Monday, February 2, 2015

Day Eight-Hundred-Fifteen: A Foregone Confusion

Nagi was not a witness to the first werewolf bite in the walled city of Foregone, nor was she witness to the second. The third slipped her notice, the fourth happened in a back alley, the fifth was secreted behind the closed doors of a private residence, and the less said about the sixth, the better. Indeed, Nagi did not become aware of the werewolf presence in the city until number thirty-four burst its way into her inn room, and by then it was too late.

Nagi was busy counting her winnings from a stop at Foregone’s casino. With business down and the dealers in a slump, she’d found the casino to be relatively easy pickings. Her gloating blinded her to the distant ‘awooos’ and the rampant padding of feet, and had she not finally picked up on the rapid thuds outside her room, the werewolf might have gotten her. As it was, Nagi just barely managed to spring aside as the hulking beast tore down her door and lunged for her throat.

Nagi’s first thought was for the money on her bed, already scattered by the werewolf’s paws. The second was to blame Dragomir and his friends for this bit of ill fortune, because, surely, he was somehow involved.

Rolling deftly towards the box-shaped room that served as a latrine, Nagi rose onto her tail, breathing hard. The werewolf, its mouth a white puff of feathers yanked out of Nagi’s bed, growled dangerously and turned towards her, its clawed fingers grasping at the air as it fell onto all fours. Nagi knew it would spring at her if she didn’t do something within the next three seconds.

I miss the old days where I didn’t have to put up with this shit, she thought, shuddering. Oh, t’be young again.

Nagi reached for the small flap of skin along her tail that hid her knife. Perhaps sensing danger, the werewolf hurtled forward. Nagi plucked the serrated blade from its enclosure, swept it up -

- and slid neatly out of the way as the werewolf crumpled into the bathroom, its throat slit. Its left claw raked Nagi as the werewolf passed, and she squealed as three nails parted her skin and drew blood. 

Werewolves need to bite you, Nagi thought, clutching her arm and breathing hard. Not claw. Not punch. Not curse your name. They’ve gotta bite you. And, hey, this might not even be a werewolf. It could be a rabid dog. Granted, I’m a goblin if that’s not a werewolf, but a girl’s gotta console herself somehow, right?

The werewolf gurgled, snarled several times, and uttered something that sounded almost intelligible as it flopped against the room’s threadbare toilet and died. A plea for help, perhaps, or an urgent request that Nagi purchase more milk from the corner store. She couldn’t be certain what it had said, only that, for a few precious seconds, its growls had morphed into near-intelligent speech.

Fearing there might be greater havoc unfolding downstairs, Nagi slithered out of her inn room and made for the roof, noting with unease the unusual silence dominating the stonework hallways. Nagi had stayed at this same inn for over a week, switching rooms once to escape a nasty odour wafting out of the kitchen, and it was always populated and bustling, save during the wee hours of the night. The Imperium’s few stationed guards didn’t tolerate excessive noise past 12 am. But this was 5:30 at most, almost time for dinner, and traffic should’ve been abundant.


The streets beyond the patchwork wooden parapets atop the inn were not nearly so quiet. Screams seemed to echo from every alleyway as people fled from small groups of werewolves, their voices drowned out by mournful howls summoning more teeth to the chase. Nagi watched as two werewolves corner a washerwoman and her son in an alley, then leap bodily at the tiny family and shove them into a slat of shade that Nagi’s eyes could not penetrate. She turned away regardless, quavering at the sound of the washerwoman’s frantic screams.

Three minutes later, the washerwoman and her son emerged with hunched backs, furry faces, and shiny black eyes. The washerwoman’s battered apron was stained with blood, but as a werewolf she looked both healthy and eager.

I thought all the bad shit was happening in the east, Nagi thought, crouching so low that she scraped her elbows on the wood roof. Is it just my luck that I’d wind up in the city where the werewolves decide to make a visit?

It was, in fact, just her luck. And as the first few snowflakes fell on Foregone’s emptying rooftops, Nagi fought to keep her hair purple and her scales unblemished by thick tufts of canine fur. She had no idea what a half-snake werewolf might resemble, and she had no desire to find out.

Time passed.

No comments:

Post a Comment