The night was the stormiest night I have ever recalled in all my life. The rain was coming down so heavy no one even dared to leave their homes. The thunder struck like a cat of nine tails hitting a condemned man for the worst of penalties. I was sitting in my study, surveying the storm from the window behind my desk. It surely was horrific. My darling wife, Catharine, was sitting in the lounge, knitting. She always does that when she’s fretting about something. My two children, my son Edward and daughter Elizabeth were sitting there with her, playing cards. I don’t know where my dog Harlow was, probably laying on his bed, as he always does. The rain poured down for hours and hours, and I just sat there waiting for it to pass, so I could go hunting to get my family a decent feed for the next day. Finally I gave up and went to my bedroom. My kids had gone to bed hours ago. I thought my wife had to but, noticing she wasn’t there I gathered she was just continuing her knitting.
I awoke early the next morning to sunshine and blue skies. Surprisingly there was no evidence of the storm the night before, I thought as I looked out the window. My children were out there with Harlow. I looked for my wife; she was in the kitchen, making breakfast. I noted her nursing her hand. I enquired her about it but she just said something about knitting. I told her that that cut would be impossible to do whilst knitting, but she insisted on it and changed the subject. Not wanting to fight I just ate my breakfast passively, and went out to hunt food for the evening.
If only I realised then.
It was exactly four weeks after that night. My wife had been acting ever so strangely during the whole time but she insisted it was just a small head cold. Anyway, on this night my wife was out, playing cards with her friends or something, it’s this monthly ritual they decided to start. My children were in the rumpus room with my sister Penelope. I walked outside. The night was perfect for hunting. I called to my sister to take care of Edward and Elizabeth, before I grabbed my shotgun and walked out into the night. The moon came out from under the clouds and shone brightly. It made me realise how lively the forest is at night. I heard a wolf howl in the distance and my skin crawl. I hated wolves. But that was not nearly as much as I hated werewolves.
We once had one in my old town, then two, then four, before the whole town was flooded with them. Only a lucky few survived and fled. I have never known what exactly the wolves are, as the stories are varied so much it is hard to tell which ones are even close to the truth. I know that they are like normal wolves, except are larger and are able to stand on their hind legs at ease. They have huge rigid backs and no mercy. And how they are created, well I’ve only heard of two stories that could be even close to the truth. The first one tells the tail of the devil. In this tail, werewolves were people suffering from mental illnesses usually. The person will go outside to an isolated place and start to draw a circle in the dirt. In the middle of this circle the werewolves would light a fire. He would put on the skin of a wolf which he and only he had killed and rub a magical ointment on his body. Then he would pray to the Devil. At the end of this, the skin of the wolf would turn into their own skin and they would become a werewolf, and go off for their search of prey.
But I think this would be for only the first werewolf, if any. For I believe that a werewolf can only become what they are, by being bitten by another. Once they are bitten, that is it. There is no cure. Once it is found out the person is sent out to be hung, in broad daylight, to make sure that they never feast on another humans flesh. This is what most people believe how werewolves come about.
I listened to another howl. This one seemed closer, and I started to feel anxious of my surroundings. I heard a sound from behind me. I swung around and saw a bush shaking ferociously. I quickly swung my shotgun up over my shoulder and put it in position. The bush seemed to keep on shaking and my feet felt frozen to the spot. Then out jumped…a family of rabbits. I sighed and lowered my shotgun in relief. Wait…I picked my shotgun up again…do I think my family feels like rabbit stew?
I began walking back home, feeling very pleased with myself. My family now had a decent few days of feed ahead of them. I looked around at my surroundings. I liked the way this village looked at night. The way the old cottages looked like something at of a fairytale, and the way the lake shone as bright as the sun on a summer’s day. Everyone seemed to but at ease with everyone. It was then I heard a man’s desperate yell.
I ran in the direction I had heard the yell. It was only two blocks away, near the edge of the forest, where the trees were so close together they seemed like a cramped passageway. I walked down it and at the end I found my good friend being attacked by a werewolf. At least it seemed like a werewolf. It was the same build, yes, but it was slightly smaller, the paws where not as wide, and the facial features weren’t as long as usual. But it was a werewolf all the same. I picked up a large stick and swung it above my head, before throwing it onto the fiend. It turned my way. By now some other people arrived from the village, some holding sticks of fire. They also threw them at the wolf. It stood up on its hind legs, with quite ease, and caught them before throwing them back. The people screamed and ran for shelter. I got out my shotgun and shot at its head and chest, just as the clouds shifted and covered the moon.
At first I thought the bullets had worked. The werewolf let off a deafening howl. It seemed as though it was in agony. It stood, grasping its head with its two paws, moaning and groaning so much that I could not understand what was happening. Then it started to shrink in size. Its paws turned to hands and feet, then the legs and arms, then the body and the head. No…it seemed impossible, how could this be? The werewolf was not a werewolf. It was a she-wolf. It was Catharine. I couldn’t breathe. I knew the penalty for being a werewolf or she-wolf. She was going to be hanged.
I know now that the cut Catharine ha d received was not from her knitting, but from a werewolf. She had been out to fetch some fresh water from the well before morning when it struck. I only wish I heard her scream. I also know that werewolves do not mean the things they do, it is just bad luck. The worst luck. But now she’s dead, and I’m left to take care of Edward and Elizabeth and Harlow on my own, and I just can’t help thinking, if only.