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Publications…Full (Moon) Flash Fiction Let It Burn (Part 1) available free online

Full (Moon) Flash Fiction

May Milk (Super) Moon: “Moonlit”
June Strawberry Moon: “Great Wide Open”
July Thunder Moon: “Lone Wolf (Bound)”
August Green Corn Moon: Let It Burn (Part 1)

The corn is dead already, dried husks withered and browned by sun and heat and drought. Sweat drips down the back of her neck; the wind whips against her, driving dirt and bits of dead plants against her skin, but still the air settles in her lungs thick, hot, damp. Despite the wind and debris, she wears her black hair loose, the fall of it covering her back, the ragged ends twisting against her hips.

She sniffs the air; ozone, a storm coming, but there’s little wetness to it. Rains come hard and fast, gone before they do any good. Microbursts that wash away everything in one place while leaving all else dusty and dead.

When she says, the world is burning, the others bark laughs, tongues lolling out, and yip, let it burn.

The wind carries the smell of shit and animal musk and, as they creep closer, a pinch of fear, just enough to make her mouth water. The scents of herd animals, sluggish with thirst and not enough fresh green food. She licks her chops.

Herds of deer are on the move, looking for food and water, even venturing into the suburbs, but they’re rangy, and chasing them down feels like too much work when the farm animals are right there.

She can almost hear Mom growl. Easy hunt meant they’d be discovered, hunted until the pack died out. It’s been such a long year, hot, dry; she’s tired. One easy meal will make them all feel better, stronger. Then they can hunt outside town, find new territory.

Dead grass at her toes, and the others near silent between cornfield and cows.

She drops, lets the change sweep through her, breaking bones, snapping sinew, tearing flesh; grinds down on the howl that threatens to rise from her throat. This close to the house, one noise will bring the humans running.

Four sleek dark gray shadows slip into the pasture. They are downwind and near silent, but something sets off the cows. The soft lowing grows louder, full of fear. The young to the center, bawling. Faster the wolves run, caught in hunt-lust.

She turns so fast she stumbles, only her speed keeping her on her feet. Again that cry, and she can nearly hear the all-too-human mama in it.

It’s just a cow. She’ll break some rules, but that is taboo.

Just a cow, and she leaps, snaps, blood gushing along her tongue.

The rest of the herd moves on, fast and loud; the pack settles in, gulps meat, tender, juicy. They make short work of it, gorging until their bellies hurt. Even so late, it’s hot, and she lounges after, licking her chops.

The same wind they used betrays them, hunter turned prey. Crack, and bright fire nearly takes the tip of her ear. One of the others yelps; she can’t tell which, and she twists, looking for the alpha, for direction. Then it crashes back.

She’s alpha now. There’s a human with a gun.

Run.

To be continued with August’s blue moon.

Publications… Full (Moon) Flash Fiction “Lone Wolf (Bound)” available free online

Full (Moon) Flash Fiction

May Milk (Super) Moon: “Moonlit”
June Strawberry Moon: “Great Wide Open”
July Thunder Moon: “Lone Wolf (Bound)”

Lightning cracked across the sky, lighting it up. One of the pups whimpered, but Dot couldn’t tell them apart. Couldn’t, didn’t want to, it all came out the same. They all looked like her brother in different ways, even the one that wasn’t actually related to him, sounded like him, smelled like him – she couldn’t take it.

“Shh.” The hay rustled as Trouble crouched next to them. The sharp scent of their fear faded, leaving that familiar-strange mix of family and not.

Patch was three weeks gone, his old lady said. Skittish under the last full moon, quiet where he was normally loud, talkative. Dot didn’t know him like that. He was the runt three litters after her, always silent and still.

Big shadows like bruises stained the skin beneath his old lady’s eyes. Manda, she was called, a human name for a wolf. “My parents liked to play pretend,” she said, and bared her teeth.

Patch gone, and their nearest neighbors, too, three of the four adults in the wolf pack. Five pups, four Patch and Manda’s, one their neighbors’, and Manda left to watch them. She slept fitfully in the corner of the barn, hugely pregnant, hands pressed against her belly even in her sleep. It rose like a full moon, third litter and maybe the last.

The breeze shifted, blowing into Dot’s face. She gulped it down, searching.

Behind her, a yip, cut off sharp, and she spun, crouching low, hands and feet against the boards she’d cleared of hay, ready for her shift. (Hay stuck to fresh-changed fur, made her itch, with no hands to scratch it free.)

Manda was awake, and on her feet, arms curled under the swell of her stomach, holding its weight, and her eyes were wide and dark, all the color bled out of them.

“They’re coming,” she growled, teeth sharp behind bloody lips. “They’re coming, they’re coming, they’re coming.” Her words rose into a howl by the end, high and thin, wolf crying for her pack, but only silence after.

Then, quiet at first, gaining volume and strength, Trouble raised her voice, head tilted so that her dark braids tumbled down her back, covering her bare brown skin. Around her, the pups lifted their heads, weak calls that made her jaw ache like claws on glass.

Too much like pack, and Dot was lone wolf nose to tail.

Thunder rolled, and with it the rain, gusts of it shaking the barn doors, covering their trail, the marks they’d left behind and their smell. From nothing to thunderstorm, and the snap of wind strong enough to knock over small wolves, nothing could track them through it.

“Shift,” Dot ordered, drawing herself in tight, muscles straining. The others turned toward her, watched her, and she shook her head, shifting back on instinct. She ran alone, no others to slow her down, but their hearts raced, and each breath pack pack pack. “We’re running.”

Running meant one more night safe and free.

Publications…Full (Moon) Flash Fiction “Great Wide Open” available free online

Full (Moon) Flash Fiction

May Milk (Super) Moon: Moonlit

June Strawberry Moon: Great Wide Open

The road unfurls like a river of black blood, slick and dark in the dusk. The sky stretches above it, above us, as big and wide as anything I’ve ever seen, more shades of blue than the ocean we left behind two weeks ago. Storm clouds rise like mountains, grey-black and heavy with water. Despite the threat of rain, the top’s down, and the wind whips around us, carrying the smell of wet, green things growing and, just at the edge of the rising storm, the scent of ozone.

Thunder rumbles. I press my feet into the dash, the cracked vinyl warm and rough against my toes, and tip back my head. We’ve been driving for months, and I thought I’d seen every version of the sky, but this opens up above us unending in its darkness, like I could start running now and never reach daylight again.

For the first time since we left my pack, I don’t feel lost, not even in this great wide open, just free.

A thin track runs off to the left, into the corn fields – the plants aren’t sky high yet but big enough for the cover we need – and we turn onto it, sliding the car between rows of genetically modified super plants, rah rah rah technology’ll save the world.

It smells off, wrong, and I wrinkle my nose against it.

Don’t matter how bad it stinks. Moon’s rising, we’ve got to stop. I have to shift.

One at a time, I press close, breathe in the scent of them: mouth, armpit, crotch. I suck the air in through my nose, again through my mouth and over my tongue, memorizing the smell I’d know even asleep and three quarters dead.

That’s the idea. Breathe them in as a human, slide my scent along their skin, and the wolf in me would let them alone once I changed.

Three months, we’d been on the road, circling and circling the USA, staying away from other wolves’ territories, and I hadn’t come close to hurting them, but each month, the possibility was there. It’d always be there, until my boys gave up their humanity in a slick wash of pain and teeth and blood.

I strip and leap from the car, one hand on the door frame pushing myself clear. Soon, I promise myself, already panting, soon,, and then the pull of the moon is on me. I’m alone when I start running, mud squishing between my toes, and as it rushes through me, I leap, into the corn, into the darkness, into the sadness of hunting alone.

They’ll wait in the car, tranq gun at hand just in case, music off, voices low. Sometimes I leave little gifts on the hood and then don’t they grumble, blood on the paint, and by the time the sun comes up, I’ll be curled up somewhere, thirsty and sore and dirty and alone.

But they’re always there when I come back, and I will never not return.

Publications…Full (Moon) Flash Fiction “Moonlit” available free online

Oh dear. Apparently last month’s new experiment was left a draft and not an actual post. That explains so much! So here is May’s Full (Moon) Flash Fiction, “Moonlit,” and in a moment, I will post the entry for June.

At this point, technical issues and time constraints have led to such a lengthy delay of “The Rise and Fall of Cassandra Jones” that I am a bit overwhelmed at trying to recreate what was lost and catch up. I am shelving it this year, and instead will be writing flash fiction. Or at least my take on flash fiction, which I have randomly decided will mean 500 words not counting the title for this project.

To kick off Full (Moon) Flash Fiction for May’s Milk Moon (Supermoon), I present:

“Moonlit”

I felt swollen, my skin stretched too taut, too thin. I would burst soon like an over-ripe piece of fruit. Not quite there, still safe to eat, but almost not, sweet and heavy on the tongue, one breath, maybe two, from the rot lurking just beyond the wash of juice. I licked my lips, tasted metal and dirt, and rolled over onto my back. The hot air sank into me, sweat springing up beneath my breasts, along the curve of my stomach and thighs. I pressed bare feet against dry grass and stared up into the creeping darkness. Sunset was seven minutes after the (super) moon rose. I shivered at the thought of sunlight and moonlight (sunlight reflected, refracted, twisted, broken into something new) kissing in the sky.

Anticipation, but a specific kind, sexual, sensual and warm. I stretched, languid, calling my lover to me. She crept across the edge of my (world) vision, (moon) woman reaching for me with pale fingers so gentle, so cold, and tugged me into the shadows underneath the old oak tree.

Her full mouth, slicked red, twisted into a smirk, and she crawled along me, lingering at the bone of my ankles, the dip of my knees, the long lines of flesh up the inside of my thighs. I canted my hips up at her, wanting, but she rested her hands on my stomach, digging her nails into my flesh, and leant forward, dark hair tumbling down across my breasts.

“Soon?” she asked, voice the quiet rustle of a soft wind through the cornfield. Any stronger, and it would drown out other noises, creeping through my senses and bringing the hair on the back of my neck up. (I ran through corn on four legs, on two, pushing aside the stalks, and at ten, at sixteen, at twenty-two, it chased me, wind-fast through the darkness.)

“Two minutes.” The words grumbled in the back of my throat, and I coughed to clear them. “Little less.”

“No time.” She sank into me, nudging her thigh between my legs, pressing into the hot, wet pulse of my cunt, and my heartbeat was so loud in my ears, her chest silent. She was right, we didn’t have time for this, I couldn’t come so fast, but still I arched into her, grinding against her (bad dog, no humping, and my laugh bubbled up, spilling out with the ferocity of a howl). “I’ll be watching.”

In the distance, the pack I would join once I shifted. She couldn’t get close to me then, my girl, bruised fruit mouth and (stolen) blood on her breath. The smell of her all over me kept me wary of my family, waiting for me to come to them beneath the moon.

“Oh,” I said, “now”

She dropped a kiss to my hungry mouth, tongue across the spot I’d chewed rough (bloody), and she was gone, lost to the sky. My back arched, a howl clawing up my throat, the monster rising from within.

Werewolf Wednesday (I Recommend)… Review of Silver Moon by Catherine Lundoff (Lesbian werewolves for the win!)

(Edited to Add: Totally forgot to drop this link: “Supermoon” Coming this Saturday.)

Another Lesbian Werewolves for the Win! Werewolf Wednesday, and I cannot get enough of them.

The ebook version of Silver Moon by Catherine Lundoff is now available, print editions to come, and to celebrate this release, I have a review! (Keep an eye out in June for another celebration, where Catherine will visit the blog, and we’ll give away some prizes!) First, though, links to Silver Moon: Amazon | All Romance E-Books | Lethe Press.

Blurb: Becca Thornton, divorced, middle-aged, and barely out of the closet discovers that life can still hold some strange surprises, when she discovers that her body is changing; menopause turns her into a werewolf. Apparently she is not the only one, as a number of women in her town of Wolf’s Point seem to have had the same experience. As the newest member of the pack, Becca learns her nights are not spent only protecting the town and running through the woods howling at the moon. There are werewolf hunters in town and they’ve got Becca in their sights.

(NB: Above links are not affiliate links. Author provided an e-arc of the book for review. Also, I don’t believe there are spoilers, other than what you can get from various descriptions of the book.)

I was sold on the premise of Silver Moon from the start: women werewolves protecting their town? Characters of “a certain age” being awesome? Women kicking ass? Lesbians being heroes? Yes please, all of that and more. And I’m pleased to say that overall, I loved the story and hope to spend more time with these characters in the future. There aren’t enough supernatural stories about lesbians, or women who are werewolves, or older characters, and especially not about older lesbian werewolves who are completely awesome. I was giddy at discovering Silver Moon, and I’m still giddy after having such a good time while reading. The details of the werewolves are delightful (keeping a throat covered when laughing, because baring it says [potentially unintended] things, the smell of happiness, the sounds they can hear), and I love that this is a story about women and so many things they are and can be.

I do have my issues. There are uses of “crazy” and “insane” that I found pretty ableist, and a reference to a mental hospital that made me cringe. (Yes, I know this is language that is used in everyday life. Believe me, I know. I deal with it all the time.) Though there are quite a bit of racial diversity in the characters, particularly the werewolves, the story is so tightly focused on Becca and the things she’s discovering about herself that often the other characters get short shrift and the racial diversity falls to the background. (I’m hoping there will be additional books and the other characters will have more page time. I am particularly intrigued by Deputy Lizzie Blackhawk, who is smart and snarky and badass, and also, I think I’m in love.) The last twenty pages or so seemed rushed, especially compared to the slower build of the first half of the book. (Though now that I look at the actual page numbers, werewolf things start happening early in the book, and I can’t quite put my finger on why it felt like a slower build. I like slower builds, particularly in books about monsters.)

All of that being said, I really loved the book. I loved Becca and her changes, physical, emotional, sexual. I loved the werewolf pack, all the women and the work they do to keep their town safe. I loved the worldbuilding, the rules for werewolves, and the juxtaposition of interesting things: supernatural and scientific, monster and human, hunter and hunted, predator and prey. About halfway through, the story grabbed me and I devoured the rest, deadlines be damned, in a glorious rush of action and intrigue and lies and truth. It is truly a supernatural adventure, decorated with bits of humor and romance and angst.

One of the things I like most about werewolves and werewolf stories is the metaphor of lycanthropy as mental illness, particularly my experience with bipolar disorder: the (sometimes) uncontrollable physical changes lining up with the (sometimes) uncontrollable mental changes, cycle for cycle. There are moments where the language, the description, so exactly captures what I think of when I think of werewolves, of that metaphor for mental illness, that it made me want to stand up and cheer, except that meant I’d have to stop reading, and so I didn’t. (“… she could feel that same wildness building in her … clawing its way to the surface inside her, racing beneath her skin and preparing to break through.”)

Silver Moon does not address this metaphor. What it does address is similar, though, and really made the story appealing to me: (sometimes) uncontrollable physical changes for (sometimes) uncontrollable physical changes. Lundoff’s werewolves aren’t a metaphor for mental illness, but for the way our bodies become different with age. (Literally and literally, for her werewolves; menopause brings the changes we recognize, but also changes Becca could never anticipate.)

Silver Moon isn’t just a story about lesbians, or women getting older, or werewolves being secret superheroes, or women being victimized. It isn’t a story where the women are monsters because, wink wink nudge nudge, all women are monstrous, am I right? (Can you tell I am exhausted by all of the stories where women are victims or villains and nothing in between?) At its heart, it is a story that either we can relate to now, or we will relate to later. It is the story of change, in good ways and bad. Sometimes – eventually, inevitably — our bodies change, our minds change, our lives change, without warning, and without our desire for it to occur. We get older. We deal with mental illness, or physical. We lose those we loved, we leave them, we say good-bye. We fight to keep our homes; we fight to create a place for ourselves in a new world after we’ve been rocked by things that happen to us, around us, we fight to keep those we love safe.

As readers, many of us search for ourselves in the stories we read, often to no avail if we aren’t straight, white, able bodied and minded, cisgendered, and/or male. In Lundoff’s werewolves, I found pieces of myself, my questions about what I am and what I have and what I will become; the push and pull of pack ties (family ties) with solitary natures and the need to seek adventures alone; and those shining moments of human and monster, separate and one, all wrapped up in a rollicking adventure that was simply fun. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, because it fits this story so well.

Lesbian werewolves for the win!

Publications…The Rise and Fall of Cassandra Jones Pending Technical Issues

Watch this space for the second half of February’s story and March’s full moon story, not available online yet due to technical issues.

In the meantime, I hope you all had the chance to take a look at the full moon. It’s gorgeous.

Writing…The Rise and Fall of Cassandra Jones: Snow Moon (1/2), available free online

Day job interfered with finishing the second half of this, so you will get a chapter in two parts this month.

Happy Snow Moon!

The Rise and Fall of Cassandra Jones
Wolf Moon

Previously:

“Turning back—” Cassie cuts herself short and eases off the gas, letting the car coast. It’s nearly silent, and she can hear something moving whip fast through the big field on the other side of the road. The corn’s been cut down, of course, but there are still enough stalks she can’t quite make out what’s there.

She draws her gun and lets it rest in her lap, her right hand curled around it, then kills her headlights with her left hand. Her eyes adjust fast to the lack of light, but she doesn’t see anything else, not even a shadow moving. With the window down, she can hear the harsh blow of the wind – it rocked the car the whole way out – but nothing more.

Her instincts are good, her skills honed. She’s been hunting werewolves for more than a decade, she’s got the best team in the field. Once she gets a glimpse of the hair on its chinney chin chin, she’s never let a wolf live more’n a couple full moon cycles, tops.

She’ll kill them all, she will, even if it takes her forever and a day.

Snow Moon

Werewolves hunt beneath the full moon because, well, werewolves, but also because more people are out, taking advantage of the extra light, at least when the weather is warm enough. Werewolves don’t need the light to hunt, but the extra prey helps.

Cassandra Jones hunts beneath the full moon because, well, werewolf hunter, but she does her reconnaissance under the new moon. Most people fear the darkness, and fewer people outside means fewer chances that she’ll get caught. She slips through shadows, easing her way between houses and down dirt roads, checking out all the places she thinks the werewolf will likely strike.

(Back in black, she thinks, and laughs. She spends so much time alone, it’s a good thing she’s learned to amuse herself.)

She thought being stuck in this small Kansas town between full moons would suck, but it’s not been so bad, really. They’re the only people staying in the motel (which is really more of a bed and breakfast, as tiny as it is), and the owner’s a little old lady with skin worn by sun and wind and a sweet smile. She was a farmer’s daughter, and then a farmer’s wife, and when they sold the farm to some big conglomeration, she bought and fixed up a house and turned it into the little motel. It was her dream, she says, and she’s happy to have it at last. She makes the best biscuits and gravy and coffee Cassie’s ever tasted, and even gets Miguel’s bacon right. (Miguel likes it crispy, but not too crunchy, cooked well, but not overdone, and even with all the cooks in all the places they’ve hunted together, Cassie can count maybe five times he’s been satisfied. Maybe less than that.)

Down the street (there’s really only the one main street, but the rest of the town meanders around it, tiny streets weaving together and apart, and it really doesn’t make much sense at all, but it’s been fun exploring it), Samantha finds a diner with big burgers and sweet potato fries and fresh sweet tea. They meet up there late in the afternoon — Cassie sleeps during the middle part of the day, grabbing breakfast-for-dinner when she comes back to her room — before Cassie heads out at night.

The unseasonably warm weather lasts and lasts. Cassie still doesn’t think 50 or 60 degrees is warm, but it’s gotten all the way up to 70 a couple times, and seeing pictures of the big blizzard a few years back (and even just pictures of last year’s snows), well, she’ll take 50s and 60s over that any day. In the afternoon, she goes for long runs, keeping in shape, and sometimes, once she clears town, she’ll stop by the side of the road and tip her head back and bask in the sunlight.

It’s not a perfect place. She gets the side-eye from some of the locals (Miguel does too), and a couple nights, she’s gotta take extra care to make sure she doesn’t get caught snooping around. Samantha gets harassed by some of the local boys. If they got close enough, Samantha could lay them flat, but they never do, and she shrugs and keeps on. The law’s good, though, none of them seem to have any problem with Cassie and her team.

They’ve been in better places, but they’ve been in worse, too.

#

Cassie takes a couple of side jobs while she’s waiting. Place like this, she’ll drive a day or two for a side job just to keep busy until the next full moon. Samantha finds two of them, one a nearby haunted graveyard (she debunks that one easy, it’s not hardly any work at all; she doesn’t expect it to be real, not with the vague descriptions of the woman in white. Mostly it’s teenagers hanging out and pretending to cast spells. She takes the job because she likes graveyards, finds them pretty and peaceful. It’s a good thing she takes it, though. She likes teens, too, and appreciates the opportunity to make sure they’re not messing with things bigger and more real than their fake spells. This time, they’re not) where Samantha spends an afternoon making grave rubbings and a night recording Cassie searching for ghosts.

(They bust ass during the summer to get enough filmed to last the rest of the year. Samantha used to do the editing herself, but it’s amazing what a little popularity will do. They’ve got a producer now, and if you would have told Cassie back when she started hunting that people would actually pay her more to debunk the stories than to save people’s lives, well — she might have believed you, she always was a cynical little shit, but back then she would have hoped you were wrong.)

The other one Samantha finds is fake, too, and that’s to be expected. Cassie’d bet, if there was anyone around willing to take it, that every state has some sort of goatman story: the devil, a witch, a monster, whatever it is, always lurking. It’s a good drive down into Missouri. Miguel goes with her, leaving Samantha to keep watch. There’s nothing to this Goatman’s Grave, and the worst thing that happens is she gets thick, grainy mud all over her favorite boots. She’s slogged through worse in them, and it’s always worth the time it takes to scrub them clean.

(Miguel drags her to this minuscule pie shop in a nearby town so crowded inside that claustrophobia tightens her throat even though they’re the only people there. He read about it in one of his guidebooks, and it lives up to the praise. He gets a slice of cherry and a whole dutch apple to share with Samantha. Cassie hates fruit pies, but the chocolate creme is rich and decadent and just the treat she wants after another bum job. Local hole in the walls brimming with surprisingly tasty food, and enough video footage to keep the money rolling in, those are the best parts of false alarms.

Of course, if Samantha hadn’t been the one to suggest it, she would have guessed Miguel tracked down a local legend just so they could get the pie, but hey, it’s good, she wouldn’t even really fault him for that.)

The third job, Cassie finds herself, a millionaire family down on a big ranch in Oklahoma, and the monster tearing up their livestock is very real. Real, and driven by a curse, she figures out, and it takes three whole days to find all the charms buried around the perimeter. Once she burns them with the proper herbs, it’s no big thing to take out the monster, fangs and claws and horns be damned.

They don’t charge every person who asks for help, but some they do. Millionaires, definitely. And she’s learned to get money up front. Half down, she says, and they pay that willingly enough, but after she tucks the burned charms into a bag — the ashes might be useful for something else — they don’t want to pay her the rest.

Cassie figured at the beginning that would happen. Big part of being a werewolf hunter is knowing human nature and reading people fast, even if werewolves aren’t human and most of them don’t fake it very well. She has to be prepared for the ones that do. She mentally doubled her price about a minute after sitting down with them — all those rules about where she could and couldn’t go and what times she could and couldn’t be on their land, most of which she ignored anyway — so she’s already got the amount she really wanted for the job. However, it’s the principle of the thing, and she lets the monster tear up their land one more night. It’s no longer bound to their fields by the charms. Cassie lurks, keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t hurt the family or head toward anyone else’s land. It does go close to the house, and they fire off some shots, but even though they hit it — or so they claim — the bullets do nothing.

They’re happy to pay up after that. Cassie gets her money, makes sure they don’t see what she uses to treat her weapons, and kills it with ease. She burns the body herself, too, mouth and nose covered. It doesn’t stink the same way werewolf fur does, but it smells bad enough.

That’s enough time down, she thinks, and heads back to prepare for the next full moon.

(to be continued)

Writing…The Rise and Fall of Cassandra Jones: Wolf Moon, available free online

Happy Wolf Moon!

The Rise and Fall of Cassandra Jones

Wolf Moon

The 2012 Farmer’s Almanac sets the full moon at exactly 1:30 a.m. Central USA time on Monday, January 9, but that means almost two entire nights for the werewolves. From moonrise on Sunday – 4:57 p.m. – to moonset on Tuesday – 8:17 a.m. – as long as the moon is in the sky, visible or not, the werewolves can hunt.

Monday morning, 5:00 a.m.

It’s dark, and the moon sits far to the west. Kansas stretches beneath it, flat land harvested and cut down and torn open, flexing on and on in the pale moonlight. Crossroads are shadows, and the sound of the train – the clickety-clack of wheels and the harsh cry of the horn – carries long into the darkness.

The neighborhood still sleeps, even the dogs silent, not yet awake to howl out their greetings and wake the world, when Cassandra Jones steps off the porch of the house closest to the railroad tracks, drawing her long wool coat tighter around her. It’s been warm lately – warm-ish, at least, no way forties and fifties are actually warm — but when she breathes deep, the air is cold enough to bite into her lungs.

She flexes her toes in her shoes, wishing for thicker socks, and clutches her keys tight in her left hand, the metal edges biting into her fingertips. She ticks through her to do list and pats absentmindedly at her pockets with her right hand, brushing against the wool coat again and again. She’s a long stretch of shadow, black coat on black clothes on black hair and skin, only the red of her lips standing out in the chiaroscuro of full moon light, bitten raw.

The moment she steps off the porch, there’s one loud exclamation – “Fuck, that’s cold!” – and then only a scowl and the occasional vague muttering into her scarf. It’s too thin for the chill, more decorative than anything, but she tucks her mouth down into it, covering her lips. They ache some, and one corner is cracked. Fresh blood rises sluggishly, just enough that the werewolf three houses away looks up from the empty backyard and sniffs the air.

more…

Moon Cycle…November’s Full Moon (Month of Thanksgiving Day 10)

(Month of Thanksgiving is exactly what it sounds like: a [hopefully] daily dose of the things for which I give thanks during the month of November.)

Today I am thankful for the gorgeous full moon. The Frosty Moon, the Full Beaver Moon, the Moon of Thanksgiving, whatever you want to call it, it is gorgeous. It was gorgeous last night, too. The Kansas City area was horribly gray and cloudy and stormy on Monday and Tuesday, so the sky had been invisible earlier in the week. Add that to the fact that I can’t believe it is really November 10, and I was taken by surprise this month. I got out of my car when I came home from work (late), and suddenly I was bathed in moonlight. The sky was perfectly clear, the stars bright, the moon brighter still, the air no longer bitter, but crisp in my lungs. I took a moment to stand there, head tilted back so I could gaze up at the sky, and in that moment, there was peace. Peace I desperately needed.

So yes, today I am thankful for the full moon.