The unrelenting wind turned the raindrops into teeny-tiny missiles, flying sideways through the night. Drenched, I closed the useless umbrella, dropped it into my basket, and peered into the dark. I could stay on the main road or cut through the woods aided by the newly installed lights on the nature path. Joggers had raised money for those lights, and for the first time, I saw their value. Cutting through the woods would save me a mile each way.

Crossing the street, I left the pavement for the path. Now that I was no longer trying to stay dry, I enjoyed myself. It wasn’t so cold that the rain was a bother, and the sound of falling rain entertained me. The splash of the rapid-fire rain hitting the creek was countered with the squish of my shoes in the muddy puddles. The storm picked up strength and drowned out the sound of the stream.

Running at a fast pace, a girl pushed past and knocked me off the path. I dropped the basket when I hit the tree. She didn’t slow but continued as if she hadn’t notice me.

“Really? You couldn’t go around?” I muttered, picking up the contents and reloading the basket. Rain wouldn’t hurt the fresh fruit, but the fresh baked sweet bread was ruined. I had used Mamaw’s recipe and knew Papaw would have loved it. Upset at the loss, my glare followed as she disappeared in the storm.

“Run!” a guy yelled. He darted past without knocking me into a tree. I appreciated his consideration, even though he splashed mud as he sloshed through the puddles.

I didn’t know what their problem was and didn’t much care. Maybe a live action role-playing (LARP) game? I chuckled at the silliness of anyone who would play a LARP in this weather and resumed my trek towards Papaw’s house.

At the edge of the woods, I entered the open pasture and saw the lights in the distance. The rain let up a bit, and I noticed the cows weren’t in the field. Maybe Papaw moved them. I didn’t pay much attention to the daily workings of the farm but thought he only relocated them if predators were about. As I neared the fence around his farm, I had a happy thought. Maybe I could stay the night? Papaw probably had some soup, and I could dry by the fire.

The growls reached my ears before I saw anything. I looked up at the night sky, but the moon was hidden from view by the rain clouds. Was tonight a full moon? The answer was yes, because three werewolves loped out of the tree line. At least now I knew why the couple was in such a hurry. The local werewolf pack was twenty-one strong, so I suspected the rest had stayed with their original prey. I probably got the three slowest wolves. Lucky me.

I calculated the odds of making the safety of Papaw’s wards before the wolves reached me. Not good. I dropped the basket. This time on purpose. I pulled the hood  over my head and tied my red cloak tighter around my body. With its silver thread and wards, it would serve as protection against their claws and teeth. Drawing my daggers, I centered my stance as Papaw taught me. Two silver infused blades against three werewolves. Not great odds but better than if I tried to outrun them.

The wolves, in typical pack fashion, split up. One wolf loped in an arch and approached from the left. One curved around and flanked me on the right. The third rushed straight at me.

If I survive the night, the next time I’m told to run, I will.

More Flash Fiction.