This was not supposed to happen. Explosions happen all the time at Science Fairs without something life changing going on. Volcanoes erupt, ribbons are given, and someone usually ends up throwing up in a trash can but no one has ever been mutated. That is why they call me Murphy. If it is going to go wrong, I will be in the middle of it by choice or not. I’ve been in some bad places usually at the wrong time. I am a reporter. I live for that kind of stuff. I needed a break so I took the easiest assignment of my career. Or so I thought at the time.
I was covering the Rossview High School Science Fair for the local paper. Tommy Hargrass had some weird light up experiment that used butterflies and fireflies. I am not sure he even understood what he was doing. Next to him was Katie Scheltz and her wolves, she raised while living in Alaska. On the other side of Tommy was Milo Kiegermeir with his experiment on nuclear power versus solar power. I was interviewing Katie when I felt the explosion at my back.
I really wish I was Peter Parker and not Jacklyn Murphy about ten seconds before the explosion. First, the whole spider-sense thing would have been nice. Next, I could get a writer to fix this mutation thing. I mean who wants to be a blue and silver wolf with butterfly wings? It hurts to transform. My fur is better than any winter coat I’ve ever owned. It’s the color of midnight blue and pure silver. My wings are multi-hued and shaped like butterfly wings. I haven’t flown, yet. The other extra sensory stuff is pretty cool. I can smell a lie and follow someone by scent. I can even out run them if I shift into my fairy wolf form. That is what everyone is calling it-Werewolf/Fairy/Butterfly or Werfaefly. I’m not making that up.
The medical experts have been poking and prodding me for the last six weeks since the ‘incident’. There is no known cure for lycanthropy short of silver bullets. I am so not taking that option. I am leaving the hospital today if they like it or not. They don’t want their human test subject to leave. They aren’t even calling me human anymore. I have reminded them that I am still an American citizen, and as a reporter, am very well versed in my rights. I called my best friend whose husband is an attorney. They informed me this morning that I am free to go as soon as I am ready. I’ve been up since four this morning packing. As soon as the admittance officer arrives, I am so gone.
Antiseptics and death are the two most pervasive odors of the medical community. I hadn’t noticed the smells before but as I walk down the hall to sign out of this medical madness, they reach out to me. I want two things really bad, fresh air and real coffee. A new scent creeps up on me, making the hairs on the back of my neck rise. I can almost taste the smell in my mouth. It’s blood.
The smell is strong, calling to me. I really hope this doesn’t mean ordering my steak extra rare. It doesn’t feel right. I catch the slight scent of fear mixed in the blood. Following my nose leads me right where I was headed in the first place, the admitting office door.
“Stop right there freak!” I wheeled around to see who had barked at me.
“Excuse me?” I eyed the police officer. He had a gun but he was scared. He had a gun aimed at my chest. I was scared.
“Put your hands in the air where I can see them. Do it now!” He barked at me.
I sat my bags down. Now I am starting to get irritated. All I want to do is leave this place. “Alright, Officer…,” I looked to his name tag above his badge. “Harrison. I am putting my bags down. You can see my hands.”
“Just shut up, freak. You have the right to remain silent.” He grabbed one wrist and roughly pulled it behind me. I winced as the cuff went on tightly. I can’t believe this guy is arresting me. I waited until he finished the Miranda speech. Finally another officer showed up just in time to see him slam my face into the wall.
“That is quite enough Harrison. Go wait in the car.” His tone left no room for arguing. Bully that he was, Harrison knew that the newcomer outranked him. I only hoped it improved my situation. He turned me around slowly and took out a handkerchief. I found myself wondering if men still carried handkerchiefs these days as he dabbed the blood off my forehead.
“Are you alright, Ms. Murphy?” I nodded at him. “I must apologize for Harrison. He is a bit over zealous in his duties.” Again, I nodded. I recognized the Police Chief, Captain Tackett. His voice was so soothing. “I sure hope this little incident won’t show up in the paper tomorrow morning. It seems there was a murder in the hospital early this morning.”
“He thinks I killed someone?” My mouth went dry at the thought. I got caught in bad situations but always as a bystander with the scoop. I was never the scoop. It’s bad form for a reporter to make the news.
“Yes, Ms. Murphy. Other people are likely to unjustly accuse you as well for everything from bad crops to missing pets. Take care of yourself.” He whispered the last part as he removed my cuffs.
“I will.” As I picked up my bags I became aware of two things. First, I was not really in the clear on the whole murder issue. Secondly, the issue of prejudice finally became a personal issue with me.