How to Kill a Werewolf

artwork from Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

“Silver bullets. How ridiculous…”

“You mean they don’t really work?”

He snorted. Pale yellow light from inside softly   illuminated their table through the cafe windows, and the ring in his lip glimmered, reflecting the glow, whenever he spoke. His teeth were very white. “Well, yeah. I guess they would…if any of those morons actually knew how to make them.”

Her mouth made a disapproving little moue, but her eyebrows betrayed her confusion and curiosity.

He set his cup of coffee on the tiny cafe table, leaned back in his seat, and settled his hands comfortably on his flat belly. “Well, you don’t think it’s like the movies, do you? Some high-school kid melts down some silver in shop class and pours it into a bullet mold? Loads it into a handgun?” He chuckled and shook his head.

“What?” She sounded slightly defensive, as if that was pretty much exactly what she thought.

“You don’t know anything about guns, do you?”

“What do you mean?” Now she definitely sounded defensive.

He favored her with a bemused look. “How do you think a bullet fires, magic? You can’t just put a bullet-shaped piece of silver in a gun and pull the trigger,” he said, mimicking the action with an imaginary finger-gun. “First of all, bullets come in casings. You need gunpowder to make the bullet go, to fire it out of the casing. And then you need something to ignite the gunpowder; that’s what the primer is for. The pin inside the gun strikes the base of the cartridge casing when you pull the trigger and -boom!- sparks the primer, which ignites the gunpowder. The energy of the explosion and the compressed gases force the bullet out of the casing.” He paused and lit a cigarette. “It takes skill to make that kind of thing. Not just any idiot can do it.” The hand holding the cigarette described lazy circles in the air.

She stared at him a moment, and then- “Well, wise-ass, do you know how to make silver bullets?”

artwork from Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

“No-oo. But I know the principles behind it.” Then he added, with exaggerated patience, “you don’t need to be a chef to know if your food tastes good, do you? Or a professional singer to know when someone else can’t carry a tune in a bucket?”

Her eyes narrowed momentarily but she had no rebuttal. Finally, she said, “So if bullets are out, what’s the next best thing? Monkshood? Beheading? Silver-tipped arrows?”

He smiled thinly at her. “Did I say bullets were out? No, bullets’ll work-”

“But you just said-”

“I said homemade silver bullets wouldn’t work. That’s amateur kid’s shit. Real bullets would work just fine. They don’t even have to be silver, just aimed into the right major organ and big enough to do the job.”

“Really?” she asked, her annoyance momentarily forgotten.

“Sure.” He shrugged. “They’re freaks of nature…but they’re still just animals. Like people.” He reached for his cup and downed the rest of the coffee.

“What’s that supposed to mean? ‘Like people’?”

He leaned forward and butted out his cigarette in the glass ashtray on the table. “People,” he repeated, speaking slowly, as if to a child. “Man. Human beings. Homosapiens… Scientifically speaking, we all belong to the Animal Kingdom. We’re all animals.”

She rolled her eyes so he added, almost apologetically, “I only meant that they may have the strength and senses of a wolf, and the intelligence of a man, but they’re animals. All animals can be killed, and it doesn’t take a silver bullet to do it.”

“Right. Well, it’s getting late and I have to work tomorrow, soooo…I’d better jet. Thanks for the coffee.”

He only smiled and lit another cigarette, the flame from the lighter reflecting on his white teeth and his lip ring. She thought it was probably made of silver.

© alienredqueen (pencil and Prismacolors)

Diagram of typical "bullet" - more a...

Diagram of typical “bullet” – more appropriately termed “cartridge”:  1-bullet 2-casing 3-gunpowder 4-rim 5-primer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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