He sniffed the air and the smell, rich in information most people didn't get, told him that yes, it was urine and yes, some of it was his. It also belonged to Casey and Mark, who were not supposed be in the apartment at all after last moon because-- well. Because of stuff like this.

His heart sank. Rob was going to be pissed. Rob was the first roommate who'd actually kept him on, and he really didn't want to have to find someplace else to live.

Zach struggled to his feet and stumbled into the kitchen, looking for the mop. He found it in the usual spot-- nestled in the corner of the laundry room-- and went to work on the piss puddles, which struck him as the most important thing to deal with.

Before his brain caught up with the rest of him, he started mopping the puddle-- before wetting the mop, or getting any kind of cleaner. Halfway through the motion he stopped and swore.

The microwave clock told him it was 9:30.

At the speed of panic, he dropped the mop, letting it clatter to the floor, and rushed to the sink. He turned on the water and, while it was heating up, he knelt down to check the cabinet below, where the cleaning supplies were kept. He rifled through the the cabinet in search of floor cleaner, but only found dish soap, toilet cleaner, and bleach.

There wasn't time to think about it, and thinking made his head hurt anyway right now. He grabbed the dish soap and squeezed the entire bottle into the sink, only to realize that he'd never plugged the sink in the first place, and all the water had been going down the drain.

"Oh, come on!"

He plugged the sink and then realized that perhaps the dead skunk was a bigger issue at the moment. He didn't mind the smell-- meat was meat, after all-- but Rob's human sensibilities made him sensitive to that sort of thing. He grabbed a trash bag from the laundry room and went about trying the pick up the skunk in such a way that its guts didn't make an even larger mess.

Unfortunately, he'd forgotten that the trash bin was toppled over. So he went to clean that up before he had a place to put the skunk's body, stuffing down the trash already there as best he could to make room for the skunk, and telling himself that he's clean up the garbage on the floor after he dealt with the piss.

The sink was almost overflowing by the time he was done, and the bubbles rose high above the boundaries of the sink itself. He grabbed the mop again and dunked it into the water, not bothering with any kind of bucket.

He pressed the mophead roughly against the linoleum and started scrubbing furiously. Too furiously. Where he gripped the cheap metal dented like the aluminum of a soda can beneath his hands. By the time he noticed, it was too late; the mop was a hair's breadth away from snapping entirely in two.

Frustrated, he tore the mop head off the stick of the mop and started using it by hand, scrubbing the floor on his hands and knees.

Noise reached his ears: footsteps on the hall's hardwood. The jangle of keys, and the turning of a lock. The apartment door opened, and Rob came in, holding a bag of groceries.

"Hey, Zach. I'm back. I've got--" he stopped suddenly, seeing Zach on his hands and knees on the kitchen floor. "Dude?"

Zach froze, mophead in hand.


Rob tilted his head, confused. Then, he wrinkled his nose.

"Is that. . . skunk?"


"Like, actual skunk? Or shitty weed?"

"Skunk," said Zach, shamefaced.

Rob moved to put the groceries away, and stopped halfway into the kitchen. "Is that piss?"

Zach couldn't say anything. He nodded.

Rob closed his eyes and set down the groceries on the counter. "You had your pack over last night for the full moon, didn't you?"

Zach's face burned red.

"Yeah. Look, I'm sorry. Things got a little crazy--"

"Did you break the mop?"

Zach didn't think his face could get any redder. "I'll buy a new one." Against his will, a high, involuntary whine started in the back of his throat, which only made everything more embarrassing. He wished the floor would swallow him up.

Rob sighed.

"I understand," he said tiredly. "Just clean it up."

"Will do," squeaked Zach.

Rob brushed past, towards his bedroom.

"Pinesol's in the laundry room," he called out. "You gotta use it or the germs will stay."

"Right," Zach called back, partly relieved, partly embarrassed

Well, he thought as he went to retrieve the Pinesol. That could have been worse.

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