If there’s one thing Taeyeon finds most inconvenient, it’s wandering around a graveyard in the middle of the night. Not that it’s a lifestyle choice, but it’s happened a few too many times and she’s starting to get a bit fed up with it.
“What makes you so sure it will be here this time?” she asks again, for what feels like the hundredth time, warily picking her way over the overgrown garden this side of the fence.
Tiffany doesn’t answer immediately. This part of the path is somewhat treacherous to traverse in the darkness. If it wasn’t the tenth or eleventh time they were doing it, they’d be tripping all over the place, caught off guard by weeds and tree roots and stones. As it is, Taeyeon is still taking very particular care with the placement of her steps, and she even manages to keep the flashlight mostly steady as she goes.
“I just have a feeling,” Tiffany says finally. Her voice has that hushed, secretive quality that it gets when she’s talking about it. “Tonight is the night. It has to be.”
Taeyeon fights the urge to roll her eyes. Again and again they’ve had this conversation. They’ve known each other since they were in diapers and Taeyeon has never seen or heard this thing, yet she keeps coming along to tiptoe around the dead because Tiffany keeps saying it’s going to be here.
“Can I at least bring hot chocolate next time?” She’s thinking of the thermos she has at home, and how it would look filled with chocolatey goodness, topped with marshmallows –
“There won’t be a next time, because this time it will be here,” Tiffany answers impatiently. She glares over her shoulder before returning her focus to the ground beneath her feet.
Taeyeon shrugs. “Okay.”
Why it has to be a graveyard of all places, she has no idea. Maybe it’s for dramatic effect. It is pretty spooky, she is not afraid to admit, and the first few times they went, she was disturbed. Now it’s a place like any other. It’s becoming so familiar that it’s hard to believe anything supernatural would happen here even in the dead of night. Without hot chocolate or anything to do other than hang around staring into nothingness, the graveyard’s becoming rather boring. Perhaps she doesn’t have the flair of imagination required in order to be a werewolf.
Tiffany stops suddenly. She throws an arm out behind her, mostly to stop Taeyeon too, and then she laces their fingers together. The way she squeezes shows Taeyeon that this is it.
They strain their ears to listen. There’s a distant cracking sound, like snapping twigs and tumbling pebbles. This must have been what made Tiffany stop moving.
In all the years they’ve been going to this place, they’ve never heard a sound like that.
For the first time, Taeyeon feels really truly scared.
“Okay let’s go,” she whispers, tugging on Tiffany’s hand.
The look Tiffany gives her is burning with a very certain absolutely not and shut up. They turn in the direction of the noise. It seems to be getting louder – is it getting louder? – Taeyeon thinks she’s losing her perception in favour of her fear, but then Tiffany is pulling her along and they’re going closer to it.
“Look, I know I’ve expressed my doubts –”
“And really this isn’t about the existence of werewolves –”
“But should we be going closer to the –”
They crunch to a halt right up against a bush that has seen better days. Ahead of them, crouched between two decrepit gravestones, is a giant black shape that is crackling and ripping either itself or something else. Now they can hear the sound of breathing, thick and harsh, presumably straining from the rough thing in front of them.
“– very real possible danger,” Taeyeon finishes her sentence, barely whispering.
It’s like her limbs have turned to lead, heavy and unwilling to bend. All she can do is stand there and stare. She can feel Tiffany shaking, their arms and shoulders pressed together. She very deliberately does not lift her flashlight and quietly clicks it off. If the thing hasn’t seen it yet, it’s best to keep it that way. Its hulking form swells in the dimness, occasionally picking up the moonlight, and it rocks back and forth briefly.
There’s fur, quite a lot of it, and it’s covering pretty much everything, so either it’s a creepy hairy big guy or it’s –
“Werewolf,” squeaked Tiffany. “Is that a werewolf?”
It hasn’t heard them yet, still shaking what seems like its shoulders and an arm waves upwards; there’s a glint of something sharp that looks an awful lot like a claw.
“Whether it’s a werewolf or not, we should definitely run in the opposite direction,” Taeyeon mutters quickly. She grabs Tiffany’s elbow and starts tugging her backwards, away from the creature. “Maybe even do a zig-zag pattern, like when running from an alligator.”
Taeyeon doesn’t believe in werewolves, and despite what they’re seeing right now this belief has not been revaluated, and she’ll deal with both options in the same way. Or she would like to, but Tiffany’s not moving.
“But we have to see if it’s a –”
It lets out a scream, terrible and scratching. Taeyeon jumps a foot high and loses her grip on Tiffany – which allows Tiffany to scramble forward out of the bush.
The thing hears her shout rather than Tiffany’s fumbling footsteps approaching it. The moonlight falls on its face for the first time, illuminating the long snout and wet nose, the bared fangs dripping in saliva, the ears that swivel in their direction, and the sharp yellow eyes that zero in on Tiffany.
It unleashes a thunderous roar that’s laced with an edge so severe it makes Taeyeon’s skin ripple in fear. Tiffany stops her advance, throws her arms up in front of her and turns her face to avoid the slobber that bursts from the creature’s muzzle. It’s shaking its whole body, stamping its hind legs on the ground as it shifts into an imposing stance intended to frighten them away.
It works perfectly.
Once Taeyeon sees Tiffany do an abrupt about-face, she joins her as they tear through the bushes and trees back to where they came from. She knocks her hip against a gravestone, which hurts like hell and the flashlight drops from her hand. It slows her for only a second but Tiffany reaches back and like a grappling hook, latches onto Taeyeon’s hand and whips her closer.
They haven’t heard any sign that the beast is pursuing them, but neither is willing to take this moment to find out. Taeyeon keeps her head firmly facing forward as they make it to the graveyard fence.
Tiffany slams the gate behind them and grips it tight like it’s a lifebuoy and she’s in shark-infested waters. She’s looking back into the graveyard, eyes wide as she takes in the darkness, waiting for any indication that a werewolf is going to tear them apart tonight.
Everything’s gone quiet. They can’t even hear it in the distance. Its roar faded away while they were running, and if it moved anywhere it did so silently. Now the night has settled again, far too quickly for Taeyeon’s comfort, but they keep waiting until it’s clear that nothing is coming for them.
She smacks Tiffany’s shoulder. “Why did you run towards the giant scary monster?”
Tiffany rubs her arm and looks perturbed. “I thought if it could see us it wouldn’t be so scared of us.”
Taeyeon blinks at her in astonishment. “Scared? Of us? That thing? The hairy, slobbering, muscular, sharply fanged and clawed –”
“Yes, that thing,” says Tiffany. She leans her back against the gate, making it wobble slightly, but she seems to be past her fear of things that go bang in the night at least for now. “Wouldn’t you be scared? Imagine you were a werewolf who can’t control that part of you and some humans find you at your most vulnerable moment.”
“Vulnerable? Vulnera–” Taeyeon pauses, she takes a breath, and she bites her fingernails. “Let’s just get out of here, okay? I think we’re done werewolf hunting.”
Tiffany shrugs, and they hold hands again as they walk to the car with only slightly hurried steps.
“I mean really, we should be focusing on midterms,” says Taeyeon. “Not hunting for werewolves. I can’t believe it took our whole lives. We didn’t see one until we were already college students. What’s the point of that? Can we agree that we’re finished with this now?”
Tiffany wraps her arm around Taeyeon’s shoulders and brings her in for a soft hug. “Hmm, I don’t know. Hanging out in the dark with you for all these years has been so nice.”
Taeyeon smiles, and looks down shyly. Then she shakes her head, stands up straighter, and unlocks the car.
“Werewolves,” she mutters to herself once Tiffany is in her seat. “Of course they’re more likely to happen.”