Conclusion – Part 7 of 7

Finally, this story comes to a finish. I hope you have enjoyed it thus far, and enjoy this part. If you haven’t read the rest of it, you could begin here, with part one. So, without further ado, I present the conclusion to the werewolf septology.

By the time Kevin arrived, the party was already well under way. He was late because he had been at Jager’s house, finishing the concoction that might prove a cure. He had been inestimably relieved when Darla tested it and, minutes after ingestion, her scar began healing.

But Kevin couldn’t take the mixture yet, not until Brandon and Riley’s gang were dealt with. He checked the rooms, making sure that they were all present. They were, all seven of them. Now he just needed to make sure they didn’t leave.

He walked into the kitchen, where Amanda was busy preparing punch by a sink, over which a window let in the slow-fading sunlight, which had turned the sky red.

“How’s the party going?” he asked.

“Finally decided to show up?” she replied. “Things are fine, for now. This plan of yours had better work out.”

“It will. I’m sure.”

He carried the punch bowl out of the kitchen, into the main room. It was quickly swarmed by a group of thirsty party-goers, including Brandon.

“Well, if it isn’t Kevin,” the werewolf growled.

“Hello, Brandon.”

“I was wondering when you’d show up. I hope you know I’m killing you tonight.”

“We’ll see about that.”

Brandon turned away from him, gazing out to the center of the room.

“How many of them know?” he asked. “Are you really willing to sacrifice them to kill us?”

“No.”

“Then why are they here?”

“I can’t tell you that, yet. Have you seen the sun lately?”

“I keep checking it. You’re not the only one here I’d like to see dead.”

Riley appeared behind Brandon’s shoulder, leaning in close.

“The sun just hit the horizon. Won’t be much longer.”

“Why don’t you assemble the other werewolves, then?” Kevin suggested. “I’d like to impart some…last words, as it were.”

“Fair enough.” Riley disappeared back into the crowd of dancers. In a few moments, everyone else had assembled, encircling Brandon and Kevin, who stared at each other with fierce eyes.

“By tomorrow afternoon, none of us will be werewolves,” Kevin began. “We found a cure. However, we need your blood in order to cure any of you. And I will be extracting that blood, whether you like it or not.”

“How so? How are you going to take on all of us? And what are you going to do about everyone else here?”

“They’ll be gone. They, and I, were just the bait. You won’t be killing anyone tonight. And I don’t need to take on you all – I didn’t make the same mistake Kuro did. I’ll just take on whoever comes at me. I’m sure you’ll all find someone else among us to fight.”

“You won’t get away with this,” growled Brandon. “I’m going to – argh!”

The sensation was very nearly simultaneous for all the werewolves, who immediately contorted around their scars, crying out in pain.

“Amanda! It’s starting!” Kevin managed to shout. “Get them out of here!”

Vaguely, he was aware of the guests coming around them, before being ushered out by a frantic Amanda and Stephen, the former of whom gave one, final look back before leaving the building. And then Kevin descended into the darkness.

 

The fight started almost as soon as they all awoke. Kevin stood up, looking down at the others furiously. Who did they think they were? But his main focus was on the wolf standing opposite him. of all the wolves, this one was the largest, and also the most antagonistic. Kevin sensed a great amount of that antagonism was directed toward himself. Well, he wasn’t going to have any of that.

He pounced. With howls of fury, their claws and fangs descended on the other’s fur, slashing and mauling every inch they could reach. Around them, the other wolves let out howls and roars as they engaged each other in furious combat.

It seemed Kevin and this other wolf were evenly matched. They might have gone on all night, had they not inflicted so much damage on each other, and had there not been so many others around them. As they weakened, the other wolves began to focus on them. Kevin had pushed back his foe and stood on his hind legs, preparing his claws for the final strike. But then several wolves entered their confrontation, some pouncing on the enemy, the others coming up around Kevin, their claws piercing his flesh as they crashed into him, burying him beneath them. He howled angrily, before descending back into the battle, into a confusion of blood and teeth and claws and fur.

 

Kevin blinked up into the golden sunlight, coughing and heaving his chest. It felt like he was turning into a wolf again, except that, instead of pain coming out of his scarred shoulder, it was coming from all over his body. His bare back was lying in something wet and, raising his arm, he realized it was blood. Furthermore, there were huge chunks of skin missing from his arm, and some muscle missing as well. Judging by the stickiness emanating from those places on his body that hurt the most, some of the blood was probably his.

His chest heaved again. He was having difficulty breathing. He must have been damaged worse than he had thought during the night. He was aware that it was quickly becoming an effort to breath and to stay conscious. A numbness was beginning to spread over his body.

Somewhere in the distance, he heard feet splashing. Someone must be coming toward him. The splashing quickened, and Amanda appeared over him, a look of utter shock on her face. She fell down, embracing him desperately.

“Kevin! Are you alright? Speak to me!”

“I’m fine,” he croaked. “I think I’m dying.”

“Don’t you dare! I won’t let you!”

Stephen appeared over Amanda’s shoulder, the same look of horror on his face.

“You guys handing out the cure?” Kevin asked.

Stephen nodded. Off to the side, there were other feet splashing in the blood. Probably Jager and Darla, collecting blood and finishing the individualized concoctions. Around him, some of the other werewolves were beginning to stir.

“Good.” He sighed, resting his head gingerly on the ground, looking up at Amanda. Tears had formed in her eyes, splashing down on his body, though he hardly felt it. The pain had consumed him so much that it was only a matter of time before he slipped away. He didn’t even know how he was still alive.

“Don’t die on me!” Amanda cried.

“I don’t think I have a choice.”

She rested her head on his chest.

“What do you want me to tell your folks?” asked Stephen, kneeling beside Kevin.

“Whatever you want. Just, tell them some of the truth. I finished off the wolves.”

Kevin coughed again, the pain beginning to blind his senses. Darkness was crawling around the edges of his vision.

“Amanda,” he whispered to her. “Just remember, I love you.”

And then he closed his eyes, the pain consuming him entirely so that he knew nothing more. Amanda cradled his body in her arms, sobbing, while the golden sun shone down on the ruby pool of blood.

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The Preparations – Part 6 of 7

Good day all! I hope you’re all ready for the penultimate part of this series. However, if you missed last week, you can find it here, or better yet, you read the first installment here. I hope you enjoy this!

Kevin and Amanda sat down on a white sofa in the dimly lit room, across from an old man in a green rocking chair. After staring at them for several minutes, he began to speak.

“Well, you’re probably wondering who I am and how I know about your secret. I am Alban Jager. I’ve been around you werewolves for a very long time, tracking them down. You could say I’m a wolf hunter.

“I’ve been tracking down one particular wolf for some time. However, he slipped past me a few months ago, and came down here. I only arrived a few weeks ago, and was rather pleased to see him dead. He wasn’t a particularly good werewolf.

“However, then I found out he had attacked several people, of which you were one of the poor souls. This is a huge problem, though. Usually, there is only one werewolf at a time, but here there is an entire pack. I fear that, given enough time, you may all manage to convert the entire city. We must find a way to stop that.”

“Is there some kind of cure?” asked Amanda, leaning forward.

The white-haired man pursed his lips, but did not answer. “Ordinarily, I would hunt them all down one by one, but there seem to be far too many werewolves now for that.”

“Surely you’re not thinking of killing them all?” Kevin said.

“Of course!”

“But isn’t there another way?” asked Amanda plaintively. “Is there no other way?”

Jager rose from his chair, walking over to the copper sink.

“There may be a way,” he said quietly.

“Tell us!”

“There is a legend of a mixture, a concoction, a potion, that, when ingested, will cure such an affliction as lycanthropy.”

“Will it work?”

“I don’t know. No one in living memory has ever used it.”

“Why not?”

“Because it requires two very important, very rare things: an access to precious metals, and the werewolf’s blood.”

“I see.”

“Can you teach us to make this thing?” Kevin asked.

“I will help you, yes,” replied the old man. “But I make no promises about it at all.”

“That’s alright. It’s just…killing is our last resort.”

Jager pursed his lips. Kevin wasn’t sure if it was a frown or a smile. Either way, the old man disappeared from the room, coming back moments later with a very old, very large book in his hands. Sitting down in his green chair again, he opened it, carefully turning the ancient pages, until he came to the place he wanted. Kevin watched him as he read to himself, wondering what this potion would require besides his blood.

“I see,” Jager said at last, looking up. “It will take until the next full moon for it to finish.”

“Well then, we should begin at once!” replied Kevin.

Although the concoction required a month to brew, that didn’t mean that they needed to work on it every day. Especially since some of the materials were so hard to come by. Honestly, who just carries mercury around? And yet that element was vital to the first step of the process.

Here, they were required to dissolve small amounts six other metals in the mercury: lead, tin, silver, iron, copper, and gold, in that order, before adding in organic compounds that Kevin hoped would ease the potential toxicity of the metals. Then they let that sit for about three days.

In the meantime, while not spending time with Jager creating this cure, Kevin talked with Stephen and Amanda and the other werewolves, largely about getting their blood. The new ones, especially Darla, were suddenly taking him very seriously.

“It was awful,” she told Kevin one day shortly after the full moon. “I mean, it was like a dream, and I had no control over my actions, but…I killed people. Am I a murderer?”

“No, you’re not,” he consoled her. “Don’t blame yourself for it. Just try to not do any damage, or at least minimize it.”

“How?”

“Well, I went out into the woods and hunted deer.” He leaned in close to her. “But there may be a cure.”

As he had expected, the werewolves ultimately fell into one of three camps: the first were with Brandon and Riley, who didn’t care for it at all; the second would have had a common mind with Kuro, in that they saw a use for their “gift”, although they weren’t loath to a cure; the last sentimentalized with Kevin in finding a cure as quickly as possible and, if it failed, finding a way to minimize the killings. Most of the new generation, Kevin was pleased to learn, were part of this last group, and gladly gave their time to helping create the concoction, whether they believed it would work or no.

“It’s always worth a shot,” one older werewolf said.

As it was, the cure itself was hardly a problem worth worrying over. With several people helping out, including Kevin, Amanda, Stephen, Darla, Jager, and the other werewolves siding with them, the work went smoothly and quickly. After the new moon, the first phase was complete, and they began the second, dissolving portions of the concoction in pure water.

No, the real issue was talking with Brandon and Riley’s group. It felt like last month all over again. They wanted nothing to do with him, after what had happened last transformation, so he was relegated to sending over some of the new generation to spy on them. Brandon and Riley wanted nothing to do with the cure either, figuring last full moon to have been a waste, and desiring to once again wreak havoc on the city.

It seemed to Kevin that the only way to get their blood would be to force it out of them. He really doubted he could do that as a person, but feared drawing blood from them as a wolf after the death of Kuro. However, the more he thought about it, the more, once again, it seemed the best option. The problem was that, this time, Brandon and Riley wouldn’t come unless they had a good reason to – namely, to kill someone. Now, Kevin could provide himself as that someone, but he alone wasn’t enough to differ their attentions. He would need others. Perhaps they would have to use that party strategy Kuro had come up with anyway.

By a week before the full moon, the mixture had entered the third phase. Now they had begun cooking it slowly over a fire. Kevin watched Amanda in Jager’s house as she stirred the mixture in its container. During the first phase, it had taken on a black color. During the next phase, it had been white. Now, it was pink, and seemed to be growing even more red.

“It looks good,” said Jager, strolling over to investigate it. “Just a week more, add the blood and a little more heat, and we should be golden.”

“You mean it should be gold in color?” Amanda asked.

“No, it’ll be red. I mean it will be finished and ready for consumption.”

Amanda turned back to the mixture.

“So have you figured out how you’re going to cure Brandon’s gang?”

“Yes, I think so. You remember Kuro’s idea?”

“Don’t you dare think of it.”

“Brandon and Riley will only come if they think they can kill people,” Kevin pointed out. “It’s the only way – since they’d never come just for me.”

“Are you going to sacrifice yourself?”

Kevin didn’t answer. He merely looked out of the window, toward the horizon, where the black night and the red sunset collided. He wasn’t quite sure sacrifice was the way to put what he was planning. He was planning to live, to be cured. But he had no idea what would happen. He was just certain that it would be his last night as a werewolf.

Part 7 here.

The Battle – Part 5 of 7

Welcome! This is the fifth part to my Werewolf Septology. If you missed the last installment, you can see it here. If you haven’t read any of it, I suggest you start here at the beginning. I hope you enjoy this!

The first order of business was to figure out how to fight Brandon and Riley. Kevin really didn’t want to kill them, a possibility which had entered his mind when he began thinking about putting an end to the carnage, but he was having difficulty with the alternatives. Most of the methods he considered involved death – if not of the lupine axis, then perhaps of their friends or family, to help them understand why it would be wrong to go around killing other people. It would take a miracle to somehow change their perspective on their condition. Kevin had several reasons for his own rejection of his curse, but history has shown that it takes more than reason to effect a conversion.

Nevertheless, he didn’t give up trying to find a solution. He had Amanda and Stephen helping out every step of the way, a boon he appreciated beyond words.

Brandon, Riley, and Tom, their third member, considered his stance on their conditions to be that of a wayward soul that had yet to achieve enlightenment. Why would they want to stop what they were doing when they were having so much fun? They weren’t even interested in the possibility of a cure, a thread that was one of the few reasons Kevin hadn’t fled into hermeticisim yet.

The vigilante, Kuro Okami, proved much more receptive to Kevin’s message. Kevin suspected the reason had to do with whatever had happened at the last full moon, which the vigilante would not discuss. Kuro, though, didn’t want to talk about a cure either, but rather how to take down those malevolent werewolves who had abused their “gift”. Unfortunately, he didn’t bring anything new to the table toward dealing with the other three.

“Look,” Kevin suggested to Amanda one day during lunch. “What if we invite them to party at the full moon in some abandoned shack, Kuro and I could fight them while you and Stephen evacuate everyone else.”

“No! Absolutely not!” she replied vehemently. “I’m not going to be anywhere close to you, or let you be anywhere close to anyone else, after you transform. You said you can’t control yourself then!”

“True, but that’s the best I can think of.”

“You know, you could drive out to the country with them for the full moon,” Stephen suggested.

“I’m rather sure they would see what we were trying to do if we did that,” said Kuro. “I think a party, or even just asking for a meeting on that night would be the only way for us to trap them.”

“But why meet with them during the full moon at all? Couldn’t you confront them on a normal night, when you both have control of yourselves?”

“Because,” replied Kevin. “If we don’t sway them in time, with any luck we’ll end up fighting it out as wolves, stopping them from killing anyone.”

“Additionally,” added Kuro. “This is an ideological battle. Violence is usually the only way to force one’s ideas on another. No one can argue someone to a different position.”

“Still, we have to try.”

“Well, certainly. Otherwise our use of violence is unfounded.”

“Yeah,” said Stephen. “I’m feeling this. Confronting them during the full moon would probably stop unnecessary deaths. But honestly, it still needs to be a last resort, and you two need something else to do in the meantime.”

However, as the days passed and the moon waned, they couldn’t think of something else to do. They still talked to the other trio, but they couldn’t get anywhere, especially when the moon began waxing again – then all the trio could talk about was how much they were anticipating the coming full moon. It didn’t help that Amanda was always asking Kevin if he had figured out how to deal with them.

“No, we haven’t,” he replied for the twelfth time, about a week before the full moon. “And it doesn’t look like we’re going to. We’re going to confront them. We’re setting up a meeting place.”

“Where?”

“An old abandoned factory downtown. But please, don’t think of following us there.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it! It’s your skin I’m worried about!”

Kuro made most of the arrangements. The five of them arrived, the sun low in the sky, the factory black in its long shadow. One by one, they entered, coming into a circle near a window, from where they could see the fading sunlight. It was largely the same as the last time Kevin had been here, though he thought it smelled rather musty.

“So what are we going to do tonight?” asked Riley.

“Try to take over the world!” Brandon laughed.

Kuro glared at him. “We’re here to talk.”

“All we want,” added Kevin. “Is that everyone stay in here for the duration of the night.”

Riley guffawed. “Yeah, like that’s gonna happen. You realize what we had to postpone to attend your little meeting here?”

“Yes, we do,” replied Kuro. “And that brings us to the point. We want you to end it.”

“End what?” said Brandon. “Being wolves? Killing people? It’s gonna happen whether we like it or not, we might as well make sure we profit from it.”

“But is the profit worth it? Can you even call it profit?”

“We’re targeting people who deserve to die. Idiots and jocks. Isn’t it to everyone’s benefit to kill those people off?”

“Not to the people you killed,” Kevin said. “Or any of the other innocent people who died last month, or will be roaming around this month. What about their families?”

“Come, Tom,” said Kuro, directing his speech at the silent fifth member. “What do you think about all this?”

“Well, you’re all raising some excellent points,” he replied quietly. “But I don’t really know about any of it…”

“Oh, shut up!” snapped Riley. “If you intend to fight us, Kuro, you know you’re going to have to fight us. That’s what werewolves do when they meet each other.”

“Oh, I know. You won’t be moving from this room.” He smiled. “You see, I’ve been pissing in here for the last few days. It’s my territory. And as soon as I transform, I won’t stand for any trespassers. I will crush you all in my iron fist.”

Kevin looked at him in shock. This was taking things to a new extreme. He had never thought of doing something like that. But would it work? And would it mean he would try to fight Kevin if it came down to it? They were about to find out.
Outside, the last vestiges of light had vanished. Now they were in the domain of the moon. Immediately, Kevin felt his scar burst into pain and saw the others reacting as their own began hurting. They fell to the ground, writhing, pain overtaking all their senses. In moments, they had become wolves.

The first thing that came to Kevin’s mind was that odor. It was foreign. Enemy. Someone had marked this as their own, some villain. Around him, four other wolves rose to their feet. Kevin at once identified which one had claimed ownership to this place and was about to leap, before he was superseded by the other three.

Now, he might not have minded that they were after the same wolf he was after. However, he wanted to take down this wolf personally. He growled, and pounced on the smallest of the wolves. It yelped as he slashed its back with his claws, and screamed when he bit the back of its neck. It managed to get out of his grip, and turned on him, bristling fiercely.

He leapt at it, fighting it. They slashed with steel claws and bit with jaws of iron, throwing each other into the ferric machinery around them. But Kevin was the larger and the stronger, and he soon chased the other out of the factory, sending it yipping into the distance.

Now he turned back inside. The other three were engaged in hot contention, the larger two working together against the smaller one, the one who had made claim to the area. Kevin charged into the fight again, selecting one of the larger two as his first target.

This one was much stronger than the coward wolf. Kevin found himself under this wolf’s jaws even more than it was under his, and blood began to cover the ground, though neither was willing to give up or surrender. The fight lasted hours, only ending when, at last, completely exhausted, Kevin ran outside. He collapsed on the concrete outside, but the other wolf didn’t pursue; it was too exhausted to follow him.

When Kevin awoke, he immediately hurried inside the factory. But when he looked in, it made him want to throw up. Brandon and Riley had gone some time before, leaving bloody footprints behind them. They looked like they had both been limping. But that wasn’t what had utterly disgusted Kevin.

He sat in the doorway of the factory, head down, waiting for the sound of tires on gravel to announce Amanda’s arrival. He had to hope she would come, though, since the other werewolves had stolen his phone. It was a dark day, the sky black with coming rain. But he took no notice of them.

He heard that sound he had been waiting for, and then the slam of the car door, followed by hurried feet. Amanda embraced him, barraging him with questions.

“What happened? Are you okay? You look awful! Did it go according to plan? Where’s Kuro?”

“He’s dead,” Kevin said grimly. “Though we did what we set out to do. I suppose that’s something.”

Amanda went inside, but came out quickly when she saw the corpse lying within.

“That’s awful.”

“I know.”

“What are you going to do?”

“What can I do? Keep fighting.”

There was a sudden ringing. Amanda pulled out her phone, confused.

“Who is this?”

“That boy next to you, do you know what he is?” asked the voice.

“Who is this?”

“Someone who wants to help.”

Part 6 here.

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.

Coping – Part 3 of 7

Part 2 can be found here. Part 1 can also be found here. I hope you enjoy this next episode!

Of course they didn’t believe him. They gave him a very skeptical stare, and then Amanda walked off to her bus. Really, Kevin hadn’t expected them to believe him. But at least they didn’t laugh at him, or ask him if he was joking. They were probably just questioning if he was a lunatic.

As many relationships do, Kevin’s with his friends slowly got over the bump that had been that eventful Friday night and its subsequent divisions. Of course, Kevin could still hear the smallest ring of jealousy whenever Amanda talked to him, but at least she was talking to him. Plus, he had other things to worry about.

There were four other werewolves in the school. The third had joined Brandon and Riley, reveling in the power, while the fourth wondered what kind of vigilante work he could do, and if he could find a way to control his blood lust as a beast. Kevin himself was skeptical of all these ideas, as the most control he figured he would be able to exert would be where he was unleashed on the world.

As the days went by, he became more and more worried about the full moon. He dreaded it. Cursed it. He imagined the others glancing at him, judging him based on his condition. Additionally, he spent a lot of time on the internet, researching lunar cycles and werewolves. His bedroom calendar had every full moon marked. His desk was filled with books on werewolf legends he had picked up at the library.

Somehow, he knew if his scar healed, he would know that he was cured. He went back to the doctor’s, who were even more perplexed than him as to the reason it still looked nearly fresh.

As the next full moon drew near, Kevin knew that he needed help. Not necessarily some old priest who could explain the existence of werewolves, but someone he could confide in, someone who could help him get around it. The most natural people would be Amanda and Stephen, but he needed to convince them first. If only there were a way to convince them, and remove himself from society at the same time…

The countryside zoomed past them in a blur, the sun setting ahead of them. Kevin sat at the wheel, with Amanda beside him, smiling nervously, playing with the silver bracelet on her wrist.

“So where are we going?” she asked him.

“Argenteus Hill. Somewhere…secluded. And then I brought some blankets so we could watch the stars. It’s going to be a full moon, tonight, you know.”

“How late are you planning on staying? It is a school night.”

“I know. You won’t be out too late.” At least, if everything went according to plan.

Fortunately, they were in time for the sunset. Leaving his parents’ silver car at the bottom of the hill, he took Amanda up to the top, sitting down on the blankets and looking out into the west. Looking behind him, he saw the moon was already floating pale in the sky, meaning that as soon as the last drops of sunlight vanished, he would be at Luna’s mercy.

In the meantime, he put his arm around Amanda, and talked with her, flirting unabashedly. He would have almost forgotten that he was about to turn into a monster, had the fading sunlight not been there to remind him. From red, to white, to black, the corners of the horizon slowly vanished, and stars appeared in their places, a carpet of silver glitter. This was about when the first wrack of pain hit him.

“What is it?” Amanda asked, surprised, as Kevin’s body contorted around his shoulder.

“Go!” he managed, the pain intensifying by the second.

“What’s wrong?”

“You know how I told you and Stephen I was a werewolf? Well, it’s true. So please leave, before I end up killing you!”

“I’m not going anywhere!”

“Yes you are! Here are the keys. Get in the car and drive away. And don’t come looking for me, at least, not until tomorrow morning.”

“But, what?”

Kevin screamed, and just barely registered Amanda also screaming.

“What’s happening to your shoulder?” she cried.

“I’m turning into a wolf, Amanda. Now go!”

Only now she listened, hurrying down the hill. She only looked back before she got in the car, and saw Kevin’s fully wolf body collapse to the ground.

It was a strange dream that followed, stranger yet, because Kevin felt he had gone through it before. Well, at least it had felt the same, but he didn’t recognize the place he found himself in. He made his way down the hill. A car was just leaving the area, and he decided not to pursue, since it was already so far gone. Instead, he walked into the nearby forest, walking carefully over the leaves and debris littering the ground.

Birds called from the distance. It was annoying, being unable to catch them, much less find them. Instead, he turned his energies toward prey on his level. In a clearing, he spotted a trio of deer, bathing in the silver moonlight. He walked carefully toward them. By the time they had discovered his presence, it was already too late. He sank his claws and teeth into one, bringing it down, feasting on it.

That other dream had had better food, he decided. But he didn’t know if any of it inhabited this wood. And it was such an easy prey, too! At least these deer could run – that was a good challenge. He just wished that the good challenge came with a good reward. A pity.

He continued to roam the forest for hours. Despite his initial success against the deer, he soon found that it had been due to luck, rather than skill. Most of the deer ran before they even saw him. But by the end of the night, he thought he had figured it out. Naturally they could smell him on the wind.

However, just as he attempted to apply this new-found knowledge, a shudder and a pain ran through his body, and the dream was over.

Kevin awoke to find himself in a forest clearing. He sighed, angry at his curse and what it wasbringing him to. As he tried to remember the way back to the hill, a shudder ran through his body as he was forced to go through the wolf memories of the night before. Especially his desire for human flesh, over venison. That was terrifying.

After a couple of hours of hiking slowly through the woods, he finally came upon the hill. The sun was still young in the west while he ascended it, discovering his things at the top. His clothes were in tatters, the blankets were shredded rather badly. Fortunately, his phone was still intact. He picked it up and called Amanda, sitting down and covering himself a little with the ruined clothes.

“Hey,” he said when she picked up.

“Ohmigosh, are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Mostly. I guess I’m glad you followed my advice last night.”

“Are you still, well, you know…”

“No. I’m regular old me. Could you pick me up?”

There was a pause. “How often does this happen?”

“Every full moon.”

“I see. How many others are there?”

“Four or five. Why do you ask?”

“The wolf attacks are all over the news again. Says several people were killed. Including Bob Newman.”

“Bob Newman? The mean jock that always picks on people?”

“Yeah. A couple other students as well.”

“I’m not surprised. Some of them were considering doing this kind of thing.”

“Can you control who you kill?”

“Not really. But, if I were positioned close to someone, I would probably kill that person.”

“Like me…” Amanda’s voice trailed off. When it returned, it was much harsher, and she began with a word that Kevin had never heard out of her mouth. “Why in the world did you bring me with you?”

“I wanted you to know what’s happened to me. Are you going to pick me up?”

There was a very long pause. He could tell that Amanda was weighing her options. In reality, it was a very complex question. By acquiescing, she was telling him that she was going to ignore his condition, and that she was going to actively try to help him. Additionally, if she denied him, it would probably mean the end of their relationship. He waited with baited breath, until Amanda said a single word.

“Sure.”

Part 4 here.

A Conundrum – Part 2 of 7

Thanks for checking out this blog, especially you new college students. I’m flattered that you think my stories are more important than your studying. Then again, I’ve been known in the past to choose writing over homework, so maybe I shouldn’t say too much. If you haven’t already read it, the previous installment of this story, “The Scar”, can be located here. Friday’s post may or may not happen, seeing as college orientation is starting up this week. I hope you enjoy this!

Kevin was very happy a police car happened to find him near the abandoned factory. He had very little idea where he was, and he wasn’t about to wander around naked. The police were perplexed about his state, and asked him quite a few questions about the situation.

Apparently, Kevin’s parents had heard him break through the window, and, upon discovering Kevin missing, went into hysterics. They had immediately phoned the police, who were a little more active that night, due to numerous calls about wolf attacks.

Hearing this story, Kevin made the excuse that his friends had broken the window trying to get his attention, and they must have left him in the factory as a prank. The rest of the way home, he contemplated his new existence as a werewolf, and all that it would mean. He would have to take special precautions before the full moon now, and it wouldn’t hurt to get a calendar with the lunar cycles on it either.

Back home, he repeated his concocted excuse to his parents, who ate it up, probably just glad to see him alive. Their anxiety had only been amplified by the reports of wolf attacks throughout the night, including at the neighbor’s across the street.

“What kind of wolf attacks?” asked Kevin.

In the living room, his parents had the TV on, currently displaying a reporter discussing the attacks.

“Police believe about four to five wolves were responsible for the attacks,” the reporter was saying. “These are highly unusual, since, rather than the concentrated works of a pack, these attacks are spread out all over the city, and reports only mention single wolves attacking.”

That would make sense, Kevin thought as he ascended the stairs toward his room. He tried to recall who else had been bitten by the first werewolf. It was difficult remembering who had been present at that bonfire, a month ago. He did recall Brandon Duress had been bitten in the leg, and perhaps he would know some of the other victims.

In his room, the blinds had been drawn, and the shower of glass had been cleaned up off the floor. After he changed into real clothing, he picked up his cell phone from his bed. As he had expected, it was filled with voice mail and texts from over the course of the night and the morning, sent by Amanda, his girlfriend, and Stephen, who had probably been contacted by Kevin’s parents shortly after his disappearance.

“It’s alright, I’m fine,” he texted them.

But now he was also in a conundrum. His parents would trust his story about being with his friends last night, but those friends he was supposedly with would not. Especially Stephen. How much would he tell them? How much would they believe? If the police were to believe that the supposed wolves were really people, would they arrest those responsible? Would his friends report him to the police? Should he report himself to the police?

The issue puzzled him all day. It was lucky for him that it was the weekend, but come Monday, he still didn’t have many answers. He knew he wasn’t going to report himself to the police. He really doubted that they would believe that four or five teenagers would turn into wolves every full moon. Anyway, he could handle it. He’d just need to drive out into the country once a month and make sure he was away from other people.

Of course, that raised issues within itself. He considered that perhaps it would be easier to tell someone, let that person act as his handler, in a sense, to make sure he didn’t stray too far, or that he could get back home. If he were to tell anyone, it would be Amanda and Stephen.

While he was walking up to the school building, he came upon Amanda, who threw herself on him.

“I was so worried about you!” she said.

“I could tell,” Kevin replied.

“What happened?”

Kevin was at a loss for words. He knew she wouldn’t buy the excuse he gave his parents for a moment, and he still couldn’t bring himself to reveal the truth. So he just shrugged.

Amanda frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I don’t know.”

She gave him a very suspicious look. “As in, you don’t want to tell me because I might kill you, or because you honestly don’t remember?”

“Kind of the first-”

“Who is she?” Amanda had put her hands on her hips, and gave Kevin a stare that would have made Jupiter feel guilty.

“It’s not – there was no one – I can’t talk about it.”

“Well, when you do want to talk about it,” Amanda said, turning away. “Come and find me.”

Kevin stared after her, dumbfounded. Did she really think he was cheating on her? How did she explain him waking up in a factory? Or did she know that?

He walked to his first class, now a little more desperate to decide what to say about his condition that wouldn’t alienate his girlfriend, and wouldn’t make his friends suspicious.

Unfortunately, he still hadn’t come up with a solution by chemistry, outside of telling the truth, which was quickly becoming the only thing he could say.

“Hey man,” said Stephen upon sitting down across from Kevin. “You alright?”

“I guess,” replied Kevin. “Friday night didn’t faze me too much.”

“I wasn’t talking about that. Amanda told me she’s not talking to you.”

“Yeah. She thinks I was up to something Friday.”

“Well, what do you suppose a girlfriend’s gonna think? You disappear for hours – overnight, even; that screams shenanigans.”

“Well, it wasn’t anything like that.” Kevin’s mind was racing with what to tell his friend.

“I know. But I would love to know what really happened.” He leaned in close, waiting for Kevin to deliver the secret. But Kevin wasn’t ready for that.

“Listen, I’ll tell you after school. Bring Amanda, too.”

“Alright, put it off.” Stephen leaned back as the teacher rose to start class. “But you know that I know when you’re lying.”

That was quite true, Kevin thought as the teacher began talking about the tin molecule they would be making in class that day. And it seemed only the truth would get him out of this.

In between, he investigated the other bitten victims. A bit after lunch, he found Brandon, along with Riley Johnson, who he recalled had also been bitten.

“Hey, guys,” he greeted. “So, what did you think of Friday night?”

He noted the quick flash in their eyes as they realized exactly what he was talking about.

“It was amazing,” said Brandon. “I’ve never felt so much power! I kinda can’t wait for next month!”

Kevin frowned. “You found it…enjoyable?”

“Yeah,” replied Riley. “The best part is that we can totally get away with it! They just think it’s a bunch of wolves!”

He and Brandon laughed. Kevin’s face contorted in disgust as he turned away. Did they feel no guilt? No shame? They weren’t going to tell anyone about their “gift”. They were just going to sit contentedly, laughing in the day, taking advantage of each episode as it came. But that was not the way Kevin felt about it all. He felt awful about it.

So did that mean he had to keep it bottled up to? If he did tell Stephen and Amanda about it, wouldn’t they try everything possible to help him? He smiled. Of course they would. It was what he would do, if one of them had been bitten, rather than him.

After school, Amanda and Stephen were there, waiting for him, Stephen expectant, Amanda as cross as that morning. Kevin walked up to them, head down.

“I don’t know if you two are going to believe me at all,” he said soberly. “But you remember those wolf attacks the other day? Those weren’t normal wolves. They were werewolves. And one of them was me.”

Part 3 here.

The Scar – Part 1 of 7

This is the first part of a series of short stories I plan to do. Unlike previous series, only one part of the series will be posted each week (probably Tuesday). I’ll then also have an unrelated story posted every Thursday or Friday. I hope you enjoy this piece!

The event had been all over the news for about a week after it had happened. Around a dozen teenagers were hanging out at a bonfire after the high school football game, when either a large wolf or a raging lunatic had attacked them, killing a couple and wounding many more. Only the father of one of the victims, armed with a shotgun, had managed to bay the menace, before police arrived to finish it off.

One by one, the victims returned to school, and the excitement about the attack died down. Kevin was one of the first students to return, and thus took the burden of explaining to the curious what had happened in the attack. He himself had been bitten on the shoulder, a wound which, despite what the doctor had said, did not seem to be healing as it should.

This worried him, but not quite as much as the conflicting reports on the identity of the attacker. He remembered a wolf, and was at a loss to see how the doctors and police figured a man could have inflicted the wound on his shoulder.

“Hey!” said one girl during chemistry class a week after the attack. “I heard you two were in the attack the other day.”

“Yeah,” replied Stephen, Kevin’s friend and lab partner. “It was intense.”

“Are you guys okay? I mean, that lunatic killed some people.”

“I never saw any lunatics,” said Kevin as he balanced out a chemical against the lead weights.

“But the news said -”

“Man, it was a wolf,” interrupted Stephen. “No man, no matter how crazy, could do that much damage with his bare hands.”

The girl pursed her lips, and did not respond. She turned away, to her own project. Kevin glanced up at his friend, who was looking at him worriedly.

“How’s your shoulder?” Stephen asked more quietly.

“I don’t know. I mean, it’s better, but it’s still all red and stuff.”

“Have you talked to a doctor about it?”

“No, man. It’ll probably heal on its own anyway.”

But it didn’t. Even after three weeks – a full month since the attack – the scar still didn’t look any better. The rest of the school returned to the normal tedium of the school year, but Kevin’s mind remained on the event, curious as to what in the world was with his scar. How the witnesses could profess a wolf attacked, and the police assert it was a man.

It was to these thoughts his mind wandered one night after finishing his math homework, and mentally reminding himself to get more lead for his pencil, while he watched the red sun sink into the horizon below the white suburban buildings, and black night swallowed the sky. Some time later, he looked up to see the full moon, emerging from thin clouds.

Immediately, pain erupted in his shoulder and spread through his entire body like a shock of electricity. He collapsed to the ground, writhing in agony, the greatest pain in his face and his back. Every single pore seemed on fire. The pain was blinding, and it was with relief he accepted the blackness it offered him.

What followed was perhaps one of the most vivid, yet strangest dreams he had ever experienced. He found himself in his room, but it was small. It wasn’t right. And a great hunger growled in his stomach. He punched through the window, climbing out onto the roof, before leaping down into the yard. The road before him was well-lit, but there was nothing there that might satiate his hunger. He crossed the street and passed through the yards on the other side.

A dog barked. He turned his head, to see its yellow form appear in the moonlight near him. It paused when it saw him, trying to slink away. But Kevin didn’t let it, rather leaping at it, taking it in his hands and ripping at it, biting it, until it fell to the ground, blood seeping onto the dark grass. Stupid dog.

After a few mouthfuls, he departed, making his way through the suburbs, out toward the city. He didn’t meet many people, or animals along the way. A few cars passed, but he didn’t pursue, uninterested by the strange, mechanical things dominating the streets.

He came upon a street corner that was the parking lot to a convenience store. He grinned when he also saw several people walking to and from the store. They might fill him up. A man approached him, curious.

“Goodness. That’s a big dog.”

He didn’t get much farther, as Kevin immediately leapt on him, sinking his teeth and claws into the man. Somewhere nearby, several people screamed. He would have continued to feast on the man beneath him, but a gun was fired.

“Eat lead, monster!” someone shouted.

More gunshots. Kevin turned tail and ran, already feeling pain in his right shoulder, opposite his wolf-scar, which no longer itched for some reason. As he ran, he became aware of strange lights, and that he was being followed. It must be the police. He ran faster. Away from the lights, into a dark part of the city. Walked past a trailer park, attacked a couple more people, before their relatives chased him away with their guns. Hit him in the other shoulder.

He found an old, dilapidated building, and wandered inside. He curled up, licking his wound, whimpering at the pain from the lead bullet, before finally resting his head on the ground.

And then Kevin woke up. Red light filled the room, and he blinked as he looked around him. His heart stopped for a moment, when he realized he was in some old, abandoned factory. A bullet lay on the ground beside him, and blood dripped from his unscarred shoulder. And then, more disturbingly, he discovered the reason the ground was so cold was because his bare skin was contacting it. He was naked. In a single moment, the terrible epiphany that it hadn’t all been a dream was thrust upon him.

Furthermore, the reason for the disparity between the witness and police reports suddenly dawned on him. The entire night, he had had the strangest suspicion that he had become lupine. But now it all made sense. The wolf, the full moon, the scar from the bite, the dream. He was a werewolf.

And then he curled up and wept.

Part 2 here.