“Have you never just been a tourist?” Simon was asking Amoc.
“I’ve never had the opportunity.” Amoc tried to explain. “Things… keep me busy. Travel is never for leisure.”
“Well that sounds miserable.” Simon was disappointed.
“Plus, well…” Amoc continued trying to explain. “It just doesn't feel right, being out here in the open with so many people around.”
“Oh relax.” Simon began. “Nobody knows that you’re an American…”
“Don’t you dare say it.” Amoc attempted to cut Simon off.
“...Werewolf in Paris.” Simon finished, undaunted.
Amoc only responded with a deep, resigned sigh. It was a good thing very few people here spoke English. Simon just couldn’t help himself sometimes. It was also a good thing he really liked Simon.
“I mean, just look where we are!” Simon resumed, making a grand gesture to the architectural marvel behind him. “That’s the Eiffel Tower! The madman built an apartment up there! I’ve wanted to come here forever. You can’t tell me you haven’t just wanted to just go somewhere with no obligations.”
“Yeah, it’s nice.” Amoc conceded. “It really is. It’s just new and weird.”
Paris had been a very nice trip so far. The food was amazing, the history was amazing, it was all amazing, and he had been kind of a grump, while Simon had been enthusiastic to a fault. The attitude really wasn’t warranted, Amoc admitted to himself. He vowed to do better.
“So are we going to climb it or what?” Simon asked.
Starting right now.
“Let’s do it.”
The Eiffel Tower is really deceptive in its scale, Amoc realized. As you get closer, it becomes apparent just how truly massive it is. Simon was possibly regretting his choice of climbing the stairs as he realized just how many steps it took to get to the first level, never mind the second. It wasn’t an issue for Amoc, of course. Simon made it, only partly out of breath. The view, however, was very much worth it.
“This is why being a tourist is great.” Simon stated, looking out over Paris. “The experiences… especially when shared with a friend.”
“I…” Amoc began to respond to Simon’s obvious pandering, but the sound of sirens had been increasing for the last minute or so.
Those sirens were now becoming impossible to ignore. There was also another sound behind them… like a rolling thunder.
“What the hell is going on over there?” Simon asked, looking in the sirens’ direction.
Multiple police cars came flying out of a street between buildings on the edge of the Tower’s park. Behind them was a swarm of people moving at what seemed like an impossible speed. Screams started as the mass of people washed over bystanders on the street. They got closer to the Tower and it became clear that these people were not humans anymore.
“We need to get the fuck out here.” Simon said as he began heading for the steps.
“No!” Amoc grabbed Simon to stop him. “We’ll never make it down in time.”
Several people were now pointing down and shouting in French, clearly horrified. Amoc looked to see what they were pointing at. The husks of what were once people had started climbing the Tower, and they were rising at an alarming rate. They were killing anything that got in their way on the ground, and would have the Tower fully surrounded in a matter of minutes. Amoc thought he saw some of the fallen getting back up.
“Fuck! What do we do?” Simon asked, his tone desperate.
“We fight.” Amoc was already starting the transformation.
Simon desperately looked around for any kind of weapon, and picked up a chair as the horde arrived at their level. Screams came from all directions as they started attacking the living. Amoc finished changing into war form and dove into the melee.
Amoc woke up in his bed inside Logan’s house. It was still dark outside. The dream lingered in his memory as if he had really been there. He had never been to Paris, and certainly never with Simon. They hadn’t met until a month ago, and the dream was clearly from a time before the apocalypse.
Amoc lay there in the dark, unable to shake the dream or go back to sleep. After a while, there was a knock on his door.
“Hey, it's me.” Simon said from the other side of the door. “Are you decent?”
Amoc found the question amusing. Especially since Simon had seen him fully nude several times prior to changing forms. Humans all had different ideas of what “decent” meant. He was wearing boxers, which seemed to be good enough for Simon. Amoc got out of bed, walked over to the door, and opened it. Simon was wearing long underwear and a shirt, and regarded him with incredulity.
“How you aren’t cold sleeping like that I’ll never understand.”
“You know if you wanted to make out, there are better openers than that.” Amoc replied, trying to sound serious.
Simon just blinked for a moment. Amoc chalked up a point on catching Simon off guard. It wasn’t often he could manage it, but occasionally he did.
“Funny.” Was Simon’s sardonic reply.
Simon’s expression then became more serious, and he stood there for a moment as if he was trying to figure out what to say next.
“I had another dream.” Simon began. “They’ve gone international now. I was in Paris…”
“At the Eiffel Tower. With me.” Amoc finished the sentence.
“So you had it too?” Simon asked.
“Yeah. I had a feeling it wasn’t normal.”
“We climbed the Eiffel Tower’s steps, and then the horde came… you changed and attacked them. And that was it.”
“That sums it up, yeah.” Amoc confirmed.
“I’ve always felt like I wasn’t in my own skin in the other dreams. Like I was just witnessing things that had happened to other people. They never repeated, it just seemed like an endless parade of different memories of the beginning of the apocalypse. But this one… this was me. But it never happened. We weren’t in Paris when the apocalypse started.”
“No, we weren’t.” Amoc again confirmed.
Simon sighed and gave an exaggerated shrug.
“I wish I knew what any of this meant, and why I’m dreaming about it. Now apparently I’ve dragged you into it too.”
“You’ve not dragged me into anything.” Amoc calmly responded. “This is The Veil at work. I don’t know why it’s doing this, but I’m going to talk to Logan tomorrow about the next step in figuring it out.”
An awkward pause filled the air, as Simon stood there in the dim moonlight.
“How did you get out of the city?” Simon asked. “I only saw it from the water, it looked like complete chaos.”
That was a question Amoc had been hoping to put off for a while longer.
“It was chaos.” Amoc began, lowering his voice.
They were the only people in the main house besides Jade and Logan, but he wasn’t going to risk anything until he had talked to Logan.
“You remember how a while back I asked you to never think of me as human?”
“Yeah, it was kind of scary.” Simon admitted.
“That was the point.” Amoc let that statement linger for a moment. “I may look like it, sound like it, and act like it, but I am not human. A lot of Garou would call me ‘high functioning’. Others had less friendly names for it, but the main thing it meant is that I was better suited to living in a city than most of them.”
“Not all Garou can safely be among humans.” Amoc continued, carefully gauging Simon’s reaction. “Some don’t have that ability to switch the beast off. Some can, but it’s only a toggle. A few like me can dial it up or down as needed, when needed. The day the apocalypse started in the city, I turned that dial way up, and I left it there until I was out. Anything… or anyone that got in my way… wasn’t in my way for long.”
The silence following Amoc’s last sentence was deafening. Simon was holding a neutral expression, but little tics indicated it was being tested. It went on for some time before Simon said anything.
“You did what you had to.” Simon finally said.
“I’m not proud of it.” Amoc rationally understood how heartless it must have sounded. “I wish there had been another way. The city was losing blocks by the minute. If I hadn’t… I would have died with the rest of the city.”
“And I wouldn’t be alive today if you had. You don’t need to justify anything to me.”
Amoc still felt he needed to. He wasn’t sure if Simon’s acceptance of it was a good thing or a bad thing. That wasn’t something he was going to figure out right now, and there had been enough grim talk for one night.
“So…” Amoc resumed after a few moments of quiet. “If you’re just going to stand there and stare at my abs all night, people are bound to start talking.”
Amoc leaned back into a more suggestive position to emphasize the point. Simon blinked again. Amoc chalked up another point. He was on a roll tonight.
“God you’re filthy.” Simon’s tone went sardonic again. “I’m going to try and get some sleep.”
Amoc couldn’t help but grin as Simon turned to leave the room. He considered Simon a good friend, and enjoyed poking at him in ways that occasionally made him uncomfortable, or just made him laugh. Both at once, if he could manage it. Maybe it also helped clear the images of undead attacking Parisa, which was what a friend would do after a bad dream. Or a brother.
We’re not that close yet, but maybe eventually.
Amoc laid back down in his bed, and likewise made an attempt at getting more sleep.