Short summary:


There’s a full moon over Lawndale tonight, and the seeds of change are sown (and it’s not only about werewolves either)… In this story, Daria learns to bite, Quinn to suck and swallow, and Mack’s family system is uncovered.


Daria (and associated characters and locations) is copyright © 1997-2000 MTV Networks.


This story is copyright © 2002 by Bacner ( and has been written for personal enjoyment. No infringement of the above rights is intended.


Changes at a full moon


Daria Morgendorffer awoke from a restless slumber and immediately prepared herself for the rust of the upcoming insanity. And naturally, it failed to come.

Blinking, feeling oddly unbalanced and confused, Daria made her way downstairs. Sure enough, her parents and her younger sister – Quinn – were gone already, gone to work and to school, the latter being missed by Daria herself because of her latest ailment – an ear infection, that was making her ears internally ring, and her sanity – seriously fray around the edges.

Only now – it was gone without a trace, and what’s more…

Daria shook her head. It was ridiculous. Her hearing hadn’t improved since last night. It was just her imagination. Or something.

Slowly, owlishly, Daria took a look around the kitchen. On the fridge – besides the latest news of wild coyotes being sighted in the Lawndale park – was a note from her mom Helen, saying that breakfast was on the table – and indeed it was, a bowl full of dry cereal and a pot full of cooled-off (by now) milk.

“Milk,” Daria muttered, feeling suddenly disgusted. “Cereal and milk. I hate Mondays.”

Daria took a pause in her train of thought and started to re-think her past week. It started with her getting her ears infected due to the swimming period of the gym semester at Lawndale High, and ended with a Morgendorffer family BBQ last weekend, with even Daria attending it (wearing compresses on her ears, courtesy of one Matthew Costiger-Lane, a remote cousin of Jane and Trent, living somewhere in Oregon). The BBQ was taking place in Lawndale park, nevermind the fact that it was supposedly full of wild coyotes and traps set for them by both park and city authorities and some private amateurs and professionals.

Daria closed her eyes, while chewing her cereal, and remembered the previous day. The BBQ was taking place late in afternoon – because mom was constantly delayed by Eric’s phone calls, dad was delayed by his inattention, and Quinn was… well, Quinn just didn't see the reason behind a family BBQ. Neither did Daria, of course, but for different reasons, one of them being her complete misery over her ailment (unlike her more common-place, incomplete misery over the vanity of all substance, living and otherwise). But as usual, the steam locomotive that was Helen Morgendorffer had overridden every obstacle and counter-argument, as it was usual in Morgendorffer household.

And so, the Morgendorffer BBQ was held. As usual, Helen was soon distracted by some scintillating conversation with some stranger via her cell-phone, Jake and Quinn began to work – or rather, to fire-up, the grill, and Daria just sat there, looking as miserable as an owl in a sunlit sylvan clearing among a company of crows and jackdaws. And it was only natural, that the coyotes, who hadn’t been seen ‘in person’ for a while now and whose existence was actually began to be doubted, chose that moment to attack, looking like several furry, greyish-rowan-brown, bat-eared, land sharks. The similarity between these predators and the great piscine carnivores of the sea was further emphasized by the coyotes’ glinting teeth and maniacal red eyes. In other words, they looked so scary, that Helen actually abandoned her cell phone and scaled the nearest aspen tree as if she was a professional squirrel, Jake and Quinn just took-off haring through the bushes as if they were chased by a stampeding herd of rabid wild boars, and Daria… followed them.

Only not for long. One of the coyotes managed to catch up to her, snapping his muzzle as if it was a pair of scissors or shrub-cutters. Needless to say, it had bitten Daria Morgendorffer quite nastily on the ass too. However, the realization of that fact caused Daria to jump diagonally upwards, and scale the nearest ash-tree as if she was a marten or a fisher.

The coyote, of course, wasn't so easily dissuaded. It began to circle around the tree, apparently preparing for another lunge, this one upwards. However, at that moment came a bellowing cry so full of pain and horror, followed by such an ear-piercing shriek of fear and terror (not to mention ear-ache), that the coyotes fled, with the tails between their legs.

Needless to say, that’d been Jake and Quinn. Jake, while fleeing from the coyotes, got his foot caught in a trap, set by some eager-beaver park ranger or trapper wannabe, of course, and yelled not only from pain, but from surprise. And Quinn didn't get caught any part of her body in anything, but Jake’s bellow was scary enough for her to “echo” him throughout the Lawndale park. Needless to say, the park’s rangers were not amused, and so, to the BBQ’s tally (consisting already of Helen’s cell phone, chewed up so thoroughly, that it even couldn't be “decently buried”, the grill and the meat patties on it, charred and broiled to such extent that only Lawndale city dump would want them, and Daria’s bite on her ass), was added a nasty bill from the park’s management, consisting of the Morgendorffer man and youngest offspring scaring-off other visitors. However, Helen managed to take care of that.

Well, that’d been Sunday, as far as Daria could remember; everything afterwards was a bit of a blur. And now – she felt physically A-OK. For Daria, that was worrying and concerning.

Tick-tock, tick-tock… Daria’s eyes widened in sudden realization – two realizations, for that matter. A, she could hear the Morgendorffer wall-clock while during the duration of her sickness she hadn’t been able to, and B, her sacrum and other portions of lower anatomy, beaten slightly around twenty-four hours ago, didn't hurt at all. Yet yesterday they really were… uncomfortable.

“Something weird is going on around here,” Daria muttered. “I think I should go and hide in my room till it stops.” But at that moment a fresh external breeze came through the Morgendorffers’ backyard door, carrying with it exciting new sounds… and smells!

Without thinking, Daria cast aside her cereal and went outside.


Outside greeted Daria with freshness and greenness. Everything seemed brand new and wonderful – as if it was still May, not June. Daria looked around herself, while absent-mindedly scratching behind her right ear. “That’s weird,” she muttered. “I still feel like myself… only my self is now different. Maybe I should call aunt Amy.” Suddenly, a robin landed next to her. Without thinking, Daria lunged after it, yelling wildly something unintelligent. Needless to say, she would usually find such behaviour in either herself or anybody else highly discerning, but now she found this behaviour natural and exciting… and irritating. The robin, that is. It just wouldn’t get caught, flying away so fast-

“Mrraow!” a bundle of fluffy white fur suddenly lunged off the Morgendorffer trellis, catching the bird right in the middle of its’ get-away, leaving Daria just blinking confusedly. “Thanks!”

Daria stared. The once-pesky robin was now hanging limply between the teeth of a fluffy white cat, obviously pedigree, now obviously dead – and there was nobody else in sight. “Did you just talk to me?” she said, suddenly feeling the need to sit down – on dirty ground or no dirty ground. The cat didn’t say anything but just proceeded – haughtily – to walk away from the trellis to a niche between roots of a maple tree growing in the Morgendorffer yard, and there it proceeded to convert the robin into a meal of its’.

Daria frowned. The cat – somehow – emitted familiarity of a closer kind than just what Daria could see. “Don't I know you?” she asked, deciding that she was probably already nuts and talking to cat couldn't hurt her further. “You look familiar, or at least pedigree enough to not be just an alley cat.”

“Thanks,” the cat looked away from its’ – hers? – bloody meal and almost smiled in a Cheshire cat-slash-human style at the befuddled teen. “It was very nice of you to wear it down for me to catch it.”

“It? Don't birds have gender?”

“That, my dear, should concern only other birds – of its’ kind, most probable. We… have other matters to concern us.”

“Oh… okay. But seriously – do I know you?”

“Sure you do – I’m the Griffins’ cat.”

“You're Fluffy?! What are you doing here? Won't Sandi – your owner – be worried about you?”

The cat almost rolled her eyes. “She doesn't know about this, does she? And besides – she’s a nice, but absent-minded owner: she constantly forgets to close and lock the windows in her room whenever she locks me in it.”

“And you’re being here because?”

“Oh, just thinking that somebody in here might be needing a helpful paw… after the yesterday’s events in the park.”

“What, you’ve been there too?”

“No, but the shouts that two of your family have made were heard quite clearly, thank you. Did you know your sister had almost managed to reach into the ultrasound range?”

“Yes, well, she still has miles to go till she reaches Brittany Taylor’s perfection,” Daria waved her hand. “So why you are here, and not somebody else?”

Fluffy shrugged. “I don't know. Maybe ‘cause I'm a kind-hearted critter, and ‘cause somebody got to do it – might as well be me.”

“Do what?”

“Be here. Give a helpful paw.”

“Why? For what reason?”

At that moment Fluffy smiled. Really smiled. Cheshire-cat-smiled. “The reason, Daria? Ah, the reason… The reason, Daria, will be apparent later – much later. And believe me, my presence around here… will be appreciated – much appreciated.”

“Should I be worried?”

“Not really. It’s inevitable, I suppose. Fate, I guess.”

“Right, fate, right. So Fluffy, won’t Sandi be worried?”

Fluffy stretched and began to walk someplace else. “Let us worry about Sandi in an appropriate time slot Daria, in an appropriate time… But for now – see ya!”

As fast as a ball of white fluffy greased lightning the Persian cat raced through the Morgendorffer back yard and disappeared.


While those truly supernatural events were taking place in the Morgendorffer house and backyard, in another part of Lawndale – an office building – Helen Morgendorffer was experiencing odd feelings of her own. Feelings of unrecognizable - and ungrounded – worry and concern.

“So how’s our very own tree-climber doing today?” came a cheery voice of own of Helen’s co-workers, Rebecca Unjovic. Helen made a face. Rebecca’s parents had immigrated here from Serbia or another Balkan country, but Rebecca herself was almost completely American – all the way to living the American dream of working hard for one’s money. And coupling this with her rather… exotic appearance, made Helen very worried about her being surpassed by Rebecca in a race after a partnership in the firm, made her very worried about that reason indeed.

“That’s not funny, Rebecca,” she severely said. “Last day was no laughing matter at all! That… that brute… it had taken my cell phone in its’ mouth and chewed it up and spat the parts of it out all over the clearing! And it had looked like a furry long-legged crocodile, and its’ eyes very red and rabid! I really don't fancy meeting it again – unless it was dead or in a cage.”

Rebecca nodded, thoughtfully. Helen’s yesterday’s adventure was a source of good gossip throughout the firm by now; many people were very interested in knowing what had actually happened back then. And here was Helen, saying that openly.

Rebecca frowned, and remembered some other rumours from the previous day. “Didn't somebody get bitten last day as well?” she asked.

“No. Daria only escaped with a ripped skirt; oh, and Jake caught his foot in a wolf-trap and is currently in a hospital; he’ll return home later.”

“Gee, that’s awful Helen,” Rebecca said with a grin that belied her words. “I’m so happy that you’d been so lucky.”

“Yes, indeed, sough it makes me worried as to what would’ve happened if we weren't so lucky,” Helen said through gritted teeth. “Now if you excuse me, I've got work to do!” She stalked off.


At the same time at Lawndale High, Daria’s younger sister, and Helen’s youngest daughter, Quinn Morgendorffer, was thoroughly enjoying the attention that she was receiving from yesterday’s events, mostly from boy students of her age. Other students – mainly female, mostly cheerleader and her fellow Fashion Club members – were eyeing her with envy and irritation. “Glory hog,” one of them muttered, even (Sandi Griffin). But there were other people who were viewing and eyeing her with totally different facial expressions… The face of Andrea Hecuba, the school’s weirdest student (including Daria and Jane) froze a very thoughtful and calculating look – nothing else. On the face of Jane Lane’s Daria’s best, and almost only, friend, was nothing more but deep worry and concern. And the face of Lawndale High’s football team’s captain, Michael “Mack Daddy” Jordan Mackenzie showed a mixture of Andrea’s and Jane’s emotions. But nobody was noticing them, all busy either with Quinn’s “spell-binding” narrative, or with their everyday life. And little did they know, that a new wind in Lawndale was blowing, that the life in Lawndale as they knew it, was changing…


And where was Jake Morgendorffer, one may ask? Why, Jake Morgendorffer was currently in Lawndale’s town hospital, getting treated for a serious foot injury, caused by severe tendon pinching by the wolf-trap of the previous day.

Actually, it wasn’t so bad; in fact, Jake might’ve been released home much earlier on this morning (right about when Daria was realizing that something weird was happening to her), but his choleric temper did it again: the doctors thought that he was delirious by his yells about his father grinning at him from non-existence, and decided to detain him and run some tests on him for mental illness and delirium. Consequently, Jake Morgendorffer was out of the way for today as well, and thus on that Monday, Daria Morgendorffer had received an almost limitless freedom for manoeuvring, and manoeuvre, she did! Daria felt a sudden urge to go outside, and just walk – and that’s what she did. She went outside into the windy yet sunny day and began to aimlessly walk around town, feeling oddly restless for some reason…


A phone rang. “Who is it?” Helen Morgendorffer snapped irritably.

“Hello, Helen.”

“Linda. What do you want?”

“Helen. As courteous and family-caring as always. Did you know that your oldest daughter is wandering around the town with the most peculiar expression on her face?”

“Oh my – she might be delirious!”

“She probably is – what’s your excuse? Leaving a sick child alone in the house, not knowing into what damn mischief she might get… yikes!”

“Linda? Linda? Hello!” Helen slammed the receiver of her phone down. “Damn that woman, she was just probably jerking my chain!” Still, some worry and concern did appear, so Helen did dial the Morgendorffer home number. An answering machine beeped in reply:

“You have currently tuned to the Morgendorffer household. Mom’s at work, I'm sick and asleep, Quinn’s at school, and dad is sick. Please leave your message after the – BEEEP!”

Helen rolled her eyes. That Linda! She’s been just jerking her chain, so to speak. She thought about calling the other woman back, but at that moment a very important fax message came in, and Helen Morgendorffer forgot all about her.


“Wah! Dah! Gah!” Linda Griffin exclaimed, hanging of a tree branch. “Where did they come from?” ‘They’ was a trio of brownish-grey – from Linda’s point of view anyway – dog-like animals, namely coyotes. And they didn’t seem happy – not at least they’d urinated all over Linda’s automobile, while Linda herself sat on a nearest acacia tree and cursed them in impotent fury. Needless to say, that the car’s paintwork was ruined completely, and when Linda Griffin finally got off the tree…

Daria Morgendorffer was gone.


Meanwhile, a couple of Daria’s fellow students in Lawndale High: of Andrea Hecuba, and of Michael Jordan Mackenzie. And it was they who were now having a walk-in conversation of sorts.

“Mack,” Andrea began, sitting at the next desk with the football team’s captain. “We need to talk.”

“About what?” Mack asked, suspecting that he knew the answer too well.

“About the coyotes. Their appearance there shows an…”

“…Uncharacteristic – for them – amount of cooperativeness?”

“Ah! So you did notice?”

“It was hard not to. Besides, they’ve avoided rather effectively the forces sent forth to capture them, although… the Lawndale park’s rangers and Lawndale’s police force… aren’t any terrible obstacles, for fairness’ sake.”

“Mack!” Andrea said angrily. “What does your… friend in the basement speak about them?”

“A, she’s not my friend-“

“B, you haven't asked her yet. I'll do it if you’re so chicken.”

“To do that,” Mack said plainly, “you’d have to be invited to my house in the first place – something that hadn’t happened yet, to my knowledge.”

Andrea’s eyes glinted angrily from underneath her brows. “Michael Jordan Mackenzie! Now’s not the time to balance the accounts-“

“You're panicking, Andrea,” Mack said more coldly than any time before. “Personally, even I am surprised that a pair-trio of coyotes could put into such a panic – a bloated self-opinion much?”

Andrea’s scowl was now black with anger. “You're a fool, Michael Jordan Mackenzie, and that is that! You may have the means and you may have the skills, but I have knowledge and experience!..”

“What we don’t have,” Mack interrupted her curtly, “is the distance between us. I’m remedying this right now: have a nice day, Andrea.” And he left with a finality in his step.

Andrea didn’t try to pursue him; the glare in her eyes could’ve probably stunned a small animal at sixty paces. “Foolish you, Michael Jordan Mackenzie,” she slowly hissed. “When the time will come, I will be victorious, and nobody else!”


While this was going on, back in Lawndale proper, Daria Morgendorffer had re-started to feel weird, like somebody – or something, some force – was beginning to re-arrange her internal organs, including her skeleton. She glanced at the sky and at her watch: it was one in the afternoon.

Daria groaned and rubbed her knees: they felt rubbery and weak. Still groaning slightly, Daria made her way towards a nearest bench and plopped down on it.

“Mind if we join you, stranger?” a voice suddenly sounded, and two more people suddenly sat on Daria’s left and right. Daria looked at them, and her eyes widened in surprise.


Back at the school, just as the classes were about to resume, the PA system came online. “Would Michael Jordan Mackenzie come to the principal’s office?” Ms. Li’s voice came all over the school. “He’s got a phone call waiting for him.”

Emotionlessly, Mack got up and left the English class. He’d been half-expecting this phone call since this morning.


Daria crossed her eyes to her right, then to her left. “Rhonda!” she exclaimed. “Tomash!.. Tomash, please remove your arm off my shoulders; and how did you all get out of the joint?”

Rhonda Hudson snorted. “Old Daria still. And here young Spenser had grown forlorn missing you.”

“Really?” Daria said a tad too quickly for her. “Right. So, your parents got the bill too?”

“Yeah. Between the bill, and Derek’s… activities, we got released from the clinic pretty quickly.”

“Really?” Daria repeated her question, though with a different voice impression. “And where is that mastermind.”

“He’s nervous,” Rhonda said with her trademark smile.

“Nervous? Of me? Why?”

“Because of yesterday,” Tomash Spenser spoke from Daria’s left, and showed to Daria his palms. They were hairy. Daria blinked, and took a double-check of his, Rhonda’s, and her own palms. Sure enough, they all had different degrees of hairiness on them.

Daria blinked again, re-run in her mind some of the last conversation she had with Derek Bader while getting treated alongside him and Rhonda for possible mental deviations, and –

“Derek Bader!” Daria literally roared. “You get your crazy face right here, before my eyes, right now!”


Back in Lawndale High, Michael Jordan Mackenzie took up the phone receiver in Ms. Li’s office. “Yes?” he spoke into it.

“Son?” came the voice on the other end. “I want you to come home immediately after school.”

“I've, ah, I've got football practice after it.”

“No you don’t: it got cancelled.”

“It did?” Mack asked, surprised.

“It did,” both the person on the other end of the line and Ms. Li assured him.

“Oh; that’s cool then; I'll see you later; bye!” and Mack put the receiver down and left Ms. Li’s office.


“Hey, Daria,” Derek Bader, the relatively short teen with piebald-dyed hair carefully sat on the other side of Rhonda. “How’s life?”

“Awful. Some goddamn coyote bit me on the ass just 24 hours ago,” Daria said flatly.

“Hey, it was the perfect target back then,” Tomash rumbled from the other side of her. Rhonda snickered.

Daria groaned. “I should’ve guessed. So how did you pull it off?”

“Daria, hello, you got us the sites!” Rhonda exclaimed in that ‘Fashion Queen’ tone of hers. “Remember?”

Daria blinked. “I'm punished for being too sceptical. Great. So now what?”

“A bit of formality,” Derek instantly perked up. “Are you in or out?”

Daria stared. “Let me think a bit. I don’t really have incentive to stay out, but I don’t have anything to keep me in, either.”

“What about Tomash?” Rhonda mischievously said.

Daria reddened. “As our science teacher Ms. Barch tends to say-“

“You’re also able to do all those things that you’ve said in group therapy sessions,” Derek spoke.

Daria stiffened. “I said before that that was-“ she paused, suddenly thinking and listening only herself, until she restarted a totally different sentence. “Look, we won’t be able to keep this thing under wraps forever. Sooner or later, the truth will come out or we will have to leave-“ her voice trailed off again, and when Daria re-started her sentences for the third time, there was an unusual steely strength in it now. “All right, I’m in.”


“Hey bro,” Kevin Thompson piped-up while Mack rejoined with his seat. “What’s the call was all about?”

“Dad wants me immediately home after school,” Mack shrugged.

“Oh? You two are going coyote hunting as well?”

“What? What do you mean, ‘as well’? Who’s going hunting them in the first place?”

“Oh… me and my dad, for a start!”

“Right. You and your dad. Great. Those coyotes don't stand a chance,” said Mack, thinking: ‘not laughing themselves silly, that is. Or is it hyenas? Wait…’

“Mack? Are you still in there? Hello!” Kevin impatiently said. “You and your dad want to join us?”

“No thanks, we wouldn't want to crump your style,” Mack shook his head.

“Well then, suit yourself.”

“That I will, Kevin, that I will.”


“So what happens now?” Daria asked, as she, and the other teens, went walking through the park.

“Now, mainly, we stretch time,” Derek admitted. “Till moonrise, that is.”

“Moonrise? Not midnight?” Daria asked, surprised.

“Yeah, it surprised us too,” Tomash agreed, again – so softly-softly – draping his arm over her shoulders. “Believe us, Dear Ria, lycanthropy is not what it’s supposed to be – in a good way.”

Rhonda and Derek snickered; Daria sent them a glare that would’ve petrified a medusa. “Hate to interrupt this mirth at my expense,” she said sourly, “but where we’ll be staying? Not at my folks’ place, I doubt that-“

“Say no more,” Derek said calmly. “We have a hide-out in this town already – just follow me.”


There was a knock on the door. “Who is it?” Helen called-out sourly.

“It’s police officer Custer, ma’am.”

“Oh dear,” Helen sighed and opened the door. “What has Jake done wrong now?”

“No, no, it’s not about your husband – this time,” the police officer hurriedly said. “It’s about your eldest daughter’s ex-friends.”

“My eldest daughter doesn’t have enough friends for them to become exes in the first place,” Helen said sourly.

“I'm talking about the summer of ’97; your daughter have spent some time in Rosencrantz’ mental clinic, had she not?”

“Now listen buster – I mean officer; that was just a misunderstanding; my daughter is not crazy-“

“No, no, it’s not that; it’s just that at the clinic she’s met those other kids – Rhonda Hudson, Tomash Spenser, and Derek Bader, and now they’re missing.”

“And what wonders of logic had you tied my Daria with them?”

“In all due honesty, ma’am – desperation. None of those kids had any other real friends excluding each other – and your daughter was one of them. Did you ever check her e-mail accounts?”

“Officer Custer, this is not some Orvellian anti-utopic society; this is democracy of America, and we do not spy on our children e-mails…”

“Ma’am, please. Three teens are gone, and your daughter’s not at school either.”

“Well of course she isn’t. She’s got an ear infection and is staying at home!”


“Officer, she’s not that incapacitated that she couldn’t last for several hours; her condition is serious, but not that serious.”

Custer sighed. It was painfully obvious now that Mrs. Morgendorffer knew practically squat about her daughter’s private life, non-existing or not. “Okay, fine. You wouldn’t mind if we contacted your husband to collaborate you on that, do you?”

“My husband,” said Helen in a stony voice, “really is incapacitated due to an accident: he has his foot caught in a wolf trap the day before today, and is currently in Lawndale hospital, not in a condition to collaborate anything coherently!”

Officer Custer blinked. “One last question, ma’am. How did your husband get your foot caught in a wolf-trap?”

“Somebody set it to catch those damn coyotes!!” Helen almost snarled. Custer took it as his cue to leave, and leave Helen’s office he did.

He didn’t have any reason to stay there anyway: as far as sources of information went, Helen Morgendorffer was as dry as an irrigation ditch in Central Asia in a drought period.

At that moment, his communicator turned on. “What?” he spoke irritably into it.

“Custer, this is Finch. Any breakthrough?”

“Forget it. Judging from the lack of concrete information, and an abundance of inflated indignation, Mrs. Morgendorffer knows nothing more than the parents of the other missing teens.”

“If it wasn’t for those clinic records we wouldn't even have that,” Finch agreed on the other end. “And what her husband?”

“Check the Lawndale hospital, will you? Apparently, he’s yet another trap case. Damn those coyotes! Where do the park’s rangers look for them, anyways?”

“At the bottom of their bottles, most likely,” Finch was sympathetic. “I've known members of forestry force that could miss a Mercedes-Benz going past them with thundering noise and never notice it. So don’t speak anything to me about coyotes.” He paused. “Speaking of coyotes, can you wait a sec? I think I've received a statement of some sort about them, wait a sec…”

Custer waited impatiently while Finch on the other end searched for the tricky piece of paper. “Ah, here we go. 13:45 – that’s 15 minutes ago, Jack – from Linda Griffin. Apparently, the coyotes chased her up to a tree and chewed up her cell phone and pissed all over her car.”

“What was she doing in the park with her car? Going on a picnic?”

“No, Jack, this happened in Lawndale, believe it or not.”

“That’s upsetting, Allan, I sympathize with the guys who’ll get the night shift, but what does it got to do with this case?”

“Well, Jack, listen to this: ‘…and so, while I was observing Daria Morgendorffer wandering aimlessly through the streets in a clear state of delirium, those coyotes charged me and ruined my property.’ Get the picture?”

Custer did. “Where is Linda Griffin now? She and I need to talk.”


The school bell rang, signifying the end of the school for the day. Unusually, Andrea Hecuba was walking past Mack now. “Hurry home, Mack Daddy dear?” she said mockingly. “Ye gods, sometimes I think that you’re becoming a lesser man as time passes!”

“That’s only natural,” Mack said evenly. “You're becoming so butch, that even Mr. DeMartino is a lesser man compared to you. Cheers.” And he walked away.


“Let me get this straight,” Daria said flatly. “The police are after you, but don't know where to search?”

“After us, dear Daria, after us,” Derek corrected calmly. “And no, they can’t make neither heads nor tails to start our search.”

“And even if they did, they’d certainly not think of lycanthropy,” Daria agreed. “So what we’ll be doing after tonight?”

“Ahem!” Fluffy appeared from under some bushes just as suddenly and unexpectedly as she did on that morning. “Curb your horseflies a little, boys and girls!”

The other teens stared at her, shocked as much as Daria was in the morning.

“What, you didn’t know animals could talk?” Daria said, surprised again.

The other shook their heads. “I suspected so, but was never proven so blatantly straightforwardly,” Derek admitted.

Fluffy rolled her eyes. “That’s because you were humans, now you’re werewolves.”

“But we’re not werewolves; we’re more like were-coyotes!” Rhonda protested.

Fluffy waved her left paw dismissingly. “It’s not the point; the point is that you’re not humans anymore, and I can talk with you directly.”

“So what do you want from us?” Derek suspiciously said.

“A bit of help, really,” Fluffy shrugged. “The animals of this town could use the help of a quartet of werewolves.”


“It’s long story – I'll tell it to you after the sunset – Yeowch!”

Nobody had time to react to Tomash’s strike. The bigger teen had caught the Persian cat (and not a small-sized either) in a grasp and was looking at it very evilly. “If you had set any members of law enforcement onto our trail,” he began-

“No, no!” Fluffy frantically yelped, “I'm now whistle-blower, I’m a cat with a dignity!”

“All right,” Tomash said, releasing Fluffy abruptly onto the forest floor. “For now, I'll believe you. But if you’re proven wrong – you’ll regret the day you were born.”

“You know something?” Daria turned to Rhonda, while Tomash and Derek were drilling Fluffy with gazes that could be only described as ‘uncomfortable’. “I can’t believe that I’m about to become a member of a werewolf pack whom I knew as human patients of a shrink ward and who are currently arguing with a pussy cat. Does our lives turned weird or what?”

Rhonda just shrugged. “Personally, I like it.”

“I thought you would, Miss Fashion Queen.”

“Daria, hey! That’s not funny!”


Meanwhile, all over Lawndale, doors were clapping and slamming, as the students were returning home. And some of them were surprised, like Quinn Morgendorffer, who returned to a completely empty house, without any traces of her sister whatsoever, and Sandi Griffin, who saw her mother giving a written statement to a policeman. But most homecomings were pretty ordinary for the teenagers, although, in some cases, that ‘pretty ordinary’ could be very bizarre. Such was the case, in particular, of Mack: as soon as he had entered the Mackenzie house, he carefully – and meticulously – locked the door, ensured that all the windows were carefully covered with curtains, and only then opened the locked door to his basement.

“Hey Drakine, come on out!” he yelled.


“Mom? Who was that police guy? What did he want from you?” Sandi carefully asked.

“A statement – on those damn coyotes!” Linda snapped, warned by officer Custer not to speak needlessly about Daria’s delirious wanderings in Lawndale – just in case. “Why are you here so early anyways?”

“All after-school activities got cancelled,” Sandi then sighed… and suddenly stiffened. “Say mom, where’s Fluffy?”


Back at Mackenzies’ house…


“Well what?”

“Aren't you going to ask me why’ve I called you immediately from school?”

“I think I'm going to go on a limb and suggest that it’s those coyotes.”

“They're not coyotes, M.J., they’re werewolves!”

“So what?” Mack asked, noticing a flash of something suspiciously like fear in Drakine’s eyes. “Why’d you tie your tail in a knot, anyways? First Andrea wants to bury our animosity because of them and now you.”

“Andrea? How did you react?”

“As usual. I don’t know much about werewolves, other than their whole full moon thingy, but I know Andrea as well as a peeled egg, and think that she’s really, really crazy.”

“Aw, you’re just saying that to make me feel better!” Drakine jeered.

“No, I'm saying that because I remember Aleko too well,” Mack said with a grimace. “So why did you call me home immediately after school?”

“Because of the werewolves, duh!”

“Drakine, come on. It may be a full moon at night, but right it’s still daytime!”

Drakine’s face took on a sarcastic expression. “And here we let everything drop for a generous ovation to Mr. Whedon and the Mutant Enemy for their tantalizing flashes of the supernatural world via such pearls of the silver screen as ‘Angel’ and ‘Buffy’. The whole vampire-with-a-soul thing – it’s idiotic to say the least!; no gypsies would’ve been able to make such a curse in the first place!!”

“Just what,” Mack said tiredly, “has this got to do with our werewolves?”


“I meant – coyotes, okay? It’s just that you, and Andrea, and Quinn Morgendorffer and her gossip – you’ve all talked my head off that I could probably call circles squares if I really try.”

“Back to werewolves,” Drakine replied, looking at Mack from underneath her eyebrow ridges. “They need full moon period – the three-four days in the middle of a month starting yesterday – only to make more werewolves, or to become werewolves themselves. Otherwise, they can switch from man to wolf anyhow they want, nothing more, nothing less.”

“Charming,” Mack said. “But I still don't get, what’s the buzz?”

“Mack.” Drakine rose to three-quarters of her full height, which was… considerable. “You don’t get it indeed: Lawndale is a small town. The last anybody like me, or Andrea would want, is anymore individuals with any abilities, you savvy?”

“So what do we do? Stay in home all night?”

“No, of course not,” Drakine shook her head, lowering herself back down. “We need to think off a plan for tonight, for tonight is the night when things change!”


“So?” Finch asked Custer. “Did our luck change?”

“That depends. Linda Griffin’s statement alone isn't worth much, since she was less sure of her seeing the eldest Morgendorffer girl than she sounded. But I did check the Morgendorffer residence, and there was no one present there, so that Daria girl may’ve gone outside instead of staying home. However,” he paused, “I also talked to the Morgendorffers family doctor, and he did show me that that girl was sick with an ear infestation, so it is possible that she is delirious rather than scheming.”

“That’s nice, but that doesn’t stop us from starting a town-wide search for her, now does it?”

“Sure Finch, you’re the one with the brains, but… what good will it do if we do ‘capture’ her? Not only this’ll bring on her mother’s wrath upon us, it’s most probable that she doesn't know anything what’ve befallen her ex-comrades – if something did befall them, that is.”

Finch shrugged. “You’ve got to have hope Jack, you’ve got to have hope.”


“So Drakine, what are you thinking?” Mack slowly asked.

“I'm juggling the facts we’ve learned in my head,” Drakine grouchily said, “and I’m leaning more and more towards the thought that you have a better idea than I am, you’re just unaware of that yet.”

“Oh really? Make me aware then.”

“Yes, master,” Drakine bobbed her head in a mock genie-like way. “Tell me more about this… Daria Morgendorffer person. Is she a socialite?”

“No, she’s not a socialite, though Andrea makes her seem like one. She’s just… not very communicative and is Jodie’s complete opposite, full of principles and such.”

“So she’s a public speaker, she speaks out for what she believes?”

“Only is she’s pressed. Very hard pressed. Caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, even. Otherwise, she… pretty much not gives a sh*t, really.”

“Ah! I see! How interesting! But does she have any friends outside her immediate family?”

“She doesn't really have friends in her immediate family; wait a sec, what are you saying?”

“This morning’s newspaper article says that she got bitten.”

“Really? I think it was leaning towards barely scratched.”

“Werewolves don't do ‘barely scratches’. And believe me, their victims do not vanish unexplainably the next morning.”

“Oh really? So you’re saying that Daria’s a werewolf?”

“She will be, as soon as the sun sets and the full moon rises,” Drakine nodded thoughtfully. “And as soon as that happens, we will go.”

“Go where?” Mack slowly said.

“You tell me. Does this Daria have any place to go if she’s in search for a safe haven?”

“I'm guessing the Lanes’ house.”

“Then that’s where we’ll go,” Drakine said, swinging her arm in an arc. Mack followed her swing with his eyes and saw the sun – a huge, sultry, feverish ball the colour of molten yolk laced with wine-coloured veins, slowly sink towards the horizon.

“That’s an omen, right?” he muttered sadly.

“Yup. You what that means?”

“We're going to beat Andrea, won’t we?”

“It’s a possibility, yes. But Andrea’s as cowardly as she’s greedy, she probably won’t risk going outside after dark, alone at least. No, what’s this really means, is that there will be a new werewolf howling on Lawndale’s town streets tonight!”


A phone rang. “Who is it?” Quinn Morgendorffer spoke into the receiver.

“Ku-Winn, have you seen Fluffy?” Sandi’s voice came from the other end.

“No Sandi, I haven't. Besides, I've got bigger problems. Daria’s missing, and if my parents learn about it – eeek! I've got to go, bye!”

Quinn slammed the phone’s receiver down and prepared her most angelic smile just as the peals of Helen’s angry, thunderous voice came from upstairs. “Quinn Louise Morgendorffer, where is your sister?”

Quinn’s answer came as a scared squeak. “I don't know mother, she was gone before I came back home!”

“Now listen, young lady,” Helen started to say, but Quinn was saved by the ringing of her phone. Again.

“Who is it?” she nervously asked. Then her face fell abruptly. “Oh, it’s you. The art chick. Jean something.”

“It’s Jane,” sounded on the other end of the line. “How’s Daria?”


…Several minutes later, on the other end of the line, Jane Lane put down the phone receiver dejectedly. “Well Trent, I'm feeling scared. Daria’s sister says that she can’t come to the phone right now, and she’s sounding pressured, nervous, scared – all very alarming signs. And I can't come over there too – more bad news. Trent- Trent? Oh, forget it!” Jane waved her hands in disgust. “This is a crucial moment in our lives, Trent, and you have fallen asleep!”


“So Daria,” Derek spoke up suddenly. “I need to ask you something.”

“What?” Daria carefully asked. Back in their days at the mental clinic, Derek had proven to be the most cunning of them all – including Daria, who was hardly an imbecile. However, he also had these flights of fancy, which could bring him to most incredible results, as Daria’s palms, getting steadily hairier, could attest.

“It's about our future hide-outs,” Derek continued.

“What about them? This abandoned chapel is very hide-out-y,” Daria said quickly.

“Yes, true, but I was thinking about a spare.”

“Oh really? And how does this connect to me?”

“Daria Thelma Morgendorffer,” Derek said, spitting out a blade of grass that he was chewing on previously. “Can you tell me more about a certain Jane Lane?”


In Lawndale’s police department a phone rang.

“Lawndale police department, how may we help you?”

“Helen Morgendorffer is calling. My daughter is missing.”

The officer on duty – Allan Finch – didn't blink. “You don't say! Any idea for how long?”

“No! She’s been alone since early morning, when I left for work and her sister for school!”

“And your husband?”

“He’s in Lawndale hospital himself!”

“I see. Well ma’am, I'll sent your ‘friend’, officer Jack Custer over to your place and he’ll take the written statements from you and your other daughter, okay? Oh, and stay out of your eldest daughter’s room too – it might be important.”

“All right!” Helen Morgendorffer put the phone receiver down.

Officer Finch looked at officer Custer. “As my granddad used to say, the ice floe is starting to move, gentlemen of the jury. Well Jack, this ice floe is certainly starting to move, so what are you doing sitting here? Move it!”


“This is ridiculous, Drakine, ridiculous,” Michael Jordan Mackenzie said, unconsciously walking around the room wringing his hands. “I'm not going in your company to stalk the Lanes’ house all night!”

“I’m sorry,” Drakine smiled, flashing her fangs from behind her thick lips, “but since when you’re the man of this house? There’s only one way you may change my mind-“

Mack stopped pacing and looked Drakine straight in the eye. “All right, you’ve won. But I've got just one more question to ask you, ye fiend: if your calculations are correct, then what will we do if werewolf Daria does come to the Lanes’ house and will bring company with her?”

“Then, Mikey dear,” Drakine said, stretching her entire body to the very tail tip, “we establish a meaningful relationship with werewolf Daria and her new tribe.”

Mack just stared, then sighed and shook his head. “Why isn’t it my graduation time yet?” he said miserably.

And outside, the sky was darkening, as the sun was sinking, and the full moon was rising, rising like a huge eye, like a huge, lidless eye, coloured cold silvery-yellow. No cloud was hanging in the sky and obscuring the moon’s form, no tiny star was dimming – even a tiny bit – its’ cold, yet powerful, light – so close the moon seemingly was to Earth.

Of course, it was ridiculous, many people in Lawndale said, but they all hurried inside their houses and apartment buildings, and when inside they thoroughly locked their doors, and while outside they thoroughly buttoned their jackets and coats and pulled the hats down to their very ears – for there was a wind in the air, and it was seemingly briskly cold for the middle of June. And the people were scared – very scared – in Lawndale, for moonlight was playing tricks on them, and changing shadows…

In the Griffins’ residence Sandi Griffin sat quietly in her room, weeping silently for the loss of her bellowed kitty Fluffy, unaware of a pair of green eyes that were watching her…

In the Morgendorffers’ residence Helen Morgendorffer was ‘entertaining’ officer Custer with details of Daria’s life in particular and Morgendorffer life in general – shortly after sending Quinn out of the house on a date. However, Quinn’s date’s car was having some technical problems, and so it was stalling…

In the residence of Andrea Hecuba fire was burning – too red and too hot to be electric. Andrea herself was sitting in the middle of her domain, periodically mixing some sort of a brew in her cauldron. “Damn it!” she would also periodically curse. “Too much static interference! I would’ve been better off with a TV!”

In the Lanes’ residence electric lights were turned-of almost everywhere, because only two Lanes were really present, Trent and Jane, and Trent could’ve been easily taken out of the account because he was asleep. Jane, on the other hand, was wide-awake from worry and fear for her ‘brainiac’ friend.

Before the Mackenzies’ residence, some activity could be noticed, simply because Mack was locking their house, eyeing thoughtfully Drakine. The latter was shivering almost imperceptibly to the human eye, but Mack had shared roof over his head with her for a couple of years now, and so was much more trained in signs ocular than an ordinary man. “Here,” he curtly said, giving a small female coat to Drakine. “It’s a bit cold outside to be going in your style,” he said, eyeing Drakine’s outfit which was immodest to say the least.

“Thanks,” Drakine replied with almost perceptible gratitude. “There’s magic in the air tonight. Now let’s hurry to the Lanes’ house, it’s the next keystone in the whole chain!..”

And in a desolate chapel on the edge of Lawndale cemetery Daria Morgendorffer was sitting on the ground in company of three of her older friends and small white Persian cat. She was sitting on the ground and she was looking at the moon, that great big source of that blindingly cold, silver light. The moon was emitting light like a projector, and steadily and not too slowly, permeating Daria’s body to the very last cell. Suddenly Daria felt like she was falling into pieces getting reconnected together in completely different way. She only had one short shriek before the silvery-white light of oblivion washed through her completely.


“Damn it Quinn! The motor’s dead!” Skylar Feldman kicked his car in anger. “Of all the bloody times it had to be now!”

“Don't worry Skylar,” said Quinn calmly. She knew that her mom wanted her to have this date only to keep her out of the police’s rowing eye – an extra witness was completely unnecessary. And Quinn was quite intelligent to completely agree with her mom – this time. And so, all went smoothly until now, when Skylar’s vehicle had decided to die. “Here Skylar, use my cell phone,” she said with a tiredness in her voice, a testimonial that her knowledge of the world was much greater than her tender years.

“Thanks Quinn!” Skylar gratefully said. “It’ll be a sec, don't worry.” He scurried off into the shadows of trees, abundantly growing on the side of the road.

Emotionlessly, Quinn watched him going.


Daria Morgendorffer slowly got up on her feet. Then she blinked and took a good look at them. Then she slowly rotated clockwise, and took as good a look at herself as she could. “Rhonda,” she spoke in a changed voice to the other female present. “I don’t suppose that you’ve got a mirror stashed in here somewhere?”

“Don't apply salt to my wounds,” Rhonda shook her head. “Blame the guys. I told them that taking a mirror would be a good idea.”

“Sadly, the cons outweighed the pros,” Derek muttered sardonically. “Now come on, let’s go and visit Miss Jane Lane.”

“Hey!” Fluffy raised her voice from her corner. “You can’t! You’ve promised to take care of Sandi.”

“So what’s the rush, short stuff?” Tomash Bader smiled nastily, in his new shape it was even scarier than when he actually looked human.

Fluffy nervously sat back a pace. “Look, you don't understand, this isn't my idea; Sandi Griffin has to be taken care of tonight, otherwise the consequences will be-“

“Enough!” Derek snapped. “Now listen up cat. You want the job to be done – then bring Sandi Griffin to the Lanes’ residence do you hear? I said the final word on this matter, understand?”

Fluffy nodded, realizing that any further argument will be foolish and futile, if not downright dangerous. “All right,” she agreed and vanished in the park’s darkness.

A quartet of much larger quadrupeds followed her actions, snarling and squealing between each other.


Michael Jordan Mackenzie felt like a married man, and with a wife that was a completely damned wretch, as well. “Dra-kine!” he called-out in a sing-song voice. “Better curtail your actions now, or I'll be angry!”

“Sorry dear!” and Drakine emerged from the shadows, looking rather more perked-up than usual. Mack could swear that he still saw droplets of some dark liquid falling off of her upper fangs, and could very well guess, as to what it probably was.

“Drakine,” he said in a voice so icy, that the latter almost retreated.

“I'm sorry,” she said almost guiltily. “It’s the night’s fault. It is so full of dark magic that I just had to have a snack.”

Mack closed his eyes. When he had counted all the sheep that Little Bo-Peep had lost and needed to re-discover, he felt calm enough not to try to choke Drakine to death. “How big,” he said rather evenly.

Drakine looked embarrassed. “Just one,” she said. “He has his own car.”

“Then I guess it is time for it to go ‘Boom’,” Mack said with a quiet despair mixed with determination.

Drakine nodded. She had her own plans for the girl, and so she didn’t tell Mack about her.


While this was going on, Jane Lane was sitting in her room, feeling melancholy, despair, and angst, as well as worry, fear, and concern for her friend.

Suddenly, a sound similar to an explosion sounded in the distance. Jane stiffed. “What’s that?” she wondered outloud.

At that moment her brother Trent looked into her room. “Visitors, Janey,” he said and went back to sleep.

The next moment four pretty large coyotes entered Jane’s room. Jane stiffened and grew pale.

And the coyotes continued to act strangely. They exchanged apparently meaningful glances, because two of them slipped out of the room, while the other two began to watch Jane. “Hi?” Jane decided to break the ice. The coyote on her left nodded.

“Hey Jane,” she said. “It’s me, Daria. I would like you to meet Rhonda.”

Jane’s voice box froze completely.


The explosion of Skylar’s car resonated far through the rather quiet Lawndale. In the Morgendorffers’ house police officer Jack Custer stiffened and hurried outside, followed by both curious and worried Helen.

The explosion was also heard by Sandi Griffin, who was however too busy chasing to her cat to pay to that sound any attention. In fact, the girl was so busy, so intent on chasing and capturing her cat that she didn't notice either several shadows with the glowing green eyes chasing her, or just where exactly was she going – to a rather flea-pit like house, where something – or some things almost imperceptibly growled in the shadows…

It was a coincidence – nothing more, but Sandi’s best friend, worst enemy, and arch-rival in the Fashion Club – Quinn Morgendorffer – didn't pay any attention to the explosion either. Her nearly translucent corpse was lying in a ditch behind the road’s curb, and was acceleratingly mutating under the magical moonlight…

And Mack and Drakine didn't pay any attention to the explosion either. Great deeds lay ahead of them, only they didn't know it yet, for tonight, this very night, has actually been their coming-out signal…


It was some time but at last Jane managed to recover her senses. “Daria? Is that you? Why are you like this? And who is Rhonda?”

Daria took a dramatic pause. “Well, it’s like this. A year before I came to Lawndale I had to go a mental clinic.”

“No! You?” Jane sarcastically said.

“Hush! The clinic… wasn’t such a bad place actually,” Daria said flatly. “It was for mal-adjusted children than downright crazy ones… an idea worthy of our Mr. O’Neill. And there I met Rhonda, Tomash, and Derek-“

“Speaking of them, what’re they doing… not here?” Jane asked.

“Good idea,” Daria apparently frowned. “Let us wait for them first.”


Back outside, Mack and Drakine – two silhouettes, one completely human, one not quite – were moving through the night. Suddenly, Drakine stiffened. “There’s somebody up ahead,” she said.

“And without any regards for conspiracy,” Mack said dryly. Neither him nor Drakine, of course, bore any bright or gaudy coloured clothing on their bodies. Of course, Drakine often hinted that she could be going even naked, but Mack had rebelled against that: though there was nothing truly tying him and his ‘tenant’ together (besides bare necessity of their mutual survival), he did not want Drakine parading naked around their shared dwelling space, and made his desires known loud and clear.

Anyways, what disturbed Mack as much as it did Drakine, was that that the person that was walking before them, was acting like he or she was without a care in the world – a behaviour completely unfitting at such a night. “The whole thing reeks Mack,” Drakine whispered quietly. “This whole thing reeks like a lamb at a slaughter house.”

“I'm thinking that your metaphor is only half-off,” Mack thoughtfully whispered, finally recognizing the house, which suddenly loomed like a grey gargantua from the night. “I'm thinking that this-“

“Fluffy! You come back here!”

“Sandi Griffin?” Mack exclaimed almost too loudly than it was necessary. Drakine, whose senses were better and head – clearer, quickly pulled him off the road.

“Hush!” she said quietly. “I think that this stage is set and we’ll be unwilling extras.”

Mack’s glare at her could’ve killed a viper at ten paces, but Drakine didn't flinch. “It’s for our own good,” she hissed, and Mack could only submit – but only for this time. Later, there would be Hell to pay.


While all this drama was occurring back stage, the main act was about to unfold. Sandi Griffin – for it was she – by now cared little about everything else but her Fluffy, her beloved kitty, practically the only creature in this world that she cared about, and which had been missing almost all day (little did she know that ‘an entire day’ would be much more appropriate). But now it seemed that Sandi’s sorrows were finally at the end, Fluffy was back, and as soon as she’ll be in Sandi’s arms, all will be okay…

Suddenly, Fluffy emitted a loud yawl and vanished in some gateway. Sandi rushed after her – and two great shadows, greyer on the background of a greyer grey, rushed at her, scalding her with their festering breath.

Sandi had only time to scream once and briefly, before two werewolves – for the shadows were Tomash and Derek – bowled her down to the ground.


In another portion of Lawndale, the nocturnal darkness and silence were actually torn apart by flashing lights and howlings of police vehicles, as well as by the flickering flames of a fire of a different kind, now finally brought under control. “What has happened here, Allan?” police office Jack Custer had asked his friend.

“An accident. Some drunken idiot must’ve lost control and smashed into the house’s propane tank. Needless to say, the car was smashed into an accordion before into blew up into the sky. We’ve got our work cut out for us. Now it’s the firemen business, not ours or the morticians. There isn't anything left to bury, just some smouldering firebrand and singed bones…”

At that moment in time, a cell phone began to ring. Under everybody’s perplexed and irritated glances, the embarrassed Helen Morgendorffer identified the ringer as hers. “Who is it?” she said angrily. “Oh, it’s you Quinn? Oh, your date is over? That’s good. Well, have a good night.”


Back at the Lanes’ house, or rather, the space before it, Sandi Griffin managed to wriggle out of young werewolves clutches and turned to flee, deciding that discretion was a better part of valour. Suddenly, a heavy bough flew out of the shadows of the bushes growing at the yard’s side, knocking Sandi out. And the next moment, a throng of cats, surging out of every corner of the yard, raced over to Sandi’s body and carried her off before the surprised and puzzled ‘audience’.

A rather small yet fluffy pussy cat briefly separated from the vanished throng and turned to the werewolves. “Thanks,” it said, “you’ll be repaid somehow – but later.” Then the cat vanished in the darkness, following its’ relatives.


“What has been that?” asked perplexed Jane after a short cry came from the Lanes’ front yard. The solution appeared quickly enough, after the other two coyotes returned, managing to look actually surprised. “Girls,” spoke one of them, ignoring (or accepting?) the definitely not-quadruped Jane. “I daresay we’ve walked smack into a crime. That damn pussy cat just had her mistress kidnapped by a whole throng of her fellow cats.”

“What are you talking about?” Jane spoke.

“Sandi’s cat Fluffy contacted us and asked us to help kidnap Sandi,” Daria reluctantly exclaimed.

Jane blinked. “Great. You're a werewolf – and not the only one either; Sandi just has been kidnapped – via a contract by her own cat; so what’s next?”

“I've got a lamia living with me – in the basement, that is,” spoke Michael Jordan Mackenzie, stepping into the room, followed by Drakine.


There was a pause. “How the Hell did you two get in?” Jane exhaled in a single breath.

“The door was open,” shrugged Mack, “and besides, those four got in.”

“Hey, easy Mack – one of them’s Daria,” Jane quickly said.


“Well, I know her.”

“You know me too.”

“Yes, but she’s a girl-“ Jane began, but Drakine interrupted her:

“And I’m not?” she asked with a smile that could only be described as bloodthirsty and bone-chilling.

The qualities of this smile didn’t remain unappreciated: the werewolves jumped up, snarling, Tomash in the lead.

“Easy there, ye fiery Finnish lads,” intercepted them Rhonda. “Listen… you Big Mack, why’d you and your mutant girlfriend come here?”

“A, she’s not my girlfriend, B, she was always like that – not a mutant or a human, and C… we’ve come to talk to the werewolves.”

“Speak,” Derek instantly said with a voice of a real leader.

“Whoa-whoa-whoa!” Jane spoke up quickly. “Wait a sec. Before you all will start you conference, I want to ask you: why here? What does this look like – a communistic doss-house?”

“Actually… yeah,” Tomash nodded. “Very much the quintessential doss-house.”

Jane’s voice stopped working for a second time. “A,” at last she spoke in a stern tone of voice, “this was a rhetorical question, and B, I would ask you to refrain from cursing in my house. Do that, and… it’ll be a start, for a start.”

“Noted,” Daria nodded and turned back to Mack and Drakine. “And seriously guys – why are you here?”

“To meet you,” Drakine shrugged her shoulders. “To meet you… and to deal with you.”

“Deal about what?”

“Deal about Andrea,” Mack explained.

“Oh yeah,” Jane spoke-up. “She’s a witch.”

“A real witch,” Mack explained. “With a whole bloated lot of self-worth and personal paranoia.”

“So she’s trouble?” Derek specified.

“Yes. She’s the reason me and Drakine… got stuck with each other.”

“Oh really? How?” Rhonda inquired curiously.

“Well, it was two years ago. Me and my dad were living together, and dad… well, he had his moments, and then he didn't. Mom divorcing us and all left him with a rather soured attitude, and he soured the relations between me and him pretty quickly, too.

Then one night… no, rather, one day, Andrea Hecuba approached me, and asked me if I could safekeep for her a scattering silvery candlesticks. I agreed and took them home.

Later - much later, after the sunset for that matter, dad comes home, searching for money for a fresh nip. Needless to say, he doesn't find any. Needless to say, he’s not amused. And so, when he finds the candlesticks, he decided to pawn them. Naturally, I rebel and begin to pull the candlesticks out of his hands. He pulled one way, I pulled another, and then the candlestick just slides in two in a burst of smoke.”

“And then I appeared on the scene,” Drakine picked-up the narrative, “dizzy and disoriented from sudden freedom. And then I see a very unpleasant-looking man, hear a voice behind me ‘get him’, feel mighty hungry after a millennia of imprisonment, and attack. The rest is pretty much easy to realize, no?”

“Get him?” Daria said after a small pause.

“I think he thought that I was some sort of a genie,” Drakine explained. “I suppose that I do look oriental enough for him to have thought so back then. But enough about me – what about you four?”

“A couple of years ago,” Daria replied, “my parents found Quinn’s entry of how she’d died if she didn't go to this boy band concert and thought that that journal was mine. So naturally I have to go to this mental clinic for the summer. And there I met – Tomash,” she indicated with the shrug the most probably the biggest werewolf. “And he liked me, even though I didn’t like him back, but he’s got military blood in him, so he lay a siege-“

“Can we please get to the point,” Rhonda said impatiently.

“Oh yeah. Rhonda and Derek came later, when we began to socialize with other groups – by mainly gluing paper boxes. Needless to say, neither me and Tomash, nor Rhonda and Derek, were any interested in that, so, we decided to bust out of there. Well, Derek did and talked the rest of us into doing so.”

“So what prevailed the latest Great Escape to happen?” Jane asked with genuine curiosity.

“Our parents. They got the bills from the clinic and went berserk. We were all frisked out of there so quickly, that we barely had time to exchange e-mail addresses and stuff,” Derek explained. “As usual, the parental units proved that if caught between proving their concern for their offspring and receiving financial losses, the units will go for cash, every single time.”

“Issues much?” Jane raised an eyebrow.

Derek nodded. “Lots.”

“So when did lycanthropy come into this?”

“A few months ago Daria gave me this spiffy little Internet address, ‘The Not Known About The Well Known’,” Derek explained. “And I've stumbled upon the ‘Forces of Evil’ section and got myself a whole lot about werewolves and such – including a recipe for the original werewolf. So I decide to try it – and guess what? It works! So I bail home and go to Rhonda’s. From there – to Tomash’s, and from him – to Daria’s.”

“And now what are you going to do?”

“Stay here?” Derek suggested. “This looks like a nice town to take control over.”

“Issues much, hah?” Jane repeated her question.

“Precisely,” Derek nodded once again, “precisely.”

“If I may raise an objection,” Drakine spoke-up, “whatever plans for dominance will have to be rescheduled due to Andrea’s presence.”

“What’s so special about one small witch?” Tomash looked surprised.

“Andrea’s… got more experience in the supernatural than any of us,” Drakine sighed. “She, for example, could control me completely – same’s for you.”

“Tomash!” Rhonda pitched-in. “You're asking what a witch can do in a town where ordinary cats hire werewolves? Why did Derek and you agree to do it, anyways?”

“For information,” Derek said, smiling. “Yo, Drakine – can you tell us about… portals?”


Back at the Morgendorffer house, Quinn Morgendorffer mutely examined herself. She looked somehow… too pale, and there was a burning sensation at the bottom of her throat, but otherwise she felt fine, not even sick enough to skip school. “That’s the last time I’m going a date as a favour to mom,” she muttered, and decided to go to bed, not noticing the moon shining down from Heavens, as if looking at her…


There was a pause. “Drakine,” Mack said finally. “Judging from your flickering eyes, the wolf’s question hit you right in the apple, so answer the question.”

“Guess it is true that the spouses become much more closer to each other, than ordinary folks do,” Daria muttered to Rhonda.

If the lamia did hear that, she made no response; instead she sighed and uttered. “Okay. Let’s take Joss Whedon’s show for a practice example. The semi-legendary (by now) Boca del Inferno is really a portal – a gate through dimensions – that leads into one of infernal dimensions.”

“There are several?”

“Yes,” Drakine nodded, “and deserve a topic of their own, too. However, a portal doesn't have to lead to Hell; it can as easily lead to Heaven or to just another world – think alternative universe – or can just exit in this world too – but halfway around it!”

“That’s very nice,” Jane finally spoke, “but what does it have to do with the cats’ alleged kidnapping of Sandi Griffin?”

“It’s easy,” Derek shrugged. “According to little Fluffy, there’s a portal in Lawndale too… only it is sealed.”

“Big deal,” Drakine rolled her eyes. “There are sealed portals in a lot of places – moors, sandbars, steppes, thickets… and such backwater towns as this here Lawndale are often serve as an excellent front of concealment.”

“But where does it lead?” Derek persisted.

“Most likely – to some wild kingdom, where magic, not science, rules, and where other beings – not necessarily humanoid – are in charge. Just think of it as a wild kingdom!”

There was a pause, as the quartet of werewolves exchanged meaningful glances between each other.

“Look, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but…” Drakine continued, “it probably won’t work. I mean, it’ll require specific tools to open it.”

“We’ll worry about that later,” Derek said calmly. “Firstly, we’ll try to find it – do you hear me,.. Jane?”

“Where do I come in?” Jane protested.

“As an associate member.”



“What a night, what a night,” Helen Morgendorffer sighed to officer Custer. “Sorry about the call, officer.”

“Please, call me Jack,” the latter replied. “After all, when a kid confirms his or her parents that he or she is okay – it’s good.”

“I hope so, because otherwise this cell phone would become the bane of life,” Helen sighed. “And it’s a new one, too – the last one was destroyed by those damn coyotes just yesterday!.. What are you planning on doing about them, anyways?”

“Not our jurisdiction yet, ma’am,” Jack Custer shrugged. “And speaking of yesterday, how’s your husband?”

“I'll call the hospital and find out… first thing tomorrow,” Helen sighed. “Now if you excuse me, officer… good night.”

“Good night,” Jack Custer nodded and left, muttering quietly to himself: “Now that’s some woman!”


“Now listen here,” Jane Lane exploded. “You're the school’s football captain. You four are werewolves. And you… are some sort of a snake-woman critter, that’s for sure.”

“The proper term is lamia,” Drakine muttered.

“What-ever; it’s not important right now. What’s important right now is that I'm not going to be pulled-in into any shady enterprise! No way, no how, not while my heart’s beating.”

“That can change,” Drakine suddenly drawled-out.


“You see Jane,” the lamia said, reaching-out for the latter, “us lamias are really like vampires – we too can create thralls and… assistants, and the technique is pretty much the same. Ditto the results.”

“Oh no you won’t!” Daria instantly jumped out to her feet. “Jane’s my friend, I’m not about to lose her to some half-assembled tramp!”

“Now see here, fur ball!” Drakine snarled, her teeth protruding out of her mouth-

“Drakine, you can it,” Mack spoke suddenly. “I’m not exactly willing to see you ripped apart by a quartet of werewolves, thank you very much. I need you, remember? To impersonate my dad, that is.”

“Oh right,” Drakine sighed. “Sorry – and Jane, you’re off the hook.”

“That’s okay,” Derek nodded calmly. “You're not the only one with ‘The Bite’, remember?”

Jane’s eyes widened in fear. “Daria, help,” she muttered quietly.

“Jane, just co-operate with our demands; all will be okay,” Daria “assured” her friend.

Jane just looked at the assemblage in her room and sighed. “Okay. You win. But only because I’m clearly outvoted.” The sigh turned into a yawn. “And I'm too tired to continue to arguing – are you going or sleeping over?”

“We're staying,” Derek said calmly. “Got a spare room?”

“Honey,” Jane smiled with a condescending smile. “Do I got a spare room or what?”

“Well, we’ll be going,” Mack said. “Come on, Drakine.”

“Aw, Mack, can't we sleep over? It’ll be cool!” the lamia suddenly pleaded like a little girl.


Please? I'll be good for a whole month afterwards!”

Mack just helpfully sighed. “Jane-“

“Got you a spare too,” Jane nodded. She then groaned and sighed. “My life – it just got turned into a TV special.”

“Don't worry,” Drakine shrugged. “Changes that start on a lycanthrope full moon are always drastic and irreversible.”

“Was this supposed to console me?”



And in another part of Lawndale, a throng of cats, let by Fluffy the Persian, and carrying Sandi Griffin reached their destination – a dark, gloomy, house. “Here she is, boss,” Fluffy mewled.

“Excellent!” Andrea Hecuba walked downstairs. “The werewolves didn't give you any trouble?”

“None whatsoever,” Fluffy then mewed. “I daresay that the sacrifice is ready, and the ceremony’s ready to begin?”

“Yes,” Andrea Hecuba nodded, and her eyes glittered darkly. “And by dark gods, I swear, that by tomorrow’s morn, the town of Lawndale will be totally different from inside and out!”

“Then let’s hurry!” Fluffy in return mewled. “While the full moon is high!”

“While the full moon is high!” Andrea echoed. “To the sacred tree – now!”


To be continued in: At the dawn of…