As I had mentioned did I want to publish the last Sunday as part of a “slow” week for the #LoveWritingChallenge. But as that weekend got quite busy I decided to give you part five of the Neubrandenwolf-Tale today.
(You can find all chapters in proper order and some more information on this page: Neubrandenwolf)
So, have fun with:
It wasn’t like she hated her job, quite the contrary; she loved helping companies in trouble and figuring out, how they could improve their business strategies. Only a few things were better than the happiness she caused when she managed to save them from certain bankruptcy. She just didn’t like it when she was assigned to some remote area she had never been to and had never even thought about visiting before. Her boss had made sure she’d go. He had flattered her and told her that she’d be the best for the job, that only she would be able to help this small company. She wasn’t, but the extra money for the trip wasn’t too shabby. It still meant that she had to spend at least four months in a completely unknown environment, with no idea whom she could trust and where she could go for her special run. This was all so much easier at home with her pack. But no, she would have to stay in that stupid hicktown. From the look of it on a map it least was in the middle of nowhere, though there seemed to be a lot of nowhere in that state.
Every time she drove up and down from the capital she checked out places she might be able to use as meeting points or starting points, but most of them seemed too far away from home. The new work wasn’t necessarily bad, but it wasn’t thrilling either. They were still in the assessment phase of the project so progress was slow anyway. The company had already let go of a couple of employees, so the basis was different and had to be adjusted accordingly. The remaining people knew that if she didn’t manage to come up with a solution, they would have to look for a new job as well. Those that only sat out their time waiting for the new job to start were a bit more chipper. The others were gloomy and it wasn’t easy working with them. Still this phase always gave her the time she needed to get to know a new town and especially the hunting grounds surrounding it.
It was larger than most towns in the vicinity, but nothing compared to the capital. Yet, the north seemed like a good place for just running across the large fields, but she couldn’t find a proper place on the map, where she could start without being seen, so she discarded the option for now.
On a way home she eventually saw an advertisement for lodgings near a lake, so she decided to make a stop and check it out before she continued. It wasn’t much, neither in price nor in accommodation: A few bungalows for rent on the property. They were small and basically had just a bedroom, a small bathroom and kitchen, but it would be enough. The lake right in front of it helped settle the matter, so she rented one bungalow for the night of the full moon.
With this matter settled her spirits for the assessment rose and she could now fully concentrate on helping these people keep their jobs. It wasn’t easy. They usually mistrusted her until they could see that what she changed actually worked. Before that she was only an outsider trying to get their hands on the remaining money of the company without accomplishing anything. She had to win their trust and the first few successful measurements were always the ones that granted her access to bolder and more risky moves. Some of her colleagues always went for lay-offs first, she didn’t like that; she always tried to keep the staff the way it was, even if they had to negotiate new contract conditions and a temporarily lower income. She made sure that these discussions were civilized and that everyone knew and understood why it was necessary. Though, those that didn’t agree with the monetary reduction for the sake of the company usually resigned, which gave her more room for other changes. Through talks with the employees and looking through the data at her disposal she had already discovered a few things they could change. Sometimes even changing the distributor of office supplies could give a small push in the right direction, which was all most companies needed to get back on their feet.
The day of the full moon went smoothly. She was able to get off work early enough to grab a little bag with a few things she’d need for the night from her hotel room and then drove off. Normally on her way towards her home she’d talk to her girlfriend, but right now she turned up the volume of her radio and listened to the new album of her favourite singer, Ed Sheeran. Loudly singing along the time flew by and she nearly missed the inconspicuous entrance to the lake lodgings. She parked her car where the owner had told her to and went to ring the bell of the family home on the property. The landlady greeted her with a smile and handed her the key after receiving the agreed upon money. When everything was settled she went to put her stuff into the small bungalow she had rented. On her way she stopped for a moment and just looked across the lake, imagining her route. It’d be so much fun to change in the water. She looked up into the sky trying to figure out how long it would still take the sun to sink and decided it would be enough time to have a phone call.
In her bungalow she sat down on the small bed. Briefly she just sat there in silence, a part of her was already excited for what was to come; another didn’t want to be overwhelmed by it. With a few buttons the screen of her smartphone lit up, showing her a picture of her brightly smiling girlfriend and her name, Rasha, in bright letters, while dialling her number.
“Hey Sweetie”, she greeted her.
“Hey, how’re you doing?” Rasha answered; concern clearly detectable in her voice.
“I’m alright. It’s strange and this thing isn’t what you’d call a five star hotel, but it’ll do. The lake is great though”, she told her and looked through the window onto the clear water. “How was your day?” She then changed the subject. Her girlfriend told her about her lectures she had had that day and she told her about the progress they made with the company. Slowly but surely the sun sank and as the darkness grew, so grew her restlessness.
“I don’t like this, Nina”, her girlfriend told her while she was getting ready.
“Don’t worry Sweetie, I’ll be fine”, she assured her for the umpteenth time.
“But…you don’t know if someone will see you-“, Rasha worried.
“Honey, we’ve been through this: It’s the middle of the week and I’ve got work tomorrow, I can’t come home to change with the pack”, Nina tried to remind her.
“I’m just worried…”
“I know. I don’t like it either, but I’ll be fine”, she tried to reassure her.
“Have you eaten?” Rasha wanted to know.
“Yes”, Nina replied, annoyance rising in her voice.
“Enough?” Rasha tried to make sure
“More than enough, I’d be surprised if I don’t sink into the lake like the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood”, Nina joked, but it was lost on Rasha, who only replied with a gasping: “Nina!”
“I’m just kidding! Relax!”
“Just call me first thing in the morning, okay?” Rasha demanded, knowing she had lost the argument she couldn’t have won anyway.
“After I’ve taken a shower to not smell like wet dog, yes I will, probably on my way back to town”, Nina answered, more concentrated on undressing than following the conversation.
“Be careful!” Rasha demanded and Nina only agreed with a short “Promise” and assurance of her love, before hanging up.
Only covered in a light bathrobe she walked towards the lake, stopping before it. Slowly she let the robe slight down her body and without another thought she jumped into the water. With a few strong strokes she nearly made it halfway through. The water was still cold, but that didn’t bother her, as a short layer of fur already covered her body. Looking around for anyone watching her she dived back under water and soon after her wolf head appeared above it. It didn’t take her long to reach the other side of the shore. Out of the lake she shook off the water and started running, the wind would dry the rest. Only then did she let out a lonely howl to the moon, bewailing the friends she could not be with tonight.
Behind the Scenes
If anyone is interested: The place Nina stays in really exists. It’s the private accomodation I mentioned here: Through a bit of Germany 2014 Pt. 1.
I hope you enjoyed this story as well.
Stay tuned for part six: Flower Moon! (Though that title might change as it doesn’t fit to the content…)