Now, being a barmaid at a roadhouse, one meets many unsavory characters- some mostly harmless, others decidedly harmful. It doesn't take long to develop a sort of instinct about one's customers. It was around ten-thirty that night when I got a bad feeling about two guys that walked in. They carried themselves with an air of confident authority; of aloofness, as if the bar's other denizens were not only beneath them, but totally unimportant. . . They carried themselves like predators.

There was always a beer bottle in their hands, but they didn't drink much. They didn't talk to anyone or join any games, either. Mostly they just sat there quietly and watched me. Maybe that's why they seemed so dangerous- creeps tried to come on to me all the time, but these two . . . I got the distinct impression that these men were looking at me the same way a hunter might look through his sights at a big ol' buck.

I breathed a sigh of relief when they left about an hour before closing. At least they hadn't tried to cause any trouble. Shrugging off an uneasy, hunted feeling, I walked my usual route home. About halfway there I started to feel like I was being followed. A quick peek over my shoulder confirmed that one of those men from the bar was walking about twenty paces behind me.

I almost walked past the alley that usually served as my shortcut home, but ducked into it at the last second. One end was blocked off by a tall chain link fence—one that I climbed almost every day. I was willing to bet that the man following me was not in the habit of scaling fences.

Unfortunately I'd failed to ask a very important question; one that would play a very important role in that night's events. You see, the man behind me was a stocky redhead. His friend in the bar had been taller, with fair hair.

Where was he?

That vital question was answered with a flash of light, a loud bang, and an incredibly painful sensation in my stomach. The blond had been waiting by the fence. The force of the shot and the resulting agony knocked me back against the brick wall. I looked down at the wound, trying desperately to staunch the flow of blood despite the remote, clinical part of my mind that coolly remarked that it was futile. I was dying.

In that moment, a phrase I'd heard years ago came to mind. If it bleeds, you can kill it. If it bleeds . . . and I was bleeding.

I choked on a combination of blood and tears, looking up at my murderers in bewilderment. "How . . . ?"

"Silver bullets," one said coldly. "Any hunter with half a brain knows how to deal with werewolves."

Of course. Hunters. I should have known it would happen sooner or later . . . I guess it was pretty foolish to think that they wouldn't come for me eventually. Even though I'd never harmed a human.

Light left my world as the blood left my body. Soon it would be as dark as midnight in the forest. As the last stars winked out I gave a little sigh, and . . .

The hunters looked down at the werewolf's body indifferently for a moment. Then they packed up and hit the road. Another job well done—and one less monster in the world.