Kevin slipped on the wet concrete and went down hard, tumbling across the floor of the alley to crash into the fence blocking their escape. Mara cried out but managed to stop with more grace. She tore at the chain link fence, but it held firm.

“Oh god,” Kevin said. “It’s going to catch up.” He  rose to his knees, prodding the fence for a weak point. Rain had soaked them both through, so he hardly noticed the puddle in which he knelt. Ripples warped the reflection of the full moon that hung above the alley, half hidden by clouds.

Mara stepped back from the fence. “We’re going to have to fight. Together, maybe we can overcome it. It’s just a big dog, right? We’re people. We can do this. We didn’t take all those fencing lessons for fun.”

“Did you see that thing?” Kevin whispered in horror. “It’s…”

A scrape on the concrete and a low growl interrupted them. They spun to face the beast as it rose on its rear legs. A good 7 feet tall, all fur and teeth and claws, it shook with hunger and the thrill of the hunt. It tilted back its massive muzzle and howled toward the sky.

Mara lunged forward, leading with a left hook against its ribs. The beast staggered, caught off guard, its howl cut off prematurely into a yip of pain. Kevin watched in astonishment as his wife cut loose a furious series of kicks and blows into the beast’s torso. Any punch with her left fist, in particular, seemed to cause undue pain to the creature, and in moments it dropped to all fours and fled the alley, yelping, bushy tail between its legs.

They were left with only the patter of the rain. Mara stared at her hand, looking just as startled as Kevin.

“How?” Kevin stammered. “What just happened?” Mara’s face suddenly closed up, and her mouth twisted into a lopsided smile as she helped him up. She held up her hand, pointing to her wedding band, gleaming dully in the low light.

“White gold, huh?”