Andrew turns the key.
He waves a half salute to Aba his assistant as she climbs onto her moped and with a grey cloud, she rolls off into a winter evening.
On the walk home he stops off at the Butchers for 10 steaks and 14 kilos of homemade sausages, bread, milk and bottle whiskey. He’s not a drinker as such but the whiskey takes the edge off. As he leaves the store he almost collides with Mrs. Chunundharma, she comes to the Library twice a week so they stop and chat. She talks endlessly and effortlessly about her sons, they are all so read and such good scholars, yet while she speaks and Andrew makes the right noises, he can’t help but glancing at the clock tower behind her.
Now he is home. Somewhat remote, people say. Checking his watch again he turns on the radio and fills two bowls with meat in one and water in the other, taking them down he hums to himself despite the feeling he may have missed something. So he runs through the checklist again. 1 food 2 water 3 keys 4 cage secure.
During his reverie the doorbell rings. He opens the door and proffers a glass of wine.
“My day has been a clusterfuck since 9am.” His wife of 11 years takes the glass and takes a heavy pull. “I mean if you actually want to close a deal, then close a fucking deal!” She kisses him on the cheek.
Andrew smiles at her retreating back
“Darling I forgot to say but we do need to decide about Christmas, its just that your Mother called me again today… Any thoughts?”
“I have a few.” He starts to nuzzle at her neck and his hand is on her thigh. She moans and giggles at the same time.
“You, Mr.” she laughs as she pulls away.”Can wait one night.” They kiss, a tender perfect kiss. Andrew always has one eye on the clock. “Bedtime.” They giggle like children as they walk hand in hand to the reinforced cellar. Time has fashioned Andrew into a creature of habit, his days, weeks, months are described by time. Every waking moment that does not fill his mind of thoughts of his beautiful wife, his work or the mundanity of living is filled with thought of the stages of time.
This silly ritual, this devotion is why he loves his wife so much, as he undresses, she hums the ‘stipper’ music. Now he is naked and walks into the cage he built himself. She pours them both a very generous glass of whiskey, pausing only for a moment to lace one with Ketamine. They clash their glasses together and drown them in one.
“Tomorrow.” Andrew says kissing his wife again. “Tomorrow, you daft bugger.” She laughs. She shuts the cage door and locks it, then puts the keys into her trouser pocket. “I love you.” She says as she says every time
He doesn’t have anymore words to say that have not already been said..
The change comes quicker in Winter, although she has heard it a thousand time before , she still winces at the sounds. The cracking of bones and the screaming, the awful ripping sound of flesh. Halfway though the change she leaves and bolts the door at the top and bottom of the cellar stairwell.
As she draws herself a hot bath and lights some candles, she tries not to focus on the screaming below. Yes he could outlive her by 100 years and no they cannot have children. But no man has ever been more attentive, gentle or caring. He lives for only her. When she think about the whines and groans of her her friends and colleagues, their infidelities, the pain and suffering they cause by their Human condition. She has someone who has the strength of ten men but has never raised a hand in anger, he come from a Royal lineage but never once mentioned it, a man who would love, kill and lie and steal at her command. With that knowledge it is easy to love, the truth is, she has only to look into his big green eyes and know that however much she loves him, her wolf, he loves her more.