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He glanced at the moon phase calendar on his office wall. Full moon was still a week away. It couldn’t come at a more inconvenient time, he thought, but that was always true. Unfortunately, the real problem was not that he was a werewolf, it was that he was beginning to run out of excuses for asking for that particular night off every month. There wasn’t a soul at the precinct who’d have believed the truth if it bit them, but they were excellent at matching patterns—and nothing screams, ‘There’s a pattern here!!’ like a previously stable, malleable, willing-to-work-nights-because-he-has-nobody-to-go-home-to-anyway guy who suddenly wants every full moon off and gets progressively more short tempered the week leading up. Which reminded him, he needed to check in soon with his mentors in this ‘whole body transformation’ thing.

He was grateful that two older werewolf couples, the Hearsts and the Wedells, had moved north to Colville to guide and teach him. They were good folks. Still, it was a little like having two new set of parents. His own parents lived in Arizona, and he rarely saw them. He was grateful that he didn't have to actively hide his new life from them too.

* * * * *

Benny Altos sat alone in his small kitchen in Inchelium, cleaning his big varmint gun with single-minded purpose. When he heard a knock on the door, he called, “Come in,” without missing a stroke with the oily patch and rod.

At the invitation, his friend Dave Timentwa ambled in, carrying a six-pack of Coke. Tall, rangy, and bronzed, he wore a baseball cap over his straight black hair, a casual pair of jeans, and a sweatshirt against the outside chill. “Been out, or going out?” he asked, setting the sodas down on the table. “Here, have a Coke and a smile. You look like you could use one. You’ve been like a storm cloud lately, all threat and rumble.”

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