“You’re kidding, right?” Gerard looked up at the scruffy doctor. “A werewolf? For real?”
“For real.” House was flipping through one of Gerard’s magazines. “I’m sure there’s an article or two in here you could check out.”
“It’s mostly music.” Gerard pulled the magazine out of House’s hand. “Nothing about werewolves.”
“Well, maybe you can submit an article after tonight.”
“Why after tonight?” Gerard didn’t have a calendar handy.
“Can’t you feel it?” House was suddenly concerned. Had he been wrong?
“Your hair is thicker.” House pulled at the boys hair and got a slap on the hand as a thank you. “You’re certainly more irritable.” House smiled. “Sniff the air, what do you smell?”
“Huh?” Gerard looked at the old man like he was some sort of joke.
“Sniff.” House demonstrated and Gerard followed suit. “What do you smell?”
Gerard sniffed deeply. “I smell...blood. Lots of blood, and flesh. People.” He sniffed again.
“How does it make you feel?”
Another sniff was followed by one word. “Hungry.” Gerard began to cry as the truth hit him. House was unmoved.
“I smell antiseptic.”
“I don’t give a fuck what you smell!” Gerard threw his fists onto the bed. “Make it go away. You’re a doctor, make this go away!”
“I’m not a witch doctor,” House chided. “The only thing I can do is put you down.”
“What?” Gerard was confused.
“Put you down? Didn’t you own a dog as a kid?”
“Euthanize you; send you off for the big sleep?” Gerard still wasn’t getting it. “Kill you!”
“What?” His dark eyes widened in fear. “You want to kill me? What kind of doctor are you?”
“The kind that doesn’t want to get eaten by a moody teenager with bad hair.”
“Will not be you. You have no control over this. Once the moon rises, you will be a savage, mindless animal, and you will kill anyone who comes in contact with you.”
Gerard thought about this. The nightmares came flooding back. The tears grew heavier. “I think I already have.” His memories of the past three full moons were nothing more than bad dreams to him. He didn’t remember them as real. He’d never imagined they were real.
“Can’t I get rid of it?” He looked so much younger now, much more helpless and small.
“What kind of Goth kid are you? Don’t you even read the classics?”
“There is no cure for werewolfism, unless you count a silver bullet. The only way to stop it is to kill you now, before you change.” House put a bottle of pills on the small table beside Gerard’s bed. “You’ve got three hours till the sun goes down.” He got up and walked to the door. Before leaving he took one last look at Gerard Smith. He was just a kid. This wasn’t right. House sighed and walked out, closing the door behind him.
Gerard looked over at the bottle. He thought of all the times he’d wanted to kill himself. The slit wrists; the time he threw himself down the stairs; the bottle of sleeping pills he stole from his grandmother’s purse. He’d never really meant it. Maybe everyone was right and he was just a poser, a fake. This was his chance to prove them all wrong.
He picked up the bottle and thought about the nightmares. That lady who’d been taking a late night stroll. She hadn’t done anything to him, she’d just crossed his path and he’d attacked her. She was strong, and she managed to get away, but if she hadn’t fought so hard, he would have killed her.
“I don’t want to die!!!!” He shouted into the room.
The door opened and Dr. House came limping back in. He walked over and grabbed the pills out of Gerard’s hand. “Good.” He tried to hide his real relief behind a veil of sarcasm. “Then we’ve got to come up with a plan.”
In a small house a few blocks away from the hospital a plan was already in action. Douglas Previn had made a trip to the hardware story and was now building a small cage in his garage. He had never welded before, and when the store clerk asked him what he needed all that equipment for, he said he was building a doghouse. He wasn’t sure the guy believed him.
Now his masterpiece was complete. It was ugly as sin, but it was strong and hopefully it would survive the night. “Do you like it?” He asked his beloved wife. Thoughts of putting her in there broke his heart.
“Are you sure it’s strong enough?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know what...happens.” He choked back his worst fears.
Brenda kissed him on the cheek. She hadn’t gotten up the courage to go into detail. She didn’t like to talk about it at all.
“Now what?” He looked at her helplessly.
“We have dinner, then I go in there for the night.” She nodded toward her cage.
“There’s no other way?”
They headed in and had a lovely lasagna. They washed up together as they always did, her washing, him drying and putting the dishes away, then they headed back for the garage. The sky was growing dark and the moon was almost visible on the horizon.
“How long before...when does it happen?”
“Not long.” Brenda pulled something out of her pocket and handed it to him. “You’re going to have to give me this. I can’t do it myself.”
He looked down at the syringe. “What is it?”
“A tranquilizer. It will knock me out, hopefully all night.”
“Then we don’t need the cage,” he said hopefully.
“We do. I don’t know how long the tranq will work once I’ve....changed.”
“I wish there was another way,” Douglas embraced his wife.
“So do I,” she whispered in her ear, then felt a sharp prick. He’d administered the tranquilizer.
“I love you Brenda.”
“I love you too Douglas.”
He held the door for her as she walked into her cage, then he lovingly placed the shackles on her wrists and ankles. “Must I?”
“Yes. And make sure they are tight.” A tear was rolling down her cheek. She was hating every minute of this.
“Yes my dear.” Douglas was crying too. He never cried. He was one of those solid, strong men who never cried. But this was breaking his heart, and he cried.
“I love you.” She gave him one last kiss before he shut the door on her.
“Can’t I stay...”
“NO!” She snapped. She could feel the moon pulling at her. She could feel the change coming.
Back at the hospital, House was racing against time. He called the Ducklings into the room. “We’re going to have to monitor him all night.”
“But why? He’s in a coma.” Chase didn’t get it.
“I know. I put him in it.” Duh.
“Why?” Cameron asked, concerned for the boys welfare.
“Because he was getting on my nerves. Kind of like you.” House looked at her dangerously. Cameron backed up without realizing it.
“You’re trying to make it through the night.” Foreman laughed. “You think he’s gonna change into a werewolf?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” House snapped.
“Then why the sudden coma?”
“The kid is in pain. You all want him to just lay here and suffer needlessly? What kind of heartless bastards are you?” He looked at Cameron. “Sorry, heartless bastards and bitch.” He nodded to her like a perfect gentleman. “So, who wants first shift?”
“I’ll take it,” Foreman said at the same time Chase said he wanted it.
“Ooh, you’re going to have to fight for it.” He turned to look at Cameron. “Go get the Jell-O.” She looked at him, confused.
“Take it,” Foreman said to Chase. House grinned and nodded. He thought Foreman would be the first to give in. Mostly he thought Chase would be willing to Jell-O wrestle for it.