Convictions and Conscience – Part 4 of 7

First, a moment to remember a terrible event 11 years ago.

If you haven’t read the previous parts to this story, here is a good place to start. I hope you enjoy this next installment of the series!

She only brought the car. And while Kevin walked down the hill toward her, trying to cover himself with the shredded remains of his clothes, Amanda stared very sternly and very conspicuously at him. He didn’t say a single word the entire car ride, which began with her shouting at him about how dangerous he had been the night before, and ended with her in stern silence, making occasional glances down at him.

“Look, I’m sorry,” he said finally. “I know it was dangerous, but I needed you to believe me. It won’t happen again.”

“It had better not, for your own sake, as well as mine.”

She didn’t stop at her, or even his, house. She drove straight to school. Kevin was beginning to have difficulty telling if she was angry at him for endangering her life, or amused that he was virtually naked. At that continued until she stopped in the school parking lot and got out.

“What about -” he began.

“Just stay in there until Stephen shows up,” she snapped. “I told him to bring clothes.”

Kevin waited for at least ten minutes, all the while trying to avoid the glances of other students arriving in the parking lot, before Stephen showed up.

“Where’ve you been, man?” he asked his friend upon arrival.

“This was when she told me to show up,” Stephen replied. “Are you seriously naked?”

“Yeah. And I’d like not to be.”

Stephen grinned mischievously, handing Kevin a grocery bag through the open window, which contained clothing. Kevin quickly slipped it on, before climbing out of the car.

“Thanks, man.”

“Don’t mention it. It’s the least I could do for my best lupine friend.”

“I’m your only lupine friend. Did Amanda tell you?”

“Yeah. But only when I asked her why she was screaming at me to bring clothes over.”

Kevin smiled, able to picture the scenes in his mind. The two of them entered the school, parting toward their first classes. Almost immediately, Kevin could feel the atmosphere changed from just a few days ago. There was a solemnity hanging in the air, like after the attack that rendered himself lycanthropic. Amanda had told him some people had died, but he hadn’t really given much thought about it until now.

During the morning announcements, the principal had a moment of silence for those killed the night before, and Kevin was able to obtain a spotty list from several people who had seen the news, or else had been friends of the victims. It was like a black cloak had been thrown over the school, muting everything in it.

The attacks really hit home in chemistry, when Kevin realized the girl that had asked him about his shoulder weeks ago was gone due to the attacks.

“Man, you look down,” Stephen told him.

“Any reason I shouldn’t be? These people are lucky that I didn’t join the others in rampaging through town.”

“Others? There are others?”

“Don’t you remember that night? I’ve met four others. Three have made some kind of axis of power, while the fourth’s gone vigilante.”

“That’s crazy.”

“You’re telling me.”

They listened briefly to their teacher talking to them about unusual elements, like mercury, before letting them loose on the lab for the day.

“So is there some kind of cure for this?” asked Stephen.

“I don’t know.” Kevin frowned. “I’ve been looking it up, but none of it’s felt right.”

“Still, it might be worth a shot.”

“The Romans thought that if you exhausted a werewolf, he’d be cured. I did try that one, in gym, but I knew it didn’t work.”

“How so?”

“I kind of have this feelings that, if I were cured, my scar would go away.”

Several minutes later, they turned in the black solution to their teacher. Kevin needed to talk to the other werewolves. Brandon and his group had been enjoying the entire day, though Kevin thought he could feel doubts implemented by their consciences – but that might have just been his own disgust at their blood lust. The vigilante wouldn’t talk at all. Kevin wondered what had happened.

After school, Kevin visited the hospital. He felt connected to them, since he had been in their position only three months ago. He felt obligated to warn them about what might come. He just hoped there were no new bites.

Walking through the white halls, he found the first victim he was visiting to be the girl from chemistry. She lay breathing softly under the white blankets, one arm wrapped in a strong cast, and looked up at him when he entered.

“Hey, Kevin,” she said pleasantly upon his entry. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m here to see you. Darla, right?”

“Yeah. So you heard about the attacks.”

“Everyone heard about the attacks. Were you bit?”

She raised her casted arm. Kevin sighed in defeat, crouching at her bedside.

“I have some very bad news for you. You may not believe me at first, but don’t just ignore everything I say.”

“What is it?”

“You were attacked by a werewolf, and now you are one too.”

She stared at him in surprise and disbelief. Surely he couldn’t be serious! But he gazed, unmoving at her, willing he to believe him.

“Yeah right,” she said. “You’re insane. Plus, it’s not even the full moon!”

“It was last night.”

“How do you know?”

“I’m a werewolf too.” He pulled his shirt down past his scarred shoulder. “I’ve had this for three months, since the first attack.”

Darla raised an eyebrow, as if she were just beginning to maybe believe him. Kevin stood.

“Don’t ignore this. Take precautions. It’ll be worse if you don’t.”

After Darla, he proceeded to visit all the other victims, only a few of them students. He met one sixty-year-old man, who had been bitten and didn’t believe a word Kevin said. That was the general trend of those he talked to, but he didn’t need to talk about lycanthropy with everyone, since only a minority had actually been bitten.

What disturbed him most, though, weren’t the bites, but the critically wounded and the dead. In one night, twenty-six people had died. Murder on that scale could have only been planned. And he knew who had planned it.

He walked out of the white hospital, his mind filled with the stories and figures of the attack. He had tried to stay out of the way and direct his curse away from humanity, but not everyone shared his shame.

He spent the entire night tossing and turning in his bed, wondering what he should do. It would be easy enough to continue going to the country every full moon, but that was a small task. The greater task would be taking on Brandon and Riley, something he didn’t know if he could do, even if he should.

By dawn, it became apparent to him that there was no chance of sleep. Instead, he walked outside, into the bright, red sunlight. With the drops of dew covering the grass, it seemed to light up the ground in red and gold. He looked west, where the moon was slowly setting its silvery self in the sky. He considered that he was, so far as he knew, the only werewolf that had exercised any kind of ethical restraint on his curse. Perhaps he had become a werewolf just for this purpose, not to harm him, but that he might somehow defeat those who would harm others. He had a moral obligation to stop the others from killing anyone, even if they killed him in the process, and the sooner he accepted that obligation, the fewer people would die.

He sighed. He was going to fight.

Part 5 here.

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One thought on “Convictions and Conscience – Part 4 of 7

  1. Rob says:

    So I’m wondering … is there soon going to be an army (or multiple armies) of werewolves, and an ensuing all-out fight for dominance? Would Kevin’s friend be wiling to become a werewolf, too, so that he could fight on level ground?

    Are silver bullets going to figure in this tale?

    Do werewolves, like ordinary wolves, hunt in packs? If so, who is the alpha wolf here?

    In the classic horror movies, the werewolf does not usually leave bite victims unless it is killed during an attack. Which generally means only one werewolf at a time, in any particular area.

    In Harry Potter, there were many werewolves because (apparently) some people were bitten out of pure spite, just to turn them into werewolves.

    In most “classic” werewolf tales, the human never seemed to remember what he/she had done while in wolf form; yet your werewolves seem to have more control over their thoughts during their “possession” time. This could make for some very interesting circumstances.

    I had not heard about (or do not remember) the legendary “cures” for lycanthropy. I always figured it was a once-and-for-all kind of disease. Now I’m going to have to look it up.

    Things are getting very interesting…

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