The Werewolf's Sin:
She was so still that Walt at first thought nothing was
happening. Then he saw the changes in her face, small at first, then
becoming momentous. Her body contorted, and he knew it was painful for
her, but Sylvie kept her calm composure as long as she could, which was
almost until the last minute. Walt knew that each werewolf transforms at
his own pace, in his own order: with Sylvie, the fangs grew out first,
the bones of her head elongated and tilted, her face coated with a light
sheen of red hair, the cheekbones standing out prominently, the eyes and
brows swept back dramatically. The hair on her head burst forth in a
shower of copper fireworks, settling into a long, thick mane flowing
down her back, almost to her knees. Her hands and fingers elongated;
three-inch claws, clear as crystal, erupted from her fingertips. She
grew taller, her upper body more powerful, her shoulders wider, until
she was seven or eight feet tall.
Under an enchantment, Walt watched without moving, without fear.
She opened her eyes. They were a bright turquoise blue, the
Marley family trademark.
She stood up, towering over his mere six foot, two inches, and
pulled him to his feet. One hand gently caressed his hair, like a mother
strokes a much-beloved child. The other arm wound around his back and
pulled him closer to her, lifting him slightly and arching his back.
Her voice was clear, slightly deeper, more sonorous.
"This is your gift, Walter. From Zizi to Lucien, from Lucien
to me, and now from me to you."
She bit her own lip, and Walter could see the scarlet bead form
under the razorlike fangs.
He felt more of a sting than a pain as the fangs went into his
chest. He was a little surprised: he thought it would be a large wound.
But all that was needed, he found, was a transfer of the genetic
material from her saliva and blood into his body.
The instant it happened, he knew it. His eyes flew open wide and
his breath caught in his throat as the rush of energy hit his blood and
his brain. He was glad she had a firm grip on him or he would have
fallen as his knees buckled with the unaccustomed power flowing into
him. It was like, but not exactly like, getting an electric shock that
jolted every part of his body at once.
He cried out, and the sound was like the same cry he made at
orgasm, only orgasm had never been this intense.
She raised her head, the blood still on her lips and fangs.
"Now, take control of it, Walt. It's best to try and learn this
from the very first. Feel what's happening to your body and try to
direct it. Picture in your mind what you're becoming, what's happening
to you. Don't just let it wash over you; feel every part of your body as
With the greatest discipline he had ever mustered, Walt felt his
body change. He tried to identify each mutation in each limb, in each
organ. It was as if he, like Lucien, was a conductor, bringing all the
instruments to life at their proper intervals.
"Now try to slow it down. Keep up with it." She lowered
him to the floor.
The pain was just incredible, he knew, but somehow, he didn't
feel completely attached to the pain, although he could see his body
react. He was so amazed watching what happened that the pain was
secondary to the astonishment.
And behind the astonishment, joy.
He looked at himself, then at Sylvie, and he laughed. It was
With a gradual, but swift, subsiding of the pain, he was left
aware only of the power, the new energy flooding him. He became calm,
steady, sure of himself.
When he stood up, a lot of that steadiness left him.
Good God! he thought, she's seven or eight feet tall and I'm
looking down at her from at least six inches! He looked at
himself, at his chestnut brown pelt, at his own claws, deep brown
instead of her crystal. He felt something brush him from behind: his
hair, grown into a supple cape over his shoulders and down his back.
He held his hand in front of his face and flexed the claws. He
couldn't get over it. Another thing: he could see! Really see, as
if the great chandelier had suddenly burst into light. He knew it was
his new vision, sharpened for the night.
"You look okay, I guess," Sylvie said. He knew from her
voice that he was beautiful! "Can you talk?"
He tried. His speech was incoherent, but his voice was a deep
"It will happen as your body adjusts. For once, I've got the
edge on my smart-mouth brother."
The friendly poke he gave her arm would have broken a strong man
in two. She didn't even flinch.
"Now I want you to stay very, very close to me," she
said. "We can't stay down here, we'll have to go up above. This is
your first night and you have to feed, so I'm taking you to Central Park
where you can have a little more freedom. Stalking unobserved in the
city is an expert's art, but if you're running flat out and don't stop,
no one can see you, you'll be too fast. We're only going to slow down
when we get to the park, but you're going to be distracted: nothing will
look like you're used to. Your vision, your sense of smell and your
hearing are all magnified; that and your new height are going to
disorient you. Before we go, I want you to take a deep breath."
He did, and was sorry. When he had walked in here as a human, it
had smelled musty and unpleasant, but what hit him now was the reek of
hell. He could smell a decaying rat that was probably a mile off. He
could smell all the accumulated years of human and animal excrement and
filth and and garbage up above. There was an odor in every speck of
At almost the same time, he was nearly knocked over by a wall of
noise, a screaming, grating, banging cacophony that made him clap both
hands over his ears.
"This is probably the worst city in the world to learn to
smell and hear, but you might as well start out the hard way. You'll
learn to shut it off selectively," she assured him, "the same
way you'll learn to shut out sounds. But you need these new senses to
survive. Try now to take control of it, the same way you did with your
transformation. You did very well with that, by the way. Much better
than I did, even after eight or ten tries."
Walt summoned the same discipline and awareness of his own body,
and systematically shut down his senses. It was still awful, but
"Now the true test, little brother, and the true rewards.
Let's let you find out how it feels to be free."
Taking his hand, she led him out of the tunnels, through the
mazes, through unlocked doors. The
same trip that had taken an hour now took only seconds. They came out on
the street in the darkness, on a deserted alleyway.
"Take a deep breath, Walt," Sylvie said, "and
She had been right: it was all very distracting. The familiar
world looked like fairyland to him, with the colors enhanced, the
details sharpened, the dark corners lighted, and from a new, taller
perspective. The sounds, too, closed in on him and then were gone as he
passed, but they were getting clearer and more distinct. He could
isolate whole sentences spoken in a single voice, a separate sound of
glass tinkling or a taxi banging its way down Broadway. He shook it off,
pleased, and stuck to Sylvie, moving like a flash of swamp fire just
ahead of him. He caught a glimpse of people fanned by the wind the
werewolves created, looking puzzled at the quick, passing breeze that
blew their skirts or hair, and he laughed. His laugh, too, caught on the
whirlwind, but before the humans could recognize it, it was gone.
They had just entered the park up near the Museo del Barrio and
the Museum of the City of New York, near 104th Street, leaping easily
over the gates. It was still early, only about eight or eight-thirty,
and a few people were still in the park, jogging or power-walking along
"I know what you're thinking," Sylvie whispered.
"What is anyone sane doing in the park at night?" She
shrugged. New Yorkers, the shrug said, go figure.
A strong-looking man in red jogging shorts whizzed by. Sylvie,
her attention caught, gazed after him. Her eyes narrowed as she
"Him," she told Walt. "Let's follow him."
Walt obeyed, keeping to the shadows with Sylvie, but he was
clueless as to why she'd picked that particular man. He looked like a
clean-cut, straight arrow type, a lawyer or some kind of professional
man, probably with a co-op on the upper east side or the park and a
commute downtown to Wall Street. Walt knew enough of the loup-garou's
principles to know that a kill for justice was what they were looking
for. This guy looked like his most serious offense was taking an extra
deduction for business lunches.
When the man
stopped, taking a breather and stretching, Sylvie nudged Walt and
whispered, "See if you can tell why he's your man. Try it. Pick up
on his thoughts."
Walt wasn't sure how he did it, but he was conscious of
concentrating his gaze on the man's forehead, so completely that his
vision blurred. Other pictures began to form, pictures that had nothing
to do with the reality he was in at the moment. Walt saw the man with a
nylon stocking in his hands; he saw several young women, screaming,
strangling, terrified, dying. And he saw the man, masturbating over
their bodies and smiling, then walking away.
The pictures jolted Walt badly and he jerked back to reality,
shaken and horrified.
"Do it quickly," Sylvie advised. "When you're
killing in the city, it has to be done quickly and quietly. I think you
know what to do. I can't help you physically with it, you have to do it
yourself. It has to be your kill, completely."
Walt took a deep breath. The man looked so harmless that Walt
hesitated: could he have been wrong? Once more, he probed the man's
mind, just for a flash of truth, and got the same nightmarish pictures.
Anger took him, and before the man knew what was happening, Walt had
pulled him into the darkest part of the park.
He knew what Sylvie had told him about speed, but he wanted this
man to suffer. He wanted him to be afraid.