The Welcome Wagon

By Alex Schulman

“You’re going to love it here,” Brock’s landlord said to him, handing him the keys to his mountain-view condo. This comment irked him immensely.

“Why would he say it like that?” Brock contemplated. “It would have been fine to say, but then he touched my shoulder. With a firm grip.”

That was earlier today when Brock was hauling boxes from his car. The very experience had torn him up inside.

Now, he was being torn up, outside, by wolves.

“By the way, we’re having a bonfire out by the community pool. The welcome wagon isn’t through with you yet.” The landlord wryly mentioned this as Brock walked to his car for the final box. He had placed a heavy emphasis on the word ‘through,’ as if there were a surprise in store for Brock. He did not like surprises.

“What is this guy keeping from me? Are there bedbugs too?” After unpacking, he paced around the bedroom of his brand-new, mountain-view condo. He did this for several minutes, keeping distance from the bed. Brock scratched his neck.

Now, Pack-Leader Moonshadow gnawed at his neck. The beast initially aimed for his jugular vein-for a swift death. But he had taken a ‘wrong turn’ on one of Brock’s many other veins.

“So happy we could have you for dinner,” a neighbor, Chelsea, said condescendingly.

Brock smiled and made up an excuse to wander off. He grabbed a light beer from a cooler resting near the bonfire. And mulled over his thoughts.

“Does she think she’s better than me? Christ, the people in this town.” Brock considered going back home to his fully-furnished, brand-new, mountain- view condo. Between the odd chatter and the hungry stares, everyone was making him super uncomfortable. The fact remained that Brock moved to the mountains to get some peace and quiet.

Currently the opposite was happening. The howling of the wolves really drove that point home. And the feasting on his body.

A full moon hung in the sky. The welcome wagon consisted of several large wolves wearing ripped shorts. They ripped Brock apart before he could finish his first light beer, transforming somewhere around the tenth sip. Brock had never seen werewolves before. He kept most of his opinions to himself besides the frequent screams. But enough was enough. Using all his strength, Brock finally spoke up.

“Can I get my deposit back?” His eyes were angled to the landlord, who chewed Brock’s right leg.

The landlord piped back, with his foot in his mouth. “We’re werewolves, Brock. I’m afraid not.”

Brock could not contest this flagrant disrespect of tenant’s rights because his trachea was now decimated by Pack-Leader Moonshadow. He was really doing a shit job with that jugular.

“Wolves are not as precise as Doctors,” Brock thought to himself. This would be one of his last thoughts ever, and potentially even his life’s thesis statement.

Plenty of people have had way worse life thesis statements. Brock’s father for example, died operating a genie-lift while drunk. His thesis statement was “I fucking love Mötley Crüe.” And he plummeted to the ground to “Kick-Start My Heart.” The walkman survived the fall and was bequeathed to Brock. The Dr. Feelgood disc did not survive.

“Why are you doing this?” -Is what Brock would have said to the werewolves if he had working vocal cords, so it sounded more like- “W- h – thi?”

Out of respect, Moonshadow pulled back. He howled a command. The landlord released Brock’s foot and it bounced to the ground like it was attached to a bungie cord, except if the bungie cord was made up of bone marrow. Chelsea let go of Brock’s gnarled ring finger. At first she wanted to see if he was married but her incessant hunger for the flesh of man pushed her in a separate direction.

Moonshadow barked, his face red with gore. “We had no choice, Brock. I am sorry it is so. My pack must feast on the night of each full moon. If it is any consolation, I have given you the swiftest possible death.”

Brock rolled his eyes, then his eyes rolled into the back of his head.

13466337_10154374163704916_1690033756605692874_nAlex Schulman is a writer living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. You can find him on Twitter as @reed_a_schulman, Instagram as @jamwiththebest, -but most importantly you can find him and the rest of the documents at these coordinates: 35°41’27.5″N 105°52’43.5”W. Meet him at the extraction point for further instructions.


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