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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


Published in Bloodreams Magazine
April, 1993

The First Werewolf

Senator Phil Bradley looked up at his dark, brooding house and felt a slight chill of foreboding. Something was terribly wrong. He shook off the feeling and unlocked the front door. He walked in and hung up his coat. “Jenny!” he called. “I’m home, honey!”

Silence.

He frowned. It was only 9:30. His wife never went to bed this early. She must have had a tough day.

Phil’s stomach rumbled, and he went into the kitchen and flipped on the overhead light.

A note was taped to the refrigerator. It read: YOU BETTER COME UPSTAIRS, SWEETHEART. I’VE GOT A VERY BIG SURPRISE. Phil grinned. Maybe Jenny wasn’t so tired after all. Something still nagged at him, though, and he peered closely at the note. With a shock, he realized it wasn’t written in Jenny’s handwriting.

As he turned and rushed up the stairs, he recalled the conversation he had had that afternoon with Ms. Jean Marlowe, founder and president of LAD – Lycanthropes Against Discrimination.

*     *     *

"You want me to sponsor a bill banning the discrimination against all registered lycanthropes?” Phil asked in surprise. His position on lycanthropes was a matter of record.

“That’s right,” Jean Marlowe replied quietly. She was a tall, long-legged voluptuous brunette with deep green eyes.

Phil was a politician, and as such had waffled on certain issues like all elected officials do, but on this he remained firm. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do it. In fact, I’ll have to serve as the loyal opposition.”

“I was afraid you’d say that.” She folded her hands and looked down at her lap. “I was hoping to appeal to your compassion and sense of humanity.”

Phil was confused. According to his sources, Jean Marlowe was a cold, shrewd negotiator who never let ethics stand in her way. He said nothing.

She looked back at him, her eyes now sad and appealing. Her lower lip quivered as she spoke. “I didn’t choose to be a lycanthrope. I didn’t ask my lycanthrope parents to conceive. I had no control over my destiny or my life, and it wasn’t fair.”

“Ms. Marlowe, I sympathize, but –”

“With all due respect, Senator, I don’t want your sympathy, just your understanding. I am as human as you are. I have an intellect, and can feel emotions – like pain and loneliness.” A single tear rolled down her cheek.

Despite himself, Phil was moved, but hardly swayed. “I can appreciate what you go through, Ms. Marlowe, but that doesn’t change the fact that you transform into a dangerous, powerful creature who is a menace to innocent Americans. Every month, tens of thousands of people are injured or killed by your kind. Now, I will continue to channel federal funds into searching for a cure, but I cannot legitimize the problem through legislation.” He looked her straight in the eyes. “I cannot vote against my conscience.”

“I understand,” she said softly. She stood and motioned to a framed picture on his desk. “Is this your wife?”

“Yes. Jenny.”

“She’s very beautiful.”

He walked her to the elevator, then returned to his desk and sat down heavily. Thank God she hadn’t gotten angry.

Tonight was a full moon.

*     *     *

Phil Bradley pounded down the hall and skidded to a stop in front of the bedroom. The door was open, and he could make out the rough outline of the bed through the murky darkness. His hand shaking, he reached and turned on the light.

The pink teddy fringed with white lace was barely recognizable among the blood and gore that had once been his wife. Her arms had been strapped to the bedposts.

A massive weight slammed into his back and drove him to the floor. He tried to roll over, but strong, hairy arms kept him pinned.

“Did you enjoy my performance this afternoon, Senator?” The voice was deep and gravelly, yet plainly feminine and unmistakably Jean Marlowe’s.

“You damn inhuman bitch!” he hissed through lips that were mashed against the carpet.

“Now, now,” Jean Marlowe admonished. “I tried to be nice, but you refused. More convincing persuasion was necessary.” He could feel her hot breath on the back of his neck.

“Why should I help you? You’ve already slaughtered my wife.”

“Oh, Senator, you still don’t get it, do you? You’re going to do what I want because, like me, you won’t have a choice.”

Understanding dawned, and he frantically renewed his struggles, but she gouged her claws deeper into his flesh and pressed him against the floor. Just before she sank her fangs into his shoulder, she chortled, “Congratulations on becoming the first werewolf in the United States Senate.”

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