Gritty Details

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Saturday's Storyteller: "It was my third day at the werepuppy shelter, and Halloween was the most popular adoption event."

by Belinda Roddie

It was my third day at the werepuppy shelter, and Halloween was the most popular adoption event. I started the morning in a typical fashion: Washing my hands, putting on my bite-proof gloves and long-sleeved tunic, tucking my hair into the standard black net that made us look more like we were working at Drac's Diner than tending to little canines. The rest of my staff had finished off the recent pot of coffee by the time I stepped out of the bathroom, but Valencia, bless her zombified soul, was brewing another. She groaned a greeting to me as I fetched a styrofoam cup.

"Big day today," I said with a smile on my face. Valencia nodded. A loose piece of skin dangled from her graying jawline.

"Exciting," she mumbled. She poured me java that was as black as a moonless night, and I enjoyed the bitterness.

There was a line outside the shelter already, and it was only eight minutes before we opened the doors. I was told to expect this. Werepuppies had become more and more mainstream due to positive media representation and the mayor's experiences with her own weredog. Of course, her pet had matured enough to be able to shapeshift to and from human form; the puppies remained furry and adorable and nippy. Bernard, as the mayor had named him, was a strapping young lad who worked with the sanitation department, though once the full moon hit, he was back to his hairy, howling roots.

Everyone liked werepuppies for two reasons: One, they only could become people after they hit the age of twenty, and two, their bites were not contagious. The way they had been bred, over time, was intended to keep their owners safe and happy. Once they became men and women, it was up to the families to either educate them or send them off to schools where they could learn how to fully function in the town. We at the shelter wore gloves in order to stem off infection. Though we couldn't become werewolves, it was never fun to fall ill due to a particular nasty nibble.

I made my way toward the cages, where the latest litter of werepuppies lay fast asleep. I whistled, and my favorite of the werepooches stirred. Her name was Lucy, and I had gotten to take care of her as soon as I started my new job here. The boss had initially been reluctant to put me on active werepuppy duty, but my past career as a monster wrangler (of sorts; mostly it involved smaller beasts) impressed her. She decided to give me a chance.

Lucy's ears perked up as her eyes fluttered open, yellow and watery after a long night's sleep. She yipped, then waddled toward me with her stubby tail whipping back and forth.

"C'mere, buddy," I cooed, just as I heard my coworker, Nigel, greet the potential adopters outside. The doors were about to open.

It would be a full moon tonight.

This week's prompt was provided by Jocelyn Roddie.

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