The full moon was glowing among the stars, the whitest of whites against the blackest of black. Paws were patting the dirt path that snaked between the grass and trees that surrounded the estate, from whose second-floor window this lupine brute had jumped. A nose was sniffing for human flesh to eat.
Soon, it found some.
A man and his wife were walking in that very forest. He wore a suit, she a dress, diamonds, and pearls. How romantic. How bourgeois. How unfortunate.
Some nearby bushes were rustling, something hiding among them, waiting for the couple to approach. Lampposts, set far off from each other, gave just enough light for people to walk through at night, but left it dark enough to keep lurking dangers unseen. A wolf’s eyes, obscured among the leaves, were following that couple’s every step.
“This is so unlike you, Franz,” the woman said in German to her husband. “Taking me for a stroll in a forest at night.”
“Yes, I know, Frieda, but tonight I felt as if something were pulling me out here,” Franz said in German. “It’s so beautiful. I couldn’t resist.”
“I wish you had resisted,” Frieda said. Her fear was vibrating all the way to those bushes. At one point, she thought she saw eyes peering at her from them. She gasped and twitched, then looked again…the eyes were gone. Did she just imagine it? “I’m scared. Let’s…”
“Relax,” he said. “This is really beautiful. Fresh air. I’m glad we came.”
“I don’t care how pretty it is,” she said. “I still don’t like us walking about here. I can’t forget that story I read about the wolf attack here a month ago. Three people—“
“Oh, nonsense! No one ever found a wolf anywhere. Those people were probably killed by that psychotic who was arrested last week. He’d killed others in the same bloody way. He may have denied killing Wolfgang Bergbauer’s family, but I’m sure he was lying.”
“But there were witnesses who insisted the wounds were caused by claws and teeth, not knives—“
“Rubbish! They also claimed it was a werewolf, of all things. Can you rely on such testimony? It was a full moon that night, as tonight. How is that proof of a werewolf? My dear, don’t be so credulous.”
A growl vibrated from those bushes.
The two of them looked around for the source of the voice.
They never found it, of course.
Another, louder growl.
“I assure you,” he said. “This isn’t at all funny.”
A ten second silence, then a howl.
“Alright, enough!” he shouted. “Come out, wherever you are.”
I brought him crashing down on the dirt, his hair covered in it.
Her screams were piercing my ears as keenly as my claws were cutting up his stomach.
His liver and kidneys were the tastiest, his blood being their gravy. He screamed briefly, till my claws, having already ripped his rib cage aside, scraped against his lungs, flooding his throat with red and stopping his voice. He would then only cough blood. His intestines lay like a red snake on the grass.
I, Sades, the spirit in control of the werewolf, could sense, through my connection with the vibrations of energy everywhere, Frieda’s whole experience of terror, as if it were my own. I’ve always enjoyed that ability…it helps me to terrorize my victims better. My two spirit brothers and I could even know people’s dreams, their perspectives, and their most private thoughts, if we wanted to.
She was frozen with fear, yet shaking all over, her feet seemingly rooted to the ground. She continued weeping a few seconds longer as I feasted, then I looked up at her, licking my lips.
Our eyes met.
She fought against her panic with spastic jerks of her legs. Desperate to run, she just couldn’t.
I just stared with grinning fangs.
I’ll give her a head start, I thought. Give her a fighting chance.
Finally, she broke free of her paralysis and ran, screaming, almost falling.
I bit off another chunk or two of her husband’s flesh, then ran after her.
Be careful, the voice of Chisad whispered in my mind’s ear. Don’t let her screams come within earshot of anyone else. Too many people knew about us after the last full moon.
Chisad was right. I had to pounce on this bitch as soon as possible. Just as the full moon’s contradiction of white and black released the wolf, so could the contradiction—between my bloodlust and her urge to survive—put Chisad, Chebirüsad, and me in danger of being shot…and without a new host to enter when this one that we were in died, we three spirits would be forever exiled from the flesh! Our souls wandering aimlessly in limbo, never able to avenge the deaths of our people! Unbearable banishment!
Frieda kept running, the edge of the forest coming closer. I had to get to her before she got there and drew attention to us.
There are so many contradictions: the one between my will to kill and hers to live, and the hardly endurable one between my will and those of Chisad and Chebirüsad. But when the light of the stars is augmented with the full moon’s white, these clashing with the black backdrop of night, our three urges’ discord is also at its sharpest, bringing out the wolf. Everything is a battle of opposites.
Frieda stopped running. She hid behind a tree.
Always weeping, she thought: Please, God, I don’t want to die. Oh, Franz!
The vibrations all around us spirits guided us to her, better than our wolf’s nose, better than a thousand eyes. I went into some nearby bushes, pretending I didn’t know where she was. In this forest, Kleinwald, no one can hide from me.
I could hear her shaky breathing. We spirits knew her fear, and her thoughts, as if our very consciousness was hers. It was like visiting the inside of her head, seeing through her eyes. What fun for me!
She could feel—and almost hear—her heart pounding in her chest.
She smelled delicious, though she wasn’t pretty enough for me to want sexually; though even if she were, that prig Chebirüsad wouldn’t have let me rape her, anyway. Nor would Chisad have, so worried was he of us being caught and killed. My task was to kill quickly and run to safety, that was all.
Her eyes were darting about, left and right, trying to find me. Then she glanced over to her right, and saw my yellow eyes amid the black of the shadowy bushes. Our eyes met briefly, then mine disappeared from her sight.
Again, her eyes were racing all around her: in front, to the left, to the right, behind her.
Where is it? she wondered.
Then she looked over to her left. She saw one eye this time.
She shuddered. Then the eye disappeared.
Once more, her eyes were frantically scanning the area, but this time never finding my eyes.
She didn’t even hear anything. No growls, no beast’s breathing.
Just blackness and silence, all around her.
Where is it? she asked herself in her mind. Is it gone? Did it lose me? Oh, I hope so. I can’t take this any longer.
She kept looking around and listening, not making any noise, even breathing as quietly as she could.
No eyes anywhere.
No sounds from an animal. Not even the wind in the trees.
She poked her head around, thinking, Please, God, let that beast be gone.
With shaky, spastic legs, she slowly stepped away from the tree and back to the beaten path.
Then I jumped on her.
Her heart and lungs were the tastiest parts.
With the sun starting to peek over the horizon, Sades was finally restrained, and the wolf, exhausted from running all over the town of Klein, just southwest of the city of Rosenheim in Upper Bavaria, fell asleep by some bushes near a playground in Kleinpark, on the side of town opposite the forest of Kleinwald.
But what woke up four hours later wasn’t a wolf.
Now he was Wolfgang Georg Alexander Bergbauer, 38, and naked as the day he was born.
He looked around, blinking and waiting impatiently for his eyes to focus. He felt chilly all over. Then he knew.
“Oh, shit,” he said, cupping his hands over his genitals. “Not again.”
He noticed and recognized the nearby playground, correctly guessed it was about 8:30 in the morning, and saw only a few people, no more: a mother and her baby in a stroller, and a pretty blonde, about eighteen from the looks of her (even now-passive Sades sensed her desirability). Again, Wolfgang’s intuition was accurate (she was eighteen), since my connection with the spirit world was able to guide his guesses.
He got up and started sneaking over to the girl, not because she was lovely, but because she’d left her hooded red coat on the swing beside the one she was sitting on. Stealing and wearing that woman’s coat might make him look foolish, but his nakedness made him much more of a spectacle. Besides, he was freezing.
Luckily for him, the mother pushed her baby stroller out of the playground, so if there was to be a struggle with the girl, no further attention would be drawn to him. (Actually, I willed the mother to go.) The girl was absorbed in what she was looking at on her phone. He was approaching, wincing whenever he stepped on a sharp rock, and hoping she wouldn’t hear his grunts of discomfort.
My spiritual connection to everything around me allowed me to know what the girl was reading on her phone; I read the text as if her eyes were mine. She and her mother had been exchanging text messages.
Her mother’s text message said, “Renate, where are you? You’ve been missing for the past twelve hours. We’re worried about you. Please come home and let’s fix this problem. We forgive you for being with that boy, and for what you did to your father.”
Renate’s reply was, “You’ll have to find me. I”m not telling you where I am. I’m fed up with all three of you. I’ve already fixed the problem by leaving. I’ll never forgive you for calling me a whore, nor for what Daddy did to him; in fact, I’m going to punish you all by becoming a prostitute. Bye.” After sending the message, she surfed the internet for the news.
In the next few seconds, Wolfgang was right behind her, his right hand almost on the coat. But he got curious, and looked at what she was now reading on her phone: a news story about the second wolf attack near his estate, in the forest south of Klein!
She was smiling with wide eyes as she read. “A wolf,” she whispered to herself, then thought, I love wolves. “Maybe, a werewolf?”
He gasped, drawing her attention away. She looked over at him as he snatched her coat. She grabbed it by the other side, and they began a tug of war.
“Hey!” she said, almost falling off the swing. “That’s my coat!”
“Sorry,” he said. “I need…to borrow it.”
As they struggled, she couldn’t restrain her curiosity, and she looked down at his body; her eyes widened again, impressed with the hunk of meat she saw dangling down.
“Mmm,” she moaned with a smile.
With his greater strength, he managed to wrest the coat from her. She fell off the swing.
“Hey!” she shouted, thudding on the ground.
“Thanks,” he said, running away with it.
Having not put it on yet, he looked back at her briefly, grinning at the lustful amazement in her eyes at the sight of his muscular body. Indeed, that lewd awe she felt kept her in such a trance that she forgot to scream for help. She just sat in the dirt and stared at his pretty arse.
What most fascinated her about his body, even more so than his good looks, was the deep scar scratched from his chest—on the right—down his right side to just below his right buttock, a brown swirl of four claws. Though perfectly healed, it seemed a permanent indentation in his skin.
What a sexy naked man, she thought, licking her lips. Then she said, “He must be the werewolf the locals have been talking about.” No one believes them, of course, she thought, grinning at the sight of him farther away, now wearing her coat as if he were a cross-dresser. People think those locals are crazy to believe in werewolves. But I believe. At least, I want to believe.
She licked her lips again.
If he’s the werewolf, she thought, I want him.