Grimdark Fiction
Chapter 12: By the Skin of His Teeth

Chapter 12: By the Skin of His Teeth

Everything Dylan knew about werewolves came from the folk tales he read as a child. They were real to him, until his grandmother chided him for having an overactive imagination. Dylan grew up believing her assurances that folk tales and old wives’ tales were all fantasy and the creatures in them were not real. He started to see world as black and white. There was fantasy and there was reality. Life was relatively safe but dull and predictable, until he crossed paths with Rosa. She opened his eyes to all the gray areas.

When she took him to a botanica and told him that she was a bruja, he had laughed it off. Even then, some small part of him believed her. So, when Ros cursed Dylan, he felt convicted. Now, he desperately wanted to convince himself that the trauma of her accidental death caused him to overreact to her imprecation and start imagining things. His mind immediately contradicted him, serving up unbidden flashbacks of Rhonda’s terror-stricken face, the sensation of his teeth sinking into her flesh and spray of warm blood on his face. Dylan didn’t know which was more disturbing, the violent memories or the way his heart quickened with excitement.

Disgusted with himself, he impulsively set about wiping out all traces of what had transpired. Dylan went to the kitchen, grabbed a small bucket from under the sink and filled it with soapy water. There was no sponge, so he pulled off his blood-spattered shirt, dropped it into the bucket and returned to the bathroom, scrubbing every surface clean.

He was on his knees, scrubbing at a stain in the grout in the doorway, when his eyes fell upon a spot of blood in the hallway carpet. Leaning out to examine it, Dylan saw another spot of blood nearby. He realized there was a trail of drops. Getting to his feet, he stood staring down at them. Dread clawed at his stomach. Something told Dylan to follow the blood trail.

He hesitated, sensing that what he was about to see would end life as he knew it. It had to be done. Dylan started forward with a jerk. His mouth suddenly felt dry. The drops of blood he followed became dried splatters which led him into the kitchen. Dylan recoiled and stood staring gape mouthed, momentarily unable to comprehend what his eyes were seeing. There was a body sprawled out on the linoleum floor, in a pool of blood.

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