Saturday, May 25, 2013

OCTOBER 2013, PART 3

Precognition fiction.
Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

WILLARD MET US just outside the Windsor Court Hotel. Given last night's madness and his lack of sleep he didn't look bad at all — he actually had an air of authority about him.

"Where's Adam?" Lauren asked.

"Feeding," Willard said, with a glance to our club suite on the 21st floor.

"Eating?" I asked, sure I had misheard my friend.

"Feeding," Willard repeated. "There has been a significant shift in facts and circumstances in the past few hours. Allow me to explain as we head upstairs."

Lauren's heels echoed on the marble, providing a regal beat to Willard's horrible words:

"Not long after you left on your scouting expedition, Adam started to growl. I'm sure you noticed his sudden growth of facial hair — it quickly spread to his neck and arms, so fast that we could hear it happening. That's also when the growling commenced, and Adam requested three things from me: that I restrain him to his bed; that I inform both of you of his condition; and that I quickly locate and provide him with something fresh on which he could feed. I have done these things."

We were in the elevator now. Willard continued:

"I hope you don't mind, Ron — I found a pair of handcuffs in one of your bags and used them to keep Adam on his bed."

"Handcuffs?" Lauren gave me an arch look.

"Hey, sounds like they came in handy," I replied.

"Indeed," Willard said. "Once Adam was secured, I nipped down to a place I know just off the Quarter and purchased several rabbits. Getting them past our concierge was a brief challenge — the Windsor Court apparently frowns on live animals in its rooms — but I explained Lauren's love of animals and her need to rehearse for an upcoming magic performance. That, and Mr. Franklin, guaranteed us safe passage."

The elevator's doors silently opened to the 21st floor.

"Before we enter our room, let me explain what you will see," Willard said. "I brought six rabbits into the room. Adam promised to be as fastidious as possible, but there is no elegant and entirely tidy way to do what he needed to do."

"Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa," Lauren interrupted. "Are you telling me Adam's in there eating the rabbits? I don't care what weird shit is going on here, I'm not down with that."

"He's not eating them," Willard said. We were at our door. From the other side came the faint but unmistakable sound of slurping.

THEY SAY THAT SHOCK can cause the mind to erase especially unpleasant experiences. If this is so, then what we saw inside our room was not especially unpleasant, because for as long as I live I'll never be able to forget the sight.

Adam's right ankle was cuffed to the bed. In front of him were five clumps of fur that used to be rabbits. Adam's hands were hairy and matted with gore. In them was the body of the sixth rabbit. His mouth was ringed with clotted blood. His eyes were bright and filled with humor.

"Well, ain't this a bite in the ass?" he said. "Fella comes down to New Orleans, has a few drinks, next thing you know, he turns into a sumbitching rougarou." He brought the last rabbit to his mouth, slurped deeply to drain the last few drops of blood, placed it next to the others. "Sorry for the mess, kids, but ol' Willard there didn't leave me with a fork and soup spoon, and besides, I was a little hungry. Turning into a werewolf does that to a fella."

"There's that fucking word again," I said. "Lady in the mask shop used it. Little kid in the daiquiri bar said it. Pozen talks to her and starts spouting in French about it. What the — "

"Please — I did not speak in French," Lauren interrupted. "You're hallucinating."

"Au contraire," Willard said. "Although I was not present for your encounter with the child, I can almost certainly guarantee that French was spoken. The legend of the rougarou is common across French Louisiana, and those closest to the truth often lapse into the language during discussions of the creature."

Adam burped and grinned. "Where are my manners? Oh, that's right, I forgot them when I turned into a FUCKING WEREWOLF! Can we just cut the bullshit and get to the matter at hand — to wit, how the hell are all y'all gonna fix this before Monday? 'Cause I don't know about you, but I don't think the hairy look is gonna fly with the boss lady when it comes to the morning news."

"How are we going to fix this? Gee, I don't see my ass handcuffed to the bed," Lauren said.

"Well, that's just 'cause I got to Davis' handcuffs first," Adam said. "Otherwise, I'm thinking he might have had some —"

"Adam is absolutely correct," I interrupted. "Less talk about handcuffs, more talk about solutions. What are we going to do?"

"Let's think on our feet, friends," Willard said. "Time is of the essence. It is — " he checked his watch — "exactly 4:43. Sunset tonight is 6:33. We have one hour, 50 minutes to figure this out. After that, rabbits will no longer be satisfactory snacking substitutes for Mr. Hooper."

We all looked at Adam. He smiled at us.

"Nom nom nom," he said through blood-stained teeth.

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