It is natural for us to fear that which we do not understand. It is also natural for us to fear the unknown and ultimately it is natural for us to fear change.
We represent all three
We are not fully understood and therefore feared.
We are greatly unknown and therefore feared.
and if there is one thing we represent,
it is change.
There is nothing more natural than change. It is true though, not all change is good, but often it is necessary. And often, despite our best efforts to the contrary, we change anyways.
But what we become is up to the one who becomes. Well, usually at least. Heh heh.
We change, those of us known as werewolves. Outcast and hunted, hated and betrayed are we out of fear. The fear of change.
We do not choose our lot in life, but we do choose how we deal with it.
I suppose I should introduce myself. I won't give you my real name, but you can call me Dravan. it was once my real name. At least when I was once more or less a normal, average (sub-average you might say), person. Most of all, I was afraid. "Afraid of what?" you might ask.
It seems like eons since those days. I was young and like most people, blind. Yep, blind and stupid. Smart, but stupid. I knew things alright, I read books. I dreamed big. I thought I would force the world to pull me along. It didn't work out that way though.
In reality I was 23 years old, living in a dingy shack in the wall, working minimum at this weeks employer AND most importantly
behind on my rent. You've heard of the wolf at the door. Wolf nothin' this landlord made the-wolf-at-the-door seem like the-puppy-in-a-basket. He was into loans too, and loanshark hardly seemed an adequate title.
"Good things happen in threes" they say, but they don't tell you that sh** comes in bucketfuls, and creeks. The employers I had weren't the most reputable types. They were looking to cut corners wherever they could. And when word eventually got out they'd get a tongue lashing, maybe a fine, and one of us expendable types would get these two magic words
So I was fired again. I thought it was change. A different employer, a different job, a different apartment, a different city, some people spend their whole lives in the same rut. I thought I was doing good to keep changing, not falling into a rut. The more life changed, the more it remained the same. I thought my circumstances needed to change. In reality, I needed to change.
I hopped from place to place until I ran into shark the landlord. He wasn't about to let me get away from this one. 12 months owed rent with this month's coming due, and he was sick of finding me places to get fired from. So I was back looking for a job, and sharky was looking for an example.
Face your fears they say. Well I found myself in the woods facing them. Rather I found myself bound and gagged in a trunk on the way to the woods, a ride courtesy of my friendly local loan shark and part time landlord. Judging from the bumps on my head we were getting pretty close *bam* and of course that fresh one *BAM* and that one. You'd think if they spent so much money on the interior of the carriage that they could spend a few bucks to line the baggage compartment with something softer, maybe iron for example.
The carriage slowed and stopped as we reached our destination, god-only-knows how far into the Greywoods Forest. Here, in the forest, sharky-the-landlord and company was to spend the weekend drinking, drunk, and coming upon a creative death for the guest-in-the-trunk. And, judging from the bar that occupied the rest of the cargo area, I was in trouble.
By the same time the next day, or night rather, I was tied, rather uncomfortably, between two trees. A thunderstorm was approaching which did not bode well for me. They had seen to deprive me of my clothing and so I was quite exposed to the elements and, they hoped, wild animals.
Drunken laughter filtered through the trees like the light from the fire. It was a nice little hunting cabin if it wasn't for the fact that I was the bait, and being inside the cabin would've been much nicer.
The wind came as the sun sank beneath the trees throwing bloody red patches of light into the forest. The full moon obscured by the coming storm and ghastly noises were carried on the wind, as if to foretell my future screaming slow death. All in all, it was a pretty miserable way to spend the last night of your life. One by one the drops began to fall with the darkness as it built into the full storm, which left me cold and shivering even after the storm passed. The sky cleared and the cold light of the full moon shone dimly through the trees.
Sharky & Co. were still entertaining themselves when I heard something slowly moving towards me from behind. It sounded pretty big. Maybe this would only take a few minutes, as opposed to being gnawed on by coons for a week. Closer it came; the fear of death was upon me. My heart racing as it came closer and closer. Then, I heard the most awful sound you can hear while tied up in the woods: silence.
A hope sprung up in my chest. Then I felt something slam into me from behind. My bindings tightened and pain shot through my left arm from shoulder to fingers as teeth tore through my exposed flesh and my shoulder dislocated. I screamed in pain as it seared through me and the drunken party headed my way, eager not to miss the main event.
Another bite lower on my arm and a fresh scream from me as it bit my wrist, freeing my bleeding arm, but then the thing stopped. I heard it sniffing in the direction of the fire as I continued to shout in pain. It turned and melted into the darkness as torches approached.
"Get BACK here!" they shouted
And so on
Then, without warning, one of the torches dropped to the ground. The two whirled, as fast as drunken men can, as their companion gurgled through a gaping bloody hole where his throat should've been. The other two turned and ran back towards the fire. I tore furiously at the wet knots. My arm wasn't making it easy, but the rope had been bitten as well. Another muffled scream and gurgling in the darkness. My right hand came free. The sound of running hunter and prey played through the trees. I worked furiously to lose my legs and I was free. I heard another muffled yell. I ran for the cabin as fast as I could. It was about fifty yards away and I heard it behind me. Running closer and closer closing the distance quickly as I threw open the door and slammed it shut so hard that it wouldn't surprise me if it opened outward from that day on. There was a heavy thud on the thick door, but it held.
I quickly dumped wood in the fire and grabbed the first weapon I saw; a silver and iron poker for the fire. I heard the creature sniffing around the cabin. Then, I saw the eyes, a pair of yellow eyes outside the window staring deep into mine. I stared back for what felt like days, time seemed to have stopped. Neither one of us moved or blinked. I felt like it was absorbing my soul pushing deep within me, calling me. Then without warning, it was gone. I stood there quivering, bare, and dripping blood everywhere.
I found my old clothes and fashioned a bandage, as best I could, for my arm. Then I waited feeding the fire till dawn came.
I searched for the bodies, but I didn't find them. Not that I was looking very hard. I was mostly looking for the horses which had run off. I found all of them, but only one was alive. Once I found the horse I took some money that was lying around and then I got the hell out of there. There was only one thing on my mind. That was to put as much distance between me and that place, that thing. Maybe also find someone to fix my arm. I was mostly focusing on leaving, that was very important to me at the time.
I rode hard and fast for the city, so much that we almost hit a man lying in the road. It didn't even occur to me that he was there until we had passed, and I was NOT going back.
My arm ached by the time we got to town. I was tired and I didn't really know what to do. I went back to my place, out of habit I guess, and dropped into an exhausted slumber. I don't remember dreaming, but I remember that I awoke with a start. It was night and my arm was swollen and hurt something fierce.
I called on a girl that I once knew. About the only person I knew who I didn't owe money. her name was Mariah. We were barely acquaintances at best, but I really didn't have a choice. I told her mostly what happened. She didn't believe me, they never do, which is probably for good reason.
"Believe this Mari." I said and tore off the bandages. It didn't look too good and a hard day's ride and a night on a dirt floor didn't help. But it worked. She agreed to help me and nurse me. Of course her father insisted I see a physician. When I declined he paid for it. I can't blame him for that either.
Before I knew it I was recovering nicely. The company was nice too. So her father provided me something to occupy my time, other than his daughter. He got me a job at his store. She had never been so interested in the store.
The authorities made an investigation, but nothing turned up so I was released from suspicion. Things were returning to something much better than normal. Weeks passed as things at the job improved. I enjoyed spending time with Mariah and her family. Everything that had happened was melting away like the spring thaw. If you would have told me that the whole nightmare that my life had been, if you had told me it was all a dream, I would have believed you.
Actually it was my life that had become the dream. The city that had once seemed harsh and painful now seemed warm and inviting. it was amazing how much things could change with the right perspective and, of course, the right company.
The time Mari and I spent together were hours that passed too quickly. There were times I would look into her eyes, those sparkling blue eyes, and wish that time would stand still for us. I had never known anyone to care for me. It was as if I had been going around the world with cotton stuffed in my ears, and she had cleared them.
I would find excuses to run errands for Grixx, her father. Mari got pretty good at forging requests from people and merchants. We would often make our way to the woods. This was more to her request than to mine, in light of my recent excursion into the woods. But somehow I managed to tag along.
One particular afternoon as I followed her into the woods; I noticed that sly little smile that she gets every so often. Usually when she's setting you up. The grin played around the corners of her face as she tried to hide it.
"I've got something I want you to see." she said
"That will be difficult with the blindfold."
"Take my hand." she said as I reached toward her, "No, my hand. My MMMFFF!"
I pulled my fingers out of her mouth as she tightened the blindfold.
"Now follow me."
I took few shaky steps following my new guide and smacked into a tree. She just laughed knowing the blindfold was now on securely. I followed her through the woods, the sounds and smells of the forest my only indication of where we were. Needless to say I was thoroughly disoriented when we finally came to a stop. Her hand dropped from mine.
As I removed the obscuring cloth I saw, from the golden hue of the light, that the sun was beginning to set. I turned and saw her framed by it. Her dark hair and fair skin positively glowed. I had always known she was good looking, but seeing her now was like looking at her for the first time.
I was speechless, which was just as well. She began to explain this place. From that vantage the town spread out in the forest. She explained how it was her refuge, her temple in the woods. A place where she could get away from her problems. I felt honored to be trusted with her secret; I didn't have to be asked to keep it secret.
My life had become a dream, but my dreams. The dreams began to come. Just flashbacks at first, the cabin, the fear, the eyes, the carnage, and running. Then the dreams began to change. I had less fear; I did not wake shivering and sweating. The panicked run became a blissful canter through a beautifully moonlit forest. It also became stranger. Though I had not seen the creature, I began to see from its eyes. Those round yellow orbs. I watched as a shadow stalked the landlord as he tried to run, how easy, and strangely satisfying. Like I was feeding a hunger I never knew I had.
I began to enjoy tracking them down in my dreams. Feeling their lifeblood leave them. There was also another feeling, a feeling of helplessness, a feeling that I was trapped. Though satisfied I felt chained to that satisfaction, addicted.
I tried to reassure myself that nothing was wrong, and for a week I was right. Nothing happened besides the dreams getting stronger in the emotions they evoked. Then one night something happened. I came home that night to my little cabin just outside of town; a gift from my new boss and the late landlord of mine.
It was a beautiful night I remember. A clear sky with all the stars beginning to light as the sun went down. I started a fire and put some dinner on it. The door was open to let the cool night air fill the cabin. The moon was just cresting the far hill pasts the neighbor's field. I felt a throbbing under the bandages on my left arm. It intensified and expanded to my shoulder, my chest, and my legs until my whole body was in a throbbing spasm. It became hard to breath; I felt like an invisible hand was strangling me. I staggered into the woods. My consciousness began to fade into stars;and then blackness. I began to dream.
I dreamed, like the other dreams but as if I were there. I felt different. I felt alive. I felt FREE. free from all my cares and problems. It felt like I was breathing new air.
I ran hooting and howling happiness. I ran carefree and joyfully. The sights, the smells, this is what it feels to be alive.
What was that? It was a glorious smell and the sound of a sleeping deer. I was hungry; its tender flesh was satisfying. I felt almost guilty, but it was swept away by hunger. Cute or not it tasted good. The whole experience was like the dreams and flashbacks, but it was not a nightmare. It was paradise.
It slipped, as dreams do, into a fear. From the back of my mind grew a fear that I might be the monster at the cabin. Then I began to fear the light that was slowly moving down the road. Running farther into the woods my recollection began to fail until I woke up as the sun was peeking over the hills.