This Is It, by Cecil Washington


Troy took a half-day off of work so that he could meet his boys at the basketball.  He gave his buddy Ivan back the Def Jam DVD he borrowed a year ago.  Everyone thought Troy’s behavior was strange:  he was rarely on time for get-togethers with friends and he notoriously forgot to return any he borrowed, except for money.


It bothered his friend Ivan so much that he called Troy’s wife, Joyce.


“I don’t know Joyce,” Ivan whispered in his cell phone as he watched Troy drive home.  “Something’s wrong. I hope he doesn’t try anything stupid again.”


Joyce smiled, hoping that levity would breathe into her voice.  “Don’t worry Ivan,” she said as she stood in the kitchen and braided her daughter Kiana’s hair.  “I’ll keep an eye on him.”  She hung up the phone.  “Kiana?”


“Yes, mommy,” beamed the little five-year-old. 


“Daddy’s not feeling well, so you know that that means.  You’ll have to be strong, ok?”


“Ok, mommy,” Kiana moaned.


Troy came home and did the avoidance dance.  “Yes, hey, everything’s fine,” he said, dishing out rushed kisses and hugs. 


“Troy….” Joyce started.


“I’m just, uh, tired, that’s all.  I want to go downstairs and mediate.”


Joyce and Kiana both eyed him with suspicion, but all they could say was “Ok.”


I took him an hour of sitting alone in the darkness before he could work up the nerve. This is it, Troy though has he brushed his dreads out of his eyes.  I've waited long enough.  If I don't do it now, I'll----


Kiana’s voice broke his concentration.  "Daddy?"


Troy put the silver dagger in his lap as he looked over his shoulder.  He'd been sitting

cross-legged for a few hours in the darkness of his damp basement, with only a candle to keep him company.  "Yes, baby girl?"


Kiana ran over and gave him a warm hug.  "Why are you sitting in the dark?"


"I'm waiting, Kiana."


She noticed the dagger in his lap.  "You're scaring me, Daddy."


Troy sighed.  "Look, I've explained it to you before, I---"  His hands shook and he stuttered. 

"I-I-I-I g-g-got to end----"




Joyce sprinted downstairs.  "Kiana, come to me! Now!" She clenched a dark wooden cross in that was almost as brown as her smooth, beautiful skin.  "Mommy's a demon-hunter, remember?  I can protect you."  Her muscles were feminine, yet bulging in anticipation as she gestured to Kiana.


Kiana's eyes flowed with tears.  "No, Mommy!"


The fangs poked from behind Troy's lips and the bubbling wolfen barks gurgled from his throats. 

Speech and growl united into hideous demonic diction.  "Go! Now, little girl, before I eat you!"  He clawed desperately at his daughter, but missed, her evading his grasp like a quickling.  “You have your mother’s hunter blood!


Kiana hid behind Joyce. "Daddy, stop it!”


The change was complete.  A werewolf crouched in Troy's place:  half man, half canine creature, trying desperately to keep his humanity.


Joyce held up the cross.  "Back, beast!  In the name of all that's holy, I command you."  She pushed Kiana towards the steps.  This time, Kiana ran upstairs.


Joyce eyed the silver dagger that lay within inches of the werewolf's grasp before looking eyes with the creature.  "You're still my husband, Troy.  I will not let you take your own life.  The Bible forbids it."


"No!!!" Troy howled.  He snatched the dagger up, whimpering as the silver burned his hand.  "Must end this!"  The charred smell of were-flesh watered Joyce's eyes and offended Troy's own canine nose.  But he still held firm to his wish for death.   He placed the tip of the dagger to his chest.


And thrusted. 


He pierced fur but not flesh.  Joyce kicked the dagger from his hands.  He leaped up at her, clawing and biting with animal fury before she placed the cross against his face.  “Down demon!" she screamed, beating him  in the face with the cross.  Troy had forgotten about her super-human strength and speed.  She needed every bit of it to wrestle him to his stomach and put him in a headlock. She squeezed and squished her arm around his neck until he went unconscious. She checked her pulse and sighed in relief.  “Thank God!”


Kiana crept from upstairs.  “Wow, Mommy.  You’re tough!”


Joyce smiled.  “You’ll be just as tough as Mommy when you become a devil-hunter.”


Troy awoke the next day after he’d returned to normal, flat on his back in chains.  Kiana stood next to him, rubbing his forehead with a wet cloth.  "Kiana," he moaned, "didn't I tell you to stay away from me?"


"I can't," she said.  "Mommy said I need to learn how to deal with you."


He looked up and saw Joyce smiling at him.  "I love you, baby, but you’re crazy for staying with me."


She laughed.  "My grandfather's a djinn and my werewolf dad makes me immune to your bites.  My mother's was a demon-hunter until she was fifty.  Your antics are nothing special."