Dog Tag

In this alternate reality, werewolves live among us. Feared though they are, they are treated as normally as possible. Just one thing marks them out from others - a silver dog tag necklace. Every full moon, the wearers of the dog tags are rounded up and put in cells in the WereControl Headquarters.
Wisteria Lewin wakes up one morning wearing a tag that she cannot get off and has no idea how it got there................
*I've used the name Wisteria before, yeah I know, but it's such a lovely name that I couldn't resist using it again*

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2. One

My dad was killed by a werewolf.

I think that as I stand in the queue at the supermarket, behind several werewolves holding baskets full of laundry powder and beefburgers. I want to attack them right here, right now. Tear them apart, piece by piece. But that's against the law, so I have to restrain myself. It is my dream to kill that red wolf. That huge, hulking beast with the russet fur and the yellow eyes. Not tawny, like most werewolves - a bright, sunshine-yellow, alive with loathing for mankind. The creature that broke into my house when I was nine, ate my father, then disappeared out of the window.

I'd woken up from a bad dream, desperate for some comfort, and heard strange yelping, growling and then wet, gulping noises from his bedroom. My mum had died in childbirth, and I had no siblings, so it was just me and Dad. Us against the world.

Now it was just me.

I'd gotten up, dressed in my Cinderella nightie, straight black hair tousled and loose. I'd padded out in my bare little feet, toes pressing into the carpet fibres, reaching up to the doorknob. Twist, push, and my nightmare was suddenly thrown to the back of my mind.

I'd stood, frozen, not even breathing, just watching. Dad was sprawled out on his bed, duvet rumpled and soaked scarlet, a huge thing crouched over him. It was humanoid, powerful, built of muscles and fox-like fur. It was tearing with it's sharp teeth at my dad's body, strips of flesh coming away, blood soaking it's muzzle an even brighter red. The remnants of my father were so grotesque that I didn't even want to look at them properly.

The head of the werewolf jerked up with frightening suddenness, ears cocked, as if it heard something. I didn't dare retreat, for fear of making noise. It's eyes widened, and with a spring of the muscled back legs, bounded straight out of the window and into the garden below.

I'd snapped the door shut and raced downstairs, sucking my thumb to try and stop myself screaming. I'd picked up the phone and dialled nine-nine-nine.

"Nine-nine-nine, what's your emergency? Ambulance, fire or police?" the smooth voice asked.

"My daddy's hurt," I said in a small voice, still not quite comprehending the situation.

The operater made me give her my address, and then the rest flashed by in a blur of paramedics, blood and documents. I was instantly handed over to a pair of foster parents, and haven't moved since. They tried to question me about what I had seen, but I was too traumatised to say anything. I'm still pretty quiet now.

I think about that werewolf every night. That monster. The thing. It's damn near agony to watch it's kind mingle with humans. The whole incident had happened before imprisonment of the werewolves - the Days of Sun - and before the WereWolf Law.

The Days of Sun happened just a month after my dad's death. For two years, until I was eleven, the werewolves were kept in secure facilities, away from humans. It was believed that they were dangerous and disgusting and feral, which they kind of were at that time. But the werewolves had shown 'regret' and 'promising character' in the Days of Sun, apparently, so government created WereControl, a new programme designed to regulate and police the werewolf population. They were released, and the world - though wary - accepted them relatively quickly. Of course, there was a burst of fights at the beginning - mostly started by humans - and some riots against the new law, but it settled down. The WereWolf Law has been in action for four years now, and I'm fifteen. I pretend to be accepting, when inside I'm dying to scream, why do you trust them? Why? They're animals! They kill!

But it would have no effect. People like me are known as the Stubborns, the Humanity Worshippers. The ones obsessed with keeping the world 'clean' and werewolf-free. I don't want to be associated with the cantankerous old geezers you see, cursing the werewolf race and complaining about the interaction of person and creature. So I keep quiet, and pretend to accept.

I reach the front of the queue and pay for my groceries quickly. Peanut butter, fishcakes, toilet roll. Random things that my foster parents send me out for on Fridays. It gets stranger every time - pink lipstick and tomato sauce. Baked beans and a hula hoop. They're okay, the foster parents. A bit kooky, but okay.

I watch the little rectangle slivers of steel bounce about on the chest of a bulky man as he strides past. A werewolf. The Tags - or, as some people have nicknamed them, the Dog Tags - are just that. Plain as plain, stainless and silvery, no thicker than a piece of paper. A small hole bored in the top right corner with a thin silver chain threaded through, worn as necklaces. Identification. A brand. Every werewolf wears one. Old and young, healthy and sick. They're not allowed to take them off. Every full moon, the officials go around rounding up all Tag-wearers and line them up outside the WereControl Headquarters. They file in one by one, present their Tags, and are led to their own individual cell. A werewolf-proof cell. White tiles and straw on the ground. In the textbooks about the werewolves, they have pictures of cells inside. They have pictures of Tags. They have pictures of the beast's anatomy, photos of yellow eyes and patches of fur. I read these books, over and over again. I study them. I want to learn about my prey.

 

 

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