I decided to use the same route I’d taken the night before. Up two blocks, I started to cross the intersection to Jack’s side of the street. I was halfway across when the sensation hit, the unmistakable sensation of a werewolf.
It was easy to pinpoint. I turned around and crossed to the next block down from my own house instead. This thing wasn’t in any hurry; it seemed to be taking its time.
Most people assume werewolves are always nocturnal but it depends on type. This was a pseudo-traditional – like a traditional it looks like a huge wolf but unlike a traditional it lacks a lot of self control in its wolf form. That’s what the Guide says, anyway. Pseudo-tradtionals are more likely to act in their human form, in my limited, three year experience, that is. Since their wolf form is nocturnal this had to be a human form.
Not that it matters much to a slayer. To us, the creature looks like what it is even when not in its creature form. It was a mere matter of catching up and spotting it – which was beginning to be much easier than it should be. This thing wasn’t speeding up at all, yet it must have sensed me by now. Creatures don’t generally hang around slayers unless they are under command by a Master or Mistress or …
The ‘or’ bothered me a lot. Creatures are attracted to new slayers but that certainly didn’t apply to me. This thing was slow, like it was luring me along. Yet the chances of it being under command were ridiculously low. It wasn’t white so it didn’t belong to the Mistress; the Master was in Asia last I heard and besides, it didn’t feel like a commanded creature. Yet it definitely wasn’t trying to flee like a creature normally will.
I kept following it, slowing down myself. It slowed even more. So it was aware of me – yet it wasn’t fleeing. There are other reasons a creature won’t flee but I could eliminate all of them. All but ‘or’ – did this thing think I was a new slayer? Or was it expecting a new slayer and not me?
Only one way to find out. I decided to change the game. If it expected a new slayer and had any idea what new slayers are like, it should expect me to make a few ‘mistakes’. I decided to give it one. The creature was moving south. I decided to go west.
Bingo – within minutes it was following me instead. That was both good and bad. Good in that now I had control of the venue; bad in that I didn’t know the neighborhood and would have to find someplace to confront this thing.
New York is famous for its alleyways and empty lots – I had to move into a neighborhood with neither. It took six more blocks before I found an alley that would do. I ducked down the narrow lane and leapt up onto a fire escape. Gwen fussed at me; she has a silver coating on her blade and she knew full well this was a werewolf yet I hadn’t drawn her from her scabbard. I shushed her and waited.
I didn’t have to wait long. A tall, heavyset man came into the alley. Not seeing anyone, he immediately became defensive. To human eyes he looked like anyone else; to me there was no mistaking him as anything but a werewolf.
“Looking for something?” I asked pleasantly.
He jumped back, giving a deep, guttural growl. In another time and place, I’d have slain him without a thought but police don’t like it when you stick swords in people and werewolves don’t dissolve fast enough to make slaying him a real option at the moment. Actually, I was more curious.
His eyes narrowed at me, “No, nothing… Slayer.” He started backing out of the alley.
“Don’t come back. I won’t be so accommodating again.” I warned him.
“Accommodating, is it? I hear you, Slayer.”
I drew Gwen partially from her scabbard, “Wait. Why did you follow me?” I demanded.
He eyed the silver blade nervously, “You won’t…”
“Won’t I? I think a little information is fair payment for my accommodation, don’t you?”
My threat wasn’t veiled and he weighed it carefully, “I was… drawn here. I thought it was you…”
Unlike the Mistress, I can’t tell if they are lying. But since his lips were moving it was a fair bet at least part of that was a lie. The question was which part. “Drawn?”
“We sense your kind – you must know that. Sometimes it’s … attractive. That’s what I sensed.”
What he wasn’t going to say was that when slayers are ‘attractive’ is when they are vulnerable. He intended to kill a new slayer – simple as that.
I thought for a moment but couldn’t come up with any way to get more information from him. I had what I’d wanted, anyway. “Don’t let me so much as think I sense you again, understood?”
He nodded slowly, “Yes, Slayer. You will never see me again.”
I sheathed Gwen, much to her displeasure and he took off. I watched him run away before dropping to the pavement. So, there was a new slayer around. I wondered if I would be meeting this new slayer anytime soon.