The dark, looming buildings of the city seemed eerie at night when no one was around. I never dreamed city streets could be so completely void of people. I felt as if the apocalypse came as I ran, leaving me as the last human on earth. The only sound that reached my ears was the horrible howl of wolves pursuing me. I wasn’t sure how I had lived this long running from them through countless empty streets and hoping the next building might be open. My breath was coming fast, but the thick air gave no relief to my burning lungs. I tried to open yet another door, but this one too was locked. The wolves stayed in the shadows growling, taunting me with their presence. I felt as if some malevolent entity guided them to toy with me. There was no hope. No human could ever outrun a wolf, and these creatures seemed to be more demon than wolf with their eyes glowing an unnatural orange through the shadows.
Then a glimmer of auburn hair teased me with an image of Alma, the petite beauty whom I would never see again if I didn’t fight to survive. I chased after her into the alley, needing to warn her of the dangers in the streets, but I was too late. The alley was a dead end, even disregarding the walls around me, for Emil was there holding Alma with one arm around her throat, and more wolves came to surround me. While I felt impending doom in each of their slow steps, Alma merely smiled. “Time to die.” The three words from Alma made Emil laugh into the night sky, but a shiver shot down my body even as the world burst into flame. I cried out in pain as my body was consumed in heat that surely came from the depths of hell. People often claimed to relive their entire lives in the brief moments before death, but my mind knew nothing but the pain which claimed my life. The last sight I was to ever see was an enormous wolf head gazing down at me.
I shot up from my bed, sweat dripping down across my cold skin. I was alive. I was alive. I took several slow, deep breaths and enjoyed the feel of the slightly cool air passing through my lungs. My body was aching as if I just finished sprinting a mile, and yet I still started pacing with nervous energy. Catching Emil taking wolves through the street today was necessary for me. The wolves had terrified me more than anything I had ever known, and I wanted the person responsible for turning such beautiful creatures into my worst nightmares to be tried for his crimes. I gazed at my bed, briefly considering the idea of getting more sleep, since no light entered my windows yet. Instead, I grabbed my clothes for the day and headed to shower. The hot water helped my muscles to relax, so I stood there for a long time. I understood why I had a nightmare about Emil and the wolves. I could even understand the fire in my dreams, having been present when at least five people died that way, but why was I dreaming about Alma in such a manner?
With insanely long, auburn hair and the tiniest frame I had ever seen, Alma was unlike any other girl I had ever met. I had always pictured myself dating someone closer to my height, probably because Regina played such a large role in my life until recently, but I couldn’t help feeling unbelievably attracted to the somewhat rude girl with whom I was barely acquainted. Even after spending a considerable amount of time with Ai, Mai, and Emma, who were all exceptionally beautiful, I still fantasized about meeting Alma again regularly. Considering this, I wanted to know why my brain would allow her to be killing me even in a dream. If I was to be honest with myself, I couldn’t prove Alma wasn’t vicious in some way, but I didn’t have any reason to think she was. The girl hardly seemed like she could take care of herself, since I had to save her from being road kill on the day we met. Maybe my mind wanted for me to find something wrong with her, so I wouldn’t be as caught up with her. I did my best to push the dream out of my head as I sat at my desk to catch up on any new messages from my website.
I wasn’t sure how long the sun had been shining when the sound of a fairy from one of the Zelda games interrupted my thoughts. “Be careful, James! Tell me when you get home tonight.” was all Emma said. I sent her a text in reply asking why she was telling me to be careful. “Jarod told me what you two are doing tonight when we were gaming this morning.” Jarod played video games with Emma in the morning? Work sucks. I looked at the time and realized that I should be getting to school, so I quickly finished the email I was writing and went to grab a quick breakfast. Mother had made breakfast burritos for me again, so I would be able to eat as I walked to school. She hugged me, and I wondered if this would be the last time as the nightmare came to mind again. I hugged her back and tried my best not to think of the nightmare anymore as I walked to school. Jarod was sitting outside of his house by the time I arrived, looking completely enthusiastic.
“Are you ready for tonight? This is going to be awesome!” I nodded and asked what all he told Emma. “I just thought she would be interested. She’s kinda like a guy in that way, willing to talk about fun stuff.” I rolled my eyes and said, “She’s definitely cool. When did you two start playing video games before school?” Jarod gave me one of his most mischievous grins and inquired “Are you worried that I’m stealing her away from you with my suave gameplay?” I laughed and told him “Oh yes. You’re the Bond of video gaming. I’m sure she’s putty in your hands as she mercilessly beats you game after game.” He playfully punched my arm and said, “She doesn’t always win. I have my fair share as well.” I was certain my eyebrow lifted as I smirked at him. Then he went on to say, “A gentleman should allow a lady to win more than half the games, so my fair share shouldn’t be large. I’m only being polite.” His straight face broke the moment I started laughing. We both knew that Emma was pretty amazing at games.
School flew by in such a blur that I scarcely was sure what all I had done. I still was feeling hesitant when Jarod and I stepped into the blue van where Jarod would be watching the streets. He drove me to the bus stop directly before the one by Evelyn’s house, so we wouldn’t alert Emil if he happened to be watching. Jarod had already set the cameras up the night before and would be activating them remotely after he arrived. Though I knew the bus ride was short, I was surprised when we arrived sooner than I expected. I made myself get off the bus and walk the short distance to Evelyn’s house, feeling as if eyes were watching me from everywhere. I felt like looking back to make sure Jarod had arrived, but I didn’t want to risk giving him away if someone else was watching. Evelyn greeted me at the door with a smile and asked if I was feeling up for our practice. I apparently looked a little pale. I smiled and tried to brush her comment off, but I knew I wasn’t up to form at the beginning of our dance. By the end, I was lost again in the smooth movements and flow of the music. I wasn’t ready to stop after our time was over.
The walk back to the bus stop seemed to take hours, hours spent looking every direction for a sign of attack. Each bush and every corner had a wolf ready to leap out at me, at least that was how I felt as I passed them. When at last I arrived, I was relieved to find that no one was there. I took a seat to wait for the bus and casually looked around while waiting. The nightmare flashed back before my eyes when I realized I truly saw no one at all around. Even the blue van where Jarod was suppose to be waiting wasn’t in sight. I looked at my phone to see if he had try calling, but there weren’t any messages or missed calls. “Hey, punk. Funny seeing you again.” came a voice I dreaded to hear. While looking at my phone, I missed Emil approaching. I nearly dropped the thing as I jumped back at his voice. “Aww… is the poor guy already pissing his britches? I was thinking of bringing you a new pair after seeing run last time.” I pocketed my phone, stood, and backed away from him, preparing to fight him if I must.
A low growl came from behind me, so I glanced back to see how much trouble awaited me. One of the wolves was there, and I saw two more crossing the street. They had me circled already again. Another wolf walked around Emil to stand at his side, and the all too human eyes staring at me brought the nightmares back again. I wanted to attack. I wanted to escape. Instead, I stood there and waited for one of them to make a move. Striking in haste often left one open to attack, especially when surrounded. The soft steps of the wolves seemed to echo in my ears, but I continued to wait. Then a new sound gave me a moment’s hope. A vehicle was approaching. Jarod drove the blue van straight at the wolves in the street and onto the curb next to me. I ripped open the sliding door and jumped inside with a wolf nipping at my heels. I was yelling at Jarod to drive as Emil grabbed the door. He was strong, very strong.
What happened next was far more than I could take. My arms went slack on the door as I saw an unforeseen horror. The wolf which had just nipped at me seemed to explode outward into a human-like form, a werewolf the likes of which no one truly wanted to be real. Emil smiled at my shock. His smile seemed to grow as his nose and mouth transformed into a muzzle, thick hair shooting out from his skin until he bore a thick coat. I looked to Jarod, wondering why he wasn’t driving. Another of the creatures was holding what appeared to be part of the tire while a fourth had his door open and a fifth was on the hood. Even the worst of my nightmares hadn’t prepared me for this. Werewolves weren’t real. They were things of legends meant to scare children. I understood the fear such things provoked more than ever.
What was once a lanky teen now reached slowly, tauntingly toward me with a furred hand ending in thick, long claws. I tried waking myself up from the dream when things got even more peculiar. I thought I felt a kiss on my cheek when Emil fell backward, his head missing. Then I heard several, loud yelps of pain, but my eyes were locked on the headless body now spilling blood into the street. My hand touched my cheek where I swore a faint touch of moisture remained as if I was kissed by an angel who sent my personal demon back to hell. A woman was speaking to me after a moment, but I couldn’t understand her. My eyes couldn’t leave the corpse that was Emil until men carried it away. “James.” Fingers were being snapped in front of my face. “Yes. Sorry. Did you see that?” I felt the van shaking as I spoke but wasn’t sure why. My voice seemed surprisingly steady to me.
“Jarod!” I yelled, turning to see if he was alright. He was smiling of all things, at least until people completely covered in black were taking his laptop as well as the cameras he had hidden in the area. When he started to get out of the van, a gun was pointed at him. The van jerked again, and I realized that someone had changed the tire. Something was being sprayed onto the blood where Emil had been, and the woman was looking around, searching for something. “Who are you?” was all I managed to say before she slid the door shut and told Jarod to drive away. He only hesitated a moment, and then he was speeding away as if we were being chased. “Slow down!” I yelled as I scrambled into the passenger seat and snapped the buckle. He listened, but I could see his arm trembling. Then he turned to me with a goofy grin and exclaimed, “That was so cool!! Did you see that? WEREWOLVES, James! Those people killed WEREWOLVES!”