Chapter 14: Curious Tom (1)
Once school was over, Tom had directly headed home, only today it had been without his best friend by his side. Honestly, after how weird his buddy had behaved the whole day, Tom was convinced that something was going on with Gary.
‘The broken desk, suddenly being able to send Blake flying and the pierced rugby ball… could Gary really be a…’ He gulped before allowing his mind to finish his thought. ‘A werewolf?!’
Just one day ago he would have immediately refused to believe such lunacy. Unfortunately for the current him, it was an answer that would completely and perfectly explain all the strange occurrences today. If Gary hadn’t brought it up earlier, it might have never even crossed his mind.
As always, Tom was the first one to arrive home. His parents were both scientists working for some important company one hour’s drive away in a Tier-2 city and were therefore gone for most of the day. He was happy that their income allowed them to live comfortably in this middle class house, in their middle class city, although he wouldn’t have minded seeing them more often. By the time they came home they were completely tired out, and working overtime and on weekends was unfortunately rather the norm than the exception.
Tom worked extra hard at school to avoid ending up like his parents. His dream was to one day own a huge mansion in a Tier-1 city, surrounded by beautiful maids who would cater to his every wish. Just like Gary, he saw becoming an Altered as a sure-fire way to end up living such a cozy life.
However unlike his best friend he was also very interested in the technical side surrounding Altered. Tom had clearly inherited his parent’s curiosity, so he kept up to date on everything in that regard as well. Be it whenever new fossils were unearthed or any developments that might allow humanity to gain more Altered.
Entering his room, it was filled with computers that Tom had handbuilt himself. There was more than one tower, and he also had multiple screens with tabs still open from months before. Sitting down at his desk, his hands were slightly shaking as his fingers hovered over the keyboard.
‘If Gary really is a werewolf, and it’s like in those movies and books, then on a full moon this could get very dangerous. He could end up hurting everyone, including his mother, his sister or even myself.’
With this in mind, Tom knew what to search for and he started typing away.
‘How to kill a werewolf.’
As usual the internet was full of contradicting information. Not counting the sites that claimed that werewolves didn’t exist, others made them out to be just supernatural beings, most likely dog-types Altered, which could be killed similarly to humans, it would just take a little bit more effort.
However, this wasn’t what Tom was looking for. He just wanted to find an easy method to verify whether Gary was one. The most common answer that came up was to use silver which was supposed to hurt those creatures to varying degrees depending on the source.
He opened his drawer and pulled out a snake-shaped silver pendant his parents had gifted him on his last birthday. He had never worn it at school because he thought jewelry was a little too tacky and didn’t really fit his style.
‘Of course it’s a snake,’ Tom thought as he looked around the room. During his childhood he had a phase when he had been fascinated by those cold-blooded reptiles and he had made the ‘mistake’ of telling his parents exactly that. From that day on, all of his relatives, including his parents, bought him presents pertaining to those creatures.
Be it snake posters, snake toys or snake movies. Unsurprisingly, he had long since come to grow to hate them. Still, for once he was glad as he held the silver necklace in his hand. However, just that wasn’t enough for him and Tom wanted something else.
After a couple hours of research. he found something else that might work, though the opinions on that were very split. It was a hypothesis that since neither dog nor wolves could digest chocolate, the same was likely true for their werewolves. As dumb as he found the idea to be, it was the best thing he could actually test for.
Rushing down to the cupboard, Tom opened it to only be disappointed.
‘I better go out and get some then.’ Tom thought.
It was a little late out at night, and he had heard his parents come home today of all days. They might be sleepy, but they wouldn’t let him go out, unless he had a very good reason for it. It didn’t take a genius to figure out ‘getting chocolate’ wouldn’t cut it.
This left him with no other choice but to sneak out via his bedroom window. It wouldn’t be the first time climbing down to leave the house without anyone finding out. Fortunately, there was a shop that should have some not too far away, so Tom wasn’t too worried, but just to be safe he still changed into a hoodie.
During the day it was largely peaceful, but everyone knew that the city had many gangs. Once the sun had set it wasn’t uncommon to run into someone belonging to one of them. Covering his own head made him feel a little safer. It was just a short ten minute walk to the nearest convenience store, so he gambled on his luck to not encounter any.
On the way he passed through an empty park, and then through a few back streets without a hinch. However, standing outside his destination there were a few older looking high-school students wearing a black band around either their arms or legs. They were smoking and drinking alcohol, with their bikes on the floor.
‘These low lives… is this really how they plan to live? Just hanging outside a shop all day smoking and drinking? Good luck getting into university!’ For a second Tom made eye contact with one of them.
“What the hell are you looking at, man?!” one of the men uttered. “You look at me like that again and I’ll bust your lip!”
Tom didn’t want any confrontation, so he quickly averted his look and practically rushed inside the shop. He went ahead and purchased quite a few large chlorate bars. As soon as he left the shop, he quickly started walking away ignoring the gang members.
‘I hope this is enough chocolate.” Tom thought. ‘The question is, how do I get Gary to eat it without it seeming odd?’
Walking through the dark alleys back, with only a few lights lighting up the area, Tom was starting to feel nervous. It was dark and there was no one else around.
Suddenly, he heard the sound of students laughing derisively and a few seconds later, a bike skidded out in front of him, blocking his path.
“I told you, no one looks at me that way and gets away with it!” The one in front told him, while the ones behind him were looking forward to a good show.