Reign of Adolphe'

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A werewolf story told in his own words in the 19th-century, how he was cursed to be a werewolf in 1474 in France after the bubonic plague swept across Europe, and was then chosen to be the 1st Alpha to lead entire werewolf species.

Submitted: May 31, 2019

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Submitted: May 31, 2019

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REIGN OF ADOLPHE’

Preface

 

I remember all of it. Everything! Every complete detail of every minuscule event in my entire life. Every day, every hour, minute, second, and even the weather every each day, as if my life is currently happening over and over when any memory passes through my mind. God in heaven, I wish I could forget everything in the past, but this damn curse will never grant me serenity or peace! The clearest, vibrant memories that are of the most horrendous and revolting experiences that anyone could ever witness and would gladly carve from their brain, plague my thoughts continually. The intolerable pain of not only the loss of my entire family in such an unspeakable manner, but of being the demise to their ends. My beautiful wife Jacquealmost a man of fifteen, our twin girls, Ada and Alina of nine years, and our precious baby girl Eva, only six months old, now long gone for these many decades, living only in my tortured memories.

During the year of our lord 1474AD, the Black Death that seemed determined to end all of mankind had almost killed half of Europe, striking down without remorse, every man, woman, child, and infant, caught in its path of destruction. I once believed that if we survived the wrath of what God had brought down on us during those dark years, there was no greater threat to all of humanity we would ever endure in our lives, but I was wrong. So very wrong!

Looking down from this rock; not actually a rock, but a  section of the mountain jutting out of the forest grass and mosses hidden underneath my feet, connected to the high mountain peak behind me a mile away, I’ve decided to just let the memories flow through my thoughts from the beginning, and tell my own story. This curse has given me the ability to sense everything, even underneath my feet, where this jagged rock is connected to the massive mountain, Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria, where the snow lay permanently embedded year-round at its peak. My reign began in France, expanding into every country throughout Europe.

Here is my tale from the beginning.

 

 

 The End

The village of La Marche’, located in central France, is where we had lived our entire life. My name is Adolphe’ L’Hernault, and my wife Jacquet and I had grown up together as children in the village, and had fallen in love, and were married next to the stream nearby, where every holy union between two people from the village were joined in eternal matrimony. Our life together became complete only after we were blessed from God, with the children, he gave us, and over the years, our prayers were answered for proper weather during the planting, growing, and harvesting of the crops. All who raised their families in La Marche’ were farmers, and without the right quantity of rain and sunshine, and thus a bountiful harvest before the winters, the whole village would suffer miserably during the harsh bitter cold months, and some would not survive.

Although we had occasional winters after a scanty harvest, we all made do with what God provided, and the women would work together to provide for all the families utilizing their large pots filled with stews, pottage, and soups, and what remained in their pantries and cellars containing vegetables, along with the dried and salted smoked meats and fish. Then all of the men in the village would embark on the long and tenuous hunting trips for the larger game meats, which would sustain the village, keeping us stronger for the imminent cold brutal months of winter ahead. After our Son Roul was born early one morning in late autumn, while my wife was giving him his first rich taste of her breast milk, I walked down to the river where Jacquet and I were joined together witnessed under the eyes of God, and sat down on a rock by the stream, putting my head in my hands, and started to sob.

Not from sadness, but overjoyed with the happiness of being given the opportunity to continue the family bloodline heritage, and to be invited to be a part of God’s plan for the future of his divine creation, starting with my firstborn. A Son! Hearing only the sounds of nature and the water flowing down the stream with the birds singing their morning songs, I gave thanks to God for listening to my daily prayers, and providing me the opportunity to take care of one of his precious gifts on earth, and promised my eternal love and devotion to his greatness. As I stood and turned to walk back to the village, I caught a glimpse of movement on the other side of the stream. The tall grasses were quivering, not by the gentle breeze that traveled along the river, but by the movement of something else. And it stopped after a pair of large ears rose above the grasses.

Barely seeing the head of the wolf, our eyes met for a few seconds, as if he recognized me, but that’s insane! Then I quickly glanced to the right and left along the edge of the bank on the other side of the river, searching for any movement of other wolves, because they usually traveled in packs. When I turned back to where the wolf had been standing, he had disappeared, and then the grasses swayed in unison as the breeze quickened. I’ve never seen wolves this close to the village, and that concerned me thinking about the safety of the children. My Son, the pride that filled my heart knowing that my family lineage would continue, gave me the strength my father had when I was a child growing up in a cave on a mountainside, which was our home. My father raised me to be the second in charge of our family, whenever he was gone, or when he left with the other fathers on hunts for the larger game meats for the families.

We each lived in various caves which dotted the side of the mountain, overlooking the valley below where we could easily keep an eye out for danger. Sometimes, they would be gone for weeks, if not over a month on these long hunts for wild boar, hart; the red deer stag that would easily feed several families for a month, rabbits, squirrels, and any other quarry they would come upon. The first time I had ever seen a wolf was in the middle of the night during the autumn full moon, which lit the entire valley below the entrance to our cave, on the cliff. I was eight years old! It was a couple of hours before the sun would introduce the new day by warming the earth, and with the full moon in a clear sky, where thousands of stars were visible, I could see as well as if it was already daytime. Being only eight, my father had already entrusted me as the keeper of the family to protect and keep a wary eye out for predators or marauders, where even a breaking twig branch in the distance would awaken me from a deep sleep. For whenever father was gone, I slept near the cave opening, like a mother bear protecting her cubs.

Hearing rustling in the forest, I crawled to the edge of the cliff and looked across the valley below, and there he stood at the edge of the woods, sniffing the ground, and lifting his head when he sensed my presence; quickly I lowered my head and peeking over the edge at this majestic beautiful creature, an enormous black wolf. My Father had told me stories of these intelligent animals, being incredible hunters who targeted prey with stealth and strategy, communicating commands with low growls and howling, while herding prey to where the others waited out of sight to quickly bring them down, and killing them to feed the whole pack.

 

He told me that most people being ignorant of the truth were terrified of them and saw them as the worst threat to their families, but my father respected and admired their skills and intelligence. He taught the others during the hunts, how to imitate the hunting prowess of the wolf, in order to successfully complete their mission to bring home fresh meats for all of the families living in the caves of the mountain. He told me that the wolf packs eliminated the weaker and older of their prey; thus leaving the stronger ones to breed, filling the herds with larger and healthier young, so the supply of meats was larger, giving predators like us, a plentiful bounty of good healthier meats. My father was the wisest and most intelligent person I’ve ever known, and because of him, I was respected by the others in the village of La Marche’ when I became a father and was overwhelmingly chosen to be the leader who they turned to, whenever it was time to replenish the necessary meats to sustain the families.

Looking back now, and at only eight years of age, I was already tutored and wise in the ways of the wolf pack by my father, from observing them in nature along with all of God’s creatures. Father always instilled in me, that respecting nature and observing God’s greatness, is where we learn to coexist in the world around us, and how to survive in sometimes this harsh world we share with all of his creation. Peeking over the edge of the cliff before the sun was up, his eyes and mine met, but for a brief instance, I sensed a bond with this wolf, who must have been the alpha, the leader of the pack, for he must have weighed easily over ninety kg. He was huge, and after my father returned from the hunt several weeks later and I told him what transpired, his words were imprinted in my head my entire life, but now they haunt me.

“Always keep a wary eye for the rest of your life,” Father whispered, tilting my head up, so as to look into my eyes, “only the leader of the pack, the alpha male wolf, can bind us with the spirit of the pack, and you, my son, were chosen!”

“Chosen for what, Father,” I asked, confused by his words?

“Only you’ll know why, Adolphe’,” he smiled, kissing me on the top of my head. “When it’s revealed to you someday, you’ll understand!”

He patted me on the head and told me to go to bed, for we will have a long day tomorrow in the fields below in the valley, because winter was coming and we needed to harvest the remainder of the measly crops of vegetables still in the ground; so we’re prepared for whatever the bitter winter months have in store for us, as we do year after year. I had forgotten, but on that night when the black wolf and my eyes bonded, my heart started beating louder and faster, while a hot flood of heat surged from deep within my stomach, and encompassed my entire body as if I were a volcano ready to erupt. Although it only lasted a few seconds, I remember now dropping my pants and urinating over the edge of the cliff, but when I was awakened by the morning sun rays illuminating my face, I was puzzled by the stench of urine that stained the front of my breeches, not remembering the event at all, until now. I started to turn around and head back to the village, when a howling reverberated all through the forest, piercing the quiet morning. Immediately, I began to speculate that this wolf I had just seen watching me behind the tall grasses on the other side of the river, had just confirmed his recognition of me as the chosen one from many years ago when I was just a boy; obviously by another wolf. But chosen for what?

I chuckled to myself, as I walked away from the river where the wolf had disappeared on the other side. “Don’t be silly, Adolphe’,” whispering to myself! As I neared the village excited to see my newborn son again, and barely audible to my ears, a chorus of wolves had joined in unison howling and echoing in the distance. Opening the door, Jacquet had just finished nursing baby Roul, who had fallen asleep in her arms, as she softly placed her breast back inside her tunic.

“Shhh,” she whispered, placing her finger on her lips. “He just closed his eyes. Did I just hear wolves howling from the forest?”

“Sound has no boundaries in the woods when there’s a breeze, besides, it was from across the river, and the river is high,” I answered, not telling a lie, but not the entire truth either.

As I slowly shut the squeaking door, the last howling echo had diminished, and the only sound was the autumn breeze whistling through the tiny cracks around the door. The sighting of the wolf that morning, after my son was born, was quickly forgotten, because he or his pack had never returned, or was heard of again in the forest. It was almost ten years before Jacquet was with child again after we had lost hope of having any more additions to our family. She had grown so much larger than the first time, and when the midwife walked out into the sunlight from the front door, after several hours of hearing my wife’s screams emanating from inside, she was carefully holding a tiny bundle of cloth in each arm. Ada and Alina were born, the first twin's anyone in the village had ever witnessed, and immediately, the rumors of God giving the village, two of his identical children, was a sign of fortune and prosperity for all who lived within the borders of the village.

When the twins had turned three years old, ten more families had moved into La Marche’; to partake in the fortune and good health that these miraculous children had brought to the village. Word spread throughout La Marche’ told by travelers and families passing through, in wagons pulled by worn out beasts of burden carrying all of their belongings, that there was a deluge of death sent upon the world from God, to cleanse the world of the corrupt and sinful; in order to give his faithful followers a new world.

“We have seen the horrors of “the black death and its path is clear. It’s behind us,” whispered a Father with his entire family and belongings tied together, almost overflowing his small old wagon pulled by two thin exhausted oxen with their ribs visible! Tugging on my arm as I gave him what extra bread and roots we could spare, looking at me with a blank hopeless stare, he warned, “you should take all you can carry and leave this land before your family wastes away in agony, dying in front of your eyes.”

Staring into his eyes, I could see a craggy, wrinkled, and weary soiled face, of a young Father, younger than I, but looking much older now. It was the face of a proud man who had witnessed an unfathomable horror, extracting all of the faith and strength, leaving only the blank stare, of a man ready to meet his maker. Feeling a tiny, but strong grip on my shoulder, Jacquet upon hearing the Fathers forewarning, her eyes filled with tears, drifting down her cheeks, as she started to sob leaning her head into my shoulder.

“What are we to do Adolphe’,” she whispered, hardly able to speak, weeping and breathing rapidly? “Is our fate sealed to be destroyed and cleansed by God’s wrath?”

“God will not abandon us,” I told her, trying to be as confident and strong as I’ve always been, but a solid lump filled the pit of my stomach. “He will provide for our family's survival, and after his purification cleanses the world, we will be reprieved and stronger,” lifting her head, and looking into her eyes.

Recalling those words uttered that day between my wife and I many centuries ago, were rudely cut off by a crackling sound of a branch from the other side of the meadow below me, with the ground covered by a morning misty fog. Hunters silently stalked their prey through the woods at the edge of the meadow, but one had stepped on a tiny twig which barely made a sound, but I heard it quite clearly, and now I could see them as well. The larger man had stopped, raising his hand to the other two hunters behind him to halt, and then he squatted down to touch the blood-spattered grass forming a small pool of blood on the ground, where the injured deer had stood, attempting to catch its breath after been shot through the lungs.

Noticing the bent grasses to the right, he stood and motioned the others to follow him into the tall brush, where the deer had changed its course. Smelling the fresh warm blood spouting from the lungs of the terrified deer as it darted through the grasses, and even from this distance; the pangs of hunger throughout my entire body quickly dispersed and were replaced by the disgust of a predator who doesn’t administer a swift painless kill. Besides being insensate predators, over the last four hundred years, I’ve developed the ability to sense the wickedness in mortals and these hunters were all guilty of appalling actions of sexual abuse, rape, and relevant crimes to innocent humans, who deserve more respect than worthless monsters like these mortals.

Sensing the extreme pain being felt by their prey, my attention turned to the trio of hunters, stumbling as they followed the bloody trail of the deer, breathing heavy and yelling in their raucous language, cursing and blaming each other, for having to track their prey, and possibly never locate it. I agreed!

  “They would never locate it,” I whispered as I charged straight down the side of the mountain, without losing my footing, as if I was charging across the ground hunting my prey.

“Do you see that,” screamed the smallest hunter, seeing and feeling the blast of morning dew, blown from the tall meadow grasses, hitting him vigorously in the face?

“Keep quiet you fool,” whispered the hunter walking in front of him, turning his head around, with his finger on his lips.

There was nobody behind him, and looking down, only a shotgun was lying on the ground. Before he could look forward, and say anything to the larger hunter leading them, his head was ripped from his body, and before gravity let it fall to the ground, his body was gone too, leaving only his shotgun, lying in front of the other one. I wittingly left the larger hunter for last, because he was the predator who had no respect in the ways of nature, and responsible for the agonizing pain inflicted on one of God's innocent creatures, in the cycle of life. Raising my head higher than the tall grasses, I could see that these repulsive hunters would have never caught up with their prey, as it leaped back into the thick woods, where it would die in agony as its labored breathing would eventually become a painful struggle until its life was over. Looking down at the backside of the last hunter, I sensed drops of his stench dripping from his head and body as he slowly turned, for I’m sure he could hear my heavy breathing.

I didn’t care! I wanted him to see from where his life would end. Feeling and experiencing his beating heart inside my mind as it pumped blood through his entire body, and after observing my appearance, it started beating more rapidly, but not from of heart-related illness, but because of pure fear. Pure primal fear! And that’s when I grabbed his head between my paws, holding his head still, forcing him to look into my eyes, instantly paralyzing his body, being careful not to sever any of the nerves that transmit pain back to his brain. Then I bit off his arm from the shoulder, he used when he fired his gun inflicting the unnecessary pain to his intended prey. Sensing the pain in his screams and every pain receptor in his twitching carcass, my very being yearned for what was coming; feeling my pain receptors responding to his, before traveling to my spine, releasing various signals inside my mind, giving me the euphoric aura of an ultimate orgasm, a superior predator deserves. I earned this reward over four hundred years ago when I was chosen! Chosen by the predators of the night, when my reign began over the entire lineage of the werewolf, “man-wolf!” I kept him alive to feel unimaginable pain in every section of his body as I ripped off each appendage until the morning sun peeked over the mountain exposing me in the bright sunlight hovering over my prey, consuming the last morsel and every drop of blood. Quickly, I located the injured and dying deer lying next to a tree in the woods and ended its pain mercifully. Leaping from bush to bush back up the vertical mountain to the smooth, solid rock wall, then using my immense paws with deep black curved claws, which lengthen as necessary, so as not to lose my grip, I easily climb up to where I was sitting on the rock ledge. As with every victorious killing, and gorging myself with fresh hearts and organs, I needed to then rest as all predators do.

Staring down at my massive paws covered in fur with extremely long claws, sharp as any blade of steel, and watching the transformation back into human hands as my entire body sheds the beast, still leaves me in astonishment, but at least there’s no pain. Not anymore!

Memories of the excruciating and unbearable pain throughout my body as the beast exploded from within in those early years, ripping through my skin, will haunt me forever, as will the thousands of mortals I’ve butchered. The next morning after the last of the travelers fleeing central Europe had continued south to unknown destinations, I sat with Jacquet at the table before the children awoke, and discussed how we are to survive through the unknown future in our realm. Harvest was almost two weeks away and it’s been three weeks since we were first made aware of the menacing plague heading this way, and although it was never spoken of in small circles of the villagers, it remained in the forefront of everybody’s thoughts. No matter how much anyone attempted to show a smiling or an ordinary face to others when they returned home for the day, bolting the front door, their true faces would appear; frightened, distraught, and wrinkled from the stress they lived each day, waking up in the morning and retiring to bed praying to fall asleep quickly and dream of better times.

“My Jacquet,” I whispered, squeezing her hands with mine, with the candlelight flickering between us on the table. Raising my head, she could see that I was confident in what I was going to say. “It’s going to be a bountiful harvest, and I have found fresh meats for the pot!”

 

“There’s been no more word on any plague reaching the valley so trust me, my love. We can and will survive because God is and will always be with us, so let us pray,” I said, as we both bowed our heads, thanking him.

After the entire village had harvested the crop from the gardens, we decided to have a festival of thanks to God, for sparing us during the cleansing of the evil in the world. The women all brought their pots to the center of town, where the men had collected wood for a massive fire, and placed the large pots with carrots, rutabaga, parsnips, squash, cardoon, cabbage, artichokes, and tomatoes, along with any rabbit, squirrel, or bird we could find near the village. I remember Roul, my Son, who was almost fifteen years of age, standing by the edge of the circle, where the dancing would commence when the music started playing; keeping a wary eye for a certain girl that he fancied, standing in a smaller circle with other girls, who were all of the suitable age to marry at fourteen.

“Look at Roul, Jacquet,” nudging her shoulder as she put the pieces of meat into our pot, “he has the eye for the one called Angelina. You know, by next harvest, we could be welcoming a Grandchild into the family, Mo-Mo!”

“Bite your tongue husband,” she hit the back of my head with the palm of her hand firmly. “You have thought of me as a Grandmother already, PO-PO? Besides, maybe we’ll be blessed with another gift from God, of our own!”

She snickered and walked away, leaving me puzzled by what she had stated. Turning back and seeing how her words shocked me, standing upright, scratching my head, and staring at her with my mouth wide open.

She giggled, then laughing out loud, she turned back around wiping her hands on her apron, and shared what she had told me with a few of the other wives. They all looked at me giggling, and then at the same time, they all patted their stomachs, as if they were all with child. Embarrassed by this, I looked down and begin to stir the meat into the vegetables in the pot, and when I glanced back over at the women who were still laughing at the joke they played on me, Jacquet looked up at me and blew me a kiss. I loved her with all my heart and soul! Life was good, and we were all convinced of God’s greatness and love for the village, and everybody within its borders, but then the first snows came in late October. And the world changed forever! The village was fully prepared for a brutal winter, with an extremely bountiful harvest of vegetables that filled every family’s pantries and dugouts in the ground. Thriving after a two-week hunt, and parading several deer and other large game to the center of town, we were all proud to return with enough meats to sustain each of our families for several months. This was the first hunt that I decided to take Roul with us, and he never made me prouder than on the day, upon seeing my Son’s face, as he pointed out the buck deer he had killed with the spear he had made, and brought home to help feed the village. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him that day, with my arm around Jacquet, that our son came back home that day, a man. I was never so proud of my Son and my family, glancing down at my wife’s smiling face as tears started rolling down her cheeks.

“Why are you crying, my love,” I asked, giving another hug?

“These are tears of joy, my husband.” She smiled, looking up at me, wiping her eyes, standing on her tip toes and kissing my lips.

“I should have never doubted you Adolphe’, you were right! We have been spared from God’s cleansing of the world, and he blessed us with a good harvest, and we now have enough meats until spring. I love you,” she avowed, standing on her tiptoes and kissing me again!

The wives huddled together in several circles, laughing and talking, with the children taking advantage of the newly fallen snow, which blanketed the ground and covered each branch and twig in the trees, leaving a beautiful, heavenly landscape. After all of the men and I had chopped the large game into portions, then salting them to extract the moisture, so they would last through the winter, we wrapped each piece of meat in a cloth with twine and distributed it to be stored in every family’s root cellar. The sun was almost gone when everybody had retired to their homes for the night. Snow fell every day for the entire month of November, and eventually, only the roofs of our homes, peeked through the heavy white blanket of snow that settled on the ground several feet deep. Actually, it was a blessing because it served as a barrier to the bitter extreme cold that left even some of the forest creatures frozen solid in their tracks, huddled together with nowhere to stay warm. The village was almost invisible, except for the deep paths that the men and their sons had shoveled from their homes to the root cellars and the high piles of wood we had chopped and cut to use in the home fires for cooking, and to keep their families warm. The most important thing is we all had food to eat, and the warmth of family and community to survive until the spring thaw would break winter's grip and resurrect life once again, but then the unthinkable happened. A distant scream of a child pierced the thick wooden door of our home. Then silence!

Grabbing my wood ax and my bow and arrow, I listened with my ear against the door, so as not the wake everybody in the house, being that sunrise was a couple of hours away, and that’s when a loud thud slammed on the door, as if something heavy had been thrown against it from the outside. Cautiously, I opened the door and a human head rolled into our home, slowly, stopping with its eyes wide open as if it was staring at the glowing embers still smoldering in the fireplace. After the shock of seeing a human head tumble into our house as if being invited inside, my gaze turned into a scream; it was the head of a child around the age of six years old. It was the young boy who idolized Roul, and wanted to be just like him when he grew up. The loud, almost deafening roar echoed throughout the village as yelling and screams of the people in chaos, filled the air. Jacquet was standing behind me staring at the small boys head, with the look of terror in her face, when Roul and the twin girls came rushing into the big room.

“Jacquet, don’t let them see this,” I warned, covering the tiny head with a quilt! “Secure the door behind me, and only open it when you hear my voice! Do you understand,” I yelled, seeing her face frozen with a blank look?

“Yes,” she screamed, turning around and motioning the family away from the main room! “Go in your bedroom children, and shut the door, right now!” She looked back at me, with tears streaming down her face, and whispered, “I love you Adolphe’, please come back to us!”

After closing the door behind me, I waited to hear the door being secured with both wooden door bars in place. Although the snow had stopped falling, the glare from the heavy snow on the ground with the wind whipping it up into the air around me, made it almost impossible to see very far in front of me, so I followed the sounds of screams and confusion. The newly fallen snow from the day before was almost up to my knees, as I plodded through the path dug from my front door, with walls of snow on each side over my head. When I reached the center of the town, I started seeing huge numerous wolf paw prints in the snow and realized the impending danger that had entered the village. Another scream rang out ahead of me coming from another path in the snow, and I ran towards the sounds, and that’s when I witnessed a woman and man kicking at several wolves tearing apart the body of a child, most likely the remains of the head lying on our home floor.

Running towards this bloody, chaotic scene and raising my ax over my head, I struck the larger wolf in the head, killing it instantly, while the other two wolves dragged off the remains of the little boy, disappearing into the blinding and blowing snow. The woman had fallen on the ground in the middle of the blood-soaked snow, sobbing while her husband reached down attempting to comfort her. Walking up to the body of the wolf I had just killed, and staring into its dead open eyes, I thought I recognized it as the wolf I had seen across the river several months ago, but I had killed another much larger wolf. I wondered that maybe I could’ve prevented the death of this innocent little boy, if I had been more diligent in warning the villagers of the pack of wolves, expanding their territory close to our borders. Feeling guilty and responsible for what happened, another scream emitted from the blinding blowing snow.

“It’s all gone, please help us, God! We’re all going to starve to death,” a man yelled, as he fell on his knees praying to the sky!

Kneeling down and pulling my ax from the skull of the dead wolf, I leaped up and ran towards the voice. When I reached the open area from where we had placed all of our meat in a huge dugout for the winter, the door was ripped from its hinges, and there were trails of paw prints mixed with blood, where they dragged off all of our meat supplies.

“Let’s hunt these fiends from hell and kill them all,” someone else yelled, and the small crowd of people who had ventured outside, joined in the screaming and cursing for revenge! Quickly, I stood in front of them holding up my bow and ax, one in each hand.

“We just can’t go running off into this blinding blowing snow in the dark,” I yelled, trying to calm them down! “They will surely pick us off one by one, or someone will get lost and die alone in the woods,” looking around, I knew my words stated the truth!

“We will wait until daylight,” yelled the father of the boy who was killed by the wolves! “And then Adolphe’, we will follow you to avenge the attack on all of our survival; and also,” his voice shaking and looking at his wife still on her knees surrounded by their son's blood in the snow, “the life and soul of our little boy.”

The crowd of villagers nodding their heads in agreement and dispersing to their homes, and then hearing them bolting the front doors, is when I stared into the dark woods, hearing only the wind blowing, did I question God’s judgment test of our strength and devotion to him. By killing an innocent child? And then to leave us without the food we earned through our faith, love, and devotion to his greatness.

Standing alone outside in the dark, with the cold blowing snow swirling around me, I felt eyes on me. Not the eyes of someone peering out a window or even the killer wolves long gone to feed on the remains of the little boy, but the eyes from my past, when I was a young lad. Those dark eyes of an alpha wolf, whose glare has forever remained vivid in my head, staring at me when I was a little boy, so many years ago. Feeling a chill pass through my bones, I slowly walked back down the path towards my front door, dreading the task to be done yet tonight; the removal of that poor little boy's head on my floor under a quilt, staring towards the fire. After Jacquet had unbolted the door, letting me in, I informed her of what transpired and told her to go to bed, and that I would take care of the boy’s remains.

She stated she wanted to sleep in the children’s room tonight, as they were terrified because of the screaming from outside, but I could also see the look of horror in her eyes, for the safety of us all. As I lay in our bed by myself, gazing out the window at the new day starting to announce its coming with the blackness of the night, losing its mystery to a lighter visible world, my eyes and mind closed for another hour, and then I was standing with the other men around the town square, with our weapons in hand. I utilized everything my father taught me in stalking and working with the ways of nature, and we found the wolf pack den located in several small cave openings in an earthen hill, covered with forest growth. It would’ve remained invisible to the average hunter, but I had learned to seek what isn’t there, and not what your eyes share with you. It was a bloody massacre! An unnecessary slaughter of an entire innocent wolf pack, that was innocent of attacking our village, killing the little boy and pillaging our supplies.

I sensed it almost immediately because the trail had turned right at the base of the wall, as if the real killers had unfeasible intellectual prowess, but it was impossible to reign in the hatred and revenge fueled by the loathing and fear, so we butchered the entire pack without remorse, or compassion, or even spare the baby cubs who would just walk right up to us, to be ripped apart with knives and axes. It wasn’t until we returned to La Marche’, that we learned we had made a horrible blunder by killing an innocent pack of wolves, when three avid wolf hunters had finally tracked down the two remaining wolves who’ve been stealing the meat supplies from several villages and had killed and eaten a total of twenty-five people, including the little boy from our village.

Being exuberant to still be alive, and that the village would be sustained, not just from the last harvest crop, but also with the meats from the killer wolves and the wolf pack we had killed, we celebrated our fortune. Thanking God again, for his wisdom and mysterious ways to solidify our devotion and love for him, we continued our belief that we were being protected within his divine embrace. It had been almost seven days since we returned from the cave of the wolf pack, and along with the guilty wolves; the whole village ate wholesome meals of vegetables and wolf meat, without having to ration the food at all. We ate wolf steaks for breakfast with eggs from the few chickens a family kept alive in one of the bedrooms in their home, and the wives made an incredible meat stew filled with every type of vegetables we had in the dugouts, which lasted almost all week. Towards the end of the week, we had a festive celebration with leftover stew and ribs roasted on the open fires.

And on the sixth night, before the full moon cycle would begin, we all prayed to God, thanking him for his guidance and love, around the huge fire in the center of town led by the Reverend.

 

 

And on the 7thday

I awoke in the meadow, lying on my back outside of La Marche’ between the village and the stream, with the sun’s rays shining directly in my eyes, unmindful of the cold deep snow underneath me, until I felt my body shivering and rubbing my arms for warmth, did I realize I was as naked as the day I was born. Immediately jumping to my feet and staring down where I had laid for God knows how long, the imprint in the snow of my body looked like a man five times larger than I had been lying there. The snow must have melted away from the warmth of my body, I thought, realizing my location, before running as fast as I could back to the village. Couldn’t believe that I hadn’t frozen to death out in the cold, but more importantly, how did I get out here and what happened to my clothes. As I ran towards the first visible houses of the village, there were several spots of blood in the snow, and then larger pools of blood splattered in disarray, with large massive footprints leaving the village. Not footprints of a man, but massive manlike footprints with claws, which showed digging deep into the snow as they headed out of town behind me. The closer I got to the village, the quieter it became; no birds, no morning sounds of wood being chopped, or just people having conversations. And then I felt like my heart went into my throat, as I stopped suddenly at the edge of the village, unprepared for what I could see.

Across the once white deep snow with paths dug from each house to the food surplus dugouts and the center of town, it was littered with the arms, legs, indistinguishable body parts, and entrails throughout the village. Appalled and unable to conceive what I was seeing, I turned and vomited, falling to my knees. Then my mind froze in fear! Where’s my family? Staggering to regain my footing in the deep snow, and disregarding my nudity and the frostbite starting in my extremities, I ran to my front door which lay outside in the snow, as if it was pushed from the inside and exploded into pieces of wood in disarray. When entering my home, the home Jacquet and I built to raise our family, my worst fears were confirmed. My son Roul, who gave me the inspiration after he was born that God was almighty and good, and the gift of a son was his reward to us, lay on the floor by the fireplace. Lying face down, his entire backbone was exposed, as if his skin and muscles were removed in one piece, and when I rolled him over it looked like his face was bitten off in a single bite.

Glancing down at his chest, his heart was removed and nowhere to be seen as if it was a trophy taken away. Next to him were Ada and Alina, my beautiful twin girls, with each of their hearts, ripped out with the look of terror in their open eyes, hands clenched together as if they were skipping outside like they enjoyed doing when playing with the other children. Collapsing to the floor between my son and my twin daughters, I started sobbing uncontrollably, picking up their hands and squeezing them hard, hoping they would respond and come back to me; but letting go, they simply fell to the floor to never move on their own again. Then I gasped, twisting my head in all directions. Where’s Jacquet and baby Eva? The rest of the main room had been literally torn apart as if someone had been searching for something, but no sign of my wife and baby girl.

A thought entered my mind, but briefly, as I scrambled to my feet and ran into our bedroom. Maybe she was able to hide under the bed, holding Eva after hearing all of the screaming and turmoil outside, but upon swinging the door wide hitting the wall, my presumption was wrong, and now my entire life was to be forever changed and shattered. Jacquet had been torn apart like a chicken fought over by a pack of wild dogs; pieces of her body were strewn in all directions covering the entire bedroom, but her head was missing. And Eva, my baby Eva, had been thrown violently against the wall like a rag doll; where her blood, now dried, had dripped down the wall above her corpse lay in the corner, body bitten in half at the midriff of her stomach, with only the bottom half left in a big puddle of blood. Her head and upper body were gone!

Crawling into our bed, pulling the bedspread that Jacquet had made for us after we were married, over my naked body and head, I prayed hard for sleep, to escape the horror of the reality I just witnessed. Surprisingly, I instantly fell asleep and slept for several hours, being mentally and physically exhausted, but when I awoke, the reality was waiting for me. I got dressed, and packed all of my clothes and essentials in the deerskin backpack I used when going out on the hunts with the other men of La Marche’, and set it by the front door. After placing my beloved family together, side by side, in the main room near the fireplace, and gently covering each of them in their blankets, I assembled what weapons I had, an ax, my bow and arrows, a skinning knife, and two spears, setting them next to my backpack. Looking at the spear I had made for Roul which had one notch cut into the shaft designating his first deer kill, I bent on one knee leaning on it for support and sobbed.

Taking a deep breath, I started praying for God to accept my family in heaven and keep them safe until I meet them again in his holy embrace. Stepping outside in the morning sun, the air was eerily still and quiet without any sound of the entire village, and as I went from house to house, I was already convinced there were no other survivors of this bloody carnage by these ruthless unknown killers. What was totally baffling to me was that every dugout full of the meats and food supplies were untouched, and all were still locked in place with wooden braces and huge padlocks. In reverence of all of the families and friends who lived in the village of La Marche’ all these years, I couldn’t just leave the bodies lying on the ground all over the village for scavengers to feed on their remains, or let them rot in the sun after the spring thaw, so I dragged them into their homes and closed the doors. With the frozen ground weeks away from thawing, I couldn’t even give them or my own family a proper burial, so I decided to commit their bodies and souls to the cleansing of fire.

Running back to the house and reaching underneath my bed, I grabbed my tinderbox with flint and tinder and built a burning pile of wood and clothing in each of the twenty-four houses, and used my fire striker, to set them each ablaze, leaving my home for last. This task had taken almost all day, and the sun was starting to go down quite rapidly now, and I needed to find shelter away from this carnage from hell, in case whatever had destroyed La Marche’ villagers returned. After leaning over and kissing the top of the head of each of my family, and moving my backpack and leather parcel tied with twine containing my weapons outside, I returned to set fire inside the house, and glancing back at my family wrapped in blankets next to each other, I said goodbye, and shut the door.

Hiking to the other side of the meadow where I had awakened lying naked in the frozen snow early that morning, I turned, stopping to watch the entire village engulfed in a blazing fire burn as the sun became but a sliver of daylight before vanishing completely. I remember thanking God, there’s a full moon again tonight so I can see walking through these dark woods. It was pitch black when I reached the caves where we had regrettably butchered an entire wolf pack that wasn’t responsible for the raid on us over a week past but now seemed a lifetime ago. A cluster of clouds had covered the full moon, so I slowly made my way to the large opening of the cave to use as a shelter for the night, for whatever evil was out there stalking through the woods and slaughtering entire villages of innocent families, as they slept. The screams sent a chilling feeling of extreme pain throughout my entire body, then I realized only I could hear them, because the screams originated from inside my skull finding their way to my throat, and I couldn’t stop screaming.

It felt like my entire body was on fire with every nerve being affected, and when I attempted to open my eyes, they were pressed tightly against the solid bone of my skull, leaving no room to allow them to open, as if it was too small for everything in my head, and then the tightness traveled down my shoulders and body to my arms and legs, and then I must have blacked out, from the intense unbearable pain. When I awoke, again naked and lying in the meadow, I pray to God now that I would’ve remained baffled and oblivious to what transpired like the night before, but being aware of the true nature of this damned curse today, that was not to be. Instantly my memory replayed my transformation into the beast, as the extreme pain entered my mind and body, but now in complete grisly detail.

I could feel my organs being forced against my outer shell, as if they were enclosed within a container too small, literally using the bones to tear through the fragile outer skin of my humanity, shredding it to escape. Feeling the excruciating pain, and hearing every ripping through my skin, first with my arms and legs, gushing blood and muscle, sinew liberating whatever existed inside my mortal frame; as first my clothing was torn apart, and then my skin, as my insides expanded. I could only watch as thick long black hair covering a muscular massive frame protruded out of the cracks over my body, forcing my skin to surrender, and fall to the ground. As my new legs developed, I was forced onto my hands and knees, while my hands literally exploded and were replaced by massive human-like paws, as long sharp curved claws, extended out of the end of my fingers. My legs continued mutating until they mirrored the hindquarters of an immense male lion, only covered in long black coarse hair. The bones in my face felt like they were being pulverized into small pieces and reformed into an elongated shape, while my teeth fell out of my mouth onto the ground, and bursting through my jaw and gums behind them were sharp enormous fangs with the teeth of a colossal predator. And then the most revolting things happened! Without thought or the realization of what I was doing, as if it was an autonomic bodily function, I turned and consumed every scrap of my mortal being, lying in a pile of indistinguishable bloody remains, and then realized it’s necessary, in order to sustain my mortal bond with the world and humanity, so I can return to my human form, when daylight returns. And if, as the beast, my mortal remnants aren’t consumed to replenish and heal my human remains, I’m doomed to be destroyed by the purification of fire, as the sunrise shines upon the beast.

After consuming my human remains, I realized that I was in my bedroom in my home and without any control or willpower to not see what horrendous atrocities I then proceeded to commit, I could only observe. I grabbed Eva, my tiny baby girl from her mother’s arms, and bit her in two, swallowing the head and upper half, and then threw the remains against the wall. I then grasped Jacquet, who awoke in shock starting to scream, and ripped her into pieces as easy as breaking apart a small bundle of twigs, eating chunks of meat and hurling her remnants in all directions around the room, with an uncontrollable rage of anger. Watching myself as I slaughter my family with my own eyes, unable to impede their slaying was the worst agony I’ve ever known. Sensing chaos on the other side of the bedroom door, I tore through it if it was thin parchment, and witnessed Roul standing by the fire pit, his backside towards me, beginning to transform into the beast.

Leaping behind him, I tore the skin and muscles away from his backbone, and thrust my paw through it, ripping out his heart and eating it. As he fell to the floor, he turned around to look up into my eyes with fear, recognizing me, and leaning over I bit off his entire face in one bit, swallowing it behind his heart, which now lay whole, in the pit of my stomach. The twin girls walked into the main room from their bedroom, hands clenched together, as they would always do, and rubbing their eyes with the other hand, staring in disbelief and stunned by what they saw. Before they could even utter a scream, I jumped on top of both of them, the sound of their fragile bones being broken like egg shells, as I tore each heart out of their tiny bodies, swallowing them whole, as they lay on their backs dying with eyes open, still holding hands.

Intoxicated by the scent of human blood from outside, and turning towards the thick wooden door that had been the defense of our home, in order to protect my family from harm, it easily splits in two as I slammed my massive paws, clenched in a fist against the door, hurling the broken pieces into the deep snow outside. After forcing an entire heart still beating, after ripping it from the body of a young woman, into my massive jaws, I dropped her lifeless body onto the snow and raising my head, smelling the cold quiet air, and the massive amounts of living blood all around me, I then slaughtered the entire population of La Marche’, devouring every heart and organ from the men, women, and children, and then tearing them into pieces in a primal rage. The scent of human life was gone, and falling to the ground on all fours as my back naturally arched upward, I dashed out of the dead village, heading into the woods with my uncontrollable craving for mortal blood satisfied.

“Oh my God,” I screamed out loud, sitting up on the cold stone ground by the cave opening, with my face in my hands, as my screams echoed across the meadow! “What have I done, and what have I become?”

Then the reality of what occurred and why I’ve been burdened with this damned curse over four hundred years started revealing its memories in my mind, again! It was a few days after our food supplies were raided, leaving our village without food with the warm season months away when we had decided to be thankful for at least having the meat from the three wolves that had killed a young boy and raided our meat supplies. Although slaying an entire innocent wolf pack in a vengeful fury in seeking retribution for the killing of a young boy, and the attack on our village, we thought it necessary to consume the meats from them as well. Despite being aware that the three wolves that attacked our village that night had been slaughtering and eating entire families for several weeks, consuming the heart and internal organs along with portions of their bodies, we felt no guilt in consuming their meat. We decided to feast on the three killer wolves first and save the meats from the wolf pack we butchered, for the rest of the winter months. Everybody in the village was exuberant that the nightmare was over after the killer wolves were dead, and then the reverend made a divine revelation that our vital meat supply was being replenished by God, again. And that we should show our appreciation and love for him by eating his offering every day and night until it’s all gone. We all kneeled in the middle of the village that night near the meat supply dugout door, while the Reverend stands in the center the crowd pointing at the bolted door angled on the underground dugout mound, sounding more like a sermon with his voice getting louder and louder.

“Those vile dogs from hell,” he angrily screamed, with his arm extended, shaking his fist, and pointing at the door! “They entered La Marche’ for only one reason; to steal the meat supply, we hunted to feed our families through the brutal winter months, and if God didn’t guide our bows and spears, we wouldn’t have had the supply of meats that were then taken from us, but God never abandoned us my flock! He guided the hunter’s aim, who ended the lives of these evil beasts, and once again he provided us with the meats we so desperately need to survive this harsh winter!”

  “Praise God,” yelled an old woman, who could barely stand, let alone kneeling on uneven ground, as she raised her arms! Everybody started praying out loud, until the preacher raised both arms straight out on each side, moving them up and down like he would during Sunday service when he wanted to speak.

“We owe God our devotion and love fellow citizens,” he demanded! “We shall accept this gift from God, and consume the meats from these wolves first until they are no more!” The village went silent for a few seconds, and then everybody started praying out loud and raising their arms to heaven. We remained kneeling and praying with the reverend leading the prayers and singing hymns for over an hour, and then we all stood and chatted while waiting in line for access to the first gift from God to take home and feed their families, they were convinced to believe, that was provided by God. 

For the next six days and nights, the village had never eaten so much meat; being aware they had more than enough meat to last through the winter. I had never seen our village so happy with everybody smiling and laughing, while the children played out in the snow, throwing snowballs at each other. It didn’t feel like winter all that week, even with the cold, frigid blowing snow, but it was as if the warmth of closeness and families kept everyone cheerful and feeling blessed.

What fools we all were, to believe that God had forgiven us for the cruel massacre, we inflicted on an innocent wolf pack and their wolf pups, and then provided with his gift of life, with the meat from the guilty killer wolves. We consumed and shared the meat from these three wolves with our families for six days, but forgetting we were also eating the meat from their prey over the course of several weeks, of the men, women, and children they had butchered and eaten. On the seventh day after midnight, during the first night of the full moon cycle, the curse brought upon La Marche’, was revealed and humanity would forever be tainted. Being the strongest in the village, I lost my mortality by mutating into the beast first, butchering and eating the hearts of my entire family, before slaughtering all the other men, women, and children living in the village, who were only in the early stages of mutation into the beast when I attacked them, ripping them apart consuming the hearts and other organs, leaving their body parts strewn in all directions. Stretching my black hair-covered muscular thighs and legs, and pushing up to the front of my massive paws, using my black sharp claws for balance, I tasted the air for living blood. Hunching over onto all fours, tightening every muscle in my body, and sitting back on my haunches, I raised my massive head and filling the quiet, dark frozen wilderness of central France with the first howling emitted from a werewolf.

As the howling reverberated for miles in all directions, I circled the boundary of the village on all fours, urinating periodically to mark La Marche’ as the beginning of my territory, which rapidly extended over the upcoming years across Europe. Satisfied and engorged with the hearts and organs of over sixty mortals, who were once my friends and neighbors, I loped away from the village into the woods, and halfway across the meadow, I lay down, exhausted, and soon fell asleep. When I awakened the following dawn, lying on my back, naked, freezing and confused in the cold snow, I returned to La Marche’ to find the village void of all life and my family slaughtered. Not until the morning after the second night of the full moon when I awoke again, naked and lying in the cold snow in the meadow, and remembering every detail of slaughtering my family and the entire population of La Marche’ the night before, did I realize that this damned curse would never let me forget each of my bloody massacre’s for all eternity.

After grasping what I’ve become and the sheer terror inflicted upon the world through my unconscionable actions when I’m in the guise of the beast, voices from the past played in my mind.

“Always keep a wary eye for the rest of your life,” Father whispered, tilting my head up so as to look into my eyes, “only the leader of the pack, the alpha male wolf, can bind us with the spirit of the pack, and you, my son, have been chosen!”

“Chosen for what Father,” I asked, confused by his words?

“Only you’ll know why, Adolphe’,” he smiled, kissing me on the top of my head. “When it’s revealed to you, you’ll understand everything.”

Was I really chosen to be this beast, by an alpha wolf many long years ago, when I was only eight years old? I remembered that I woke up in the middle of that night and urinated by our cave entrance, without any memory of it the next morning. As if to mark my territory, as I did in the dead village of La Marche’. Realizing that my feet were numb from the cold snow, and I was shivering uncontrollably, I headed back to the cave of the wolf pack. When I crawled over the ledge and entered the dark cave entrance, the clothes I wore the previous day were torn to shreds, so I waited until at least the middle of the day when it was the warmest part of the cold winter day and trekked back to the village. Hopefully, I’d be able to find some clothing somewhere within the ruins, but as I walked through the rubble of the burned homes, there were none. Deciding to check the supply dugouts, I searched each mound rummaging through the supplies, ignoring the loaves of bread, vegetables, roots, and even the meats; eventually finding tunics and breeches tied together in a rolled up sheepskin cloak.

When opening the cloak, a capuchin fell onto the frozen ground floor, and as I leaned over to pick it up, glad to be able to cover my head and ears, which were feeling numb, I heard the howling of a wolf in the distant. Dropping it on the ground and ignoring the cold numbness feeling in my head and ears, I stared out of the dugout opening, as a painful resolution passed through my mind. Not just the sound of the distant wolf howling but remembering the words I heard as a young boy from my father teaching me about the moon cycle, and its effect on animals and people when it’s a full moon. The moon was full the last two nights, and there’s another full moon tonight. Making the decision to take a few food supplies, including breads, some potatoes and carrots, I shoved them into the sheepskin cloak along with the extra clothing, and then grabbed a pair of hunter boots which lay by the entrance, and focused on getting to the cave before the full moon rose once more during this month’s moon cycle. During the three kilometer’s to the cave, it never entered my mind that I wasn’t breathing hard at all, or even feeling tired, as I ran, staring at the sky looking for the full moon. Oh my God, I thought, running through the thick woods and jumping over fallen tree trunks; what happened after I changed last night, where did I go, and whose lives did I end?

No time to reflect, or call on my cursed memory, because I soon realized when it was ready to be disclosed to me, I would wish I never knew. I was right! As I entered the darkness of the cave and turning my head, I could see the thin edges of the full moon peeking out from behind a cluster of clouds. Quickly I staggered deep into the blackness of the cave, as my eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, where the full moonlight was gradually lighting up the entrance as far as it’s moonbeam could travel, but then it was no longer within my eyesight.

I closed my eyes cuddled in the darkness with the sheepskin cloak wrapped around my body and head, praying for the beast to remain silent this last night of the full moon. On that third night, untouched by the moonlight that would’ve allowed my inner beast to once again enter the world and massacre innocent mortal lives, I assumed I was in a deep sleep throughout the night, but my mind wouldn’t allow me to rest, as it began to share the memories of what happened the night before.

As I stood by the cave entrance, already transformed into the beast, and after consuming my remains, I stood on my hind legs while the coarse black superior sensitive hair in my ears, picked a distant sound out of the deafening gusting cold wind. The giggling of small children seemed to travel along with the wind, entering my ears, while the scent of living human blood followed their laughter into my long muzzle where the uncontrollable desire for blood aroused every fiber inside of me, and my claws and teeth grew longer and sharper, as I dropped down to all fours, and then the blood hunt began. The little house was constructed against one side of a large earthen hill entirely covered with bushes, and it served as the back wall of the home. Now encased by thick snow, it looked like a house with a large round backside.

It had a small window on each side of the heavy, thick oak door, with oak shutters closed and frozen together against the side of the house in the cold early morning. Inside the Mother was reheating some pottage for her two children who were giggling and playing by the fireplace, while the Father was sipping hot tea at the small wooden table, conversing with his wife, before going out to fetch more wood for the dwindling cooking fire.

The cold winter wind had been blowing hard throughout the night and was still banging the shutters against the house when a loud thud could be heard at the door as if someone or something had fallen hard against it.

“What do you think that noise was Husband,” whispered the wife, as she hung the pot of pottage on the hook above the fireplace? “Could it be someone outside in this freezing weather, or worse, a bear,” her voice beginning to quake in fear, almost sobbing?

“Not a bear wife,” he responded, trying to reassure her. “Too early for bears to be waking up from winter sleep,” as he curiously stared at the door, thinking he could see it bulging inward, then rubbing his eyes, and focusing on it again as the heavy oak door splintered in the middle, exploding its pieces inside the house.

His wife screamed in terror, twisting her head towards her husband just in time to see a massive tall, muscular beast with black thick fur walking on two huge legs, and covered in snow, burst into the house, looking downward at her husband, grabbing his head, twisting it completely off and throwing it into the fireplace next to where the children were playing. They could only stare in shock at their Father’s eyes seemingly looking back at them from the fire, as his hair started burning, then witnessing his eyes burst from the heat. When they turned towards their Mother, she was in the grasp of a hairy giant beast from their nightmares, as he lifted her higher, to use his long, sharp fangs biting through her chest, and ripping out her still-beating heart, as she screamed for the last time. The children started crying hysterically, standing together by the fireplace, holding each other tightly, closing their eyes, praying that the horror they saw would go away. It didn’t! The beast towered over them, then reaching down, it picked them both up together, squirming within those massive paws and arms, squeezing them like two grapes, until their tiny internal organs burst from the pressure, then it bit out each heart throwing their lifeless bodies into the fire along with their Fathers head. With his blood lust satisfied, the man-wolf Adolphe’, walked outside where the heavy oak door had been in front of the house, and raising his muzzle and taking a deep breath, he howled for several minutes, before urinating around the perimeter of their home. After this memory from two nights ago revealed my disgusting brutal slaughter of another innocent family, I collapsed to the ground, sitting outside of the cave and looking up at heaven shaking my fists; I cursed God for this unholy evil he put inside of me and prayed he would strike me down dead, right now! Eerily, the wind had ceased and it was completely quiet. Cheating the beast from being released on the third full moon night, by avoiding its altering beams of light, gave me the means to at least keep the beast confined, during the full moon nights. The next full moon cycle won’t begin for almost a month, so I decided to explore the region around me, and find other caves or underground dugouts; where I could conceal myself from the full moon radiance during any of the three nights each month.

After filling my haversack with extra clothing, a cloak, woolen mittens, and another pair of boots, I grabbed my ax, shoving it in my breeches, and picked up my spear along with my bow and arrows. The stench of urine from the beast still permeated the outside of the cave opening, as if it was just sprayed all over the ground, but I knew it would remain forever, for it was marked and designated as a part of its territory, warning all to stay away.

As I climbed down from the ridge where the cave entrance was and started walking across the meadow in the still deep, heavy snow, I looked down and could see the enormous deep tracks of a heavy upright massive predator going the other direction to the cave where I had just left. Kneeling down, I could place my entire forearm with my hands pointed straight, inside the track of one paw, as I started to tremble thinking of its huge size and the strength it could wield. Suddenly, the vision of watching my immense paws pick up those two little girls and crushing them in my grasp, and then chewing out their tiny hearts, made me vomit, as I fell to the ground. Have to learn how to control these random vivid gory memories from entering my head for no reason, but to drive me insane, so as I traveled north towards Paris, I visually concentrated on everything around me as I hiked through the woods, the sounds, the smells, and any wildlife I came upon. In the late hours of that first day, I built a small fire by a hill where the wind was blocked and wrapping myself in my woolen cloak, I slept.

In my dream, it was late fall, and I was trailing behind my Father carefully walking in his footprints in the snow as he taught me, to deaden any extra crunching noise breaking the frozen top layer of cold snow. We were on a hunt for meats to survive through the winter months, and I was fifteen years old. I yearned for father’s approval and pride; to acquire my first gift from God, a deer to help feed the families dwelling in the caves, and be acknowledged as reaching manhood status amongst the others. This was one of the most important days in my life, and I wanted to prove to my Father and myself, that I’m ready to take my place in the world as a man, and stake my claim; to one day have a wife and children, in order to continue our family lineage.

We had been tracking a small herd of deer along the edge of the dense woods, when the larger deer tracks leaped up to the right and into the woods, as if it had detected a threat, so we also veered away from the herd following its tracks since it was an enormous buck with a huge rack, and its meat would fill a lot of empty stomachs for a few months. It was almost twilight and the sun was sinking quickly on the horizon, and then the glow of the first night of the full moon on this clear night, shined a light on the snow, as well as a clear day. While focusing on my Father’s footsteps in the snow, and making sure to stay within his tracks, he had stopped abruptly, bending his arm upward, palm extended, I almost walked into his back.

“Listen, Adolphe',” he whispered. “Do you hear deep, heavy snorting ahead, and that stomping sound, over and over?”

“Is that the buck? Does he know we’re behind him, Father,” I whispered softly?

“No, he’s worried about something else,” his voice trembling! “Stay here,” he ordered me, motioning me to squat down, as he disappeared into the snow-covered trees.

I could almost hear my heart pounding, trying to listen for any sound at all, or my Father’s footsteps heading back to me, squatting in the deep snow. The distant howling of several wolves broke the silence, and then I was convinced that they must have been stalking deer and were veering away from the herd by the buck, and that’s why the large male was snorting and pounding the ground with his hooves. Raising up on my feet, inching forward, assured that Father would be returning any time to tell me what I already know about the wolf pack ahead; but then I was shaded by a huge shadow standing behind me. Shocked, I didn’t hear anything walking behind me, I slowly turned around, facing the large frame of a black hair-covered manlike animal standing on muscular massive thighs and legs, supported by enormous paws with long claws. As I looked straight up into its eyes, it leaned over and grabbed my head, picking me off my feet and stared into my eyes. His large, almost red piercing eyes seemed to be looking into my soul, as he reached into my chest, as if it was a loaf of bread, ripping out my heart and devouring it before my eyes fluttered shut. A horrible scream awakened me from this nightmare, as I sat up quickly looking from side to side to determine where the scream originated, as it echoed in the darkness. The last echo would reveal where it came from, so I ran through the darkness because there was only a sliver of the moon barely illuminating the dark night. The screaming was replaced by tearing and ripping noise which emanated from beyond the row of bushes ahead, so I walked cautiously and slowly to the bushes, and opened a view to the clearing, with my arms. A man was shaking rapidly, like a rabbit being shaken by a dog or a wolf in its jaws, but he was alone. Then suddenly, his clothes were ripped apart, falling to the ground, as long wounds opened up in his arms and legs, like being cut by a large sword, and then all of his skin fell away as it lost its ability to contain what was inside. Swallowing hard, I knew what was happening, and it made me cringe.

This was another beast entering the world through another poor soul, and then I realized that there may be hundreds, if not thousands of man-wolves in Europe. I turned back to the man, as the remnants of his humanity lay on the snow in a bloody pile, before watching the werewolf leaning over and consuming his mortal pathway back to mankind after the beast has satisfied its blood hunger.

It turned its back to me sitting behind the bushes and started to stride away on its hind legs when it raised its muzzle smelling the air. I gasped; breaking a tiny bush twig as I started backing away, and then it went down on all fours, with its back arched, and slowly walked towards me, while its red eyes started glowing brighter, and then it pounced. It blocked my way back to my campsite, a few feet away, growling with saliva dripping from its muzzle, as it moved closer. I could see the large black nostrils pulsating and smelling the blood of a human in front of him, knowing that my case will surely end this day and ironically by another man-wolf, while I was in mortal form. Closing my eyes, and praying to God for a merciful and quick death, I took several deep breaths, but the fangs and claws never came. It was deathly quiet, and when I opened my eyes, he was gone! His tracks in the snow showed that he had stood on his hind legs and simply disappeared, as if he leaped into the woods, without a trail of tracks, leaving me untouched and alone. It never entered my mind, that I’m probably not the only man given this horrifying curse; becoming a man-wolf hunting human prey during the full moon, but the transformation I witnessed tonight happened during the last quarter of the moon cycle, just a sliver of moon glow in the sky. And why was I spared from being slaughtered by this man-wolf who had just mutated into a bloodthirsty hunter, who needed to taste lifeblood almost immediately after the change, when I was right in front of him?

Then it dawned on me that he must have sensed that I’m one of him; a man with a hidden horrific evil dwelling inside, waiting to be released by the moonlight. During the next several weeks, before the next full moon cycle that I knew would release the beast if the moonlight touches my skin, I remained on constant vigilance when the sun was ready to go down, and the moon became visible in the sky. Convinced that there was much more I will learn about my curse as a werewolf, I remained wary at all times. Having located three caves bordering the Morvan mountain range southeast of Paris, and if I remained careful of the time of day, I should have ample time to avoid the rays during the three full moon nights every month and deceive the beast of its unconscionable blood lust to kill humans. I never saw another occurrence like watching the man-wolf mutate and disappear into the wilderness, but I did hear the distant howling once and a while, that didn’t really sound like normal wolves howling. I made a couple of trips back to La Marche’ to scavenge the food supply dugouts, which were of no use to the families of the village, long dead and burned, returning their souls to God. My appetite for food radically increased and every time I prepared meals, I ate enough for two people, as if during the dormant weeks between moon cycles, I was also eating for the beast inside of me, patiently lying slumber, and waiting for its turn, to feed on the hearts and organs of mankind, again!


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