Seventeen years of dreaming, slashed to an end by the simple constant that is time.
Cindy locked eyes with Jake on their first day of freshman year, and spent every day since exacting her plan to walk into the Senior Prom on his arm.
She wasn’t allowed to date, not even allowed to be outside of her home after nightfall. She’d begged her godmother for the chance to attend that grand party with all of her peers whom she cared nothing of except for Jake.
After four years of hesitation, Cindy’s godmother finally buckled to her pleas, on the condition would be home in her bed before midnight.
This had everything to do with the attacks that had been increasing over the years. In the night at its darkest, limbs were being torn and flesh was being shredded by some unseen creature. Bigger than anything spotlighted on National Geographic.
Cindy had dreaded the end of the night almost enough to completely lose all opportunity to enjoy any of its passing hours.
The deejay announced the final dance and Cindy and Jake embraced, staring into each other’s eyes longingly. They hadn’t yet kissed, but Cindy sure it would happen only if time were on her side.
Cindy peered over Jack’s shoulder and could see Alex Wagner’s Rolex at the small of Annie Packerman’s back. Three minutes to midnight.
Cindy bit her lip and apologized to Jack, insisting she had to go home now. Without a kiss. Dammit.
Jack protested but Cindy knew she had to run. And she did. And Jack went after her.
One of the plum strappy pumps Cindy had eyed in the window of Neiman’s flew off her foot as she jetted down the steps of the gymnasium, full speed toward the wooded shortcut across the way.
“Cindy! Wait, come back! Cindy!”
Darkness enveloped the wood. Jack peered through the black for Cindy’s silver gown.
“Cindy! Let me take you home!”
“Go away, Jack! Get out of here!” Her plea was shrill and labored. “Go now!”
“Let me take you—”
Jack stopped in his tracks. In front of him lay Cindy’s gown. Split at every seam it had. A puddle of silver that represented a lifetime of ‘coulda-shoulda-woulda’.
THWACK! Jake was knocked to the ground. His arm went warm, then wet, then numb. THWACK! His arm was gone.
A creature bore with thistly black fur and standing nine feet tall had Jack on the ground at its mercy. Red eyes, hideous fangs.
Those red eyes. They had been blue just moments ago. Shrouded with wavy blond hair.
Cindy’s hair. Cindy’s eyes.
Cindy’s appetite. Her protruding jaws clamped onto Jack’s throat. His lifeline flooded her throat, down to her swollen werewolf gut.
Midnight had come. Cindy had gone. Jack had lost.