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Steopa walked to the building and entered through an open door. Teodor and Amanda both paused. She glanced at him. Teodor sighed.
“Yeah, we better.” He whispered.
This time, they undressed, placing their clothes under a large rock in some overgrown bushes. They changed. Not stopping at the hybrid wolf and man form. Teodor and Amanda changed to wolves.
Amanda's light fur shined in the moonlight. She padded into the entrance. Teodor followed close behind. Inside Steopa waited for them. Teodor heard the children. Steopa pointed down the hall. Amanda put her nose to the ground and sniffed. Teodor followed.
The sound of a radio became louder as they came closer to the double doors. Along with the general chatter and smell of stale food, the smell of drugs. Teodor's heart sank. These were kids, what were they doing with drugs? He thought. Amanda whined.
Teodor approached the open door. On one side of the large room, kitchen equipment sat rusting. Opposite of the kitchen, the kids gathered around a stage. Some of the kids on the stage slept.
Teodor realized, even though he was calling them children, the ages seemed to be from around six to some that were young adults. The older ones passed a joint to each other. Two were off to one side, preparing a needle for use.
A largest group of children sat around the radio, listening to the music. A young girl laid on her stomach drawing on a piece of paper with piece of burnt wood. The girl next to her looked up and grinned.
All heads, that weren't asleep or in some sort of chemical high, turned to look.
Amanda tentatively took another step into the room. One of the older boys stood up, grabbing a baseball bat as he did. “They look like wolves,” he said.
A girl about ten or eleven took a step towards Teodor and Amanda. An older girl grabbed her. The younger one shook her off. “My parents raised dogs,” she said. “They aren't growling.”
Teodor wagged his tail. A wolf would never do that, but he wanted to put the children at ease. Amanda sat down and looked around the group of children.
The brave young girl walked to Amanda, holding out her hand, palm out. Amanda leaned forward and sniffed it. The girl slowly moved her hand and pet Amanda's fur. She smiled.
“It's okay,” she said, “They're tame.”
The kids rushed over. Teodor had many hands reach out to pet him and ruffle his fur. Some of the older ones came over and joined in. The one that held the bat walked over and stood to the side. Teodor watched him.
If that boy had been a wolf, he would have been the alpha male. He had the stance of a leader. But there was more to it. He also was looking out for the rest of the children. The boy stood back for a reason. Teodor moved away from the groping hands and walked up to the leader. The boy with the bat regarded Teodor for a moment, then reached down and gave him a quick pat on the head.
“Tache,” The boy with the bat said over his shoulder. “Open that can of stew.”
“Wait, what?” A skinny, black haired boy asked.
“Just do it.”
Tache went to the back of the room and came back with an open can of beef stew. He handed it to the boy with the bat. The boy placed it on the ground in front of Teodor.
Teodor sniffed it. Even in his human form he would not eat this. The meat was over cooked, there were more potatoes than anything else, and the chemicals almost made his nose burn. But he wanted to put the kids at ease, so he stuck is muzzle in and ate a few large bites.
Amanda joined him. She glanced around with her eyes at the kids as they did so. The boy with the bat, laid his bat down and ruffled Amanda's fur.
“They seem tame,” he said. “If they come back tomorrow, we should have some meat for them.”
“Why Gunner?” an older girl asked.
The leader, Gunner, stood up. “Because having them around would be a good idea. They could warn us.”
The girl bit her lip, but nodded.
Most of the children had their turn petting Teodor and Amanda, the crowd dispersed around them. Teodor sat back and scratched his ears, he looked around at the same time. He found Trucker. Trucker slept on a large coat by the stage. He looked like the little kid he was, not the tough acting punk that had led them to The Pit.
Then he felt it. Something approached. His fur rose, unconsciously. Some of the children moved away from the windows, he could smell the fear on them, like a large stick of cinnamon. Teodor padded over to the broken window and sniffed the air.
What ever it was, had no smell. He whined. Amanda came over to him. She clawed at the windows. Behind them, Teodor could sense the children were becoming more frightened.
“Tashe, Jazz,” He heard Gunner order, “Make sure the doors are locked.
The other two boys ran out of the room. Teodor made out the shape of Steopa moving along the yard outside. By his slow, almost cat like movements, Teodor could tell Steopa was looking for what ever this thing was.
Gunner had picked up his bat. There was a scuffling of feet behind him. Some of the older children were rousting the ones that were asleep. Trucker woke up protesting. Teodor glanced behind him. All of the kids were now in a large huddle in the middle of the room.
“Stay away from the door and windows,” Gunner said.
Tashe and Jazz ran back in the room, slamming the doors behind them.
It was still out there. Teodor could feel it, but he couldn't see it, or smell it. The growl formed without him realizing it. It was the only sound in the room, other than the shallow breathing of the children behind him and Amanda. Steopa had even paused on the lawn. The world went still.