Skeleton Crew

A Novel by Gre7g Luterman

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Werewolf, Bleak November
Ley Lines by Gre7g Luterman
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We felt triumphant during the ride home and Shadow bounded back up the stairs to the apartment on all fours. I watched her tail wag happily and thought about what we had done last night. I could not decide just why I felt so strange.

Was it because I had feelings for a woman so young? Was it because she wasn’t a woman at all? Did what we did count as bestiality? Would it have if she were a wolf at the time? The very fact that I even asked myself those last two questions scared me.

Despite all of Shadow’s assurances, I felt like our relationship was immoral, unnatural. It went against the values with which I had been raised. I just wasn’t sure which ones.

Why had I done it? Was it because she’s beautiful? Was it because I felt sorry for her?

Was it like she said, a reaction to her ‘animal magnetism’? I hoped not. I wanted to believe that I chose my own actions and I wasn’t a puppet to her strange magick, but how could you know? Today had been a very clear case of how someone else’s thoughts could become your own.

Was it because of something stranger still? Was I falling in love with this young woman - this young woman who was not a woman at all? Was she falling in love with me?

What happens to humans that fall in love with werewolves? What would her pack do to me? What would they do to her?

I didn’t know the answers to any of these questions, but I doubted that I would have liked them if I did.

We went inside and I sat down on the floor with my back against the door. I clutched my stomach. Something was wrong.

I glanced about and was relieved to see that the blinds were still drawn.

Shadow was looking human again and staring at the money the man had given her. “How on Gaia’s Earth did you do that back there?” she laughed.

I just put my head down on my knees and moaned.

I felt her hot hand on my cheek. “Alex? Alex? Are you okay? What’s wrong?” she asked. “Does it hurt?”

I shook my head. “No. Doesn’t hurt, but something’s wrong. I can feel it.”

I thought back to first time I had touched someone’s mind - the feeling that I had removed a can from the middle of a stack. Is that what I was feeling now? Were the cans about to topple?

Shadow was beside me now, I could feel her arms around my shoulders. She was shushing away my worry.

“Alex, it’s probably just the weirdness. You must have torn reality back there.” She squeezed me tight. “You have to let it out. You have to let the weirdness out of you.”

“What’s going to happen if I do?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “But I know what’ll happen if you don’t let it out, and it isn’t pretty.

“Relax,” she cooed softly. “It shouldn’t be anything worse than what you did to the people at the sandwich shop.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

I could feel her shrug and squeeze me closer. I put my arms around her and tried to relax. She felt so good that I could not imagine ever letting go.

“How do I do it?” I asked, but realized she could not possibly know. I probed inside of myself with my mind, looking for the tear. I could not feel it.

If something inside of me was torn, I decided, it must be quite small. I squeezed Shadow tight and willed the tear away. I tried to feel normal. I tried to make it all like it had been before.

After a few minutes, I felt myself relax in her embrace. I didn’t feel worried any more.

I had no idea if I had succeeded in repairing the tear she figured I had inside me, but I did feel better.

“Shadow? Why did you want me to try to use my magick?” I whispered. “I thought that the Garou hated when mages did that.”

“Not exactly,” she whispered back. “Everything in the world is made of energy. Mages can just use that energy to change what the rest of us think is reality. I guess that’s okay, to use the energy inside yourself to do things. I suppose I do it also when I change shape.”

“Well, then why do the Garou hate us so?”

“Because not all mages stick to the energy they have inside themselves. Some of them want more and more power, enough to do greater and greater feats of magick.”

Now it was starting to make sense to me. The violet lines were lines of power, and where they met were places of power. “So, the mages go to places like the one your pack protects, and they take the power?”

I could feel her nod.

I didn’t understand the Garou’s connection to the Earth, but it had to be important to them. I could still remember how she was that night she punched me, how sincere she sounded.

I opened my eyes and looked at Shadow. She opened her eyes too and started staring at me, wordless.

“What?” I asked.

Shadow just shook her head very, very slowly. “I think you succeeded in releasing the weirdness,” she said. A smile crept onto her face and she tried to force it away.


Shadow began to chuckle, stifled it and then began to laugh.


“You’re not feeling… depressed? Are you?” she howled between laughs. She rolled on the floor beside me and I wondered if the weirdness had gotten into her. Was it making her laugh?

I put my hands to my face, wondering if it was something she had seen in my eyes. “No. I feel fine,” I told her. “Why?”

She looked back up at me and then began to laugh harder. “You just… look… a little… blue,” she howled and clutched at her sides.

“Are you okay?” I said and reached out for her. My hand didn’t touch her. It froze before me, and I stared at it.

It was… blue.

I stared at my other hand. It was blue as well; and not a pale blue, either! When I say I was blue, I mean I was blue. A deep, royal blue.

I rushed to the bathroom and stared at my blue face in the mirror. This was a catastrophe! How was I going to live my life looking like a gigantic Smurf?

I started the water in the sink and began to scrub viciously at my bright blue flesh. Whatever this blue stuff was, it was not coming off!

Shadow wandered in through the open bathroom door and her quieting laughter trebled. “It’s not funny!” I shouted at her.

She wrapped her arms around me and pulled me into a hug. I tried to resist, but despite her small size, she is much stronger than I am. Eventually, I sagged in her arms and then closed my eyes, returning the embrace.

“It’s not funny,” I told her.

“Yes, it is.”

“Yeah,” I said sarcastically. “A real laugh riot.”

“Maybe you’re royalty now. You know, one of those blue-bloods.”

“That’s not funny,” I said, but I could feel a chuckle rising inside of me. I let a little of it out as I leaned on her strong shoulder.

“It’s a shame Halloween is so far away,” she said. “The two of us would have great costumes.”

I giggled and slapped her butt with my hand. She giggled too and pulled her face from my shoulder. She kissed me softly on the cheek and I looked up. “I think it’s starting to fade,” she whispered.

I glanced in the mirror. It did look a little lighter.

I stood there and stared at my reflection, watching the blue slowly fade and my normal coloring return.

“How did you know it would do that?” I asked.

“I didn’t,” she said. “But Cooper never said anything about mages being blue. I figured it couldn’t last forever.”

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I thought it was funny, too. :) Smurfs and werewolves are an odd combo.

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