Hair in All The Wrong Places

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The author makes no claims to, but instead acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the word marks mentioned in this work of fiction.

Copyright © 2016 by Andrew Buckley

HAIR IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES by Andrew Buckley
All rights reserved. Published in the United States of America by Month9Books, LLC.

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

ISBN: 978-1-942664-98-7

Published by Tantrum Books for Month9Books, Raleigh,
NC 27609

Cover illustration by Zachary Schoenbaum

Cover design by Najla Qamber Designs

For hairy teenage werewolves everywhere
…
…
you're not alone.

A WARNING TO THE CURIOUS

I
don't want to get too scientific here, but there are a few things you should know before you sink your teeth into this book. Werewolves were everywhere in Europe in the late sixteenth century. Go to a party, there would be a werewolf. Go to work, you're probably working next to a werewolf. Bump into a stranger on the street—werewolf!

But the true nature of a werewolf is a terribly hard thing to control. Eventually you get that urge to eat someone. And let's face it; eating people is just rude. Fast-forward to today, and you hardly ever see a werewolf anymore.

Now here's the scary bit, the bit that concerns
you
. Yeah you, reading this book! Come closer. This is important.

While werewolves ceased to be a part of the world, they didn't necessarily leave it. On the contrary, humans evolved to repress the werewolf gene out of the fear they would be decapitated, shot with a silver bullet, burned alive, or a terrifying combination of all three. What this means is that every single human being is still carrying the werewolf gene. You, right now, sitting right where you are, have the werewolf gene swimming around somewhere inside of you.

It's just not active. Not yet.

To fully activate that werewolf gene, you'd have to be bitten by another werewolf, someone who turns into a giant wolf-like creature when there's a full moon. So fear not! As long as no one has bitten you recently, you're probably okay.

So why this warning? You're probably thinking there's no chance I'll turn into a werewolf because I haven't been bitten. That is absolutely true. However, it is very possible to awaken the sleeping werewolf gene by learning too much about them. This book will teach you a lot about those hairy creatures of the night, so I want you to be extra careful while reading it.

If you notice any of the following things, STOP READING IMMEDIATELY:

  • You find yourself looking at other humans and thinking
    lunch.
  • You start to
    notice smells
    you never smelled before.
  • You
    growl at people
    instead of talking to them.
  • Your
    nails begin to grow
    at an alarming rate.
  • You scratch your head in public
    using your leg
    .
  • You greet your friends at the bus stop by
    sniffing their butts.
  • You begin to grow hair in
    all the wrong places
    .

You've been warned.

Chapter One

Loser

C
olin looked directly into the reflection staring back at him from the bathroom mirror and with absolute conviction said, “You are a loser.”

His reflection agreed.

Much as he had done almost every day for the last year, Colin evaluated his body. He was tall for a thirteen year old, with lanky limbs and broad pointy shoulders that bordered on skeletal. His face looked to be at odds with the rest of his body with its gaunt features and perpetually dark circles beneath the eyes. Pale skin stood in stark opposition to his unruly dark and stringy hair. Trying to sharpen his vision, he squinted before fumbling with his glasses.

His reflection didn't look any better with them on.

After drying off, Colin got dressed and headed downstairs.

“Why are you dressed like that?” snapped his grandmother from her usual place in front of the TV. She hadn't even looked at him yet, not that it mattered. Colin didn't know what was more disturbing: that despite his grandmother being completely blind, she still watched TV religiously and commented on his clothes every day, or that he still felt the need to defend his choice of clothing to her. He was wearing jeans and an oversized hoodie.

“It's school today, Grandmother. I'm dressed for school,” he murmured.

“I know that!” she spat.

Nothing wrong with her hearing, though.

“Do you need anything?” he asked.

His grandmother sipped tea from a china cup. “I can take care of myself, you little ingrate. Get to school. You're going to be late. If you don't get an education, I'll never get your lazy butt out of here.”

There was no point in arguing.

“And comb your hair before leaving the house. I don't want people thinking I'm raising a hobo!” she said.

As Colin walked past the living room, his grandmother turned around in her chair and stared in his general direction with gray eyes damaged irreparably by cataracts. Blind eyes followed him as he walked to the door as quickly as he was able. It wasn't until he was outside with the door firmly closed behind him that he allowed himself to breathe again.

Colin's grandmother had always terrified him. He couldn't remember a time when she wasn't blind or cruel. Colin's parents lived in Seattle and over the past thirteen
years had managed to have as little to do with their only son as humanly possible. They were young when his mother had discovered she was pregnant, and the following nine months had put a severe dent in their career plans. They were both up-and-coming lawyers at large firms, and as soon as they could be rid of Colin, they'd passed him off from one distant relative to another. Beyond that, they had no parental aspirations whatsoever.

Just over a year ago, after a short stint living with an uncle and aunt in Ohio, Colin had been sent to the small town of Elkwood to live with his only living close relative—his grandmother, Beatrice Strauss.

She hadn't welcomed him, there were no hugs, no loving relationship, just a bitter old woman who spent most of her days parked in front of the TV and commenting on what a disappointment Colin was. He'd tried to help her, but she never wanted it. Despite being blind, she was more than able to get around and take care of herself. The only time she left the house was to attend the monthly town hall meetings to which he was never invited.

Colin was twenty feet from the bus stop when the school bus flew by. The mocking grins of students plastered the bus's back window as it disappeared over the hill. Thankfully, the school was centrally located, which meant he'd be only slightly late.

On his way to school, Colin passed Mrs. Flipple, a kind old lady who walked her tiny, yappy dog, Jinx, each morning, rain or shine. As per usual, Jinx went straight for Colin, yapping in that high-pitched bark that only small, irritating dogs can make. Colin nodded politely to
the old lady and held on to a secret hatred for that little dog.

The town was always overcast, and it rained almost every day of the year, which suited Colin's depressed personality. He was thankful he didn't live in a warmer climate as he'd have a much harder time being pale and awkward.

He'd survived the seventh grade at Elkwood School with above-average grades and a below-average number of friends. He was still considered a stranger here. His lack of personality, athleticism, and sense of humor didn't help in the slightest. He wasn't handsome enough to be popular or ugly enough to be ignored. He was just weird enough that students could be heard wondering aloud about him as he walked by. Now in the second week of his eighth grade year, Colin had one
sort of
friend, one unrealistic crush, and was the constant focus of several bullies who were determined to make his life miserable.

Loser.

He reached Elkwood School just as the second bell rang to indicate the start of classes. On average, each grade at the school contained only twenty to thirty students, and because of a limited number of teachers, some classes taught more than one grade or subject.

As Colin ran up the steps to the main entrance, a dark, looming shape confronted him. He looked up into the face of Principal Hebert.

“You're late again, Mr. Strauss.” His voice sounded like rumbling thunder.

“I'm sorry, Mr. Hebert. I missed the bus.”

“While I admire your use of a classical excuse, I'd
prefer if you'd made an attempt at originality. Had you been more creative, I would not feel the need to place you in detention.”

“I'm really sor—”

“But as you're still trying to apologize rather than give me something interesting to work with, I'll be seeing you after school.”

Colin studied his feet carefully. “Yes, sir.”

“Run along.” Mr. Hebert gestured, pushing his hand ahead of him in a forward motion.

Colin made his way into the building and chanced a glance back to see Principal Hebert slowly shaking his head. Hebert was a former marine and rumored war hero who had retired to Elkwood almost ten years ago and although he had absolutely no qualifications had been appointed as the school principal. He was a massive hulk of a man with the sort of physique that suggested he could bend large metal things with his bare hands. Principal Hebert was a firm believer in detention and hard work and often liked to combine the two. Most detentions involved cleaning something. Colin made a mental note that his day was not off to a rip-roaring start.

Can't get any worse.

Colin's day quickly got worse.