“How much do you wanna bet it’s all healed?” Gareth asked, holding up his bandaged hand.
Stephanie chewed her pizza. “The cheese sticks,” she said. “You can have all the cheese sticks if there isn’t a single cut or scratch on your hand.”
Gareth grinned. He unwrapped his hand slowly and dramatically. Stephanie glared. Gareth ripped the rest of the bandage off.
The hand that Lycaon mauled was completely healed. Stephanie gasped.
“Besides doing it manually, my healing factor depends on how I’m feeling at the moment, I guess,” Gareth said. “Since I was exhausted yesterday, it took a day to heal up.”
Gareth nodded, and picked up a cheese stick. “Generic name,” he took a bite, “but that’s what it is.”
“You’ve told me is your name and what happened out there,” Stephanie said, moving closer. “Were you born this way?”
Gareth shook his head, stuffing the rest of the stick in his mouth.
“Then how did this happen to you?”
Gareth swallowed. “I’ll tell you the whole thing later. I’ll spoil part of it for you though: I’m pretty sure Lycaon had something to do with it. That’s why I’m here.”
Stephanie pinched his arm. “Keep talking! What are you afraid of?”
They heard a tapping on the window. They turned around and saw the wolf girl at the window. She motioned them to come out.
“THAT’S what I’m afraid of!” Gareth said, getting up. “Hide yourself!”
Gareth ran outside, nearly busting the screen door down. The wolf girl stared at him.
“Lycaon sent you after me?” Gareth yelled, getting into a battle stance.
“No, I was sent here by my Father to issue you a challenge,” the wolf girl said, “and I want to talk to you personally.”
“You’re his daughter?” Stephanie, who was behind Gareth with the shotgun, asked. “But you look almost like a normal girl.”
“Maybe she takes after her mother,” Gareth said.
The wolf girl growled. “My name is Callisto, and can I explain now, in case you don’t survive your next encounter with him?”
“He’s gonna come here?” Gareth asked.
“No, he sent me to tell you that, instead of hunting you down, he formally challenges you to battle tomorrow morning, in a field within the woods.” She pointed behind her.
“Well Steph, it looks like you’ll get your exciting story today after all,” Gareth said, relaxing. “Let’s hear it.”
“Hey, what’s that?” Stephanie said, pointing behind Callisto.
A werewolf came into view, running towards them.
“Dammit!” Gareth yelled, transforming. He charged at the werewolf. Callisto ran past him. She tackled the werewolf, held it down, and tore its throat out with her teeth. The werewolf gurgled as she started to slash it with her claws.
Gareth stood there, stunned. Blood flew from her claws and landed in the grass in front of him. He pulled himself together. He grabbed her arm and yanked her off. Callisto calmed down. The werewolf hacked up some more blood and died.
“When he gets more of that serum, he’ll turn the rest of the pack into that,” Callisto said, kneeling.
“Serum?” Gareth put his hand on her shoulder. “Did he make it?”
“No, we were visited by this woman and man. They gave him a steel case that contained the serum. This is what that stuff turned them into!” Gareth helped her up, put his arm around her shoulders, and led her to the house. “He’ll get more of it, and he’ll turn the rest of the pack into monsters. My sisters across the state, doing the same thing!”
“So, he’s making an army.” Gareth said.
Callisto nodded. “That’s what he told me after he turned the others. He wants to gain as much territory as he can.”
“Tell your Dad I accept his challenge.” He handed her the hose. “Wash the blood off yourself, and tell him I killed his lackey.”
Callisto did so, and shook herself dry. “I’ll lead the pack away when you two start going at it. They don’t want to become like that.”
Gareth nodded. “Sounds good,” he extended his hand, “see you tomorrow?”
“Yes,” she said. Callisto opened her mouth to say something else, but stopped. She nodded, turned around, and ran back into the woods.
Stephanie rested the shotgun on her shoulder. “Does this mean I get to hear your origin story now?”
“Sure.” Gareth said, walking past her. “Let’s finish the pizza while we’re at it.”
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