A Conundrum – Part 2 of 7

Thanks for checking out this blog, especially you new college students. I’m flattered that you think my stories are more important than your studying. Then again, I’ve been known in the past to choose writing over homework, so maybe I shouldn’t say too much. If you haven’t already read it, the previous installment of this story, “The Scar”, can be located here. Friday’s post may or may not happen, seeing as college orientation is starting up this week. I hope you enjoy this!

Kevin was very happy a police car happened to find him near the abandoned factory. He had very little idea where he was, and he wasn’t about to wander around naked. The police were perplexed about his state, and asked him quite a few questions about the situation.

Apparently, Kevin’s parents had heard him break through the window, and, upon discovering Kevin missing, went into hysterics. They had immediately phoned the police, who were a little more active that night, due to numerous calls about wolf attacks.

Hearing this story, Kevin made the excuse that his friends had broken the window trying to get his attention, and they must have left him in the factory as a prank. The rest of the way home, he contemplated his new existence as a werewolf, and all that it would mean. He would have to take special precautions before the full moon now, and it wouldn’t hurt to get a calendar with the lunar cycles on it either.

Back home, he repeated his concocted excuse to his parents, who ate it up, probably just glad to see him alive. Their anxiety had only been amplified by the reports of wolf attacks throughout the night, including at the neighbor’s across the street.

“What kind of wolf attacks?” asked Kevin.

In the living room, his parents had the TV on, currently displaying a reporter discussing the attacks.

“Police believe about four to five wolves were responsible for the attacks,” the reporter was saying. “These are highly unusual, since, rather than the concentrated works of a pack, these attacks are spread out all over the city, and reports only mention single wolves attacking.”

That would make sense, Kevin thought as he ascended the stairs toward his room. He tried to recall who else had been bitten by the first werewolf. It was difficult remembering who had been present at that bonfire, a month ago. He did recall Brandon Duress had been bitten in the leg, and perhaps he would know some of the other victims.

In his room, the blinds had been drawn, and the shower of glass had been cleaned up off the floor. After he changed into real clothing, he picked up his cell phone from his bed. As he had expected, it was filled with voice mail and texts from over the course of the night and the morning, sent by Amanda, his girlfriend, and Stephen, who had probably been contacted by Kevin’s parents shortly after his disappearance.

“It’s alright, I’m fine,” he texted them.

But now he was also in a conundrum. His parents would trust his story about being with his friends last night, but those friends he was supposedly with would not. Especially Stephen. How much would he tell them? How much would they believe? If the police were to believe that the supposed wolves were really people, would they arrest those responsible? Would his friends report him to the police? Should he report himself to the police?

The issue puzzled him all day. It was lucky for him that it was the weekend, but come Monday, he still didn’t have many answers. He knew he wasn’t going to report himself to the police. He really doubted that they would believe that four or five teenagers would turn into wolves every full moon. Anyway, he could handle it. He’d just need to drive out into the country once a month and make sure he was away from other people.

Of course, that raised issues within itself. He considered that perhaps it would be easier to tell someone, let that person act as his handler, in a sense, to make sure he didn’t stray too far, or that he could get back home. If he were to tell anyone, it would be Amanda and Stephen.

While he was walking up to the school building, he came upon Amanda, who threw herself on him.

“I was so worried about you!” she said.

“I could tell,” Kevin replied.

“What happened?”

Kevin was at a loss for words. He knew she wouldn’t buy the excuse he gave his parents for a moment, and he still couldn’t bring himself to reveal the truth. So he just shrugged.

Amanda frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I don’t know.”

She gave him a very suspicious look. “As in, you don’t want to tell me because I might kill you, or because you honestly don’t remember?”

“Kind of the first-”

“Who is she?” Amanda had put her hands on her hips, and gave Kevin a stare that would have made Jupiter feel guilty.

“It’s not – there was no one – I can’t talk about it.”

“Well, when you do want to talk about it,” Amanda said, turning away. “Come and find me.”

Kevin stared after her, dumbfounded. Did she really think he was cheating on her? How did she explain him waking up in a factory? Or did she know that?

He walked to his first class, now a little more desperate to decide what to say about his condition that wouldn’t alienate his girlfriend, and wouldn’t make his friends suspicious.

Unfortunately, he still hadn’t come up with a solution by chemistry, outside of telling the truth, which was quickly becoming the only thing he could say.

“Hey man,” said Stephen upon sitting down across from Kevin. “You alright?”

“I guess,” replied Kevin. “Friday night didn’t faze me too much.”

“I wasn’t talking about that. Amanda told me she’s not talking to you.”

“Yeah. She thinks I was up to something Friday.”

“Well, what do you suppose a girlfriend’s gonna think? You disappear for hours – overnight, even; that screams shenanigans.”

“Well, it wasn’t anything like that.” Kevin’s mind was racing with what to tell his friend.

“I know. But I would love to know what really happened.” He leaned in close, waiting for Kevin to deliver the secret. But Kevin wasn’t ready for that.

“Listen, I’ll tell you after school. Bring Amanda, too.”

“Alright, put it off.” Stephen leaned back as the teacher rose to start class. “But you know that I know when you’re lying.”

That was quite true, Kevin thought as the teacher began talking about the tin molecule they would be making in class that day. And it seemed only the truth would get him out of this.

In between, he investigated the other bitten victims. A bit after lunch, he found Brandon, along with Riley Johnson, who he recalled had also been bitten.

“Hey, guys,” he greeted. “So, what did you think of Friday night?”

He noted the quick flash in their eyes as they realized exactly what he was talking about.

“It was amazing,” said Brandon. “I’ve never felt so much power! I kinda can’t wait for next month!”

Kevin frowned. “You found it…enjoyable?”

“Yeah,” replied Riley. “The best part is that we can totally get away with it! They just think it’s a bunch of wolves!”

He and Brandon laughed. Kevin’s face contorted in disgust as he turned away. Did they feel no guilt? No shame? They weren’t going to tell anyone about their “gift”. They were just going to sit contentedly, laughing in the day, taking advantage of each episode as it came. But that was not the way Kevin felt about it all. He felt awful about it.

So did that mean he had to keep it bottled up to? If he did tell Stephen and Amanda about it, wouldn’t they try everything possible to help him? He smiled. Of course they would. It was what he would do, if one of them had been bitten, rather than him.

After school, Amanda and Stephen were there, waiting for him, Stephen expectant, Amanda as cross as that morning. Kevin walked up to them, head down.

“I don’t know if you two are going to believe me at all,” he said soberly. “But you remember those wolf attacks the other day? Those weren’t normal wolves. They were werewolves. And one of them was me.”

Part 3 here.

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