Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Crescent moon

I was crossing the fields, going back home from the pub. The crescent moon was like an ochre yellow dagger glinting behind sharp grey clouds, and I could barely see one step ahead of me.

Without a warning, something hit me hard and fast in the back. I put out my arms to break my fall, and landed on my side. It jumped on me, and bit me where the neck joins the shoulder. Luckily the bite was closer to the shoulder. I pushed it with all the strength I could muster, rolling over and using the impetus to unbalance it. It growled. It bit me in the arm. Blood gushed out of both wounds. I tried to kick and push free but it was pinning me down with its weight. It tried to bite my neck again. I protected it with my arm and it sank its teeth into it, taking a big chunk off. It was so quick. I knew it was a matter of seconds before it got me in the neck. I thought of my wife, I saw her in my mind, and a flashing pang of sadness mixed with my fear. The creature stopped and narrowed its eyes as if listening. I was terrified. I saw a blend of curiosity and malice in its eyes as it looked straight into mine. It looked a lot like a wolf, but bigger and longer; its eyes were human and they shone with intent; looking at those eyes was the scariest thing I have ever done and yet I couldn’t stop doing it. In that pause all I could sense was my wild heartbeat, the creature’s fetid breath on my face, and my warm blood pouring slowly into the grass. I wished for it to stop looking at me. I wanted it to be over. It snarled. I desperately wanted to see my wife again. My breathing was too fast and my blood kept running. I was being killed by a werewolf. Stupidly, I thought it unfair, weren’t they supposed to come out only with the full moon? It turned its head up and made a breathy, hissing sound that sounded a lot like laughter. Then it spoke to me.

“Full moon?" it growled. "It guides your steps and not ours. Ours are soft and sure, our running silent until you scream, until your heart betrays your souls of mice.

You’re arrogant and weak, easy to kill. Your blood is sweet as your pain is when we bite off a limb, when we chew on your meat. Sweet as the chill of the night and the panic in your hearts.

I felt its paw on my centre, pressing me down.

“I will let you live,” it said, “so you tell your people. Tell them we come out when it’s dark, when you’re alone. Tell them we prey on your confidence and we feast on your minds, because you are ours.”



Nightwol said...

Wow! That's a powerful, punchy tale! Gripping and immediate. Maybe the wolf's speech could be tightened up a tad to keep the pacing high through to the end.

Nittai said...

Thanks so much for the practical advice! It really helps. I will revise it shortly :)