"Is.... what's...?" He's sweating and his heart is jumping all over the place. His hand goes to his chest and he's breathing wrong. I smell blood that isn't really there and I want to tear the asshole's throat out with my teeth. Mixed in with the scent of blood is the smell of panic coming from the security guard behind me. I have a mental image of a deer too scared to run when it's suddenly confronted by a predator and knows it's going to die.
Sarah grabs the back of my neck and pulls my head down but I'm still staring at the guy. I can hear the urgency in her voice as she whispers to me. "You've got to calm down. You're doing this to them. Your scent is burning my nose and making me want to kill everyone here. Everything smells like blood and I'm having a hard time concentrating. You've got to calm down. You've... you're... You're terrifying them and you're going to give that guard a heart attack. I can hear it starting to happen. Calm. DOWN." The last is whisper-yelled into my ear.
I growl at the man and turn my back on him. I don't know why but it feels like one of the worst things I can do short of killing him or pissing on him. He's sobbing behind me.
I turn to look at the guard and part of me is ashamed. He is going to have a heart attack. His eyes are dilated and he's on one knee. "Please..." he gasps. "Please... I don't... Please..." He's clutching his chest and his face is turning a slight shade of blue. He doesn't even know why this is happening to him.
I breathe deeply and focus on Sarah's heart. Her pulse is sped up and her heartbeat hammers in my ear. I'm guessing that's my fault. Even though she was yelling at me to calm down I can smell her excitement. She's wet because of me and because the killing smell is in the air. I close my eyes, focus and breathe. My own heartbeat slows.
Sarah pulls my arm and we walk away. I stop by the security guard. He's sitting down with his head hanging but I can tell he's improving. I crouch down and put my hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry." I tell him before walking away.
Sarah stays close to me and cocks an eyebrow. "So, okay. I guess we have a learning curve here." I grimace and keep my eyes ahead, scanning the crowd again.
"I'm not a possessive person... well, I wasn't a possessive person before last night but I'll be damned if I let someone talk like that to you." My lip curls at a boy leering at Sarah but I keep myself under control. I've never been like this. I've always been way more laid-back and carefree. Sure, lack of sleep and stupid people can piss me off but never like this. I still feel the adrenaline running through my system. I'm not sure I like this part of the deal. I don't want my first response to be killing someone if they piss me off slightly.
"Oh, I get it. Trust me. I get it." She says. "I'm not asking you to apologize, I just felt sorry for the guard. I... well, shit. I'm sure you could tell but you were turning me on there and I couldn't help it. The way you smelled..." she coughs and looks away for a moment. "Well. Ummm. Yeah. Let's just find some clothes and then eat something."
As we're walking, I smell something different. Now I notice that almost everyone here has the same underlying scent. People. Humans. Sarah doesn't have that scent and neither do I - another mark against us for the case of being "normal" any more. Everyone else: men, women, children, everyone else has the same scent. But something sticks out in the crowd -- not a human smell but not a smell like me or Sarah. The smell gets slightly stronger when I spot a man going through the exit. He's tall and lean but otherwise normal. He almost looks like he's dancing through the crowd. Just before he opens the glass door, he turns and glances at me. He looks away quickly and leaves when he notices I'm watching him. For a second there I thought he looked scared.
Sarah just now notices the other scent. "Wha... what's that smell? That's not right..." She says.
"I think it was that guy that just left. See him? The tall one over there." I point him out and I know we both can see him clearly even though he's outside. "Should we follow him?"
"No, fuck it. I'm starving and I want to get away from all of these people." Sarah tells me.
The nearest store turns out to be JC Penny and the smell of perfume staggers me before we even get close. Sarah's wrinkling her nose. "Goddamn that's rank." she says between her teeth. "We go in, I grab some things and we get out. Try not to kill anyone."
"Well, if your tits weren't so huge, we wouldn't have this problem. You'd only have to worry about me shoving you against the wall and mounting you." I grin at her when her pulse quickens. She punches me lightly on the arm. "Fucker." she whispers.
We avoid the sales people and Sarah works like a tactical swat team in finding her new clothes. Her eyes dart around the store to find likely racks of clothes and it takes her seconds to dig through to find what she wants. I hear her cursing under her breath, "Fucking ruffles everywhere" as she searches. She picks out some slacks and relatively plain tops but the colors match and look good together. She finds two pairs of shoes by holding them against her feet to check the size. I wander off briefly and find a short black skirt and a white button down shirt for her. She looks them over when I bring them to her, looks back to me and then adds them to her stack.
The store's mostly empty so we have our choice of checkouts. The nearest one is empty except for the young bored checkout girl behind the counter. Sarah piles on the clothes and the girl's face transforms into her "Happy Store Employee Face" when she notices us.
"Did you find... did you find... did..." Sarah and I turn to look at her but of course we can tell what's going on just based on smells and sounds.
The girl is looking at me but her eyes are unfocused. She's wearing a button-down red top with ruffles around the collar. She's got her hand at her neck. "I..." she tries. The girl (Sandy, her name tag reads) brings her hand up to her mouth and sticks her finger in. She's sucking on her finger and moaning with her eyes half closed. Her other hand goes to her chest and she massages her breast with her hand.
I feel myself get hard for the hundredth time today and my pants constrict around me. Sarah looks over to me and grabs my dick bulge with her hand.
"You could..." She starts. "You could take both of us, you know. My cunt is dripping. I need it." She leans in to me and speaks in a rush. "You could take us both to the back and fuck us. I want it and you know she does. I want to feel your cock pounding into me from behind. I... I want it so bad." She's whining towards the end and rubbing my dick through my pants. "Make her your bitch, too. Ohhh..."
The checkout lady isn't sucking on her finger anymore. She's got that hand down her skirt and she's fingering herself while making "oh! oh! oh!" noises. I almost do it. Almost. A part of me wants both of them and more. I've had fantasies about threesomes but, realistically, I've always been more attracted to just one-on-one sex. Now, though, I want both of them and any other women I can find.
Is this the change making it different? It's hard to think right now. I can feel something that I'm doing. It's hard to explain but I'm doing something to cause this or to make it worse. My body feels like it's vibrating slightly and there's this smell - a spicy overpowering smell. It's doing something to make them feel like this.
I walk away and Sarah tries to hold me back. I'm stronger but not by a huge margin. I tell her over my shoulder as I walk, "You deal with this. I can't do this right now." She smells disappointed and I call myself five kinds of an idiot as I go. I take the nearest escalator up to the men's section. I figure I'll be safe there.
I'm lost in my own thoughts as I walk but I do notice that other guys give me a wide berth. Whenever I get close to someone they automatically move out of the way. They smell scared and I get a mental image of small animals scattering before a large predator chasing after prey.
I find a bench and sit, waiting. It's some time before Sarah walks up. "Christ. Wow. Jesus." She says. "That was... yeah. It was some feedback or something. She got fucking horny and your scent changed to ... something and then all I could think about was fucking. What the hell. I wanted you to fuck her while you sucked on me. I wanted to sit on her face while I gave you a blowjob. I wanted everything. I'm not even bi... wasn't bi... Shit. I still want you both."
I nod. I don't trust myself to speak yet. Sarah keeps talking. "Oh, also, I knew exactly where you were. I shouldn't be surprised by any of this any more but I could look up and point to where you were exactly. I followed where you walked like there were neon signs pointing the way. Hey. Kiss me." She drops her bags and I stand up and kiss her. We're rough with each other and having a hard time controlling our teeth while we're doing it. I pull off and bite her neck, feeling the tendons between my teeth. She moans and we almost find a booth. I hang on with my teeth and squeeze her ass. She's hot for it. So hot.
She pulls back from me this time and sits down on the bench. I stand, watching her and I breathe her scent in deeply. She talks rapidly to herself. "This is really fucking hard. I've never wanted anyone or anything so bad in my life. The sex, yeah. But mostly just you. When you walked away I was more sad that you weren't standing with me than I was with you not fucking us. Well, I was pissed about that, too but it turns out I don't like being apart from you more. I'm not needy. I can be on my own. Could be on my own... before. This is hard." She closes her eyes to compose herself and then stands. "Oh, that girl woke up a little after you left and ran, crying. I had to find a different salesperson."
She pauses for a moment. "Another question for myself - why doesn't the thought of you banging other women bother me?" She looks slightly confused and then shrugs her shoulders. "Something to puzzle out later."
We're more careful on the walk this time. I'm thinking about what I did back in the store and wondering how I can rein it in. I mentally go over parts of my body wondering what and where a mental or physical switch might be to make it happen or to stop it happening.
For a moment I think I feel something that reminds me of the feeling earlier but it slips away. I keep working at it while we order food. It's greasy but we order two servings for each of us anyway. Sarah doesn't let me pay for hers and I don't push it.
It's before noon so we're able to find a table well away from everyone else. We devour half of our food in seconds and then slow down for the rest of it. The sun is shining through the large skylight and we're both enjoying the filtered warmth.
Unfortunately, the acoustics are bad here and sounds are louder. It doesn't help that there are at least ten groups of high school students giggling and talking loudly back and forth. I pick out conversations of parents trying to get their kids to finish the last bites of food or trying to get them to eat something other than french fries. The high school kids are mostly talking about their teachers, classes and the other boys and girls. They're so young and I'm slightly embarrassed for them.
I'm focusing on the food in front of me to force the sounds to a drone when there's suddenly someone else sitting at our table and talking to us. Sarah and I are up and standing back in a defensive position before the third syllable is out of the person's mouth. The chair was empty only a second ago.
"I never thought to live to see the wolves return." She says. It is a woman, now that I see her. She's young and dressed in light gray slacks with an off-white long-sleeved plain top. Her curly red hair is pulled back and up into a ponytail. Her eyes are gray and she's looking from one of us to the other. There's something odd about her and it takes me a moment to figure out what it is - she has no smell and I can't hear her heartbeat or anything. I can only hear the noise her clothes make and the small tapping noise her finger makes on the glass table. She has a small sun hat sitting on her right knee.
"Please, sit. I'm not here to hurt you. Trust me, that would be quite difficult to do. I don't have a lot of time." She gestures at our seats as if inviting us to her own table.
I look at Sarah and nod my head toward the table. She shrugs and we both sit down. The other thing I notice is that nobody bothered to turn to look at us. I know we must've made a racket by suddenly jumping back from our table - my chair even fell over
The woman is looking at both of us and she seems pleased with herself. She has small, elfin-like features. Like a young child, almost. I'm keeping my hands on the table and my body is tensed. Sarah's heart is pounding and I know she's ready for anything. The stillness in the air makes me imagine a pair of wolves at the top of a hill looking down at prey - only there's a tiger at the bottom of the hill stalking the same thing.
"Such fine specimens, too. Just into the change? I imagine your passions are running quite hot right now." The tops of her cheeks turn reddish and I have a hard time putting an age to her. I finally decide on just under 30. There are small green specks of color in her eyes. Her finger is tapping on the table like she's impatient but I don't get that feeling from her. It's harder to tell since I can't smell her but her body language makes her seem relaxed. She's pretty enough in a nondescript sort of way but I'm too tensed to think about anything other than whether I'd need to kill this strange person. Or whatever she is. I know she did not walk up and sit down without either of us noticing.
Kill her? I sigh mentally. I definitely need to work on my new anger issues.
"My name is Amelia," she says, giving no last name. Her voice has an interesting and firm cadence in the way she pronounces her words. The 'a' in 'name' is straight and she puts strong emphasis on the 'm', for example. There's a very slight pause between 'is' and 'Amelia' -- I don't think English was her first language even if she speaks it perfectly well.
"It is a privilege to meet you both. I really only have minutes before I have to go but I noticed you earlier and only just worked up the courage to pay my respects. You're wondering, of course, how I know about you two. It's difficult to explain in short order but you both stand out very, very brightly. I would hope... what is it?"
There's this smell in the air suddenly. It's death -- rotting corpses and rats bringing filthy diseases. I almost gag on it. Sarah's growling in the back of her throat and looking for the source. Amelia watches us, still tapping her left hand. With her right she grabs the salt shaker, takes the top off and spills salt over the table. She raps hard on the glass and the salt jumps and scatters. She stares at it for a moment.
"I have less time than I thought and, once again, the wolves prove their worth." She stands, putting her hat on. Sarah and I stand with her. We're still looking around but we can't pinpoint where the smell is coming from. Amelia presents her right hand towards us, palm out and open. The stone on her ring finger is turned around, facing the palm of her hand. "I wish we had more time but I will find you both again." She closes her hand into a fist and vanishes. But, not entirely.
We both watch as Amelia reappears ten feet away and then vanishes again, only to reappear twenty feet away. Nobody else notices but they automatically move out of her way when she appears near them. She continues vanishing and reappearing until she's out of sight around a corner.
I look at Sarah and she's watching her go. "The smell is stronger the way she's going."
Before all of this I would've let the lady go. I mean, sure, I would've been a little curious but not if I knew about this horrible smell. Anything that smells like that can't be good. The previous me would let Amelia handle it while I walked away. None of my business. But, now... now I can't let it go. Whatever it is doesn't smell right. It's wrong and it shouldn't exist. I feel the wolf in me growling and hunkering down on the ground. It wants to kill it -- to erase it from this world. I have to go.
We follow quickly, moving through the crowd. We catch a glimpse of the strange woman in the distance but then she's gone around another corner. The smell is getting stronger and I hear a rasping buzzing noise. I want to go down on all fours and run flat-out to whatever it is. I'm getting goose bumps at the thought of killing this thing. The smell burns my tongue and I want to vomit but I'm not stopping.
A glance at Sarah shows the same thoughts and pains from her. Light brown hair is slowly, slowly covering her arms and her muscles are twitching. I put a hand on her arm and she snaps her eyes up to mine. She calms and I see the hair recede slightly.
A woman screams in the distance, loud and shrilly. Neither of us hesitates -- now we do run flat out and we're fast. People are a blur and we shove anyone that doesn't move quickly enough. The rotten smell slams into my nose as we round the corner. My heart is racing and time slows like it did in the car last night.
Amelia is standing in an open courtyard. She has her left arm pulled up against her body. Blood is coursing down the arm and I can smell her now - it's her own blood. Her right hand is straight out in front of her and open, palm down. She has her eyes closed and her mouth is moving but she's making no sound. She has her forehead wrinkled in concentration. Her hat is about 5 feet to her left and her hair is loose. The blood from her arm has made a small pool at her feet. She's... flickering. She's solid for seconds and then flickers for half a second, over and over.
There are quite a few people around but nobody is looking at Amelia. They've unconsciously made a hole around her. Everyone is watching a man and woman near the center of the courtyard. The man is on his side and has his hands around his throat like he's choking; only he's not moving. His wife or girlfriend is standing with her hands over her mouth and she's terrified. They both look young, perhaps in their thirties.
The ... thing standing behind the couple is the source of the smell. It's cloaked in tattered black and green robes. In place of a face is the skull of a deer or other small headed, long faced animal. Horns protrude from small holes in the side of its hood and it has skeletal hands. It's pointing at the man with its right hand and a sickly green light is flowing from its finger into the man's chest. Black specks float in the green stream and it oozes like warm honey.
The rasping is louder and it sounds like millions of insects rubbing against each other. Amelia moves her hand in a small circle and then side steps to put her left foot directly into the small pool of blood at her feet. It immediately blackens and the man lying on the bench takes a shuddering breath, scratching at his throat with his hands.
The smell from the creature is suddenly stronger. I dry heave.
In that second, Sarah leaps. She's beautiful. Deadly. She's snarling and her canines are long and sharp. I can see hair sprouting in tufts from her forearms. Her claws are out and black. She lands fifteen feet away on all fours and leaps again without pause at the thing standing behind the man.
Instincts drop me to the ground on all fours and I bound after her. People are startled but they seem dazed, as if in a dreamlike state. Sarah hits the creature seconds before I reach it. There's a crackling sound and I smell singed hair. She's got what might be a throat in her mouth - a mouth that's elongated but not quite a muzzle. A small remote part of me is glad she's still wearing my baggy clothes because she's changing and would've burst out of anything she bought today.