I stared into the looming, dark woods, hiding any frightening beast that should have decided to befall me on that cloudy autumn day. A chilly wind whipped around my head, stinging my eyes and pulling my red hood off of my head. I pulled it back over my dark ringlets, a trait from my mother, as a musty, rainy smell filled my nostrils. I said a little prayer, pulled my hooded red cloak tightly around my torso, and began my short, but dreaded, journey. My gray shoes thudded against the dull, dusty lane as I made my way to Grandmother’s house. I did not like the woods, as there were frightening stories of a wolf that devoured poor little children like me. My basket tapping against my thigh, I turned to a brisk walk, wanting to arrive faster, as I heard the menacing howls.

The lush green grass started to show signs of color, and then I realized that on either side of the path there were thousands and thousands of gorgeous wildflowers. Red, purple, midnight blue, how beautiful! I reached to pick one, then another, then another, when I spotted it. A luminous, white waterlily, shining from a sparkling stream in the middle of a sunny little meadow. I started to walk towards it when Mother’s warning words came to mind. “Do not stray from the path, do you hear? It is a dangerous place out in the woods, but your poor grandmother is deathly ill. She needs these medicines. Stay on the path Juliet, or you will not survive.” Oh, well, I would only be a moment, right? As I bent to pick the wonderful the flower, I saw a large, black shadow that seemed to suck all of the light out of the world. And then my blood went cold. There, towering above me, staring at me with his crimson eyes, was an enormous, black wolf. He was real. And he looked starving.

As soon as I saw him, I knew that there was nothing I could do but run. Jumping over the small stream, I flew down the hill, my legs a blur, my hair whipping around my face. Then, he was in front of me.
“Come here little girl.” He growled. “Tell me, where are you going on this fine evening?”
“Nowhere.” I sniffed, turning up my nose. I would not show him that I was afraid. He sniffed the air, grinning a horrible, nightmarish grin.
“Nowhere, ay? Well then, what are you doing with this,” he growled, hitting my basket, “wonderful little meal? Did you bring it for me?”
“No, I did not. It’s for my Gran- me. It’s for me.”
“Oh, what a shame. I guess I will just have to eat you. Of course, I will give you a choice.” He said, a smirk on his hairy face.  I swallowed, shaking.
“A-a choice?” I stammered.
“You can run,” he laughed, “and I will give you ten seconds before I chase you. You’ll never get away soon enough though.”
“Or…” I prodded, knowing he was right.
“Or…” Started the horrid beast. “You can hide, in the woods. But my nose will smell you out.” I frowned.
“MOVE!” I screamed, kicking him as hard as I could, then I sprinted into the forest.
“LITTLE GIRL! I CAN SMELL YOUR FEAR!” He roared. Gasping for air, I realized that the basket I was holding was full of meat. Fresh. Meat. I threw it into the dark forest, then ran to the big black oak tree, where he bounded upon me. Then, everything went black.

Hours later, as the moon opened its eyes and the stars stopped hiding, I awoke. Where was I? What was I doing here? I looked around, scared. My hands and knees were bloody, and I my back felt as if someone had raked a dagger down it. I started limping toward my grandmother’s house. Upon my arrival, I noticed that the house was unusually quiet.
“G-grandmother?” I called, my voice barely a whisper. Clearing my throat, I called again, “Grandmother, are you home? Hello?” No one. I walked into her room, sitting upon her bed.  The quiet was…eerie. Almost as if the world had gone silent. So, I started looking for Grandmother’s flute. It was a beautiful thing, really, silvery and shiny, looking like new. I finally found it, and opened the small leather box. Removing the velvet cover I saw…nothing. The box was empty. Well, I thought to myself, not daring to break the perfect silence of the house, this is quite peculiar. And I went off in search of Grandmother’s beautiful flute.

Opening the creaky closet door, I peeked inside. Nothing but musty air and moths. Then, I heard a deep rumble from the attic. Curious, I slinked up the stairs, careful to avoid the creaky stairs.
“H-hello?” I whimpered, my breath speeding up with each step. “Who’s there?” I cried, sounding much braver than I felt. Finally, reaching the top of the steps, I slowly opened the door. Nothing.
“How strange. I could have sworn that-” I started. Then, I screamed. There, in the corner of the room, was the wolf. He had blood on his muzzle, and was chewing on a bone. A very big bone. Apparently, he hadn’t heard my scream. Perhaps…perhaps he was asleep? I didn’t want to find out. Withholding a sob, I closed the door and crawled back down stairs.  I had to leave. Soon.

After grabbing some food, clothes, and my grandmother’s flute case (with no flute, still), I headed out, running from the house. I tried to find the path, I really did, but only after I had run from the house. In other words, I was lost. Sobbing, I looked around, trying to find any familiar landmarks. Not a thing in sight. I sank down on my knees. Perhaps, just a small nap. Maybe, by morning light, I could see the path. I then drifted into oblivion.

I awoke to a rustling, and I sat up straight, alert and…not ready. Why? Why had I not grabbed my Grandfather’s old hunting knife? Then, I saw it. The outline of a…a young boy. No older than seven or eight, he lay there, so still he seemed to be dead. I poked him with a stick.
“Ow!” He cried, rubbing his cheek.
“Sorry” I whispered. “Who are you?”
“Edmond.” He replied, whimpering now.
“Well, I’d be careful if I were you. There’s a wolf around here somewhere. He…he…killed my…” I paused, unable to go on.
“I’m sorry,” he said, wincing now.
“It’s alright, it wasn’t your fault.” I whispered. Now he looked in serious pain.
“Actually,” he strained, close to tears, “it was.” And he transformed from a small, young boy to the snarling wolf that killed my Grandmother.

Screaming, I ran back to the house, attempting to get away from him. Locking the door and windows, I grabbed my grandfather’s shotgun and looked for wooden boards and nails. I was boarding up the last window, about to move to the door, when it started pounding. Abandoning the window, I started nailing up the door, but to no avail. The door was moving too much. So, I moved the chairs and tables in front of it. Then, I finished boarding up the window, oddly calm. But then I felt my back start to burn a little bit. Then, I remembered the stories my father used to tell me about the wolves, no, not the wolves, the MAN wolves…men that turn into these horrible beasts. And, the feeling on my back that feeling on my back this evening…did he…scratch me? The door then gave way, but I didn’t care.
“What did you do to me?” I demanded.
“I-I just wanted a friend.” He said, whimpering. “I’m sorry.”
Then, the change started.

I lay on the ground, gasping for air, hoping, praying that this horrible pain will end. It feels as though ice is growing in my bones, starting in my heart and travelling out. I scream for help, although I know there is only the horrible wolf, the one who caused this. The coldness grows inside of me as I feel my bones snap and break, rearranging themselves as the pain nearly causes me to black out. Then I see the hair. Dark and curly, just like the hair upon what was once my head, starts growing everywhere. On my arms, my legs, I feel it on my face. Then, my senses sharpen. I can see the fluttering of a blade of grass as it’s uprooted by a worm. The sound of a bird, soaring above me, is as clear as the banging of symbols. But the smells, oh the smells, they come at me from all directions, seeming to say here, here, here, me, me, me! The smell of fresh rain, so sweet and distant, calls to me like a fireplace on a cold winter night. Then, it all stops. No more pain. The change is complete.

The full moon’s out tonight. Be ready.

Credit To – Tori
Credit Link – toribethdorr@gmail.com

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