Cousin Shelley


As he turned to look at Carl, Van Helsing marveled that it had been two years since the curse of the werewolf had been lifted from him. And still he could tell almost every emotion Carl felt simply by scent.

Van Helsing looked at him now with concern, wondering why he smelled a sudden burst of fear coming from the friar. They were in a peaceful village, merely looking for lodging for the night, and not likely to encounter any 'beasties,' as Carl called them, until tomorrow at the earliest.

Carl returned his friend's gaze, wondering why Van Helsing looked at him as if there were something wrong. Surely he hadn't noticed it, too. Carl felt almost foolish himself, the way he'd shuddered as a small boy and his dog had passed by them, both dripping, obviously fresh from fishing or a swim. It was the smell, that wet, wild smell that had been Carl's first memory of werewolves, and had been all he could smell the night that Gabriel had turned and grabbed his wrist with the hand--paw?--of a great, black wolf.

Carl thought, for a moment, he was going to die there with that damp, dangerous smell in his nostrils and a silver stake in his hand. And he thought of what Gabriel would do when the moon let go of him and he realized what he'd done. What would that knowledge have done to Van Helsing? That frightened him more than anything.

He faked an enormous sneeze and then smiled reassuringly at his closest friend.

"It's nothing. Wet dog. Never could tolerate it."

January, 2006