PROLOGUE | who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

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📎A/N. Thank you for making the decision to try out my story and giving it a chance.
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San Francisco

No dead bodies, no stabbings, and no domestic disputes had marred his uneventful evening. Sure, there were a few bar fights he was called in to deal with—and the robbery at the 7/11 put a little variety into things—but so far, his shift had been ordinary.

Now, not so much.

After overhearing yet another conversation between the dispatchers, Officer Nigel Hardy threw his half-eaten donut in the gutter and groaned. "You have got to be kidding me, not tonight of all nights."

Officer Hardy cursed under his breath as he climbed into his cruiser. Throughout the evening, a series of peculiar attacks had been reported in the Marina District, which had since moved on to the Financial District. The emergency operators were convinced somebody was running an elaborate prank, but the reports had his left eye twitching uncontrollably and his mouth forming a rigid grimace. A sure sign something was off.

The police dispatcher who took the latest complaint debated aloud whether to call animal control, the circus, or the local mental institution to check for a missing patient.

Some panicked callers told 911 operators that a large, rabid dog was terrorizing the public. Others were adamant a dirty and ill-looking naked man was running around biting people. Further callers reported the dog and the man were together.

Officer Hardy monitored the conversation across the police scanner with a growing sense of unease. He had no choice but to intervene. He reached for the two-way radio. "Dispatch, this is Unit 233. I'm near the vicinity of the last sighting. Will investigate. Over."

The speakers crackled, followed by a series of blips. "Confirmed, Unit 233."

Mindful of what he could be walking into, he sped through the deserted streets with lights and sirens muted.

Officer Nigel Hardy was a police officer bound to serve and protect the citizens of San Francisco, but his fellow officers and the public were unaware of his true allegiances. Officer Hardy was a Werewolf, and his primary objective was to protect his own kind. He, and other Werewolves like him, occupied strategic positions on the front lines of law enforcement departments across the country. They monitored Werewolf activity across pack boundaries to ensure their existence remained a myth to Humans. He had come from a long line of protectors, and he wasn't about to fail his race—not on his watch.

Within five minutes, Hardy arrived at the scene, only to confirm his earlier suspicions had been correct.

A petrified couple was huddled in a darkened doorway of a store. Less than two feet from the pair lurked a snarling wolf. Its eyes were wild and mean. Bared fangs drooled copious amounts of saliva, and what could only be blood, dripped from its powerful jaws. The wolf's shoulders were hunched, its head low to the ground as it prepared to attack. A growl ripped from deep within its chest, and the guttural and raspy undertones raised the hairs on the back of Hardy's neck.

He got out of the car and surveyed the area. "Crap." Unlike the other witnesses that evening, Hardy understood the ramifications of the crisis playing out before him.

He took a closer look at the creature. In their distraught state, the couple did not notice what his superior vision detected. The wolf looked...unnatural.

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