Clementine stirred, lips parting then shutting. She shifted her body, feeling the warm, leathery surface of the seat press against her shoulders. Her eyes twitched but did not open.
A strange sense of unease crept over her. She could not explain why, but something was seriously wrong. She had...forgotten something. Something important. Yet try as she might she couldn't remember what it was. Uncertain memories of being in a forest flickered in her mind but she dismissed them. She was...she was in a car. Right?
Clementine slowly opened her eyes. Her vision was blurred at first but gradually the world came into focus. She was indeed sitting in the back of a moving car. She turned to her right and saw her friend Joshleen slumped in her seat, fast asleep. She turned to her left and saw Cody, also sleeping. Yawning, Clementine sat up and gazed out the passenger window through half-lidded eyes. They appeared to be driving through a town late at night. The streets and sidewalks were deserted and the buildings were dark and empty. The dull, orange glow cast by the street lights did little to alleviate the gloom outside.
She realized she was in Lazlo's old sedan. He'd had it for ages until...
Clementine shook her head. Everything about the present situation was comfortable and familiar and yet it was not. Dim, unsettling memories continuously bobbed to the surface of her mind before sinking back into oblivion. She opened her mouth to say something but felt weirdly disinclined, almost unable, to speak. Writing it off as fatigue she peered up at the rearview mirror. She couldn't identify the driver as she could only see a tiny portion of their face at a time.
"Alright back there?" inquired Lazlo suddenly, glancing over his seat at her.
Clementine blinked in surprise.
"Uh, yeah," she managed.
"How are Cody and Joshleen doing?" he asked.
"...They're still sleeping," she said.
"Well, it's been a pretty wild night," said Lazlo, chuckling. He turned back to the wheel.
"Yeah, yeah it has..." murmured Clementine uneasily.
Neither of them spoke for a while. They continued along, never stopping, turning or changing lanes. The steady rumble of the engine hung in the air. Growing bored, Clementine leaned back in her seat, turned and stared out the passenger window. As time passed, she noticed something peculiar. None of the buildings they passed were remarkable or unusual in any way. There were no landmarks, no government buildings, no parks - nothing that disrupted the seemingly endless expanse of convenience stores, fast food stores, gas stations, auto part shops and strip malls.
"Uh, where are we?" asked Clementine as they passed yet another McDonalds.
"Uh, the car?" said Lazlo, sounding somewhat bemused by the question.
"No, no, I mean, what part of town?" said Clementine, finally appreciating the strangeness of the situation. "And...which town?"
"What do you mean?" said Lazlo, chuckling again. "You know where we are."
Clementine turned back to the passenger window. While the townscape was vaguely familiar she did not recognize any of the individual buildings; they were all so generic. She checked the street signs but they all had generic names like 'Main,' 'Market,' and '5th Street' - nothing specific, nothing unique.
A prickling sensation ran down Clementine's neck.
"No, I don't, Lazlo," she said sharply. "This isn't..." she muttered, looking around the car. "This isn't how it happened."
Lazlo glared at her over his shoulders. Clementine gasped softly. There was a bitter glint in his dark brown eyes.
"I wasn't driving, for one," he remarked off-handedly, turning back to the road. "And it wasn't this late. I think it was only around nine or something."
There was a pause.
"Joshleen was in the front seat, too," added Clementine weakly. "She was...laughing. She'd been drinking. I mean, a lot. We all had been."
"But Aggie hadn't had a drop," said Lazlo. "That's why she was at the wheel. She was the designated driver."
"And why was she the designated driver again?" asked Lazlo rhetorically.
"Because we...we pressured her into it," answered Clementine, wincing. "We all took a bunch of shots as soon as we got in the bar and..." she shook her head. "Damnit, we were just having a bit of fun!"
"No, no, I know where you're going with this," said Clementine with sudden fierceness. "I remember what happened. Hell, I read the police report."
"If we hadn't-" began Lazlo.
"No! The other driver went through a red light at over ninety! None of us were distracting her. I mean, we were laughing and talking around but we weren't yelling in her ear or...or offering her drinks or anything. It was an accident! Yes, she got hurt because she'd been the one driving that night but it could have been any one of us!"
Lazlo was silent.
"I thought Aggie said she wanted to help us - protect us or something," said Clementine in a softer tone. "Does she blame us for what happened?"
Lazlo didn't respond at first. He just kept driving. Clementine looked over at Cody and Joshleen and considered trying to rouse them. This was getting really weird.
"Maybe she does," said Lazlo at last. "And maybe she also wants to protect us. Even a normal person can be riddled with contradictions, Clementine. And Aggie isn't normal. Not any more, at least."
"How...how do you know all this," breathed Clementine. "This..." she gestured at the car and its environs "This isn't real, any of it. It felt like a dream at first but now it..."
It was like seeing without eyes, feeling without skin, smelling without a nose. The world around her didn't exist yet she sensed it. Or, more precisely, felt it, recalled it. All the details were there - from the scratchy surface of the worn leather car seat to the distinctive moldy odor permeating the car, not to mention the garish logos of the numerous chain stores surrounding them. But there was nothing unexpected - nothing she hadn't seen, felt, heard, or smelled before. The world around her, she realized, had just been assembled from things she'd once perceived and re-arranged in some semblance of novelty.
"Has Aggie taken control of me?" breathed Clementine. "Is this how it happens?"
"Dunno," said Lazlo with disconcerting indifference. "I don't know what you're feeling. Maybe."
"Goddamnit! Are you even the real Lazlo?" exclaimed Clementine. "Don't you care about what she's done to us? IS doing to us?"
"Nothing I can do about it," continued Lazlo in the same, noncommittal tone. "Nothing you can do about it, either."
"Watch me!" barked Clementine.
She reached down to undo her seat belt but it remained fastened. She pressed the release button over and over again but the latch wouldn't come undone. She tried to wiggle out of the belt it but couldn't. Cursing, she turned and roughly shook Joshleen.
"Wake up! Snap out of it! Come on!" she yelled.
Joshleen rocked back and forth but did not respond. Her body was stiffer than Clementine had expected and didn't fall forward in her seat when she let go. Clementine hesitated, and then pinched Joshleen on the shoulder - hard - for a few seconds. Nothing happened. The young college student remained unconscious.
"Of course it wouldn't be that easy," muttered Clementine under her breath. She glanced over at Cody, paused, and then shook her head. Giving up on that idea she leaned forward and reached for Lazlo. Unfortunately, her seat belt held her back. It shouldn't have; it didn't feel like it was restraining her but every time she tried to grab him he proved to be out of reach. It was utterly bizarre and not just a little frightening.
"What, you were going to make me pull over or something?" remarked Lazlo, watching her struggle through the rearview mirror.
"Why won't you?" growled Clementine.
"Like I said, it wouldn't make a difference."
Clementine frantically scanned the interior of the car, searching for something - anything - that could free her or otherwise stop the vehicle. Seeing nothing of use, she pounded the back seat and screamed.
"There's gotta be...there's gotta," she murmured, red-faced, frustrated, furious and terrified all at once.
Clementine's mind raced. This whole thing was some kind of illusion made up of things from her past. It resembled the night she, Aggie, Lazlo, Cody and Joshleen had gotten in an accident. Obviously Aggie was fixated on it. Many parts about it were wrong, though, chief among them Aggie's absence. Clementine frowned. Her memories of that night were hazy; she had been drunk, after all. Maybe that's why the illusion had been reconstructed, at least in part, from other, older memories. It made as much sense as anything that had happened to her over the last twenty-four hours. Her gaze drifted downward. She stared at her hands. Not too long ago they had been powerful, hairy paws tipped with claws. She was a werewolf now, after all.
Clementine's eyes widened. This place was made from her memories. And the memory of her first transformation was all-too fresh in her mind.
She shut her eyes and concentrated. She had no idea how this was supposed to work so she improvised - willing herself to change, willing her body to grow, sprout fur and fangs. Nothing happened. Clementine swore under her breath but did not give up. Seconds ticked by. She thought back to her terrifying flight from the station and the agonizing transformation that followed. She recalled the way her hands had swollen up, how sharp claws had burst from her fingertips, the burning, itchy sensation on her skin when her fur started to grow. She remembered how the rays of the pale not-quite full moon had twisted and molded her body. It'd been the most horrifying experience of her life. But now she needed that power. She wouldn't let Agatha take her or her friends.
Rage boiled up from the depths of Clementine's soul. She growled. She flexed her fingers as claws emerged from them, shredding her nails. Her left arm twitched. The skin along her shoulder, forearm and hand rippled like water. Then, her biceps, triceps, and deltoids bulged grotesquely, doubling, and then tripling in mass in two violent spasms. Her right arm shuddered and followed suit. Rips formed in her T-shirt as her chest swelled, revealing strips of hot perspiring flesh.
Panting, fur sprouting all over her body, Clementine gazed up. Lazlo, still holding the wheel, had turned and was staring at her.
Clementine snarled at him; it was not a sound a human could make. Her nose peeled back and turned leathery and black. Blood dribbled from her inflamed gums as her teeth narrowed into fangs. Feeling her power grow Clementine gripped her seatbelt with both paws and pulled. The belt went taut but did not tear. She gritted her teeth and pulled even harder. Veins throbbed along her trembling furry arms. The belt stretched thin. Then, its tightly woven polyester threads began to snap.
"Stop it!" cried Lazlo.
Ignoring him, Clementine roared and ripped the belt and its clasp from the seat. As she pulled, her entire body grew even more massive in a single explosive surge. Her head and pointed ears bumped against the car ceiling.
"You can't!' protested Lazlo.
"Shut up," barked Clementine angrily, eyes glowing, her voice now considerably deeper. She glanced down at the tattered remains of her clothing and tore them off. She looked around the cramped vehicle and then turned and glowered at Lazlo.
"Pull over," she ordered. "Now!"
Clementine reached forward and seized Lazlo by the neck.
The second she touched Lazlo she felt a, for lack of a better word, disparity. She was clutching Lazlo and yet she wasn't; she could sense - even feel - two presences. What's more, the car, indeed, the world around her seemed out of focus - two different scenes occupying the same space. Clementine blinked, anger momentarily quelled by confusion. Not certain at all what she was doing but desperate to escape the illusion she tugged and felt something resist.
"Stop..." croaked a voice. It wasn't Lazlo's.
"Wha-...what is this?" she murmured, looking around.
"Neeeed you...be together..."
Clementine's eyes narrowed. Banishing all doubt from her mind, she pulled with all her might and felt something...snap. Lazlo, Joshleen, Cody, the car, the street, and the town - everything vanished.
The next second Clementine found herself staring into a pair of enormous mauve eyes framed by a monstrous lupine countenance. Its muzzle - its jaw and nose - was startling long and narrow, as were its ears, almost resembling those of a rabbit. Its fur was black yet gleamed slightly, reflecting weak ambient light. It sported a mane of long ebony hair that billowed in the air even though Clementine felt no wind around her. Clementine quickly realized two things. One, the creature was almost three feet taller than her. Two, her paws were wrapped around its neck. Shocked, she let go. The creature staggered back, wheezing and coughing for breath.
Clementine stared up at the beast. It was freakishly tall, standing at ten, perhaps eleven feet. Its limbs were monstrously long and gangly; its legs were almost the length of a full-grown man and its claws nearly brushed the ground. Though it sported noticeable breasts its overall physique was androgynous. Its movements were stilted and jerky, but not clumsy. It almost brought Clementine to mind of an animatronic. The air around it seemed to crackle with power. If Clementine didn't know any better she'd swore the thing was faintly glowing. Then there was the fact its hair was billowing even though there was no wind.
Clementine managed to tear her gaze away from the creature to check her surroundings. She was back in the park. It was still night. The ranger station was a couple dozen yards behind her. There was no sign of Dr. Erikson or any other person, werewolf or otherwise. Apart from the creature, that is. Clementine breathed in and was once again assailed by a dazzling array of scents, the strongest of which was the musky odor of another werewolf. It wasn't Dr. Erikson. Nor was it Cody, Joshleen or Lazlo. That left...
"Aggie," she whispered in horror, looking up.
Agatha glared down at her. Her lips peeled back, revealing a mouth full of sharp white fangs. Clementine stepped back, paused, and then growled, displaying her own toothy maw. She wasn't running away this time.
Clementine dropped to all fours and started approaching Agatha. The two werewolves circled one another, inching closer and closer. Then, Clementine lunged. Agatha raised her paw into the air to swap her aside but Clementine darted past her, whirled around and sank her teeth into her right leg. Agatha yelped and grabbed Clementine's neck with both paws. She tried to force her off but Clementine held tight, worrying at her leg like a thing possessed. Blood splattered across the forest floor. Changing tactics, Agatha gripped Clementine's head and plunged her claws into her eyes.
Clementine screeched in agony as blood spurted from her sockets. The pain was so intense she thought she would die on the spot. She stumbled back and fell to the ground, rolling and clutching her eyes. Desperate to escape she started crawling along the dirt. Then, her right ear twitched. She felt something very sharp and long rake her right arm. The shock of this fresh injury sent Clementine into a murderous rage. Ignoring the pain she leapt to her feet and started slashing blindly at the air. Her first two attacks hit nothing but her third, fourth and fifth struck. Clementine kept swiping even after it was clear Agatha had retreated.
Panting, Clementine crumpled to her knees. She felt warm blood trickling down her arms; she wasn't sure if it was hers or Agatha's. Groaning, she lifted her head and blinked. To her astonishment she found her vision was returning. She could make out a dark, blurred landscape with a large, familiar shape in the foreground. The mind numbing pain was slowly receding as well. Clementine slowly rose and carefully wiped the tears and blood from her eyes.
Agatha was standing a couple yards away. She was hunched over, clutching her spindly right forearm with her left. Blood was dripping from her right knee. She was wheezing like an exhausted bull, wisps of air issuing from her nostrils. Clementine smiled grimly. Then, something occurred to her and her grin faded.
"Only silver," she murmured. She gingerly rubbed her arms. Though tender and wet with blood her flesh had already mended. If she didn't act quickly Agatha would recover as well. But what could she....
Clementine sniffed the air and shuddered. The scent of blood was overpowering but she could detect a very, very faint musk. She turned her head, still sniffing, and saw a shape slumped against the wall of the ranger station behind her she'd failed to spot when she awoke. Clementine scurried over and to the station and found it was indeed Dr. Erikson, still a werewolf. Though there were no obvious signs of injury he wasn't moving. Clementine frantically searched the ground around him and quickly found was she had been looking for. She grabbed the oversized revolver, whirled around and awkwardly leveled the weapon at Agatha, who was limping towards her.
"Freeze!' cried Clementine.
Agatha did not comply. She was almost swaying as she walked, her injured arm dangling uselessly in the air.
"Damnit, I said freeze!"
Ignoring or unable to understand the command, Agatha hobbled closer and closer. There was a dull, vacant look in her lupine face, though her eyes gleamed bright as ever.
The gun went off.
Clementine yelped. The bang had been so loud she'd thought her eardrums had burst. Agatha winced at the sound and paused mid-step.
Ears ringing, the stink of burnt gunpowder burning her nostrils, Clementine stared up at Agatha, now mere feet away. She scanned her gangly form for a gun wound with a strange mixture of hope, dread and relief. But after a few seconds it became clear there was none. She'd missed.
Agatha bellowed. Panicking, Clementine dropped the gun and raised her arms to shield herself.
But the attack never came. Instead, Agatha clutched her head with both paws. She staggered back, howling and moaning so loud the surrounding pine branches trembled. Her eyes burned even brighter, glowing like twin novas in the darkness of the forest. Mouth agape, Clementine watched as her former friend writhed and raged. Suddenly, she gasped and gripped her own forehead as a sharp pain erupted in her temples. The bizarre drone returned. Fortunately, it was nowhere near as intense as before. In fact, it was already weakening, as was her headache. Clementine shook it off turned her attention back to Agatha.
Agatha crumpled to the ground. Her cries became softer and weaker. Her body twitched uncontrollably as though she were suffering from a seizure. She raised a trembling arm into the air.
Her hand slowly sunk. She went still. The lavender light in her eyes faded away, leaving only dull glossy orbs.
Clementine stood there for a time, staring. The park was utterly silent. Then, there was a sort of shuffling sound from behind, soon followed by footsteps. She didn't turn to look. Someone cleared their throat.
"Is that Agatha?"
The voice belonged to Dr. Erikson. Clementine didn't reply. It felt as though a part of her soul had been ripped away.
Dr. Erikson walked up to her. He gave her an appraising look.
"Are you..." he paused. "No, of course you're not alright," he said. "Stupid question."
Clementine remained silent.
"Did you...shoot her?" he asked, gesturing at the gun on the ground.
"No," said Clementine, shaking her head.
"Then what happened?' he asked.
A single tear ran down Clementine's fuzzy face. She opened her mouth to speak, shut it, tightened her lips, then reared back and threw up. Dr. Erikson lifted a paw in concern, but then withdrew it. Clementine heaved once, twice and then stopped. She fell to her knees, moaning, saliva and bile dribbling down her lips and fangs.
"Do you...need some water?" inquired the doctor quietly.
Clementine nodded vigorously.
Dr. Erikson turned and stopped in his tracks. Three large figures had emerged from the darkness. They were walking towards them. He sniffed the air but couldn't catch their scent.
"Who's there?" he challenged.
"It's us," called one of them.
Clementine whirled around. She recognized the voice despite its deeper undertones.
"Lazlo!" she gasped, rising.
Her three friends stepped out of the shadows. Though still werewolves their fearsome attributes were muted; their ears were folded back, their bodies where hunched and their tails were tucked between their legs.
"Hey," said Joshleen weakly, waving her paw.
With a joyous cry Clementine rushed over and embraced her. Lazlo and Cody exchanged weak but heartfelt smiles. Above, the nearly-full moon shone ever on.
* * *
Life isn't a movie, reflected Clementine. At the end of a movie the final scene would fade out, the credits would roll and that would be it. Things were never so clean in real life. Everybody wanted a happy ending but closure was a rarer and far more valuable commodity.
She glanced around the ranger station. Much of the furniture had been cleared away. A tarp had been hung over the broken window though it did little to block the morning sun. Several police officers were conferring in a corner of the room. Every so often one of them would glance in her direction. She pretended not to notice.
Clementine turned her head slightly. Someone was talking - very loudly - in a room down the hall. She cocked her head. They sounded angry. She heard a door swing open.
"No! Leave it alone!" barked Joshleen.
Joshleen appeared from the hall. She stormed past Clementine and marched out the door. The cops watched her go with interest. One of them stepped forward, looking meaningfully at Clementine and then the door.
"I'd let her go," said Clementine.
The cop looked unhappy, but nodded and turned back to his fellow officers. Clementine saw Cody shyly peek from around the corner of the hall.
"Hey," he said softly.
Clementine nodded at him but did not say anything. Cody hesitated, then walked over and joined her on the sofa. They sat there together for a time.
"How long should I give her?" asked Cody.
Clementine considered the question.
"A couple of days," she said, staring at floor. "Just don't bring it up. Don't pretend that it didn't happen but don't bring it up."
There was silence. Cody bit his lip, and then sighed, shaking his head.
"The worst part is I can't tell if it really was my fault," he intoned.
Clementine said nothing.
"She just...shut off all of our inhibitions and...and hardwired our brains together. Fuck, Clementine, I would never ha-"
"You knew something was wrong with her and you still made your move," snapped Clementine, her voice like a whip.
Cody's already blushed face turned bright red. He laced his fingers together tightly, shaking slightly.
"It was my fault," he said at last in quivering voice. "I should have stopped. I didn't. I fucked up." He buried his face in his hands. "Christ. No. What I need to do is never speak to her for the rest of my shitty life."
He sniffled, fighting back tears. Clementine regarded him sternly, and then slowly softened her gaze.
"I don't know, Cody," she said uneasily. "It...it was a bit complicated. For all we know she was messing with your head too. Made you more...susceptible to her."
"No," said Cody flatly. "She knew I wanted...you know, so she fucked with Joshleen. I fell for it."
"We don't know that for sure."
"Doesn't fucking matter!" said Cody with equal parts bitterness and sadness. "Even if it weren't my fault things would be too weird now. Bring back bad memories. I just have to accept that."
Lazlo stepped into the living quarters. He waved a diffident hand at the cops and then approached them. He, like Cody, Joshleen and Clementine was wearing a sort of oversized poncho that extended to his feet.
"They're loading Aggie into the truck," he said grimly. "Want to say goodbye?"
Clementine and Cody exchanged looks, rose and followed Lazlo out of the station.
It was a bright but chilly morning. There were three police vehicles and two civilian cars parked in the tiny lot behind the station and along the side of the road. Apart from police there were a half-dozen other figures in regular clothing - among them Dr. Erikson - walking around or speaking to one another in small groups. The three college students marched silently by, turned and walked deeper into the park.
There was another vehicle a few dozen yards down the road. It was a small, unmarked white truck. Its rear sliding door was open. Four figures were standing next to it. Two of them wore beige United States ranger uniforms.
Ranger Rick nodded curtly at Clementine, Cody and Lazlo as they approached.
"She's already in the truck," he said quietly. "Sorry again, but NALA didn't think an ambulance would be...feasible."
"Yeah," said Lazlo unenthusiastically.
"Not that it would make much difference," said Ranger Theo, scratching one of the bandages on his neck.
Ranger Rick gave his partner a look but did not say anything.
"Still no response from her?" inquired Cody.
"None," said the ranger. "Barely breathing, heartbeat so weak you need stethoscope and really good hearing to catch it, pupils don't respond to light," he coughed. "Depressed regenerative powers. She's out for good. Still don't exactly know why."
"I do," said Clementine so softly perhaps only she heard.
"We'll contact her parents shortly and explain what happened," said one of the others - an athletic redheaded woman with a scattering of freckles wearing a black leather jacket and tight blue jeans. "They'll decide what to do with her."
The three college students stared at the long, tarp-covered shape lying in the truck for a while.
"You think they'll...? began Lazlo.
"Yeah," said Clementine. "That was their decision in the first place." She turned to the redheaded woman. "What'll happen to Dr. Erikson?"
"There will be an inquiry," she said coldly. "Doubt he'll lose his practice - or...whatever it's called - but he's out of the program now, that much I can tell you." She sighed. "And we'll have to have another long, drawn-out meeting about the rehabilitation program. Again. Goddamnit."
"Forgive me," said the fourth figure - a small, brunette woman with a strange white streak in her pageboy hair wearing a light grey cardigan and jeans. "But I have a few more questions regarding what your...friend here did to you. I realize it's a very sensitive topic and if you don't want to discuss it further-"
"It's fine," sighed Clementine.
"Yeah," said Cody.
"Might as well," shrugged Lazlo.
The woman smiled brightly.
"I wouldn't press you but I need to leave soon and it's better to do this when the details are fresh in your minds," she said apologetically. She took a notebook out of a pocket in her cardigan. "First, at any time did you feel a degree of dissociation or depersonalization? That is, did you feel like you weren't you? Before or leading up to the point she entranced you?
"Umm," said Cody
"Er," said Clementine.
"Yeah," said Lazlo quietly. Dissociative disorder all the way."
Cody and Clementine looked at him in surprise. The woman scribbled in her notebook.
"Not sure if the symptoms fit exactly what I remember in my psych 100 course, but yeah, it did sort of feel like I'd lost my sense of self," he continued.
"That's what a dissociative disorder is?" asked Clementine.
"It's a range of disorders, but yeah," said Lazlo.
"That...sounds like what happened," said Cody hesitantly. "It's just...I also felt like I was you guys."
"You know, when we were out of it," he said. "I started remembering stuff, but it wasn't from my point of view, you know? Like, the night of the accident, only I was in the front seat. Where...Joshleen was," he added nervously.
"That...yeah, now that I think about it, I do remember something like that happening," said Lazlo slowly.
"But it didn't stop there," said Cody. "Towards the end I felt more like...like I was becoming Aggie. Telepathy is fucking terrifying. I started seeing things the way she did. I..." he shuddered. "Fuck, it literally hurts my head to think about it."
"Then don't," said the woman, looking up from her notebook. "Just one more question, then. Did your friend make any predictions while she was still lucid that came true? Did it seem at any point like she could predict the future?"
The three friends exchanged glanced.
"Hmm," said the woman, making a final note. She tucked the book back into her pocket. "Where's your other friend? Joshleen, right?"
"She's...dealing with some issues," said Lazlo carefully. Cody winced.
"I'll contact her later, then, after she's had time to convalesce," said the woman. She reached into her other pocket and handed each one of them a card. "Please call me if there's anything you want to add. If you have any questions please get in touch with Samantha. You all got her number, right?"
"The next couple of months may be difficult for you. Especially given the unfortunate circumstances of your conversion. We'll do our best to get you through them."
"Thanks," said Clementine uneasily.
With that, the two women walked towards the front of the truck.
"Sorry about all this," said Lazlo, addressing the rangers. "This...this whole mess-"
"Wasn't your fault, son," said ranger Rick, putting his hands on his hips. "Nothing to be sorry for. That said...if you ever come back to the park please give us a month or two's notice."
"Um, sure," said Lazlo, managing a wan but sincere smile. Ranger Theo snorted.
The three friends watched ranger Rick shut the truck door. The engine rumbled to life. Then, the truck made a wide Y-turn around the narrow park road and drove away.
* * *
"'Scuse me, miss."
Joshleen looked up in surprise. A Layette police officer was looking down at her.
"Uh, yes?" she said, wiping away a tear.
"We found a pile of cell phones and keys near the lake," he said, holding a plastic evidence bag. "We'd like to confirm that they belong to you or someone else in your group."
Joshleen rose from the park bench.
"Huh," she said, gazing at the bunch of colorful plastic squares and keys. "Hey, yeah, I think that's mine," she said, pointing at one of the objects.
"The pink one...hey, it's blinking! I got a text. Can I...?"
"Uh, I dunno, it's evidence now, so-"
"Come on, what if it's my parents? I need to let them know I'm okay."
The cop nodded his head to the left and right, considering the request.
"Fine, make it quick," he said, digging into the bag with a gloved hand. He handed her the phone.
Joshleen started tapping on its surface. It had a single sliver of power remaining. She touched the text message icon and saw she had a single text. When she saw who it was from, she flopped back the park bench, mouth agape in shock.
"It's..." she breathed, not believing her eyes.
The screen went black.
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The eleventh and final chapter of a series set in the Lycanthrope Club universe. This takes place after the events of Book II/The Lycanthrope Club.
So it ends. Not all endings are happy, but not all are sad, either.
So it ends. Not all endings are happy, but not all are sad, either.
I think at this point the final question is, what will become of Aggie? In a sense i almost feel like this needs an epilogue for added closure. It works as is though, and from this ending i feel writing anything extra would be difficult. Still, I enjoyed it all the way to the end.
I'd say it's an adequate ending even though it's a a bit of "slammed shut" at the first reading. Enjoyed the story quite a bit, tho.
Simply awesome! This spin-off is one of the best works I could ever read! I want more of the lycanthrope club universe really!
So Aggie is possibly back in a coma after a mental explosion of the mind and fighting her warped self to save her friends, after Climintine’s resistance. She probably realized that what she was about to do was wrong at the lake, but her warped self felt she couldn’t turn back now, hence the final text. Maybe one day she can truly make up and apologize for what she did.
thats my take on it at least.
thats my take on it at least.
Interesting ending to what became an interesting take on classic style horror.
And with it all done, I reiterate my suggestions that I posted on the last chapter.
And with it all done, I reiterate my suggestions that I posted on the last chapter.
God dammit, you just had to end it there, didn't you?
I mean it is a perfectly adequate ending, but I would really have liked to see just what happened to Aggie to make her like that.
I mean it is a perfectly adequate ending, but I would really have liked to see just what happened to Aggie to make her like that.