You wouldn’t expect a guy with a name like Stewart to be a good fighter, but that didn’t stop him from punching me through another wall.
He balled his fist, making the glowing red runes flash, and drove it into my stomach hard enough to hurt—and since I’m at least three times stronger than a normal human, that means a lot. I was thrown off my feet, and I crashed through the wall behind me like it was made of eggshell. I twisted in midair, landing on my feet in what I would have described as catlike if something wouldn’t have taken offense to that. The faint moonlight immediately set to work repairing the damage, but it wouldn’t be enough. I’d still have a nasty bruise later.
It doesn’t have to be that way, I thought, standing up and charging at Stewart again. I could wait just a few minutes, and the moon would—
No! I wouldn’t let that monster have control of me again, even if it meant being in pain. Not tonight, not ever!
I screamed, pouring my frustration into my next attack. I didn’t have a weapon, but like I said: werewolves are stronger than humans. That goes for things that are only human from the waist up, too. Stewart threw another punch, aiming for my head this time, and I ducked underneath it before ramming my shoulder into his stomach.
He cursed as I crashed into him, throwing us both to the floor. His hard-hooved goat legs kicked at me, and I winced when they hit my stomach where he’d punched me. He raised the gauntlet to punch me again, but I grabbed him by the wrist and forced his arm to the floor, my superior strength coming in handy again. Then, with my other hand, I grabbed him by the throat. Stewart sucked in a hasty breath before I squeezed, cutting off his air.
There. I just had to keep him like that until he suffocated. Easy enough, even with him kicking me in the stomach a hundred times a second. His face turned red, then slowly darkened to purple. Panic began to show in his eyes. Part of me felt sorry for him, but I pushed that down where it couldn’t distract me. There was no pity, no sympathy in the world I’d become part of.
A world of monsters.
The life began to fade from Stewart’s eyes, but I didn’t let up on the pressure. How much time did I have left before the moon came up? Hopefully I’d be able to grab the glove, run downstairs, and jump back into the limo. If I didn’t…well, no use thinking about it. Just a few more seconds, and Stewart would be—
The fox pup appeared out of nowhere and sank its fangs into my arm.
“Son of a—” I yelled, flinging it away. It struck the wall twenty feet away and yelped before falling to the floor, unconscious. Then my brain kicked into gear. It had bitten my left arm. I was strangling Stewart with my right, which meant…
I cried out when a second magic punch hit me square in the face. It launched me into the air, and I did a flip before landing painfully on my back hard enough to shake the rotten old floorboards. The world spun around me. Coughing and hacking, Stewart got back to his hooves and came at me again with the glove. The runes flashed, and he swung downwards, intending to punch be straight through the floor.
In desperation, I did the last thing I wanted to do: I opened myself up to the moon. Its power flooded into me—or, rather, trickled. This was nothing compared to what I’d used to feel, but it had been so long that even this pitiful amount felt like a dam bursting in a dry, parched desert.
My body drank in that power, and I moved! It took less than a second for Stewart’s fist to hit the ground, but I was already gone. The floor shattered under his blow, blasting open a gaping hole below, and I lunged for him. I grabbed him around the neck again, but didn’t stop there. The moonlight was awakening the bloodthirst in me again. I didn’t just need to beat Stewart, I needed to prove my dominance.
So I threw us both down the hole he’d made.
Stewart managed to land a punch on me while we fell, blasting me through another wall while he plummeted to the floor. The boards cracked and groaned when he landed, but didn’t break. I scrambled back to my feet and charged at him before he could get up.
Now that there were walls and a ceiling around me, it was easier to ignore the moon. I still had plenty of energy roaring inside me, though, so I kicked Stewart hard enough to lift him off the ground and fly into the wall ten feet away. While he was still disoriented, I grabbed him by the shoulders and hauled him upright. He tried to punch me again, but his movements were coming more slowly now and I leaned easily out of the way.
“Why?” he managed to ask, blood leaking from between his lips. “I paid him back!”
“I don’t know,” I answered. “And I don’t care.”
“I…was going to use it…against them!”
I blinked. I’d just met Stewart—if you could call this “meeting” him—but I didn’t need to ask who he meant by them. The men in the black coats, the ones with swords. A chill ran down my back, but I shook it off.
“Not my problem,” I said.
Stewart looked at me, then smirked. “Of course it isn’t. You’re working for him. He doesn’t hire people who give a crap about us.”
I looked him in the eyes and saw fear. He knew I was about to kill him, but he still didn’t back down or beg for his life. I balled my fist, but couldn’t make myself raise it. I clenched my teeth and cursed.
“Look,” I finally said, “just give me the stupid glove and I’ll let you go. He doesn’t have to know you’re still alive. Okay?”
Stewart looked surprised, but then that surprise turned to anger.
Before I could react, he raised his fist and slammed it into the wall, shattering it—and exposing me to the moon.
It had barely risen, just a sliver on the horizon, but it hit me like a freaking semi-truck. My body exploded with power and ecstasy, sensations that I hadn’t felt in three years.
YES! LET! ME! OOUUUUUTTTT!