Ricky picked his way around the sleeping werewolves. Some were wounded, many still sported wiry tufts of hair, and all were exhausted. He felt a moment of pity as he stepped over a sweet-faced young woman with a nasty gash across her nose. She looked like the sort of girl who knitted cardigans and read stories to children at the library, but lycanthropy was treacherous, turning even the gentlest humans into killers.
This was no time for distractions, though. Ricky’s plan required efficient and unemotional action. Only one werewolf mattered, and Ricky found him lying slightly away from the pack, his guards too deeply asleep to react to the presence of a stranger. Now that he could see him up close and in human form, Ricky was startled to realize the new alpha was the man who had changed the oil in his Lexus last week.
He hesitated, then shook his shoulder. “Blake. Hey, man, wake up.”
Blake stirred and opened his eyes. “What?” He blinked at Ricky in confusion.
Ricky fumbled in his satchel and produced a document and pen. “Congratulations on becoming the new alpha. Sign here.”
Blake looked around, slowly coming to his senses. “Damn, that was some fight.”
“Yes.” Ricky shoved the paper and pen at him again, pointing to the signature line. “And if you’ll sign here, we can secure grant funding to better optimize the coordination of future full moon nights for the strategic benefit of all concerned. And you’ll get breakfast.”
“Breakfast?” Blake’s nostrils quivered and he glanced at Ricky’s still-bulging bag.
Ricky edged closer so Blake could better smell what was in the satchel. “Sign and it’s all yours.” He held his breath, hoping he hadn’t miscalculated. Maelstrom’s werewolves were disoriented for hours after a full moon night, and sometimes weren’t completely right until several days later. But this was an alpha pack leader, the strongest and cleverest werewolf in the Local 666. Ricky watched him scan the document and wondered if he was in any fit state to understand or care what it said.
Blake grumbled and scrawled something across the bottom of the page. Ricky snatched it out of his hands before he could reconsider, and began backing away.
With a snarl, Blake lunged at him. “You said breakfast!”
Ricky tossed him the satchel and watched him tear it open to get at the raw meat inside. Then, while the werewolf was thus distracted, Ricky let himself out of the room, out of the building, and into the morning sun. He was standing near a tree, trying to get his bearings, when someone called out to him.
“Hey, primate!” A swaddled figure slunk toward him, trying to keep to the shadows. “How’d it go?”
After what he had just been through, Ricky found the vampire’s presence oddly comforting. “What are you doing here? You’re going to get yourself killed.”
Vic sidled up to him, hat pulled low over his face to shield it from the sun. “I wanted to make sure everything was okay. Don’t get cocky, though. It’s not because I care about you.”
Ricky suppressed a smile. “That’s good to know.” He held out the contract. “Duly signed, releasing Calvin and our road crew from any obligation to participate in future strikes, as long as they’re satisfied with their wages and working conditions.”
“Good job, human.” Vic grinned, baring his fangs. “So I guess the tour is on?”
“You bet your unlife it is.”
NOTE: The first post of the tour will be tomorrow, May 22, and the band members will be posting daily through June 4. Add us to your blog reader and stop by often!