Have you read my Wolf Boy Series of Young Adult books? The story circles around Cody, a teenage werewolf, who struggles to come to terms with his supernatural life. I’ve pitted him against Dr. Saarsgard. She’s my favorite kind of villain because she truly believes she’s right—and some readers might agree with her.
Dr. Saarsgard was first introduced in Book Two, Werewolf Asylum, and has loomed like a shadow over the remaining books. She is obsessed with unraveling the secrets of lycanthropy. She wants to create a vaccine that would give the werewolves’ superhuman abilities to everyone. But she needs test subjects, so she travels the world abducting werewolves and taking them to her institute. Cody escaped her clutches once. She has no intention of letting him go again.
In Book Six, The Amazing Super Wolf, Saarsgard finally makes good on her threat to whisk Cody away to her secret laboratory. Which brings us back to Cody’s struggle to accept his newfound abilities. The werewolf population at the institute is being tortured in the name of science. In order to free everyone, Cody will have to do terrible things, unspeakable things. And if he does, if he becomes everything he hates, will he still be welcome in the home he loves?
I’m sure you can guess which road he chooses. As Cody says, “All I ever wanted was to be a normal kid. Hang out with friends after school. Plan date nights on the weekends. No worries. No responsibilities. But that kind of life wasn’t for me. I was the amazing wolf boy. Astound your family and mystify your friends. And I had a job to do.”
Conflict abounds in The Amazing Super Wolf, both physically and emotionally. I hope you enjoy this excerpt.
The Amazing Super Wolf
October 26, 2008, Loxahatchee, Florida
I pressed my back against the tree trunk, my gun close to my chest. The night air cooled my sweaty skin. I smelled pine and palm trees, rabbit and raccoon. And her. Creeping through the forest. Quiet footsteps disturbed the brush. Just a bit closer, little girl. Closer and I’ll have you. I took a slow breath and focused all my senses.
And something weird happened. I did more than hear her moving behind me. I saw her. Not with my eyes. With something else. Her silhouette slipped through the trees, and I sensed it like radar, like heat sensors. Her body language told me which way she would step before she did.
What was going on?
I shook my head to clear it, spun from behind the tree, and fired. The paintball splatted against her chest. But not with paint. These were filled with Brittany’s improved Wolfsbane Brew, designed to incapacitate a werewolf whether in wolf form or not.
Ayanna’s back arched with the impact, and for a moment, I thought she might turn to the Dark Side. For us, the Dark Side meant our wolf beast guise—a seven-foot wolfman with claws and fangs. But her eyes met mine, and she fired.
Her shot struck my arm. It burned like fire. The potion coursed through my body, trying to paralyze me, trying to disrupt my connection to Mother Moon.
I said, “Ow!”
“Ow yourself,” Ayanna called. “Those things sting.”
“You did great, though. You didn’t lose control once.”
Her dark face split into a grin. Pride and pleasure swelled through the link, the psychic bond that connected the pack.
My pack. Despite my protests, I was the leader of my little band of werewolves. An honor I didn’t want or deserve. But I was the one with superpowers. And apparently, my skills were still growing.
Had I actually seen Ayanna’s spectral image through the trees? What was that all about?
I rubbed my arm, frowning. “That’s enough for tonight. School tomorrow.”
She tramped toward me through the brush. “I have an examination in algebra. But it’s all rubbish. I’m miles beyond them in my studies.”
I nodded in mock sympathy. I knew she secretly liked school, liked being the best in class, enjoyed the other kids’ awe of her exotic British accent.
“Great,” I told her. “I expect good grades.”
“Yes, big brother,” she sang.
I caught the sarcasm. I wasn’t her brother.
With my arm draped around her shoulders, we traipsed back to her house. We were in the woods behind her property. More specifically, near the boggy pond where we always met. We lived in Loxahatchee, Florida, a small town in the northernmost region of the Everglades. Like in any small town, everybody knew everybody. But few people realized we were werewolves, and I intended to keep it that way.
The trees petered out at the edge of a wide yard. Ayanna and her parents, Dick and Chloe Richardson, lived on an old horse farm with expansive pastures and tumbled-down fences. The yard looked even more open now. Their ranch-style house had been demolished in a tropical storm. All that was left was the cement foundation. Her father used the flat slab as a parking lot. His battered Winnebago was there along with his Lexus. My uncle often parked his truck there as well. Ayanna and her family lived in the renovated horse stable.
We reached the back door with its thick fisheye window. It was always unlocked for us.
I handed Ayanna my paintball gun. “See you tomorrow.”
She beamed at me. The look my girlfriend, Brittany, always warned me about. But Ayanna understood that I loved her like a sister. We were both okay with that.
I hopped on my bike and pedaled away. A year ago, if you had told me I’d be tooling around town on a candy-apple-red bicycle, I would’ve laughed. My friends at my old school in Massachusetts would’ve laughed, too. They probably all had cars by now. I tried not to think about it too much. They were a bunch of rich snobs anyway.
The ride home was pleasant enough. There was no traffic at that time of night. No one to see me. Leaving me free to use my super wolf speed. I could move faster than any human. The wind was cool in my hair. The stars were bright overhead. I sped down the flat asphalt as if it were a raceway. As if I could escape my misgivings. But they crept into my thoughts anyway.
My powers were growing again. Cripes! Why did everything happen to me? I’d just have to hide them, that’s all. I’ve had to hide things before.
I slowed when I reached my sub-division. I lived with my Uncle Bob and his girlfriend, Rita. They rented a small, blue house at the end of a cul-de-sac. The yard backed into the surrounding forest. The perfect place for a family of werewolves. I dropped my bike on its appointed spot in the front lawn and tiptoed up the wooden steps. I needn’t have bothered being so quiet—Uncle Bob met me at the door.
My uncle was a few inches shorter than me. His steel-gray hair curled where it hit his collar. He’d been watching The Tonight Show without sound, probably so he wouldn’t disturb Rita. “Getting in kind of late, aren’t you?”
“I was with Ayanna.”
“Have a seat. I want to talk to you about responsibilities.”
Ugh. Just hearing that word made me want to hyperventilate. I sat on the couch. He sat on the old recliner across from me.
“I’m your legal guardian,” he said. “It’s my responsibility to see that you are fed, clothed, and have a roof over your head. In return, it’s your responsibility to get good grades in school. That’s your responsibility to your father, to me, but more importantly, to yourself. Instead, you go out at night and—”
“I was with Ayanna. I was teaching her—”
“So, you feel that Ayanna is your responsibility?”
“No!” I chopped my hand down. “I am not responsible for her.”
“Then who is?”
I paused. “Her parents?”
“Exactly.” He pointed at me with both hands. “Ayanna’s parents are responsible for Ayanna. And what are you responsible for?”
“Good grades,” I said dully.
“But what about being a pack leader?”
“Being a pack leader doesn’t make you a teacher. It makes you a boss. You guide. You protect. And if you want that girl trained, you damned well tell her parents to do it.”
“Because I’m the boss.”
“There you go.” He stood. “Good talk.”
I watched him walk down the hallway and disappear into his room. I didn’t want to be anyone’s boss. I wanted to be a normal sixteen-year-old kid. I wanted to hang out with my girlfriend and chill. What would that even be like? No responsibilities. No worries.
I went to my room and plopped down on my bed. I couldn’t sleep, so I called Brittany.
She yawned as she answered the phone. “There you are. I was beginning to think something happened to you.”
“Sorry. I lost track of time.”
“I bet Bob wasn’t pleased.”
“He doesn’t want me to take Ayanna out anymore. He says her parents should train her. But how can they when neither of them is an alpha?”
She yawned again. “That is a dilemma.”
“He says I should be the boss.”
“And you don’t agree?”
“I can’t tell everyone what to do. It’s not my thing. Besides, as far as I can see, being a pack leader isn’t about bossing people around, it’s about trying to please everyone.”
“You can’t please everyone.”
“Tell me about it.” I sighed. “I feel like I’m being pulled in five directions.”
“Well, you’re the boss. What do you want to do?”
“Run away. Just you and me. I want to go somewhere… else.”
“I always wanted to travel.”
She understood. She always did. No judging. No criticism. “I love you, Brittany.”
“I love you, too. And I would go anywhere for you. But in the meantime, I’m going back to sleep. See you in my dreams.”
I set down the phone, smiling. As I drifted off to slumberland, I imagined us somewhere that was the opposite of South Florida. Cold instead of hot. Mountainous instead of flat. Just the two of us. What would that even be like?
Bright and early Monday morning, I drove to school in my uncle’s truck. A normal procedure this semester. Lately, Uncle Bob had been having me drive everywhere on my learner’s permit. I was nervous at first, but now I didn’t mind so much.
In the seat beside me, Uncle Bob slurped his coffee. “I wish you would reconsider naming me first lieutenant of the pack,” he said.
I glanced at him. “Why?”
He gave an exasperated snort. “So, I can advise you.”
“You can advise me even if you’re not my lieutenant,” I said. “I welcome it. In fact, I plan to have a wolf democracy.”
He sputtered and nearly spilled his coffee. “That just isn’t done.”
“Then we’ll be the first. What’s the worst that could happen?”
“Someone might attack?”
“I can protect us,” I said. “Besides, no one knows we’re here.”
“Lavinia’s pack in Georgia knows where we are.”
I thought about Lavinia and her son Tommy Lee. A werewolf’s abilities came from the mother’s side of the family. Tommy Lee had inherited his mother’s werewolf traits, but he wasn’t very good at it. A real newbie. “Yeah,” I said, “but they’re our friends.”
He grunted in agreement.
I pulled to the drop-off point in front of the school and put the gearshift in park. “Touchdown. The crowd goes wild.”
“Good job,” Uncle Bob said. “I think you’re ready. If you want me to, I’ll make the appointment for you to get your driver’s license after school today.”
My stomach went all tingly inside, and I chided myself for it. I was the leader of the pack, for Pete’s sake. I wasn’t supposed to get nervous about stuff.
“All right,” I said, not looking at him. “In that case, I’ll leave my bike in the truck bed.”
We both hopped down, and he circled around to the driver’s side.
“I’ll pick you up at three o’clock,” he said.
“All right,” I said again, a little dazed. I was going to get my driver’s license.
I walked across the schoolyard. Seminole Bluffs High School was a one-story building with a football field in back. Home of the Hawks. The front was an expanse of white concrete with occasional holes cut out for scraggly trees. Kids milled about. A bus had just let out.
To the side, Eff scowled at me. Efrem Higgins was an ex-football star. He’d been my enemy, then my friend, now my enemy again. A few weeks ago, he’d found out I was a werewolf. Some people might be horrified at that revelation. Eff was pissed. I guess he thought I’d tricked him by keeping it a secret.
I avoided his glare by entering the school. The halls were packed, and the noise level went up two decibels. I slipped through the crowd. It was way easier than it should have been. As if I could anticipate which way people would go—and I wondered if I was influencing them, using my powers to unconsciously move them out of my way. I didn’t want to control people like that—although it was convenient.
As always, Ayanna waited for me outside her first class. Two girls stood with her, but they hurried inside the room when they saw me. I was glad Ayanna was making friends. She’d been homeschooled all her life, and her social skills were even worse than mine.
“Hi,” I said.
“Good morning. How did you sleep?”
“Like a rock.”
She cocked her head and frowned. “Pardon?”
“Never mind.” I grinned. “Did your parents give you trouble about getting in late last night?”
“They were both asleep. You?”
“Nothing I can’t handle.”
“Good. We can go out tonight, then.”
“Not tonight. Let’s take a break.”
“Oh.” Her smile fell.
And there it was again—the feeling that I needed to please everyone. And I was failing.
I nudged her arm. “Hey, next time you see me, I might have my driver’s license.”
“That’s a milestone.”
“Won’t mean much. I still won’t have a car.”
The warning bell rang.
“I have to get to class,” I said. “Good luck in algebra.”
I felt her gaze on my back as I walked away.
At last, the best part of the school day arrived—lunch. I was on Lunch B, so by the time 12:30 rolled around, I was starved. But that’s not why I looked forward to it. I bypassed the conga line at the hot food, grabbed a couple of apples from the new salad bar area, and hurried to my usual table in the back of the room.
Brittany was already there. She looked beautiful. She was growing her hair out, and it fell in a dark swag. She wore less makeup lately. Her eyes weren’t so black, her lips not so purple. But they still tasted as sweet. I kissed her softly as I sat beside her.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi.” She smiled, and her nose crinkled just right. “I forgot to ask last night. How was your paintball session with Ayanna?”
“Great. The new potion works really well.” I placed one of my apples on her tray.
She reciprocated by giving me one of her yogurts. “I can tweak it further if you want me to.”
“Sure. The more Lynette teaches me about herbs and potions, the more everything seems to fall together.”
Brittany’s Aunt Lynette had degrees in herbology and holistic medicine. She was also a Wiccan Priestess. She and Brittany didn’t always get along, which made it tough when you lived together. But lately, they seemed friendly enough.
I said, “I wish I were as comfortable being a pack master as you are being a potential witch queen.”
“Did something happen?”
I drew a deep breath. “It’s just that lately—”
“Hi, Brittany.” A girl stopped at our table.
“Oh, hi, Monica,” Brittany said.
“I heard you started blogging over the summer.”
“Yeah. It’s all about herbs and their properties. How to mix them. You know.”
Monica narrowed her eyes. “Herbs as in cooking?”
“No,” Brittany drawled. “More like in potions.”
“Ah.” She brightened. “That sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll look it up.”
I smiled indulgently as Monica walked away then hunched my shoulders and leaned closer. “As I was saying, my werewolf powers seem to be getting stronger. Every day it’s something new. And I just don’t—”
“Brittany, did I hear this right?” Another girl strode to our table. Her companion lagged behind. “You want to be a pharmacist?”
“Apothecary.” Brittany nodded. “I’m studying herbalism.”
Her face scrunched. “Herbs as in cooking?”
“No, Emily. Medical herbs. Natural remedies. That sort of thing.”
“Oh.” The second girl popped up. “That makes much more sense. I didn’t think you could cook.”
I said, “Actually, she’s a terrific cook.”
“Well, check out Mister Over Protective,” Emily said.
The girls giggled and wandered off.
I said, “Anyway, lately it’s like I can read people’s minds. Like I know what they’re going to do before they do it. And I started thinking. What if I’m not reading their minds but projecting mine. What if I’m influencing—”
“So, Brittany, you’re like a blogger now?”
Three more girls appeared.
Brittany said, “Hi, Susan. Yeah, I’m blogging about herbs.”
Susan cocked her hip and held out a finger. “So, it’s like a cooking show?”
“No, it’s not a cooking show,” I barked. “What kind of question is that?”
“I was just asking. Sheesh.” Susan and her cohorts ambled away.
I raised my hands. “What is wrong with people?”
“Forget about them,” Brittany said. “So, you’re afraid you’re taking thralls.”
My anger deflated. She got me. She always got me. I nodded. “Inadvertently.”
“This is serious. You need to find out all you can about it.”
“How? It’s not like someone will have a blog.” I regretted my choice of words as soon as I said them.
She looked hurt. “Someone might.”
I sighed and opened my yogurt. We ate in silence for a few moments.
“Okay,” she said. “You’re afraid you’re mentally influencing people. What else?”
“I know when someone’s lying. I smell it in their sweat.”
“Like a chemical reaction.”
“That sound’s helpful. What else?”
“The link to my pack is stronger. If I put my mind to it, I think I could communicate with them in real time.”
“That sounds helpful, too. Do all alpha wolves have these powers?”
“Maybe. I don’t know. But here’s the thing. Power corrupts. And I don’t want to wake up one morning to find out I’m the bad guy.”
She placed her hand over mine. “I understand. I do. I felt the same way when I found out I was a super powerful witch. But we can’t hide from who we are. All we can do is learn to use our abilities responsibly. Practice makes perfect, right?”
I nodded. I would never practice making a thrall.
She pulled her hand away. “Don’t look now, but Eff is staring at us again.”
“I hope he’s not going to make trouble.”
“He called last night urging me to break up with you,” she said. “He didn’t use the word werewolf. He just said you weren’t who you seemed.”
“My uncle would freak if he found out Eff knew about him.” A familiar weight landed in my stomach. I pushed it away. “Speaking of my uncle, he’s going to take me to get my driver’s license after school today.”
“That’s great. You must be excited.”
I scowled. “What’s the point if I don’t have a car?”
“Baby steps.” She got to her feet. “Call me tonight and tell me how it went. Smitten you.”
After school, Uncle Bob, Rita, and I drove out to the DMV in Royal Palm Beach for my official road test. I rode in the truck bed, as usual.
Rita had flaming red hair and the widest smile I’d ever seen. She had always been my cheerleader, and this afternoon was no different. “You’ll be fine,” she called to me out the back window. “Just remember to check your mirrors. And keep your hands at ten and two.”
“That’s not right anymore,” Uncle Bob said. “They want you at nine and three because of the airbag.”
“It was ten and two when I took the test,” she said.
“Sure. Ages ago.”
“What do you mean by that?” She poked him.
Then came a mock argument about what driving was like in the covered-wagon era. Their good-natured bickering made me feel even more anxious.
We got to the DMV and went to the area for people with appointments. My examiner was a woman of few words. She sat shotgun in my uncle’s truck, her only indication that I should begin. I ran over the curb during my three-point-turn, and I wasn’t exactly centered in the designated parking space, but she didn’t even look up from her clipboard.
We went out on the road. Royal Palm Beach was like a mini city. It had parks and stores and movie theaters. I followed the examiner’s instructions, turning right here, turning left there, making sure I came to a complete stop at the stop signs. After a while, she directed me out of town.
The surrounding area was mainly jackfruit groves and horse ranches crisscrossed with country roads. Some were paved, some not. My examiner chose a paved road. Two lanes of black asphalt, flat and straight. Traffic came toward me on the other side. There were no cars in the lane in front of me. They were all lined up behind. I was doing the speed limit, my sweaty hands firmly at nine and three.
Suddenly the examiner sat up straight and shouted, “Squirrel!”
Time stopped. I peered ahead. The squirrel in question sat on my side of the road. Options ran through my mind.
I could slow down and hope the squirrel ran away. But what if it didn’t? Would I have points taken off for winning a game of chicken?
What if the squirrel ran into oncoming traffic? Would I have points taken off for chasing a woodland creature into certain doom?
The squirrel watched me approach, wringing its tiny hands. I didn’t want to hurt it. So, relying on my newfound, untried superpowers, I attempted to influence its mind.
It didn’t have a coherent thought in its head. As I connected with it, I was hit with a barrage of images—tree, grass, nut, tree, sex, sex, SEX.
I tried to project a thought. Run away, little squirrel. Run into the trees.
Instead, the little monster ran straight toward my truck, leaped up, did a backflip like a freaking ninja, and landed on the hood. It bounced once then hit the windshield—SPLAT—all four legs extended.
“Eek!” the examiner shrieked.
“Awk!” I answered.
The squirrel pressed its beady eye against the glass and stared at me. I turned on the windshield wipers. It latched onto the wiper blade and swung back and forth.
Feigning calm, I flipped on the turn signal and pulled to the side of the road. The trailing line of cars zoomed past. All twenty-seven of them. A few slowed down long enough to give me dirty looks.
I turned off the wipers. Ninja squirrel slid down the windshield. It chittered at me, tail twitching.
The examiner said, “That’s unusual. I wonder what made it do that?”
I glared at it. You communicate in images? Try this one. I projected an image of me in my wolf form.
The squirrel’s jaw dropped. Its little eyes widened. Then it leaped off the hood and disappeared into the trees.
I ran my hand over my face, trying to keep my emotions out of the link. Hopefully, Ayanna hadn’t picked up on what had happened. I would never hear the end of it. I turned on my turn signal, checked my blind spots, and inched onto the road.
“Excellent,” the examiner said. “We can go back now. Turn right at the next intersection.”
We returned to the DMV. And just like that, I had a driver’s license. The picture made me look like a dork, but at that moment, I didn’t even care.
“Congratulations.” My uncle thumped me on the back.
Rita gave me her wide smile. “We should go out to dinner to celebrate.”
I paused. My birthday was coming up, and I’d hoped they’d take me out then. We couldn’t afford to go out to eat twice in one week.
But Uncle Bob hopped into the back of the truck, my designated spot, and waggled his brows. “Dinner it is. You drive, Cody.”
I drove to the Coffee Café, which was my uncle’s favorite diner. I held the door open for them as we entered. The place was small. It had a long counter where I sat when I came in alone, a few tables in the middle of the room, and a line of booths under the windows. It smelled like coffee and bacon even though breakfast was hours ago.
Anne, the waitress, smiled and waved. “Well, if it isn’t my favorite family. Come on over. I got a place for you right here.”
We slid into the proffered booth. A big jack-o-lantern was painted on the window with poster paint. Daylight filtered through and tinted the table orange.
Anne brought over the menus.
“We’re celebrating tonight,” Uncle Bob told her. “Cody just got his driver’s license.”
“That’s wonderful!” Anne hugged me against her ample bosom and kissed my cheek.
I was feeling kind of proud of myself after all the fuss they were making.
Uncle Bob said to get whatever I wanted, so I ordered the smothered steak, which was a half-pound hamburger patty covered with onions and gravy over a bed of mashed potatoes. Delicious as always. I wolfed it down then sat back, patting my stomach. I was stuffed.
Then Anne walked toward me through the tables, her face alight, carrying a huge piece of chocolate cake with a birthday candle on it. She moved slowly so she wouldn’t put out the flame, all the while singing off-key. “Congratulations to you. Congratulations to you. Congratulations, dear Cody. Congratulations to youuu.” On the final, drawn out you, she set the cake before me.
There was a smattering of applause from the other diners.
“Thank you,” I sputtered, flabbergasted.
I found there’s always room for cake.
Afterward, I drove home. Uncle Bob and Rita settled in front of the television. They’d missed the beginning of Jeopardy. I went to my room to call Brittany.
“Hi,” I said.
Her smile lit up my phone. “How’d it go?”
“I got it.”
“I knew you would.”
“Maybe we can go on a real date now,” I said. “Like dinner and a movie.”
“Sounds great. I’ll pencil you in.”
“When can we go on a date?”
She chuckled. “Let me check my social calendar. I can’t go right now. I’m busy talking to my boyfriend. And remember that tomorrow is the dark moon, so I’ll have rituals with Lynette and Myra.”
“Dark moon on Tuesday. Check.”
“Oh, and I have my early birthday party on Sunday. Did you invite Ayanna and her parents?”
“Yes, but I’ll remind them.” I frowned. My birthday was on Thursday, but she didn’t mention it. Didn’t she remember?
The next morning, I drove to school. My uncle rode shotgun as usual. Getting my driver’s license didn’t change my life. Not that I’d expected it to.
I wrestled my bike out of the back of the truck and walked it to the bike rack. Eff came out of the parking lot and stopped dead, staring at me. Maybe he thought I’d wolf out, and he’d catch me in the act. I considered approaching him and starting a conversation. Prove to him I was the same kid he was friends with before. But, nah. That would make it worse. I dropped my gaze and locked up my bike.
Inside the school, the halls were as noisy as ever. I made my way to Ayanna. She stood with the same two girls. They gave me blinding smiles before disappearing into the classroom. I hoped they didn’t think I was her boyfriend.
“Good morning,” Ayanna said.
“Hey.” I nodded. “I got my driver’s license.”
“I thought as much. The link fairly hummed with pride. And what was that about a squirrel?”
“It was nothing.”
“Are you sure? It felt like you were rather perplexed. I would be happy to go out and give it a stern talking to.”
My cheeks warmed. “How was your algebra exam?”
She smiled. “I believe I performed admirably.”
“That’s good. We’ll make an A student of you yet.”
“I’m more concerned with my extracurricular activities. You should come over tonight. We can practice with the paintball guns. Work on our concentration.”
“Why not? It will be dark. And Brittany will be busy.”
I was tempted. I really was. But I was the one who talked her parents into sending her to a public school. So, I was responsible for keeping her grades up. Plus, I didn’t want to hear about it from Uncle Bob again. “We’ll go soon. But you don’t need me with you to practice concentration. Are you doing that meditation thing I showed you?”
“Almost constantly.” She smiled. She was pretty when she smiled.
“Well, keep it up. It’s important to strengthen your connection to Mother Moon.” I looked around as the bell rang. “I better go. Don’t forget Brittany’s birthday party this Sunday. They’ll have food.”
“I wouldn’t miss it.”
With a nod and a grin, I hurried to my first class.
Lunchtime came, and I sat with Brittany at our special table. We exchanged yogurt and apples.
As we ate, I said, “Are we still study partners? Because we haven’t been studying much so far this semester.”
“Well,” she drawled, “we don’t have classes together this semester. Besides, I won’t have as much time for schoolwork this year with the blog and all.”
“It needs a lot of attention. I can’t study witchcraft and American History at the same time. What’s the point of schoolwork anyway? I can’t afford to go to college.”
“You could go to a community college. We both could. What happened to your dream of becoming a graphic artist?” For that matter, what happened to my dream of becoming a doctor? What would I do now that I’m a werewolf?
“Things change,” she murmured. “Interests change. I’m really into making potions. It’s like working a puzzle, learning how all the pieces fit together.”
“You can study herbology in school. Or even chemistry.”
Brittany sighed as if deep in thought. The yogurt container slipped from her grasp, bounced on her tray, and spattered her Michael Meyers t-shirt with pink slime.
“Darn it,” she said. “I’d better go clean this up.” She kissed my cheek and stood. “Don’t forget—rituals this evening. So, call early.”
I called Brittany after dinner. It was the best time. She’d be fasting so my call wouldn’t disturb her meal. And the sun was still out.
“Hi,” I said. “Ready for your big night?”
“We still have to take a bath.”
I imagined the three women in the hot tub together. “By any chance, is this one of the naked ceremonies?”
“I could come over. Lend you a hand.”
She giggled. “Cody.”
“What? We hardly see each other except at school.”
“Speaking of which, I’ve been thinking about what you said about my grades, and I decided the best way to get back at my father is to get straight A’s in my senior year.”
I nodded. Brittany’s father used to punish her for good grades, saying he didn’t want a show-off know-it-all for a daughter.
“That’s great,” I said. “Let’s get together to study this Thursday.” Maybe once she saw me, it would jog her memory that it was my birthday.
“Thursday? Um, no. I might be busy that day. This is my first Halloween as a Wiccan, and I’m not sure what rites they observe.”
“But Thursday is October thirtieth.” My birthday.
“All right.” I sighed and shook my head. Didn’t anyone remember?
END OF EXCERPT