📅 Published on April 19, 2022


Written by Chisto Healy
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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“Trust me,” Cameron said, smiling at his wife, Diana. She looked back at him no less worried, but he continued to lead her to the basement door. Diana hit the brakes and shook her head, her fingers slipping out of his.

Cameron sighed. He looked at his wife with tenderness in his soft features. “If we don’t have trust now, how are we supposed to have it later,” he said, smiling again. “This is going to work. I know it in my heart.”

Diana had tears in her eyes and a pink flush to her pale cheeks. She looked at him until she couldn’t and she looked away. It pained his heart to see her struggling like this but he understood it. “Your heart is full of beautiful naive, unconditional love, Cam. It’s your brain I worry about. This plan feels completely crazy to me. It’s reckless and dangerous, and not worth the possible consequences.”

Cameron turned her, making her look at him with those beautiful blue eyes. “It is worth it,” he told her. “It is absolutely worth it, because it proves that the disease is controllable. I believe love will prevail and I need you to believe in me.”

Diana sighed. She turned away once more and walked across the room to the window, staring out at the setting sun, and the fire red it turned the sky. “This isn’t a game, Cam. It’s life or death. We cannot be so lax with this.”

Cameron still had an endearing look gleaming in his eye when he followed her to where she stood. “Of course. I know that, Diana. I think it will take something this extreme, something this powerful to prove the point. I wouldn’t have suggested it if I didn’t think it would work.”

Diana glanced over at him quickly, then returned her eyes to the window. “What about what I think?”

Cameron frowned now. He put his calloused hands on her slender arms and rubbed them gently as he leaned over to lightly kiss her shoulder blade. “You know that your opinion matters to me more than anything,” he said quietly into her ear. “But I also know that you are afraid. It’s with good reason, but I don’t want that fear to sway you. We’ve been together for a decade and a half. We’ve had something special since that day we met in the food court of the mall as teenagers. Something terrible happened, and it has made things complicated for us now, but I believe we can make it through this like we’ve made it through everything else. I need you to believe that too.”

When she turned around to face him, those blue eyes glistened with tears. “And what if I don’t? What if I believe the disease is more powerful than us, than love? What then, Cam?”

Cam reached up and touched her face, the side of his finger grazing her rosy cheek. He smiled once again. “Then I will prove you wrong. You just have to let me.”

“I don’t like it. I just don’t. I’m so scared. If it goes wrong…”

“It won’t.”

Diana sighed. She took his face in both hands and kissed him, sucking gently on his top lip and then breaking away. Then she put her head down and moved past him. Cameron watched her walk to the kitchen. His finger traced where her kiss had been on his lip. He wondered if maybe he shouldn’t follow her. Maybe he should let her come to this on her own, but he feared that she might actually not get there, and this was time sensitive. He could hear her in the other room fixing herself a drink. He heard her shuffling loudly through the ice cubes and then clinking them into a glass. He didn’t need to see her to know she was going for the gin. It was always the gin when she was stressed like this. Cameron knew and loved all the little details of her. That was exactly why he knew his plan would work.

With that in mind, he walked into the kitchen. She was leaning on the island with her elbows, sipping from a glass, a bottle of gin at her side. Cameron grinned when he saw it. “I knew it would be the gin,” he said. “Just like I knew you would wear the yellow dress to your mother’s funeral instead of the predetermined black gown, because it was her favorite and that’s what mattered to you. I knew you wouldn’t get those sandals last year, no matter how much you wanted them, because you didn’t actually need them and it felt wrong to buy shoes when you already had plenty.”

“I really did appreciate that you bought those for me. I love them,” she said, downing what was in her glass and hurrying to refill it.

“You also felt guilty,” he said, “because that’s who you are. Remember when I got that new boss at work and he showed me that he was out to get me his first day there? I loved my job and I was so beside myself. What did you do?”

“I told you to transfer,” she said, standing up straight. “I said, I’d move with you to wherever you needed to go, because it meant more to see you happy.”

Cameron nodded. He walked around her and got a wine glass off of the hanging rack. Then he went to select a bottle. He wanted something good for tonight, something special. If things did go bad, he may as well have the good stuff and get to experience it. He chose a crisp Pinot Noir and nodded to himself, satisfied with his selection. “That choice is what led us here, Diana? Not just to this town, but to this very moment.”

Diana wiped her eyes and turned her fearful gaze his way. “Do you blame yourself?”

Cameron was using a corkscrew to open the bottle of wine. “I suppose a little, I do,” he said. “It’s more than that though, honey. It was love that led us here, and love that will get us through it. That’s my point.”

Diana still looked nervous. She began to chew on her fingernail.

“We still have a little time,” he told her. “Put that down and have a glass of this with me. This wine is older than we are. It’s a very expensive bottle. It was actually held onto by my grandfather and passed down to me. I’ve been saving it.”

“And you want to drink it now in case there’s only one of us left come morning?” Diana set her glass down on the island with a sigh.

“No, honey. I want to drink it with you as a toast to the future.”

“You may actually be insane.”

“It doesn’t change that you love me.”

“You’re right and that makes me worry about my own sanity.”

Cameron chuckled. He turned and selected another glass from the rack. Then he poured the wine into both and picked one up, extending it to her. Diana hesitated a moment but then she took the glass. “I really do love you,” she said. “I wouldn’t be so scared if I didn’t.”

Cameron nodded. “I know that. Now, how are we supposed to drink stuff this expensive? Don’t we spit it back into the glass and not even swallow it?”

Diana laughed for the first time in hours. “You have to swirl it first, and make sure to put a pinky up like this when you drink it,” she said demonstrating.

“You look so sexy when you’re being all sophisticated,” he said with a wink and she laughed again shaking her head. Then he swirled his wine and took a sip. “Honestly, maybe it’s just me, but it tastes the same as the thirty-dollar wine I buy at the grocery store.”

Diana shook her head. “It’s you. There’s so many layers to it. I taste subtle notes of berry and cocoa, as well as a delicate floral aroma that adds atmosphere to it. It’s intricate and complex, yet also simple, with a gentle romantic texture to it.”

Cameron studied his wife for a moment, searching her eyes. “Are you being serious?” he asked.

Diana spit that expensive wine when she burst out laughing. “Not at all. I don’t have a clue about that stuff, but it sounded good, didn’t it?”

Cameron laughed as well and leaned over to kiss her. “Come here,” he said, setting his glass down. Diana moved closer but she kept her glass and gulped at its contents. Cameron held her snugly and nuzzled her neck. She met his embrace with her own, hugging him warmly. They kissed again. “I love you,” he said.

Diana sighed. She laid her head on his shoulder. “Okay,” she said.



“So, we’re doing this?”

“If you keep asking, I’m going to think about it more, and change my mind,” she said with a mischievous smile. Cameron much preferred seeing her like this, than seeing her so worried and sad. No matter how things went tonight, this was a small victory in itself.

“Duly noted,” he said, snatching his glass back up and raising it. “To love, to the future, and to the cellar!” He shouted the last words playfully, downed his wine and ran towards the basement.

“Alright, slow down, you goober,” Diana called out from behind him. “Just because I said okay, doesn’t mean I’m in a rush.”

Cameron stopped at the basement door and looked over his shoulder at her. “Unfortunately, the sky does not feel the same. Time is of the essence, my love.”

“Even faced with death, you’re so corny and ridiculous,” she said back.

“Exactly why you love me,” Cameron said, opening the basement door. “Let’s get this party started.” He bounded down the steps like an anxious child. He was nervous, and if was going to be honest with himself, pretty terrified, but he believed that this was going to work. He had to. He heard the steps behind him creaking as Diana made her way down.

When they got to the bottom, Cameron pulled a string and a single dim light bulb above it came aglow. Diana came up and stood beside him. They faced an enormously thick steel door together. They offered no quips or barbs this time. They just faced the door in silence. Their fingers found each other and intertwined. They took big deep breaths together. Then Cameron nodded and stepped forward, opening the metal door.

He stepped through the opening and Diana followed him over the threshold. Then he immediately closed the thick steel door and spun a wheel to lock it in place. Diana let out a quiet nervous gasp and he put a comforting hand on her back. “It’s gonna be okay,” he said soothingly. “Believe.”

“There’s no windows down here. I don’t like that we can’t see when it’s coming,” she said, her voice quivering.

“We don’t have to,” Cameron told her, reassuringly. “We’ll feel it.”

Diana’s breathing quickened. She started pacing and fidgeting. “What if it doesn’t work, Cam? What if it goes wrong? What if this ends violently? Oh God, I’m so scared right now.”

Cameron nodded. “It’s okay to be scared, honey. It’s scary. We just have to face those fears and come out the other side. We can do this…together. I know it.”

“I think you might be a toxic optimist,” she said, her head moving as her eyes scanned the thick stone walls of the one-time wine cellar that had been converted into a makeshift prison cell. “I don’t know how you do it. I think this glass is definitely half empty, and it’s going to get worse when we start getting thirsty. You should be scared too, Cam. Why aren’t you scared?”

Cameron laughed nervously. “Whoever said I wasn’t scared? Whoever they are, they’re a filthy liar. I’m completely terrified.”

Diana huffed. She ran her fingers through her hair and tugged at it. “Then let’s go. Let’s go back up.”

“No,” Cameron said. “I said I was scared. I didn’t say I was having second thoughts. Help me with these.”

He walked over to two thick iron shackles that were hanging from the left wall over a beat-up old mattress. Diana didn’t follow him. She resumed chewing on her fingernail. “I should have brought the alcohol down here.”

“It won’t matter soon enough. Come on, Diana, the moon is rising.”

“I know. This is our last chance to change our minds, to let go of this insane romantic notion of yours.”

“We’re not letting go of anything. Chain me up before it’s too late.”

“I don’t want to.”

“You have to.”


“Because we need to know this thing can be controlled. We need to prove to ourselves that we are stronger than this affliction. This is the only way. Now come on.”

Diana sighed but she walked over. She picked up the heavy chains and clamped the shackles over his wrists, fastening them. Cameron tugged on them to make sure he couldn’t get loose. He nodded to her. Then she bent down and did the same with his ankles. “This is so crazy,” she said.

Cameron jerked his arms and legs around, fighting his chains until he knew for certain that he was secured. “Okay,” he said calmly, although his heart was racing. “There’s no turning back now. Whatever happens, I love you.”

“I love you too, you crazy wild man,” Diana said. She leaned forward and kissed him while he stood there, suspended by chains.

“It won’t be long now,” Cameron said. “We didn’t ask for this. It just happened, and we’re lucky. The wolf could have killed, but it only bit and that old Ford pickup sent it running. We were lucky that day and we’ll be lucky again today. Love will prevail. Let me hear you say it.”

“Don’t make me be corny, Cam. Not right now, please.”

“It’s not corny. It’s the answer. Come on. Look at me right now. I’m shackled to the wall. Just humor me. Say it.”

Diana huffed. “Love will prevail.”

“Can you say it like you mean it?”

“You were right. I can feel it, the moon. It’s happening.”

“I know I can feel it too. I love you.”

“Love will prevail.”

Cameron smiled. “There ya go. That time had a lot more heart. We’re gonna make it through this and then we’re gonna go upstairs in the morning and we’re gonna have our coffee and we’re going to know that moving forward we are more powerful as a couple than this disease is. It will not have control of us. We will have control of it. We will win, Diana. I know it.”

“Please just stop talking,” she told him, her tears returning. “We came down here a couple but soon we will only be one, one person and a monster, a ravenously hungry, violent monster. We have no idea what is going to happen then.”

“I do.”

“No you don’t. You hope you do, but you don’t know. You can’t know. This thing is wild and unpredictable. It’s an animal, a beast. Oh dammit, this was a terrible idea.”

“It wasn’t. You will see. Just wait.”

“I know the little details of you too,” she said as she paced around the room before her chained-up husband. Cameron watched her eyes as they roamed over the walls and door, the ceiling and floor. He knew she wanted a contingency plan in case he was wrong. She was looking for a way out, a way to escape and run, and he didn’t blame her.

“I know you go through toothpaste fast because the first glob you put on washes right off because you always turn the water on full blast by accident. I know you only like chunky peanut butter unless it’s a fluffernutter sandwich, then you like creamy.”

“Because no one wants crunchy marshmallows. That’s just weird.”

Diana laughed, sniffled and wiped at her eyes. “I know you have loved all things butterscotch since you were a child but you never get them because you know that the scent of it alone nauseates me and I love you so much for that.”

“It really is the little things, isn’t it?” Cameron said, tears welling in his own eyes now. “I still eat it when you’re not around but I brush my teeth with two globs of toothpaste before I see you.”

Diana looked at him. She laughed quietly and he joined her. They both cried and then she dropped to her knees. Cameron lunged to reach out for her, but the chains restrained him, pulling him back. “I love you!” he shouted.

Diana didn’t answer. Her body went rigid and then relaxed. She spasmed and jerked. Cameron lunged for her again when her bones snapped and she screamed. He knew it was a futile effort but he couldn’t help it.

Her head bent back and her jaw snapped and moved, growing before his eyes. Her teeth grew as well, rising and jutting out like so many knives. Her adjusting bones tore through her flesh, shredding it and leaving it on the basement floor. Cameron watched in amazement and horror and the new flesh showed underneath, covered in glistening silver bristles. Her ears pulled their way up to the top of her head and stretched to points.

Diana twisted and jerked before her husband’s eyes as her body worked furiously to change shape. Cameron gritted his own teeth. She looked like she was in absolute agony and he couldn’t stand it. This process was awful and tough to stomach. Looking down to see the floor littered with his wife’s beautiful skin, all the blood she lost during the transformation, it was horrible. He hated that she had to go through this. He wished it had been him instead. It broke his heart to see her in pain.

When it was all over and the process was finally complete, the only thing left of the woman he loved was those sparkling blue eyes. Cameron stared at the monster that stood before him, a hulking beast of a wolf, standing on all fours. He hoped with all his heart that he was right and Diana was still on the inside of that monster. He didn’t speak, didn’t breathe.

The creature that had taken his wife’s place didn’t seem to notice that he was in the room yet. It had just awakened and was still getting its bearings. The wolf sniffed at the air and looked at the walls. It turned its muscled body towards the door. Cameron couldn’t help but gasp when the thing leaped and slammed its giant body into the steel door, with a loud bang.

Cameron closed his eyes and sighed, when he saw that the door held and the thing that was once his wife couldn’t get free. When his eyes flicked back open he saw that the wolf had found him. She was standing a few feet away, staring at him.

Cameron could feel her hunger. Streams of steaming drool hung from her lupine lips as she snarled, low and deep. Cameron felt more afraid than he ever had in his life, but he still believed in her. He couldn’t breathe or even remember how to try. It felt like there was a huge weight on his chest. His heart was pounding like it didn’t care to wait for him and was ready to burst out of his chest to flee the scene.

The wolf just stared at him. Was it her? Could it really be? Cameron struggled for a breath and he felt like the wolf was watching with a strange sense of curiosity. “I love you,” he said, choking out the words. “I know you’re hungry, so, so hungry, but you’re stronger than that. You can do this.”

He felt a little bit mad trying to communicate with a wolf, but he had to try.

The beast that was Diana stepped forward. Its claws clicked and clacked on the hard stone floor. Cameron swallowed a lump in his throat. His instincts were screaming at him to get free, to get out, to run, but he fought against them. He couldn’t give in to those urges. If he treated her like a monster, that was what she would be. He needed to face her, to see her as his wife, as frightening of a concept as that was. He shook and trembled as the wolf drew near.

The giant animal sniffed the air again and then continued closer and closer still, those crystal blue eyes staring at him so intensely, it was almost painfully hard for Cameron not to look away. Claws scraped stone.

“You can do this,” Cameron said. “It’s not the same body but it’s still your body. It belongs to you. You are in control.”

The hulking beast reached him then. It stretched forward, and put its snarling face right in his. Cameron shuddered. He looked at those teeth and he didn’t need anyone to tell him that they could tear him to pieces in seconds with little to no effort. She was close enough now that he could feel the heat of her lupin breath moistening his cheeks. He could taste it, and sense the way she ached to taste him.

“You’re in control,” he said again, shrinking away from the creature. The wolf just pressed forward matching him. Its wet nose touched his and Cameron shook like he was freezing. He looked down at her at the mere size of her incredible head. He heard the low rumble that came from her. “You’re in control,” he said again quietly.

Tears spilled from Cameron’s eyes and ran down his cheeks as he waited for the wolf to rip his throat out, to grab it in those powerful jaws and tear it free. “I love you, Diana,” he said to the monster. “No matter what, I’ll always love you.”

The wolf pulled away, leaning its head back. It howled loudly and ferociously, the sound echoing off the chamber walls. Cameron felt in that moment like his wife had been right, that the beast and she were two different beings, like he wasn’t going to make it out of there or prove anything to anyone.

After the howl, the wolf’s big head lowered so that it could stare him in the eye once more over its muzzle of jagged razor teeth. Those bright blue eyes met his, and then the best pulled away. It turned from him and padded its way across the room where it turned in a slow circle and laid on the floor against the door.  Cameron found his breath and went slack, losing his legs. He hung there in those chains, exhausted but satisfied. “I knew it,” he said quietly. “I knew it.”

Cameron didn’t know if she would make it the whole night, if she would be able to resist all the way until the sun rose in the morning, but she had shown enough that she would know either way that the beast could be controlled. He slunk down and knelt on the mattress below him, watching the monster by the door that watched him in turn. “I trust you,” he said to her.

The wolf answered by eyeing him with that penetrating gaze. It gave a low snarl that made Cameron jump and tug on his restraints. It was going to be a long night, but it was worth it to Cameron, to prove to his wife that she was stronger than her sickness. The night was young but he believed in her. He believed in love. He believed in tomorrow. He had to.

Cameron startled awake, amazed that he had somehow fallen asleep while sharing space with a monster he couldn’t run from. That monster is your wife, he reminded himself. His heart was racing but when he looked over the wolf was still curled by the door and he sighed with relief at the sight.

This was his plan and Diana had aggressively resisted it because she didn’t trust herself, and that was why Cameron had known it was so necessary. He could still remember the night she was bitten. It was raining and she’d been trying to make it home from work, driving slowly. She had him on speakerphone because the rain was coming down hard and he knew visibility would be terrible. Then she saw the body in the road. Cameron had been asking frequent questions but she answered none of them aside from telling him that she didn’t hit anyone. “But I almost ran them over,” she said next. “They’re just lying face down in the road. I’m going to see if they’re alive. Call for help.”

“I’ll call when you’re back in the car and I know you’re alright.”

“I can call myself, then,” Diana said with obvious irritation. Then a car door slammed and Cameron’s heartbeat matched it. He sat with his phone staring at the window and the rain that hit it so hard he was convinced it would break. He was willing her to return, to be okay. Then he heard her scream and he gasped squeezing his phone. Cameron was asking over and over if she was alright, begging her to tell him what was happening. The phone call disconnected.

When Diana had made it home that night, Cameron was already outside in the deluge waiting on her with no jacket. He ran towards the headlight beams that cut through the rain. He had been about to go looking for her despite not knowing what road she was on or where on that road she was. He couldn’t bear to wait any longer. Then the lights sliced through the downpour and he gasped and ran towards them. He didn’t realize at the time that Diana was injured. Between the wound, the fear, and the rain, she couldn’t see him at all and she hit him with the car, throwing him to the pavement where he blacked out.

It was Cameron that woke up in the hospital bed with broken ribs, a sprained ankle and a concussion. One of the broken ribs had punctured a lung. Diana was sitting next to him holding his hand. “I’m so sorry,” she told him.

Cameron remembered that moment, the confusion, the fear, the headache. He blinked and stared at her, memories of her scream bellowing in his mind. “What happened? What happened to you?” he asked.

She had just stared at him for a moment, her eyes lost in her own memories, her face a mask of fear. “Tell me,” he pleaded. “You said there was a body. I heard you scream. Diana, I need to know.”

She looked around the room to make sure there were no prying ears and then she told him about the wolf. The person in the road was long past dead and they hadn’t been hit by a car. Their throat has been torn away, their blood cascading in a river across the rain-soaked street. Diana heard the growl and looked up to see the animal that had killed the man at her feet.

Even though it was on all fours, the size was intimidating. She could see even in the pouring rain that the animal was bigger than she was. Its golden eyes fixed on her and its lips peeled back in a snarl that showed her the giant jagged teeth lining its enormous jaw. She didn’t hesitate. She ran for the car. Diana had closed the door because of the rain so she had to open it and that split second was enough for the monster to spring forward and grab the meat of her calf with those teeth.

That was the scream Cameron had heard through the phone, the phone she’d reached for and dropped onto the rain-soaked street, ending the call. She knew if she let that creature drag her away she was as dead as the man she almost ran over. “I pulled away, let my own leg tear, to escape. Be glad you didn’t hear the rest of the screams,” she told him.

She got in and slammed the door and hit the gas with her bleeding leg. She screamed in agony as she sped home, losing blood. Then she screamed one last time when Cameron appeared before her and she couldn’t stop in time.

“Let me see your leg,” Cameron said. “They fixed it?”

“They didn’t have to,” Diana said with a frown, her mouth quivering like she was going to cry. “It repaired itself. I don’t know how. I don’t understand anything that happened. I thought I killed you.”

When the day came that she first turned, their physical wounds had all long gone and they were just working to get over the emotional trauma of it all. Cameron hadn’t seen her turn. He had actually thought that the wolf had come back for her. It was a crazy thought but still more rational than what had actually transpired. He looked for her for hours before finding her back at home, naked on the doorstep covered in blood that wasn’t her own.

Diana had been suicidal after that. She told him of her experience and how she had no control. She’d been there but it was like she was watching through the keyhole of a door as the wolf that now owned her had torn someone to pieces, eaten them. She vomited as she recalled the tale. Cameron had simply listened and rubbed her back, put her in the bathtub and helped to clean off the blood.

He knew after that that if she didn’t find a way to control the beast, she was going to die. He was going to lose her and he wasn’t ready to. He knew if there was anyone she would fight for, that she would resist the monster to keep from killing, it was him. That’s when he devised the plan to put himself on a platter for her. She couldn’t escape that room so no one else was in danger and she would learn how to control the wolf instead of being controlled by it. “It’s the only way,” he had said.

“I can’t.” Diana wouldn’t even look at him. “I almost killed you once. I’m not going to finish the job.”

“No, you’re not. That’s the point. You need to see that, to understand your own personal power. You have to trust me.”

“I don’t trust myself.”

“Exactly, and you need to in order to beat this thing. I know you. I trust you. It’s going to work.”

Diana had snarled like the wolf that hid within her then. Cameron made sure not to jump or even flinch. He couldn’t for a single moment show any fear of her. He knew she would run with that and his plan would be trashed. He just frowned and took a slow deep breath to calm his nerves. “You weren’t there, with me, inside the beast,” she told him, the anger still adding an edge to her voice. “You don’t know what it felt like to be trapped inside and watching the violence. If that had been you on the other end…”

Cameron had watched the anger leave her then. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. “It won’t be,” he said quietly. “You won’t let it, but you need that push. Please. Don’t do it because you believe in me, Diana. Have faith in yourself.”

“I just don’t know.”

He had continued working on it until the next full moon, the night the beast in her would rise again. Tonight.

Watching her turn had been agonizing. He could only imagine what it had been like for her to experience. He flinched again just remembering the sound of her breaking bones. She hadn’t killed him though, at least not outright. Now he looked over at the slowly moving body of the resting wolf curled up by the door with sympathy instead of fear. He wished he could walk over and lay with her, wrap his arms around her furry torso. It was probably for his benefit in this instance that the shackles kept him from doing so. Instead he let his body fall relaxed and he allowed himself to doze once more.

This time it was the feeling of being watched that made his eyes flick open. The eye staring directly into his made his breath catch in his chest. He could hear the sniffing nose nearby, and taste the wolf’s sour breath. Cameron knew it had to be hungry, maybe even desperate for a kill. It was no ordinary animal that possessed a human. It was something far more sinister, something demonic.

Cameron was trembling. He could feel the tips of the wolf’s claws dragging over his chest and stomach, gently for the moment, but for how long? Cameron moved his arms slowly, the chains jingling with his effort. He let his hands find the wolf’s soft fur and he let his fingers sink in. He massaged like he would a pet dog. The beast rumbled and Cameron fought not to jerk his hands away.

He spoke calmly and quietly in as soothing a tone as fear would allow him when he said, “You don’t want to hurt me. That’s the last thing you want to do. You know me. You love me, Diana. You love me.”

The wolf jerked out of his grasp then, rising to its full height, almost a foot taller than Diana stood in her human form. It reared back and howled loudly, body rigid with tensed muscles. Then it moved. It was so fast that Cameron wasn’t able to restrain his gasp. It was a blur of fur as the beast’s arm slashed towards him. The claws on its giant paw cut right through one of the chains and dropped Cameron awkwardly to the mattress. He landed on his shoulder strangely and grimaced in pain, but his eyes remained focused on the thing that had been his wife only hours ago. He spoke her name quietly in repetition like a mantra against the terror that gripped him.

The wolf looked down at him and snarled, shaking its head rapidly back and forth like it was trying to tear something only it could see. Then it turned and flew towards the door. The metal creaked and groaned against its weight as they collided. The wolf dove back and charged the door again. It continued to use its own body as a battering ram, howling and snarling wildly as Cameron looked on in horror.

He was beginning to wonder if the door would hold. Finally, the beast relaxed and slumped back to the ground. Cameron couldn’t help but wonder if it was actually trying to escape or if that had been Diana forcing the monster to focus its anger somewhere else. He stood so he could look at the watch on his still shackled wrist. It was 4am. There were only a few hours of night left. When the sun rose, Diana would return to him. We’re gonna make it, he thought. We’re gonna make it.

There was no way, Cameron was going to fall back to sleep so he leaned against the wall and just watched. He watched his wife doing what he knew she was capable of, regaining control, overpowering the animal. After a few minutes, the wolf got back to its feet and it just walked in slow circles. Then it lay back down.

A little while later it was up again. It paced and walked, claws clacking on the ground. Then it lost it and slammed against the door again, over and over just like before. Cameron’s heart ached as he watched this song and dance. Tears filled his eyes. Diana was trying so hard. She was fighting. He loved her with every ounce of himself.

When the wolf relaxed this time there was blood on the door. Cameron cringed at the sight. He hoped she didn’t kill herself trying not to kill him. No. We’re gonna make it, he told himself.

Minutes later, she was up again, pacing and snarling. Cameron wanted to tell her it was okay, to talk her down and tell her to be calm but he knew that she was walking a thin line and just speaking could send her his way in a fury so he bit his tongue. He gritted his teeth as the wolf collided with the door over and over. It was so full of rage and violence.

He sighed when she finally relaxed and fell back to the floor. Silently he pleaded for her assault on the door to be finished. For a while it seemed that it was. Then she rose again and this time she skipped the pacing and just went right at the wall of steel blocking her exit.

The giant animal launched itself at the door again and again, and the bangs echoed through the room. The metal groaned and the bloodstain spread. Cameron couldn’t take it anymore. He screamed, “Stop!”

The animal did as he asked, paused still as can be on its raised-up haunches but hunched over, its back curled like a rainbow. Slowly it turned its head towards him and snarled.

“Please stop,” Cameron pleaded. “Please.”

The wolf showed its impossible speed again when it spun around and launched itself in his direction. Before he even understood what was happening, the other chain was severed and Cameron was collapsing to the mattress below him. He was glad that he made the decision to put it there or he would have hit the ground hard.

Cameron’s ears were filled with the wolf’s roar of unbridled anger. Then it was on him. Its giant paws pinned his shoulders and it stared down into his eyes. Drool poured from those ferocious teeth onto his face. “It’s me,” he said to the snarling monster. “It’s me, Diana. It’s me.”

But Cameron saw no recognition in those predatory eyes, only hunger. The wolf’s tongue emerged and lapped at the air. Its nose moved and jumped as it sniffed at him. Cameron closed his eyes and waited for death.

He heard horrible sounds then. There were roars of hunger and pain, sounds like slabs of meat being dropped out of a bucket onto the floor, furious snapping and crunching, scraping nails on stone, moans and a strange slithering like wet snakes wrestling in a lake of blood. Cameron opened his eyes just as a naked Diana fell upon him. He took a sharp breath.

Diana was unconscious and obviously injured, but she was alive. He could feel the moving of her chest as she breathed above him. The sun had risen and they were both alive. Cameron just wrapped his arms around his wife’s naked form and he held her, so relieved to feel the contours of her flesh and not animal fur. He kissed her bruised swollen forehead. “I knew you could do it,” he whispered. “I knew you would. I knew it.”

Diana’s only response was a quiet snore, her shoulders moving up and down as she slept soundly upon his chest. Cameron took a deep breath and his head fell back to the mattress. One hand rubbed his wife’s back and the other ran gently through her hair as he stared up at the ceiling. “I love you.”

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Chisto Healy
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Chisto Healy

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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