And now for a quick message from our amazing nonexistent sponsors…
It sprinkles my roof
Signaling a change
I hope it shall take root.
▒ ▒ ▒
The monstrous thing that had chased me. It intrigued me. Not in a romantic way or anything, I’m not that kind of person, and this isn’t Twilight. But it…it was just very strange, how quickly it had arrived, and how quickly it had vanished.
Over the next few weeks, I started hanging around Allie Johnson’s neighborhood so much that people probably thought I was some sort of stalker. And in a way, I was. But my mission wasn’t that of a creep. I simply wanted to know who had saved my life.
And what that weird creature was.
And then, the full moon came again. Excellent. Better light.
This time, Rip and I went together on the last night of the full moon. A Saturday night, luckily. We didn’t hide this time. Considering how the beast had run away from us, I had a feeling that it wasn’t interested in hurting us.
So we waited, and we waited.
Finally, Rip asked, “What about the forest? The thing disappeared into the forest last time. Maybe it’s still in there.”
I was scared. Why wander into the forest? It was so dark in there that some people called it “The Evil Forest.” Older people told stories about how their siblings had wandered into the forest and never returned. Younger people went in as a dare.
Rip sensed my terror. “We’ll use flashlights,” he said, “The creature didn’t seem too scared of the flashlight before.”
I was scared still, but my curiosity got the better of me. I marched into the forest, Rip at my side. Both of us pointed our flashlights around.
And then we saw it. The massive cliff face, off in the distance, like some sort of movie. The trees ended before the ledge jutted off, the moon in the background. Mountains. It was gorgeous.
“Look at that,” I whispered, “Isn’t it pretty?”
“Wonder if we can get up there?”
And then, just like the movies, a creature leapt out of the foliage and stood at the very edge of the cliff ledge. It climbed onto its two hind legs and lifted its canine head to the sky. And it let out a long, powerful howl that chilled both Rip and me to the bone.
“That’s it,” whispered Rip, “That’s the same creature.”
So we began to hike towards the cliff. We made sure to keep it in our sights as we walked.
And then, after about an hour of hiking, I felt the eeriest feeling you can have in the wilderness.
“Do you get the feeling we’re being watched?”
Both Rip and I turned around like some sort of comedy sketch.
The creature made no effort to hide itself. Instead, it actually came towards us on all fours, whimpering.
It was beautiful in a way I can’t describe. Like a wolf, but bigger and somehow more intelligent-seeming (although wolves seem very intelligent to me). Its fur was pure black, but it glimmered in the moonlight like no material I’d ever seen. The shimmery fur almost seemed like human hair, except much more soft and luscious than any hair I’d ever known. And two vibrant golden eyes stared into mine.
Suddenly, it stood back up on two feet and made a strange gesture at us. Not animal, not human, just alien.
“Do you want us to follow you?” I asked softly, choosing what I thought was the most likely option.
The creature took off on all fours again. We made an effort to follow.
And then, we were at the mouth of a cave. The creature padded its way inside. We followed.
To my amazement, the entirety of the main cave chamber was almost like a primal home. Its space was lit by a fire, and it even had a mat of leaves. There was even a log by the fire. And, strangely enough, a pair of jeans on the floor.
The creature curled up on the mat, whimpering quietly. Rip and I sat on the log and just sort of stared around, confused.
After a while we began to talk. About math class, about physics class, about basically anything.
And then, probably about an hour later, I noticed the mouth of the cave getting lighter.
I heard a little yelp from our animal friend. But my mind was more focused on the fact that the sun was already rising. Already rising! What would my parents do if they didn’t find me at home? I’d snuck out. They’d think someone had murdered me in the middle of the night.
All of a sudden, a hand touched my neck, right where the mark that Crystal’s nail made was. It ran a finger along it, and then the hand rested on my back.
I turned around and gasped.
The wolf-like creature was gone. Instead of the animal, there was a young man. His hair was pure black, shiny and luscious, just like the animal’s. His nails were longish and clawlike. His feet were massive, much larger than any person’s that I’d ever seen. His skin was tanned, but obviously scarred in multiple places. I noticed muscle that poked out and displayed itself nicely. His arms bulged with healthy but not overly-obvious muscle. And his body displayed a perfect six-pack that slightly poked out, but not too obviously. His expression was something I’d never seen before. Like melancholy mixed with curiosity and a brilliance like nothing familiar. He seemed to be a tortured genius type, just from that expression. His eyelashes were long, very long, and full. And his eyes, like the creature’s, were bright and golden.
Just from the hair, the skin, and his height (which I estimated to be around 5’7″), I knew he was my rescuer. He was the guy who had saved my life that day.
Sort of instinctively, I touched him. My hand fell on his bulging chest. Goosebumps rose on his skin wherever my hand touched. I noticed the very small amount of body hair that he had rising to stand on end.
And then he spoke.
His voice. It was so many things all at once. First of all, he had a somewhat heavy British accent. But its tones. His voice was deeper than a usual adolescent’s, although not by all that much. I sensed sadness in that voice, but I also sensed a slight pulse of mischievousness. And, yes, it was slightly, just ever so slightly seductive. But above everything else, it was gentle and pure. Caring.
He chuckled. It was a dark chuckle. Attractively dark.
“Yeah. Have you been looking for me?”
I finished my sentence. “…the guy who saved my life.”
“What, nearly stabbing two people with a pencil?” He shrugged. “I saw a person about to die. I did what I could.”
His hand rubbed my back. Without really thinking, I moved ever closer to him.
“Is this where you live?” Rip asked suddenly.
The guy shook his head. “No. I live pretty close to the school. My father and I do.”
“Then why is this place somewhat furnished?”
The guy’s face darkened, reddened, too. “I’m a werewolf. I come here on the full moon. I hike up here before the full moon rises, and then when I transform, I’m safe up here, far away from other people. But sometimes, I give into my instincts, and I run down to the neighborhood and look around.” He shivered. “I try not to eat when I’m in my werewolf form. Even if I go hunting after deer or some sort of other wild animals, nothing satisfies me. I’m always hungry once I eat something. And it almost always escalates, and I end up killing someone. Remember the whole missing person case of Louis Wilkes? Well, that was me. I lost control and I killed him. I attacked, killed him instantly, and then dragged his body up to this cave. Then I ate him. And then, when I transformed back to a human, I realized. I felt terrible, but I didn’t want to confess. I couldn’t. Nobody can know what I am.”
He stood up. “I need to go home. Before anyone finds out.”
“We’ll take you,” I said.
He looked nervous when I said that.
“Maybe just to your street, but not your house.”
He nodded softly.
“What’s your name, by the way?”
He muttered something intelligible.