“It’s Waxing Day! We are going to be slammed. Make sure you call an order into the Hollow and coffee up!” Della smiled as she reminded her newly awakened brother.
Shawn ruffled already-messy hair and yawned: his only reply.
“And we are closing at five, receipts and inventory by six. The Running’s at seven!”
“I know!” Shawn growled, “I know the routine. Thorns, you’d think this was my first Cycle.”
His big sister just chuckled and headed downstairs to their shop: Della Luna Furriers.
This was not your typical furriers. They didn’t sell furs; they stored them. Della Luna specifically catered to werewolf furs. During the moon’s cycle, werewolves often shed their pelts like cloaks to avoid any…unpleasantness before the full moon. So they stored them at Della Luna until Waxing Day, the full moon.
On Waxing Day, Della Luna was busier than ever, everyone came to claim their pelts, cleaned and aired, from the vault for the Running. The Running was more than just a gathering of werewolves; it was a celebration of their species and an upholding of their history and culture. Every city’s pack gathered, Turned, ran, hunted, and celebrated together. Children of age had their first Turning in the safe company of their parents and family instead of facing the shock, pain, and elation alone. New mates would often choose Waxing Day to start their family together. Young werewolves often began flirtations in the fur that carried on into the flesh the next day. Older wolves received the respect and support their greying muzzles warranted, as well as first bite of any spoils of the hunt, as was right. The Running was a time of community, family, and friendship, but, sometimes, also of reckoning. Wolves who had issues could choose to fight it out in the fur (though never to the death, that just smacked of old-world barbarity) and the affair would be considered forever settled.
Della threw open the shades, unlocked the doors, and turned on the lights. Della Luna’s was open for Waxing Day business!
She gladly handed over the pelts of the Bondariches, including a glossy black one for their daughter Sienna. Tonight would be her first Turning. Children’s pelts could be separate from them as early as three and kept until their coming of age at thirteen.
The Connors came by. Lovely couple, just married this past Yule. Lilian had a kind of glow about her as she accepted her grey and white pelt, and Della wished them good luck and silver blessings with a knowing smile.
Shawn soon returned with their order from the Hollow. Pearla had thrown in some of her famous breakfast sandwiches as well as scones with saguaro cactus blossom jelly (the blossoms having been picked at the midnight of their single day of bloom) to help them through the undoubtedly busy day.
Della happily accepted her peppermint mocha, skim milk, three sugars, no whipped cream, sipping it with a melting sigh. Thus invigorated, once more unto the breach! The day passed quickly, busily, and soon the sun was threatening along the autumn horizon. The lights of Della Luna’s melded into a warm glow behind the locked door as Della and Shawn quickly and lovingly did their inventory and receipts, setting things up for the return of the pelts on the following day. Quietly, Dell noted the names that had been carefully crossed out in the recording ledger, those wolves who had passed beyond the moon within the past year, as well as smiling softly at the new additions to the ledger.
When the books were balanced and ready-made for tomorrow, Della then headed into the vault, fetching her own brownish red pelt and Shawn’s grey-tipped brown and, together, they shut off the lights, locked up the shop and, arm in arm, headed off to join their family, friends, and neighbors, just as the bright, full Lady Moon raised her domed head above the horizon to greet her Children.