Deeper and deeper into the woods I run. A single glance confirms my seamless escape. Freedom burns through my veins like a wildfire through a drought-dry forest. The crisp night air licks my cheeks. Like a pack of wolves my heart races, each beat a pounding of their paws on the hard earth.
A howl sounds in the distance.
Halting, I slide on the dead, fallen leaves. They crunch underfoot. My lungs heave. Small puffs of white smoke whisk into the air.
The clouds part. Moonlight cascades down, burning through my skin and igniting the toxin within, my accelerated heartbeats pumping it rapidly through my entire body. Dilating, my eyes react first.
The last traces of color in the autumn leaves vanishes into a gray-scale. Then, the bones crunch as they snap apart and reorganize themselves, shifting underneath my skin. Muscles realign themselves. One end moves first, pulling the muscle taut, stretching beyond its breaking point. Painful and agonizing, a scream drags from my throat. Yet, the scream cuts short. Lengthened and deepened by the breaking of my jaw and changing of my vocal chords, the scream morphs.
My cry rises high into the night, heard only by those who, too, carry the curse. Their voices join mine in this, our moonlit howl.