Chapter 8 Tuesday, 1000 hours (10 AM)
Ten in the morning didn't seem the best time to try such things, but it was a terrific opportunity. We scouted around and found some bushes behind the Education Building we could hide in. Then I told everyone what we were going to do. No big surprise. Everyone knew about the Lycanthrozine in my canteen.
"I don't think we should do this," said Paul. "It doesn't feel right."
"All right. We'll take a vote. Who wants to try it?" I held up my hand and everyone else did too, except Paul.
"OK But it wasn't my idea," said Paul, "and that's what I'll tell my dad if he asks."
I stopped and thought about that. The rest of the pack seemed to be thinking about it too. If our parents asked, we'd have to tell them. It's one of the real disadvantages of being a werewolf cub--having parents with good noses who can smell if we're lying. I thought about the other disadvantage too. If my dad found out about the Lycanthrozine I'd really be in for it. You know, I've heard that physical punishment doesn't work with human kids, so they don't get hit much.
I thought about dad away in Budapest and figured that he probably wouldn't find out about the Lycanthrozine for at least a week. In that case I wouldn't get punished at all. No werewolf parent would punish a cub for something that happened so long ago.
"Well?" said Wolfred.
"Our parents aren't here now," I said, "so why worry about it?"
"If you're really going to do this," said Paul, "maybe you'd better take off your watch."
Wolfred laughed. "A wolf wearing a watch."
I took it off and strapped it to my canteen. We were all laughing now. I opened the canteen, took a swallow, and passed it along.
"Okay, guys," I said. "If this works, we can run around as wolves, but if you feel you have to change back, make sure you get back here before you stop being a wolf."
We stood around and looked at each other.
"What do we do now?" Wolfred asked.
"I don't know," I said. "Concentrate, I guess."
I concentrated hard on changing, but it didn't happen. Then I saw that Paul's face was starting to turn wolfish. It was good Paul changed first for it gave me time to get out of my underwear.
The Lycanthrozine worked. All of us changed, and it was great. I could hear everything, every animal in the zoo. And I didn't even need my eyes. I could see with my nose, and it was better than seeing. I could smell where everything was and where everything had been. It was another world--like being a space alien. I was so happy I just started running and I didn't care where. I found out you don't think very well when you're a wolf. But who cares?
I ran around for a while, and then I smelled food, not wild food, which was good since Dad hadn't taught me how to hunt yet. The smell came from the back door of a zoo building (the Education Building, as I found out later). I tried to open the door and that's when I found out that there are some things that paws don't do very well. Anyway, someone opened the door and let me in.
"You want to come in? Good dog."
"Dog?" I thought. "What a jerk."
But I went in and he fed me. It was good stuff: raw hamburgers. These Calfers aren't so bad, I thought. I stayed for awhile and made friends with a lot of Calfers, and they gave me a lot of hamburgers. One of the Calfers named me 'Wolf'. I liked that. And it felt sort of nice being patted and having my ears scratched.
Finally, when I felt the need to change back, I pushed the door open and darted back to the bushes behind the Education Building. I didn't even look, but just followed the scents. I could smell the loose tigers and leopards too. They smelled like they did when I went around the zoo with Rom, except the smells were a lot stronger and they told me more.
Zoltan and Janos were already there waiting for me. I changed back and we waited for everyone else. We all thought being a wolf was the best thing in the world. Even Paul thought so.
Believe me all you kids that are reading this. You have something incredibly terrific to look forward to.