Noah's Pack

"Rule number one, only bare your teeth if you're willing to get blood on them," Clara spoke calmly as we approached the campfire.

She'd been a werewolf her entire life, I'd only been a werewolf for three weeks. I don't remember her biting me, but she thinks she might have scratched me at some point shortly after my eighteenth birthday. I only recently learned to transform back and forth at will, no full moon needed. Still, she had enough faith to let me meet with her commune. I had always assumed a commune lived together, but apparently it's normal for a few members to come and go as they please as long as they send money. She was one of the people that came and went. She just happened to bring people back with her sometimes. She claimed they were for meals, but I've yet to see her eat a person. I haven't had the urge either, but there was a really fat rabbit in the front yard I thought about recently. 

"Rule number two, if you get the urge to wolf out, nobody will judge you for it here, but they may take it as a challenge to a friendly sparring session. You're not that good yet. Got it?"

"Yeah, but how do I spot the alpha," I've heard each wolf pack has an alpha that leads their commune.

"That's stupid, there's no official leader. I suppose Noah is the one we follow most often, but he's usually got the best ideas, and he's old. It's not like he can make people outcast, or anything like that. Whole process is pretty democratic."

As we make our way down the beach she gives me more rules to remember and tips so I don't embarrass myself. All while a dark column of smoke rises into the air and a bright green light becomes brighter as we draw nearer. I've never seen a beach so crowded at night before, nor a bonfire so loud and joyous. At first I'm not sure if these people are really werewolves. There's nothing strange beyond the fire being green.

I shake hands, hug Clara's old friends and introduce myself. I even chug a beer as a welcome from her uncle Gene. A howl cuts through the music playing followed by another. The crowd grows excited and rushes towards the howls. A thick circle has been drawn in the sand, inside a Black werewolf, the same color as my own transformation, but larger than Clara or I in wolf form stands. He's being challenged by a smaller but still menacing grey wolf with tufts of brown. Neither claws or bites the other, they simply punch and attempt to move one out of the circle.

"The big one, that's Noah. You can't tell but he's actually 196 years old," Clara says as Noah lets out a howl in victory.

"Are Werewolves immortal," I ask as Noah lifts the human.

"I don't know, he's the oldest that I've met and he only got grey fur last year."

The loser shifts back and blends back into the party. As Noah shifts back my heart drops into the pit of my stomach. I've never met the man, but I know him. The picture my mother keeps close, he's the man in the photo. His greying beard, and neat dreadlocks, the same wide nose, thin lips and mahogany skin.

I can't control my anger. Clara is calling out to me, but I can't hear her as I make my way through the crowd. I don't remember transforming, but I'm running at full speed on all fours. Noah transforms in an instant, but not fast enough to stop me from pouncing on him. I get a few good swipes in at his face before he launches me into the air, much to my surprise.

I'm met with a punch to the gut as I come back down. I can hear the crowd calling for me to be exiled, as if I was a member. My transformation is wearing off, I took too much damage, too fast, and he's got me beat. I shouldn't have tried to fight him like this, but I've got one last attack in me. I rush forward and leap into the air, but by the time I reach him I'm already back to normal. I slam into his mass and fall to the sand.

"What is the meaning of this," he speaks through gritted teeth.

"Hello Noah, my name is Cain. Do you know me? I know you."

"Is this some Bible trivia game? You're Cain, older brother of Abel and Seth. Not funny," he shifts back to human form.

"No, I'm Cain, as in Shirley's son. The woman you left-"

"In Oakland."

"So you remember?"

"My pack, I'd like to introduce you all, to my family. This, is my son Cain," Noah shouts.

For a second there's whispers and concerned silence. Clair comes to lift me off the ground as the silence turns to cheers. I'm not sure they're excited I just tried to take out their so called leader. He's parading me around on his shoulders like I just won the lottery and I'm supposed to be okay with this.

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