She hadn’t expected the music to have this effect on her, even with the new subwoofers she’d just bought from Carlos so he could get his fix. But each fresh beat, throbbing through the floor and inter her body, seemed to dislodge something.

Chinks, tumbling pebbles, in the wall that she had built up unconsciously over the years.

It was a barrier to keep her small, keep her safe, keep her acceptable. People don’t like that feral edge in a woman, they say. People don’t like the animalistic gleam in one that runs barefoot through the forest snow with hair shining from every pore. She’d erested that wall to keep the wolf inside, and the music was making it crumble. She began to dance, gyrating with each fresh hit of the electronics, each newborn bass note headed straight for her heart.

In the window, she could see the dingy woods, full of trash and garbage. But she could also see herself, and she was changing. It felt as natural as bathing to slough off her clothes. A world of scents and sounds opened up, and hearing the music through keen lupine ears only redoubled its effect.

When the song was over, she unlatched the door with her nose and disappeared into the woods. The woman would return, but for now the beast was free of her enclosure, and she would play long and hard in the forest and howl deeply at every moon she could find before returning, more of herself.

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