Author's note: My entry for the Werewolf contest by Humboldt. Enjoy.
At first, I couldn't exactly tell what had ripped me from the loving caress of sleep. I had previously been snoozing in my comfortable home. My body was wrapped in a warm blanket, and my head rested on a nice, fluffy pillow. Annoyed, I laid my head down once more, letting my eyes fall. It was then as I jolted upright in bed that I realized what had awoken me. Although almost drowned out in the wind that whistled a soft melody through the night, I could hear what sounded like footsteps and nails dragging along the wooden exterior of my home.
Curious, I allowed the soles of my feet to plop down onto the warm rug beneath me. Although sleep still cooed to me, I eventually dragged myself along the perimeter of the room to the window. There, I drew the blinds to get a better look. The pitter-patter of rain thumped against the thin glass to the tune of a soft melody that I soon found myself humming to. Due to the inky black darkness of the night, my visibility was heavily impaired, and I was unable to see what was making the noise.
Deciding I was wasting my time, I turned to head back to bed. When I did this, as if on cue, the noise began again, irritating me further. I knew the pleasant hold of sleep would elude me if the sound continued. I jerked around in frustration and shuffled to the dresser where a thick black flashlight sat. I grabbed it firmly, its handle cold as ice despite the warmth and comfort of the room. I walked through the narrow halls of my home with determination illuminating my eyes like that of a bright fire. Approaching the front door of the house, I grabbed the heavy trench coat that hung on the coat hanger. With the twist of the doorknob, I had exited the warmth and comfort of my dwelling.
I faced the chilly Autumn air and the drizzling rain which pounded against my face and back. I crept down the steps that led to the front door and clicked the flashlight on, its bright yellow light penetrating the darkness. Then, I proceeded to walk around the sides of the house in search of any animal that might have been the origin of the noise. It was upon reaching the rear of my home that I heard a peculiar sound from the wooded area behind me.
The sound was strange yet surprisingly... human. I stood frozen in attention facing the woods. The shrill cries of what sounded like a man screaming for his life came from the intimidating outline of the enormous trees in the distance. They rocked gently in the wind and beckoned me to come closer.
Though not particularly ecstatic to witness what lay beyond the foliage, I swallowed the saliva that had gathered in my mouth and stepped towards the woods. Naturally, my mind alerted me of the danger of my actions. A strong sensation filled within the pit of my stomach, urging me to flee. It took every ounce of willpower I had to ignore it. Slowly and steadily I approached, gathering more and more distance from my home, getting closer to the underbrush. I felt the sensation of rain cease as my body went numb. Finally, I found myself on the outskirts of the woods.
The soaked flora grasped at my clothing like tiny fingers that desperately clung to every thread. The flashlight proved most ineffective as its once protective glow seemed to fade quite exponentially. Undeterred, I persisted onward. I had been in the woods many times, although never at night. In the darkness, the surroundings were unfamiliar to me. With each step, a moist leaf or twig underneath my boot squished and snapped. My body shuddered with each passing minute of my aimless trek, although whether this was caused by a growing level of adrenaline or the cold I was uncertain of.
The eeriness of being in an unfamiliar place on a night has no equal. I felt my toes curl as the wind that once violently rattled the vegetation quieted, and the rain that persistently beat against my body turned into a drizzle. The branches elegantly swayed in the night, caressed by the wind and sprinkling water droplets from the night sky. The soft melody of the crickets ceased, and I found myself startled by how quiet the forest had become. As unsettling as the dark was, the persistent lack of noise can invoke the strongest fears lurking in a man's soul.
I stood alone in the quiet woods, the only audible sound being the soft tapping of water falling to the ground. I could hear my thoughts, my breath, and my heartbeat. I held no desire to move, rather I felt inclined to stand and be still. Still, as the nature surrounding me. Still as the firm oak that stood before me, serving as an impenetrable wall of wood. And in the stillness of the night, my ears picked up a very familiar noise. It was a voice and a very raspy, sickly one indeed. One that made me forget the silence I was surrounded by. A voice that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. A voice that compelled me to run, yet I found myself paralyzed. It was the weeping that had drawn me out of my home in the first place. The cry sounded like a man... and yet, no man should have ever been able to make such a sound no matter how dire the situation he was in. It was that of terror and pain, yet I could have sworn I heard slight giggles amidst the crying.
I stood, for at the time that was all I felt I could do. I shuddered as the cry overcame the sound of the wind and was all I could hear. It dragged out even further and its voice became scratchy and stressed. I wanted to retreat to my home, perhaps even call the police. Maybe I would have, had the shriek not stopped as abruptly as it had started.
I observed my surroundings as my eyes adjusted to the darkness further. Turning about-face, I began to walk back to my house. I didn't know what lurked beyond my vision, and following what I heard, I didn't care to learn. My legs took long strides on the seemingly endless path that would return me from the trenches of the dark to my house. I could see the rays of light seeping through the windows, welcoming me with open arms. My heart slowed along with my breathing as I approached the house, so close to where I belonged. I walked into the driveway, gravel crunching beneath my feet. Ascending the front patio steps, the wood underneath creaked ever so softly. I reached my hand out and grasped the cold doorknob.
That's when I heard a loud thump from far behind me. Hustling inside, I slammed the door shut with haste. I locked the door and peered outside of my window towards the woods, which appeared far more menacing than they had before. My eyes fixated on the forest line where I had heard the thump originate. With a soft click, the flashlight gripped firmly in my hand shone its bright fluorescent light, illuminating the darkness. That's when I saw it. A figure, tall and dark, stood next to a tree. It wrapped its arm around the oak, resting its hand on a branch. Half of its body stayed hidden behind the tree, and the other half stood exposed.
We stared at each other for the longest time, never breaking each other's gaze. The creature then shifted its body, coming out of the tree line. It was then, by the light of the flashlight and the moon, that it was revealed. I squinted at the creature, my heart pounding in my chest, beating and screaming in fright. I had expected many things to emerge from behind the tree. Perhaps a monster, a ghost, maybe a demon from Hell that came to collect my soul. Anything but this.
There before me stood a man, and a man was all he was. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief, and when they refocused on the man I knew my vision did not deceive me. There was nothing special about him. He sported a large grey beard that swayed in the breeze. Lanky arms drooped by his sides, sitting parallel to his narrow legs. He was tall but slender, with only a few pieces of tattered clothes to shield him from the weather. I watched as the man sat on the ground in a crisscross fashion and rocked slowly with the wind.
His lips moved as if speaking something, but I couldn't tell what he was saying. I sprinted to the kitchen and grabbed a large knife, the blade of which glimmered in the light. Thinking quickly, I also snatched my cellphone and rushed back to the window, not wanting to divert my attention from the mysterious man lurking outside for too long. Each breath felt heavier with every inhale. Beads of sweat steadily trickled down my forehead and onto the back of my neck.
The man moved from his sitting position. He uncurled his legs and pressed his fingertips on the ground, pushing himself up. He stood straight, facing towards the house, his eyes fixated on mine. Around that time was when my head began to feel light. My surroundings dissolved before me and my eyes focused on the man outside. The sound of rain and wind was tuned out of my mind. I felt a pull. It was a strange feeling, one that could almost be described as a magnet attracting me, convincing me to unlock the door and walk out.
The only thing I paid any attention to then was myself, the stranger, and the thin sheet of glass serving as a viewpoint and barrier between us. And then there was silence and stillness. The man remained unmoving, as did I. Then the man outside took a step toward the house. And then another.
My eyes widened as I witnessed the man creeping closer towards the house. The man stopped suddenly and shifted my body toward the moon, staring at it seemingly in awe. I watched as the stranger licked his lips in hunger towards the moon and opened his mouth. It was then that he howled. This sudden noise startled me out of his daze. I felt a hammering sensation pounding inside my head, causing me to collapse to the floor with a thud. Winded, I rubbed my head and knelt, coughing and wheezing. The warm house felt cold as my palms met the mahogany floor.
I grasped the windowsill and hoisted myself up, stumbling a bit from the unexplained hangover. I regained my composure and glanced at the window. There stood the man, face pressed against the window, inches away from my face. I could see the man in full detail. He was an older man with grey hair covered in filth. His eyes shone a bright silver, and he sported a curvaceous smile. His skin was wrinkly and leathery in texture. His lips pressed against the slick glass, still following my gaze. Once more, my body began to shudder fiercely. Keeping my attention on the man, I slipped my hand into my pockets and pulled out my cellphone.
The light that emitted from the phone's screen provided a strange feeling of comfort, if only momentarily. I clicked the phone icon and dialed. I placed the phone to my ear, relieved that I would soon be safe at last. That's when...the man smirked. Like an igniting flame, his silver eyes looked right into mine. I could have sworn the man's eyes flickered like a candle, the wick desperately clinging to what few embers remained. A strange feeling of unease and acceptance mixed to form the feeling I remembered. The feeling he had experienced earlier. Did I feel plagued by... comfort?
"911, what's your emergency?"
I heard the female operator speaking to me, but it seemed to be in the back of my mind. I was far more focused on what was before me.
"Hello, are you there? Are you ok, how may we assist you?"
I tried to respond to her. I wanted to tell her what was going on. I needed help. Yet the words I spoke contradicted my needs.
"Uh, yeah... I just, uh."
My voice trailed off. I couldn't explain what was wrong. The man's eyes held me captive, like a prisoner. Was I in control, or was it the ominous man that controlled me? I moved away from the window and shuffled towards the door in a zombielike motion. I reached for the lock. The man nodded at me, and I nodded back to the man. The stranger, who to me felt more like a long-lost friend, walked to the door. It was in the house.
I sat on the ground in a crisscross position. The man walked into the room and stood exactly opposite of my position. He too sat on the floor, the same way he had before. The man hung his head low and placed his hands on the floor. The lights dimmed to almost complete darkness for no rational explanation, but intuitively I understood that the man had done it. He was still, and appeared focused on me. He spoke not a word. The man took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly. His limbs gently shook, and his chest continued to rise and fall.
I could feel the man's hot breath splash against my skin. The stench of his breath brutally attacked my nostrils, yet I didn't even flinch. The man's shaking began to become more forceful. His knees bent and his arms jerked, writhing in unnatural positions. I could hear the man's bones snap. His flesh began moving on its own. His deep breathing became more raspy and shallow. The flesh which loosely clung to his bones convulsed and thick, grimy slobber leaked from his mouth as he crashed to the floor, spasming. I witnessed his limbs contort into strange shapes and sizes, and as I watched this all occur, I simply sat there, motionless.
When he was done "transforming", the only recognizable feature the man had were the silver eyes he possessed which still sparkled like a burning star in the night sky. He was no longer a man, but something else. He was taller, his arms and legs wider. The skinny person from before gained a hefty torso and larger features. Where he and I had been eye to eye before, it was suddenly far larger and looked down upon me. His body hair quadrupled in its amount, covering the "man" from head to toe.
I looked in astonishment at the incredible sight. I had never seen something so beautiful, so magnificent, so ungodly. Its chest heaved with each breath. Its lips moved the same way they had when the man was outside. He repeated the same word on his lips without saying it. I studied him closely. I watched his lips move and tried to discern what the beast was saying. Licking my lips and opening my mouth, I replicated what the beast had been saying all along.
Lycanthrope, Werewolf, Beast, a Monster. The Lycanthrope turned towards me in hunger. It needed to feed. The wolf stepped forward. It sniffed the surrounding air with its large nose. Its nostrils were the size of golf balls. I knew what it was. Lycanthrope... Lycanthrope... Wolf. I flung myself back into the corner. The feeling of safety and comfort melted away and was replaced with what I had previously felt. Raw, unadulterated fear. I tripped over myself and fell to the floor, staring up at the beast. It positioned itself in front of me and stuck its tongue out like a dog yearning for a treat. The beast opened its mouth and its thick saliva ran down its cheek. It mounted its strong leg on top of me, preventing me from moving.
I desperately pounded my fist against the monster's leg but to no avail. With each blow, the beast looked angrier and hungrier. It lifted its foot and smashed it into my side, rupturing my ribs. I screamed in pain as my arms fell to my side. I faced the heavens, struggling to breathe. Each breath I took felt like a sharp knife stabbing into my side. Hot tears welled within my eyes and ran down my face. I felt the taste of blood in my mouth as well as the searing pain throughout my body. The wolf bent down in front of my face and sneered at me in victory. I glared at the wolf in hatred and spat at it, quickly causing the wolf to lose its grin.
With that, I leaned my head back and waited for the beast to take my life. I awaited the sharp daggers for teeth the wolf had to tear into my throat and consume me. I prepared for the beast to rip me into two pieces with its enormous hands. The wolf opened its mouth and... I looked up in surprise. It had no teeth. All that stood in its mouth were gums where teeth should be. A slim black tongue like that of a snake exited the wolf's mouth. The tongue was forked and dark as char.
It approached my mouth, attempting to enter. I tightly closed my mouth shut, realizing I was still afraid of death even if I was utterly helpless. The wolf curled its fist into a ball and struck me in the gut, leaving my mouth gaping ajar.
The wolf's tongue entered my mouth. I gagged as it touched the back of my throat. I realized the beast's tongue was impossible in length, as I felt it scratching the walls of my esophagus. My body writhed and squirmed in discomfort, as I felt that... thing traveling further and further downward. The wolf began to inhale, its tongue acting as a makeshift straw.
I felt lightheaded, yet the discomfort remained. The wolf snarled as its tongue wiggled in my stomach. My skin turned pale, and I realized my air was running out. I looked for a split second at the wolf's tongue. It was covered in a thick black substance that appeared to be entering my mouth. My eyes fluttered as I felt myself passing out from a lack of oxygen. My head fell to the floor.
It was then the wolf ripped its tongue out from my throat and stepped backward. I gasped for air, clutching my chest and trying to compose myself. As soon as I caught my breath, the wolf jumped back onto me and resumed his assault once more. It carried on for what felt like hours, and truth be told... I don't remember when it stopped. What I do know is that eventually, the beast ceased its attack. I only caught a glimpse of it retreating, presumably disappearing into the forest from where it came.
It wasn't long after that a policeman entered the home, probably to follow up on my call from earlier. Walking into the living room, the officer found me slumped against a corner. As I stood up, I saw my reflection in a nearby window. A thick, chunky, black substance covered my lips. I was pale as the winter snow, with tear stains engraved into my cheek face. I looked towards the officer and felt my lips begin to move. My expression never changed, and neither did the words I repeated in a shaky voice. My eyes stared ahead, unmoving, silver pupils radiating from the sockets like a burning flame.
Written by Icydice