A deep voice boomed within the chamber on the other side of the door. Dai gripped the doorknob with a trembling hand and slipped inside the room.
Raymond sat behind a massive walnut desk, surrounded by piles of books. His pale amber eyes peered at Dai over the top of a trade newspaper. Dai held out the communication from the main office.
"Sir, we're down in the polls again."
Raymond dropped his newspaper and snatched the list from Dai. His eyes skipped across the results, coming to rest on the final tallies for the month.
"We've dropped to third? How did we let this happen?"
"It's so difficult, sir, they've really raised its game and they're giving the people what they want." Dai stared at the floor. He didn't want to admit that some of what their competition had been saying was actually pretty good. Particularly the newest guy, a Navajo in Colorado.
"And what's this? Even the independents are catching us up?" Raymond jabbed his finger at several names further down the list.
"Well, sir, there will always be people who want to offer something a little different. There's one guy in Cape Town, he's really saying things that have never really been said before."
"I don't care - it's not good enough. Not good enough at all. And these upstarts in second place...how did we end up falling behind them? They're still such newcomers compared to us - how can the people listen to such a horde of screeching idiots?"
Dai said nothing. Raymond studied his face before thrusting the list back into Dai's hand.
"I've had enough. Get the PR department on the phone, I want to know what they're playing at. We've had much stronger candidates out there recently - we should be trouncing the opposition."
"Yes, sir. Right away."
"And while you're at it, let it be known that I will not let those bloodsuckers, or those mindless thugs, beat us again." Raymond swung his chair around to face the window. He stared out at the view, thick forests coating the rolling hills in ancient bark.
"We're werewolves, Dai. We deserve better than this. We will make the people remember who, and what, we are."
* * *
Image by SirSlasher. If you're interested in the Navajo in Colorado then you can buy Crooked Fang here, and the young man in Cape Town is the star of Inkarna, available here.