Found this Blogfest this morning and worked on my story all day in between wiping the kid's nose and shoveling snow and fetching coffee for the husband. Needs some polishing, I admit it, but I wanted to get mine in before time was up!
“Happy birthday, Caine,” the bartender said and set down another full glass of beer in front of him.
He had yet to finish his second and now he was two behind.
“What’s so happy about it?”
“You’re breathing, right?”
“For the moment.”
“There you go, glass half full.”
Caine didn’t argue the point further. He knew better. Frank had truck loads of bartenderisms and optimism that he loved to share with his customers. Caine sipped his beer wondering what the second half of his day might bring. Something bad always happened on his birthday.
His mother would say that was the day she had been cursed with him. He didn’t know what his father would say. He had never met him. He wasn’t sure his mother would know the guys name or even what he looked like. Apparently he had been conceived in a drunken haze in the back seat of an abandoned car.
Being a cop Caine had seen his fair share of misery. Being a werewolf he had seen just about everything else. But his birthday never failed to bring him more grief. Sometimes the weather went all crazy. Sometimes it was people. Sometimes it was the whole universe.
It seemed to be worse on the sevens. His seventh birthday a tornado ripped through the trailer park where he lived with his mother and destroyed every home. On his fourteenth birthday the principal of his high school set the school on fire with all the kids still inside. On his twenty-first, a solar eclipse changed him for the first time from human to werewolf.
Today was his twentieth-eighth. So far, it had been quiet but when his cell phone rang he had a feeling that was about to change.
“Shaw,” he answered.
“It’s Douglas. I need to see you.”
“Captain, it’s my day off.”
“I know that. Just come down to my office.”
“I’ve had a few rounds.”
“Get a cab.”
The line went dead in his ear and he slid his phone shut. The other beers waiting for him silently mocked him. If he had turned off his phone he would be enjoying those instead of leaving them behind.
In twenty minutes he was across town and knocking on his boss’s door. He opened it to find Captain Douglas sitting at his desk across from a very large man.
“Sorry Captain, I’ll come back,” Caine said.
“Come in Lieutenant. This gentleman has come to see you.”
“Why? What’s up?”
The man stood and towered over the Captain but he wasn’t much bigger than Caine himself. When he turned Caine tried to hide his shock. If he had ever wanted to see himself ten years in the future this was his opportunity.
“Because, I’m your uncle, Ian McGrath.”
“I’m going to give you guys a few minutes to talk,” Captain Douglas said and walked out of the office closing the door behind him.
“Don’t you want to know why I’m here, Lieutenant?”
“Because it’s my birthday," Caine said.
“Twenty-eight today, yes?”
“It’s time to bring you home to your family.”
“I don’t have a family.”
“I understand your mother passed on a few years ago. I’m sorry.”
“She drank herself to death. No one was sorry.”
“There is no doubt that you and your mother were served a raw deal. But, now it’s time to bring you home. There are people you need to meet. Things you need to be told.”
“You’re a few years late.”
“We just found out about you.”
“There is a lot we need to talk about.”
Caine sighed. “Look, you don’t have to be all mysterious. I already know what I am.”
“Maybe what, but not who. Or, is it whom? I never get that right.”
“Is that your opinion or fact?”
“Fine. Your father is dying.”
“Don’t care,” Caine said and turned towards the office door.
“When he does, you will be the next in line.”
“That’s fine, but I have to warn you. While you are still alive no one else will be allowed to be pack leader. And a group without a leader is very dangerous.”
“While I’m still alive?”
“Let’s just say that anyone who wants the job will be coming here to kill you.”
“Great. Best birthday ever.”