A Night Visit by May Romanov


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SUMMARY: A man with political ambitions meets the werewolves he has been inciting fear against.

The large, dull office building slumbers heavily, its repose broken only by the rhythmic click of typing from a single dingy office on the third floor.

A thin, balding man in a rumpled shirt types blearily at his computer, pausing occasionally to mutter to himself and chew his lip over wording. After all, thousands, perhaps millions, of people would read the words of this blog tomorrow. Every statement must be phrased just right, a careful balance of exaggerated fact and action-stirring exhortations. After all, fear can simply dissipate into a thousand nervous habits -- new locks and higher fences -- or it could create a movement. And every movement needed a leader. If the people had enough fear, and if the leader could use that fear well enough, it could carry that leader a long way. He hoped to go a long way.

The man paused to stretch and yawn, scanning the last few sentences. Making a few small adjustments, he switched off his computer, and began slowly to pack up. Collecting a coat and tie, he shoved some papers into a battered brief case and turned off the light, leaving the room dark except for the striped shaft of moonlight streaming through the plastic blinds.

He opened the door and stepped out of the office, turning towards the elevator. A shadow detached itself from the corner in at the end of the hall and moved toward him. He froze. It picked up speed. More dark shapes emerged from the shadows, loping behind the first. Panic swelled in his stomach. He dove back into the office. The shadows loomed. He struggled with the door. They slammed against the door, proving their solidity. These were not shadows -- he wished they were. They burst into the small office. He stumbled back against the desk in horror.

The huge hairy shapes loomed and multiplied, filling the small spaces between the large desk and the metal file cabinets.

His mouth hanging open, his eyes bugged out, the man shuddered in fear as they paced in circles around the room, eerily silent.

"Good evening, Mr. Rembald," a low voice growled softly.

He stammered a reply, equal parts fear and incredulity: "But, no, how you can't I mean, surely you can't talk?"

"Do you really think you know everything about us?" the voice mocked bitterly. "And yet, you think you can hunt us, outlaw us, kill us." The voice deepened with menace, raising all the hairs on Mr. Rembald's neck.

"I you not human this can't be happening!"

The only reply was a sideways snap from the jaws of a passing wolf. The man yelped almost a scream and pulled himself onto the desk. His feet slid on a pile of papers, sending them drifting to the floor, throwing shadows wildly in the moonlight.
The wolves stopped pacing and sat in a ring. The voice continued, almost a whisper, from the largest wolf. "It would be that easy. A small bite. A prick of blood. And you'd be one of us."

The man's voice rose to a scream. "No, no, you wouldn't, you couldn't, not to me "

"And why not," the voice snapped. "You never showed the slightest mercy to us."

Only the man's ragged breaths broke the silence.

"I'll tell you why," the wolf continued. "None of us chose to be this. And none of us would wish this upon our worst enemies. Even you."

The wolves rose, and filed out, their huge paws thumping softly on the thin carpet, leaving the man crouched on the desk in the middle of the small office. As the silvery moonlight crept across the paper-strewn floor, the man began to sob.