Alpha Male - Moonshadow.

Co-written with Brook

Authors note. We thought long and hard about this story - would people like it, wouldn't they? It's a fictional character - neither of us wish to imply that the supernatural exists or not - that's for each person to decide for themselves. Any similarity to a werewolf, living or dead is pure coincidence! Our thanks to Shawne for looking over this story and my apologies to another well known writer for whom I have a lot of respect. I'm sorry honey, I know we talked, but the damned thing just wouldnt stay in my head, so I had to put it down on...um...computer.

Lycanthropy is the ability or power of a human being to undergo transformation into a wolf, or take on wolf-like characteristics.

Story set 5 months after the events of “Echoes” by this author.

Moonshadow – Chapter 1

She returned to the cave to lick her wounds. Figuratively speaking of course. Her green eyes glowed in the semi darkness and she lay down on the compacted sand as she lifted her tank top to reveal the bullet wound on her side. As she watched, the bullet forced its way out and the power of the moon started its insidious work on restoring her body to health. It was one of the better things about Lycanthropy – the remarkable strength, the enhanced hearing, sight and smell and the ability to heal at an accelerated rate.

She lay panting slightly at the tightening of her flesh as she thought back to the battle on the beach. He’d put up a fight, that one. Not as easy as the others and although the scent of his blood filled her nostrils, Lya knew he wasn’t the one who’d killed her mate. This one had been strong, but not strong enough. He’d never have been able to take on Ethan and win. No, he wasn’t the one she needed to find. The one who would take Ethan’s place in her life and rule the wolf world she lived in. She shook out her long dark hair and as the moon started to wane, she watched idly as her nails shrank back to normal size and the blood lust left her system.

And she slept, dreaming of Ethan’s powerful body against hers and longing for another mate to come and take his place

‘Don’t ya sometime wonder what it’d be like if you were an only child? What if you were the only little Hutchinson runnin’ around the streets huh? Wouldn’t ya be lonely?’ Starsky asked as he drove through the almost deserted streets.

‘No idea what you mean.’

‘Well think on it. If I didn’t have Nicky I’d be….’

‘Less stressed?’ Hutch asked with his eyebrows raised.

‘Yeah but…’

‘Less worried about your Mom?’

‘Well that as well but….’

‘And probably a whole lot richer’ Hutch finished with a flourish.

The brunet admitted defeat on that point, but carried on regardless. ‘Fine, so maybe my baby brother aint the perfect example, but you had a different childhood. Duluth’s a whole lot more….. civilised than the streets I grew up on in Brooklyn.’

Hutch sighed, his crystal blue eyes squinting against the midday sun. He lowered the sun visor, jammed his sunshades onto his nose and sighed again. 'I accept we grew up in different parts of the country, an’ while you were playin' cops an' robbers on some street corner, I was balin’ hay on my Granddaddy’s farm. But I still had times when I was lonely. In fact, I was lonely most of the time’ he ended wistfully.

Starsky glanced sharply sideways at his partner. Sometimes the revelations the blond told him about made him squirm or get angry or just want to hug the guy. He waited for an explanation.

‘Well don’t get me wrong. For most of the time, I guess it was great. Granddaddy Wilbur had a big farm about ten miles outside of town. Mostly arable, but he had some beasts too. An’ when Mom and Dad were off on their tours ‘round the country for some prize ceremony or other, or even if they just wanted to get rid of their annoying little son for a while, they used to pack me off there.’

‘And you were lonely?’

‘Well when I say lonely, I guess not really. I mean. Mom never wanted animals in the house, so I never got to have a pet at home….’

‘Well me neither’ Starsky added. ‘We had a budgie once, but the damned thing coughed itself to death with the fumes from the cars. After that, apart from ladybugs in jars I pretty much stuck to keepin’ Nick in check. He was better’n any pet coz he got spendin’ money that I could make him give me.’

Hutch rolled his eyes. ‘And you wonder why he turned out like he did! Anyhow. When I was on the farm, Granddaddy let me have any animal I wanted. So, I had Max the dog and a real cute pony called Crunchie. We used to follow Granddaddy round the farm. It was fine.’

‘But ya said you were still lonely.’

‘I know. I guess I was actin’ like a spoiled brat. I shouldn’t complain. It was the kinda Tom Sawyer childhood that most boys would die for. It’s just that it hurt ya know? Mom and Dad would jet off ‘round the country an’ take my sister with ‘em while they parcelled me off to the farm. She was pretty an’ tidy an’ didn’t knock the wine glasses over at the dinner table, so she got to go with them. I think I was kind of an embarrassment they wanted to hide.’

‘So you were never close, you an’ her?’ Starsky asked.

‘We were ok. I guess we didn’t argue or nothin.’ We never really saw that much of each other. But she’s 5 years younger than me an’ we never really….. well between her goin’ with them on their tours when we were younger, an’ then later the kidnap and the bust up with my Dad….. No, I guess we were never really close. It’s only in these last few years that we’ve really started gettin’ to know each other better.’

‘So tell me again why she’s comin’ to stay’ Starsky asked. ‘It ain’t that I don’t want to see your family Blintz. God knows you’ve put up with Nicky enough times in the past. But, why now?’

‘Karen is divorcing. Mrs. Marissippio got fed up of the Canadian borders and the cold and snow so when her husband got himself hooked up with a cheerleader who’s 10 years his junior, my firebrand of a sister said enough was enough and headed for the hills. Or headed for the ocean and the sunshine. She’s looking for a place down here and I said she could stay with me while she found one.’

‘And what time does her plane land?’

The blond fished his watch out of his pocket and looked at it. ‘About 3 minutes ago. Shit. I hate bein’ late, she’ll wonder where we are.’

‘S’ok, we can still make it. She’s gonna have to collect her bags first.’

‘Starsk, the airport is still ten miles away. With the best will and the slowest baggage handlers in the world we….’

The curly haired cop grinned. ‘It’s quiet, we aint gonna be pulled for it. Slap the light on and buckle up.’

Hutch grinned, jammed his knees against the dashboard, slapped the magnetic light onto the roof and closed his eyes as his partner ramped his speed up to 90 and shot off along the freeway. It was Sunday and there was little traffic and a speeding cop car was nothing unusual, so they made good time. As they finally pulled to a stop outside the arrivals hall and doused the sirens a surprised looking woman stood back from the sidewalk, then smiled broadly as her brother climbed out of the car. Hutch walked over, hugged her tightly and kissed her lightly on the cheek. She returned the greeting then pulled away to hold him at arms length.

‘Ken, you look great!’ she said, giving him the once over.

‘You too’ he responded, slightly taken aback. He’d expected her break up to leave her older and looking more worn out. Instead Karen Hutchinson was glowing with health and vitality. Though she was her sibling’s junior by five years, her face had a fresh quality to it making her look younger than her thirty years. Contrasting sharply with Hutch’s still haunted expression from his time spent in rehab after his last mission with Diego Mariposa, the blond woman shone with vigour, her piercing blue eyes dancing with delight at seeing her older brother. For a moment, Hutch became lost in them and it was only with difficulty that he pulled himself away when he heard the muted cough behind him.

‘Oh, um…. Yeah, Dave’s here too.’

The brunet came forward and smiled at her, quelling a lot of his usual exuberance. Starsky had little contact with any of the Hutchinsons over the years. He’d accompanied Hutch to Duluth on a few social occasions, notably Van’s funeral, Richard Hutchinson’s 60th birthday party and a few other small affairs. But the Hutchinson clan had kept him at arms’ length and he truly preferred it that way. But Karen had rarely been there, having made her own life up north and this was only the third time in all his years of partnering Hutch that he’d actually met her. She was like the “lost Hutchinson” and seemed so unlike her stuffy and very much anti Semitic family. Although he’d tried to make it clear to them time and again that he didn’t practice his faith they seemed to see a neon sign over his head that read Jew and treated him like a social pariah. Karen seemed so much more open and he responded in kind.

‘Hi’ he said quietly and was surprised when Karen enfolded him in her arms and hugged him warmly.

‘Dave. We’ve never really had the chance to meet properly have we?’ she said happily. ‘I’m so looking forward to staying with you and Ken for a few days. Thanks for having me.’

‘No problem’ he said, slightly stunned at her attitude to him and as he pulled away it suddenly struck him that she was a remarkably attractive woman. He’d expected a younger version of Mrs Hutchinson, with angora twinsets, pearls and not a hair out of place. Instead he saw a woman of perhaps 5’4” with a curtain of almost white blond hair, the brightest blue eyes he’d ever seen and a smile that could melt the polar icecaps. He knew women found Hutch attractive and the blond had all the “All American” “boy next door” charm and looks any mother would wish for their daughter, but his partner seemed almost plain in comparison to his staggeringly gorgeous sister. He snorted to himself and led the way back to the car and the three of them squeezed into the front seat as they made their way down to the coast and drove along the coast road back to Bay City.

Karen’s long blond hair blew in the breeze as they drove and she and Hutch kept up a steady flow of conversation as Starsky drove, listening and occasionally adding his own thoughts. By the time they’d made it back to Hutch’s apartment it was as though Starsky had known the woman all his life. She was smart, funny and easy to get along with and so much of a surprise to him now that she was away from the stuffiness of the rest of her family that the brunet found himself slipping under her spell and wondering what kind of an idiot her husband was for dumping her for a younger woman.

Starsky stopped the car outside the steps up to Venice Place and leaned over to peck Karen on her cheek.

‘Aren’t you coming up?’ she asked as Hutch got out.

‘Sorry honey. Have to be on duty in an hour. I’m just gonna go home an’ get changed then I’ll be back for Hutch’ he explained. ‘See ya for dinner tonight?’

‘Sure. And thanks for the ride from the airport’ she said, leaning into the car with a conspiratorial air ‘I prefer riding in style to having to sit in his apology for a car.’

Hutch swatted her on her rump and snorted. ‘I heard that!’

She straightened. ‘You were supposed to. I guess it’s the same nondescript heap you’ve still got?’

‘It’s a 1970 Kansas Brown LTD’ Hutch said in a dignified voice.

There was a snicker from inside the Torino. ‘Yeah right’ they heard Starsky’s voice say as he floored the gas and sped away in a squeal of rubber.

The brunet drove home swiftly. They were on duty again in less than an hour and heavily involved in a gruesome set of murders that had been occurring of late. His mind was still on the latest victim, a young man of perhaps 23 or 24 found dead on the beach three days ago. His body had been washed up by the tide and despite the effects of the salt water on his body it hadn’t taken a coroner to tell them the cause of death. His throat had been ripped clean out leaving a gaping wound which was obviously fatal. At that point they were still awaiting the identification of the body from forensics and he and his partner were hunting for leads.

The curly haired cop bounded up the steps to his apartment. Throwing his keys down on the table by the door as he headed for the bathroom. He showered quickly then with a towel wrapped round his waist he stood in front of the bathroom mirror, soaped his face and started to shave. Lost in his thoughts, he jumped sharply as the telephone rang in his living room and he cursed as the corner of the blade slipped and cut a neat furrow down the side of his neck.

He dabbed at it with a towel as he padded barefoot into the other room and grabbed the phone.

‘What?’ he snapped testily, the towel coming away from the deepish wound stained red.

‘There’s been another one. They just found it’ his partner’s voice sounded down the line. ‘Dobey wants us there as soon as.’

‘Another body? Shit! That’s the….’

‘Fourth in three months, I know’ Hutch said. ‘The usual crowd are gathering. There’s already talk…’

‘Oh Jeez! Won’t they leave it? Its just sensationalism’ Starsky grunted. ‘I’ll be there in ten.’

The brunet put sown the phone and dabbed again at the free flowing blood on his neck. Damn! Another body. And what state would this one be in?

Over the preceding months, horror stories had flown around the city. Stories of the bodies being the victims of witchcraft or worse. Stories of black arts being practiced on the beach at midnight, and oddly all four murders had occurred around the time of the full moon, fanning the theories of ghouls and ghosts and things that go bump in the night. Among the crowd always on the scene were the usual happy clappy hippy set, who surrounded the investigation site and set up a ring of chanting, candle lighting and hand waving and generally got in the way. And for once, the usually gullible brunet wasn’t falling for the mumbo jumbo.

Hutch had been surprised that Starsky hadn’t immediately reached for the cloves of garlic and wooden crosses, but Starsky refused to be drawn and had been dignified when he’s said that all that stuff was behind him. Hutch had snickered and carried on but over the investigations it had been the blond who had got jumpy around the bodies and Starsky who had remained calm and detached. But with the discovery of a prospective fifth body, even the sable haired cop was beginning to lose his cool.

Chapter 2

Hutch drew to a halt outside his partner’s apartment just as Starsky was walking down the steps, a cloth still hugged to his neck. The brunet got into the car without comment.

‘It’s not that bad’ Hutch said as they drove off.


‘The other body. I know it’s the fifth, but it don’t merit slitting your throat over it’ Hutch said, pointing at the clean white pot towel.

‘Oh. It’s your fault’ Starsky answered cryptically.

The blond furrowed his eyebrows. ‘How’d ya make that one out?’

‘You rang the phone an’ it was too loud. It made me jump an’ the razor slipped, hence the cut.’

‘Hence? Did I hear ya just say “hence”?’

‘Starsky stared at him. ‘Yeah. What else am I meant to say?’

Hutch snorted. ‘Nothin’ I guess. It’s just…. An’ how come the phone ringin’ is my fault?’

‘It was too loud’ Starsky explained as if the explanation was the most simple in the world.

‘Nope. Still not getting’ ya buddy.’

‘You made the phone ring too loud an’ my hand slipped.’

Hutch sighed. ‘It may have escaped your notice but there’s a little button on the side of the phone at your end. Says volume. Maybe you should twiddle with that?’

Starsky’s eyebrows flew skywards ‘Oh! Ok.’

By his side, his partner snickered to himself at the comment that was so “Starsky”. Only his partner would blame him for his own phone ringing too loud. He dragged his mind back to the present and it seemed Starsky was also thinking along the same tracks.

‘What did Dobey say?’

The blond sighed. ‘Only that there was another body washed up on the beach, somewhere close to the one we found four days ago.’

‘Shit! Cause of death?

‘He didn’t say. Only that it followed the same pattern as the others’ Hutch confirmed.

‘Damn. An’ I bet the vultures are gatherin.’

‘Uh huh. God, they give me the creeps with their candles an’ chantin’. Aint they got nothing better to do?’

Starsky cast a look sideways at his partner. ‘It’s not like you. It’s me that’s usually reachin’ for the salt and the garlic. You always say ya don’t believe in this mumbo jumbo. What’s changed?’

Hutch shrugged his shoulders. ‘Don’t rightly know. It’s just. Well it’s not every day your murder victim turns up with their throat ripped out. It just freaks me out. The whole idea of it bein’ some kinda supernatural thing. Too close to home I guess.’

‘Well we can check it out first hand’ Starsky said quietly as the car stopped and both detectives got out. They trudged up the small dune separating the road from the beach and as they got to the top of the rise, the sea breeze hit them and ruffled their hair playfully. Ahead of them on the compacted sand by the ocean’s edge a semi circle of onlookers had gathered to see the latest ghoulish find while four uniformed officers kept them at bay. And forming an outer circle around them, a group of long haired hippy types wearing flowing orange robes stood silently, their hands raised heavenwards as they worked their mojo. Hutch shuddered as they started to walk down the face of the dune towards the ensemble.

Far off up the beach, Lya’s nostrils wrinkled at the scent of blood on the air. It smelled strong to her. It smelled almost like Ethan’s and she opened her eyes and stretched stiffly, rising from the sandy floor of the cave and pacing to the narrow entrance. Looking up the beach she saw the body and the group around, but the blood didn’t come from them. The dead one stunk of decay while the others were weak and sickly. Her eyes looked on further and saw two figures walking purposefully down the beach to the group. The smell of blood was coming from them and she licked her lips in anticipation. Taking her jacket from the rocky ledge, the woman shouldered into it and with a last look around her lair, she set off up the beach to join in the fun.

Starsky and Hutch approached the group at the waters edge and as one of the uniformed cops looked their way, the brunet took his worn leather wallet from his back jeans pocket and flipped it open to reveal his badge. The uniform grinned and nodded, relieved to have someone else on the scene and stood back as the two detectives walked through the outer ring of onlookers.

‘What’re ya got for us John?’ Hutch asked as Starsky walked on over to the body

‘The deceased is a white male. Looks around 24 or 25. I don’t think he stood much chance although he looks like he put up one hell of a fight. He looks much like the others. It’s um…. It’s not pretty’ John told him as he stood to one side and let Hutch pass.

Starsky was already hunkered down at the side of the corpse, whose body was already bloated and discoloured by the effects of the sea water. It was naked, as all the others had been and it had once belonged to a muscular, good looking man in the prime of his life. Now however, the body bore testament to the struggle its owner had put up to keep a hold on that life. Deep scratches ran in four parallel lines across the lightly furred chest and another set flowed in the opposite direction lower down on the abdomen. It looked like they would once have bled freely, but the corpse had an unnatural paleness to it and the wounds were dry and crusted.

They were not the cause of death, however. Like the other corpses, sightless eyes stared out of a face which registered pain and fear in its death throes, that death having been cause by its throat being ripped clean out of his neck.

Hutch knelt at the side of his partner. ‘Another huh?’ he asked, shivering slightly at the sight. He had no idea why these murders affected him so much. He was used to death for goodness sake. He’d seen everything he thought humanly possible to see from decapitations to poisonings. But nothing affected him like these deaths attributed to supernatural occurrences.

‘Yup. Same MO. His throats gone and it looks like it happened while he was still alive poor bastard. Nuthin we can do but call the coroner’s wagon. We can do what’s necessary back at the Metro.’

They stood and gave brief orders to the uniforms before walking wearily away. Homicide was their job. Death was their bread and butter. But violent deaths never stopped affecting them and Starsky had always said that when he was immune to the sight, he’d know it was time to give up.

As they started to walk away, the brunet looked back over his shoulder at the small crowd still watching. As he turned back, he almost fell over the body of a woman walking across his path. She staggered and he caught her, stopping her fall as his arms automatically snaked round her waist. She fell against him and her head fell naturally to his neck.

Lya orchestrated the move perfectly, feigning the trip so that she fell against the man. With her body pressed against him she breathed deeply, taking in the coppery tang of the blood from the still fresh wound on the olive toned skin. It excited her; enervating her and making her feel alive. She resisted the impulse to lick it; to bury her face in this stranger’s neck and bite down on the pulsing jugular. He had the same raw animal power as her Ethan and she felt his pull.

Starsky almost tripped as he held onto her and smiled at her as he extricated himself from her.

‘Wow, the whole beach an’ I end up tramplin’ on ya. Sorry’ he smiled easily as he set her back on her feet. For the moment the sight took his breath away. The woman was more beautiful than he thought possible. She had a feral grace to her, her slim body which was encapsulated into tight pale blue cut off jeans and a pink halter top. The ensemble set off her long slim legs and perfect breasts to perfection.

Her face was tanned and oval, her lips full and her cheekbones high and well defined. But it was her eyes that held the brunet captivated. He couldn’t ever remember seeing more brilliant bright green eyes before and they pierced him, seemingly boring into his very soul. For a moment he became lost in their opaline depths and he hitched a breath.

‘That’s ok’ she told him, her voice husky and low. It sent a shiver down Starsky’s spine and he smiled almost shyly at her. ‘Um….. sorry. Um I’m Starsky. Dave Starsky’ he said in introduction.

She smiled at him. ‘Well hello Starsky Dave Starsky’ she said in an amused voice.

‘The brunet grinned. ‘Dave is fine. And you are….?’

‘Pleased to meet you’ she said enigmatically as she walked away off up the beach. Starsky watched her go with a mixture of excitement and regret until he heard a soft snort behind him. He turned to see Hutch’s grin beaming back at him. ‘What?’ he asked.

‘Only you buddy! Only you could trip over the most beautiful woman in the world on a virtually deserted beach while investigating a murder.’

The curly haired cop grinned back. ‘Some of us got it pal, an’ some of us are just Blond Blintzs.’


The two men walked into the office at the metro and while Starsky hooked up his chair and sat by the side of the electric fan, his partner headed for the percolator in the corner and poured two cups of the black tar-like substance that the Metro laughingly called coffee. As the blond put the cup down in front of his buddy, the door opened and Dobey peered through.

‘Hutchinson, Starsky? Can I see ya in my office now?’

They took their cups and walked in, seeing that their favourite chair was taken up by a pretty blond woman. They opted to stand by the side of the room as Dobey effected the introductions.

Dave Starsky, Ken Hutchinson. This is Agent Perry Turner of the FBI Dark Task Force.’

Starsky held out his hand as the woman stood up.

‘Detective Hutchinson’ she murmured as the brunet shook her hand.

‘Um, I’m Starsky, he’s Hutchinson’ the dark haired cop muttered. Behind him Hutch shouldered him out of the way.

‘Detective Hutchinson – Hutch. How’re ya doin’? I’m sorry. I didn’t get the department you work for’ the blond asked as he watched her sit down again and fold her slim legs beneath her.

‘The FBI Dark Task Force’ she said softly. She had a lilting soft accent that at first they couldn’t place. It was British for sure, but not one of the more strident southern counties accent. It held a hint of Irish and a touch of the Scottish lowlands, the vowels broad and flat. ‘No reason you should have heard of us. We’re only a small unit. But we have specific interests’ she explained.

The men cast a questioning look at their boss and Dobey stared them down. ‘Agent Turner is here to help you with the investigation of the murders on the beach’ he told them, waiting for the explosion of testosterone that was sure to come.

‘Well that’s real nice’ Hutch said carefully. ‘But these are homicides and they really aren’t the sort of thing the FBI would get involved with.’

Perry smiled at him. ‘I saw the reports of the bodies in the news papers. Something about the way they died alerted me. I think it may well turn out that you need my help.’

‘Why?’ Starsky asked bluntly. ‘What d’ya mean “the way they died”? What’s special about that?’

‘If the reports are to be believed, they had their throats ripped out?’ she clarified.

‘Yeah. It’s amazing what some flakes will do’ the sable haired cop said almost defensively.

‘Not flakes, Detective Starsky’ she said quietly.

‘Well they sure aint sane men.’

She smiled at him as she dropped her bombshell. ‘This isn’t the work of a man at all Detective. That’s why I’m here. If I’m right, you’re looking for a werewolf.’

Chapter 3

There was a moment’s stunned silence in the room and then Hutch shook himself and grinned broadly.

‘Nice one Cap’n. Ya really had me goin’ there. What’s the date? It aint April 1st is it?’ he rifled through the papers on the desk for a moment, looking for the calendar. The black man shook his head, his face showing neither mirth nor anger. He’d had the same sort of reaction himself and it was only after spending an hour with Perry Turner that he’d come to the conclusion that she wasn’t crazy.

The blond looked nonplussed. ‘So we’re gonna catch this werewolf and put it in the next cell to Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster?’ he asked. ‘Is this a joke? There’s no such thing as werewolves, or vampires or ghosts or….’ He looked at his partner for help. Starsky looked back, but there was something thoughtful in his eyes.

‘Let’s just hear what the lady has to say’ he said softly. ‘Play nice for a while huh? We can make decisions afterwards’

Hutch shut his mouth in even bigger surprise. Usually his partner would be the first one to dive for the nearest crucifix and chunk of garlic, but this time, Starsky seemed to be taking this all in his stride. He shrugged and leaned back against the wall, arms folded defensively across his chest. ‘Fine. Shoot.’

Perry sat up straighter in her chair. She had this reaction wherever she went and she was used to the bluff attitudes and ridicule she usually got from the more seasoned cops. While she inhabited a murky underworld of supernatural events and beings, most of the world went around in a pleasant and numb sense of ignorance. A few saw shadows in dark rooms. Some felt chills in 90 degree heat. Others felt more uneasy than usual in graveyards. All put those feelings down to superstition and their own over fertile imaginations. Virtually none of them realised they’d seen a ghost or lycanthrop or other supernatural being. But they were there – all around and usually keeping themselves to themselves. They had as little interest in the living world as the living world had in them. Only a chosen few could choose to see them, or were forced to see them by a quirk of birth. And Perry was one of those few.

Born in Lancashire England as the daughter of a Medium, Apperiana (Perry) Turner had often wondered as a child why her friends couldn’t see the people who drifted around her. They seemed insubstantial and for the most part ignored her. But now and again one of them would come to her and sit down and converse, usually about things long gone by or something that was troubling them deeply. And Perry would listen and befriend them and then go on her merry way.

It wasn’t until her 13th birthday that her Mother finally took her to one side and told her about her heritage. That she was a direct descendant of Elizabeth Southerns who became known as Lizzy Demdike, one of the Pendle Witches condemned to death in the 17th century. Although Lizzy was never hanged for her witchcraft, she died in a lonely cold stone cell awaiting her execution in Lancaster Castle, never once admitting that she had done anything but good. On her death, her powers as a Wicca, a white witch, had been handed on to the daughters of the family right up to the present, and Perry, the last of her line, now held the mantle of the Demdike tradition.

She sighed as she started the explanation she gave to all the doubters she came across.

‘The bodies you’ve found were all the same yes?’

The brunet nodded his head. ‘All men in the twenties or thirties, all naked and with their throats ripped out. No identifying documents with them and the last two with large raw wounds on their chests and bellies, as though someone had taken a set of knives to them.’

‘Or claws?’ she asked, waiting to see Starsky’s response.

‘I guess’ the curly haired cop still looked thoughtful

‘What do you know about werewolves?’

Hutch snorted. ‘Only what’s in the Hammer House of Horror films. They're huge hairy dogs, they change shape, they eat people and they can be killed by a silver bullet. An’ usually Vincent Price and Bella Lugosi are in the mix somewhere.’

Perry smiled, her whole pretty face lighting up as she heard the explanation she’d heard a hundred times before. ‘Most people think that, yes. The facts are hugely different.’

‘How? You’re gonna have to forgive me for soundin’ sceptical, but you’re askin’ us to believe in fairy tales’ Hutch grunted.

‘I know it can be hard’ she said ‘And I suppose you think that werewolves are animals and you can tell them at a glance’ she said with a half smile on her face.

The blond nodded. ‘Pretty much. I guess the four paws and the waggin’ tail would be a dead give away.’

‘Would it surprise you to know that any one of us in this room could be a werewolf and no-one would know any different? Or at least not until the full moon. And even then, if the wolf is old, they can choose not to change.’

Starsky brought a chair up from the back of the room and sat down. ‘Explain that some more. You’re tellin’ me that a werewolf don’t look like a puppy dog on anabolic steroids?’

Perry shook her head. ‘No. For almost all the time a lycanthrope – that’s someone who changes - appears perfectly normal just like you or I. At the three nights of the full moon they change, but not into an enormous dog like you read in fiction, or see on the films. For the most part they still have human form, they will become stronger, their muscles will become more defined and hair and nails will grow, but nothing too evident. For wolves who have recently been turned – bitten, they have no option but to obey the laws of nature and change. They can fight it, and the first time it happens they may not change completely, or they may still keep some of their human side, but by the second or third change, they will be wolf through and through – mentally, but certainly not physically. Only the older and more experienced wolves can opt to change. Wolves who lead packs – the king or queen wolves can choose to change or not to change, full moon or no.’

Starsky shook his head, trying to take in what she’d told him. ‘So you’re telling me that there could be these werewolves all around an’ we wouldn’t have a clue?’

‘Absolutely. And for the most part, they keep themselves to themselves. As you can imagine, it’s not the sort of thing that the average man - wolf - in the street would want to advertise.’

‘Well how do they…. I mean, um….. How does it work? The whole werewolf thing?’ Hutch asked, coming to sit next to his partner. He had almost comedic visions or men scratching their ears with their feet or contorting their bodies to lick their balls like a pet dog. He dismissed them rapidly. Perry seemed rational enough and the more she talked, making the whole idea a logical conversation, the more he became curious by the thought of someone who was half human and half wolf.

‘It’s a disease, just like malaria or arthritis’ she explained.

‘Well not exactly. Ya don’t usually get some guy with arthritis leapin’ up and bitin’ a passer by’ Starsky said half jokingly.

‘And you won’t with a werewolf either’ Perry snapped defensively. ‘Unless it’s their first couple of full moons, in which case they have little control over their urges, most lycanthropes keep themselves very much to themselves. They’re fiercely protective of their status. It’s not something they like to make public.’

‘Jeez, ya sound like ya love ‘em’ Hutch said quietly.

Perry turned her stunning green eyes on him. ‘Some of my best friends are lycanthropes’ she said.

Starsky hitched a breath. ‘Wow! But that didn’t answer my question. How do ya get to be a …ya know….wolf?’

‘Usually by being bitten or by an infected person’s saliva becoming mixed with your blood.’

‘And you think the bodies we’ve been investigatin’ have been killed by a werewolf? I thought ya said they keep themselves to themselves. Why the attacks?’ the brunet asked.

‘Like anyone else, there are good and bad. The Luprex – the king wolf of the local clan – was killed recently. Any one of his clan could be out for revenge or it’s a wolf gone renegade. Any number of things. Why does a human commit murder? Same thing.’

‘And how can you tell for sure?’ Hutch asked.

‘I need to see the bodies, but there are signs. Did they look pale?’

Starsky snickered. ‘They’ve been dead for at least 24 hours an’ in the ocean. How pale do ya want ‘em?’

‘No’ Perry persisted. ‘Very pale. A wolf killer would probably feast on their blood, they’d be bled dry. Like a lion or tiger who gets a taste for human blood, at the full moon, they’d have a blood fever – they wouldn’t be able to resist.’

The brunet paled at the thought.

‘The bodies are in the morgue. It’s not the usual place I take girls on a first date, but if you want a ride down to the freezers?’

She grinned at him and stood, her tiny 5’ frame dwarfed by the two detectives. Even in her high heeled shoes she came to no more than shoulder height. ‘There’s nowt I’d like more. Lead on McDuff.’

Hutch stared at her, nonplussed and she grinned back.

'Sorry - it's the Lancastrian coming out. Just... lead the way huh?'


Hutch arrived back at his apartment a little after six. It had been a long day and as he walked wearily up the steps his nose wrinkled at the smell of cooking. He’d almost forgotten that Karen was at home and that Starsky had been invited round for dinner. As he walked in, his sister came to great him, a bottle of beer in one hand.

‘Heavy day?’ she asked as he flopped down onto the sofa. He closed his eyes trying to blot out the memory of the bodies laid out on the cold metal slabs, their flesh blue and mottled.

‘You wouldn’t believe it’ he murmured.

‘Try me.’

He opened his eyes. ‘Nah… it’s just work stuff. What’s for supper? It smells great.’

‘Chilli’ she said. ‘Dave said he liked Mexican food, so I thought I’d do something spicy.’

Hutch grinned, surprised that his sister had fallen under the brunet’s spell so quickly. ‘Dave said, huh? You fallin’ for my partner Sis.? Jeez, ya only just met him'’

‘He’s cute. And besides, I like chilli too. Are you going to be around for a while, I need to shower and change.’

The blond sipped at his beer. ‘I think my culinary skills will extend to stirring the pan. Go ahead.’ As Karen made her way into the bathroom, Hutch went over the details of the day in his head. He’d always thought werewolves were a thing of nightmares and horror stories. He still wasn’t convinced that there wasn’t a logical explanation for them. It seemed ludicrous to him that a human being could become infected by an unknown cause and suddenly be open to the influences of the moon to change into something else completely. He understood what Perry had said about them not changing bodily and he understood that. No “Incredible Hulk” moments, just subtle changes to appearances although hearing, sight and smell were greatly accentuated. It was so much to take in and on the drive home, he’d found himself looking at passers by as he waited at intersections, wondering if they were what they seemed.

Starsky seemed to have taken it all on board easily. His partner had neither made fun of the idea nor become engrossed in the nitty gritty. He merely listened to what Perry had had to say, asked questions where necessary and had stood back and watched the tiny woman poke and prod at the bodies. At the end of her examination, she’d taken them quietly to one side and had told them that Bay City had a problem and that they definitely needed her help. The bodies had been the victims of a werewolf and they needed to track it and deal with it.

Hutch had asked about silver bullets, almost in jest and Perry had told him seriously that while a silver bullet would hurt them, it probably wouldn’t kill them any more than an ordinary one, unless it hit the heart. Werewolves had remarkable healing powers. Silver handcuffs would be able to hold them better than standard cop issue cuffs, although the silver would burn their skin and leave marks. The only way to kill them for sure would be to shoot them through the heart at close range or cut off their head.

Somehow, he thought this investigation may well turn out to be a trying time for all concerned!

Chapter 4

Starsky arrived at Hutch’s apartment just as Karen was finishing her shower. She heard the door open and her brother talking as she stepped from under the stream of water and she reached for the towel, looking round for something to wear to walk from the bathroom into the bedroom. She cursed for not having brought her change of clothes into the room with her and finding nothing but the large towel, she wrapped it round herself, took a deep breath and opened the door.

The two cops were deep in conversation and as she opened the door Starsky looked up and took in the sight appreciatively. The towel covered Karen’s essentials, but little else and it was apparent to the brunet that long legs and slim figures ran in the Hutchinson family. With her wet hair slicked back and her face devoid of makeup, he realised just what a natural beauty she was and his heart gave a small jump of delight. Idly he wondered how Hutch would take it if he decided he wanted to pursue the ex Mrs Marissippio for a date.

Karen blushed at the brunet’s attention. Her brother’s partner had such a direct, piercing way of looking at her that she felt she might as well have not been wearing the towel. She felt stripped naked by his unwavering gaze and colour rushed to her cheeks as she mumbled something under her breath and quickly opened the bedroom door and disappeared inside. Hutch watched with a slightly amused expression on his face as Starsky stood watching the pretty blond woman. With his arms hanging down and his head slightly on one side, he looked like a little terrier watching for it’s owner to bring the leash for a walk and the picture needed only to be completed by a lolling tongue and pricked ears.

As Karen closed the bedroom door behind her the brunet let out the breath he’d been holding.

‘Down boy’ Hutch snickered. ‘On a cop’s salary you couldn’t afford her.’

‘Wouldn’t mind tryin.’ Jeez those legs… go all the way….and her eyes an’….’ The curly haired cop stopped himself quickly suddenly very aware that this was Hutch’s sister and not some girl he had seen at the local night club. He cleared his throat self consciously. ‘Sorry’ he grinned ‘but ya gotta admit she’s hot.’

The blond raised his eyebrows. ‘Really? Hadn’t noticed. Incest is still illegal in Minnesota.’

‘No I didn’t mean…. I mean she’s…well she’s…. but not like…..’ Starsky stopped, seeing the grin on his partner’s face. ‘How come she got all the looks an’ you’re so butt ugly?’ he smirked and ducked away from the cushion Hutch threw at him.

The meal that night was a pleasant, fun filled affair. Starsky curbed his enthusiasm for the newly divorced woman, fully aware that while she was beautiful, she was also way of limits. Hutch was solicitous around Karen and the brunet found it oddly touching to see just how protective of his sister Hutch was. The woman seemed to take it for granted, and Starsky, who had only ever had Nicky, the sibling from hell to deal with, found it cute to see how the two Hutchinsons interacted. Not that Karen was a walkover. She was astute, smart and had her own well informed opinions on world affairs and more than once Starsky became lost in the debates as Karen’s rapier mind and Hutch’s equally quicksilver brain debated topics as wide ranging as politics to pets. Quietly Starsky sat back and let the two become reacquainted, smiling to himself at just how alike they both were. Two sets of flaxen hair gleamed in the candlelight from the table, piercing crystal blue eyes flashed in passion over some point or other and slim frames hunched over the table as they became embroiled in yet another friendly argument.

For the most part, the brunet enjoyed the evening. From what Hutch had told him of his family life, he’d expected Karen to be a clone of their mother – dour and sour and clad in designer clothes. But she wasn’t. Karen Hutchinson was as homely as apple pie, as astute as Nixon and as beautiful as the Mona Lisa, with the same enigmatic smile. Almost the perfect woman and Starsky felt a pull at his heart that he couldn’t have the same easy going and ultimately strong relationship with his own brother. But he and Nicky were estranged not just by distance, but by background. Cop and felon did not mix well and it was no secret that Nicholas Marvin Starsky liked to dance on the opposite side of the rail tracks, preferring to get his money through drug dealing and running for the local gang bosses. Honest toil and Nick Starsky were as different as chalk and cheese and his brother was a constant source of worry for his Mom and pain for the brunet. Starsky sighed contentedly. It was nice to see that Hutch had found his sister again after all these years and that they still had a bond.

As the evening was coming to a close and the last dregs of the red wine from the excellent bottle Starsky had brought from home had been poured, the telephone jangled to life and Hutch frowned. He got up and snagged the receiver.


Starsky watched as the frown deepened and his partner nodded once or twice then put the phone down. ‘Evening’s cut short. They want us down at the beach again’ he announced, picking his gun and holster up from the hook by the door.

‘Another one?’ Starsky asked as he got up from the table and wiped his lips with his napkin.

‘A fresh one. They say it can’t have been more than a few hours old. They want us down there now.’ Hutch walked over and kissed Karen on the cheek. ‘Sorry Sis. Work calls. Leave the dishes in the sink I’ll deal with ‘em tomorrow.’

She returned the kiss and waved him away. ‘Just go. I’ll tidy up. Shall I lock up or do you still not carry a key?’

The blond grinned. ‘Over the door’ he admitted. Just leave it on the latch huh?’

Starsky too kissed the woman, lingering a little longer over the task than Hutch had and as he drew away he again lost himself for a second in the depths of her eyes. ‘The food was wonderful’ he said softly. ‘Sorry I wolfed it down so fast, but the taste was fantastic!’

She smiled at him, feeling that familiar pull. If this hadn’t been her brother’s partner and if she hadn’t been quite so raw from her relationship breaking down, maybe….’

‘Just go. And guys……watch each other’s backs huh?’ she said, grinning as they headed for the door.

As they drove down to the beach, both men prepared themselves for the next grizzly sight and as they parked up along the coast road and got out, they could already see the patrolmen down by the waters edge and another tiny figure with a flashlight. Perry Turner had also arrived at the scene. The beach was illuminated by a large, white moon dominating the horizon. It cast a silvery cold light over the water, highlighting the foamy tops of each wave that hit the shore with a soft hiss and accentuated the shadows of every hollow in the sand.

They trod carefully over the shallow dunes although there was enough moonlight for them not to need torches and as they started to walk down the hard packed sand to the edge of the water Perry looked up and turned off her flashlight. She walked towards the two detectives and drew them away from the uniformed men still surrounding the naked body, its flesh luminous and pale in the cold light.

‘What’ve ya got?’ Hutch asked.

‘It’s definitely another werewolf kill’ the tiny woman nodded at the corpse. ‘Throat ripped out again, but the wolf didn’t have time to finish feasting. The body is still bleeding – it didn’t suck it dry.’

Starsky gave an involuntary shiver. ‘OK, this is beginning to creep me out. What’re we lookin’ for, Lassie with fangs?’

Perry gave him a withering look. ‘We’re looking for a wolf who’s lost their king. They’re scared, lonely and out for revenge. And no, we aren’t looking for a huge wolf with a man’s face. The lycanthrope we’re looking for will look much the same as you or me. Maybe longer hair, brighter eyes, longer nails, but a human shape, certainly not like a huge dog.’

At that moment, one of the patrolmen who’d been scouting the scene gave a shout and the three detectives looked up.’

‘Starsky, I got footprints over here’ he shouted. ‘Headin’ that way’ he pointed to a rocky headland in the distance. The brunet put his thumb up indicating he’d heard and turned back to his partner. ‘Wanna go play with the puppies?’ he asked.

Hutch nodded. ‘Fine. Maybe we’ll get lucky.’

The three set off up the beach, keeping to the water’s edge where the sand was firmer and easier underfoot. The trail was patchy. The owner of the footsteps was light on their feet and there were tracts of sand which bore no mark at all.

‘It’s typical wolf behaviour’ Perry said. ‘They’re light on their feet, just like a wolf. Difficult to track for the most part, especially in a forest. Here on the beach, we have an advantage. Even a wolf would have to fly to avoid leaving tracks. And that’s one thing they can’t do.’

‘So you’re sure it’s just one?’ Starsky asked, kneeling in the shallow water beside one of the footmarks. It looked ordinary; smaller than he’d have expected, almost delicate, the only difference from a normal footprint being that the toe nails seemed to dig deeper into the soft sand.

‘Yes, there’s only one set of tracks, and usually wolves live solitary lives. They’ll only get together when the Luprex requires it, for wolf councils or maybe to mate’ Perry said thoughtfully.

‘And if we find this werewolf, how do we take it down?’ Hutch had his gun in his hand and he looked at it uncertainly. ‘BCPD don’t issue silver bullets as a rule.’

Perry shook her head. ‘You don’t have to kill it’ she said. ‘What is it with men and guns? You think you have to kill anything that gets in your path. This is still a person we’re dealing with. Stronger, yes. Quicker yes, but still a person. There’s no need for killing.

Starsky stopped in his tacks. ‘Make your mind up lady. Either it’s a wolf or it’s a person. Which are ya gonna go for?’

‘It’s a person afflicted with a disease – lycanthropy. Would you kill someone with pneumonia, or malaria?’

The brunet snorted softly. ‘If they’re gonna kill me first, yeah, I would. So my partner is askin'. How do we do that?’

Perry sighed. ‘Silver bullets will hurt them more than normal ones, but they’re no more deadly than those in your guns right now. To kill a werewolf you need to shoot through the heart, or rip out the heart or decapitate them. Any other sort of injury they’d be able to heal. They’d be sick for a while, but they’d heal a lot faster than a full human.’

‘Great’ the brunet grunted as he checked the magazine in his gun. ‘Shoot for the heart. Got it.’

Perry put her hand on his arm. ‘But only if they’re going for the kill. Please? I know these people. I can almost certainly reason with them. Give me a chance huh? Before you let Messrs Smith and Wesson speak for you?’

They reached the headland and as they started to pick their way over the rocks strewn around the rocky outcrop, the flaxen haired cop looked up at the cliffs above them. About fifteen feet up and partly hidden by a small bluff there was the shadowy entrance to a cave on the leeward side of the cliff. He nudged his partner’s arm and nodded at it.

‘Wanna go check it out?’ Hutch asked quietly.

Starsky looked up at the rocks and swallowed hard, memories of climbing rocks on the Caribbean island all too vividly returning. Suddenly Papa Theodore’s mad giggling sounded in his ears and he shivered in the cool night air.

‘Wouldn’t be my first choice, no, but I guess we should. After you?’

Hutch started to climb, his long legs eating up the rock face and in no more than a few strides he found a small track leading up to the cave mouth. He stopped and waited until Starsky and Perry had caught up with him and then the three cautiously walked on up the steep gradient, hugging the wall of the cliff and keeping to the shadows. Starsky pressed his back firmly to the rock, refusing to look down at the beach below and fairly soon they stood at the opening to the cave. It was narrow, but as Perry shone her flashlight inside they could see that it opened out into a cavern beyond.

As they went inside, they switched on their flashlights and scanned them around the rocky room, their beams piercing the darkness like lasers. At the back of the cave, there was a rocky wall which cleaved in two showing two smaller passageways leading back into the darkness.

Hutch nodded at them. ‘Right or left?’ he asked.

‘Neither, but if I’m pushed I’ll go with left’ Starsky muttered.

‘Fine. Be careful huh?’ Hutch grinned as Perry followed him into the darkness.

Chapter 5

Starsky watched as Hutch and Perry’s flashlights disappeared into the darkness down the right hand branch of the cave. As they went further in he could hear their whispered voices becoming more muffled and as he lost sight of them, the silence and the darkness were overwhelming.

For a moment he was back in a different sort of rocky room; one that was man made and just as cool as this natural one. He was back tied to a metal bed frame, his arms and legs numb and leaden as he waited for a crazy man to come back and shoot him up with heroin again. He felt cold, the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. He was powerless; his eyes boring into darkness so complete that for a moment he didn’t know whether he had his eyes open or closed. His breath whistled in his throat as he fought for composure, although his mind refused to leave the memory completely. In the seven days that Crazy George Prudholm had had him, he’d been shot so full of horse that any attempt to fight the drug was useless. So when Hutch found him at the end of his seventh day of incarceration, he was a wreck, strung out, dehydrated, starving and craving his next fix. Although the physical scars had healed long ago, the mental scars, those that were invisible to everyone else were still there to be battled in the depths of a lonely night and now added to his fear of heights he added fear of dark, confined spaces and sometimes the fear of being alone.

With a shaking hand he reached for his flashlight and was about to turn it on, cursing himself for having relied on the beam from Hutch’s light on entering the cave when something made him freeze. Always edgy when in the dark these days, he had no idea whether it was his imagination or whether the feeble sound he heard was for real and now he stopped, hardly breathing as his senses quested outwards. Starsky had always been one of the guys who, when the heroine in the horror film went into the dark room where the monster was, always wondered why they didn’t turn on the light. Now, however, the flashlight in his hand was forgotten as his ears sought for the sound again.

Far off in the distance, he could hear the whisper of the ocean lapping against the shore and closer, there was the sigh of the evening breeze across the mouth of the cave. But they were background noises and not what had stopped him in his tracks. He listened hard but heard nothing more and suddenly remembered the torch. With a self conscious snort, he shook himself and moved his thumb to press the button. Clumsily, something made him drop the flashlight onto the floor and with a curse, he bent down, his right hand on the cold rocky wall while he searched the sandy ground with his left hand. As he snagged the rubber handle of the torch with his finger tips, he felt a movement behind him and as he shot to his feet, he felt something hot and heavy slam into his back.

The impetus of the blow knocked him forward and he hit the side of his head against the wall, feeling the rock graze his cheek. His breath was knocked from him in an audible “umph” as the pressure at his back continued. Starsky felt a hot breath on the back on his neck and something warm and wet lick up the side of his neck, the tip of the tongue flicking delicately at the wound from the razor.

The brunet’s arms were pinned above his head and his legs were spread where he’d stood suddenly and he felt another leg insinuate itself between his, the knee lifting until his thighs were forced apart and the third limb was nudging his balls. He swallowed hard; he was well and truly pinned against the wall and had no means to get enough leverage to push back.

‘What the fuck?’ he managed to grunt out.

The body at his back said nothing and the pressure down his spine did not let up, but he felt a hand snake round until it touched the gun beneath his right arm and he struggled more strongly as he felt it pulled free.

‘Ssh’ the voice behind him said. ‘Don’t struggle….. or maybe….do. It feels so goooood.’

It was a woman’s voice and Starsky thought there was something familiar about it. He’d heard it before although in his current predicament, he didn’t feel in the mood to wrack his brains thinking about it. It held a husky, sultry quality that belied the strength of the body holding him against the wall. He could feel his chest compressed tightly against the unforgiving rock and he heaved backwards again, trying to dislodge her.

There was a throaty growl from behind him as he struggled and again the tongue snaked wetly up his neck.

‘Again’ she whispered into his ear and pushed him back into the rock, his head turned sideways so that his cheek was pressed against the rough surface. He could feel it sandpaper rough beneath his skin and he knew the skin had broken and blood would soon flow.

Starsky bucked backwards again and this time managed to get some purchase against the wall, he levered himself back and at the same time flung his head backwards connecting solidly with the woman’s head behind. He heard her grunt and for a split second she let him go. The brunet whirled around just as she caught him again and banged his head back against the rock. The teeth rattled in his head and he saw stars, but now he had his hands free and he tried to get them up to put round her neck.

But Lya was on his again, her reactions far quicker than his. This was the man who had excited her on the beach by his one look. She’d smelled his blood before and she knew he was strong. He was the one – the one who could replace Ethan as Luprex, if only she could turn him. The blood from the wound on his head smelled strong to her in the confines of the cave and with one hand she grasped his left wrist, her grip crushingly strong. She heard him gasp and the sounds of his pain inflamed her senses. Leaning into him, she licked a long line up the side of his face ending at the salty red fluid oozing from the cut on his forehead. She tasted him, tasting both fear and also anger, the blood salty and spicy and full of his essence. With a growl she bent her had and clamped her mouth around Starsky’s throat, scenting the pulsing jugular beneath the surface and although she didn’t bite down, her teeth grazed Starsky's skin, laying it open and she started to suck, her jaws working at his olive toned skin as she lost herself in his strength.

Starsky staggered back from the onslaught. His head felt spacey and his eyes refused to focus, the dark making him feel dissociated and lost. His left hand was pinned against the wall by her vice like grip and as her mouth fastened on his neck, visions of corpses with their throats ripped out floated before his eyes. He staggered, partly from the surprise of the attack and partly in weakness as he felt her start to suck at him. His legs turned to rubber and he felt himself beginning to fall although he knew the floor was not the place he needed to be. Desperately he leaned back against the wall, clawing at it with his one free hand to stop himself from falling to the ground. A moan escaped his lips as he felt her mouth working on his neck and although he wanted to yell for Hutch, his vocal chords were paralysed and he could make no sound.

Lya felt his body trembling beneath her, but the blood lust was strong in her and she wanted more of this man. He wasn’t ordinary prey, he was part feast, part prospective mate and she needed to preserve him. But damn he tasted so good. Finally she tore herself away from the pulsing vein in his neck and heard the satisfying intake of breath from her prey.

At that moment, as Starsky’s body gave up its unequal fight with gravity and slumped to the ground, Lya heard a noise behind her and with a snarl she turned to face the single eye of Hutch’s Colt Python.

‘Back off’ the blond thundered as Perry immerged from behind him.

Lya eyed the two of them, her bright green eyes darting from one to the other as behind her Starsky gave a cough and a groan and started to move. Her instinct was to stay by his side. She’d claimed him and he was hers, not as food but as her whole life. But she wasn’t stupid enough to think that this other man wouldn’t kill her. She wondered whether she should just kill him right there and then, but he had a gun and although the bullet wouldn’t finish her, they still hurt like hell and she was still weak from healing the last hole. It was a standoff.

‘I told ya back off. Step away from him’ Hutch said again, flicking the gun sideways.

At the side of him Perry whispered in his ear. 'She’s wolfkind. She can’t help it. Move nice and slow, no sudden moves.’

‘Fuck the sudden moves. She has my partner. Starsk, you ok buddy?’

Starsky tried to get to his feet, but his legs were still wobbling and his head felt dizzy, his arms uncoordinated. He got half way up, using the wall as a prop, then sagged back, slipping back down the wall. In a moment, Lya was by his side, but he batted her away and Hutch shot forward. The wolf growled one more and then, in a split send stood and fled from the cave leaving a stunned blond in her wake.

Hutch knelt by the side of his partner as Perry shone the flashlight on the two of them. Starsky’s eyes showed fear and confusion.

‘What the f…. What happened? Where were ya buddy?’ he asked in a shaky voice.

‘Why didn’t ya shout?’ Hutch responded, fumbling for his hanky to stem the flow of blood from his partner’s forehead.

‘I couldn’t. She had me….. Shit Hutch, she was strong! Who the hell was she? Don’t tell the guys in the squad room I got taken by a girl, I’d never live it down. And why was she alone in a cave for Gods sake?’ Starsky’s voice sounded weak and husky from shock, but he was talking – a good sign Hutch felt and he smiled at his partner’s valiant attempt at humour

Perry knelt down by the side of the two men and wedged the flashlight under her arm. Gently she reached up and turned Starsky’s head to the side so that she could see his neck. The wound from the razor had opened again and was bleeding freely but around it, dark and speckled was a huge bruise showing where Lya had taken him by the throat. The small woman looked away and sighed.

‘What? What’s the matter? Did she bite or sumthin? What’s……? Who was she?’

‘Perry thinks that was our werewolf buddy. That was the woman who’s been killing all those guys.’

‘Fuck! She’s a…..? Well help me up, we need to get after her’ Starsky said, struggling to his feet, using the rock wall to help him. He stood shakily and groaned as the cave spun. He held on to Hutch with one hand and the wall with the other and shook his head slowly from side to side. Hutch watched, a look of horror on his face.

‘C’mon. Bad doggy getting’ away’ Starsky muttered as he pushed himself upright.

‘Ah, buddy? I don’t think you should be goin’ anywhere’ Hutch said carefully as he grabbed his partner’s arm.

‘Why? I’m fine. She just stood over me. I’ve had worse’ he put his hand up to his forehead. ‘See, it’s almost stopped bleedin.’

‘Um, it aint your head Pal, it’s um…. It’s your neck’ Hutch said softly.

‘Neck? Yeah, she kind licked it, but…. What? What’s she done?’

Perry pulled Hutch away and looked Starsky directly in the eyes. ‘What he’s trying to say is that that was a werewolf. She attacked you Starsky. And she broke the skin. Her saliva may be in your blood. We um…. You could be infected.’

Chapter 6

The reflection of the dark, curly haired man stared back from the bathroom mirror and sighed deeply. Starsky turned his face slightly to the left and glared angrily at the cut above his right eyebrow and the enormous blue black bruise which extended from just beneath his right ear to the midline of his throat. It looked for all the world like a hickey, but it was the biggest love bite he’d ever had and he shuddered at the thought and thanked his lucky stars that the day was cool enough for him to wear a polo necked sweater and not have too many questions asked.

He thought back to the previous evening. Hutch and Perry had helped him down from the cave. In the darkness and with the adrenaline fast leaving his overwrought system, he’d found it difficult to balance and it had been a tense ten minutes coming down the rocky path from the cave to the beach. By the time they’d reached the flat of the sands, Starsky was beginning to feel the effects of the attack. His body was sore, his chest bruised from the punishing treatment wedged against the rock and his head and neck throbbed. And the realisation of what had attacked him had finally started to set in.

He’d had very little time to study the woman – wolf – who’d attacked him. For the most part he’d been fighting for his life and had had his back to her. But when he’d managed to turn round finally to take a look at her, he'd found her to be stunningly beautiful, and he'd realised that he’d seen her before. The previous day, he’d almost fallen over her on the beach and the memory of catching her body in his arms was suddenly vivid and strong. He could never have forgetten those bright, bright green eyes appraising him with some amusement down on the beach. Those same eyes had then stared at him again in the cave, but with a distinctly more predatory air to them, although he'd had the firm conviction that she wasn’t going to kill him. How strange was that? Her long hair had still hung down her back like a black curtain and her delicate frame had belied the almost supernatural strength held in those slim arms.

As the three got back to the beach, Starsky had staggered once and Hutch had caught him, a firm arm around his waist. He’d grunted a thanks and as Perry had knelt by his side he’d tried to fend her off.

‘How do you feel?’ she’d asked.

‘Like I got whupped by a girl. How’m I s’posed to feel?’

‘No, I mean, do you feel any other symptoms? Anything different?’ she’d persisted.

A shiver had gone down his back. ‘No. Why? Am I supposed to be howlin’ at the moon or sumthin? I told ya, she didn’t bite me, I’m fine.’

‘You’re far from fine buddy’ Hutch had said smoothly. ‘We just need to get ya back home.’

Starsky had grunted. ‘Well that’s a first. Ya usually want to bundle me off to Memorial as soon as I scratch myself.’ His breath had caught in his throat as Perry snickered softly at his comment.

‘I don’t think they’d know how to treat this one love. It’s not exactly a common injury.’

He’d managed to stagger to his feet and they’d walked back to their cars in virtual silence although several times Starsky had had the feeling that they were being watched. He had turned more than once to look behind him but he had never spotted Lya watching him go. The woman still scented him on the air, his feral strength, the strut of his hips all exciting her as no man had done since Ethan and she set down to wait. She thought she’d done enough. Now she determined to wait out the four weeks to the next full moon, although she knew she’d have to see him at least once before then. He was too special to just let him go. In the mean time, she’d just have to bide her time, hole up, and wait.

As they had reached the parked cars, Starsky had trotted round to the driver’s side of his Torino without a thought. He'd stopped, his hand on the handle of the door as he'd seen Hutch looking at him.

‘What? Ya wanna go for a midnight swim or sumthin. Get in, its getting’ cold’ he'd said as he'd opened his own door.

‘Are um… are ya fit to drive?’ the blond had asked. ‘I mean ya had a real fight on your hands partner. Maybe I should…’

‘Maybe you should get in an’ shut up huh? Ya want us both killed? I’m fine. You aint drivin’ my baby!’

‘I just thought maybe…’

‘Shudup’ Starsky had growled, feeling creeped out by the whole business. He'd wanted his comfortable bed and a bourbon to steady his nerves, not a lecture from his partner on how bad he looked.

Hutch shrugged and got into the car as Starsky turned on the engine and with a screech of tires he set off back towards the city.

‘Fine huh? Well ya drive like the devil’ the blond had snorted.

Starsky had sighed. ‘Enough of this Blondie. You’re beginnin’ to scare me. I told ya, nuthin happened. I’m fine!’ He looked in the rear view mirror. ‘Hey, what’s she doin’? Did you invite her, she’s followin’ us.’

Hutch had nodded. ‘Perry wanted to come back to make sure you’re ok buddy’ he'd lifted his hand in caution as he'd seen his partner winding up for a bawling out. ‘I told her she could come an’ check you out. As much for my piece of mind as yours huh?’

‘Fine. Whatever. But it’s a waste of her time. I’m not gonna turn into Frankenstein over night.’

‘Um, that’d be the monster…. Frankenstein was the doctor’ Hutch had said smugly.

‘I knew that!’ Starsky’s hands had gripped the wheel tightly and even driving his beloved car through the almost deserted streets hadn’t been able to stop him feeling anxious and on edge about the attack. He’d tried to relax, but when faced with the prospect of turning into a monster overnight….. He’d shuddered and tried to concentrate on the darkened road. Things would look better in the morning.

Once they’d got back home to Starsky’s apartment and Hutch had set about making coffee, Perry had started to examine the brunet under the electric lights of his home.

‘Take your shirt off’ she’d asked, sitting down by the cop’s side

‘Jeez are ya always so forward? I don’t usually on a first date’ he’d quipped to cover his mounting anxiety. Both Perry and Hutch wore serious expressions on their faces and he was beginning to feel a little like a lab rat in a cage as they both peered at him.

‘I told ya, I’m fine’ he'd insisted as the woman turned his head a little to the left. She prodded gently at his neck and he'd hissed softly, not realising up until then just how sore he was.

‘Sorry’ she had said absently. ‘She did quite a number on you, look.’ Perry had held up a mirror and Starsky had taken it, his heart beginning to hammer in his chest as he’d looked at the huge bruise blossoming across his throat.

‘Wow’ he’d said for want of anything better. ‘She um…. She seemed to like what she saw. But there again, what’s not to like huh?’

‘She’s marked you’ Perry had told him seriously.

‘That makes it sound like she’s a dog. But I guess I should ber thankful it's only a hickey. It's better’n peein’ on me, right?’ he’d joked.

‘To all intents and purposes she was a dog’ Perry had told him. ‘While she had you she was in full wolf mode. Did you feel how strong she was?’

‘Well yeah, and hot. Well I mean, she was beautiful, but that aint what I mean by hot. I mean she was hot. I could feel heat radiatin’ off of her.’

‘Yes, a wolf in wolf mode has a higher body temperature than a human. She would feel hot to you. She’d be stronger than you, her senses of sight and smell and taste all highly attuned.’

‘And she bit me….well it was more of a suck.’ Starsky had heaved a slightly shaky sigh as the truth finally hit home. ‘Damn. Are ya sure? I mean, is the skin broken? Could she have….?’

Perry had grimaced and Hutch had looked away, unable for a second to meet the pain in those indigo eyes. Finally the woman had broken the silence.

‘I’m sure she was wolfkind yes. And I’m sure that she marked you, not as food, like the others. I think she was searching. I think she was the Wolf Queen and she’s looking for the next Luprex – King. And I think she may have found him’ Perry had finished softly.

Starsky had looked nonplussed for a moment. ‘You mean….?’

‘You, yes. It’s the only explanation I can come up with. Why else would she have had you there, to all intents and purposes helpless, and not killed you? She sensed something in you that she liked and she marked you. And yes, I’m afraid she did break the skin and she did taste your blood. Starsky, there’s no easy way to say this love, but…. I think she’s infected you.’

‘No! I feel fine. I…. Are you sure? I mean….’

‘How do we know for sure?’ Hutch had asked. He’d been quiet while Perry had been checking on his partner, but now his mind raced with questions.

Perry had blown out her cheeks. ‘For a while you won’t. It’s just like any other infection; it won’t show itself for a while, until it gets a hold.’

‘Well how do we stop it gettin’ a hold huh?’ Hutch had asked desperately.

Perry smiled sadly. ‘You don’t love. This isn’t the sort of thing you can rub some cream on. It isn’t the “take two pills and you’ll be right in the morning” type of scenario. This thing will take time to show, but when it does, you’ll know.’

Starsky swallowed hard. ‘How?’ he asked softly.

‘You’ll begin to feel differently. At first nothing too dramatic. Maybe you’ll smell your favourite food more keenly, your eyesight will improve and you’ll feel as though you have boundless energy. Soon you’ll begin to run faster, you’ll be stronger than you were and you’ll begin to feel more attuned with nature – a walk in the forest will be full of sights and sounds you never noticed before.’

‘Don’t sound too bad’ Starsky had said shakily.

‘No, 'specially as you aren’t exactly nature boy. You hate the woodsy stuff’ Hutch snorted.

Perry had carried on. ‘You won’t feel the changes fully until half way through the month. You’ll become attuned to the phases of the moon and as the moon starts to wax and the next new moon approaches, you’ll feel the change beginning. There are three nights of a full moon. At your first change, you may not turn completely. You’ll still have something of you – Dave Starsky – inside you, although you’ll feel the urges to run and find the pack uncontrollable. She marked you, so I suspect you’ll want to find her. After that, your second change, a month later will be fuller. You won’t really be human for those three nights, although during the day you may never remember what you did. But you will change. Maybe a year from now you’ll have finessed the change so that you can decide whether to change or not. A lot of the older wolves, the more powerful ones can do that, if they survive. And only the strongest do.’

Starsky had stared at her aghast. The fact that he may well be infected by some kind of alien bug that he couldn’t comprehend was strange enough and he knew he was still in denial. But to have the progress of his disease spelled out for him in such stark words left him feeling…. Well, he had no words to describe how he was feeling. Numb? Scared? Terrified? All those things and the full spectrum of feelings in between.

‘But, I really do feel fine’ he’d said weakly and the sympathy in his partner’s face had finally convinced him that this was no nightmare. Whatever he thought of lycanthropy, this was real. And it was happening to him right now.

‘But we don’t know for sure that she’s infected him, right?’ Hutch had persisted

‘No, but…’

‘And she didn’t bite, just licked at the open wounds and bruised his neck?’

‘Yes but Hutch, you’re clutching at straws’ Perry had told him gently.

‘So we can’t be sure of anything, right?’

‘Well I…’

‘Right?’ Hutch asked louder

‘There is a very small chance, yes’ Perry agreed reluctantly.

Starsky had put his hand out and covered his partner’s feeling Hutch’s fear through his trembling hand. ‘Hey, s’ok buddy. We can fight this, huh?’ he’d turned back to the tiny woman.

‘So, let’s just suppose I am infected. What’s next? I mean, what’s the cure an’ where do I get it?’

Perry had shaken her head sadly. ‘I’m sorry love. But if you are infected, so far as I know, there is no cure.’

Chapter 7 - Oh...and a warning for a little sex!

It was a week since the incident in the cave and both men tried to carry on as normal. For Hutch that meant going into full denial mode as his self-preservation instincts kicked in. How could this be happening? A week ago – a measly 7 days ago – he hadn’t even believed in werewolves. A week ago, he was one of the population who denied their existence, laughed it off and went back to watching the latest horror movie on the television. Never in his wildest dreams did he think that lycanthropy was for real. It was one step too far to think that his partner might become infected. And so he ploughed on regardless, filling his day with police work and going home at night to run mindlessly round the block, get himself engrossed in his latest book or absorb himself in television. Anything to stop his mind wandering back to the possibilities that Starsky may turn into a monster with the next full moon.

But while Hutch was busy trying to ignore reality and keep his mind a pleasant blank, for Starsky, reality was getting too close for comfort. For the brunet, his main concern over the first couple of days had been to keep the huge blue and purple bruise on his neck a secret. Polo neck sweaters had covered it during the day and fortunately the weather remained unseasonably cool so no one had questioned his less than usual state of dress. But it was the evenings that he’d found difficult. During the day, when it was covered, he could, for a while, ignore the fact that his body may be changing into something he preferred not to think about. But the evenings were a different matter.

Most evenings he and Hutch got together and now especially, both men needed to feel close – they needed each other’s support. And as Karen was over staying with her brother, Starsky had been almost expected to go round for evenings with the two Hutchinsons.

Feeling more comfortable around his blond partner, Starsky wore his more usual open necked shirts or tee shirts in the evening and the first evening he’d gone over after the attack in the cave he’d walked into the apartment to be met by a cry of surprise from Karen.

‘Oh my God, Dave! What happened? What’ve you done? Is it…. Does it hurt?’ she’d asked as she studied his neck carefully.

He’d smiled self consciously and without thinking backed away, keeping his distance. In the background he’d seen his partner’s face mirroring the horror on Karen’s. He’d put his hand up, covering the hickey.

‘It’s fine honey. It looks worse than it is’ he’d muttered.

‘What happened? Did you arrest them? Did they get away?’

‘No, it was just a fight with a flake an’ sh…they got away’ he’d mumbled. ‘It’s fine, m’ok honest.’

Karen had looked closely at the wound and giggled. ‘You’re lucky. Looks more like a hickey than a wound. Does your street cred a world of good.’

‘Don’t it just?’ Starsky had smiled sheepishly, ignoring the soft snort from the blond. He’d sat down, his right side facing away from the two siblings in the hope they’d stop examining him, but throughout that first night, as they’d talked and eaten their meal he’d felt Hutch’s piercing gaze on him and he’d felt even more like a lab rat, ripe for examination. By eleven o’clock he’d had enough and had headed for the door, making the apology that he’d felt tired. Hutch had walked out with him and had checked on him again.

‘How’re ya doin’ buddy?’ the blond had asked.

‘I said I’m fine. Or I would be if you’d stop watchin’ me.’

Hutch had put his hands up in surrender. ‘Hey, I was just checkin’ on ya. This thing is really creepin’ me out an’ I was just….’

Starsky had sighed. ‘M’sorry. I’m just wired I guess. I feel like everyone’s waitin’ for me to do somethin’ crazy. But I feel fine. Really I do. Better’n fine. I’m good. An’ no, I haven’t taken to standin’ on my back doorstep howlin’ at the moon.’

‘Nah, it wasn’t that Starsk. It was watchin’ ya try an’ scratch your ear with your foot that got me’ the flaxen haired cop had deadpanned.

‘Ha di hah. Watch it Blondie or I may just have to bite ya’ the brunet had replied as he skipped down the steps. ‘See ya tomorrow huh?’

But as he got into his car he stopped and thought for a moment. He did really feel fine. It wasn’t just a platitude for Hutch’s sake. In fact, when he thought about it he felt better than fine. The aches he’d always experienced after the shooting in the police garage had all but subsided and the tightness he got in his chest seemed less. He shrugged. Maybe the fight in the cave had slipped something back into place, he didn’t know. All he did concede was that he’d not felt this good since before James Gunther had sent his lunatics to kill him.

He drove home through quiet streets and within half an hour was drawing up outside his apartment. As he got out he looked up at the moon. It was a little over half visible. Two more weeks till the next full moon. Two more weeks until he found out for sure whether he was going to change into some kind of monster, or whether this would all be a bad dream. OK ok just suck it up Davey. What’ll happen will happen and there aint nuthin ya can do about it. He snickered at his home spun wisdom and let himself into his apartment, shucking off his jacket and hanging it tidily up in the closet before padding into the bathroom and turning on the shower. He undressed quickly and was half way through soaping himself down before he realised that he hadn’t put on any lights. And yet he’d been able to see perfectly well in the dark! The thought made his heart beat faster and he stepped out from under the stream of water and flicked on the light switch. The electric light stabbed at his eyes for a moment with its brilliance, but he rubbed them quickly, ignoring the rising feeling of panic in his chest and got back into the shower.

Nothing. It was nothing. A lot of people could see in the dark. He’d been tested for night blindness in the Army and they’d said he had 20/20 vision. Nothing extraordinary there. He was letting his imagination run away with him and he mentally chastised himself. He got out of the shower, towelled himself briskly dry and headed off to his bedroom and into bed. The night was still fairly light, the silvery light of the new moon filtering through the curtains and as he lay on his back and tried to relax he thought he saw shadows moving outside his bedroom window. For a moment he stopped breathing, all his senses focused on the perceived movement. Then he snickered to himself. His bedroom was one the first floor. How could he see shadows outside?

With a deep sigh he turned over on his side, pulled the blankets up around his ears and drifted off to sleep, thankful that he’d never had trouble with insomnia.

Outside the bedroom window a dark shadow was moving, blending in with the tree she’d climbed. Lya couldn’t resist seeing the man again. Since she’s marked him she’d felt the growing bond between them although she knew he wouldn’t feel it yet. Not yet, but soon. And while she waited for that awakening, she could at least be close to him. The blond man that had been with him, the big pale skinned cop had called him Starsky and she rolled the name round in her mind. She liked it. It had a pleasant ring to it and she sang it to herself as she clung to the branch outside his bedroom window. As he slipped into his sleep she sensed his relaxed state and she closed her eyes, concentrating on the feel of his hard muscular body beneath her and the sight of his intense deep cerulean blue eyes. And slowly she slipped into his dreams.

Starsky was in a forest. Usually he hated the woods. He’d had enough of vegetation and rain and bugs to last him a lifetime in the Army. He’d been so glad to get out of the cloying heat and the smell of rotting vegetation in ‘Nam that he’d made a silent vow to himself to only visit places that were at least a foot deep in concrete when he recovered.

And yet now he found himself enjoying the greenery around him. In his dream he was standing in a woodland glade, the sunlight pale and translucent, dappling though the leaves overhead. There was a cooling breeze ruffling the branches and he could hear each individual leaf as it spoke with its neighbour, rubbing together like friends in a quiet conversation. Beneath his feet the leaf litter on the ground was spongy and soft and as he took a step he felt it cushion him so that only the slightest whispering sound escaped his foot.

He felt good. In fact he felt way better than good. He felt as though he was a part of the forest, as though the trees were intimate friends and the breeze that ruffled his sable curls was caressing him like a lover. Patches of sunlight filtered through the branches and as he started to walk each one lovingly stroked his shoulders so that he felt the warmth of each individual sunbeam on his naked skin.

Whoa! Naked? He looked down at himself. Ok well not naked, but almost. He wore only his favourite cut off jeans shorts and his blue Adidas. The rest of him was naked and as he looked down at himself he was amazed to see that where once there had been tramlines of stitches surrounding silvery scars and divots in his flesh, now there was only glowing olive toned skin decorated with a haze of dark brown fuzz over his chest and flat abdomen. Wow! He hadn’t looked this good for years! He marvelled at his unblemished body for a second and tentatively reached up to his left shoulder. Even the old scar from the bullet in the Italian restaurant had gone! He was liking this dream more and more.

And then he heard it. The softest snap of a twig behind him and he whirled around, ready. In the clearing was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and her name came unbidden to his lips.

‘Lya?’ he asked softly.

‘I knew you’d come’ she smiled as she walked sensually into the clearing. She walked over to him, her slim body seeming to slink across the ground with feral grace and as she drew close she put her arms around his neck and drew him into a kiss that at first barely grazed his lips and then ravished his mouth with a passion so intense that he felt it hard to breathe.

Starsky answered her embrace with one of his own, his tongue claiming her mouth at first shyly and then with mounting passion as he felt her body push against his. Her hands ran down his sides, her fingers warm, almost burning in their intensity and although he had never met her like this before he answered her with his own hands, exploring each inch of her bare midriff and pushing aside the flimsy cotton of her bra to gain admission to her perfect breasts. She sighed beneath him and her strong fingers dipped beneath the waistband of his shorts, finding him ready for her. As her fingertips grazed the tip of his cock, he felt a jolt of electricity run through his body and he threw back his head and let out a cry of passion, his voice husky and raw with need and he felt her hand circle him and begin to stroke gently at first and then more insistently.

Gently he knelt, pulling her down with him until they were led on the fragrant bed of juniper and thyme and with their heady aromas filling his senses, he pulled her to him and entered her body, feeling her warm and inviting as she pulled him into her. They danced their passion dance for an hour as he bit and licked tenderly at her neck, her moans driving him on. Sometimes slowly, sometimes more frantically but always gently he plunged on until Starsky could bear the intensity no longer and with a final rough shout, he thrust one last time into her body and let lose his seed deep inside her as she cried his name and sought out his mouth again, moaning into it as she held onto him as though she’d never let him go.

There was an overwhelming silence in the clearing as they lay entwined in each other’s bodies the brunet’s fingers tracing the ridge of her spine over her heated skin. Gradually the Starsky’s body started to recover from his ardour and he lay with her body still beneath him as his hips twitched against her. He felt sated, lazy, calmer than he’d ever felt and his eyes closed as his body relaxed.

Outside the window, Lya let out a small sigh of contentment as she climbed gracefully down from the tree. Her body had moved to his rhythm, her mind had joined with his. He was hers. She’d succeeded. She need only wait for the full moon to claim him fully.

Inside the warm bedroom the brunet felt her leave and his body twitched one last time. He gasped one and opened his eyes to feel his pillow jammed beneath him. The dream had been so real, so vivid that he remembered each and every wonderful second of the woman’s embrace and the feel of her nestled against him. He drew a shaky breath as he rolled over and then grunted in dismay as he felt a warm sticky wetness at the top of his legs. Damn! He hadn’t done that since he was a teenager!

Lazily and glad he hadn’t been with a girl when he’d woken, he got out of bed and padded into the bathroom to clean himself up. As he looked in the mirror he smiled to himself at the memory of the dream and as he get himself back into bed after changing the sheet, he snuggled down and hoped he’d meet his dream lady again soon.

Chapter 8

Starsky woke the next morning feeling warm, relaxed and….hungry. He lay for a few minutes in the bed, luxuriating in the comfort and re-running the dream he’d had over and over in his head. It had been so vivid; so real that he could almost believe that it had actually happened and the sticky damp patch he’d had to contend with during the night gave testament to the fact. He smirked at himself. Jeez! 35 years old and behaving like a 13 year old. He flung back the blanket and swung his legs out of bed. Stretching his arms above his head he braced himself for the pains that always followed.

When Gunther’s 5 bullets had ripped through his body he’d suffered massive damage. Not many thought he’d survive. There were times when he was unsure of that himself, and other times when the pains were so bad that he wished he hadn’t. Of the five slugs lodged in the various portions of his anatomy it had been the uppermost one that had caused him the most problems. Oh sure, the lower ones had messed with his liver, his pancreas and his bowel, but after surgery and healing time, those injuries caused him little problem – he was back to eating burritos and drinking beer within 6 months. But it was the top one that was the doozy.

The first bullet had hit his shoulder joint, had shattered his scapula and had gone on to send shards of bone into the top chambers of his heart. While the cardiac surgeon had spend the best part of four months operating to ensure his heart recovered and the orthopedic guys pieced his upper chest and back together they’d never been able to restore his movement to quite what it had been, and the pain……! The pain after the surgeries was so bad that he’d been on morphine for weeks. And then the physio left him weak and sick and now, four years on, although his left arm and hand had regained their strength, mobility and stability, the pains he had first thing at morning, or after serious physical exertion left him a whimpering wreck. And so he approached his early morning stretches with trepidation. But this morning…..

This morning he put his arms above his head and braced himself, but the usually knife like pain didn’t pay him a visit. He stretched a little higher and there was a vague twinge, but nothing he couldn’t handle and for the first time in four years, the brunet allowed himself the luxury of the biggest, most comfortable and spine tingling stretch he could imagine. It didn’t hurt. And it didn’t make him ache and he actually laughed out loud at the relief. Whatever had happened in the cave, the ensuing fight must have maybe clicked something back into place….. and he loved it.

Getting out of bed with a spring in his step, Starsky padded into the bathroom, had a quick cool shower and then set about soaping his face. He took the razor and eyed the man in the mirror with eyes that seemed to him just a little brighter than usual. He smiled happily at himself – see what an absence of pain does for ya Davey boy? As he raised his left hand to his cheek, he stared a little harder at the strong growth of dark bristly beard on his face. He’d always been cursed with a five o’clock shadow. That’s what came of having an olive toned skin and dark, almost black hair. His Mediterranean ancestry made sure he needed to shave twice a day if he was out for a hot date in the evening and he’d always cursed his blond partner, who’s fair, fluffy stubble meant he could go for one or maybe two days without the necessity for scraping his face with the damned blade. He felt sure he’d shaved the previous evening, but, maybe not. He set about shaving as his mind idled away on trivialities and as he wiped his face dry at the end of the procedure he could hear his partner’s horn outside the door. He grinned at his reflection. Damn. Overslept again! But boy was it worth it!

Within minutes he was dressed in his tee shirt and he pulled his holster on as he snagged his jacket from the closet and headed outside. The bruise on his neck was fading remarkably quickly and in certain lights wasn’t even noticeable. With the weather turned warm again, he was fed up of slinking around in a high necked sweater and so he decided to brave the open necked shirt and to hell with the comments he might get. He skipped quickly down the steps, jumping the last four and jogged around to the passenger side of Hutch’s old beater. Tugging at the door handle to no effect, he put one hand on the roof, another on the window sill and athletically sprung up, feet together as he deftly inserted his legs through the open window and bounced down onto the seat.

Hutch gazed at him in admiration. ‘Wow! What cereal did you have this morning?’ he asked with a smile.

‘None. Gonna stop for a burger with all the trimmings en route’ the brunet stated happily.

‘I was gonna say who are ya and what have you done with my partner, but the last comment confirms it’s you. You look like the cat that got the cream’ Hutch said quietly.

‘I feel great. I mean, I feel better’n great. It’s a great day an’ I just feel good’ the brunet sighed happily and stretched his long legs out as he leaned back in the chair.

The blond turned on his car engine and pulled out, driving quietly up the road and out towards the city centre. As they got going, Starsky took the mic. and called them in as rolling, then replaced the handset and sighed contentedly.

‘So, what’s the secret buddy?’ Hutch asked as he drove

‘Dunno. I guess there aint none. Unless you count the dream I had last night. Have you ever had the sort of dream that you wake up and think “was that real”?’ the smaller man asked.

‘Uh huh. Mostly about drivin’ with you at break neck speeds through impossibly tight alleyways and…. Oh wait. That’s not usually a dream is it?’ Hutch snorted.

Starsky cast a look sideways and tutted. ‘No, I mean….well like last night. I was beat when I got home so I got into bed an’ I was asleep in seconds and…’

‘No change there then. I swear I could peg you up by your ears on a telephone line and you’d sleep.’

Starsky snorted. ‘As I was sayin.’ I fell asleep an’ I had this dream. It was about the hottest dream I ever had. There was this woman…..’ Starsky thought again about the girl. Why was he dreaming about the woman in the cave, especially as she’d whupped his ass. Wouldn’t he want to forget about that rather than dream of sex with her? ‘…..and she was a babe. I mean legs, assets, all in the right places ya know? And her eyes and the way she….. Anyway, we made out. An’ when I say made out I mean we made out like nuthin I’ve ever had before. She was like an animal!’

‘You mean better than Shelley from Admin?’ Hutch asked, eyebrows raised.

‘I mean way better than Shelley from Admin. She was….. Hey have you had Shelley from Admin too?’

Hutch grinned. ‘I think the whole department has had Shelley from Admin. But go on.’

‘Well not much more to tell. Like I say, I dreamed we made out an’ it was just so real. I could feel her an’ taste her an’ smell her hair an’ her perfume. And when she came! Oh my God she….. and I…… well I enjoyed it to’ the brunet tailed off and stared out of the window. ‘It was just so damned good’ he finished.

‘Wow, I wish I could get me some of that’ Hutch said enviously. ‘Wanna invite me for a threesome in your next dream?’

Starsky smirked. ‘Get your own wet dream huh?’ Their conversation was interrupted by a crackle over the radio and a moment later Mildred’s voice.

‘Zebra three, Zebra three, investigate shots fired at the corner of Division and Lake. Possible 205 in progress.’

Starsky grabbed the handset. ‘Got that dispatch. Zebra three responding.’ He slammed the mars light onto the roof of the car as Hutch flipped the switch to activate the sirens and as the blond did a neat U turn in the road Starsky jammed his knees against the dashboard and made a grab for the window sill.

‘And you talk about my drivin’! Watch the telegraph pole Blondie and the lady…. Mind the little old lady Hutch, Hutch….. Jeez, I really thought you were gonna hit the little old lady buddy.’

Hutch glared briefly at him and concentrated on the road. ‘What was the address again?’

‘Corner of Division and Lake, right up ahead’ Starsky drew his gun from his holster and checked the magazine.

‘What’re ya doin’?’ Hutch asked as he screeched to a halt a quarter of a block away.

‘Getting’ ready. I heard another shot. Don’t want to ruin my day by eatin’ lead.’

‘Ya heard a shot? I didn’t hear anythin’ we were still a couple of blocks away. Are you sure?’

Starsky nodded busily. ‘Sure I’m sure. C’mon.’

They got out of the car and cautiously walked up to the corner of the buildings. Starsky pressed his back against the wall and ducked round the corner, withdrawing his curly head with alacrity.

‘Two of ‘em. One’s loadin’ a truck, the others on point. We go on three huh? One, two three’ and with the final word barely out of his mouth, the brunet shot round the corner, gun pointing skywards.

Hutch barely had chance to catch his breath before he followed his partner’s flying sneakers up the narrow side road. His own gun now at the ready too he heard his partner yelling "police freeze" just as one of the flakes turned and pointed a sawn off shotgun at Starsky. The brunet threw himself to the ground and rolled over coming to his knees and then feet in one graceful move as Hutch’s cannon spoke in his hand, the shot forcing his hand upwards. As one flake fell to the ground clutching his leg, the other took off at breakneck speed with the brunet hot on his heels.

Hutch paused briefly to check on the guy he’d shot, seeing that his aim was still pretty good and it was no more than a flesh wound. He fished out his cuffs and used them to anchor the bleeding man to the steering wheel of his car before taking off after his racing partner.

Starsky was charging full tilt after the second guy who wouldn’t have disgraced an Olympic sprint team. Hutch had always been the one to run in training. He enjoyed the sport and had excelled at college, making the track and field team with ease. He enjoyed the chase and it was usually the blond who gave chase on foot while Starsky went back to get their wheels and follow on that way. But today, the blond was hard pressed to catch up with the two racing men. They ran up the narrow street, across the intersection, narrowly avoiding an oncoming bus, and then the perp took a sharp left, running up the on ramp as though he were going to hit the freeway. The brunet followed close behind, imperceptibly catching up. The gradient on the ramp was steep enough to leave Hutch’s legs aching and he gasped for breath as he followed but he was staggered to see that at the top of the ramp Starsky launched himself in a flying tackle that knocked the flake down before he did himself or anyone else any damage.

As Hutch panted up the ramp, his legs rubbery after the mile long sprint, he bent over to catch his breath as Starsky knelt on the guy on the floor. He started to read him his rights and Hutch was utterly amazed to hear not the slightest indication of breathlessness in his partner’s voice. He looked closely and saw that while Starsky was breathing a little heavier, he wasn’t winded and neither did he look particularly hot or bothered.

Hutch’s heart gave a lurch as Starsky got up off the cuffed perp who still lay gasping on the floor and immediately let out a cry, grasping at his left hand.

‘Hey buddy, you ok? You took off like the wind. Ya feel ok?’

Starsky looked at him with something akin to fear in his eyes. ‘I dunno Hutch. I… I feel. Shit!’

‘What? Do ya hurt? Is it somethin’ else? I’ve never seen ya run like that before.’

‘I never have been able to run like that before. Even before I got shot. Hutch, I’m…’ he moved further away from the still struggling flake on the ground and drew Hutch with him. ‘I’m scared. What did Perry say? Faster, stronger? That’s what this werewolf shit does huh? And….’ Starsky fumbled with something in his hands, crying out again as he dropped his two pinkie rings from his left little finger onto the ground. He bent down and picked them up with his hanky and looked at them. ‘And silver burns.’ Slowly he handed his silver rings to Hutch and showed him the two livid red burns circling his finger, his hands shaking.

Starsky lifted terror filled eyes to his partner. When he spoke, his voice was low and filled with pain.

‘We were wonderin’ if I’d be infected. Seems like we got our answer buddy.’

Chapter 9

Hutch bundled their collars into the back of his car, hand on the top of each shaken man’s head, like it says in “arrests 101” but his mind wasn’t on the flake’s welfare, it was back with his buddy. After Starsky had pulled the rings from his finger to stop the terrible burn, he’d handed them to Hutch, calmly and without another word, his last sentence still ringing in the blond’s ears. ‘Seems like we got our answer buddy.’

Hutch looked at the two silver rings. They were as much a part of the brunet as his curls, his piercing blue eyes or his impossibly tight jeans. They were the essence of the sable haired cop and he closed his fingers round them as he closed his eyes and waited for a second, gathering his composure around him like a cloak. Finally happy that he wouldn’t say something he shouldn’t, he slipped the rings onto his own little finger, fancifully imagining that he could get some sort of added rapport with his partner before heading back to the smaller man.

Starsky stayed where he’d stopped the flake, hunkered down on the dirt by the entrance to the freeway while Hutch had marched their man back through the streets and to his battered LTD and had collected the injured guy en route. He’d been thankful for some time on his own because he dearly needed to get his thoughts into some sort of order. Words and phrases ran through his head as he knelt by the side of the passing cars.

‘…….this isn’t the work of a man at all Detective. That’s why I’m here. If I’m right, you’re looking for a werewolf…..’

‘……would it surprise you to know that any one of us in this room could be a werewolf and no-one would know any different? Or at least not until the full moon…..’

‘…….their first couple of full moons….. they have little control over their urges……’

What he’s trying to say is that that was a werewolf. She attacked you Starsky. And she broke the skin. Her saliva may be in your blood. We um…. You could be infected.’

‘…..if you are infected, so far as I know, there is no cure.’

So this was it. He could run faster, he felt great. He could see well, hear amazingly, hell he could even live without pain, but the payoff was more than he wanted to contemplate. How could this have happened? And why to him? Starsky was not given to feeling sorry for himself, it just wasn’t in his nature, but right now, with the tide of panic building steadily inside him, the feeling of futility threatened to drown him.

He wondered what it would feel like when he changed and every horror movie he’d ever seen floated through his mind, The Werewolf of Washington, Moon of the Wolf, The Beast Must Die. Each and every one of them he’d watched with his bucket of popcorn and large coke and he’d lapped up the dark stories. And throughout each of them the common thread had been that a werewolf, once turned, became evil. The devil incarnate almost, all with a bloodlust and all with murder in their hearts. He thought about the five bodies on the beach, each with their throats ripped out and for a split second wondered what it would feel like to have a living person’s neck between his own jaws, What would it feel like to bite down and fight against their struggles. The more he thought about it, the sicker he felt so that by the time Hutch pulled to a stop by his side, he was filled with the fear of what he might become.

It seemed ironic that after feeling so well that very morning, he should now feel as though death would be too good a thing for him. He barely looked up as Hutch got out of the car and walked over to him and he flinched a little as the tall blond put a hand on his shoulder.

‘Want a ride?’

Starsky nodded once and got into the car. He sat as far over in his seat as he could, wondering what his partner would be making of all this. What would he feel if the tables were turned and Hutch had been bitten? He had no idea. Compassion? Fear? Panic? Probably all those things and a myriad of others. Hutch was the best friend he’d ever had, better even than Traff who came a very close second, but friendship, even as close as theirs, could only stand so much. What if he was to turn while Hutch was there? What if he was to attack someone? What if ….? The “what ifs” were endless and his mind refused to think of any more. He wanted to be alone to try to come to terms with what was inevitably going to happen to him although he didn’t think for one minute that his partner would let him slink off to lick his wounds…..Oh my God, there ya go with the doggy euphemisms! It’s happenin’ already!

‘You ok partner?’ Hutch asked softly. ‘How’re ya doin’?’

Starsky snickered. ‘Pretty much like you’d think. Although I haven’t tried to lick my balls yet.’

‘Guess that comes with practice huh?’

‘Uh huh. After that you’d better watch out. I’m gonna start humpin’ your leg’ his face grinned but there was no light of mirth behind the eyes and Hutch patted his knee.

‘It’ll be fine buddy’

‘How? How can it be fine? I’m a…..’ he turned round and glared at the two men in the back seat before lowering his voice. ‘….a werewolf, or I will be in less than two weeks. Explain to me how fine that is.’

Hutch grunted. ‘We’ll find a way. There’s got to be a way…a cure.’

‘Hey is one of you two pugs sick? Coz I don’t wanna be catching no germs from no heat’ the injured guy in the back whined. Together the two cops yelled ‘Shudup’ at him and he fell silent before starting up again.

‘If I get sick I’m gonna be settin’ my lawyer onto you. I’ll take ya for every penny ya got’ he sniped.

In the front seat, Starsky leaned over to Hutch and snorted. ‘If I was a bit further gone, I could bite him for ya’ he grinned, determined he’d keep his composure until he was alone. If he could joke with his partner and make light of his impossible situation he could almost believe, just for a few minutes that everything was normal and he’d never heard of the woman, werewolves or Perry Turner.

Hutch grinned back at him, glad also for some banter. ‘Don’t let the phase of the moon stop ya buddy. I say go for it and be hanged.’

They got back to the Metro at a little after 1:30 and as Hutch took the two perps downstairs to book them in with the custody sergeant, Starsky made his apologies.

‘Maybe I overdid it this mornin.’ I dunno. I just feel…. Well, I’m gonna sign out early an’ head on home.’

Hutch studied him carefully. ‘Ya sure you’re ok?’

‘Yeah, m’fine’ the brunet lied. ‘Just need a little sleep.’

‘I could come home with ya, make sure you’re ok.’

‘I said I’m fine’ Starsky snapped, stopping himself from launching into a full scale attack when he saw the pain in his partner’s eyes. ‘I just need some time Hutch. It’s a lot to handle an’ I need some space.’

‘I can understand that. But I don’t want ya getting all broody’

The brunet snickered. ‘That makes me sound like a chicken. Think more wolf buddy….I’m sorry. Bad joke. I’m just cranky from turnin’ slowly into a monster I guess. Ring tonight if ya want, Mom. I’ll be in.’ He turned and without a backwards glance headed off down the corridor to borrow a black and white for the journey home.

Hutch watched him go with a heavy heart. The curly haired man had a lot to deal with and he longed to be able to help him; to somehow take it all away and make it better. But that was impossible, he knew, and instead, he lost himself in his work for the afternoon then as soon as he could, he headed off home himself.

The drive back to Venice Place gave him time to think and when he got back he knew he needed to phone Perry. Perry had dealt with this shit all her life. She’d know what to do. She’d help. In fact she was the only one who could help them. This wasn’t the sort of thing they could go to the police psychologist with. He could just hear them now.

‘Come in Sergeant and lie on the couch. Now tell me. How long have you been a wolf?’

No, it just didn’t work. As he walked up the steps and pushed the door to his apartment open he could hear Karen busy with supper dishes in his kitchen. He shouted a greeting and then picked up the phone and carried it into his bedroom. Sitting down on the bed, he dialled Perry’s number and waiting, hearing her soft tones answer a moment later.

‘Hi, it’s Hutch.’

‘Hullo honey. This is a surprise, or is it? Has something happened?’ she asked.

‘Um, yeah, yeah it has’ Hutch replied heavily and proceeded to tell the woman the facts as dispassionately as he could, although towards the end his voice was beginning to break. ‘You have to help him Perry. Ya must know something…. Anything. You’ve been around this shit for as long as you can remember. There must be a cure. There’s gotta be’ he finished desperately.

At the door of the room, Karen paused and then boldly walked in. Hutch looked up and nodded to his sister.

‘Anything you can come up with Perry. Anything at all, we’d be grateful.’ The blond put the phone down and sighed.

‘Someone sick?’ Karen asked

Her brother looked at her and wished he could be as innocent as she looked. God, what he wouldn’t give for stepping back a couple of weeks. Back to when he didn’t know anything about throats being ripped out, or werewolves or infections. He sighed and the damn broke in his resolve. As Karen watched in horror her brother put his head in his hand and sobbed softly. She crossed the room quickly and sat but Hutch’s side, putting her arm round his shoulder.

‘What is it Bunny? What’s wrong? Are you sick? Who’s Perry, a doctor?

Hutch looked up and smiled weakly. ‘Bunny? You haven’t called me that since we were little.’

She grinned. ‘You looked so like a little boy it slipped out. But tell me, what’s the matter?’

For a moment, Hutch wondered whether he should share or not, but the weight of his secret was too great. How could he help his buddy if he couldn’t help himself? He took a deep breath. ‘Can you keep a secret Sis?’

‘Course! I never told ya where Mom hid your Christmas presents.’

‘No, I don’t mean a little secret; I mean a huge, whopping, life or death secret. It’s important.’

She regarded him levelly. ‘Whatever you want to tell me’ she said softly, seeing the seriousness in his eyes.

‘You know when you met Starsk and he had that big bruise on his neck?’

‘Sure. He said he’d been hurt in a fight. What’s the big secret about that?’

‘It was who he fought with Karen.’

‘Go on’ she said, feeling the tenseness in her brother’s body.

‘Um, well, there’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just gonna come out with it.’

Karen stiffened. ‘You’re beginning to scare me’ she whispered.

‘Well it makes two of us. Truth is, I’ve never been so scared in all my life. We went down to the beach to investigate another murder and we found the murderer holed up in a cave in the headland. We had an expert with us – Perry Turner.’

‘And she’s an expert in….?’

‘Black magic. The occult and specifically…um….werewolves.’

Karen started to laugh, but caught herself when she saw the pain in those crystal blue eyes. ‘Oh my God, you’re serious aren’t you?’ she asked quietly.

‘I wish I wasn’t, but yeah, I’m deadly serious. We found the werewolf – a woman. And no, they don’t look like big dogs. In fact she was the most staggeringly beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Just hellish strong and quick. Anyway, she attacked Starsk and she bit him – his neck.’

‘Oh my God!’ Karen put her hand up to her mouth in horror. ‘And?’

‘And for a while we didn’t know whether he’d be infected or not. Perry told us it wouldn’t show until the next full moon. But today…. Well, we were chasing down a couple of flakes and he…..Starsk ran faster than I’ve ever seen him move; unnaturally fast and…’ Hutch looked at the two rings now adorning his little finger. ‘….well now we have our answer. He’s gonna change at this next full moon’ he finished softly.

‘And that’s when?’

‘In less than a week’ Hutch finished bitterly. ‘And before you ask, no, there is no cure.’

Chapter 10

Starsky drove the borrowed black and white back home, his mind a whirl as he started to think about the reality of his situation. There were so many things to consider, the first and foremost being how easy it had been for Lya to infect him. And if it was so easy for her, then he too could infect anyone with his blood or just about any other secretion! So what of girls? Dating would be a big “no no” from now on, that was a given. And then again, what would happen if he were injured on the job? He couldn’t very well let Hutch take the risk of becoming infected by looking after him and he didn’t think the local hospitals would be too happy with a lycanthrop on their wards. Perry had told him that healing was accelerated for wolves, but could he heal bullet wounds, or knives? Would there be the same amount of pain? How long would it take? Would he even need a doctor?

Should he tell anyone? Oh my God, should he tell Dobey? He didn’t think for one moment that there would be a paragraph in the police personnel manual dealing with “What to do if an officer becomes a monster” and God knows what would happen if he was to turn while out on a job. “Cop eats suspect” wasn’t the sort of headline he saw every day on the Bay City Herald. He cursed to himself about his luck, fate, anything and everything. And yet, at the back of his mind was the fact that while all this was going on he felt fitter and livelier and healthier than he had done in years.

As Starsky pulled up outside his apartment and trotted up the steps, he could smell the residual heat of the black top and the warm leaves on the tree. His eyes were blinded by the brilliance of the greenery and the late evening sunlight dappling through the limbs of the old tree and his ears caught the slightest chirrup of the cicadas nearby. The whole world was opening up to him and becoming more “real”, as though for the whole of his life he’d been an onlooker until now. Now he was a player in the game of life, a hunter, but unfortunately, his prey was his fellow man. Swallowing down hard, he went quickly inside and locked the door as if doing so would somehow protect the world from him and him from the world. He needed time to deal with this; time to figure out his next move; time to digest the fact that with the next full moon, less than a week away, he would become another type of being.

Across town, Hutch was also wondering what to do next. He’d sat down with Karen and explained to her in raw, plain terms what had happened those two weeks ago in the cave. His sister had dealt with the revelation remarkably well he thought. At least she hadn’t run out of the house screaming that her brother had finally gone insane. As to whether she actually appreciated the full depth of what he’d told her, he didn’t know and didn’t want to guess. For the moment, he was numb and although he’d already phoned Perry, she was the only one who knew anything about werewolves and what this transformation would mean for his partner and ultimately for him.

The blond picked up the telephone and punched in the numbers again and a moment later, he breathed a sigh of relief as Perry answered.

‘Um…. I need to talk to someone…well, to you really. I um… I need answers and I um…’ he stumbled over his words until the woman interrupted.

‘Of course you do, it’s a lot to take in love. Shall I come over?’

Hutch looked around. He didn’t want Karen to get too involved in this. His sister was back in the kitchen, ostensibly making tea for them, but he thought she really just wanted space to assimilate what he’d told her. He needed to get out. He needed to escape the confines of his apartment and so he shook his head.

‘D’ya mind me comin’ over there?’ he asked.

‘No, not at all’ Perry’s soft Lancashire accent sounded concerned as she gave him her address. He jotted it down and told her he’d be over in 15 minutes. As he put the phone down, he walked back into the kitchen.

‘Karen, I’m going out honey. I want you to lock the door, don’t open it for anyone and don’t answer the telephone huh?’

She turned her piercing blue eyes on him and nodded. ‘Not even for Dave? she asked quietly.

Hutch shook his head, a pained expression flitting across his handsome face. ‘No’ he replied softly ‘especially not for Dave.’

‘Where are you going? How long will you be?’ she asked.

‘I’m going to see a friend. I have to do something Sis and this friend may have some answers. I can’t…. I won’t just leave things to happen. I can’t. I don’t know when I’ll be back, it may be late. Don’t wait up, I have a key.’ The blond kissed her chastely on the cheek and headed out, waiting just outside the door until he heard the click of the lock. Satisfied his sister was safe, he headed down the steps and out to his car, driving over to Perry’s house mindlessly, his hands and feet working the controls automatically as his mind ran scenarios and possibilities.

Fifteen minutes later, the twin white lances of the big headlights swung into the drive of a modest house on the outskirts of the city and Hutch got out. Perry was at the door waiting for him as he approached the entrance and she stepped aside to let him in, showing him into a small living room furnished simply with a sofa, a chair, a coffee table and a small television set.

‘I um… I didn’t mean to intrude or spoil your night it’s just…. I um…’

‘Didn’t know who else to ask?’ she asked with a slight smile.


‘So tell me. What exactly happened?’ Perry sat back comfortably on the chair, tucking her legs up until she was curled against the arm. Hutch sat stiffly, his body reflecting the unease in his mind. This couldn’t be happening, it could be happening.

He took a deep breath and started to recount what had gone on that afternoon. As he told the story, his fingers automatically toyed with the rings now circling his little finger; the rings that had burned his partner’s hand and given final credence to the idea that he was about to become something almost other worldly. As he told the tale, Perry sat quietly, listening intently, nodding appropriately and letting the blond continue without pause. She knew it would be hard for him to recount and towards the end, Hutch’s voice faltered when he got to the part where Starsky had handed his silver jewellery to him and uttered those few simple words Looks like we got our answer buddy. There had been no histrionics, no melodrama. The words were said in typical Starsky fashion, plain and no nonsense, but the pain behind the words had chilled the blond to the bone.

‘So he showed me the burns round his little finger an’ that’s when we realised that this was for real’ he finished. He looked up at Perry whose face was a picture of compassion and suddenly the dam of his emotions broke and he dipped his head to his hands, the hopelessness of the situation finally overwhelming him.

Immediately, Perry rose from her chair and came over to sit by the side of the flaxen haired cop on the sofa. She put her arms around him and hugged him to her as Hutch rested his forehead on her shoulder and accepted the consoling embrace. It felt so right to have told her. She was the only one he knew who would understand and yet he’d known her a scant two weeks and during that time had spent little time alone with her. But she was the occult expert. She was the one who said some of her best friends were werewolves. She was the only one who knew what the two cops were going through.

The big blond and the tiny woman sat for minutes quietly, Hutch silent and brooding and Perry allowing him time to grieve for himself and his partner, but finally Hutch drew away from her.

‘What can I do? What can we do? I need to do somethin’ to help him. Anythin’ he whispered.

‘There’s not a lot that you can do’ Perry said practically. ‘Except be there for him. He’s going to need a lot of support, and so are you.’

‘Ya think?’ the cop snickered softly.

‘You know, it seems bad now, but he can lead almost a normal life once his first few moons have passed. Then he’ll begin to have some control over his changing and maybe, if he gets the chance, he’ll even reach the stage where he can decide whether to change or not.’

Hutch looked up sharply. ‘What d’ya mean, “If he gets the chance”?’

Perry sighed. ‘I mean that there are a lot of things he’ll have to deal with. One is that, just like ordinary people, there are good wolves and bad wolves. But whereas people tend to keep themselves to themselves, if Starsky is seen as weak, the rougher element will seek him out and destroy him. And if they don’t get him, the hunters might’ she said sadly.

‘What hunters?’ Hutch was almost afraid to ask.

‘There are some who know about werewolves; who have the knowledge like me, but are vindictive and want to hunt and kill. Most wolves that make it through their first year of moons have the ability to control their urges to a large extent. But the hunters see them as animals and nothing more. He’s going to have to be careful.’

‘You mean, as if changin’ into this…. this… thing aint bad enough, he’s gonna have to avoid bein’ shot dead by flakes with guns too?’ Hutch asked bitterly.

Perry nodded. ‘That’s about the size of it. I’m sorry love. But if he does make it, he can still live an almost normal life.’

‘As a cop?’

She shook her head. ‘I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know. That’s for you and him to decide.’

The blond plunged his head into his hands again. ‘Shit, this is so unfair. After all he’s been through!’

‘And while you’re worrying about him, who’s going to look after you?’ Perry asked softly.

‘Dunno’ the answer was muffled in the folds of Hutch’s arms and he felt soft fingers pulling at him until he looked up, a lost light in his eyes. Gently Perry held her fingers under his chin and leaned close so that she could graze his lips with hers. She pulled back, scared of the reaction she might get.

Hutch stopped breathing for a second, realising belatedly just what a beautiful woman she was and how much he needed a moment of tenderness to help him through this crazy situation. Without thinking further, he put his arms around Perry and pulled her to him, answering her own tentative kiss with a harder, more urgent one of his own. An instant later, he pulled away, amazed at his own reaction.

‘I'm sorry. I should um…. I should leave’ he breathed.

Perry regarded him calmly. ‘Why?’

‘Coz I don’t know what power you have over me, but if I stay, I can’t be held responsible for my actions’ he said huskily. ‘I should be worried for my buddy an’ instead all I can think of right now is….’

He was silenced by another kiss and this time he didn’t hesitate as he felt Perry’s tongue shyly begin to explore him mouth. His own tongue danced with hers as his hands started to explore her petite body and as she pushed him back onto the sofa, he realised that this was exactly what he needed.

Chapter 11

Whilst Hutch was submitting to the tender ministrations of the small English woman and her magic lips and hands, Starsky was pacing his living room. He’d been doing so for the past half an hour and anyone who had the chance to look in through his window would be forgiven for thinking that he looked just like one of the animals in San Diego zoo. As he reached the limits of the room one way, he swung round and started back in the opposite direction, his hands dug deep into his jeans pockets and his head hanging down. Occasionally he would stop and sigh, maybe looking up at the clock before he recommenced his mindless walking in a grim parody of the wild wolves captured forever behind wire fences.

Since coming back home, and as darkness descended on the town, the brunet had felt steadily more edgy and antsy. At first he put it down to a physical reaction to the revelations of earlier in the day. His little finger stung him each time he caught the burn on the fabric of his jeans and although it was only a small pain, it served to remind him of his predicament, as if he needed any outside stimulus to focus his mind on his impending change.

As time went on, however, and the feelings of being caged and trapped increased, Starsky began to wonder if it was just a reaction to that newfound knowledge, or whether something more sinister was at work. At first, he’d poured himself a beer, fished a slice of cold pizza out of the back of his fridge and had sat in front of the television, flicking idly through the channels. None of the programmes interested him. There were reruns of “I Love Lucy” which he watched for a moment then skipped on. A documentary on the life of the Canadian Timber wolf made him snicker but he wasn’t in the mood for lifestyle programmes and so eventually he hit the off button and threw the remote down in disgust.

Next he tried his old standby and got himself a copy of “Practical Photographer”. He’d been toying with the idea of buying a telephoto lens for a while now and thought that maybe looking in the adverts at the back of the magazine might quiet his mind for a while, but five minutes later, the magazine too was consigned to the coffee table.

Since then, the brunet had got progressively worse. The feelings of fire ants marching up and down his veins increased with each passing moment until he had to stand up and move about. At first the mindless pacing had worked and as he’d walked, he’d felt a little less on edge, but within a few minutes, the feelings were there again, threatening to overwhelm him.

He’d had those feelings before. Feelings of impending disaster. Crazily he’d had them during that stupid ping pong game with Hutch in the almost deserted squad room. He’d had them again just before each major surgery and he hated them. The sensation was one of his belly crawling and his skin becoming super-sensitive, as though ever fibre of his being was somehow on high alert and waiting for something terrible to happen. Starsky stopped his pacing and made his decision. The room was too small; too claustrophobic. He felt as though there was no air in the confined space and the walls were falling in on themselves. He needed to get out.

Without picking up his gun and not bothering to grab a jacket, the curly haired cop unlocked his front door, snagged his wallet from the table and trotted down the steps. The night was alive for him. Every buzz of a moth’s wing and every rustle of leaves in the trees spoke to him, his hearing attuned to the slightest sound. The sensation was cool, and at the same time it terrified him to feel so connected to the world and yet so out of tune with it, and right then and there, Starsky knew he needed oblivion, if only for a few hours, until he could get his thoughts into order. Just some time where he didn’t need to think; where his mind could shut down to the basics of breathing and keeping his heart beating while he embraced blessed blackness.

With that thought in mind, he headed down the road a little way until he saw the bright neon sign of the bar on the next block and headed towards it like a bee attracted to the most succulent flower. Starsky pushed the door to the rough place open and stepped inside the warm fuggy atmosphere of the bar, walking swiftly over to the counter. He leaned heavily on it, ignoring the quiet that had descended over the room at his entrance and as the bartender looked his way he ordered tequila with a beer chaser. As he downed the shot in one and grabbed the bottle of beer, the brunet took a moment to look around him.

Most of the occupants of the bar were men from the rougher neighbourhood round the corner. Some knew the cop because they lived nearby; some knew him because their professional paths had crossed. All avoided speaking when they saw the strange light in the smoky indigo eyes. Starsky may look and sound like a man, but the eyes belied that first impression. With the full moon being less than a week away, there was a preternatural brightness to the cerulean irises and a sharp, almost predatory look which made the crowd back off.

Unaware of the effect he was having on the bar’s clientele, Starsky ordered another couple of shots of tequila and another beer. The fiery liquor wasn’t having the effect he’d hoped for regardless of how many drinks he downed the mind numbing fuzziness he craved from the alcohol just didn’t seem to be hitting home. What made it worse was that despite having come out to the bar to escape his feelings of impending doom and paranoia, they seemed to be following him and he felt eyes boring into the back of his head, making the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Without turning to look, and disappointed that the alcohol wasn’t numbing him, he slapped the dollars down on the bar, drained his beer and walked outside.

Starsky had gone no more than a couple of steps up the small back alley towards the road when he heard the quiet snick of the door catch behind him. His ears seemed to prick up at the sound as though he could feel them move and he quickened his pace a little as he heard footsteps start to follow him. They were quiet, soft footsteps and to the ordinary, non-wolf mortal, they would be indiscernible from the background noises of the night. However, the brunet’s hearing was ramped up to the next level and he could even hear his follower’s breath as they closed the gap.

The cop whirled, every fibre of his being ready to fight. The hormones flooding his system told him that’s what he needed to do and he balled his fists in readiness. As he turned though, he saw not a huge thug ready to rob him of his money, but a young girl of maybe 17 or 18. She was pencil slim, her white blond hair cut into a jaw length bob, glowing luminous in the starlight. Her eyes were green; a bright moss green that seemed to pierce the darkness of the alley and stare right at him. She froze as he turned, then started to walk towards him again, confident; slinky; sexy.

Starsky watched the jail bait slink towards him and for a moment he had the almost unstoppable urge to run to her and sink his teeth into her neck. He could smell her perfume as though she was standing right next to him and he could feel the heat of her body radiating towards him and sense the blood flowing through her veins. A fever ran through his body as he took a step forward, drawn as though by an invisible wire to her. She smiled and stopped as he walked towards her and to his amazement as he got within touching range, she launched herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck as she plunged her face into the crook of his neck. He tried to fend her off although the girl was almost glued to him like a clam and he clawed at her hands, half of him wanting to get rid of her, half of him wanting to throw her to the ground and take her right there and then.

Starsky knew he wasn’t thinking straight; that this wasn’t him. He knew he would ordinarily have pushed her away and, by the looks of her, probably taken her home to her Mom. But this time the wolf blood running in his veins was clouding his judgement and as she kissed him, the cop sensed that she too was wolfkind and he pulled her close to his body and returned the kiss passionately, the centre of his body springing to life. As Starsky started to twine his fingers into her hair and he began to lose himself in the sensations, a part of him that was still alert heard others approaching.

Looking up he saw three figures walking quickly towards him and he growled low in his throat, detaching himself from the girl’s grip and pushing her to his back, so that he was between her and the two men and one woman advancing on them. His anger was still evident, inflamed now by his moment of passion with the girl and he yelled at them as the two men started to circle him.

‘What’s up? Want a piece of me? Huh?’ he snarled at them. They were bigger than him by four or five inches and both men were at least 20 pounds heavier, but it didn’t stop Starsky from stepping up to the fight.

They grinned at him, hunger in their eyes.

‘Ya got no idea do ya?’ one of them asked him.

‘Wanna explain it to me?’

‘We don’t want just one piece; we want the whole fuckin’ lot. Lanie, get away from him honey. He aint for you.’

The young girl at his back slunk out to join her three friends. ‘He’s special’ she said quietly.

‘An’ why d’ya think we want to take him out huh?’

Starsky was still staring belligerently at the four of them and as he watched Lanie go, he felt rather than saw one of the big guys rush him from behind. Even with his enhanced abilities, the curly haired cop had no chance to defend himself or to duck out of the way and the man ploughed into him with the force of a freight train and he grunted as he felt strong arms grab a hold of his own and pull them savagely behind his back.

The man in front of him pushed Lanie to the side and grinned as he launched his own attack at the brunet who was now held immobile. As the two women looked on the two male werewolves started their vicious attack on the brunet, fists and feet flying. The cop had no chance to defend himself. With his arms held tightly behind him, the fight was unequal and unfair and he could do nothing but try to concentrate on riding out the welter of blows connecting with his stomach chest and face. Starsky felt at least one rib snap under the barrage of fists and his eye started to swell shut as the coppery tang of blood filled his mouth. In a brief respite between blows he gathered the blood stained saliva in his mouth and spat it at his breathless assailant, knowing it was the wrong thing to do, but still defiant to the end. The man wiped the spittle from his face and with a savage cry started his attack again.

Starsky could hear the two girls pleading with the men to stop. He had no idea why they’d picked on him and as his mind started to close down and his body began to cave in under the pain and the injuries the men were inflicting, he wondered if Hutch would find him. These were werewolves, he understood that now. These were the sort of men he would degenerate into and in that moment of clarity, the brunet welcomed the pain and the blows, seeing this as a way out. If they killed him, it may be the best for everyone. At least that way he wouldn’t need to suffer the changes and Hutch wouldn’t need to guard him or even hide from him when he became violent.

And so he surrendered to the blows, embracing the pain and swallowing it down until the punches and kicks no longer hurt.

Darkness was beginning to overtake him when another voice added itself to the blend of fistfalls and the sounds of booted feet connecting with his body. It was a female voice and it had an immediate effect on his attackers. The man at his back let him go and the cop sank to the ground, unable to hold himself up as Lya ran to his side. He saw her feet by his side and Starsky tried to force his head up as he heard her yelling at the two guys to leave him alone.

The brunet thought Lya was crazy. Four against one man was hardly fair odds. Four against one woman was lunacy and criminal and Starsky tried desperately to get to his feet to try to protect her. Dimly, he was aware of her body against his, kneeling by his side and the two men yelling at her in return. He felt her stand and then there were cries from the men as he had the impression of her fighting with them. Then they were running away, followed by the two girls. He had no real idea what had gone on, or what had made them go, but the cop felt the Lya’s hand on his shoulder and then she was gone, sprinting in pursuit of his assailants.

With bloody hands, Starsky levered himself to his feet. He stood swaying in the darkness of the alley, gathering what remained of his wits around him and with an arm wrapped around his injured chest, he limped slowly home, closing his front door and bolting it behind him.

Chapter 12

With the door closed, Starsky sank down onto the floor, his eyes staring wildly ahead of him and his breath rasping in his throat. He’d managed to stagger the block and a half home using the walls and fences along the road to keep him upright. Only the desire to be inside and away from both the four flakes and the woman, Lya, had driven him on. That, and the extraordinary strength he now seemed to possess. Fire consumed the side of his head and knife-like pains shot through his side with every intake of breath from the cracked rib. His right hand wrapped protectively around his side as his left arm braced himself against the wall as he slithered down to sit on the mat, staring blankly at his raw knuckles, blood stained hands and bruised arm.

The curly haired man felt weak and shaky now that the adrenaline of the fight and the beating had left his system. He knew that it hadn’t been him out there; that it had been his wolf side taking a hold of him and showing him what he could, and probably would become. The more he thought about the feelings he’d experienced out in that alley, the more his mind cleaved into two.

While the ordinary mortal Dave Starsky feared the transformation on every level his mind could think of, the wolfish part of him now started to crave the real change that would come so soon. He’d already experienced the fleetness of foot, the enhanced senses and the lust for contact with others of the wolfkind. The changes were seductive and the obvious benefits of attraction to the opposite sex were alluring. And those were only the beginnings of the transformation. He’d had a taste of it now and it both excited him and at the same time scared him absolutely witless.

His mind filled with dark thoughts, Starsky needed help. He needed contact with the one person who had shared his experiences so far and who would understand what he was going through. With a groan, the brunet got to his feet and staggered, limping over to the telephone. With one shaky hand he picked up the receiver and punched in the number to Hutch’s house. He clamped the earpiece to the side of his head and waited, hearing the rings at the other end of the line. He wasn’t to know that his partner was out, and he wasn’t to know that Karen would follow her brother’s instructions and refuse to answer the phone. But even as he listened to the insistent tone, his senses told him that it would be foolish to call the blond. Starsky was a monster already and as such, he would hurt Hutch, now matter how much he tried not to. It was inevitable, especially after the surge of wolf hormones he’d received that evening. With a curse, Starsky put the phone down again and dragged himself into the bathroom.

Stripping off his clothes, he regarded himself in the mirror. At forty, he stopped counting the bruises dappling his body, chest, arms and legs. He felt sure one of his fingers was broken. It was blue, swollen and stood out at an odd angle from his hand. His collarbone on his right hand side was also fractured, and lower down he had an ominous swelling on his abdomen just below the bruise across his broken rib. And Starsky also knew that his back was just as damaged. He could feel the bruises blossoming there too. The brunet ran a sink full of water and grabbed some gauze pads from his bathroom cabinet. Carefully he dabbed at the bloody cut over his right eyebrow, wincing as the water came into contact with the injury. He continued bathing the other cuts on his face, yelping as he pressed too hard against his cheekbone. That too seemed to be broken and he cursed again, finally dropping the gauze into the red tinted water and carefully patting himself dry.

Fatalistically, he limped back into his living room and looked around. What was the point? Why was he bothering to try to patch himself up? Why did he want to try to make himself better? He was going to change into a werewolf and he didn’t want that to happen. Better just to let his injuries claim him, or even help them on their way a little….


Hutch got back to his house three and a half hours after he’d left. Being with Perry, being intimate and talking to the tiny woman had left him feeling a little calmer and now more able to deal with the issues Starsky would have to face. He let himself into his house, expecting to find it in darkness, but instead he saw Karen sitting up wrapped in a blanket, legs curled under her on his sofa. She’d been dozing and she sprang immediately awake with a start as he walked though the door.

‘Hey Sis, I thought you’d be in bed by now’ he said as he walked in.

‘I would have been, but I wanted to tell you.’

‘Tell me what?’

‘I think Dave tried to phone you a while ago. Maybe half an hour. I’d been in bed when the telephone rang and I looked at my watch. It wouldn’t have been anyone else at one in the morning would it?’ she asked.

‘No, it wouldn’t, but I’m surprised he left it so late. I um…’ Hutch walked over to the phone and picked it up.

‘Won’t he be mad at you for waking him if he’s gone to bed?’ Karen asked, touched by her brother’s concern for his partner.

‘I’d be happier havin’ him mad at me and knowin’ he’s ok than havin’ him in trouble and needin’ me.’ His fingers flew over the phone buttons and he stood with a look of concentration on his face as he heard the phone ringing at the other end. Hutch let it ring for over a minute before he put the receiver down with a troubled sigh.

‘I need to get over there’ he muttered, looking round for his car keys.

‘Why? He’s probably just fast asleep’ his sister offered.

‘He can sleep on a clothes line, but I have a bad feelin.’ Lock the door again. I’ll be back when I can.’ Not waiting for a reply, the blond ran for the door and out to his car. He managed the drive over to Ridgeway in less than ten minutes. Even taking into account the quiet of the roads at that time of night, it was something of a record and as Hutch pulled to a gut wrenching halt outside the tidy apartment, his heart was in his mouth. He pulled his gun from his holster, hoping that he wouldn’t have to use it and tried to remember what Perry had said. A werewolf could only be killed by decapitation or a bullet clean through the heart. What he wouldn’t give for a silver bullet right now, but the BCPD didn’t usually go in for dark arts stuff and he snickered silently to himself at the thought of what Bigelow in requisitions would say to that particular request, or what number he would put to silver ammunition.

With all his senses on high alert for marauding wolves who had his partner in their sights, Hutch cautiously moved up to the front door and carefully tried the handle. It was locked and that surprised him. Starsky hardly ever locked the door, especially when he was at home. But something in Hutch’s mind told him the brunet was there and throwing caution to the wind he knocked on the door and stood back.

There was no answer and he tried again, still convinced that Starsky was inside, but now with a growing panic that there was definitely something wrong. After trying twice more to get a response, Hutch took a step back and brought the force of his long leg to play on the innocent door. As he kicked with all his strength, the wood gave and the door opened with a snap, ricocheting against the door jamb as Hutch stood, knees bent and gun pointing forward in classic firing pose. The living room was in darkness and the blond felt for the switch by the door. His fingers hit the toggle and he flipped the light on. As he did, he heard a hiss and saw a movement from behind the sofa.

Quietly he closed the door behind him and with his gun still aimed, he walked quietly across the room. There seemed to be no group of fanged mass murderers waiting to attack and with great care he peered round the back of the furniture, the sight that met him making him gasp.

Starsky tried to back away as he heard his partner coming across the room. He didn’t want Hutch here. For once, he didn’t want his partner to comfort him. The time for comfort was long gone and now all he wanted to do was to get this all over with. He held his Smith and Wesson loosely in his hand and had been wondering for the past couple of minutes what the bullet would feel like when it ploughed through his brain. Would he feel it? Would he feel life leave his body? Would he have a final thought of “Oh fuck”? But now Hutch was here and he knew the blond would move heaven and earth to try to stop him from carrying out his plan.

‘Starsk? What the….. What’s goin’ on buddy?’ the blond asked softly

‘Stay away from me’ Starsky ground out as the flaxen haired cop hunkered down at the corner of the sofa.

Hutch could see the physical injuries marring his partner’s body and for a split second he wondered how Starsky had got them, but it was the gun in the brunet’s hand that was his immediate concern. That and the determined look on the handsome but bloody and bruised face.

‘Gimme the gun buddy’ Hutch told him, his voice low and level.

‘No. I need to do this. I…. just back off Hutch.’


A soft snicker floated on the air between them. ‘Coz I can’t control it an’ it scares me shitless. I just…. I have to do this, don’t try an’ stop me.’

‘Gimme the gun’ Hutch tried again and very slowly held out his hand. ‘We can talk Starsk. I know you’re hurtin’ an’ I…’

‘You don’t know shit!’ Starsky yelled at him, for the first time turning to catch Hutch in the full gaze from eyes so intensely blue that the blond fell backwards.

‘You’re right, I have no idea how you’re really feelin.’ But I can imagine. You’re scared an’ you’re…’

‘Hutch just go. You’ve got no fuckin’ idea how hard this is. Please, just go now, before I hurt ya.’

‘You wouldn’t hurt me babe. Not me. We’ve been through too much together. I wanna help. Let me help ya Starsk. Let me….. Just gimme the gun’ Hutch crept an inch further forward and immediately Starsky’s whole body stiffened.

‘I told ya not to come closer. I can’t control this Hutch. I can’t. Please, just let me do this. It’s the only way. I can feel it an’ I hate it. I can’t control what I’m gonna do. Just go…..RUN.’

As Hutch moved a fraction of an inch further towards his buddy, Starsky gave one final strangled cry and taking the blond completely by surprise, he launched himself bodily at his partner and Hutch felt hands around his throat.

‘Starsky!’ he managed to yell as he started to struggle. He could see that his partner was terribly injured, but the brunet had extraordinary strength and was consumed in bloodlust. Hutch brought his hands up, desperate not to hurt Starsky further but at the same time in the knowledge that he may be fighting for his life. Both their guns went flying, skittering away across the floor as the men grappled on the ground, each trying for the upper hand.

Starsky fought like a beast, the pain from his injuries driving him on rather than slowing him down and he managed to gain the upper hand, straddling the tall golden body and pinning Hutch to the floor. He gazed down at the panting blond and his eyes were naturally drawn to the pulsing jugular at the side of the golden neck.

His mouth watered and he could sense the blood flowing through that one huge vein; could almost hear the blood cells making their way through Hutch’s body. And he had an uncontrollable urge to bite down on his target and feast. Hutch struggled beneath him and the struggles inflamed the brunet’s desire. He wanted to taste his partner’s blood; he needed to, but at the same time, the tiny part of him that was still human told him it was wrong.

He stopped himself with an iron will and closed his eyes, trying to control the powerful feelings coursing through his body.

‘Hutch….don’t struggle’ he managed to grind out through clenched teeth. ‘Please buddy, just lie….still. I can’t….control….just don’t…..struggle huh? Don’t ya see? ..I want ya Hutch... it’s in my blood... I wanna bite ya... an’ it’s everythin’ I can do to keep me from taking you out right now.’

Hutch stared up at the madness filling his partner’s eyes and the earnest look on his face. They were at odds with each other and ever fibre in the blond’s being told him that he should fight for his life. But he’d worked with Starsky too long. He knew the man better than one brother would know another and he trusted the brunet implicitly. He’d trusted him with his life every day out on the streets of Bay City and now he had the conviction to trust him again and trust his life once more to his partner here in the smaller man’s living room.

Hutch closed his eyes and with a superhuman effort he relaxed his body although every muscle screamed at him to continue his fight. And as he lay limp and unmoving beneath his partner’s strong grip, Starsky seemed to shudder, a ripple of movement running through his limbs as he breathed deep, past the irrational feelings of murder in his heart.

Starsky strangled down a sob as he looked at the trust held in the crystal blue eyes beneath him and he threw himself to the side, landing on his broken collarbone with a scream. He’d done it. He’d managed to fight the urge to feed, but he didn’t know how long he could keep the urges at bay and as he watched his partner sit up shakily, he forced himself to his knees and held out his wrists to the panting blond.

‘Hutch, cuff me now. Tie me down, lock me away somewhere. Before it happens again. I can’t control this an’ I’m scared. Please? Do it for me?’ he said in such a lost tone that Hutch’s heart broke.

Chapter 13

‘You won’t hurt me Starsk.’

The brunet snorted, his body swaying on its knees on the floor. He was tired and hurting, but he was also wired and still needing to fight ‘I just tried to rip your throat out. How d’ya figure that?’

‘”Tried” is the operative word. You didn’t an’ that proves to me you won’t hurt me, now or any time soon. So no, I’m not gonna cuff my partner just coz he’s sick.’

‘You have no fuckin’ idea, do ya?’ the injured brunet ground out through clenched teeth. ‘You don’t understand just how tough this is for me – to have ya there like a blond “ready meal” for me to eat. I can smell ya Hutch. I can smell your fear – an’ don’t try to deny it. You’re scared of me, an’ that speaks volumes. You’ve been with Perry; I can smell her on ya too. I can almost hear the blood in your veins an’ it’s taking every fuckin’ ounce of willpower to stop myself from comin’ over there an’ bleedin’ ya dry. Does that spell it out for ya? Does it make it easier? Huh? Now put the cuffs on me an’ get the hell outa here.’ Starsky collapsed onto the ground, his hand clutching at his collarbone and his ribs.

Immediately the blond got up and shuffled over, picking his partner up even as Starsky tried to back away. ‘I’m not afraid of ya Starsk. I’m afraid of this fuckin’ disease an’ what it’s doin’ to ya, but I’m not scared of you’ Hutch murmured. As strong arms surrounded him, enfolding him in a circle of protection, the brunet felt the dam of his emotions break and his frame shuddered against his buddy.

‘I can’t handle this…. It’s too strong…..too strong’ he whimpered into the sleeve of Hutch’s shirt as he clutched it tightly. ‘I can’t stop it…. I wanna stop the feelin’s but they’re too strong. Help me….for fucks sake someone help me’ he whispered softly as Hutch rocked him slowly backwards and forwards gently. Starsky’s shirt fell open at the front and the blond hissed at the bruises covering the olive toned skin.

‘What happened buddy?’ he asked. ‘You’re hurt – bad. Who did this?’

‘Werewolves…. flakes….guys. Dunno. There was a girl.’

Hutch snickered. ‘Now that’s the Starsk I know. Fightin’ over a girl.’

Slowly Starsky pushed himself away from his partner’s protective embrace, his eyes still darting towards the pulsing vein on the blond’s golden neck as though it were a homing beacon. With a titanic effort, Starsky pulled his gaze away.

‘There were four of ‘em. They said sumthin’ about me bein’ special an’ the girl…. they called her Lanie, she was all over me till they showed up.’


‘An’ they introduced themselves’

‘Looks like they didn’t take too kindly to her makin’ up to ya’ Hutch said as levelly as he could. Now that he looked he could see Starsky’s body clearly, he realised that there were not only bruises but that the brunet’s shoulder was obviously misshapen and swollen as was his hand. Cuts still oozed over his torso and face and there was a blackened area across his ribs with a swelling beneath. The blond sighed, his mind going back to the conversation with Perry. ‘Eventually he’ll be able to choose to change, if he lasts that long'’

‘We need help partner. Both of us, if we’re gonna deal with this thing.’

Starsky looked up sharply. ‘Somehow I don’t think Memorial is gonna want me there infectin’ their staff. What’re your plans? Ya gonna take me to the Vets? Maybe they’ll just put me down huh?’ His attempt at humour was short lived as the soft snicker he accompanied the statement with set off another round of pains in his chest. Starsky ducked his chin to his chest to hide the hurt from Hutch’s piercing gaze a low groan escaping him and his body shuddered. Hutch looked away, unable to witness his buddy’s pain.

‘No, no vets. I’m gonna phone Perry. She’s about the only one we know who’s had any dealin’s with this kind of thing. Is that ok? Can ya hang on till she gets here?’

Indigo eyes, still preternaturally bright, met his and Starsky nodded curtly. ‘Go make the call huh? Just … hurry.’

As Hutch walked away he heard Starsky grunting as the brunet levered himself painfully to his feet. The blond picked up the phone praying that Perry wasn’t a heavy sleeper and thanked his lucky stars as the telephone picked up on the fifth ring. A sleepy voice answered and he cut it short.

‘Perry, Hutch.’

The woman’s tone was immediately all business. ‘What’s happened?’

‘Starsky’s been attacked. He’s hurt. But he’s….’ the flaxen haired cop lowered his voice ‘he’s beginning to feel the effects of the…. the infection’ he finished, unable to bring himself to use the word Lycanthropy. ‘I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to help him. I wouldn’t normally ask but…’

‘I’ll be over in half an hour’ Perry said down the telephone. ‘Just try to keep him calm and talking and Hutch? Be careful. That might look like your partner, but it isn’t really him. You should maybe take some um… precautions’ she warned.

‘Just hurry’ Hutch said softly and put the phone down. He paused for a moment, collecting his thoughts. Precautions equated to restraints but how could he even think of restraining his buddy when he was obviously hurting? He ran his hand over his eyes and then turned and looked around. Starsky was gone from the living room and for a moment, Hutch experienced a moment of panic before he heard a low groan from the bedroom and he rushed in.

Starsky had managed to get himself undressed and onto the bed, and he’d also managed to get his own police issue cuffs from his closet. Hutch’s heart broke as he saw one half of the cuffs were firmly in place around his partner’s wrist and the twin was attached to the metalwork at the side of the bed. Starsky himself was bent double, groaning as beads of sweat started to form on his bare back and Hutch darted forward as the brunet’s body started to topple forwards. He caught his partner in his arms and eased him back onto the bed as Starsky panted his way through another set of pains.

‘What’s happenin’ t’me?’ he asked through pain clouded eyes.

‘I dunno buddy. You’re hot, feverish. How d’ya feel?’

‘Urts…. everywhere. I’m hot…. burnin.’ Oh God….hurts, Hutch….hurts’ he mumbled as he brought his knees up to his chest in an attempt to ease the terrible pressure on his chest.

‘Sssh, I know, I know. Tell me what I can do to help buddy’ Hutch crooned.

Starsky’s one free hand shot out and held onto Hutch’s wrist with bone crushing strength. ‘Just….ssstay huh? Dddon’t leave me… scared’ the brunet gasped breathlessly.

‘S’ok, I’m not goin’ anywhere’ Hutch assured him. ‘Just gimme a minute huh?’ He got up and went out to the bathroom, returning a moment later with a cool, damp cloth. Gently Hutch sponged at the sweating body although he wondered whether Starsky knew what he was doing. This brunet’s pain seemed to be getting worse and he writhed on the bed, the chain of the handcuff rattling miserably against the bed frame. But each time Hutch tried to unfasten it, Starsky’s eyes would flash open and he’d try to pull away. It was evident that Hutch’s attempts to free his buddy were upsetting Starsky, so the blond settled for being there, sponging him down and trying to add his comfort as the brunet cried out and thrashed against the sheets. The sable haired cop’s hands clawed at the blankets and his toes curled under as he fought his internal battles with the pain and all Hutch could do was to try to soothe him and hold on to his shivering body through the worst of it.

Within half an hour and with a wash of relief Hutch heard the front door open and a moment later, Perry came into the bedroom carrying a large holdall and looking worried. She took one look at the sweat soaked, bruised and broken body on the bed and immediately opened her bag and started to rummage inside.

‘How long’s he been like this?’ she asked calmly, as though she’d seen it all before.

‘Maybe 30 minutes. He wasn’t too bad until I made the call to you. He was injured when I got here, but he was still strong. He um….he wasn’t himself, but we managed to deal with it. By the time I’d finished phonin’ you he’d managed to get himself into the bedroom an’ I found him like this. Can ya help him? What’s goin’ on?’

Perry seemed to find what she’d been looking for in her bag and she looked up. ‘He has the healing fever. A lycanthrop can heal all but the very worst wounds, and their bodies do it at an incredible rate. All their energies are directed to the healing process and it hurts them, terribly. I have something here that might help, but for the most part, it’s down to him.’

‘Can’t I do somethin’ to help?’ Hutch asked desperately. He hated seeing his partner so obviously in pain, but Perry shook her head.

‘He’ll heal. All you can do is be there….and be careful. I see you managed to restrain him. That’s good’ she said nodding at the single handcuff.

‘I didn’t do that. He did it himself. I’ve been tryin’ to get the damned thing off of him’ Hutch said softly.

‘Then he has more sense than you. I told you, that isn’t really the man you know. He’s starting to change and he can’t help himself. Before long, he won’t be able to stop himself from attacking anyone and everyone. You need to take precautions.’

Hutch glared at her in disgust. ‘He ain’t anyone ordinary. He’s my partner, my brother an’ my best friend, and he won’t hurt me. An’ there is no fuckin’ way that I’m gonna chain him down like a wild animal.’

‘Then you’ll pay eventually’ Perry said quietly. ‘He is a wild animal. Right now, he’s experiencing the beginnings of the changes and he’s fighting as hard as he can. But even if you were his twin, there will come a time when he turns on you. He can’t help it. It’s the nature of lycanthropy – at least for the first few moons.’

She went into the kitchen and Hutch could hear her rummaging in the cupboards and boiling water. Minutes later she reappeared with a cup containing a foul smelling concoction which she set down on the nightstand. The blond eyed it suspiciously.

‘What’s that?’

‘It’s a mixture of Wolfsbane and Caraway. While the Wolfsbane will ease the symptoms of the changes, the Caraway is there as a protection from the dark forces. It should help to calm him and ease the healing process.’

‘Will it cure him? The….what did ya call it….Wolfsbane?’

‘No love. It isn’t a cure. I have some friends searching the old magical texts for a cure, but as yet they’ve come up empty handed. All we can do is be there for him, protect him from himself and others and protect ourselves from him. I um… I brought these too’ Perry took something else from her bag and Hutch closed his eyes in dismay.

Dangling on the end of a two foot long length of strong heavy iron chain were two equally strong and heavy manacles. They were the sort that historical films used when they wanted to portray the hero in shackles and Hutch winced and looked away.

‘No way’ he said gruffly

‘You’re gonna have to come to terms with this love. Some time very soon, you’re gonna have to take precautions, and those police issue cuffs aren’t going to be strong enough to hold him.’

‘I’m not using those or any other sort of restraint on my partner’ Hutch yelled, making the brunet on the bed flinch away from him. He put his hand out and soothed the still thrashing man as he glared at Perry. The woman stared back at him, meeting his gaze unwaveringly.

‘Then I suggest you dust off your insurance policies and make your funeral arrangements. When the first change really kicks in, he’s going to kill you.’

Chapter 14

For the rest of the night Starsky slept fitfully as Perry and Hutch took turns to watch him. The blond was fascinated and at the same time a little sickened by the healing process and although it seemed to be intensely painful for his partner, the cuts and bruises on his face and torso seemed to fade almost before his eyes. By the time the first shafts of early morning sunlight were beginning to lance through the curtains to hit the body on the bed, Starsky’s fever had broken and he lay peaceful and still for the first time in hours. His face was almost recovered, the cuts of the previous evening having healed perfectly and a Hutch examined his buddy’s chest, he was amazed to see that the old surgical scars from the Gunther shooting were also less pronounced and seemed much smaller than usual.

But while the brunet was relaxed and resting, Hutch’s nerves were stretched to breaking point. As he sat on the edge of the bed, his hand resting on his partner’s side, he looked again at the huge heavy manacles that Perry had brought and had left out on the chair. They seemed to mock him with their presence, as though reminding him of the futility of his endeavours to keep his partner safe. The very thought of putting handcuffs onto the brunet was bad enough. Having to use the medieval devices sitting there staring at him in mute accusation was too much and he closed his eyes, his head bowed as he prayed for an end to the nightmare he was trapped in.

Hutch stayed that way for a while, the only sounds in the cosy bedroom being the soft breathing from the bed. It lulled him into a false sense of security. With the dawn chasing away the darkness of the night and with Starsky almost whole again and resting peacefully, the flaxen haired cop could almost believe that he’d imagined the entire freakish incident. With his eyes closed and the unnatural heat gone from his buddy’s body, things seemed normal and for a moment he allowed himself the luxury of relaxation. It was only when the body on the bed began to stir that he opened his eyes and looked down at the shining indigo eyes regarding him sleepily.

‘Hey there’ he said softly as Starsky turned onto his side with a barely suppressed hiss. Only his ribs and collarbone remained bruised, although it was evident that they and any other broken bones were healing rapidly, their only legacy being stiffness and lack of mobility.

‘Hey yourself’ the brunet replied. ‘You stayed’.

‘I said I would. How’re ya feelin’?’

‘Better. Almost recovered. But man! What a ride!’

‘Yeah, I could almost see the bruises fadin.’It was….. impressive! But that’s not really what I meant. I wanted to know how you’re feelin’ You…Starsky’.

The brunet closed his eyes and considered. The madness and the fire in his blood had abated until they were no more than an annoyance in the background, like the buzz of interference on a badly tuned radio. They were there, but at a manageable level. One where he didn’t feel like he’d kill the next living being that came within 10 feet of him. He sighed.

‘M’ok. Well, not ok, but better. I could probably do without this now’ he rattled the cuff and Hutch happily removed it, massaging the feeling back into his partner’s wrist. ‘I’m sorry Hutch for…. Jeez, sorry don't even come close! Well I could’ve killed ya buddy. It was so strong, the feelin. I meant it when I said ya should have gone’.

‘I knew you wouldn’t hurt me’ Hutch said, happy to have his Starsky back to talk to. His happiness however, was short lived as the brunet fixed him with eyes still several shades brighter than normal. His face was deadly serious.

‘I mean it Blintz, no melodrama. I could’ve killed ya, an’ I probably would have. When I took ya down an’ I was on top of ya. You struggled an’ I felt so…. powerful, so ready to kill. Each movement was like…. Dunno. It goaded me. It made me feel alive. I never felt like that before. It was amazin’ and terrifyin’ and…. Hutch, promise me. Tonight, you have to chain me, or lock me away or sumthin. I can’t be trusted. Hell, I can’t trust myself an’ I don’t want to hurt no-one. Please Hutch? Just do it huh?’

The brunet followed Hutch’s pained gaze and his eyes fell on the robust manacles on the chair, where Perry had left them. He snickered. ‘Well someone takes me seriously. Always wondered what women carried in their purses. Now I know’.

‘Of course. What every well dressed woman around town carries’ an amused voice said from the door of the bedroom. Perry walked in, all sweetness and smiles. ‘You look better’ she said as she put her hand on Starsky’s brow. ‘You’re cooler and you look like you’ve healed well. Very well. It’s remarkable considering you haven’t had your first moon yet’.

‘Always was a good healer’ the brunet smiled shyly ‘Must be all the spinach I ate as a kid’.

‘Sure, Popeye! So. You want to tell us what went on last night in the alley?’

Starsky sat up higher in the bed, his back supported by his pillows. ‘Wanna start with me feelin’ like seven shades of a bastard?’

‘You couldn’t help it buddy’ Hutch said softly. ‘That wasn’t you last night, it was somethin’ else’.

‘Jeez, “somethin’ else” huh? An’ that’s s’posed to make me feel better?’

‘No, just wanted to let ya know I don’t blame ya’

‘I know ya don't, you'd never blame me Blintz, I know that. But I blame myself. I should've been stronger. I should've...' Starsky sighed, knowing there was no way he would ever be able to fight those urges. 'Ok, last night huh? Well, I felt caged, like I couldn’t breathe inside the house, so I went out. I headed to the bar down the street. I thought maybe a drink’d make me forget for a while. How wrong can I be huh?’ he looked up and smiled shyly.

‘Um, alcohol doesn’t work on werewolves love’ Perry interjected.

The brunet snorted. ‘Now she tells me. Could’ve save a few dollars. Anyways. I could feel everyone in the bar. I could smell ‘em. I could almost hear their hearts beatin’ an’ I couldn’t stand it no more, so I left. The girl followed me an’ when we got into the alley she was all over me. I mean, she kinda launched herself at me an’ I was all for it. She was jail bait; couldn’t have been more’n 17 or 18, an’ yet I didn’t stop. It was like I couldn’t stop myself. Till the other goons came out an’ stopped me. They said somethin’ about wantin’ to kill me coz I was special’.

‘And what stopped them?’ Hutch asked

‘She did. The one from the cave. The woman. I was kinda losin’ it at the end, but I remember ‘em scatterin’ when they saw her. She bent down, checked I was ok, then she ran off after ‘em’.

‘The first girl. Did you have sex with her?’ Perry asked as if it was the most ordinary question in the world.

‘What the hell? No he didn’t have sex with her. He’s just said she was underage’ Hutch rounded on the woman heatedly.

Perry ignored the outburst and directed her attention to Starsky. The brunet shook his head. ‘No, I didn’t’ he said softly.

‘That’s good’ Perry said quietly


‘Because they said that Starsky was special. And the female from the cave protected him. Um, Dave, is this the first time you’ve see her since the attack in the cave?’

The brunet looked down at his fingers, avoiding Hutch’s eyes. ‘Yeah…. Kinda’ he said softly.

‘What’s that mean? Either ya have or ya haven’t’ Hutch snapped, rattled by the line of questioning.

Indigo eyes met crystal as Starsky raised his head. ‘I haven’t met her exactly, till last night, but I dreamed about her’ he admitted shakily. ‘I told ya I had that dream? Well it was her. The woman in the cave, and we…. Well, I told ya it was hot’.

Perry looked away and cursed. ’I was hoping this wasn’t the case, but it seems luck isn’t on your side love’.

‘What do ya mean?’ Starsky asked softly.

‘It all adds up now. The way you healed so fast last night, even though you haven’t undergone your first change yet; the dream; the way they’ve already started to hunt you. I’ve been asking around. The woman is called Lya. She’s the Queen wolf of the local pack. Their Luprex – their king wolf – was a guy called Ethan. He was killed a couple of months ago and since then Lya has been looking for a new mate. I think she just found him’.

The brunet’s head came up fast. ‘Whoa! Ya don’t mean….? Oh no. No no no no no. Can’t be. This whole fuckin’ werewolf thing is bad enough, but I don’t want to end up leadin’ the doggy pack too’ he said angrily. ‘Do sumthin. Someone gotta know sumthin about how this thing can be beaten? Find ‘em. For God’s sake’.

Perry raised her hands. ‘I have all my friends looking. They’re searching ancient texts for cures or something to help, and believe me, if anyone can find it, they can. But in the meantime, you have to stay away from her. Her blood is the key. Well, her blood and any other um….. bodily fluid. She’s been contacting you in your dreams. Lya is powerful and she senses you could be too. Stay away from her. If you can avoid her till after your first moon, she’ll have to look elsewhere for a mate’.

Hutch glared at her. ‘Pardon me for not bein’ into this whole wolf thing, but why? What’s Starks’s first moon got to do with anythin? You said they’d hunt him no matter what’.

‘And hunters will. But we’re talking about a transfer of power here. Its not like she plonks a crown on his head and suddenly Starsky is Luprex. She has to pass on her power to him bodily. She needs to connect with him before his first moon otherwise its too late’ Perry explained.

The curly haired cop cleared his throat looking suddenl very shy, embarrassed and vulnerable. ‘And that connexion would be….?

‘Sex, yes. She would need to have sex with you in order to pass on the power of the pack. Once that’s happened, you’d be Luprex whether you wanted to be or not. You’d have the power of the pack. You’d be faster, stronger, smarter than all the pack members put together. Put simply, a Luprex can call on enough power to make him a kind of super-wolf’.

‘Well aint that just fine an’ dandy?’ the brunet snickered. ‘That’s just what I needed to hear! So what now?’

Hutch stood up. ‘Its three nights to the first night of the full moon. So we hide ya. You come back to my place and you stay there an’ I don’t let ya outa my sight until this is over. And meanwhile Perry will come up with a cure, right?’ he looked in desperation at the woman who smiled wanly back.

‘We’ll do our best. But I agree with Hutch. You need to lie low. You still have a little healing to do and I’ll leave you some more of the Wolfsbane mix. But don’t be tempted by her. Lya is strong. And she has her sights set on you. Be on your guard ok?’

Starsky grinned at her. ‘I’m goin’ home with Blondie, an’ he’s gonna chain me up whether he likes it or not. What can happen then huh? We’ll get through this. One way or the other, we’ll deal’.

Chapter 15

Starsky was surprisingly ready to agree to going back to Hutch’s place. Usually when sick or injured he rebelled against being cosseted. He always said it made him feel claustrophobic, but on this occasion the brunet felt that he needed all the help he could get. He was thankful too that Perry was there and that her practical, no nonsense approach was grounding his partner. Starsky understood just how hard Hutch was taking this and he also understood that if the big blond was left to his own devices, he wouldn’t restrain his buddy at all, leaving fate and what he referred to as Starsky’s iron will to stop the brunet from hurting himself or anyone else.

But the curly haired cop couldn’t begin to explain the feelings and urges that the lycanthropy was eliciting in him. The desire to hunt and kill was so strong that, while he could just about fight it now in the light of day, he knew that when the full moon started proper, he would have no chance of resisting the urges. Iron will or no, the infection was just too insidious to leave anything of Dave Starsky behind, and the thought of turning into a monstrous killer was too much for the curly haired cop to bear. His partner had no idea just how close Starsky had come to blowing out his brains with his gun the previous night, such was his despair at his condition. Only now, with Perry and Hutch’s promises of help, and the bright sunlight of a new day did he feel once again able to battle through.

The sable haired man heard his partner in the other room phoning through to the Metro. They’d both agreed that until they could figure all this out there was no way that Starsky could continue to patrol as a cop. And while the brunet battled the urges surging through his body, watching the titanic efforts his partner made exhausted Hutch both physically and mentally. Neither was in the right frame of mind for policing and as Starsky wryly pointed out, it wouldn’t do for him to eat a suspect. So Hutch phoned through to their boss giving the excuse that they were both coming down with the flu and were going to stay home. Yes, they’d be fine. No they didn’t need anything. And yes, Hutch would call in each day to update Dobey on their progress, but they didn’t expect to be in until the beginning of the following week at the earliest.

Putting down the telephone, the blond walked back into the bedroom.

‘Ready?’ he asked.

‘As I’ll ever be. Bag packed, got the cuffs’ he jangled the heavy chains in his holdall. ‘Collar and leash in there too’ he grinned wryly.

Hutch’s face fell. While his buddy could make jokes about the situation, he found it hard to find any humor in the whole sorry mess. He sighed and looked away and immediately, Starsky dropped his bag and put his arm round Hutch’s shoulder, withdrawing it a moment later as his eyes once again homed in on the pulsing jugular. He closed his eyes fighting for control, but still his concern was for his partner.

‘Aww c’mon Blondie. Ya gotta see the funny side’.

‘Is there one?’

Starsky grinned. ‘No, not really, but if I didn’t laugh I’d go crazy. Just indulge me huh?’

‘Ok well when ya put it like that. Want me to trot ya round the block then ya can cock your leg before we get in the car?’

‘Uh uh. Did it on the corner of the chair already’ the brunet snorted as he picked up his bag again and followed his partner out of his apartment and down to the waiting car. Again, the brightness, the sights and the smells of the early morning assaulted Starsky’s senses. Flowers shone extra bright, bees buzzed extra loud and he could hear Mrs Mankeivitz already yelling at her husband despite the fact that she lived across the street and all the doors and windows were closed.

Some of this “changing” scenario was good. It left him speechless that he could notice things that he’d taken for granted all his life. The yellow of the weeds by the roadside was sunbright, setting off the green of the leaves to perfection. The feathers on the thrush’s breast shone an iridescent purple he’d never seen before. And Hutch’s hair was not only bright golden, but had highlights of red and white and silver running through it. If it wasn’t for the whole killing frenzy thing, he could almost enjoy the enhancements to his senses.

The car ride over to Hutch’s house at Venice Place was accomplished quickly. The sunlight was almost too bright for the brunet’s supersensitive eyes and he’d jammed his darkest shades onto his nose to try to compensate and also to hide the super bright blue irises from the world, but as each individual passed by he couldn’t help but look at them as walking meals, people burgers, human burritos with a side of child. The feelings left him cold and he closed his eyes refusing to look further. He bit back a strangled whimper of helplessness and curled his hands into fists. He wouldn’t do this, he wouldn’t…. he wouldn’t!

Once inside the dimness of Hutch’s apartment, all three relaxed slightly. Both Hutch and Perry had been on tenterhooks on the ride across town, neither of them knowing just how Starsky would react to being outside and unrestrained, although neither of them wanted to cuff him in public. For Hutch that was an admission that the lycanthropy had finally taken hold, and for the moment, it was one admission too far. As the brunet started to unpack his overnight bag and Perry introduced herself to Karen and showed her how to make some more of the calming Wolfsbane tea, Hutch lost himself in mindless domesticity for a while. As he pottered amongst his plants he could think of something other than wolves and killing for a few minutes. The plants were his lifelines, non-threatening and inoffensive. The plants didn’t eye him up as though he was supper and for just a few minutes he was happy.

Once everyone was settled, the small Lancastrian woman made her excuses and left.

‘I have to get back to my group’ she explained. ‘I left them searching the texts and I should go and get an update from them’.

Starsky smiled at her warmly. When Perry was around, he felt marginally more relaxed. She was the only one who knew how the progress of the disease would occur and he felt he could lean on her. With Hutch experiencing almost as much pain about the transformation as the brunet, Starsky couldn’t be himself. He couldn’t show how much he was hurting, or how scared he really was. But with Perry it was different. She’d seen it before and she understood and didn’t criticise or try to over compensate.

‘Thanks for everythin’. I know you’re doin’ your best’ he said.

‘I only hope by best is good enough love’ Perry replied. ‘Now Hutch. Don’t forget. When it begins to get dark….’

I know, I know. Restrain him with the big heavy manacles and leave him be till morning’ the blond assured her with a heavy heart.

She smiled sympathetically. ‘I know it’s hard for you love, but it’s safer for you and it’s safer for him too’. She kissed Karen on the cheek.

‘Make sure they both do as they’re told’ she told Hutch’s sister as she headed for the door. ‘I’ll ring as soon as we know anything and in the meantime, you know where you can get hold of me.'

For the rest of the day, Karen, Hutch and the brunet went about life with as much normality as they could. Breakfast came and went, cleaning up followed and for a while, Starsky enjoyed the dusting and hoovering. He’d always been tidy. Hutch called him a neat freak, but as the curly haired man had pointed out, years in the army will do that to a guy. Apart from that, he enjoyed having things neat and tidy around him. By mid afternoon, Venice Place had been cleaned to within an inch of its life and sparkled like a new pin. Pots had been washed and laundry had been done and the three were intent in a game of Monopoly. Starsky had, of course, chosen the little dog, saying he somehow identified with the small pewter effigy and had snorted in mirth as Hutch had picked the car, telling the blond that it was the first time in his life that he’d had a decent set of wheels.

By four o’clock, and after three more games, Starsky stretched his sore muscles. Although the bones had continued to heal during the day, they ached and he was still tired from the occurrences of the previous evening. He paid Karen his last 500 dollars and threw his doggy counter down in disgust.

‘You Hutchinsons are all the same. Ya cleaned me out again!’

Hutch snickered. ‘Always were crap at the game. Why don’t ya take up tiddley winks instead?’

‘Tell ya what. Why don’t I go an’ get a half hour’s shut eye. I’m bushed an’ I kinda hurt still’ the brunet grunted as he stood.

Karen smiled at him. ‘Sleep might make you feel better’ she agreed. ‘Do you need anything?’

‘No, I’m fine. Gimme a call at supper time huh?’ he said, and padded into the bedroom. It was the first time he’d been on his own properly since the attack and he found the silence disconcerting. Without distractions, he had nothing to take his mind off his situation and he looked around for the manacles Perry had brought. With a sigh he realised they were still in the living room and he didn’t have the energy to argue with his partner about their usage. Hutch was sure to argue that as it was still light there was no need to chain his partner, and Starsky himself felt calm enough at the moment. As the led down on the bed however, he once again took his police issue cuffs out of his back pocket and snicked one bracelet onto his left wrist while he fastened the other round the brass bedstead. Happy that he was secure, the curly haired cop turned over on his side and was asleep in a moment.

In the living room, Hutch cleared the game board away as Karen rummaged in the fridge for something to make for supper.

‘Hutch, is chilli ok? We have meat and rice, but I could do with some red wine. Do you have any?’ she asked with her head still in the cupboard.

‘Don’t think so. I think we drank the last a couple of nights ago’.

Karen popped up from behind the kitchen counter. ‘Could you get me some? It always tastes better with wine’.

Hutch paused a moment. With Starsky as he was, he was loathe to leave his sister alone with him in the apartment, and just as loathe to wake his partner up to slap on the heavy iron manacles. Quietly he pushed open the bedroom door and looked in and smiled grimly as he saw the dull gleam of the handcuff in the dim light. Trust Starsk! Always thinking about everyone else. He closed the door again, satisfied that everyone was safe.

‘Fine, I’ll only be a few minutes. Be good while I’m away, and if he wakes up Sis…. Don’t go in huh?’

Karen smiled. ‘I’ll be fine. It isn’t even dark yet and he’s fast asleep. Just go’. She turned back to her cooking as she heard the front door bang closed and became engrossed in her preparations.

In the bedroom the brunet stirred in his sleep. His pleasant and calming dreams had turned distinctly grisly and he was once more running through the forest, the scent of blood in his nostrils. The coppery tang became stronger and his nose twitched as suddenly he jerked himself awake, his breath panting and beads of sweat beading on his brow. For a moment he had no idea what had awoken him and he lay staring at the ceiling trying to decide. Still the smell of blood hung in the air and the aroma was so insistent that he sat up and swung his legs out of bed and onto the floor. The smell seemed to be coming from the living room and a low growl started in his throat. He felt his blood quicken in his veins as his senses ramped up a notch. His mind held nothing but the thought of the blood. He could taste it on his lips and he could feel it’s silky texture as he swallowed it down. The thought filled his mind and he struggled to his feet. The handcuff held him anchored to the bed, and almost without thinking about it, he pulled at his wrist, the skin on his arm tearing as the chain of the cuffs parted at his tug. Even Starsky was taken aback by his strength. The cuffs were strong, designed to hold the most hardened prisoner and yet he’d broken them almost without a second thought.

Drawn as if by a string, Starsky opened the door of the bedroom and padded into the living room dressed only in his jeans. Karen looked up as the bare chested, bare footed man walked in and smiled. The bruises and cuts on his body had all but gone and he looked like a man in the prime of his life. Even the surgical scars were fading away leaving his olive toned skin unblemished and glowing as it had been when he was 18.

She held her finger to her lips and as Starsky walked slowly over she grinned at him without thinking.

‘Cut my damned finger on one of Ken’s knives. How stupid is that?’ she said sucking furiously at the cut.

Indigo eyes fastened onto her mouth, Starsky’s gaze never leaving her lips as they sucked at the bright ruby red blood seeping from the cut. He couldn't stop looking at the sight, the smell of the blood now so strong that it filled his senses leaving him feeling hungry and dizzy. His hands balled into fists and he groaned low in his throat, eyes closed as he fought for control over his wolf urges. This was wrong – so wrong. This was Hutch’s sister for God’s sake! He tried to lean back against the counter trying to put distance between him and the pretty blond who seemed completely oblivious to his needs but still he was drawn to the blood like a moth to a flame.

Karen looked up at Starsky as though suddenly realising the predicament she was in. The brunet seemed to have grown so that he loomed over her and she was very aware of his muscular frame and deep piercing blue eyes staring at her. Starsky took one more look at the blood and suddenly his control snapped. He couldn't control himself any more and he launched himself at her as Karen screamed and tried to back away. The sound inflamed the brunet like a mouse’s running inflames a cat and he pounced on her, targeting her throat. Karen was too slow to stop him and his hands were suddenly there surrounding her neck as he lowered his head to her neck, his mouth inches from her throat.

As she felt the grip tighten and Starsky’s hot breath on her neck Karen managed to whisper desperately ‘Dave,... no’.

The words seemed to penetrate his blood lust and Starsky stopped in his tracks. Something flicked on in his head and he pushed her away, his hands shaking and oh so hot. Heat radiated from his body and he felt the power flowing through his veins.

‘Karen, run’, he whispered, his hands clawing at the countertop to stop himself from damaging her further. ‘Just go, now, please’ he moaned, low and intensely, but Karen was transfixed, unable to move and remained frozen in place.

Starsky shook himself, grabbing hold of the countertop as though his life depended on it. He closed his eyes, trying to shut out the sight of the human food before him.

‘RUUUUUUUUUN’ he yelled desperately.

And still Karen remained rooted to the spot, terrified by the transformation from Monopoly playing cop to blood hungry monster. Starsky groaned low in his throat. He couldn’t control this much longer and eventually he pushed himself off the kitchen counter and turned. With almost superhuman speed he ran from the room, pausing only long enough to snag Hutch’s car keys from the table by the door and as he bolted down the steps and outside, Karen sank down to the floor, her legs too shaky to keep her upright any more.

‘Oh God, Dave…’ she whispered as she heard the engine start outside.

Chapter 16 - and again warnings for sme sex!

Starsky got into Hutch’s car, jammed the key into the ignition and drove off, leaving a months worth of rubber on the black top as the tires smoked from the standing start. The brunet’s blood was like fire in his veins, burning with a fierce heat he couldn’t quench. He felt as though he wanted to rip his skin off, his very flesh feeling confining and tight. Above all, he wanted to distance himself from people. The encounter with Karen had shaken him to his very core. It had been close, too close and he didn’t want to admit even to himself how close he’d come to biting down on that turgid vein in Karen’s neck. Even now, Starsky found his mouth watering at the thought of the blood spilling hot and thick down his throat and he shuddered. He wouldn’t turn into that kind of monster – he wouldn’t!

A few cars back a black panel truck pulled out into the traffic and started to follow, headlights dipped and driving carefully so as not to attract attention. The hawk nosed driver kept his eyes on the road as he followed the battered brown LTD. It wasn’t the car he’d been expecting, but he’d seen his target get in, now it was a case of following close enough, but not too conspicuously.

As Starsky drove, his hands grabbing tightly onto the steering wheel, his mind started to play games with him and even though his attention was clearly focussed on the road in front of him, his mind conjured up pictures of a beautiful woman with a curtain of long raven black hair and eyes the colour of green moss. She was lying in a cave, the interior dark and he knew the sandy floor would feel deliciously cool to his over heated skin. The woman was lying down, her eyes burning into him as she smiled at him and beckoned him in.

The brunet moaned to himself. This couldn’t be happening. He needed to do something, anything to help himself. During the whole time he’d known about the infection, it had been Perry and Hutch who had worked for him, trying to find answers, keeping him safe from hunters and from himself. Now it was time that he took his fate into his own hands and once he’d made that decision, Starsky felt instantly better. He had always been a doer rather than a thinker and where Hutch would calmly sit down and analyse a problem, Starsky would be the one to draw his gun and simply march into the middle of the action. Both methods had served the duo well over the years, but now the sable haired cop knew the time had come for him to find his own answers. And those answers lay with a certain female werewolf in a cave on the beach.

In that cave Lya licked her lips and concentrated. She felt the connection with the man. She felt his heat and his need and she prepared herself. Unlike human courtships, an encounter with a male werewolf could go either way and even though Starsky hadn’t had his first moon yet, she could already feel his power. It staggered her. He was even more powerful than Ethan had been and although she’d singled the curly haired cop out, she had no idea just how strong he was to become.

Carefully she started to ready herself for the encounter. Though the moon wasn’t yet reaching its fullness, she concentrated on her body, feeling the wolf power flow through her. Her hair, long at the best of times, grew longer still and glistened in the dim light of the cave and her finger nails grew longer and stronger. Not claws exactly, and certainly not like those stupid horror films they insisted on showing. She was no dog, no giant wolf. To an outsider she looked just like anyone else. Maybe a better physique than most women, maybe her eyes were brighter, but her face and body still looked human.

While she was no wolf on the outside, however, inside she was a bitch on heat, her hormones coursing through her body as she called her mate to her, ready to pass on the power of the Luprex to the next king. It had been three long months since Ethan had been killed. Ethan had been a fireman by day and Luprex by night and she missed him terribly. Three long months during which she had pined for her lover, fought hard to keep control of the pack and looked hard for her next mate. She’d made mistakes along the way. The men who were washed up on the beach were either too weak to control the pack, or too scared of her to mate, but by then they’d known of her and what she was and she’d had to kill them, although she hated to waste a life in such a futile manner. When she’d sensed the curly haired cop on the beach that afternoon, her hackles had risen. She’d caught his scent on the breeze and knew immediately that he was the one.

Lya had lured Starsky and his blond partner to her cave. She hadn’t bargained for the woman although she knew of agent Perry Turner. What werewolf didn’t know of the FBIs Dark Task Force? She felt, however, that Perry was somehow on her side, or at least not prejudiced against wolfkind and when she’d asked around, she’d heard only good things about the tiny woman. But if Perry was to come between her and her new Luprex, then Lya would have no choice but to kill her.

Lya heard a noise from outside the cave and smiled to herself. The time had come and now she would either take her mate, or be killed by the most powerful wolf she’d ever encountered.

Outside the cave, Starsky walked cautiously up the path to the mouth of the cave. It was getting dark now but his eyes could see just as well in the half light as in the midday sun and his fear of heights seemed also to have gone. Now he could look down the precipitous cliff without even flinching and he smiled wryly, trying to understand the dichotomy of this lycanthropy. Some good things, some bad. Would he ever be able to control the bad and concentrate only on the good?

The brunet paused at the mouth of the cave and breathed deep, scenting the air. He could smell the woman inside. She smelled of lavender and honey and the sea shore and he could hear her breath as she waited for him. With a growl low in his throat he walked through the narrow opening of the cave and into the darkness beyond. His body was on fire, his human reactions giving way now to animal feelings. He wanted this woman. He needed her more than he’d ever needed a woman before. He’d never had feelings like this before. They consumed him so that all he could think about was how her soft skin would feel beneath his fingers and how he would melt into the heat of her mouth. His growl was answered by a whimper which resonated through his body and in the corner he saw her, her olive skinned body leaning against the rocky wall of the cave, glowing and naked in the light of a single candle.

‘You came’ she said huskily, watching the predatory way in which he walked into the cave.

‘You knew?’ he managed to ask, although it was an effort to form the words.

‘Of course. We were meant to be together, you and I’.

‘You were in my dreams’ Starsky said, his head reeling from her closeness. ‘You were there and we….’

‘Did you like it?’ she asked with a slightly amused air. Ethan had never wanted to talk. He was big and strong, but he’d never been big on conversation. She pushed herself away from the wall, emboldened by his calm manner.

‘Who wouldn’t? It was…. You were…. It was hot’ the brunet managed to grunt. Her essence filled his head, his senses now on overload as she drew nearer. He wanted to push her down onto the sandy floor and make love to her like he’d never made love to a woman before. His feelings were both tender and at the same time raw, and Starsky couldn’t breathe past the thoughts of throwing her down and taking what he knew was rightfully his. And still the tiny part of him that remained Dave Starsky fought against the feelings. He was a man not a wolf. He wouldn’t do this – wouldn’t…

Lya made a move towards him and suddenly, Dave Starsky was there no more. In his place was a curly headed hellion, a spitting biting wolf who wanted his bitch to submit before him. Starsky launched himself at Lya, but she was ready. Having had more experience of the feelings than the brunet, the woman sidestepped neatly and grabbed the cop by his arm, slamming him against the wall. She leaned into him, feeling the heat of his need against her naked body and she leaned her head on his shoulder.

‘Relax into it’ she whispered. ‘Let the feelings wash over you. Let the heat flow through you. Let me….’

With a roar, Starsky whirled, his body stronger than hers and she felt herself go weak at the knees as his power enveloped her. Lya had never dreamed the man could be so powerful and she cried out once as Starsky whirled her round and threw her to the floor. She gazed up at him in awe as he dropped to his knees, straddling her body and pinning her arms above her head.

‘You asked for this’ he gasped, his head filled with her essence. ‘You ready for it?’

‘If you can take me, yes’ she challenged. Her eyes green coals glowing in the darkness. As Starsky leaned down to bring his face close to her neck, Lya tried to roll out from beneath him, her legs kicking out at his. Starsky grinned down at her, knowing immediately that this was how he wanted it. He wanted rough. He wanted Lya to fight him so that he could fight back; to test his strength; to taste her power on his lips. With a grunt he followed her lithe body and she pulled her wrists from his grip and rolled over. He followed, his own body becoming entwined in hers as the two lovers rolled over and over on the floor of the cave fighting for superiority and the upper hand.

Lya was strong; a werewolf in her fifteenth moon. She struggled hard, delighting in the hard body beside her and as she fought, Starsky fought with her. Her hands clawed at his naked back and he felt the skin rip as her nails ploughed eight blood red furrows down his spine. The pain spurred him on and he rolled her over, snarling into her face as she locked eyes with him and he grinned back before leaning down and burying his face in the crook of her neck. Her scent filled his nostrils and his excitement knew no bounds and he opened his mouth and licked at her hot skin. She shuddered beneath him and yelped as he bit down gently on the pulsing vein. He tasted blood and lapped delicately at it as she whispered into his ear.

‘Do you like that? Do I taste as good as I look?’

‘Better’ he breathed. ‘God…, so much better’ he bit again and she squirmed beneath him, digging her claws into his hips and bringing the centre of his body towards her.

‘Want more?’ she asked.

In one lithe move, like a surfer coming to a stand on their board, Starsky got to his feet, his legs still straddling her body. She led back, gazing up at his tanned skin as he swiftly stepped out of his jeans, his cock standing out thick and proud and ready for her. She tried to reach up to caress it and Starsky batted her hand away.

‘Not yours yet’ he growled.

‘No? But soon?’ Lya smiled, appraising his manhood. It was everything she could have hoped for and more and the muscles in her belly twitched in anticipation as she thought about how it would feel inside her. ‘I can’t wait’ she breathed, ‘Please?’

The brunet dropped to his knees, slapping her across her belly ‘Shudup’ he grunted. His actions were so unlike the way he usually felt that it took him by surprise and for a second he paused. He’d always been a considerate lover, thinking of his partner’s enjoyment before his own. Yet now, he didn't care how Lya felt. Starsky wanted only to take possession of the slim body beneath him.

Lya yelped in surprise and started to sit up, her hand reaching for the cop’s cock again and with a rough shout, Starsky caught her around the waist and flipped her over easily until he’d set her on her hands and knees. Lya looked over her shoulder at him, a soft far away look in her eye as she watched the curly haired man position himself behind her.

Starsky took aim and without any pretence at preparation, he thrust himself into her warm body, feeling himself sheathed inside her as far as he could go. He was big and more than once with other girls he’d had to be careful with the depth of his penetration, but with Lya it was different. She groaned once at the brutal invasion and then her muscles tightened around him, giving Starsky the feeling of acceptance. She thrust herself back against him, seating him more deeply inside and then together they coordinated their bodies so that both got maximum pleasure from each other.

On and on they went, Starsky amazing himself at his stamina and staying power. Five minutes of intense pleasure passed before finally he felt the woman’s body start to contract around him. The sensation finally tipped the brunet over the top and he threw his head back, howling in pleasure as his hips trembled and he shot his load deep inside her.

Lya cried out in pleasure, her own arms finally giving out and she collapsed forward as the brunet’s body followed her down and even after they had finished, they remained together, Starsky still inside her as he kissed down the length of her neck. In the silence of the cave only their breathing sounded, loud in their ears.

Finally Lya extricated herself from Starsky’s grasp and turned so that she could face him, she placed her arms around his neck and kissed him full on the lips, pulling away only when the third voice interrupted their lovemaking.

Chapter 17

‘Well aint that sweet? Step away from him honey. The only good wolf is a dead wolf’ the hunter with the hawk-like nose said callously. His rifle pointed directly at the naked cop and his lover and for a moment Starsky stared back at him, surprise vying with the desire to rip off his head. He swallowed down his anger, the years of police training cancelling out the wolf urges for a moment, cop instinct taking over from animal instinct.

‘Don’t do it Pal’ the brunet said carefully. Slowly he rose to his feet as if on strings, his arms and legs barely seeming to move. At his side Lya stood close, eyeing the hunter with undisguised hate. The two stared down the barrel of the rifle as the hunter stood his ground.

‘I gotta do it Pal. It’s my job. I took out the last Luprex, and the one before that. Now it’s your turn’.

‘He killed Ethan’ Lya whispered, her eyes burning pits of anger and hurt. ‘He killed my love, let me at him’.

Starsky put his arm out to restrain her as he felt the woman stumble forward. Roughly he pushed Lya behind him, so that his body was between her and the hunter’s gun and he fixed the man with unnaturally bright and powerfully intense eyes. He didn’t want to have to hurt anyone; he didn’t want to use the excessive power he could feel coursing through his being, but he would if he had to and he knew a fight of muscle over bullet would have devastating consequences.

The hunter grinned at him, a cold evil light in his eyes. This man wasn’t going to bargain, or listen to reason. ‘Ya think your strength can save you both from Old Glory here?’ the man patted the stock of his rifle. ‘Think again Pal. I’m gonna so enjoy takin’ the two of you out, specially that bitch’ he pointed at Lya.

Starsky took one look into the cold grey eyes above the rifle and his temper rose as never before. He felt it bubble up until it exploded like a champagne cork from a bottle. He’d known of Lya for less than a month, he’d known her well for less than an hour and yet his instinct to protect her was so strong that he felt it like a physical being. With a roar of rage he ran at the hunter taking the man completely off guard. He knocked him back and one barrel of the gun discharged deafeningly in the confines of the cave, ricocheting off the walls to ping about the stone cave. Chips of rock flew and Starsky felt the sting of the tiny wounds against the bare flesh of his back and chest.

The brunet leaped onto the man’s body, his fists a whirl as he began beating at the cruel face below. The hunter ducked and squirmed beneath him. Although no werewolf, fear added strength to the frightened man’s fight for he knew it was a fight for his life. Starsky continued beating at him, the punches hard and brutal and as he fought he heard Lya screaming for him to be careful.

Somehow, the hunter managed to get both hands free from their confinement between his body and Starsky’s and with a grunting effort he brought the butt of the barrel out and smacked it with all his force across Starsky’s jaw. The blow was vicious and loud and echoed around the chamber. It would have been a killing blow for an ordinary man and even with the brunet’s new found strength it knocked his head sideways and sent the curly man’s body sprawling to the ground. Lya screamed a mixture of fear and anger. The cop lay dazed for a moment, the shock of the blow making his senses reel. In that split second; in that instant, the hunter was on his feet, swaying, but still in control. He leaned his back against the wall for support and as Lya rushed him, he brought his rifle up to aim again and another shot echoed loudly around the cavern.


Hutch walked round the convenience store in a daze. He was so tired he couldn’t think properly, but instinct, and a desire for Karen’s home cooking brought him to the wine and he gazed, unfocused for a moment at the serried ranks of bottles. Shaking himself out of his pleasant mind numbing stupor, he grabbed a bottle of Californian red and headed for the counter, paying quickly and rushing outside to the car. He hadn’t been gone longer than 20 minutes, but he felt that it was at least 19 minutes too long and he should really be at home.

Once upon a time he would have trusted Starsky implicitly. He would have trusted him with everything from his Sister’s reputation to his own life. Now, however, the lycanthropy had taken such a hold that Starsky wasn’t really Starsky anymore and much as Hutch hated to admit it, the brunet couldn’t be trusted with looking after an earwig in a jar let alone the lives of human beings. He sighed, feeling the loss of his partner keenly. An injured buddy he could deal with. In the times when Starsky had been shot or poisoned or beaten up by some flake, he’d handled it because through the pain and the surgical procedures, his friend had been “present”. Starsky had still been there and the old brunet humour had surfaced once in a while to remind Hutch that things would be ok.

But this idea of the sable haired cop changing into something else at each full moon was not only shocking and, he had to admit, almost too preposterous to think of as real, it also took his buddy away from him. The shell was still David Michael Starsky, ex soldier, brilliant cop and best buddy, but the inside was something animal, calculating and deadly. For the past couple of days, he’d seen the humanity known as Dave Starsky slowly eroded, leaving nothing left to trust and Hutch found that the scariest of all. But through it all, Hutch knew he'd stand by that same brunet till the bitter end, determined to find a cure, no matter what. He owed his life to Starsky so many times over and had such a deep bond with him that to do anything less than one hundred percent was unthinkable.

The blond pushed the pedal to the metal and set off home as fast as he dared, arriving a scant five minutes later. Getting out of the car he noted that the house was still quiet and he took that as a good sign as he took the steps two at a time. At the top of the steps however, he paused, seeing the door ajar. He hadn’t left it like that and suddenly his heart was in his mouth as he pulled his gun from its holster with a heavy heart. He’d never pulled a weapon on his partner before and he hated himself for not trusting Starsky any more, but he knew how strong his buddy had become and he knew he needed to take precautions.

With the toe of his loafer, Hutch pushed the door open and crouched in the doorway, his gun held two handed as he scanned the room. It seemed normal and he couldn’t hear anything unusual. There was no sign of a struggle and he snickered to himself as he realised he’d been looking for blood. No. No sign of that either. Standing upright, but not yet trusting enough to holster his Colt, he walked on into his living room and as he did so, he heard a frightened, stifled sob from his kitchen. Rushing over, his breath stopped in his throat as he saw his sister sitting on the kitchen floor, her knees drawn up to her chest and her head buried in the cavern formed by her arms. Hutch sank to his knees beside her and Karen flinched as he put his arm round her shoulder, relaxing a second later when she realised it was her brother and not Starsky come back to get her. She smiled from a tear stained face.

‘What happened Hon?’ Hutch asked softly, not really wanting to hear the answer.

‘It wasn’t his fault, I was so stupid’ she whispered. ‘It wasn’t his fault Ken, don’t blame him’.

Hutch’s face hardened. ‘Has Starsky hurt you?’

‘No, he didn’t hurt me. He tried, but he couldn’t. He’s still in there Ken. Dave is still in there fighting, otherwise he would have killed me’.

‘Why? What happened?’

The blond helped his sibling to her feet and they walked over to the sofa. The two Hutchinsons sat down and Hutch waited till Karen was composed enough to answer. She still shook and she was pale, but the relief at seeing her brother again flooded her with a measure of comfort and she took a deep breath.

‘It was my own fault. You went out and Dave was still sleeping, so I started making supper. I was chopping the onions and my hand slipped. I cut my finger’.

‘Oh shit! He didn’t….’

Karen nodded. ‘He must have been able to smell it or something because the next thing I know he came out of the bedroom and walked right over to me. His eyes had a weird look in them, like he couldn’t take his eyes off my hand, and then he….. he grabbed my neck. I swear Ken, I thought he was gonna bite my neck, but then at the last second he whispered “run”. I couldn’t. I couldn’t move and he yelled at me to get out. He looked so scared Ken, I wanted to help him, but then, I guess when I didn’t move he just bolted. I um…. I think he’s taken your car’.

Hutch’s mind could hardly process what his sister had told him. When he’d left, Starsky had been asleep, cuffed to his bed. How could this have happened, and how had the brunet got free? The blond got up and went into the bedroom and looked down in amazement at the single handcuff dangling from the bed. The chain had sheared right through, not cut cleanly, but the remaining links stretched out as though they had been toffee. Only amazing strength could have done that and suddenly fear clawed at the blond’s heart.

Walking back into his living room, Hutch got the telephone and phoned Perry’s number. Explaining briefly what had happened and hearing the tiny woman’s assurances that she’d be right over, Hutch put down the receiver and went to sit back down next to Karen. He put his arm round her and held her to him, needed comfort from her as much as giving her comfort.

‘I’m sorry Sis. I should never have left you alone in the house with him. I put you in danger an’ I didn’t listen to Perry. I was too fuckin’ spineless to put those big cuffs on him an’ I nearly got ya killed’ he admitted softly.

Karen looked up at him, pushing a bang of golden hair back from his forehead. ‘He’s your partner and your best friend Ken. You weren’t to know. He’s such a strong character I guess we all thought he’d be able to handle this. But he can’t, and it’s no use blaming anyone, least of all yourself or Dave. You just have to go out there and find him and protect him, from others and from himself. He’s hurting Ken. He’s scared and he needs you’.

‘No, he doesn’t. He needs help, but who am I to help him? I was the one who didn’t believe in all this supernatural shit!’ Hutch muttered bitterly.

Karen took his hand and looked up into his crystal blue eyes. ‘He needs you because you’re closer to him than anyone. If anyone can help him you can. Ken. You need to be strong for yourself and for Dave. And I promise I’ll be here to help ok?’

Hutch snorted. ‘Ok. Just one question. How come the warped, uncaring and dysfunctional Dr and Mrs Hutchinson managed to have two reasonable normal kids like us huh?’

Perry arrived within 10 minutes and the calm woman spent some time with Karen going over exactly what had happened. The pretty blond was quieter now and more composed and she told Agent Turner as much as she could, remembering even the minutest detail in the hope that the dark arts specialist would be able to help Starsky and ultimately her brother. At the end of the explanation, Perry sighed.

‘I think he’s gone to find her. To find Lya. He’ll be able to feel her call to him and I think even the most strong willed man in the world wouldn’t be able to resist. How long ago did you say he left?

Hutch looked at his watch. ‘At least an hour, more like two. Why?’

‘Because if he’s found her, and they’ve mated, his fate is sealed. He’s the next Luprex’.

‘Mated?’ Hutch spat. ‘You make it sound like he’s some sort of animal!’

Perry smiled at him sadly. ‘Hutch love, at the moment, that’s exactly what he is.

Chapter 18

Hutch got into Perry’s car, looking suspiciously at her large holdall on the back seat. She saw his look and sighed. ‘We have to be prepared love. If he’s with Lya and he and she have…. you know, then goodness knows what state Starsky will be in. I need you to understand Hutch. What we find – if we find him, probably won’t be your partner’.

Hutch ran his hand over his eyes, his head pounding in time with his heartbeat. Everything was so dark and difficult and complicated. He wanted Starsky back and he still couldn’t fully come to terms with what was happening. The brunet was the strongest most courageous man he knew and this sort of thing didn’t happen to ordinary cops. ‘He won’t hurt me. We’ve been through too much together’ he persisted.

‘He will love. Every chance he gets. It’s not Dave that’s doing this, it’s the nature of the change and if you’re going to help him, you need to understand that. If you won’t accept it, how are you going to help him to accept his change in circumstances?’

‘I’m sorry. This is tough for me. He and I have shared so much….’

‘And you may still get the chance to share more. You just have to trust me and help get him over this period. And now’s the time to start’ Perry said as she drew her car to a stop at the beginning of the dunes leading down to the beach and the rocky headland. As they both got out of the car, the moon shone down brightly on the pale silvery sand, highlighting the bumps and hollows of the silky soft sand. They didn’t need torches to see their way, but Perry threw one to Hutch in any event, grabbed her bag and together they set off towards the steep path leading up to the cave.

Hutch climbed it first, Perry hurrying behind him and at the top of the path, just outside the narrow entrance to the cavern the blond stopped, looking at deep boot prints in the sand.

‘They aren’t Starsky’s. He was barefoot when he left, and they’re too big to be the girl’s. Someone else has been here’.

Perry bent down and studied the print. She trailed her hands over the grains of sand as though the dirt would tell her what she needed to know. ‘It’s a hunter. By the looks of it, I think it was probably Clark Maddox. He’s been touring this area and I think he was the one who took out Ethan, Lya’s last mate’.

Hutch nodded his understanding. He took out his gun and checked the chambers. Each one was full and he slipped the barrel back into place, holding the weapon out in front of him as he walked quietly into the cave. He could feel Perry at his back and as he walked into the dim, candlelit interior his heart gave a lurch.

‘Starsk!’ he cried, starting to rush over to his partner until Perry’s hand held him back.

‘Hutch, stop’ she said softly. ‘Look’.

The blond took a careful look at his partner. Starsky had managed to shuffle back into his jeans and was huddled in a corner, blood flowing from a bullet wound on his right hand flank to stain the denim material and pool onto the ground. His eyes stared wildly at the intruders as he held the body of his lover in his arms. The brunet rocked slowly backwards and forwards, his head buried in Lya’s luxurious dark hair, his curls blending with hers as he moaned softly. His hands were covered in rich red blood which dripped onto the ground, mixing with his own.

The woman in his arms was obviously dead, a huge hole blown through her back where Maddox’s bullet had ploughed through her chest, through her heart and out of her body. It had completed its journey and lost itself in the brunet’s side as the female wolf had thrown herself in front of the hunter’s rifle.

Perry put a restraining arm out and held Hutch tightly. ‘Don’t move. Don’t go over there love. He’s protecting her. She died I think, to save him and now he’s protecting her body. He doesn’t know you. He doesn’t recognise you’.

Very softly, Hutch’s eyes connected with Starsky’s wild indigos. The blond didn’t move, except to hold out his hand slowly. ‘Starsk? It’s me, Hutch. Are ya ok buddy? Starsk, can ya hear me Starsk?’

The brunet looked sharply up from the body of his woman and to Hutch’s amazement, the smaller man’s lips curled back from his lips as he snarled at his partner. It was a purely wolf move and Hutch was completely taken aback. He tried again, desperate to establish some sort of connection.

‘Starsk, we’re here to help. Will ya let us help ya buddy? I know you’re hurtin’ She’s dead, I know she is an’ ya loved her. But ya have to let us help ya now. You don’t want this buddy. You always said ya didn’t want this. We can help. Me an’ Perry can help ya, but ya have to put her down now an’ let us near. Just relax an’ listen to me buddy. Can ya do that? Can ya do that for me Starsk?’

The curly haired cop stopped his rocking and fixed his attention on the blond, his head cocked slightly on one side as though he were trying to make sense of the situation. His hands stopped their feverish stroking of Lya’s hair and he looked at the blood on his hands, marvelling that for the first time in what seemed like an age, he had no urge to lick and suck at the red fluid.

‘Hutch?’ he asked hesitantly.

‘Yeah, ‘s me buddy. Put her down Starsk. We can’t help her, she’s gone. But we can help you. We just wanna help ya buddy. Will you let us do that?’

‘She…. She’s dead’ the brunet whispered sorrowfully.

Hutch wanted desperately to rush over and enfold the hurting man in his arms, but Perry was still holding tightly on to him and instead of holding Starsky, Hutch continued to talk, using his voice to soothe and comfort his partner.

‘I know she is babe. And we can deal with that after. But first you. First we have to help you. Will you let us?’

A measure of clarity came back into the pained indigo eyes and it was obvious Starsky was struggling with his inner demons. His throat bobbed and the muscles in his jaw worked until finally Starsky spoke again. ‘Hutch…. help me. What’s happenin’ t’me?’

‘You’re changin’ babe. You can’t help it, but we can help you. All you have to do is put her down an’ let us help. That’s right Starsk. Just lay her down, we can give her a decent burial later. Just let us help you. You’re the one left alive. You're the one that matters now’.

‘You mean even like I am now?’ the smaller man asked, his voice lost and distant. ‘I can’t control this Hutch. I was meant to be with her. We were meant to be together an’ I felt peaceful when she was here. An’ then that fuckin’ guy came an’ …. It was me he wanted. He told us that…. We’d….. she’d….. we made love an’ then he came in and…. I couldn’t stop him. I was meant to protect her not the other way round. Why did she have to do it huh? Why did she do that? It should be me dead, not her. I needed her…. I need someone. I need help’ the brunet admitted so softly that it was barely audible.

‘An’ we will help ya partner. But ya have to put her down an’ step away from her. Then we can help ya some. Can you do that? Can you put her down an’ come over here?’

Very gently, Starsky laid Lya’s body down onto the sandy floor of the cave. He straightened her hair, gently brushing stray whisps away from her face as he looked down at his dead love and then got shakily to his feet. The bullet wound on his side was clearly visible and as he stood, he gasped and clutched at it with his hand, bending almost double in pain. Hutch looked at Perry for answers and she looked away.

‘Maddox uses silver bullets. So long as they don’t hit the heart they aren’t fatal, but it’ll burn him. It’ll be hurting like hell’.

Now that Starsky was on his feet, he felt the same old urges again, pulling at his senses. He was trapped; trapped in the cave and he needed to get out. He needed freedom. He needed to mourn his love and give her a decent burial. He needed space and big skies and most of all, he needed solitude. People scared him now, even his blond partner. For people equated to food and he needed to eat, although what remained of his human side told him that to kill was bad. He balled his hands into fists, the internal struggle almost too much to bear and he beat at the sides of his head groaning as though he could beat the feelings away.

Hutch saw Starsky sway and stagger and instinct born of looking out for the smaller man for over 10 years took over. He rushed over to his partner and caught him as he fell back against the rocky wall. But the closeness was too much for the brunet, the feelings too raw and hard to control and with a roar, the pushed at his partner’ body, knocking the blond away and swung a fist into Hutch’s surprised face.

The blond went down like a pack of cards, the full force blow almost knocking his head from his shoulders. Hutch had barely enough time to gather his wits before a dark haired whirlwind was upon him, straddling his body and pinning him down.

Sensing he may well be fighting for his life once again, Hutch shook his head and grunted, putting his hands up to fend Starsky off. But the brunet was lost in his lycanthropic changes and he threw another punch, connecting this time with Hutch’s shoulder. The blow was enough to severely bruise the blond’s collarbone and he screamed once at the pain. The noise inflamed Starsky’s blood lust further. He drew back his fist again and at that moment something in Hutch’s head told him to lie still; that wolves wouldn’t attack a prey that was already dead. Thinking back to his last fight with Starsky, Hutch allowed himself to go limp, although truth to tell that wasn’t difficult. He hurt so badly that moving was almost too much to handle. He felt Starsky’s hands at his neck, grabbing a handful of his shirt and the smaller man raised Hutch up bodily so that he could stare with wild eyes into the crystal blues.

A savage grin crossed the handsome face as Starsky bent his head to get to Hutch’s exposed neck and the blond closed his eyes waiting for the coup de grace and death. At least if he had to die it would be at the hands of his friend and fleetingly he hoped that Starsky wouldn’t blame himself. It wasn’t his fault. No-one had asked for this infection to take a hold of him. He felt hot breath on his neck and teeth grazing his skin and then there was a loud, almost deafening crack in the confines of the cave. Starsky screamed once and his body jerked convulsively and was thrown sidewayss, hitting the wall of the cave and bouncing off it to lie in an untidy heap on the ground.

In the subsequent quite which followed, Hutch sat up shakily and looked around him to see Perry, a rifle in her hand as she pointed it at the two men with an expression of sorrow in her eyes.

‘I’m sorry’ she said softly. ‘He would have killed you’.

Chapter 19

The sound died away in the confines of the cave and Hutch looked around in dismay.

‘What the fuck? What’re ya doin’? Are ya crazy?’ he yelled at the woman holding the rifle. He dived over to his partner and gently rolled the brunet onto his back. Starsky’s body was limp and lifeless, his eyes closed and his dark eyelashes seeming like smoky smudges against his flushed olive toned skin. Rapidly, Hutch searched his partner’s body for new wounds. The only ones he found, however were the eight claw marks down his back and the fresh, still bleeding bullet wound from Maddox’s rifle on his right side. The blond looked up as Perry came to kneel by him.

‘He’ll be fine’ she said gently.

‘Fine? Ya shot him! How the hell can he be fine?’ Hutch’s eyes blazed with anger.

‘I shot him yes, with a tranquilliser dart. It’ll keep him asleep for maybe twenty minutes while we talk’.

‘About what? About the fact that my best friend is so lost to me that he just tried to kill me? About the fact that somehow, somewhere down the line someone, maybe even me, is gonna have to kill him to stop him killing others? Tell me what ya want to talk about, coz unless it’s real good, I don’t wanna know’.

‘Would you talk about a possible cure?’ Perry asked gently.

‘Huh? I thought you said this was incurable?’

‘And maybe it is. I don’t know Hutch. All I can tell you is that my friends have been working on this since I told them and one of them found something in the texts of a Sir Vincent de Rushton. He was a well known warlock in England in the 18th Century. He tells of a case of lycanthropy that he seemed to have cured’.

‘How? And why didn’t you tell me before?’

‘I was going to, but things kind of overtook us. Mark only discovered the text this evening and he told me straight away. By then I’d had the phone call from you and so I just threw the things I thought I’d need together. This has to be done tonight, it’s the last night before the start of the full moon. If we leave it any later, we’ll never get him back. That’s why I brought the bag and the dart’.

‘But he’s hurt already. What’re ya gonna do to him?’ the flaxen haired man asked. He’d shuffled around until he had his back against the wall of the cave and was now cradling Starsky’s curly head in his lap, smoothing the hot forehead with his hand, the other resting on one flushed shoulder.

‘We should deal with the bullet first. It’s silver. It won’t kill him, but his body wouldn’t be able to heal around it like it would an ordinary lead bullet. If we can do it now, while he’s still sedated, it won’t hurt him quite so much. He’ll um…. He’ll have enough to deal with later’ Perry added cryptically.

Hutch looked down at the bullet hole, still seeping blood and with blackened burned edges. The area was swollen and flushed red and as he placed his hand over it, Starsky’s stomach muscles contracted and he groaned deeply, despite the tranquillising effects of the dart.

‘Do you have anything I can use to get it out?’ he asked, cursing the fact that he couldn’t just take his buddy to an emergency room.

Perry nodded and from her bag took a pair of surgical steel forceps still in a sealed plastic bag. The blond didn’t think to ask why she carried a pair around with her, or even where she’d got them. Instead, he took them, hefting them in his hand to get a feel for them and looked at her. ‘I never got as far as the surgery course in Med school an’ I’ve only ever seen this in films. What’m I meant to do?’ he asked

‘Don’t ask me love. I only supply the hardware’ she smiled grimly. ‘Um… before you start….’ With a look of intense apology in her eyes, Perry produced the heavy iron manacles from her bag and without meeting Hutch’s gaze, she took the brunet’s wrists and snapped the huge cuffs snugly around them. ‘When he wakes up, we have no idea how he’ll be’ she explained. ‘Please, don’t look at me like that, I know it’s hard for you, but if we’re going to help him, we need to take those precautions’.

Hutch grunted, not liking the arrangements, but his mind currently full of how he was going to get the slug out of Starsky’s side. Very carefully he shifted his weight and laid the curly head down onto the sandy floor so that he could kneel by his buddy’s side. The forceps hovered centimetres over the brunet’s flesh and Hutch closed his eyes, waiting for calm. He opened them and focused on the wound.

‘Hold him’ he told Perry and the woman gripped Starsky’s shoulders as Hutch swallowed once and pushed the metal into the bloody wound. Starsky’s body arched off the floor and his indigo eyes flashed open as he groaned deeply. Hutch needed his buddy to be still and Perry couldn't handle Starsky on her own, so with an air born of desperation, Hutch straddled the brunet's body and sat on the still thrashing legs, effectively anchoring the brunet to the ground. Ignoring the hurt he was so obviously causing, the blond continued to push the slim nose of the forceps deep into the wound, his whole concentration on the feel of the metal in his fingers. He edged the forceps further in as Perry battled to keep the brunet still beneath her. Starsky writhed on the ground, his breath rasping in his throat as he tried to bat Hutch’s hand away. But with the heavy metal of the manacles and chain surrounding his limbs, he was unable to dislodge the blond’s hold and Hutch carried on grimly.

He felt sick to his stomach and only the thought of bringing some relief to his friend drove him on until finally he felt something hard touch the nose of the forceps. Very gently, he widened the two halves of the metal implement until the teeth bit into the soft silver slug and with grim determination he slowly pulled it from Starsky’s flesh It came away with a dull, obscene sucking sound and as it did, the brunet screamed out and writhed on the ground, his eyes finally opening and remaining open as he panted through the pain.

Hutch threw the forceps and their silver cargo down onto the floor and shuffled up so that he could once again cradle the brunet in his arms. He smiled down into the hazy indigo eyes as Starsky locked onto his crystal blues.

‘Utssssh’ he whispered.

‘Yeah, I got ya buddy. Just lie still huh? How do ya feel?’

‘Hurts…. side. ‘Utch…. Ssscared….. Lya….. she’s….’

‘I know Starsk. She’s dead. She was dead when we got to ya. I’m sorry’.

The curly haired man closed his eyes in pain, physical as well as emotional ‘We were….’

‘I know buddy, I know. You were meant to be together. We'll deal with that later, when you're better.'

'Don't wanna...don't deserve. She...Hutch she...saved my life.'

'Yeah, she did too.'

'Why?' The pain in the fever bright indigo eyes was so intense Hutch flinched away from it. 'Can't live...like this' Starsky whispered.

'Yes you can babe. An' ya will. We'll help. Starsk how do you um… Do you still feel….?’

Starsky knew what his partner was getting at and he closed his eyes for a moment. He still felt the heat of the blood lust through his body, but he also felt a little calmer than he had although the loss of his love hurt him deeply. He no longer felt that he would rip Hutch’s head off and his body hurt so much that he didn’t think he’d have the energy anyway.

‘Not bad…. Hurts some’ he raised his arms with difficulty and looked at the heavy manacles. ‘Someone’s bbein’…. careful’ he gasped.

‘M sorry buddy’ Hutch said softly

‘Don’t be. I need ‘em….. Hutch, you should go. I don’t ttrust myself no more. I need…. help, shootin’, I dunno, somethin’ Starsky murmured sadly through the pain.

‘Starsk, Perry thinks she has a cure’.

‘Huh? I thought….’

‘Yeah, me too buddy. But she thinks she can cure ya. Will you let her try?’

Perry knelt by the side of the two men. ‘I don’t know if it’ll work love. It’s only been done once before and it’s um…. Well it’ll be painful, and it’s dangerous. You may not survive’ she explained as gently as she could.

Starsky snickered softly and then bent double as a bout of coughing took him unawares. Hutch soothed him until he was quiet again and the brunet fixed Perry with pain filled eyes.

‘I don’t wanna ….live like this. Do what…. ya have to’.

‘You understand it could kill you?’ she persisted.

‘What choice do I have?’

‘We can work somethin’ out’ Hutch said desperately. ‘You don’t have to do this Starsk. We can find another way’.

‘No love, we can’t’ the woman murmured. ‘If we’re right, it’s either now or never. We have to do it before the first moon, and that’s’ tomorrow night. And even then, this may not work. Are you sure Dave? Do you want me to do this?’

Starsk nodded. He could already feel the power surges coming back and he fought them with all his strength, beads of sweat forming on his brow.

‘Just do it huh?’

‘OK, I need a few minutes to prepare, and honey…. It’s gonna hurt, but I’ll make it as quick as I can’.

‘What’re you gonna do?’ Hutch asked, trying to keep the fear from his voice.

‘I have an ointment here. it’s made of much the same stuff as the tea I gave him to drink. Wolfsbane and Caraway with some Thistle and a smattering of Digitalis. Its very concentrated and I need to apply it at the right time’.

‘Which is?’ the blond asked.

Perry stopped her preparations and looked at the two men. ‘I’m not going to kid you. When I said this was dangerous, I meant it. Dave, I need to make seven ritual cuts on your body; smallish ones, but deep so that you bleed. It’s the bleeding that’s the secret. If we can time it till you’re at the point of death before I put on the ointment to stop you bleeding further, then it may, and I stress may, be a cure’.

‘You mean you’re gonna try to kill him?’ Hutch asked angrily.

‘No, never! But he has to be close to death for the ointment to work love. There’s no easy way to do this’.

‘No, ya can’t. I won’t let ya. Find another way! We don't have any transfusion equipment. I'm the same blood type, but hell Perry! I could never give him enough to save him’ Hutch yelled, his eyes wide with despair. He knew he’d prefer to have Starsky alive and wolflike rather than dead and cured.

‘Hutch… Ken, love. I know this is hard for you, but he's a lycanthrop and he'll be able to heal himself, even if he's cured he..…’

‘Blintz?’ the word was no more than a whisper, but it stopped the blond in his tracks and he looked fondly down at his partner. ‘Ya have to let her try. It’s my life an’ I can’t live it like this. I’ve tried to kill ya twice an’ I won’t do it a third time. It’s my life an’ my choice, an’ I say she should do it’ Starsky’s face creased with pain and he clutched at his side, the chains on the manacles rattling together as though to remind him of his predicament.

‘Starsk, I don’t want ya to… to die’ Hutch whispered ‘there’s gotta be another way.'

‘Don’t wanna die either buddy, but ya heard the lady. Now stand by an’ let her do her stuff huh? Hutch…. for me?’

The flaxen haired cop heaved a breath and shuffled over until Perry had room to move.

‘Ok Dave. I can’t pretend this won’t hurt. The knife is silver, so that your body won’t heal the cuts too quickly. Once I’ve cut you, you’re gonna start to feel tired. I want you to stay with me as long as you can. Got that? I need to calculate when to stop the bleeding. Can you do that for me?’ she smiled nervously.

Starsky took hold of Hutch’s hand and squeezed it. ‘Yeah, stay awake. Not my strong point huh Blondie?’

‘I’m here. Right here Starsk’ Hutch said past the lump in his throat.

Starsky looked back at the woman and grinned. ‘Do your worst’ he murmured and fixed his eyes on Hutch’s.

Perry took an eight inch long blade from her bag. The silver glinted dully in the candlelight as she examined it. With the pot of ointment already opened, she leaned forward and started to chant some ancient words under her breath as she weaved magical symbols above the brunet’s body. Her face was relaxed. Totally composed now that she was back in the world of black magic and dark arts, Perry concentrated on weaving her spell. For long moments she muttered the archaic, unknown words softly, her hand signs at once beautiful and mystical - a ballet born of need. Finally she looked down at her patient.


‘As I’ll ever be’ the brunet replied calmly.

‘Seven cuts, remember?’ Perry brought the knife up and carefully she made two cuts one on either side of the cop’s neck over his jugular. Starsky hissed in pain and squeezed Hutch’s hand harder, but refused to cry out as next the woman made two more incisions down the length of his forearms from the inside of his elbow to his wrists. The blood started to well out to drip onto the sandy floor of the cave. Next came two more cuts at his ankles on the inside and finally she poised the blade over the brunet’s heart. The silver flashed as she cut deeply into the olive toned flesh and Starsky could no longer contain the scream. His body writhed under the onslaught as Hutch soothed his forehead and tried to keep him still.

The blood flowed freely now from all seven cuts to mingle with the grains of sand on the ground. The brunet was loosing his ruby red life force fast; far faster than either Hutch or Perry had imagined and slowly the indigo eyes started to close.

‘Starsk, stay with us buddy’ Hutch warned urgently.

With an effort the brunet forced his eyes open. ‘Tired’ he panted, feeling short of breath as though he’d run a marathon.

‘I know, but just stay with me Starsk, keep your eyes open for me’.

‘Ya like…. my eyes?’

‘Yeah, I love your eyes Pal. They’re your best bit. Keep ‘em open for me buddy, stay with me here’ Hutch continued to urge his partner.

‘Like… yours….too’ Starsky breathed, words becoming almost too much of an effort. But as his blood continued to flow, the heat of the blood lust flowed from him too leaving him feel calm and at peace with himself more than he'd ever felt in his life.

‘You never said that before. You really like my eyes?’ Hutch said, tears pricking at the corners of them.

‘Hmmm….. Love ya ‘Utssshhhh’ the smaller man murmured as his head fell sideways and his eyes closed.

‘Starsk? Starsky, stay with me buddy…. Starsky!!’ Hutch looked up in desperation, but Perry was already administering the powerful magical potion to the cuts. It was black and had the consistency of molasses but it stemmed the bleeding immediately. As she finished and the blood ceased to flow she sat back on her heels as Hutch felt for the weak and thready pulse that fluttered and stuttered inside the brunet’s body. Starsky looked peaceful for the first time in a month, his eyes closed, his face pain free but his skin cold, clammy and pale. Gently Hutch stroked down his buddy's cheek softly. 'Starsky with me Starsk. Don't go...don't go anywhere, don't leave me, ya hear me Gordo.'

There was no answer, the brunet lost in the sleep that would either lead to death, or a new lease of life.

Hutch looked up, his eyes full of questions. ‘Is that it? Will he be ok? What do we do now?’ he asked.

Perry held his hand in hers, feeling the trembling of the tall blond she'd come to love. ‘Honestly? I have no idea. He's alive, and he seems to be fighting. I don't think he'll die. But as to what state he'll be in when he wakes? I have no idea - no on e does. All we can do now love, is wait’.


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