(Art credit goes to my wonderful sister-in-law Kate Chapman, thanks so much for this!)
I hope I picked the right spot. It’s a nice sunny day out, a little chilly at the moment. The moon is waning, hopefully it’s been long enough since it was full. There are a few college students milling around the campus, but they’re staying away from the little park I selected. The grass is still lush, and benches are a damp. I’m off to the side, so hopefully we won’t be interrupted. I’ve somehow managed to juggled two travel mugs of tea, and my lap top (please God, don’t let my battery die).
A tall, striking Latina woman is headed my way. She must have parked her car down the street.
I set everything to the side, and stand, wiping my palms against my jeans before extending one in greeting.
“Hi, I’m Jen. Gretchen, right?”
“Yes.” She shakes my hand with a firm grip.
“I brought tea. Chamomile lavender, with a little lemon and honey.” I pick up blue UMF mug and handed it to her, keeping the black one containing my Earl Grey for myself. I need the caffeine, she does not.
“Thanks. I’ve got some work to do this afternoon, so can we get started?” She takes a seat on the bench opposite mine.
“Sure.” I pull my laptop onto my legs, and wake it up. A fresh page awaits my words. I take a fortifying sip of my tea, then get down to business.
Interview with a Werewolf
Me: What’s your real name?
Gretchen: Wow, you don’t pull punches. Alright, fine. My real name is Maude.
Me: Why Gretchen? You don’t look remotely German.
Gretchen: I just liked it. I get to try and be someone else.
Me: Why would you want to do that?
Gretchen: Look, I know you know what I am, so can we avoid all that? Why do you want an answer you already have?
Me: I want to hear it from you, Gretchen. You know I’m writing a story about you. I want it to be you on those pages, not me. I need to get to know you better.
Gretchen: I don’t want to be the monster in the story. I hate what I’ve done.
Me: Do you hate being a werewolf?
Gretchen: Not anymore, not exactly. I used to be afraid of my wolf, even when I was in control of her.
Me: Hold on a sec, it sounds as if you and your wolf are separate-
Gretchen: Let me finish. The wolf is me. It’s not like I’ve got multiple personalities or anything. She just is a separate part of my brain. There are times when that part of the brain is more dominant, like during the full moon, where my human consciousness is none existent. I used to think that it was something separate, that the wolf wasn’t me. I didn’t think she could be controlled. I was wrong.
Me: Would a pack help with that?
Gretchen: Yes. A pack helps the more dominant wolves, especially.
(We go a little off track here, and there’s spoilers, so I couldn’t include them here)
Me: Let’s talk about Lacy-marie. How did you meet?
Gretchen: Cosmetology school, ‘89. We butted heads right at the get go.
Me: You weren’t always friends?
Gretchen: Nope. We were allies, however, keeping each other accountable and all that.
Me: New York is prime Vamp territory, I hear.
Gretchen: They’re everywhere. And not matter what pop culture says, we’re not the good guys.
Gretchen: We’re not as cuddly as they’d like you to think. Can we move on?
Me: Did you work together before?
Gretchen: No. We did meet up for a while, to catch up , but we lost touch when I left the state. It was too easy to loose control there. We met up again when Percy introduced us.
(She barely moving as she speaks. She’s just lounging there with her legs spread and arms sprawled along the back rest, except when she brings the mug of homemade tea for a sip. Her movements are liquid smooth, a little unnerving in their calculations. Back to the interview. She’s starting to tense up a little bit, I think I’m making her impatient with all the typing)
Me: How did Percy find you?
Gretchen: The old Fae can all feel magic. She was looking for Fae, going from salon to salon. When she felt the magic, she’d make an appointment. She was a client of mine for a year before she invited me to her salon. She must have been doing the same with Lacey. She brought us to her home, and showed us the salon she’d built. It doesn’t fit state board standards, but Percy’s pretty well connected, and pulled some strings so she could do as she liked.
Me: When was that? When you started working for her, I mean?
Gretchen: Eight years ago.
Me: Wow, and people still think you’re twenty four?
Gretchen: A lot don’t think to ask. Maybe they know better, maybe they don’t care. A lot of our clientele is of… questionable origin.
Me: Really? I hadn’t thought there were that many Fae in Maine
Gretchen: Maine is one of the few places left with magic.It just feels right to them here, and they don’t ask questions of those who’ve always lived here.
Me: Why don’t they ask questions about you? Maine is very-
Gretchen: Caucasian? People do ask questions about me. Percy’s always been here. Always. She goes to “Florida” over the winter. Even though she looks Greek, she’s been here long enough , as in generations, that most of the families from here, came after her.
(Again, I’m having to leave out some spoilers)
Me: Have you had any slip ups?
Gretchen: You mean since I murdered everyone I knew when I really was twenty four. Yes. I didn’t have anyone to turn to, to lock me up for a very long time. And then there’s the people who walked in on me during full moon in my own home. Dogs can smell fear, you know. Some of them feed off it. Fae wolves do. I’d rather not talk about it.
Gretchen: Not since I moved in with Percy.
Why are you writing about us? The New York vamps would be more exciting to write about.
Me: Because I’m a hairdresser.
Gretchen: And there ends everything we have in common.
Me: I admire you.
Gretchen: You shouldn’t. Why are you writing about us, and not turning us into fluffy bunnies?
Me: Uh, because you’re not fluffy bunnies?
Gretchen: Is that a question or a statement?
Me: It was a statement. I wanted to explore what Fae would really be like, without all the romanticism. I wanted to know about the choices that lead to what you become.
Gretchen: Some of us don’t get a choice. Lacey didn’t.
(Sorry, more spoilers!)
Gretchen: Why Maine?
Me: Because it’s perfect. Well, not perfect, but setting wise. Besides, it’s home, and want my home to have a bit of intrigue.
Gretchen: And you’re choosing to expose it.
Me: I’m not exposing it. I’m writing a fictional story about fictional people. I’m asking what if, not stating this is.
Gretchen: Tourism could spike if your story makes it into mainstream media. It happened to Forks, and that story was hogwash.
Me: The economy could use the boost. Besides, Stephen King can probably keep people afraid enough of the area.
Gretchen: Good point. Why do you write?
Me: Because I have to get these stories down. They need to be told, and apparently I’m the best conduit. How come you don’t have a southern accent?
Gretchen: Because I haven’t lived in Texas in over a hundred years.
Me: Do the eye doctors ask questions about your eyes?
Gretchen: No, I order my contacts on-line, no prescription, and I know my measurements.
(We talk about her love interest, and about Percy’s husband. I can’t tell you more than that, yet)
Me: Tell me about Percy.
Gretchen: Ask me an actual question.
Me: How long has she been living in Maine?
Gretchen: Since the 1700’s. On the same land too. She tore her original house down when she built her current one.
Me: When was that?
Me: That’s old.
Gretchen: She’s been around for a while.
Me: Has Hades ever visited, in the past?
Gretchen: Not in Maine. Anything else you want to ask me?”
Me: Um, if I have anything else, may I get in touch?
We both stand.
“Thank you very much for you time.” I hold out my hand again.
“Sure.” Gretchen shakes it again, with a little less knuckle crunching force this time.
There she goes. And there goes my travel mug with her.
(I’m sorry for all the spoilers removed. They’re all going in the book, so you’ll be able to read through them then!)