The police helicopter’s spotlight bounced through layers of Southern California dust on my windshield to illuminate the Chevy’s dashboard. Hip-hop music nearly masked the scream of the police sirens behind me. I counted two news stations circling the orange-streaked evening sky above me. High-speed chase alerts were breaking news in this town, and mine could be spectacular, if I wasn’t careful.
You see, that night there was a full moon. With the sun dropping fast, my skin was already starting to prickle and burn. Griffith Park was the nearest wilderness LA had to offer, and I needed to get there fast, before the hairs started popping out and my transformation was underway. I punched the gas at the freeway exit and took the turn into the park on two wheels.
A shiver pulsed through my body as my muscles expanded to split my khakis at the seams. I screeched into the deserted parking lot near the merry-go-round, five seconds ahead of three black-and-whites and a K9 unit. I kicked the door open with one foot-turning-paw, and my running shoe popped off like a billiard ball bouncing off of a pool table bumper. I heard car doors opening, and someone shouting “Stop and put your hands up!” but my wolf brain had already taken over. I threw my head back and howled at the moon before leaping into the scrubby hillside, shoes no longer needed.