Jane went because she hated herself, hated her life.
"Change," she told herself in the vacant lobby, past the empty elevator shaft, and onto the stairs. "Change," said as she pressed on a door with a hole where the knob should have been.
The room beyond was a studio apartment with linoleum floors and bare walls, all weakly illuminated by an electric lamp on its side. The odor was an olfactory hallucination, a rank impossibility in such a building: an all too real antiseptic – nauseating in its intensity – covering a natural aroma, a smell like entrails and sweat, dirt and hard sun.
"Change," whispered to herself, a prayer and a talisman.
A figure was hunched over in the far corner, beating his fingers on the ground, claws clacking on the tiles. "In or out," he said, breathing out lazy rings of smoke. "Come or go."
"I heard you can change me."
He wheezed and laughed. "A predator, right? Something with claws and guts, something that doesn't back down?" He threw his cigarette, and it rolled to a stop by her leg, smoking impotent on the ground.
He stopped laughing. "I'm always fucking right," he said. His head was surrounded by distant gold, a dull halo in the shadows.
Jane's head was swimming. "I don't want to be me anymore," she said, thinking of John.
He stood up and tottered over to her, features flat and furred. "It will all be okay," he said, grip too tight on her arm. "Might want to shut your eyes."
"Will it hurt?" she asked.
"Change isn't easy. Never as simple as you think it'll be." Then he was fumbling with something in the darkness, and the needle was sliding into her flesh. "And you never know what you're going to get."
He shoved her down, and she landed on her hands and knees. The antiseptic stench was parting, now, gates coming wide to reveal what was beyond. She felt lost, felt found, felt like her body was made of dripping cement.
"It's not like that," he said. "Not visiting some guy and telling him what you want to be."
Her eyes were wide open but she couldn't move. Her limbs were loose and weighted, her flesh flowing like a silt-filled tide.
"No one else can make you assertive," he said, then he dropped to all fours beside her, circling her with a natural gait that made a mockery of her crude writhing. His eyes shined in the dark.
Her nails dropped away, but prey's hooves came instead of hunter's claws. He was straddling her now, his too-large jaws just above her tender throat.
"All others can do," he said, "is hunt you down."
Jane Doe, prey to the end, didn't struggle beneath him.