I’d grown up in a small town, surrounded by hills, forests and streams. As children, we would test who was the bravest and creep into the trees where we were forbidden to play or ever enter. Alice, Bella and I would always hang out at the long grass field. I had no one else, no parents, the rest of my family had scattered. They were and still are my best friends, we protected each other at all costs. We told each other at five years old that we would face our demons together; we were talking about the monster under the bed. But it wasn’t all fun and games. Sometimes at night when the sun was down and the moon had raised, we could hear a strange noise. It was like a howl. But not just a puppy crying. Something bigger, more aggressive. A monstrous howl.
Five years ago, the elders of the village told stories about strange disappearances, bodies found ripped apart. We would laugh and think of it as a joke but we were only ten. It was one year later that my mum and dad got killed. They were found dead, ripped to shreds. That’s when the rest of my family scattered. They said it was an animal attack, but nothing added up. They were found in the middle of a forest. There were claw marks on the trees. It was like two lions had been fighting. There were ropes wrapped around the trees laced with wolfsbane. They said it would have been kids messing around tying each other up. Like hell I believed that.
Later that night, I was lying in bed watching the moon. I loved the moon my whole life. I still do. There is something about it; it calms me. I couldn’t sleep so I went for a walk. I walked past the lake while gazing up at the stars and the moon. This was better than anything in the world. Ever. Looking at the twinkling figures in the sky we used to believe to be the deceased. As I passed the forbidden forest underneath the moonlight like a painting, I heard the noise. It was the same noise I heard before. Like an aggressive dog, but worse. Like something bigger, scarier and more mysterious. I wanted to run, I really really did, but I couldn’t. It was like I’d been compelled to stay. I should have wanted to run still, but I didn’t.
I found myself walking into the forbidden woods, looking back as the moonlight slowly disappeared. There was the low whistle of the trees above my head, the grunting noise was louder. As I brought my eyes to a horizontal level, I saw a figure walking towards me. I couldn’t work out whether it was a man or a woman. It was pitch black. They crept closer to me like an animal hunting its prey. I should have been scared. It came closer and closer. I stood there like a soldier in training. As it came closer, so did the grunting noise, but it wasn’t really a grunting noise anymore. I could hear the leaves and dirt on the floor rustling. I saw this woman dressed in barely nothing. She spoke the words that I could only ever imagine happening in some sort of nightmare.
“I know you must be very confused, but don’t be scared”.
Then I looked behind her to see a pack of wolves. I was so confused. Wolves didn’t live here anymore. She continued.
“This is gonna be tough to hear.”
“What is going on? Wolves? They… they don’t live here anymore. How is it possible? Why are they not attacking you? And why are you not dressed fully?”
She told me she and these wolves were werewolves. I couldn’t breathe or move, then I saw stretch marks on the trees.
“This was the place where my parents were killed. You… you killed my parents… that’s why there were scratch marks everywhere.”
“No, no I can explain it to you if you let me please. A woman found out about us. Your mum and dad were the leaders of the pack. She tied them up and laced the ropes with wolfsbane. Your mum and dad were powerful and they could turn at will. We can only turn on a full moon. They tried to break free but they were too weak”.
Finally, the truth, I thought. But werewolves? Wolfsbane? I have to be dreaming right? Wrong. I asked her how a person became one; how my parents become one.
She told me that it was my blood. I was more powerful than my parents and they were waiting for destiny to do its thing. They had said it was the most powerful gift: I’d get to turn into a beautiful wolf whenever I want, but she told me the consequence.
To turn I would have to break every bone in my body.