Jessica shivered under her oversized wool pullover. Her hands, clammy and pale, found each other for comfort. She wondered furtively if her heartbeat had always been so rapid. Probably not. It was probably the…
“Are you sure?” she asked.
The doctor made a noticeable effort not to sigh. Jessica realized she likely dealt with cases like this all the time these days, and that people likely always asked the same stupid question: are you sure? She was sure. It was her job to be sure. Jessica let her eyes fall to the woman’s messy desk. There were files upon files, clipboards, and a cup of half-drunk coffee beside a half-eaten blueberry muffin.
“Yes. Well, not to worry.” The doctor pushed up her glasses, releasing the tension in her shoulders. Jessica caught sight of throbbing vein in her neck. “It’s very easily managed these days with medication and lifestyle changes.”
A lump caught in Jessica’s throat. She would be one of them now. One of THOSE people, subsisting off of a Lycanthropy Cocktail of colourful pills and yoga. It was not in her nature. Then again, until recently, neither was being a monster.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, eyes still sunk down. “I just don’t understand how…” She trailed off.
“It’s most often transmitted during unsafe sexual activity.”
Hesitantly, Jessica shook her head. There had been one person, and she was not going to let this doctor slut-shame her about it, so she stayed still and quiet, working her jaw back and forth. There was a long pause before the doctor bothered to dig up other potential factors. But it didn’t matter what they were. People would not assume them. She hadn’t even bothered to ask Jessica if she had been assaulted. That, everyone knew, was the easiest way to transmit it.
Jessica left the office, a paper bag full of drugs clutched in her slowly elongating fingers. They would continue to grow, as would other parts of her, unless she took the pink pill. The blue pill would help to slow that rapid tick, tick, tick in her chest. The yellow one would dull her desire to rip out anyone’s throat. It had to be taken several times a day. There was also a white one, to help absorb vitamins and minerals that Lycanthropes lack. Lastly, a red one, to be taken the first night of each full moon. Because the daily routine of rainbow pills and mindfulness would still not change the fact that under the light of a full moon, Jessica would go extra crazy.
When she arrived home, she was greeted by the scent of stale beer and cigarette smoke.
“Net’s that way fuck face!” her father yelled at the television. He hadn’t noticed her come in. He never noticed her unless…
Unless he wanted something.
Jessica eyed him from behind. He was a big man, even sunken into the sofa like that anyone could tell he was a threat. His greasy, shaggy hair stuck out under a tattered and oil-stained baseball cap. He threw up his hands in a frenzy, lamenting over whatever stupid sports thing he was watching. They were big hands. Thick and heavy when they came down on her.
A shiver rolled through Jessica again; only this time it felt a little different. It felt like a tingle; like a desire. She tilted her head to the side, still eyeing the man she had been forced to live with for all her seventeen years. His angry yells drifted to a far away place in her head. Her peripheral vision blurred. Her heart beat became less of a frantic tick and more of a steady thump. She placed her bag of drugs on the kitchen counter behind her.
‘Tomorrow,’ she thought. ‘I’ll start these tomorrow.’
© Shyla Fairfax-Owen