The two wolves stood in the centre of Main Street, facing each other down like two men about to draw their pistols and settle their dispute in the manly way. Their hackles were high, lips pulled back revealing a mouth full of sharp teeth that were covered with saliva. Their eyes burned a strange yellow, and a deep snarling growl seemed to exude from them, not coming from their throats so much as it seemed to ooze through their skin. It didn't matter how many times the Sheriff fired his Colt into the air or the ground close to the warring beasts, their concentration was not to be broken.
The people of Craton City where of course no strangers to the occasional duel, especially not in front of the Saloon. Craton was after all the only real town in between the big city in California and the current Gold streak in the hills beyond. It was the perfect meeting place for men on their way to make their fame and fortune, to meet men coming home broken and empty handed. It was only natural therefore that tensions should be prone to flare.
It also wasn't a completely foreign sight to see wolves wandering around, although granted never in the centre of town, and certainly not creatures that looked like the ones standing before them all now.
Their bodies were large, almost double that of a normal wolf, thick hulking lumps of muscle clung to their frame making them bulky and undeniably powerful. Their fur was thick and matted, clumping together in a shaggy manner that only added to their look of feral aggression.
The entire town now stood on the boarded sidewalk that ran down either side of the sandy street. Not even the horses tethered up and points along the route made a sound.
Suddenly it started, the two wolves leapt at each other, flashing teeth, and swiping claws. They collided with a heavy thud and fell to the floor, snarling and howling at each other, blood was spilt, one inflicting a wound in his foe's flank with a strong swipe of his front claws, while the other sank his teeth into the shoulder.
Their scuffle kicked up a cloud of dust, which hung in the air like a fine mist, obscuring the view for those standing farthest away. When it cleared the fight was over, one wolf, the larger of the two stood over his opponent, its jaw wrapped around the neck of its foe, teeth sinking through the fur but stopping short of breaking the skin. The beast was panting, breathing hard and heavy, its back legs trembled as it held firm waiting to be awarded victory.
What happened next sent the people of Craton running into their houses shouting that the devil had finally come to town, with the exception of one young boy who stood where he was, shrugging off his mother, who in terror fled and left him behind.
The wolf who lost changed first, his fur melting away, his powerful frame shrank, the skin darkened slightly, and all four legs changed, the hind ones lengthened slightly the paws turning in feet, while the front pair shortened, claws becoming fingers, the pad a hand. The only fur that remained stayed on the mans head, it was jet-black and ran down almost to his shoulders.
"You win big brother. We'll move straight on to the hills." He whispered in a choked voice, his face covered in a layer of sweat as he stared into the eyes of the other wolf, whose grip didn't lessen until the change was almost complete and the man's jaw needed to return to its more human range of motion.
"I told you baby brother. Pa left me in charge after them injuns got him, I make the decisions." He said as he stood up and offered his defeated brother a hand. They stood, completely naked in the centre of the street their quarrel seemingly settled, turning they walked away together, leaving town the moment they were dressed. Their clothes neatly folded atop their saddles.