Willie stood up and stretched. Her back gave a satisfied sort of pop, and she sighed. She tested all of her joints and found that her right wrist gave a twinge when she moved it. With an exasperated sigh, she looked around the clearing and found her stack of clothes waiting by the old oak tree, right where she left it. She dressed quickly, and as she was zipping up her jacket, she heard the rustling through the undergrowth that meant one of her brothers was coming.
“Willamina?” She heard Kenny’s voice calling out, “You dressed?”
“Yeah, I’m good.” Kenny pushed through the tree line, and smiled sheepishly at his sister, looking the mess he always did. He never remembered to fold his clothes the night before, and always looked like a wrinkled wreck in the morning. His face was smeared with dirt, and he had part of a dry leaf in his hair. Willie instinctively reached up and pulled the leaf free, crushing it in her hand, and letting the pieces crumble and fall to the forest floor. “Let’s go find Samuel, huh?”
“Yeah, okay.” Kenny started to make his way through the underbrush in the opposite direction of the way he came. Winni stretched tall once more to see if she could loosen her back more before following him slowly. They broke into a third clearing, and there was their third sibling. Samuel looked more solemn than Kenny did. His face was cleaner, but Willie could see the dirt on his rolled-up shirt sleeves, where he had tried to clean himself up. For a little while, the three triplets stood in the clearing in silence, sizing each other up silently, trying to determine how the other’s nights had gone. Willie couldn’t help but wonder if her brothers could tell how her wrist was throbbing at this point. When they were done, Samuel started leading the way out of the woods proper to where their junky car was waiting. Willie climbed into the back seat and watched the silent argument between Kenny and Samuel as to who was going to drive. Samuel won, as Samuel always won, and Kenny pouted in the front seat for the half hour ride home.
It had been like this for years. Samuel, Kenneth, and Willamina Jones had been born, in laymen’s terms, as werewolves. Since they were infants, for three nights a month, they changed into wolves, starting one hour after sunset, and changing back one hour before sunrise. They had never met their father, but they had to assume that he was the one who had given them their condition. Their mother—after a man she loved left her pregnant, and she gave birth to three “monsters”—wasn’t much help to them growing up. Sam, Kenny, and Willie had learned to rely on each other, and only each other, from a very young age.
Willie stretched out on the back seat and shut her eyes to try to get a little sleep before they made it home. She was safe as long as her brothers were watching out for her.