Ambrose opened his eyes and listened.
The house was quiet.
So, why am I awake?
He face-planted into his pillow and sighed.
His body relaxed.
He started to drift off.
He drifted into a dream about woodpeckers and wood borers and beavers all working together to tear down a stand of old oak trees. The pecking and boring and gnawing started off at a relatively normal level.
It didn’t stay at that level.
It grew louder and louder and grating and irritating and headache inducing and nerve frying.
Ambrose woke again.
The sound continued outside of his dream.
Ambrose wobbled up into a sit and tried to pinpoint where it was coming from.
It isn’t down here.
He looked up at the ceiling.
I’m going to kill him.
Ambrose managed to stand with only minimal difficulty and headed upstairs. He tripped and fumbled his way down the hall.
The sound was unbearably loud.
He curled his hands into fists and thought happy thoughts about punching the werewolf up into the ceiling.
He stopped outside Kevin’s bedroom and kicked the door.
The scratching stopped.
Kevin squeaked pitifully.
Ambrose’s pupils widened as he realized the probable cause of Kevin’s distress.
He scratched his head. Should I take him out on leash?
What? And be there to see him do his business?
He opened the door.
Kevin looked up at him and squeaked again.
Ambrose sighed. “I guess I should be grateful that you’re housetrained. All right.” He sighed again because he felt that a second sigh was very much necessary. “Let’s do this. Come on. Let’s go.”
Walking down stairs proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for the werewolf. Ambrose picked him up and carried him all the way outside.
He set him down on the ground. “All right.” He touched Kevin’s face and entered his mind.
Kevin’s mind no longer contained any words or thoughts. Nothing but bright, sharp mental images and scents and wordless needs.
My usual mind trick isn’t going to work. Or maybe it will. I just have to translate it into what he can understand.
It made him wince a little, but he projected an image of Kevin doing his business and running right back to Ambrose. He tried to infuse it with positive, rewarding feelings, complete with himself smiling and being so doggone happy to see Kevin and giving Kevin a big Milkbone.
Kevin yipped happily.
Ambrose released him.
Kevin hurried around the corner of the house, which made Ambrose sigh. This time it was a sigh of relief.
I really didn’t want to witness him doing his stuff.
Kevin came running back and nosed Ambrose’s hand.
Ambrose smiled. “Okay. I’ll get you a treat. Come on.”
Much to Ambrose’s surprise, Kevin did have a box of Milkbones in the house. He gave Kevin four of them.
As the werewolf chowed them down, Ambrose tried to make sense of the Miilkbones’ existence.
Did he eat them while he was human? Or did he leave them lying out for when he was about to change?
Did he use them to reward himself?
He rubbed his forehead.
I need my sleep.
Kevin nosed his hand again.
Ambrose gave him four more.
Kevin wagged his tail and went to town eating them.
Kevin has a tail?
When did that happen?
And how did I overlook the fact that he has a tail?
He slumped into one of the kitchen chairs and tossed two more treats at Kevin. What would Barbara say if she saw him right now?
Maybe she would be happy to see him happy and actually mobile.
But I think not.
She would be devastated to see him reduced to this state.
He tossed three more at him.
If I weren’t so tired, I’d be devastated too.
Kevin nosed his hand again.
“No. That’s enough. Let’s go back to sleep.”
Kevin sat on his haunches and tilted his head.
Ambrose stood. “Come.”
Kevin shook his head in a hard sneeze and followed him upstairs.
Fortunately, walking upstairs wasn’t as impossible as going downstairs. Kevin managed to do it just fine on his own.
Ambrose walked into the bedroom. “And here we are. Back into the Den of Stench.” He collapsed on the bed.
Kevin jumped up on the bed and laid beside him. He chin-propped on Ambrose’s stomach.
Both vampire and werewolf fell asleep.