He needed to find somewhere safe to hide while it happened, and soon.
How the hell could he have lost track of the days like this? As he rushed along the busy sidewalk he looked up at the night sky, frantically searching for a glimpse of the moon.
Damn it, the time was drawing closer, he was starting to feel it even if he couldn’t see the moon itself. If things started to happen out here on the street… well, he didn’t even want to think about that.
Up in the distance he saw a stuttering neon sign that promised rooms for rent. He made for the door underneath it and stumbled through.
The grubby old man at the counter looked up at him from behind his newspaper.
“You ain’t drunk are ya? I don’t rent to no one if they’s drunk.”
“No, I’m not drunk, just really tired,” he mumbled. ”It’s been a hell of a day. How much?”
The grungy little fellow peered at him through thick glasses taking in his messy hair, loose tie and rumpled suit.
“Thirty bucks for one night. Upfront mind you. In cash.” He held out his hand.
The man slapped the cash into the dirty hand and was given a key.
“Room 144, upstairs there to your right. Don’t take to no loud noises neither.”
He grabbed the key and set out for his room.
As the door clicked shut behind him he threw his suit jacket on the bed. His heart was beating at such an incredible rate that he feared it might burst and he was so hot that it felt like his blood was on fire. He managed to tear his tie and shirt off before he was seized by a spasm.
As he fell forward onto his hands and knees he could feel his senses heightening. He could smell the perfume of the last woman who used the room, the cologne of the man she was with, the fact they had made love twice, and the smell of the cigarettes they had afterwards. He could hear the people talking in the room next to his, the program on the TV in the room across the hall and the footsteps of someone climbing the stairs to the second floor.
He stared at his hands as they gripped the dirty shag carpet and watched as the bones in his fingers broke with an audible snap, elongated and then merged together to form a cross between a paw and a human hand. Razor sharp claws three inches long emerged from the ends. Another spasm shook him and he shredded the carpet in pain.
As his spine bent and twisted, he could hear and feel the bones breaking and reforming as he changed. His abdomen became thinner and his chest larger and more powerful. His body lowered closer to the ground as his legs reformed into hind quarters, his feet following the pattern of his hands. His pants split apart and fell from his new form joining the tie and shirt on the floor.
His cheekbones cracked as his face elongated into a snout. Fangs forced their way down from the roof of his mouth knocking his human teeth out of the way. His ears became long and pointed, the tips higher than top of his head. His eyes became larger and changed color from bright blue to a dark brown. He could see things he couldn’t before, things on the color spectrum that were unavailable to the human eye. A pigeon sat on the window sill and he saw it as glowing red.
Dark thick fur sprouted out all over his body covering every inch of his once human flesh. Fur that he knew would both hide and protect him.
As painful as all these changes were, none of them were as devastating as the hunger he now felt. The sudden and immediate urge to feed. It consumed him. Drove him. It was his very reason for being. It would not be ignored.
He spun around to face the door, cocked his head and listened. He could hear there was only one occupant of the room across the hall watching the TV, a young woman. He crouched and with one powerful thrust of his hind legs he was through the flimsy door of his room, across the hall and through her door as well.
He landed in a mess of splintered wood in the middle of her room between her and the TV. She screamed.
He growled, exposing his fangs. From deep inside his chest he released a primal howl and sprung forward.
Now he would feed.