I woke up to find myself lying on the ground, naked, with blood on my face.
So, pretty much a regular Sunday morning.
It was still dark out, and I briefly considered going back to sleep. The den was cozy, warmed as it was by the body heat of two dozen lycanthropes, and I was exhausted. More than that, I ached. The shift from wolf to human had happened while I was asleep, but that didn’t make it any less painful.
As I stared through half-closed eyes into the predawn gloom, I felt my wolf stirring at the edge of my mind. The inexorable pressure she had exerted the night before was gone, but she was still far from silent. It didn’t take long for her to start nagging and prodding. Couldn’t sleep in, that would be a sign of weakness.
I hated the posturing. Hated having to act like a wolf, even as a human. But I had fought hard for my spot near the top of the pack’s pecking order, and I was loathe to give it up so easily.
Insomnia is extremely common among werewolves.
The reason is incredibly obvious to any lycanthrope, and surprisingly unintuitive to most other people: being a werewolf is extremely stressful. Lupine instincts aren’t well adapted to human society, and participating in civilization is a constant struggle to keep the wolf in check, to present a pleasant face, and to not give in to the urge to snarl at jostlers on the bus. Every moment of every day is a battle to be human.
For most of us, it’s a losing battle, or at best a stalemate. The wolf wants, more than almost anything, to be free, and it will push and prod until it gets its way.
The newsroom was never silent.
At any given moment at least a dozen people – usually more – would be tapping away at their keyboards with varying levels of speed and force, producing an irregular staccato rhythm that was punctuated by the ringing of telephones, the whirring of photocopiers, and the barking of editors. It was the frenetic pulse of the daily news, driven by the furious heartbeat of the information age. It was discordant and chaotic and beautiful.