Disclaimer: I’m ad-libbing from memory on stories that happened almost two years ago. If there’s errors, let me know and I’ll ammend them.
Disclaimer 2: This chronicle is for mature audiences only.
Ken shifted in the seat of his Jeep. Even with the top down, driving all day was beginning to take its toll. Up ahead, he could not fail to notice the giant neon pig shoving a burger the size of his pop-up camper into its mouth, advertising Fat Daddy’s Diner. A rumble of his stomach betrayed his hunger. “Fine then,” Ken said to himself. He could use the break to check his Pennsylvania map for this Brier Mountain where he was headed.
Pulling into the diner’s lot, Ken saw it was mostly empty. He parked his Jeep with its camper towards the end of the lot, keeping it away from the few vehicles that were clustered by the diner’s enterance. The only other person he passed was sleeping in his truck, boots hanging out the window and a Seattle Mariners’ cap pulled down over his eyes. Ken’s sense of civic duty noticed that the truck’s bed was scattered with crushed cans of Budweiser. He briefly wondered if the driver was sleeping off a bender, but his human nose was too weak to tell.
Ken took a booth seat, not noticing that his arrival had caught the attention of three men rabidly eating their food. As he laid out his map, the three men threw down some bills and walked out to the lot, stretching their legs. A heavy motorcycle pulled into the opposite end of the lot as Ken’s Jeep, its engine sounding choked. The driver stepped off the bike and began taking a look at the engine.
A quick, greasy meal later, Ken walked out of the diner and found three men waiting for him at the steps. “We honor Rabid Wolf, Uratha, to who do you pay homage?” Ken’s eyes went wide. He remembered them from inside the diner. The smell of the meat cooking, thoughts of his destination, they had distracted him from noticing his fellow kind. As he lept over the railing towards his Jeep, he cursed himself for letting down his guard. “Run, Forsaken, there will be no escape!”
Just a few more feet, Ken thought, his racing heart drowning out the Pure werewolf’s words. A bus was coming up the road. His grandmother had taught him about the Pure, how they wanted to purge the Forsaken from the Earth. She also told him that while they didn’t follow the Oath of the Moon, they still followed some version of “The Herd must not know.” Ken hoped that the humans might give him a few precious moments to figure out what to do. A flaming bottle arced over his head and smashed against his Jeep, igniting it in a ball of fire.
Breaking glass and a whoosh, woke Jake from his rest. Fixing his ball cap, he saw a man silhouetted by the blaze. Stepping from his truck, he saw three other men looking towards the fire, toothy smiles lining their faces. “Hey, what’s going on?” One of the men nodded towards one of his friends. The second man raised his shotgun to eye level and fired. Jake felt burning hot pellets of metal shred into his face. In the firey reflection of his window, he saw the pulpy mess that was left half of his face. His jaw was practically falling off, attached only by a small strip of flesh. Ooze and blood dripped down from his eyesocket. As he fell to the ground, Jake thought he could see the back of his teeth through his cheek.
The explosion of fire and the shotgun blast whipped Elisha’s attention to the scene. He dove behind the body of his Harley, drawing his own shotgun from its mounted holster as he scraped his hand on the lot’s asphalt. He heard someone scream in a maddeningly high pitched voice, “Yes! YES! So shall all Forsaken be purged from the land!,” which told Elisha all he needed to know. He stood and fired at the screaming man.
The bus driver slammed on the brakes of the bus, jerking everyone forward in their seats. Troy slid open the window and saw the fire and heard the rapport from the shotgun blasts. Down from the fight, he smelled the scent of his People on the wind. “Everyone stay calm,” the driver quivered, “exit the doors and hide behind the bus for safety. Troy grabbed his dufflebag from the overhead rack and headed towards the front door.
The burst of flame had knocked Ken to the ground, rage at his Jeep burning, at the Pure who had caused it, began to fill him. In his heart, he wanted to release the Beast, but he saw all the humans faces’ plastered at the diner’s windows hiding, but watching the scene play out. “The Herd must not know,” echoed again in his mind. Ken grabbed his service Glock from his Jeep, wildly firing to provide him the moments he needed to take cover.
Jake held his jaw roughly in place as his flesh began to knit itself back together and spit out the still warm shotgun pellets. He had crawled underneath his truck and then over towards the diner’s front bushes to heal. As his left eye regenerated in its socket, Jake saw his Mariners’ hat drenched in his own blood. “Motherfuckers are gonna pay.” He picked up his hat and tossed it into his truck.
Elisha had drawn the three’s attention from their inital target, buying the guy some time to escape the ambush. However, they had turned their attention towards him. He heard bullets ricocheting off of his bike, a shotgun blast took off the headlight. Towards the road, Elisha saw a man moving by the side of the road. He looked armed. He looked trained. He looked like he was moving into a position to flank the three. Elisha readied himself to fire when, if, this guy opened up.
Driving towards the meeting, Anthony saw a bus load of people, literally, huddling by the engine of a bus. Ahead of them he saw a fireball burst into the sky by a greasy spoon diner, as if a car had just exploded on a movie set. He pushed down the accelerator on his car and sped by the scene. There was no reason for him to get involved.
The explosion of his Jeep sent Ken into action. He stood from his cover and fired at his attackers. Seeing the explosion, Troy aimed and fired his pistol at the three men. Elisha followed the man from the bus’ lead and fired on the Fire-Touched, catching them in a crossfire. Jake called upon his inner essence and charged the group of Pure, his fists driving crushing blows into his attackers.
The pious madness slipped away from the Pure. Somehow their ambush had fallen to a chaotic mess. They had caught scent of the werewolf in the diner. They had smelled his vehicle in the lot and prepared to disable it. It was only one opponent. Now four had come out of nowhere. Fear and panic came with heated lead and heavy blows. The three didn’t need to figure out a plan. They knew that they could only retreat and survive. They made a mad dash for the fields across the street.
Ken didn’t know how it happened, but somehow events shifted into his favor. Had that wish of good luck from his grandmother been invested with some of her power? He watched two others, one at a motorcycle and another across from the first, continue shooting at the retreating Pure. He saw the Pure shift into their wolf forms and speed into the night.
The air was thick with the scent of werewolves. As the four came together, they could each tell that they were among their own People. Ken asked, “Anyone else headed to Brier Mountain?” Jake lifted his hand, Elisha and Troy nodded. Ken turned to Jake, “Mind if I grab my stuff and hitch a ride?”
The nascent pack piled into Jake’s truck and drove into the night, leaving Fat Daddy’s Diner.