Bait and Switch
Late April 2017 – New Moon
Banques - "Hey man, nice truck!" The youngest of the local yokels walks on up to the pack, trying to strike up a convo with the visitors. Michiganders are friendly people, after all. No one's feeling particularly talkative, except for the boys hanging back, who heckle their more gregarious companion. Conversation's just not happening, and the local turns back to his friends.
But something is up. JT feels like he's been sprayed with poison oak, his skin itches and burns. Everyone feels a bit off. Amina hears something out in the deepening darkness. Ky's ears and jaws are buzzing. Isaac feels something he can't name. And then Amina catches sight of the rising new moon, a barely visible disc in the evening sky, and she turns to look at JT…
JT's irritation gives way to snapping and breaking of his bones. Isaac watches in rapt fascination as his friend's shoulders and neck twist and pop as muscles swell and flex out of nowhere, pulling JT into a new and imposing shape. Amina shouts "run" to the others, and she and Ky dash for the shop. A fury overwhelms JT, and in futility he tries to rip the door off his truck, then turns to raking newly grown claws through his seat cushions.
The commotion renews the attention of the three good old boys, and two of them cautiously advance on the beastly JT. "Are you OK?" The only answer is with snarls and gnashing teeth as the nusuzul lashes out at them. A claw rakes across the friendly one's chest, and in a fit of rising Lunacy, both men fire rounds into JT's now-massive chest, as his packmates watch from inside the shop.
JT staggers back for second, and loses the last sliver of his composure as the Death Rage breaks free. His already brutish form lurches and snaps, and a coat of fur sprouts from his rippling flesh. Two pathetic lead slugs fall from closing wounds in the monster's chest to the concrete. Without so much as a growl, the beast that was once JT leaps onto the more social of his prey, and scatters the mortal herd. The two remaining rednecks leap in their truck and peel out, and with no enemies to tempt his rage, the monster drags the broken corpse into the cornfield to savor its meal.
Inside, as the immediate danger seems to have passed, the remaining pack tries to figure out a plan. Khwaga, the cashier, admits although she has a connection to the People, her practical knowledge is minor. She erases the security video, and grabs some cleaner and a bucket from the mop closet. When a wolf pokes its bloody muzzle out of the cornfield, Khwaga tells the shaken JT to go in and clean up, and the get out and find the cabin. She promises to call her "Auntie" to come help the newly changed werewolf before he becomes an even greater danger.
The cabin is a musty, primitive shack hidden down an overgrown road. Signs dot its boundaries, declaring it a state-owned toxic hazard. Unsure, the pack inspects the immediate grounds, and find an outhouse, and a rack for drying meat, and a ravine filled with blackberry bushes. Ky picks the lock to gain entrance to the cabin, and finds a room barely furnished a futon and a pot-bellied iron stove. Picking the lock of an interior door, a room filled with books and scrolls, and a variety of odd bone fetishes adds to the creepy atmosphere. The pack sets a watch, but they survive the night without an incident.
THe next day, they explore the environs. Isaac and Amina make a trip to the lake, to get water for boiling, and find a cove where the water is murky and the trees are twisted. Judging this to be the toxic threat tainting the property, they move up the shore to fresher waters. Ky checks out the cabin's lot, finding little to interest her. JT jogs up the road, in hopes of finding a shop to stock the cabin's larder. He finds first the guarded gate of the Michigan Militia's local camp, gets eyeballed, and carries on, only to repeat the process on the way back from his successful hunt.
The next day, company arrives. A woman on a motorcycle appears, introduces herself as Azhar, and proceeds to lay it out on the line for the pack. Werewolves are a thing, yadda yadda yadda, and she's here to run the pups through orientation. Feeling themself, Ky does their best Steven Universe, and manages to unleash the wolf inside with perhaps the least destructive First Change ever witnessed, thanks to the presence of a fresh Half-Moon.