“Monsters Among Us”
by Bernie Mojzes
It’s not that he hated Halloween; he just found it tiresome. The incessant buildup in all the media promising unparalleled sights and frights, the ghosts and monsters of the past stalking through the modern world… ultimately a letdown. An adrenaline backwash.
And then, even worse, the interminable time afterward, a swamp of ennui and unexplainable depression, lingering days, even weeks.
The nearly obligatory Halloween Masque just rubbed salt in the wound. Every year, he came to the city hall ballroom with his pack, and every year, he found himself standing, or sitting, alone, watching as his friends mingled with others, chatting and dancing through the night. He only stayed because the only thing worse than standing alone in a crowded party was walking home alone, in the dark, on Halloween.
As usual, he found himself, about one beer into tipsy, gravitating away from the center of action. The few people he talked to stopped meeting his eye after a minute and found some excuse to wander away. Small talk was always awkward. And sometimes, the press of too many bodies, too many sounds and smells and sensations, too many disparate, unrelated conversations, became almost physically painful.
A small alcove tucked beside the spiral staircase had proven a reliably safe place in years past to wait out the night, and he once again sought its refuge.
“Hmm, so what are you supposed to be?”
The voice came from the darkness behind the stair, with an almost challenging tone that belied its soft, rounded timbre.
“A, uh, a sexy firefighter.” Feeling immensely awkward, he stuck his paw out in the manner of the ancients, and gave his name for the evening. “I’m, uh, Bob.”
“Don’t suppose you’ve ever met a firefighter.” The glove she wore was soft and warm, and exquisitely detailed, down to the fingernails. “Peg. My name. Not, you know. I didn’t come equipped, tonight.”
Of course he hadn’t met a firefighter, but he’d seen enough of the ancients’ porn to know a bit about them. Or at least, their sexual tendencies. From a career perspective, they were only slightly less promiscuous than the police. Not that anyone had gotten past the awkward first few lines of small talk to find out whether he lived up to his costume. But maybe Peg’s choice of pseudonym indicated she knew a bit about firefighters, too.
His eyes had adjusted to the dark. The kitten in front of him was wearing the most incredible costume: soft, pale, almost furless skin covered her from head to toe, except for a mane of long, dark hair. Over that, she wore a black t-shirt, with a flannel shirt over that, unbuttoned, and black jeans. Her costume was so complete, she’d even found a way to smell ancient, though there was still a lingering scent of cat to dispel the illusion.
“And, uh, what are you supposed to be?”
“Sexy scientist,” she said.
“Scientists wear lab coats,” Bob said. He could kick himself. This is where the conversation would go wrong. Reasonably taking offense at his unthinkingly dismissive comment, Peg would start looking for an exit strategy. He couldn’t blame her.
But she didn’t.
“Only in the lab.” She leaned back against the wall, in the darkness. “Out in the field, we dress for field work. I’m here observing the Halloween rituals of the post-war cultures.”
“In the dark?”
“Can you think of a better place to observe without being disturbed? Oh, oh, no, you’re not disturbing me.” She patted the wall next to her. “Hiding from people is always more pleasant with a friend.”
They passed the next hour in companionable silence, side by side in the darkness. Her scent was dizzying; it felt like he could be happy just curled up beside her, all day and all night. Or at her feet. Or (and he felt himself blush at the thought) on her lap. Her warmth, where her shoulder touched his arm, grounded him to her, as if she were electric. At one point, he broke contact. He needed to clear his head. He lifted his empty beer bottle.
“My drink’s broken.”
“Mine too. Pick me up something?”
“Something more interesting than beer.”
Coolers full of beer were scattered around the great hall; ‘more interesting’ meant a trip to the bar, out of sight of the alcove behind the stairwell. She’d be gone when he returned.
But she wasn’t. She took the glass he proffered and clinked it against his. Wrinkled her face at the taste.
“What is it?”
“‘Something more interesting.’ Bartender wouldn’t tell me what’s in it.”
Her laugh was a short bark, almost dog-like.
And then the words came. That was his curse, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Either too little or too much, in an uncontrollable flow. She’d expressed an interest in silent companionship, and here he was ruining it all. “Your costume, it’s so amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s so… complete. The variety in coloration alone would take a special effects artist days to sculpt, not to mention the textures and subtle details worked into the skin. That tiny scar, on your chin. Almost invisible. It’s a magnificent detail that makes the whole piece a work of art. That makes you a work of art. And that scent! I mean, I’ve never met a human, but I can’t imagine them smelling any other way.”
“So you like it?” She looked up at him with what might have been a touch of nervousness.
He nodded, the tip of his tongue, he realized with embarrassment, protruding like he was an unmannered puppy.
She bit her lip. Downed half of her drink with a grimace. “Would you like to touch it?”
It was hard to breathe. It felt like he was trying to think through a fog. Her soft-gloved hand found his, guiding his paw to her costume’s breast. It was warm, even softer than her gloves.
She buried her face in the fur of his chest, where the firefighter costume had come unzipped, and breathed deeply. Then she guided his paw under her shirt. He could feel the blood coursing through her. Her heart pounding. The costume was supple, yes, but it was also reactive, its nipples hardening against his pads.
Don’t be stupid. Humans are extinct.
She stroked him through his costume; he felt himself slipping from his sheath. Unzipping his costume the rest of the way, she pulled him free of it.
“Oh, my,” she said, before slipping his cock between her costume’s lips. “Mom’s diary didn’t exaggerate.”
He leaned back against the wall as she knelt before him, watching the face of ancient evil, of animal torture, of subjugation and chains and forced castration, of drowned puppies and kittens, bob up and down on his cock. It was amazing, and all too soon, he felt the orgasm building deep in his balls.
He lifted her chin with a foreclaw, pulling out of her mouth (her costume’s mouth, he reminded himself).
Her costume’s realism extended below the belt, which he unbuckled. The jeans came unbuttoned under shaking paws and peeled down over her hips. The costume had a thatch of dark, curly hair in a tight V, partially obscuring a vulva that was swollen with desire.
He swallowed, suddenly afraid.
“Where’s your… you have no tail.”
She ran her fingers—her fingers, not her costume’s fingers—through his fur. “I don’t.” She drew his muzzle to her. “Is that a problem?”
A problem? A problem? It was a huge fucking problem! Humans were gone. Dead. New Dogs and New Cats had risen up when it became clear that humans would never be willing to share this world with others. That they’d never be willing to see Dogs and Cats as anything other than lab experiments or, at best, pets. The worst part of it was that it was still there, thousands of years of domestication turned instinct, and a part of him might still “sit” or “heel” or beg for a treat—beg for what she was offering him right now—at a single command.
And be glad of it.
His nose was pressed against her sex, and he breathed her in. It was glorious.
He alternated, running his tongue up and down the length of her lips, playing with the tiny nub of her clitoris, slipping his tongue suddenly deep into her. It didn’t take too long for her breathing to quicken and her muscles to clench, drawing a whimper from her throat.
Standing, he fumbled in his pocket until he found what he was looking for.
“That’s thoughtful of you,” she said. “But there are no sexually transmitted diseases between our species.”
“What about…?” He glanced at her belly.
“Puppies? Seriously? Not a possibility.”
“How can you be sure?”
She leaned forward, stroking him as she whispered in his ear. “Sexy scientist.”
She guided the tip of his cock between her legs, pressed him against her. He found himself pulling back.
“I’m just…” He looked down at his cock. “I’d just be more comfortable….”
“Really?” She examined his eyes, and a smile creased her face. “Okay, then.”
She took the condom from his hand, tore the package open with her unnaturally blunt teeth, and rolled it down over his swollen shaft. Her eyes never left his.
“There you go, safe as houses. Now put that thing inside me.” Her face became suddenly serious. Strict. “Now.”
Was it the human command that guided him, or just plain desire? It didn’t matter. He was inside her, her back pressed against the wall, her legs curled tight around his hips, and no woman or man, canine or feline, had ever felt this good.
“I’m going to…”
“It’s okay,” she said, in his ear. Then, “Yes! Now!”
It was as if all the strength in his body collected in his balls and shot out into her; his legs gave out under their combined weight and they sank to the floor.
His costume was in tatters; hers was… her. They lay together, her straddling him, holding him inside her still, as he panted for breath.
“You look like you’ve fucked a ghost,” she said, stroking his chest.
“Or a monster.”
A pained look crossed her face, but she nodded. “Or a monster. What will you do now?”
He shrugged. He should raise the alarm. Monsters walk among us, among other things. But he already knew he wouldn’t. If monsters really existed, maybe Halloween wasn’t so bad, after all. In fact, he thought, as she pressed herself against his knot, it might just become his favorite holiday.