Werewolves of New York: Darik

By: Faleena Hopkins

Chapter One





The bodega’s narrow aisles twisted outside the laws of physics. Like a python swallowing a generous meal the shelves contracted and expanded. Pasta, bread bags, cans of soup, all blurred when looked at. The longer Darik stared, the more he couldn’t see. His superior strength and speed had left him now. He trudged through air as heavy as saltwater. On visible sound waves, angry, warped voices drifted past him in bursts. He’d never felt this helpless before.

Hell, he’d never felt helpless.

He had to fight it because he’d just heard the unmistakable, bone-chilling sound of a safety released. This time, God help him, he had to stop that trigger from being pulled. This time, he had to save her life.

Without warning, the room whipped by him, changing the scene completely, leaving him standing at the front of the store where two masked thugs had guns shifting back and forth between the Asian employee behind the counter and at customers who blurred out of focus.

Darik searched to see who was in danger, who was terrified, who needed his help.

A shower of loud cracks shattered the air as a powerful explosion lunged from the barrels of two 9mms. Shouting, Darik leapt to push the humans to safety, but failed.

He sat upright, bursting awake, covered in sweat in his king-size bed, gripping the navy blue comforter around his naked waist as he struggled to breathe. I didn’t get there in time. Again. An involuntary shiver lit through him. It had felt real.

Welcome rays of daylight and reality peeked through dark blue sheaths as his bedroom curtains came into focus. He scanned the familiar clutter that lay on the black dresser and armoire by the door, as well as on the nightstand to his right. His eyes fell to the stack of books lying there. To root himself he read the titles: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Running With Scissors and Corrections. Underneath them lay Books Do Furnish a Room, photographs of home libraries he loved to look at to inspire his design creativity. He was an architect after all, even if he was a werewolf.

Throwing off the blankets Darik walked naked to the bathroom, his long limbs heavy. His ginger-colored hair and beard showed the usual signs of sleep, twisting this way and that. He paid them no mind. It was his dark blue eyes that grabbed his attention. They had the same stricken, sorrowful look someone has when they see a loved one die.

What the fuck? Staring at his reflection, he turned on the faucet, wishing he knew why this particular dream grabbed him and didn’t ever want to let go. It was sure to pollute the rest of his day. Just what I need. Capturing water in large, cupped hands he splashed his face repeatedly. At least this time, I saw the guns before they fired, before she was lifeless on the floor. “It’s an improvement,” he said aloud, trying to talk himself into believing it.

Grabbing a black hand-towel, he scrubbed his face and trudged back to the bedroom to scoop his phone off the dresser. It was 11:11 A.M. The matching numbers gave him pause. They seemed like they were telling him to pay attention. He tossed the towel onto the bed. Cracking the long, thick fingers of his right hand, he dialed Eli with his left. His friend and packmate answered quickly.

“Yo.”

“I had it again.”

A pause on the other end of the line. “The dream?”

“No dream. A bone-crushing nightmare. I missed my alarm. If I hadn’t missed it, maybe I wouldn’t be stuck with this fucking feeling.”

A smile could be heard in Eli’s tone, nothing unusual there. “Come to the office. We’re all here to kiss you and make it better.” So like Eli to be able to break through the haze and make him smile–that’s why Darik had chosen him to call of his three packmates. “If you’re lucky, we’ll even hold you and tell you it’s gonna be all right. Dontae first.”

“I bet he can’t wait.”

“He’s hugging himself right now to practice.”

Dontae bellowed from the background, “I’m doing no such thing!”

Eli mock-whispered, “He is. It’s embarrassing.” Whispering was ridiculous, in and of itself. With their supernaturally enhanced hearing, all of them could hear a cockroach running two rooms over if they wanted to. Not that they’d want to, because who would? Cockroaches are foul.

Nathaniel, the fourth and final member, called out, “Get in here. We’ve got a meeting today.”

“Shit.” Darik threw open the doors to his armoire, scanning his suits. “I completely forgot.” He grabbed a charcoal-grey Armani.

Eli reminded him, “You didn’t forget. You just missed the alarm ‘cause you were in hell. Don’t worry about it. We’ll cover for you if they get here first.”

He scanned three hangers of ties, all complementing his Scottish coloring. “What time are they coming?”

“Noon.”

“I can make it.” He grabbed a pale blue tie that wasn’t too thick. “You’ve got coffee?”

“Does a pig poop?”

Darik laughed and hung up. He dropped the phone next to the hand towel, and muttered in a much better mood, “Fucking Eli.”

As he got dressed he thought about how he was one lucky sonofabitch to have friends like he had. They had his back, always. Even when they fought, there was respect behind it.