Jen froze. Rhys studied the damp, quiet night, waiting for her to digest what he’d just said.
“My son’s alive.”
“You know that for certain?”
“Short of me personally seeing it with my own eyes, yes. The intel I have is that he is alive.”
“And that’s from a reliable source?”
“As reliable as they come. I’ve never gotten bad information from this source yet.”
Silent tears crept down her face to mingle on the pavement with the droplets from the trees. Then she took a deep breath and shook her head a little.
“Now. What do you mean about his father?”
Rhys rubbed his chin and glanced around again.
“Spill it. You’re stalling.”
“You’re right. I’m stalling. But not for why you think,” he caught her gaze and held it with an intensity Jen had never experienced before, “If I explain what I meant by that, there’s no going back. You cannot unlearn what you will learn if you get that explanation.”
“Why the warning? What is so bad about my ex that it deserves this?”
“Not bad. Just not something that is easily understood. And, like drugs, once you find out there’s no way to not know anymore. The knowledge will be there in everything you think and do.”
“Kinda like Alice.”
“Yes. Only this isn’t the same as Wonderland. This is our lives. Here. Now.”
Jen turned and paced up and down three squares on the sidewalk. She could feel Rhys watching her, waiting for her answer. She didn’t really want to know, yet there was something compelling her to find out. Something whispering that this wasn’t just about her ex, but something bigger.
Whirling on her heel, she marched back to Rhys, “Tell me. I’ve been through quite the tour of Hell already. This’ll be just another part.”
Jen thought she saw Rhys smile a little. Something told her he wanted her to know.
“Werewolves are real. Your ex is one.”
Jen laughed, “Nice. Now what’s the real story?”
Rhys looked around for several seconds then stepped back. Jen opened her mouth to say something when a hazy cloud began shimmering around Rhys, almost like a heat mirage. Jen rubbed her eyes, but it was still there.
“Mr. Waylon?” Jen scrubbed at her face again, “Rhys?”
The haze cleared. Jen was left staring at a wolf. Blacker than a moonless midnight and almost twice as large as the average grey wolf, the wolf’s yellow eyes pierced hers with an intelligence that confirmed. It was Rhys.
“Holy shit,” Jen wanted to scream but almost didn’t manage a whisper.