During the dance is when they change. Watch the sky, count the days. Their bare feet trace patterns in the dirt, pine needles and broken glass underfoot, but calloused skin feels no pain. With her arms around his neck and her long skirt grazing the thick hairs on his legs, he feels a brittle tinder-snap inside. Her eyes reflect the moon in double vision; he drinks the absinthe of her open mouth, the kindling catches a spark.
Fanning the flames, she twirls, he pulls her closer. As he grabs her waist, she bites his shoulder and presses against him. Pushed back down, a rough tree her lover’s pillow, she laughs up at the stars, sliding her toes up between his thighs. In this half-light of a torch-lit night, his features not his own, arched brows and lupine bones, he snarls and falls to his knees. She makes her offering to the old gods. The pounce, the leap, the scratches she leaves across his back as the change begins. Her eyes flash yellow as he accepts her gift of blood and skin. She feels his shape move beneath her skirt. Sharp teeth gently scrape. Her hands rake through fur, howling.
Watch the sky, count the days. This night is dark: no moon, no stars. She howls again, this time in pain. The pack joins her, and then: one howl faint, small and new.