PROMPT: Smashing Pumpkins
WORD COUNT: 1,637
NOTES: This is my week two entry for January's brigits_flame. This is a continuation of last week's story, so you might want to read that first before reading this one. Be prepared for some violence and swearing, if you don't like that sort of thin.
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This wolf was not her father.
Her father's fur when he changed was a tawny brown. This werewolf had dark muddy brown fur that was matted and standing on end. It looked back at her with its bloodshot yellow eyes, and suddenly all of Claire's training and preparations seemed ridiculously naive. She had learned to use the whip; she had learned to use the dagger, but all based on the theory that the wolf she may eventually have to face would be her father and that he might hold back. Claire doubted that she could take on a very large, very angry werewolf.
But she could see Jason, still clamped into the werewolf's mouth.Jason hung awkwardly limp in it's mouth.
Claire was gripping the whip too tight. Her knuckles were white with fear. She forced herself to relax her grip, her fingers aching, she began rolling the whip back and forth.
The wolf responded by growling and it coiled up it's muscles in defense. Jason's shoe's dragged across the floor as the wolf moved. Claire heard the snap of one's Jason's bones breaking as the wolf's tightened its grip.
Claire brought the whip expertly forward and cracked it directly in the wolf's face. The silver sliced into the wolf's muzzle and it howled in pain and rage. Jason's body dropped with a thud to the floor.
She bolted down the hall, sure that the wolf would come after her. Second's later, the wolf launched into the spot where she was standing. With too much momentum it smashed into the tall bookcase beside the fireplace. Shards of her mother's favorite pumpkin colored vase flew in all directions and the entire bookcase itself toppled on top of the wolf.
Down the hall, she could see Althea poking her head out into the hall.
"Close the door!" shouted Claire as she tried to make the turn into the kitchen. But the rug skidded out from underneath her and she went down hard onto the wood floor.
Althea was by her side a second later. "Are you alright?"
Claire took a hold of Althea's hand and pulled herself to her feet and then dragged Althea along with her into the kitchen to the door along the backwall. She pulled the chain out from under her shirt. It held two keys. One to the basement door. One to the steel padlock on her father's cage. She knew them by heart, but her fingers fumbled through the two keys. In the living room, she could hear the wolf manically trying to extract itself from the bookcase.
Eventually, she managed to get a hold of the right key. Claire slide it into the deadbolt and turned the lock. Then she yanked the key free and flung the door open, launched herself down the stairs and dragging a stumbling Althea after her. Althea almost tripped on the last three stairs, but managed to grab along of the banister and keep from landing on her face. She half fell, half stumbled after Claire.
Her father was slamming against the sides of the steel cage. His muzzle was foaming with furry and he was frantically tearing at the bars to get out. Claire had never seen her father react this way as a werewolf.
Althea froze at the sight of him. "What the fuck!"
Claire didn't know how far the other wolf was behind her as she set to work opening the padlock on the door, but she felt that any moment she would feel its teeth on the back of her neck. It was difficult to remove the lock with her father raging just on the other side of the bars, afraid as she was that he might accidentally slice into her with one of his claws in his trying to get out.
The padlocked clicked open. She removed it and tossed it aside, and then turned to Althea. "Get into the corner. Now!"
Althea did as she was told. Hoping she wouldn't regret this later, Claire slide the bolt on the door open. Her father slammed against the door a second later, and Claire was thrown backward.
The two werewolves smashed into each other half way up the stairs and became a single, slashing, biting ball of rage. Claire couldn't distinguish one from another as they rolled with in inches of her. One swiped out with its claw and nearly tore into Claire's flesh. Although neither of the wolves was focused on her, her situation had not become any safer.
The dark furred wolf pinned her father to the floor and was trying to tear at its belly with it rear claws, while her father kept trying to go for the other wolf's throat with its teeth. Her father roared in pain as his stomach opened in vicious wounds.
"Maybe we should get into the cage."
"What?" Claire turned to Althea, who was crouched behind a cardboard box that offered zero protection.
"The cage. It might be safer in the cage."
It took a second for Claire's mind to click into place, and she finally said, "Yes."
She and Althea jumped into the cage and pulled the door closed behind them just as Claire's father kicked his attacker off of him. The other wolf fell back into the door of the cage, making the whole structure rattle. It was quickly followed by her father, who stood up to its full height and began to slash out with his claws. Flecks of blood flew about, splattering Claire and Althea.
The other wolf threw itself forward at Claire's father and bit down into his shoulder. Her father yelped and then wrestled himself free, before fleeing up the stairs with the other wolf in fast pursuit.
Claire and Althea's rapid breaths were loud in the quiet left behind in the basement. Several minutes went by with both girls straining to listen to anything other than the sound of their own breathing.
"Do you think they're gone?"
"I have no idea," said Claire.
Both girls kept their eyes glued to the stairwell. Several more minutes past.
Claire took a slow step toward the door of the cage and began to open it. Althea took a hold of her arm.
"What the hell is going on? Why do you have a cage in your basement? I mean, I know why you have a cage in your basement. It's obvious I guess, but you know what I mean." Althea didn't look angry; she just looked stunned and scared. Her curls looked even more like a lion's man than usual, wild and chaotic.
Claire took a slow, ragged breath. "I'll tell you later. I promise. But we have to check on Jason. And ... and Sam, too."
Althea let go of her arm, and Claire opened the cage. The door opened with a low, metallic squeal. They both stood there, feeling very exposed, then Claire stepped out of the cage and Althea followed.
They had to stepped over the bottom two steps of the stairs, which were badly smashed. They climbed slowly up the stairs, pausing at every creak in the wood, jumping at every unusual sound. At the top, they paused in the open doorway, looking for any sign of the wolfs. The room was quiet, but before Claire left the basement, she pulled the silver dagger from the scaffold at her hip. She closed the basement door behind her, and went to lock it out of habit. But she didn't have the key, and it was probably a good thing, since they may need to get back down there in a hurry.
They walked through the kitchen to the living room. Claire opened the living room door, but could see no sign of the wolves. They must have left the house to continue their fight in the woods. Clair hoped her father was alright, that he would pull through this night, and that he wouldn't hate her for letting him out.
Jason lay unmoving in the disaster of the living room. Althea gasped and held her hand to her mouth when she saw them. Claire went to kneel beside him, not caring that she was kneeling on splintered wood and broken glass. She picked piece of pumpkin colored glass off of Jason's cheek. He looked glassy-eyes and pale. Blood bubbled up through his lips. Blood saturated the carpet and his clothing, and it was difficult for Claire to tell just where his wounds were and how many. She took offer her sweater and tried to press down with it on the spot where she thought the worst of the bleeding was coming from.
Althea kneeled down beside her. "Oh, my god," she said, "Oh. My. God."
From somewhere far off, Claire could hear the sound of sirens. Someone from the party must have called the police, and Claire breathed a sigh of relief. Then another thought struck her and she grabbed a hold of Althea's wrist.
"Althea, you have to promise me you won't tell them about the basement."
Althea stared at her blankly, then her face hardened. She pulled herself free of Claire's grip. "What?"
"Please, Althea. I'll explain, I promise. Just don't tell them. Please." Claire looked at her, pleading. "Please," she said again, so softly she wasn't even sure Althea heard it.
Althea was rigid, but then seemed to crumple, her body collapsing in on herself. She dropped her head into hands. "Alright," she said, "Alright."
Claire turned her attention back to Jason. His life was ruined. Whether he lived or died, his life was ruined. If he lived, he would become a wolf, forced to hide like her father. If he died, well, that was a tragedy, too, though perhaps the better one. All Claire knew, as the sirens came closer, was that his life was ruined, and it was her fault.
I may or may not continue the story from here. This is about as far as I've thought it through. I have some thoughts for the next few scenes, but I need to figure out the overall structure of the much larger story.