This was the scene that started it all. Spawned by a friend’s question “How could a werewolf be vegan,” I dashed off this short scene in May 2010. And it planted the seed that became my Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series.
No! Oh, God, anything but this!
I tried to see my body. Fur, check. Pretty off-white color, or at least I would have thought it was pretty if it didn’t cover me. Snout protruding out far enough to see, check. Four paws with claws sticking out from the end of each… finger? Toe? Didn’t know what to call them. Check, anyway.
Shit. That fucking wolf-bitch had bitten me after all, even though I thought I’d dodged her teeth. No wonder I’d slept so long.
I lay on a patch of bare ground, surrounded by scattered leaves and evergreen needles. A few feet away, two humans crouched. One of them, I recognized. Tobias, my next-door neighbor and the object of the hottest man-crush I’d ever had. The fact that he was naked so close to me I could have reached out and touched him if I’d had the limbs I was supposed to have didn’t help that a bit.
The other human… After a second, I recognized her, too. The hair color gave it away, perfectly matching the color of the fur on the wolf that had bitten me.
I snarled and tried to stand, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to get those four legs under me. Tobias raised his hands and took a couple steps toward me. “Kyle, easy,” he said softly. “We aren’t going to hurt you.”
“I didn’t mean for this to happen,” the woman wailed. “Tobias, I didn’t mean—”
“Shut up, Melia,” Tobias ordered without taking his eyes off me. “You’re here to see the results of your poor control, not to make apologies. I know Kyle. I don’t think he’ll accept your apology easily.”
I managed to move my head in something resembling a nod. Fuck if I’d ever forgive the bitch! It hadn’t been my fault I’d wandered into the middle of a wolf kill. How the hell was I supposed to know every werewolf in the city would gather in a fucking vegetable garden? Let alone the one outside my apartment building.
Of course, given that several deer, rabbits, and other small creatures had been bothering the garden lately, it made sense the wolves would come to hunt. On the outskirts of the biggest city in the state, they probably didn’t find much wildlife, other than raccoons, skunks, and addicts.
I’d only gone out there to get some tomatoes for the vegan pasta sauce I was making. Sauce which would simmer overnight, so I’d have something special to share with Tobias. I’d invited him for dinner the next night, and since I knew he was an omnivore, I’d planned a menu that would take both his eating habits and my veganism into account.
The next night. Except I didn’t think it was “next” anymore. I’d gone into the garden like an idiot, ignoring the grunting, growling, snuffling noises until I’d seen the pack. Over a dozen wolves in the middle of my garden—“my” being a relative term meaning that although I hadn’t planted everything, I was the only one who gave a shit about it—muzzles covered in blood, and carcasses of dead animals scattered around, including a doe.
I’d puked before I started screaming at them to go away. Screaming at the top of my lungs, wondering why none of my neighbors came to help. Now I knew, of course.
Tobias was one of the wolves. And he’d probably made sure none of the other neighbors would ever see anything he didn’t want them to.
“You have to eat something, Kyle,” Tobias said. He crouched low to look me in the eye. “You’ve been unconscious for three days, since Melia attacked you. You don’t know how sorry I am about this. I wanted to protect you from it.”
Even in my current form, my heart and a couple other things responded to his words. When I’d first met Tobias, I hadn’t known whether he was gay, straight, or somewhere in between, so I’d made my moves very slowly. I knew I liked guys, and I knew I wanted him if it wouldn’t offend him too much. That pasta dinner would have been the time I finally told him how I felt, since I’d gotten all the signals from him indicating he had no objection to dating another man.
Melia had fucked that up but good. I growled at her again.
“Kyle, stop,” Tobias said. “She’s been punished, believe me. I don’t let my pack just randomly attack humans, especially a human I’d chosen to protect. Deal with her later. Right now, you’re weak. You have to eat something. Lots of something, or your body isn’t going to be able to cope with any of this. I have food for you.”
He whistled, and another man and woman walked through the trees carrying large platters. I didn’t know the man. The woman, Harriet, lived in the building beside the one where Tobias and I lived. Fuck, were all my neighbors werewolves?
They set down the platters and uncovered them. I gagged. Raw meat was piled high on both platters, still coated with blood and I didn’t know what else. No way could I eat that. Just seeing it made me want to puke.
I turned my head away, still gagging and coughing. “Kyle, you need protein,” Tobias said. “You’ll die if you don’t eat.” He lightly ruffled the fur on my head. “I don’t want that to happen.”
I shook my head. I didn’t want to die either, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to eat a stack of dead animals. I hadn’t eaten meat since age ten, and I wasn’t about to change my habits now just because some dumb bimbo had turned me into a wolf.
“Kyle, come on.” Harriet knelt beside me, holding a piece of meat. “It’s good. Fresh kill.”
To my horror, she nibbled on the meat, her face lighting up at the taste. God, that made me want to puke even more.
I forced myself to my feet and staggered a couple steps backward, then collapsed again. At least I had some distance between myself and that abomination they called food. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t care if others ate meat. But I sure as hell wasn’t about to, and I didn’t appreciate them trying to force it on me.
Tobias sighed. “He won’t eat it.”
“He needs it,” Harriet argued. “If he doesn’t eat it, we’ll lose him.” She glared at Melia, who cowered. “That would make her a murderer, in my book.”
“Mine, too,” Tobias agreed. “But we won’t lose him.”
“If he won’t eat what we’ve brought him…” The other man shivered. “I’ve seen a newly-changed wolf die of starvation. It isn’t pretty.”
“He won’t die.” Tobias shook his head. “Kyle, you stubborn bastard, you’re lucky I know you so well.” He stood, facing Harriet and the other man. “He’s vegan. That’s why I have those other platters ready. Bring him the veggie burgers and salad.”
The other man snorted. “A vegan werewolf? How the hell is that going to work?”
“I don’t know,” Tobias admitted. “But we’re going to find out.” He paused. “And make sure there’s blue cheese dressing on that salad. That’s his favorite.”