Flash fiction statement was provided by Andrew McCluskey (NALGames).
I’ve woken up in a nature reserve with half a packet of breath mints in my duffel coat pocket…
His eyes felt sticky. Was this what a rusty hinge felt like? He cranked open his eyes and peered around. This wasn’t good. His neck felt stiff. It was no wonder considering that he had spent the late November night sleeping on the hard ground. Wild flowers that had been caught in the frost brushed his cheek. He laid there and stared up at the sky, certain that nobody could see him through the long grasses and the brambles. The nature reserve hummed with peaceful life.
His was not a peaceful life.
He pushed his hand deep into the pocket of his duffel coat, grateful for its warmth and the anonymity it lent him. There was a half empty packet of mints. He slid these aside and reached, instead, for the needle and scissors that he always carried… just in case. The blood had managed to soak through the backing of his coat pocket. Easing himself into a sitting position, he shifted backwards into the brush, trying to obscure himself from view.
It took him a few minutes to extricate his arm from the thick folds of his coat. Examining the wound didn’t take long. It wasn’t wide but it was fairly deep. Luckily, it didn’t seem to have penetrated any vital organs.
David closed his eyes and flexed his muscles. They ached with the cold. Normally, he would have changed before he settled to sleep, but this time he had let the injury get the better of him. It had already healed quite a lot since last night, but he knew that if he tried to change now it would simply tear open wider and he would be far worse than he was. He needed to flex his muscles, though. They were tired human muscles instead of tired wolf muscles. He hadn’t exerted himself so much in his human form since long before he’d been bitten.
Fragmented memories of the previous night pieced themselves together. Whoever they were, they had known who he was. He was sure of that. They’d known his name and they’d known where he would be. It was like they had been waiting for him. If he didn’t know better, then he would have thought that he’d been set up. He rolled his neck and listened to the click and clatter of his bones. They were tired bones. He breathed out a cloud of hot air and then sniffed gingerly. They’d pepper sprayed him and burned one of his most acute senses. It would right itself soon enough, but the fact that they had done that worried him.
He sniffed the air again but all he got was frost and singed hair.
Obviously they meant to come after him. If they were smart they would have tracked him as soon as he’d fled last night. Fleeing wasn’t his style but it was easier than a battle with a pack of them. Even in human form they were life threatening.
His ears pricked up. Something deadly was moving in the brambles behind him. He tried to smell them, but his nose was too burned.
Were they a friend or foe?
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