Damned Santa, Christmas of the Damned is set in the ruined, post-nuclear apocalypse city which began with Loving the Wolf.
Sol, my unlikely hero, performs miracles every day simply by carrying out his duties as bouncer at the City of the Damned's most popular nightclub. No one even guesses what he does, until one Christmas Eve, he rescues a wounded wolf who's more damaged than anyone else can see...
Christmas Cookies: CHRISTMAS OF THE DAMNED
By MARIE TREANOR
Short story available now at Changeling Press
No one remembers why, but every year on the same cold December night, the survivors of the ruined City of the Damned gather to celebrate a miracle that never happens...
When a wounded wolf appears outside the city’s most popular nightclub, only Sol, the tough doorman, recognizes that the wolf is more than she seems. But then, so is Sol. A man of few words who hides his gift and his generosity, only he can unlock the wolf's lost humanity.
And as it turns out, the meeting of these two remarkable creatures is just one of the miracles of this Christmas night.
The fur of her head was silky soft. She stiffened under his touch but didn’t move away. He began to caress her, stroking her ears and neck, feeling the matted fur and dried blood. She didn’t wince when he touched her wounds. He closed his eyes and let it crash over him, the pain of her broken rib and bruised leg, the knife cuts in her neck and back. He could bear that easily. What overwhelmed him was her internal agony, the memories of violations and terror and grief; the impossibly conflicting fears of human compassion and animal violence locked inside her.
Deeper and deeper he fell into her pain until he couldn’t quite muffle a groan of anguish, but still he held on, feeling now the wild confusion of unsatisfied lusts within her.
The wolf had never mated. She had half-killed a male wolf who had approached her too forcefully in her last season. A loner like him, but seeking, and fearing solitude at the same time.
Sol’s head fell forward. He held on grimly, taking it all, until gradually, he felt her wonder, and slowly, carefully, he could begin to disperse the pain, deal with it. Eyes still closed, he held his hands over her wounded neck and back, reached down between her forelegs, seeking and finding the broken rib.
When he opened his eyes, the wolf still stared at him, wonder and gratitude and new, desperate fear fighting for dominance in her amber eyes.
“Come back,” he whispered. “It’s time.” And pressed his lips to her soft, furry head.
A whimper escaped her. There was more pain, unbelievable, unbearable, but he took that too, head thrown back against the sofa for support while the wolf’s body twisted and changed, limbs lengthening, bones altering shape and position. The fur began to vanish from her shoulders and back, her face shortened and re-formed, hairless and white as her long, slender limbs.
A lovely woman knelt between his knees, trembling.
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