Tell us a little about your novel
JJ: My character, Samantha Reece, is a were-jaguar FBI agent and it’s her job to bring down a serial killer who is targeting shifters. As she’s doing so she finds herself the target of an anti-shifter hate group.
What sets your werewolves apart from the rest of the pack?
JJ: I got to use my zoology degree in this and have fun with it. The were animals in my world were created via viruses in an attempt at creating super soldiers during WWI. They’re only infectious when they’re in the throes of a fever but they don’t lose their humanity when they shift.
If you could shape shift into any animal – what would it be?
JJ: A jaguar or tiger would probably be my druthers. I’m a bit of a loner and both of those cats are solitary.
Tell us something nobody know about you
JJ: I like 70s martial arts flicks. Dubbed or subbed, I love them all. The cheesier, the better.
What’s next for you?
JJ: A ton, thank goodness! I’m working on the second book in the Samantha Reece Mystery series as well as the first book, Hell’s Inc, in a new series (Revelations Mysteries) co-written by myself and Christine Sutton. I’m also reworking the first book in a new series of mine that was the basis for my Bob the Zombie character. Not to mention I have several shorts due out in various anthologies this year and I’m excited about all of them but none moreso than both an upcoming short co-written by Lisa Lane and another co-authored by Armand Rosamilia.
Thank you so much for having me by and I hope you have a howling good day.
Jaime Johnesee lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons. She spent fourteen years as a zookeeper before shifting her focus to writing full time. Widely known for her bestselling horror comedy series, Bob the Zombie, she is currently coauthoring the paranormal horror series, Revelations, as well as working on her Samantha Reece series for Devil Dog Press. You can find out more about Jaime Johnesee at her website: https://www.JaimeJohnesee.com
As well as on:
I lay on my back gasping, as I fought to catch my breath; the stench of the sand dusted ground beneath me filled my senses, a heady mix of sweat and blood so dense that I could almost taste it. Fuck… I opened my eyes, or at least attempted to, the left one wasn’t budging, the swelling sealing it shut. My right opened, but my vision was blurred, everything tinted red. My guess, either my blood or the blood of the other guys, hard to tell.
How the fuck did my life fall so deep into the shitter?
I had been deployed with the guys just a few days ago, some dick had drawn the golden ticket and found himself on the shit list. We had no idea what had put him there, it wasn’t our job to question, it was our job to follow orders. The usual suspects, Bucky, Diggler, along with KT and me, with the addition of a FNG (Fucking New Guy) that the Serg had thrown in, who had hit the ground running. It was his first time out of the cage with us and I gotta say the kid was savage, it was like letting a rabid dog off the leash and watching it tear through a schoolyard at recess. Normally that shit would need to be kept tidy, but orders were it was a free-fire zone, in other words, the only ones to walk away from this would be us, so we just let the kid fly and picked up the strays. It wasn’t a bad day’s work, we were in and out in a few hours and then sat with our asses back on seats and in the air, on our way back to base as it hit 1300 hours. Diggler suggested we hit Gracey’s for a few drinks to wash off the dust, but only me and the FNG could make it. Bucky and KT were out for some reason known to themselves. Their loss.
When we got back, I grabbed a quick shower and changed. Forty minutes later I was at the bar and ordering my first drink while I waited for the others. Gracey’s was off base and on the edge of the town, not many of the locals frequented it, as the clientele was more Hell’s Angels than quiet town’s folk and that suited me to a T. Even better was the fact that since it was so early there was only me and three others in the place. I’d just been served, the guy behind the bar went out back mumbling something about changing a keg so there was only us customers in the room. I’d settled in to wait for the others and was about to put the glass to my lips when I got shoved from behind, my beer splashed out and down over the front of my T-shirt. What the fuck? As I turned to ask what limp dick, jerk-off had just ruined my new Deadpool T, the first punch landed, connecting with my jaw causing my head to snap violently to the side. Son of a bitch!
Anger began to bubble, but I fought to keep my cool, slowly I turned my head to see who had thrown it. Turns out the guys that had been sitting behind me at the table were now standing around me, two of them my height and build and the other was the size of a house, a big muscular bastard.
“Okay, so you don’t like the shirt.” I joked as I looked up into the eyes of the man-mountain standing directly in front of me. Christ this guy was built like a tank. Don’t get me wrong, I ain't no skinny dude that would blow away on a gust of wind. I worked out daily and had muscle Arnie or Stallone would be proud of back in the day, but this guy made the Hulk look like he needed to beef up. I was about to try and talk my way out of whatever it was they thought I had done on them, when the big dude lunged for me, his face twisted and gnarly, his eyes… there was something weird with his eyes. They looked dark brown, almost black, but as he moved forward, the rays of light that shone in from the skylight above showed that his eyes had taken on a fucked up, thick yellow ring round the iris.
Aw shit, great. Dude was jacked up on some shit, that along with the meat jacket he wore meant I was about to put in a hell of a workout.
Maybe his size would slow him down. Ducking to the side, I dodged the next punch and moved just out of his way, giving myself enough time and space to quickly assess the situation. I could try and hold him off until the guys got here, which should be soon, but the way he was acting I’d say shit was about to get real and the party would be over by then. Naw, I never was and never would be anyone’s punching bag, so if it was a fight he wanted, it was a fight he would get.
Balling my hands into fists, I slowly moved around the table between us, but that lasted only a second. With an animalistic snarl, the big bastard gripped it and tossed it to the side like it was nothing, before charging at me again, a deep growl thundering in his chest as he steamed headfirst toward me. Pulling my arm back and with as much force as I could muster, I let my fist fly, the sound of the impact echoed sickeningly as it collided with his jaw. When the contact was made, his head barely moved, but fuck did the skin on my knuckles split. One of the others with the big guy started to laugh which really pissed me off.
“Dude! What the fuck are you made of?” The only thing that I ever hit that was as hard as this guy’s face was the concrete wall in my apartment the night I found out my ex was shacking up with some dick from her work. It was that moment the barman picked to walk back in, he took a quick look at the scene before him and mumbled a low, “Jesus Christ,” before not so subtly trying to back right out again, but he was too late. One of the other men that had been standing by the bar laughing at the prospect of me about to get my shit knocked in, saw him and after placing one hand on the counter, bounded over and cleared it in one jump, catching the poor SOB off guard. He didn’t have time to take a breath, let alone run, the meathead grabbed him by the throat and I watched in horror as his grip tightened, fingers puncturing the bare flesh causing blood to weep out. The asshole then turned to me while holding the barman, with a weird fucked up grin on his face, he moved like lightening, his free hand shot forward and punctured the poor guy’s abdomen. His squeals filled the room as he looked at the bastard holding him, fear, panic, and pain shrouded his features all in a matter of seconds. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the guy and neither could I, even though the big dude could make a go for me at any time. With horrid fascination I watched while the bar dude wriggled as his attacker pushed further into his gut, wrist deep then elbow deep. All the while the fucked up piece of shit kept his eyes on me as if gauging my response, his laugh which started low and skittish now growing manic. As blood coated the ground around his feet, turning the light wooden colored floor a dark red as it spread, the barman took a last agonizing breath before his heart was ripped violently from him and his body was let go and left to fall in a heap where it landed. His attacker stood, arm coated in the guy’s blood and holding his heart, all pleased with himself. He held it out to me with a dumb smirk before that eerie fucked up laugh filled the room once more, only silenced as he savagely ripped into the still warm organ, his teeth ripping and tearing at it, his face now like the rest of him coated in the dead guy's blood, his eyes now showing the same luminous gold rings in them.
What the actual god damn fuck was going on here? I needed to shake the shock of it off and quick, because these bastards were fucked up in the head and I wasn’t gonna be like that sad fuck in a pool of his own blood.
“Hey, Colossus? Professor X called, he needs you back at the Mansion.” I just managed to get that quip out as he pulled back and let fly with another punch. Thank fuck this time I saw it coming so I was able to dodge it. His fist impacted with the column behind me, taking a large chunk of mortar out of it, causing a small cloud of dust to rise and fall. I was about to make my move and take a swipe at the mutant when I sensed someone behind me. I was too slow to react and some sort of sack was pulled over my head, then milliseconds later I felt an immense weight hit me square on the back knocking me against the bar beside the bloody mess that lay on the floor. I felt the weight of someone pinning me down.
“Don’t struggle, there’s no point,” a gruff voice rasped by my ear.
Fuck that shit. I tried to force myself back, but a massive rough hand gripped the back of my neck and pinned me to the bar, while another pair of hands seized my wrists and pulled them up my back long enough for a cable tie to be slapped and secured around them, the coarse plastic biting at my skin as I fought against the tight restraint. I needed to keep my wits about me, if I was to get out of this fucked up situation I needed to use my head.
“You’re gonna want to let this shit go, my buddies will be here any minute and if they walk in on this, shit will get messy. Whatever you fucking think I did that is bugging ya, spit it out.” I didn’t think they would go for it, but I had to give it one last try. Whatever the deal was with these guys they weren’t gonna just drop it. I had been on many missions and it was always covert so no one should know who I was or the shit I had done.
We had always been told in training that the name of the game was control, control your thoughts, your emotions and your opinions, but right now with this bag now tied around my head and the air I breathed getting warm and dense, all I could think of was fuck control. I had given up trying to see anything through the sack and it pretty much screwed with my sense of smell too, because all I could get was the rancid scent of whatever the fuck was stored in this thing before my head. Touch was gone with my hands secured behind me, unless you included my face squashed against the wooden bar top, all that left me was sound and in the few short minutes I had been pinned here, I had been able to work out that as well as the guy holding me in place there were on estimation two others in the room.
“What the fuc..?” Anything I was gonna say was cut short as I felt a searing pain in my shoulder, right between my neck and the top of my arm, I could feel my skin tear open as one of these bastards sank their teeth into the flesh. I couldn’t help but let out a roar as I felt the teeth sink deeper into sinew and muscle. All of a sudden the pain turned into a blistering heat and the sensation of what felt like lava being poured into the wound. It felt like it was scorching though my veins and working its way down my shoulder into my chest. I began to break out into a cold sweat as I quickly approached my pain threshold, which had never happened before. I’d been shot in combat, stabbed and even tortured once when I had been caught south of the border while on a job I took to get a bit of extra cash. While scouting a big drug kingpin I’d been captured, but I had never felt ungodly pain like this, ever. I could feel my knees begin to buckle, good thing someone was holding me in place or I would definitely be on the ground and as hard as I fought to hold onto consciousness, the pain was chipping away at my efforts. Each second that passed, brought me closer to darkness until I eventually passed out, with one thought in my head… where the fuck are Diggler and FNG?
I couldn’t be sure how long I was out, it could have been hours or days when I first came to, it was hard to tell. I’d woken with a blinding headache and placing my hands on the ground as I pushed myself up to a sitting position made my head swim. Turning to look around the place, I could see hardly a thing, my vision was blurry and all I could make out was that I was in some sort of cage, with metal bars for walls. The coldness of the concrete floor under me had made my movements stiff.
“Don’t stress it friend, your vision will clear in a short while, after that you will get a better view of the place.” My head shot round, following the sound of the deep male voice. Squinting, I tried to focus, but I could only make out the outline of someone in what appeared to be another cage beside mine.
“Where the fuck am I?” Had we fucked up and left someone alive on our last mission and this was the result? Had my screwing around with the Serg’s wife got my ass whipped and set up here for some payback? I knew the Serg was a sick son of a bitch, his wife had the cigarette burns all over her body to prove it, but was he that fucked off enough to pull this shit.
I mean, let’s face it he was sticking it to half the females on the base, why the fuck would he care? Bruised ego?
A quiet laugh filtered through to me from the other holding cage.
“Friend, you is in hell and if this ain’t it then I sure as fuck don’t know what is. You’re a dog solider now man.” Again he laughed, though judging by his tone when he had spoken it wasn’t through humor. “Don’t sweat it though, they won’t touch you for another day yet, takes a while for that shit to take hold and although you are able to fight now, your strength will be up and down until it fully infiltrates your system.”
Was I hearing right, or had that punch from Colossus caused brain shake?
“What the fuck are you talking about? Dog soldiers?”
He scoffed at the obvious disbelief in my voice. I shuffled across the floor and positioned myself at the back of the cage so that I could rest against the wall, its coolness refreshing against the heat of my skin. My vision was quickly beginning to clear and I could now see what looked like a large room, the side facing me lined left to right with cages, some of them seemed occupied others empty. There was one door into the room and no windows. Looking to my left, then my right, I confirmed a suspicion that this side of the room was pretty much the same. Turning my head back in the direction of where the voice had come from, through the bars I could see a guy about late twenties, with dark brown hair that appeared matted and dirty. He had the sharpest, piercing green eyes, I had ever seen. He was watching something across the way which gave me the opportunity to look at him and get more info on who he was. He had sharp chiseled features and although the room was dark I could still see that he was gaunt, he had dark rings under his eyes and the dude looked like shit.
“You, it’s what you are now. Well, when they need you to be, other times you’ll be entertainment and something for them to make money on.”
This guy was off his meds, and I needed to get the hell away from him and this shithole. He laughed again and I have to say I was finding that real fucking annoying, but he continued, “Let me take a stab in the dark here, you my friend are, or should I say were, in the army. Hmmm, let’s see, they never go below Corporal and going by the ink on your shoulder I’d say Special Forces.” He let out a long, low whistle, “Fuckers picked a good one this time, huh.” Stupidly enough, it wasn’t until he pointed out my tattoo that I realized I was stripped to the waist and although this place looked dark and cold I couldn’t feel it, as a matter of fact it felt quite warm.
With my vision almost clear, I threw a quick eye over what I could of my body and as I did, the memory of being bitten came flooding back causing me to whip around and spring to my feet, as my hand reached up and over where it had been. I was sure I’d find a lump of flesh missing and possibly blood along with god knows what else, but after gingerly feeling over the area I quickly realized there was nothing there, the bite was gone. Running my finger over the section again, I pressed my fingers on it, then frowned, I could feel two rows of swollen flesh, like a scar of sorts where the bite would have been and it sure as fuck hadn’t been there before.
“You didn’t answer my question, where the fuck are we?”
“No, I didn’t, did I? If you are looking for the bite mark, expecting blood and bits of skin and shit missing, then sorry friend you’re gonna be disappointed. The wound heals quickly or should I say you now heal quickly, in a day or so that slight scarring on your shoulder will be gone too. This crap has its advantages, few of them true, but they’re there still.” He turned to face me and it was then that I caught a glimpse of a yellow halo around the iris of his eye. He was one of them!
I lunged forward, my arms sliding through the rails as I reached for him, my face pressed against the metal bars as I fought to reach him, “You are one of them!”
He didn’t move, didn’t even flinch, he just sat watching me.
“Dude, you need to chill or they will come in and taze your ass. Yes, I’m one of them and like I said, so are you. Now I know you’re a smart guy, they aren’t bottom feeders, these guys only go for the cream of the crop, so if you want to get through this then you need to stay smart and one way to do that is to sit back, shut the fuck up and listen.” He jerked his head towards the wall and indicated for me to move back.
I did as he suggested, but not because he asked, but because I wanted to find out what was going on. “Right talk, what exactly do you know.”
He shrugged and made a face, “Well, first off, you are here because someone you know has sold your ass to them, you have fucked someone off enough for them to want you gone, but they only would have agreed if they thought you were worth the effort. Next they will be looking for next of kin whether that be wife, kids, parents or siblings and as soon as they find them, they will take them out, whoever took the offer not only condemned you, but your family too. You are their commodity now and they won’t risk someone looking for you. They’ll make it look like you did it, disgrace your name so that not even the military will want their hands dirtied by you.”
I had no kin, the only person I had was my ex, and even then I didn’t have that. I was trailed around foster home after foster home until I hit eighteen. By then, I had nowhere to go other than into the military, I had always wanted that sense of family, craved it and after signing up it was the first time I had felt it.
“They will keep you here and use you in the pits for a while and if you survive that then you will be taken up to the next level, that’s where I hear the real fun starts. They start fucking with your head until you are like the assholes that brought you in. Down here in the pits you are nothing more than a dog to them, up there if you make it out of here you become one of them, a dog solider.”
A few days passed, at least going by the lights on and lights off crap, and as that went on, I sat and watched everything that played out around me. Feeding happened three times a day, which was signaled by the sound of a bell ringing, what I guessed was breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though it was hard to tell seeing as it was the same shit at each serving. Every other day four guys would be taken from their cages, some would go peacefully without a struggle, these my talkative neighbor called sensible. The ones that kicked up a fuss would be tasered until unconscious with what looked like cattle prods that were juiced up with major voltage. When the door opened again, hours later, only one of the four would be returned, usually covered in blood and slashes along with what looked like bites. They would be tossed into their cage once more and left there.
A day later, three fresh faces were brought in and put into the cages the others once occupied. Each day would pass just like the day before, but I was beginning to pick up on more the longer I was here. My sight was beyond 50/50, I could see better than ever, especially in the dark and as for my hearing, fuck I could hear a flea fart from a mile away it was so sharp. I’d just wakened when the bell went, and like clockwork in came two guys pushing a cart stacked with trays and a massive pot of what I could only assume was the usual shit. One by one, they went around us, serving food on a tray and slipping it through a well-crafted trap in the cage door. It may not have been a steak or good ole home cooking but it was food, barely. I watched as the guy that had been brought in the same day as me had been bypassed. He called out to the goons that were giving us our food, but they ignored him. In the end, everyone in the room had been fed with the exception of four and I was one of them, as was Mr Talkative. “Hey Asshole! You missed mine!” I called after them, but other than a deep chuckle, they didn’t react.
“No point, looks like we are next.” The voice to the side of me cut in, “Haven’t you noticed the way shit happens here?” He shook his head and smirked as if he was the holder of some great secret, “Those that don’t get fed are the ones that are taken out later to the pits.” He moved back and away from the bars and settled on the ground, “I would advise you to rest, you are gonna need every piece of strength you have to get through this… at some point it could come down to a fight between us. I don’t want to hurt you, but I will bud if that’s what it takes to get out of this hell hole.”
I was the last, they had taken the guy next to me, a while back, unlike most he went quietly no struggle, no fight just walked out beside them. As he passed my cage, he glanced in, “Good luck, you’ll need it.” Then he was gone.
The others, the ones that had been here before I had gotten the pleasure, began to mumble, “Hey you! Best you bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.”
My head whipped to the left and I glared down at the guy three cages away.
“What the fuck is your problem dude?” There was always one that no matter how crappy the situation was, they still had to be a dick.
“Just saying, looks like there is gonna be three new faces in here over the next day or two cause only one of you is coming back tonight and hate to tell ya, but it ain’t gonna be you.”
I could feel my muscles tense up as my temper rose, the urge to rip that ignorant fuck’s throat out, was blinding.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever dickhead.”
He threw his head back and full hearted belly laughed. “I ain’t got nothing against you bro, don’t need to be so wired. I’ve been watching you and him, getting all chatty and shit, not once did he tell you that he’s been in the pit, hell he’s the longest here. That means that there have been a lot of guys like you taken down by him. He’s the best in here… you? You are just a rung on the ladder he’s gonna step on to get the fuck out of this shithole. So, like I said, kiss that ass goodbye.”
Jesus fucking Christ! If that wasn’t the biggest shocker, I don’t know what was, I was beginning to trust the guy and all along he was most likely noting my reactions, how I behaved and all that stuff I should have been doing. He had given me a clue, he said that no one in here was a civilian, everyone one was military, which meant that we all had training in surveillance and I had dropped the ball on that shit. I had no time to stew over it though, as the door opened and in came the big dude that had brought me in.
“You,” he pointed at me as he approached, “Your turn, now you gonna behave or am I gonna get the pleasure of beating your ass all the way?”
If what the dude in the corner said was right then I needed to keep my energy, no point wasting it on this piece of shit. I pushed myself up off the floor and moved to the door, I could already feel the adrenaline pumping, and as much as I would love to knock this SOB on his ass, I wouldn’t.
“Shut the fuck up and just get me to where I need to be.” I smirked as he bristled, gotta get your kicks when you can.
I had hoped for some sort way to escape, but there were none. When we left the large room we were all held in, we crossed the hall and walking in through another door that was guarded by two dudes like the mountain beside me. When we went through the door it was shut behind us and the place was in darkness. It took just a second, it was like someone had flipped a switch and the room lit up, I had built in night vision. How handy that would have been out on assignment. I turned to make a witty remark to Colossus and found that he wasn’t there, I was alone. Turning slowly around, my eyes narrowed as my brain went into overdrive attempting to process what was at play here, what I could do and as I turned to the left, over my shoulder up on the wall by the door there was a small red dot, a camera. “Seriously man? Fucking Houdini now?”
“Quit your yapping asshole, walk down to the bottom of the hall and wait, a door will open, when it does it’s party time and I get to watch as you get your throat ripped out. Now… move!” The voice echoed down the hallway and by his tone of voice I could tell the bastard was convinced that I was about to do the ‘dead man walking’ routine.
All this time, deep inside my rage was on a low boil, my training had slid to the wayside when I had first gotten here, I wasn’t gonna make that mistake again. If I lost my shit here, I would waste energy and that was precious right now, no I had to keep a lid on it. Instead of reacting I took a deep breath and took one step, then another and another until I had gone as far as I physically could. The hallway was narrow and long, the ceiling and walls sloping into each other to give a tunnel effect. As I approached the end, I could hear a din grow from a low hum to an audible hiss of sound. I couldn’t make out distinct words, but I could tell it was people talking, shouting, lots of them. Taking another deep breath I swallowed thickly as I heard the clank of a lock being lifted on the door… I guess it was show time.
The door began to lift and as it did, light cut a sharp angle into the darkness I had been standing in and crept its way up over me. As it did, the dull noises I had heard moments before became a thundering roar. There were cheers and jeers, men and women alike were there and both as vocal as the other. It wasn’t until the door was fully lifted that I could get a clear view at the carnage in front of me. My years of training and military service, doing what I do, could never have prepared me for this, and I had seen some fucked up shit in my time.
I took a few steps into the circular walled pit, my eyes devouring the sight before me, my mind processing the image it was seeing while behind me the metallic swish of the door being dropped and the thud of it hitting the ground shook me out of my head and into what was gonna go down. They weren’t kidding when they called it a pit, it wasn’t that big, maybe twenty feet or so in diameter, rimmed with concrete walls. I tilted my head back and let my eyes travel the height of it until above me, I could see faces. There were about thirty to forty all gawping over and the fuckers were all yelling and cheering. I let my gaze drop and once again take in the carnage before me, body parts lay strewn around the sand and sawdust covered ground, patches of dark red soaked into it in places. As my eyes drank it all in, I picked out the head of one of the guys that had been taken out first, at least at best guess I would say it was him, going on the carrot red hair now matted in blood and brain matter, because there was fuck all left of the guy’s face. It looked like it had been slashed repeatedly until it was just mush, but that wasn’t his only issue, he was missing an arm, a bloody stump was all that was showing and the blood. Jesus the blood around him was unreal. Suddenly there was movement to the left of me, I turned and there was the other guy, again on his back, his face sprayed with blood, the look of sheer terror on his face which was now a mask of his last moments. His throat was ripped out, shreds of skin and shit hung from it and there hunched over him, hands, sunken into his torn open chest cavity, ripping and tearing at what was inside until they found what they were looking for. Turning slowly with the guy’s heart in his hand was my cage buddy, the first person I had spoken to when I got to this god forsaken shithole.
“Sorry buddy, I had hoped that it would be a while before this would have to go down. I kinda liked you, but…” he lifted the guy’s heart to his mouth and bit into it, as he did, blood ooze and bubbled from the torn arteries that had once pumped life into the guy now in a bloody mess on the ground, “It’s dog eat dog here, literally, and if it’s not you, it’s me and we both know that ain’t gonna happen.”
He took one more chunk out of the thing he held, before letting it drop over his shoulder where ironically, it fell into the cavity it came from. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand his lips pulled into a sly grin, “You know how some tribes would eat the heart of their aggressors after they had slain them, they believed that they gained their strength?” He jerked his head to the guy behind him, “For us it’s not lore, it’s not myth. For us, it feeds the beast and gives us strength.”
Jeers from the crowd above broke his attention and he roared, not the sound of a man but the sound of a predator and it caused those gathered to fill the place with cheers and shouts of ‘Fucking kill him!’ and ‘Gut the bastard’.
“You know I won’t go down easy right?” I knew that the longer we stood here talking the better he would be at working me out. This bitch had never seen me fight, he had never seen what I was capable of, but he was going to. To the glee of the crowd, I launched myself at him catching him off guard, guessing that given the state of the others on the ground that to do damage he had to be up close and personal. I had to be sure that after delivering each strike that I got out of swiping range. My kick to his torso knocked him back and he stumbled a few steps almost tripping over his last victory. His head whipped up to show the unadulterated rage embedded on his face, his brows were drawn and lips pulled back in a snarl, it was then I noticed the teeth. They were pointed, all of them, like daggers ready for ripping at flesh and they still had the smear of blood on them from his last snack.
He got the memo, talking was over, it was time for me to take the title from this bastard. I kept my eyes on him as he crouched, his hands fisted and bracing his weight readying to launch himself, he didn’t hesitate, moments later he came at me. I had never seen speed like it, but I managed to dodge him and as he passed, I instinctively clawed at him. My fingers ripped into the skin on his back and he roared out in what I would say was a mix of pain and wounded ego. First blood was mine. We fought until my body ached, but I couldn’t stop, if I stopped I died and if I died I wouldn’t get out of this fucked up place and hunt the bastard that put me here. The freaks above were screaming down at us, baying for blood. Who’s? They didn’t care, they just wanted it spilled. I took my eyes off him for a split second to glance up and paid for it. I felt razor sharp nails slice across my face, one just missing my eye as I instinctively pulled away. That was followed quickly by a swiping blow to my gut forcing me to stumble back and out of his way. We were both tired, but both wanting to live, that was as good as an incentive as any to carry on.
I was covered in slashes and knew the amount of blood loss was bad, due to the feeling of weakness that was beginning to wash over me. One of my eyes was swollen so much that it was like looking through a slit, my body covered in blood, a union of his and mine. Looking over at him, my mind having tuned out the crowds above after that last attack, all there was in this world was me and him. He was panting as much as I was, I guess he underestimated his new friend and that had cost him. I had torn a lump from his chest and had slashed where I could in the frenzied attacks. We were Even Steven’s now, it could go either way, but I needed to make the scales tip in my favor.
When I had hit the deck the moments before, I fisted a handful of blood soaked mix and as he came charging at me once more, I waited until he was close enough and threw it, blinding him and in that moment taking my chance to end it. His hands went to his eyes as mine shot out, my fingers puncturing his chest, fracturing bone. I pushed further as the shock pinned him, my hand finding its prize and as I had watched the dude at the bar days ago, I found myself mirroring his actions.
“Time to relinquish the title bro.” And with that, his beating heart in my hand I watched his face whilst I ripped it from his body. I had never been a religious man, more a believer of luck but someone was watching over me because had I not used that moment to make my move and had he not fucked up then, I would be the one about to die, not him. His eyes widened and I watched as with his last gasp of breath, his life slipped ungraciously away. That was it, the last of my energy spent I sank to my knees before falling forward, the pits surroundings began to dim and darkness quickly swallowed me.
Tell us a little about your novel
Masked is a paranormal thriller/romance that keeps you guessing right to the very end.
As one of the top female data security specialists in the U.S., Parker Johnson has just learnt of a deadly link between a rash of werewolf deaths from an unknown virus, and their addiction to a drug, Wildfire. This genetically engineered virus is selectively destroying the werewolf race at an alarming pace. Things escalate when humans begin to fall prey to the same illness. With the potential for widespread destruction, Parker will have to track down the killers behind the lethal drug and put a stop to its production, before it rages well beyond her control.
With Wildfire being distributed online, Parker’s challenging task is now impossible to tackle alone. Partnered with Daniel Locke - the cold and calculating Alpha Commander responsible for the security and protection of werewolves - the two soon learn the of the drug’s true purpose: to eliminate all non-pure weres and any human with the dormant ‘wolf’ gene. For Parker, with a family member falling into the non-pure category, the hunt is uniquely personal. But for Daniel and Parker, the fight seems unsurmountable when they realize that Wildfire has been combined with synthetic caffeine and is now a key ingredient in commonly produced supermarket foods. It is a race against the clock for this unlikely couple as they attempt to save an unsuspecting public from a massive Ebola-like outbreak while at the same time contend with a mutual attraction that refuses to be silenced.
What sets your werewolves apart from the rest of the pack?
That’s a tough question. I think the Masked werewolves are different because they’re facing the same sort of insecurities and problems that many minorities face today. Humans aren’t aware of their existence so it’s the status quo they are fighting to preserve.
I believe in the old adage; write a story you would like to read. As such, Masked is targeted at an older audience, and the feedback to date has blown me away. I hadn’t realized the limited number of shifter/werewolf stories targeted at the adult market that provided not only a romantic component, but also one with a gritty story line that kept them guessing.
With Masked now been featured on Wattpad, I was also pleasantly surprised at the number of younger readers (13-18) who are devouring the story.
If you could shape shift into any animal – what would it be?
That’s easy. A wolf ;-)
Tell us something nobody knows about you
Goodness… Let me see. I live in New Zealand with my husband and two children. I have … check that … had a piece of the Berlin wall but lost it. I hate the color pink with a vengeance and I have a thing for Louboutin’s, but have never owned a pair. Oh, and did I mention I hate the color pink??
What’s next for you?
The next few months are going to be busy. I finished the second book in the Masked series in January and will need to start the long editing process. At the same time, I’ll be working on the first draft of the third story, Evolution, which will be posted directly to Wattpad as I go. It will be a bit of a juggling act, but with any luck I’ll be able to achieve both goals.
I will also be looking to get Masked published, whether it be through the traditional channels or self-publish we’ll just have to wait and see.
I didn't see the other car in time. One minute I was driving along Creek Road, on the outskirts of town, and the next I was blinded by headlights as another car T boned my own.
My body jerked wildly as I was thrown against the door. My head struck the window, cracking the glass. Pain ripped through my temple, but there was no time to wonder how bad it was, as my car crashed through the guardrail. Then it started to roll. I screamed as the car fell down the cliff, the seatbelt holding me in my seat, but it didn't stop the glass raining down on me or the twisted metal and debris as it cut into my flesh.
The car crashed down, landing on the roof and I blacked out.
When I opened my eyes, I found myself hanging upside down, the seatbelt cutting into me.
“Uhh, h-help!” I choked. My whole body was in agony, I needed to get out of here.
Fumbling for the release, I managed to get the seatbelt open. I thumped down onto the roof, striking my face in the process. The pain caused my vision to blur, as my stomach heaved.
I gripped the edge of the roof and dragged myself forward. My skin began to stretch and tighten.
“Oh, God, not here. Not now.”
I rolled onto my back and squeezed my eyes shut, trying to will the change to stop. But there was no stopping it, my injuries must be severe and the wolf knew that the only way to heal was to shift.
“Please, please, please,” I whispered. I couldn't let anyone see me like that.
When the bones in my back began to pop, I knew it was too late. It was happening whether I wanted it or not. I drifted away as the wolf took over.
When I became aware again, I was no longer in the car. I was scrabbling in the dirt, almost at the top of the cliff. My claws retracted as I returned to my human form and I almost lost my grip. Finding a small ledge, I stopped to rest on it.
Glancing up, I could see that the top was only about three feet above me. The sound of ragged breathing reached me. Craning my neck, I realized I wasn't alone. Standing on the cliff top, in a long white ball gown was Crystal Jones, from my English class at school.
Judging from the terrified look on her face, it was clear that she had seen me change. Using what little strength I had left, I pulled myself up to the top of the cliff, pain coursing through me from the effort.
Behind Crystal, sat her white jeep. The front end was badly dented, like she had hit something with her car.
I looked up at her, “You?”
She turned and fled.
Rolling onto the road, I tried to call out to her, but couldn't. While the shift had healed most of my broken bones, I was still injured. And naked.
How the hell was I going to get home?
There was a squeal of tires as Crystal drove away. I couldn't wait around for her to return with the cops, I needed to get moving. Getting to my feet, I groaned as my body screamed in protest. Everything hurt so much.
I took a step forward, then another to begin the long walk home.
Oh God, what have I done? Why did I drink tonight? I’m going to go to jail.
My mind was so flooded with thoughts, I could barely focus on the road. I hit that car. Jax Howell, from school, he was the one behind the wheel. When it went over, I was sure he was dead. And then that…thing crawled out.
I shook my head wildly, no. It didn’t happen. It was the drink and the shock and maybe I hit my head when I crashed. That just didn’t happen.
This was all Stephen’s fault. How could he dump me at the Spring Formal? Then ten minutes later he was making out with that bitch Roxy? That’s why I knocked back that vodka. That’s why I didn’t see Jax’s car until it was too late.
What if he dies? You’ll go to jail for murder?
I slammed on the brakes, then practically fell out of the car to vomit in the road. Once I had emptied my stomach, I leaned back against the car, trying to control my breathing.
I wrapped my arms around my knees, praying this was all a dream. I’d ruined my whole life. How could I be so stupid? I was the responsible one. Student body president, homecoming committee, I even volunteered to feed the homeless last summer. Now it was all gone. My parents were going to kill me. Forget about college and everything that came after.
It was quiet out here. Creek Road was right on the outskirts of town, beyond it were farmhouses and fields. Obviously no one had heard the crash or the police would be all over this place by now.
I should turn myself in. Maybe they will go easy on me.
There was a tear in my dress, a strip of fabric was hanging off the bottom of it. I must have caught it in the car door when I left school. Figures. I spent months picking the perfect dress and now it was destroyed.
I don’t know how long I sat there, but when I looked up, I saw someone walking toward me. The road was lit by a street lamp and when he passed under it, I gasped. It was Jax. He was limping badly and completely naked. I kept my gaze firmly fixed on his face.
Getting to my feet, I didn’t know whether to run or help him. What I saw had to have been a hallucination or brain trauma. Such things weren’t possible.
He stopped walking, squinting at me in the dark.
“You bitch. You hit my damn car,” he said, a wheeze evident.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to,” I said, backing away.
“You’re going to leave me here!” he snapped.
I stopped, “No. I…”
If I left him here and he collapsed and died then I was screwed. He was alive, I had to focus on that. Maybe I could convince him not to press charges.
Hurrying to the trunk, I pulled out a blanket and tossed it to him. He wrapped it around his shoulders.
“I’ll drive you home, or to the hospital,” I said.
“No. Just home.” He got into the car.
Taking a deep breath, I got behind the wheel. Maybe I would get out of this after all.
Starting the car, I glanced over at him. There was a huge gash on his cheek. He must be in a lot of pain.
“Maybe you should get a doctor to take a look at you.”
“It'll be fine. My mother can check me over.”
“Oh, yes, she's a nurse, isn't she?” I didn't really know him, but his mother treated me last year when I slipped and cut my arm on some glass. She was quite stern looking and feeling nervous I tried to make conversation with her. I mentioned my school and she told me that Jax was her son.
Jax sniffed the air, “Have you been drinking?”
Gripping the wheel, I said, “I had a drink yes. But…”
“That's why you hit me? You're drunk!”
“Trust me, I'm not anymore. Watching a car roll down a cliff sobers you up real quick.”
“This keeps getting better and better. I thought you were supposed to be one of those goody-goodies who never breaks the rules? Walking around like you own the school and you're just as fucked up as everyone else.”
“I'm sorry, okay, my boyfriend dumped me and I was upset. I wasn't thinking clearly. I didn't mean to hit you.”
“Whatever. You're lucky you aren't going to jail.”
My breath caught in my throat, “I really am sorry. Please don't call the cops. I'll do anything.”
The tears started and Jax turned away to look out the window. “Right now, I just want to get some sleep. I don't know what I'm going to do.”
“I am sorry, Jax.”
He shook his head, sighing angrily.
“I'll get you home. Where do you live?”
He reeled off the address and I started driving. I needed to convince him not to call the cops. Whatever it took. I had money. My grandmother left me some in her will. I could replace his car for him and we could forget the whole thing.
“Wait. Stop the car,” Jax said.
I pulled over to the side of the road, “What's wrong?”
“If I go home like this and my mother finds out what you did. She'll…”
“Have me arrested,” I finished.
“No. I'm her only son, you nearly killed me. She isn't going to call the police, she's going to tear you apart.”
He gave me a look to suggest I was stupid.
“You saw what happened back there, right? When I got out of the car?”
I shook my head, “I was in shock. I was seeing things.”
“Really? And did you see me change from a large wolf, back into a human?”
“That didn't happen,” I said. It wasn't real. It couldn't be.
“Shit, you've either had way too much to drink or you are in serious denial.”
I stared out through the windshield, feeling as though I was going to hyperventilate. He changed into an animal. Oh, God.
“What are you?” I whispered.
He was silent for several minutes, then he finally said, “A werewolf. My mom too. If she figures out what happened, she will come after you.”
“So don't tell her,” I cried.
“I'm in your car, your scent is all over me. It won't take her long to track you down.”
“Oh, God. This can't be happening. Maybe I deserve to go to jail, but I don't deserve to die. It was an accident.”
“Calm down. Look if I can get some sleep, my body will heal. Then she won't know.”
“What about your car?”
“I'll think of something. But I need to rest.”
“Okay, you can sleep at my house. My parents are gone until tomorrow. My brother left some clothes behind when he left for college. You heal and we don't ever have to tell her. Right?”
I started the car and drove to my house.
Crystal was a complete wreck. How much denial could a person be in that they couldn't even admit to themselves when they saw something supernatural? But I guess it made sense. Who would want to believe in such a thing? It was why people like me and my mom stayed hidden.
Everything was so messed up, but I couldn't focus on it right now. I needed to rest and heal. I didn't owe Crystal anything, but I wasn't sure that I could call the cops on her. It was an accident, but that didn't excuse her behavior.
Whatever, I could deal with it tomorrow.
Crystal lived in a huge house, surrounded by a six foot wall and wrought iron gates. She had money or rather her parents did. They could probably buy her a new car for every day of the week, while I scrimped and saved for nearly a year to afford mine.
She parked the car in the garage and led me inside. She disappeared into one of the rooms, while I took in the huge living room with the fifty-inch plasma on the wall.
She returned with a t-shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms. She turned away while I put them on, every move agony.
“Will the couch be okay?” She asked.
I nodded, it was fine. Once she had made it up with sheets and a pillow, I collapsed onto it. It was a relief to lie down.
“You sleep then. If you need anything just yell. Do you need anything?”
“No,” I muttered.
She seemed relieved to leave the room. I didn’t blame her, it wasn’t every day you had a sleepover with a werewolf.
Settling on the couch, I closed my eyes, feeling exhaustion wash over me. I was asleep in seconds.
I woke up several hours later, feeling that familiar sensation again along with a sharp pain in my right lung. Doubling over, I tried to stop it from happening. There must be some kind of internal bleeding.
Dropping to my knees on the carpet, I fought with every inch of my being to prevent the change. I looked around desperately for somewhere to go. The only place was the back yard on the other side of the French doors. They would never keep me out, but maybe if I was outside I would run off rather than attack Crystal.
I ran, hunched over out through the doors. I made it to the middle of the yard before I collapsed. Before I lost myself to the wolf, I realized the flaw in my plan. The house was surrounded by a wall. I couldn’t get out.
I couldn’t sleep. How could I with a werewolf twenty feet from me?
My brain was still having a hard time with that one. Jax always seemed so normal. He was smart, quiet, but…normal. You would never know what lay beneath the surface.
This was a bad idea, bringing him here. What was I thinking? He said his mother was dangerous, but what if he was lying to get in here?
Shit, shit, shit.
I got up and double checked that my door was locked, then I dragged my dresser in front of it. So far there hadn’t been a peep out of Jax. Maybe I should tell him to leave and take my chances? Then I could call the police.
No, I can’t call the police.
I was trapped whatever way you looked at it and there was no way I would be able to convince the police about Jax or anything else.
Just wait it out until morning, then this will all be over.
Unable to settle, I walked around the room. As I passed the window I saw a dark shadow outside in the yard. I moved to the window, pulling the blinds aside to look outside. The moon lit up the yard, as did the solar lights lining the flower beds. A large dark mass was pacing the yard, as if searching for something.
My heart in my throat, I backed away from the window. It was Jax. He had changed again and he was trapped in my yard. Panicked, I switched the lamp off by my bed. I knew it was a mistake when I heard a growl close to the window. The light going off had attracted its attention.
Sinking to the floor, I searched for a place to hide. Under the bed seemed too obvious and it wouldn’t protect me. I crawled to the closet in the corner. There was no lock, but having the door between me and it, made me feel marginally safer. Besides could it work a door knob with claws? An image of those claws sinking into my flesh filled my mind. I started to hyperventilate.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up on the floor of the closet. I must have passed out. How much time had passed?
Getting to my feet, I reached for the door knob. A loud crash made me back away. It wasn’t the closet door, it was the bedroom door. It had broken in, taking out the dresser in the process.
Pressing myself against the wall, I tried to make myself as small as possible. It was going to find me. My breath was coming in short bursts, I needed to get it under control or I would pass out again. Maybe that would be a good thing, then I wouldn’t be aware when it attacked. The thought sent a flood of adrenaline through me. No, I wasn’t going to die here.
Feeling the floor around me, my hand closed around a shoe. It was a stiletto and the only weapon I had. I just needed one good shot, then I would run.
I realized that there was silence on the other side of the door. It had gotten in, but now there was no noise. Was it waiting, trying to lure me out? Or maybe when it crashed through the door, it knocked itself out? I couldn’t hope for that.
I put my ear to the door to listen. There was no growling or movement from the other side, although it was hard to hear anything over my pounding heart.
Time passed, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to move, to get out the damn closet. My hand trembling, I opened the door slowly, bracing myself.
In the dim light, I could see the dresser lying on the floor, smashed to pieces. The door was in a similar state. There was no sign of Jax. Now if I could get to the front door, I could make a run for it.
My bare foot came down on a piece of broken wood. I bit my lip hard to stop myself from crying out. Lifting my leg, I pulled a three inch splinter out of my foot. If I didn’t get out of this house, I would have a lot more to worry about than a simple splinter.
I spun to find Jax crouched in the corner of the room, back in his human form.
“I’m leaving,” I said.
“Probably a good idea,” he said. He didn’t sound angry or threatening, just weary.
“You should leave and go home,” I said.
“I would, but I think I was hurt worse than I realized. My body keeps shifting to try and fix it, but I don’t think its working.”
“What do you mean?”
“I think I’m dying,” he choked.
“Shit, then you need to go to the hospital,” I said.
“Can’t. They’ll find out what I am.”
“It won’t matter if you die,” I said.
How the hell would I explain a dead body in my room?
Jax groaned, “You should probably run. I think it’s happening again.”
Grabbing my keys, I ran outside to my car. As I got behind the wheel, I jammed the key into the ignition and turned it. Nothing happened.
“No, please. Not now,” I cried, turning it again. The car wouldn’t start. I grabbed the door handle, prepared to run down the street to a neighbor’s house, when I saw the wolf in the doorway of the house.
I locked the car door and sank down in my seat. The wolf stepped out of the house, sniffing the air as it went. Could it smell me inside the car? I moved over to the passenger side of the car and onto the floor.
There was a thump at the side of the car and I screamed. Slapping a hand over my mouth, I tried to stay as quiet as possible. It hit the car again, this time hard enough to rock it violently. It continued the assault, hitting the car over and over again. I gave up being quiet and started screaming.
I curled up in a ball and lay there with my hands over my ears.
It was as the sun rose that I realized the thumping had stopped. Slowly I got to my knees and looked out the window. Jax was gone.
I managed to clear away the broken wood before my parents came home, but I couldn’t do anything about the car or my bedroom door.
“What the hell is going on?” Mom exclaimed when she saw the mess.
“It’s not what it looks like,” I said. Just a werewolf rampage.
“Explain yourself now, young lady,” Mom said.
Dad was staring at my door in shock.
“There was a little accident with the car. I…hit a pole. But I’m not hurt.”
Mom’s face went white, “Oh my God. How big was the pole? The car is a mess.”
“Where is your dresser?” Dad asked.
“Someone broke into the house,” I said. “I came home and found it this way. I cleaned up the dresser, but…”
“We’ve been robbed,” Mom cried, running for the phone.
“Mom, calm down. I don’t think anything was taken.”
“I knew we shouldn’t have gone away overnight, John. What if she had been here when this happened?”
My protests fell on deaf ears as Mom called the police to report the robbery. They sent someone over to dust for prints and take pictures. Once I had given my statement, they left and then it was Mom and Dad’s turn to grill me. I answered their questions as best I could, lying for most of it.
When I was done, I retreated to my room, although I no longer had any privacy since I lacked a door. I was more worried about school on Monday. Having to face Jax, assuming he showed up. He must have been able to heal and go home.
Just before dinner, Mom and Dad left to grab some food. Mom insisted that I lock all the doors behind them and not answer the door to anyone.
I was in my room when I heard a metallic clang from the living room. Hurrying in, I found a dark haired woman coming through the French doors. She was short, wearing a denim jacket over cargo pants.
“Who are you? How did you get in here?” I cried.
The woman turned and I froze. I recognized her. It was Jax’s mother. Did he tell her what happened?
She walked toward me slowly, her dark eyes sizing me up. She sniffed the air, a dark look crossing her face.
“You’re her,” she said.
“Look I don’t know what Jax told you, but…”
“Jax didn’t tell me anything. I followed your scent and here you are.”
I backed away, looking for an escape route. “I don’t know anything, I promise, I…”
She grabbed me round the throat, slamming me into the wall.
“Please,” I choked, “Jax said…”
“My son is dead. I found him this morning in his bedroom. You caused his death.”
“It was an accident,” I said.
She leaned in close, her hot breath on my cheek, “Well that’s not what they are going to say when they find you.”
“No,” I cried. She punched her fist through my chest, hand closing around my heart. She ripped it free and I was gone.
Cycle of the Werewolf - Stephen King (Movie version: Silver Bullet
The first scream came from the snowbound railwayman who felt the fangs ripping at his throat. The next month there was a scream of ecstatic agony from the woman attacked in her snug bedroom.
Now scenes of unbelieving horror come each time the full moon shines on the isolated Maine town of Tarker Mills. No one knows who will be attacked next. But one thing is sure.
When the moon grows fat, a paralyzing fear sweeps through Tarker Mills. For snarls that sound like human words can be heard whining through the wind. And all around are the footprints of a monster whose hunger cannot be sated... Cycle of the Werewolf.
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (A recent TV show of the same name)
Elena Michaels is the world’s only female werewolf. And she’s tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her–her temper, her violence–but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she’s growing content with that life, with being that person.
So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she’s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she’ll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.
The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
The place, the rugged coast of northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest.
A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer. . . an older woman, welcoming him into her magnificent, historic family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . an idyllic night—shattered by horrific unimaginable violence. . .The young man inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing who—what—he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift.
As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as “the Man Wolf,” by authorities, the media and scientists (evidence of DNA threaten to reveal his dual existence). . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there are others like him who may be watching—guardian creatures who have existed throughout time and may possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge and throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man.
The Howling Trilogy by Gary Brandner
Karyn and her husband Roy had come to the peaceful California village of Drago to escape the savagery of the city. On the surface Drago appeared to be like most small rural towns.
But it was not.
The village had a most unsavory history. Unexplained disappearances, sudden deaths.
People just vanished, never to be found.
THE HOWLING II:
For Karyn it was the howling.
The howling that had heralded the nightmare in Drago… the nightmare that had joined her husband Roy to the she-wolf Marcia and should have ended forever with the fire.
But it hadn’t.
Roy and Marcia were still alive, and deadly…
And thirsty for the most horrifying vengeance imaginable…
THE HOWLING III:
They are man. And they are beast.
Once again they stalk the night, eyes aflame, teeth flashing in vengeance.
Malcolm is the young one. He must choose between the familiar way of the human and the seductive howling of the wolf. Those who share his blood want to make him one of them.
Those who fear him want him dead.
Only one woman and one man want to help him.
Even though they can't believe their ears. Or their eyes.
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris — the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett's only friend — but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.
Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
Tell us about Full Moon Slaughter
Toneye: Full Moon Slaughter is an anthology (exposure only) which has been assigned to me to run as editor with J Ellington Ashton Press. It is open for submissions until August 1st, 2016 and follows the theme of Werewolves, with consideration for other forms of Shapeshifters/Therianthropy. (Therianthropy covers a wide range of were-beasts)
How many authors are you hoping to get?
Toneye: The Facebook group set up for contributing authors to this anthology has been extremely well received! With just over 4 Moonspells remaining until submissions deadline, the group has grown to well over 100 participants, with new requests to join occurring at least on a weekly basis. So far, accepted submissions have reached just over half full, with a batch of submissions (4 or 5 at a time) accepted each Full Moon, in keeping with the theme. If this anthology proves successful upon its release, and if the submissions keep rolling in, there’s every chance this anthology may run into a series. We plan to release Full Moon Slaughter around Halloween, 2016.
What are you looking for in the stories?
Toneye: We want all of your Werewolf tales. Dark, brutal, haunting. Tales true to the wolf or other shifter within. Tales of Lycanthropy, Therianthropy; of curses, lunatic carnage and Full Moon mayhem!
What makes a story stand out for you?
Toneye: For starters, something that grabs my attention from the very beginning. Obviously something well written and engaging. It doesn’t have to be full on gory or extreme, even though eye do love my gore haha. Some of the stories accepted so far have had more of an emotional aspect to them, which is also important. Eye like to be able to feel the pain, despair and misery, or the happiness and hope of the characters in the story. Action as well as creeping suspense, or just full blown terror are also things which eye like to see, but most important to me is good, strong character development. That is something which is not easily achieved in the limited space of a short story, but the quality of the stories received so far for Full Moon Slaughter has shown me the brilliant skills of many of these authors to be able to do just that. One story in particular literally brought tears to my eyes. That’s never happened to me before from reading a book. Most impressive!
What is your favorite Werewolf movie/book?
Toneye: Wow haha! Of all the questions, this one is the hardest to answer with just one! The Book Of Werewolves by Sabine Baring Gould is an old favourite of mine, in terms of Werewolf lore and history. In fiction however, there are so many awesome books out there, just like movies! Most recently, eye read a new book called Black Goat Motorcycle Club by Jason Murphy which was absolutely awesome! Right now, eye am reading Blood And Rain by Glenn Rolfe, which may well be the finest work of Werewolf fiction eye have ever read, though eye still haven’t made it to the end. As far as movies go, well, you simply can’t look past American Werewolf In London. A classic in every sense of the word! But, just like the books, there are so many movies which came both before and after that eye love. The Howling, The Wolfman (eye even loved the remake), Dog Soldiers, Silver Bullet, the Ginger Snaps trilogy-the list really does just go on and on haha. More recently, movies like Howl, Helen Keller vs. the Nightwolves (that movie is so hilariously cheesy, it deserves a mention hahaha!) The one Werewolf movie of recent times which really stands out for me is a movie from 2013 called Wer. That one is probably my most recent favourite.
Thank you, Sam, for giving me the chance to share my project with you and your readers, as well as a little insight into some of the things that eye have a deep passion for! The wolf is my kindred spirit and Werewolves are a bit of an obsession of mine, as you are aware haha! Hails n Howls to all of you out there who have taken the time to read this! May the Moon guide your way and may the Wolf within give you strength! Aaaarrrroooooooooooooo!!
By Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason
“There is different kinds, you know that…don’t you?” his breath was sour in her face and she nodded.
He smiled down at her, his haggard grin was one of approval.
“Let me get us a drink, you may be here a while.”
He shuffled off through the doorway and the commotion he made in the kitchen earned her a moment to glance over at her companions. Chrystal sat clutching the turquoise sequined bag in her lap, she looked down and cursed the clam shells affixed over her breasts. She tugged at the tiny metallic shrug sweater that hardly covered her yet was her only concealment from the old drunkard’s roving gaze.
“What the hell made you ask him that?” Angela whispered.
She was dressed as a German barmaid which would have delighted the entire fraternity but now being stuck with old what’s his name, it seemed far too revealing for her own comfort.
“It seemed fitting, it is Halloween after all.” Tori responded in her usual manner which infuriated her sorority sisters. “What about your stories in the car?”
“Those were ghost stories for little kids, not crazy cryptid sightings! I don’t want to hear any more of that crap, it’s just gettin’ him thinkin’ we want to sit around and talk.” Angela said.
Tori was all book smarts, overly polite and seemed to have never learned stranger danger. She also had the luxury of being dressed as a librarian, a costume which left everything to the imagination and she didn’t have to suffer the nauseating feeling of being mentally undressed by an old man that looked like Herman Munster and smelled like a well-worn track shoe filled with cheap vodka.
“We don’t want to hear any creepy shit, ok. Not right now.” Chrystal complained.
The storm outside steadily battered the dirty windowpane and Angela grew impatient.
“I can’t leave my dad’s car out there. We have to get out of here.”
She slid forward in her seat and was about to stand when he came back into the sitting room, a tray in his shaking. The glasses rattled together as he bent to serve each of his guests.
“A little something to chase the chill away.” He added and took his seat. “This old place ain’t insulated like newer homes.”
Chrystal shivered and brought her drink close to her lips. It smelled like rubbing alcohol and the glass wasn’t exactly clean. She pretended to sip from it but kept her lips together allowing not a drop of it in her mouth.
“Thank you, Charles, but we really must be going soon.” She said.
“Oh, yes. Your party.” He said.
“I know our friends should be looking for us soon and it sounds like the storm is over.” Angela said. “They will help with my dad’s car.”
“If you’re sure about it then I guess I can’t hold you hostage.” He laughed.
They giggled politely yet every one of them cringed inside and hoped it was truly a joke.
“Don’t you want to hear about what I saw out there, Tori?” he asked. “Don’t you want to know about the mounds?”
The storm had in fact died suddenly and the absence of its racket left the sitting room very quiet so her response sounded edgy.
“No! Thank you.”
His smile faded and she knew that unintentionally she had offended him.
“Have it your way, then.” He said and went to the closet to get his coat.
The ride back to the highway in his truck was uncomfortable. He sat rubbing his chin and sucking his yellow teeth. The car was in sight when he turned to them.
“I really don’t want to let you girls go. You’re not from around here, don’t know your way.”
“We’re fine.” Angela said.
“It can be dangerous out in the dark.” He said.
“We are adults, we will be just fine.” She snapped.
“You could stay back at my house. I have a spare bedroom.” He offered.
“We’ll be fine.” Tori answered.
“Thank you.” She added to ease the tension that radiated from the old man.
“Suit yourselves.” He answered as he pulled up alongside the broken down Honda.
The girls exited the tight confines of the truck before walking through the mud at the roadside to reach their only means of transportation. Angela watched as Charles drove away.
“What a complete creep!” she said.
“Level one-hundred freak!” Chrystal giggled.
“He’s just a lonely old man.” Tori said. “Give him a break.”
She watched the tail lights of his truck glowing red in the falling light of evening. A loud honking made her jump, then laugh as she realized that their knights in shining jeep had just arrived.
“We worried you ditched us!” Devin yelled.
“NEVER!” Angela laughed.
“Help me jump start this piece of crap and we’ll head out.” she said as they stopped alongside the young women.
Tori pulled her sweater together with one hand while she sipped a beer with the other. Her friends had already partied once before with the trio of guys from the little college town so they staked their claims on the two most attractive, leaving Tori to entertain a guy named Jerry. He wasn’t ugly yet he wasn’t what she considered handsome either. He had spent much of the time talking about himself, his interests and dislikes, gabbing on and on without giving her a chance to speak. She receded into her own mind as her friends danced to music with their more appealing dates, thinking about the odd burial mounds she had seen from the car window, regretting not listening to Charles’ account of what he witnessed there.
“I’m sorry. Am I boring you?” Jerry asked.
“No. I was just thinking about something I saw when we were driving here.”
“The mounds?” He asked with a smile.
“How’d you know?” She asked.
“Everyone wants to know about’em.” He answered.
“What are they?” Lori asked.
“Indian burial mounds.” Devin answered as he and Angela took a seat beside of Tori.
“Shut up!” Angela said.
“It’s true. They are very spiritual places.” Devin said. “Like doorways to other worlds.”
“Don’t try to freak us city girls out!” Angela accused and slapped his arm playfully.
“It’s Halloween. That’s what this night is for.” He laughed.
“I want to hear it.” Tori said.
“I got a better idea.” Cory spoke up as Chrystal grew quiet, turning the radio off.
“Let’s go see’em.”
“NO WAY!” Chrystal said.
“Come on. It’s a rite of passage for everyone around here.”
“I want to see them.” Tori said.
“Speak for yourself!” Angela said.
“Don’t be a chicken!” Devin teased and started squawking.
She giggled as he took her hand.
“It’s not far away. We will keep you safe and warm.” He said to all three young women.
“It’s not even dark, the full moon is as bright as the sun.” Jerry added. “A full moon on Halloween, that only happens every twenty years or so, let’s make the most of it!”
The beams of their flashlights were hardly necessary under the light of the full moon yet their illumination was comforting to Angela and Chrystal who clung to their dates as they tread through the trees towards the mounds.
“It’s basically raised earth in the shape of an animal.” Jerry whispered to Tori.
He walked uncomfortably close and she waited for the awkward moment when he would try to slide his arm over her shoulder.
“Are there dead bodies buried here?” Angela asked as they approached what looked like a long, low hill winding through a break in the woods.
“Yup.” Devin answered.
“People say when the moon is nice and bright sometimes you can see the spirits rising from them.” Cory said.
“I’m done!” Chrystal whined. “I wanna go back to the campfire.”
“Don’t be scared.” Jerry said softly as he inevitably made his move.
Tori stepped forward in an attempt to shake free of his grasp without it being obvious.
“It’s ok, Chrys. He’s just tryin’ to spook us.”
“Actually he’s not.” Jerry said, gripping her shoulder as she tried to break free. “I’ve seen them with my own eyes.”
Tori could feel her cheeks burning in the dark, he was overstepping her boundaries and if he tried to get any closer she would let him have a piece of her mind.
“Bull!” Angela said.
“It’s the truth!” He answered, finally releasing Tori so that he could walk to the top of the tail end of the mound to tell his story.
“This is all completely true.” He began.
“It was Halloween, like so many teenagers before me, I was dared to go out and stand on the mounds.”
He started to walk the length of the snaking rise, the moon shown like a spotlight down on him, stretching his shadow out long beside him. “There are tales of wolfmen that dig in these mounds, slashing the earth with gigantic claws, stinking of decaying flesh…”
“My friends laughed at me when I became frightened by the feeling of hands at my ankles.” He said as he stopped dramatically at the far end of the hillock, not saying another word.
Tori looked to the others, Angela and Chrystal were cowering in the arms of Devin and Cory.
“You’re such a faker, Jerry!” He yelled in a mocking voice.
“There’s no such thing as ghosts!” He continued.
His back was to those listening.
“Chicken!” Jerry teased yet his voice had grown gravelly.
“Chicken!” Devin called out harshly.
“CHICKEN!” Cory chimed in but there was no humor in his voice.
Jerry put his hands over his ears and cried. “It’s got me! HELP!” his voice mimicked that of a young boy.
He turned back to the frightened girls as he began to…change. His ears jutted out on the sides of his head and hair sprouted from the pores of his face as his face started pulling outward into a muzzle. His skin shimmered and his mouth twisted into a toothy grin. Chrystal screamed as Cory grabbed her around the waist and started hauling her over to the mound. Angela swung her fist, it connected with the side of Devin’s head as it began to shift, he gnashed his teeth and caught her by the wrist, sinking his teeth into her skin. She screamed as he tore a strip of her flesh free from her bone, blood sprayed into the cold autumn air. Tori ran into the dark forest, crashing through the bushes in terror. The cries of her friends sent waves of desperation rippling through her. They were agonizing and cut short in a brutal instant, something inside of her told her Angela and Chrystal were dead. She screamed into the endless forest when snarling filled the brush behind her. She pushed herself forward without caring that her legs were being cut open on sharp branches. Tori’s skirt got tangled in a strong undergrowth and it dragged her to the ground. She yanked and tugged yet couldn’t free herself as a shadow sailed over the brush she was caught in. It landed on her, knocking the air from her lungs, halting her cries for help. Claws raked down her back, slicing through her clothing, leaving searing lines of pain. She felt her blood rise quickly from the wounds to run down her sides.
“Not bored anymore, huh?” A guttural voice asked.
Jerry rolled her over so that she could see his monstrous face. He grinned at her silent dread, she began to shake and tears streamed down her face.
“Come back to the party.”
Jerry tore her skirt free and threw her over his hunched shoulder.
He tossed Tori down onto the mound beside of Cory who had his hands full of gore. Chrystal and Angela were indistinguishable piles of organs and flesh spread out over the top of the mound. Jerry sank his teeth into the soft meat of her arm as she brought it up to cover her throat as he attacked. She cried out as he pulled a bloody mouthful away. He gulped it down ravenously. Tori’s arm shook violently, dripping blood into her face as he fed. She couldn’t hear her own screaming over the sounds of the other creatures beside of them rending the meat from her best friend’s skeletons, snapping their bones in their canine maws as easy as brittle tinder. All that she could see, smell or taste was blood. Tori feared the end because she knew the torture she would have to endure before death would claim her. She felt herself weakening as Jerry lunged for her face once more, she pushed his snapping teeth away with her good arm as she felt her consciousness slipping away. He leaned over her, a beastly grin on his hideous face, she knew he was toying with her.
“Havin’ fun yet?” He growled.
A howl cut through the awful sounds of gorging. The three monsters halted in their bloody revelry. They sniffed the air and growl, their dark fur stood out on end in agitation.
Jerry left Tori bleeding out on the mound to follow his companions as they paced the perimeter of the mound.
A blur of shimmering white, like full moon light, hit Jerry and they tumbled. The other two joined the fight. Tori rolled her head to the side to see a wolf-like creature covered in ivory colored hair attacking the three gluttonous beasts responsible for killing Angela and Chrystal. Tori’s heart thundered in her chest as the beast decapitated one of them with a single swipe of its massive paw. It rolled as another one leapt onto its back, freeing itself before recoiling and catching its attacker within its jaws by the throat then ripping it from its body. The third turned and fled yet the white beast jumped onto its back as it retreated then gripped the beasts head in its powerful grip, with a howl it tore its foe’s head off. It quickly buried the carnivorous creatures in the side of the mound before turning to Tori who trembled with exsanguination.
“I warned you that there was different kinds.” It spoke in a gravely tone.
Tori realized then who the white beast had to be.
“I tried to get you to stay, but your friends wouldn’t listen. I should’ve stopped you.”
He scooped her up in his furry arms and carried her through the forest.
“They only come every twenty years or so, been fightin’ them a long time but they always come back…”
“Will I die?” Tori asked faintly.
“You’ll feel like you are but no. There’s next to nothin’ that can kill you now.”
She wept as he made his way across an open field.
“The moon will control you now.” Charles said.
“I don’t want to be change you.” She admitted, her voice trembling.
He laid her softly on the grass as he shifted back into an old man.
“You don’t have a choice in that matter but what you do get to decide is whether you will behave like them,” he nodded his head back towards the gory mound, “or if you will behave like me.”
He smiled, knowing which she would choose.
Werewolves are not the only were-creatures out there. Many stories include tales of were-panthers, bears, coyotes, and even certain types of birds. The term therianthropy is used to describe someone who can metamorphose into an animal.
Many cultures across the world contain stories and legends about men who could change shape. Being able to channel a certain animal would be a great ability to have.
Some Native American and First Nation legends talk about skin-walkers—persons with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal they desire. To do so, however, they first must be wearing a pelt of the specific animal. In the folk religion of Mesoamerica, a Nagual (or Nahual) is a human being who has the power to magically turn themselves into animal forms—most commonly donkeys, turkeys, and dogs—but can also transform into more powerful jaguars and pumas. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therianthropy)
Tell us a little bit about your novel.
Werewolf Nights tells the story of widowed and unlucky in love baker Catherine Mercy. She’s resigned herself to her loneliness, avoids social gatherings, and works constantly. However, her fate changes when she’s cast in a movie about werewolves and falls for her co-star Greg Byron. Ironically, as adventure and excitement enter her life, so does the threat of a werewolf.
Ultimately, it’s the story of a woman who finds the courage to battle her fears in order to move forward in life.
What sets your werewolves apart from the rest of the pack?
The novel take place in Wereville, a town that claims to have been founded by werewolves. The people of Wereville have different takes on lycanthropy and love to tell werewolf legends that they’ve heard. Sometimes people will talk about werewolves as if they were heroes and other times they’ll be portrayed as monsters. The unpredictability of the werewolf characters in the novel makes them intriguing.
If you could shape shift into any animal—what would it be?
I’d love to be a bird and fly. It would be even better if as a bird I’d have some kind of super power.
Tell us something nobody knows about you.
I’ve taken up palm reading as a hobby. As a writer I’ve often felt a lot of uncertainty about my career, but the two times I met a palm reader by chance they both told me that I had a future in writing. So I’ve been reading books on the matter to corroborate this theory. But I guess I told you something that somebody told me about me that nobody really knows. I can just keep writing and hope.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on the sequel of Werewolf Nights and on a screenplay about the challenges of dating in our times.
About Mari Hamill
Mari Hamill begins her career as a novelist with Werewolf Nights. She has an English degree from Harvard, a comparative literature degree from the Sorbonne Nouvelle, and a PhD, also in comparative literature, from the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. Middlebury College, the Johannes Gutenberg University, and McGill University are among the other institutions where she’s pursued academic endeavor. A world traveler, she speaks Spanish, French, German, and a little Italian. The Princess Bride, Harry Potter, Don Quijote, Love in the Time of Cholera, and Archie Comics have served as an inspiration for her work. Her love of fantasy began in her family’s comic book store, Metro Comics, located in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.
After residing in Guaynabo, Cambridge, Boston, Ann Arbor, Middlebury, Montreal, Lausanne, Paris, Venice, Italy, Mainz, Vallejo, and Chapel Hill, she now lives in Venice, California, and dedicates her free time to community service.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”