Sharon’s Note: I don’t like most reveals of the supernatural. So many times it’s done clumsily to put in some cheap tension. The reveal of the magic should be powerful and dramatic, but don’t do it at the cost of your characters. Don’t make them stupid just to create conflict. There are better ways. Warning: Lack of a character doing something poorly, when he knows how to do it right.
Kennedy park was little more than a dirt parking lot and a picnic table in the middle of the woods. Sam was already there, spreading a traditional checkered cloth over a patch of ground by the trees.
“Too cool to use the table?” I sauntered over and he gave me a sheepish grin.
“The table is so rickety it’ll break if anything bigger than a squirrel sat on it. Besides, this is more . . .” He gestured around us in general, seemingly at a loss for words.
The woods were beautiful. The leaves on the trees and scrub were so vibrantly green that they almost glowed. The grassy scent of acres of forest dominated every other smell. I didn’t know why it would be a better experience from the ground than a table, but I would take his word that it was. “Authentic?”
“Yeah.” He ran to his car and brought back an honest-to-god wicker basket. “I, uh, brought a lot of food. Hope you’re hungry.”
“Starving.” I dropped down on the blanket and patted the place next to me. He handed me down the basket and the sudden weight was startling. He must have packed it full.
Sam sat next to me and began to rapidly unpack the food. His movements were sharp and nervous. What did he have to tell me that was making him so jittery? I put a hand over his while he was pulling out a bottle of wine and he nearly jumped. “How about you tell me whatever is eating at you.”
His shoulders slumped. “I was hoping to have a nice lunch first, you know, in case things go wrong, which is stupid. God, I’ve talked people through this exact situation a dozen times. I know how to do this.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Now you have me super curious.”
“Yeah, I know. I need to tell you, no dancing around the issue.” He took a deep breath and straightened up. “I’m a werewolf.”
“O-okay.” I stared at him, waiting for the punchline.
“No, I know what you’re thinking, and I’m serious. Hold tight, I came prepared for a demonstration.” He hopped to his feet in a fluid motion and backed a dozen feet towards the woods. He started shucking clothes and I was starting to feel very uncomfortable, but he stopped at a pair of swim trunks. “I’m going to shift forms into a wolf. It sounds horrible, but it’s fine. I will be in complete control of my faculties, and you will be completely safe. If at any point you get scared and want to run, I completely understand. The way to your car is unobstructed, and I won’t chase you. Just remember, please, that you’re safe.”
I was frozen. Was he joking? Crazy? Right, and my whole definition of what was real was about to shift? I was intrigued, nervous- CRACK!
The sound of bones and joints cracking was wet, thunderous and sickening. His face stretched out and fur tore from his skin like a wave. I couldn’t watch the change in his body, it made my stomach churn, so I watched his eyes. Their deep brown lightened to a rich amber, but he kept my gaze, even though he trembled with the change. It took about a full minute, then the biggest wolf I’d ever seen. His shoulders were even with my heart, and his massive head hung low while he whined. Was it still Sam?
The wolf laid down, then rolled over to show his belly. It was only then that I noticed the swim trunks were still on. Sort of. The pull string had broken and the material hung awkwardly on canine haunches. The massively fluffy tail was trapped with one of his legs. It was so ridiculous, that I laughed, even through my awe.
He rolled back to his stomach and his tongue rolled out in a dog-like grin. I stood slowly, and he dropped his head back to his feet. His tail would have wagged, but it kept jerking against the shorts.
“Still you, Sam?” I kept my voice calm and soft.
He gave a short melodic howl, and I let out a breath. “Okay. I accept the whole werewolf thing. Can you change back? I have a whole boatload of questions.”