After a few hours of tossing and turning, David decided that sleep just wasn’t going to come, so he kicked his blankets off and glanced at his phone to check the time. It was just before six. If he got up now, he could beat everyone else into the shower. He’d need extra time to change the bandages on his arm anyway. As he grabbed his clothes and walked into the bathroom, he realized something. All night long, he hadn’t been able to sleep because his arm first hurt and then itched like crazy, but now it felt totally fine. Maybe the meds that the emergency room doc gave him finally kicked in. He shrugged. He’d find out if the wounds looked any better or worse in just a few minutes when he changed the bandage.
Once in the bathroom, David set his clothes down and then proceeded to get out some fresh gauze and medical tape. He carefully removed the bandage from his arm and his eyes widened in shock. The bitemarks were gone. He scowled, his thoughts racing. Maybe the dog hadn’t broken the skin after all? No, that wasn’t true. If he needed proof, all he had to do was look at the dried bloodstains on the inside of the old bandage. Plus, his arm had hurt and itched all night long. He ran his fingers over the perfectly smooth and unblemished skin. What was happening?
He immediately thought of Matt and all the old stories. There was no way he could tell his brother that his wounds healed overnight. He couldn’t even tell Brad or Aunt Nancy. He had to talk to someone, that left Skylar. Just thinking Sky’s name brought a smile to David’s lips. They’d only known each other a day, but David already felt a strong connection to Sky, both an emotional connection and a physical one. Remembering their kiss caused David to blush even though he was alone in the bathroom. It caused another reaction, too, one that he would take care of once he got into the shower. He finally turned on the water, and while he waited for it to heat up, he sent Sky a quick text asking him if he’d like to hang out after David got home from work. Before he even set his phone down, David received a reply. Sky said that his afternoon was free, and he’d love to hang out. David smiled and stepped into the shower. Maybe today would be a good day after all.
Matt didn’t want to go to school, but David and Aunt Nancy made him go anyway. So, he was not in the best of spirits when he and Brad stopped to meet up with Terrie on the way to there, and the fact that David barely spoke to him this morning didn’t help his anxiety at all. At least David had mentioned that his arm was feeling a little better.
Terrie could tell that Matt was upset, but she kept quiet. About halfway through the park, Matt stopped at a bench and sat down. Brad and Terrie sat on either side of him as he started to speak. “You guys are going to think I’ve lost my mind, but there’s some stuff I need to tell you. Both of you have to promise me that you won’t repeat what I’m about to say to anyone, ok?”
They both agreed, and Matt told them about his nightmares and about what he saw last night and all the weird things that Elias said to him. “So, do you think I’m crazy or what?”
“Of course not, Matt, but I think it’s over now. Somehow you had a premonition that your brother was in danger from a wolf, but now it’s all over. The wolf did come, but David escaped with not much more than a few scratches and bites.” Terrie took one of Matt’s hands and looked deep into his eyes. “Please stop worrying. It was weird and scary, but now it really is over.”
“I hope you’re right, Terrie. I really do, but I’m not so sure. Something tells me that whatever is going on is just starting, not ending.” Matt looked away from Terrie and stared off into the woods to the north of town and shuddered. “I feel danger and it’s getting closer every day.”
Brad got up from the bench. “You’re letting your nightmares and my stupid ex get to you. I agree with Terrie. It’s over now. Come on, guys. We’ll talk more about this later if you want. We gotta get going, or we’ll be late for school.”
Matt slid into his seat in chemistry class and set his books down. He tried his best to ignore Elias, but he felt the other boy staring right at him. Matt spun in his seat. “What?! What weird thing do you have to say to me this time?!”
“Something happened last night, didn’t it? I felt something change, and now I can see it on your face. What happened, Matt? I told you I want to help, and I meant it.”
“Nothing happened. Please leave me alone, Elias.”
“Just remember that I have offered to help. When you are ready, come to me.”
The bell rang to start class, and the teacher walked into the room. Matt opened his textbook and refused to even glance Eli’s way for the rest of the class period.
It was a very long day for Matt Montana. All through school and baseball practice, all he could think about was his brother. Everyone else, except maybe for Elias, was convinced that everything was fine. Matt still had a bad feeling. No wolf had ventured that far into town in over a hundred years. Something weird was happening. Matt felt it, but no one believed him. The wolf in Matt’s nightmare did more than just bite David’s arm, it devoured him and then changed somehow. Matt would keep a close eye on his brother because he was convinced that the danger was far from over.
Baseball practice finished, and Matt ran over to where Terrie sat in the bleachers. “What time are you meeting Kim at the library tonight?”
“Around seven. The library closes at ten, so we’ll have three hours to get that damn paper out of our hair. It’s due next week. How are you doing with yours?”
“Not as well as I should be, but I might be able to have my first draft finished by tomorrow night.”
Terrie rolled her eyes at him. “You better, Mr. Montana. I’m not going to date a failure.” She smiled. “No way. My dad would not approve of that.”
Matt laughed. “I guess I better get busy then.” He reached out and took her hand. “Can I walk you home?”
She smiled at him again. “I thought you’d never ask.”
David got home from work and saw that Skylar was already there and waiting for him. As David approached, Skylar nearly bounced up from his seat on the front steps and met David halfway down the driveway. Sky was grinning ear to ear which caused David to smile as well.
“Hey there.” David said. “I know I said to meet me here after I got off work, but I thought you’d give me a chance to shower before you got here.” He laughed.
“I was happy you texted me this morning. I got bored this afternoon. I went for a walk and wound up here. I can just chill and wait for you to get cleaned up if you don’t mind.”
“No classes this afternoon?”
“I had two this morning. My afternoon was free. After a couple hours of studying econ, I needed a break.” Sky rolled his eyes.
“Come on in. I don’t think anyone else is home. I’ll turn the TV on for you. I’ll be quick.”
David did take a quick shower, but then took a little extra time to make himself look just right for Skylar. He slipped on a pair of sneakers and ran downstairs. When he got to the living room, he found Sky playing Xbox with Brad.
Sky looked up when David came in the room. “Woah. You clean up nice.” He set the game controller down and stood up. “Brad, just go ahead and kill my character. I gotta go.”
Brad rolled his eyes. “You boys behave yourselves and don’t do anything that I wish I was out there doing!”
David blushed. “No promises, cousin.” He took Sky’s hand and led him out the front door. Once they were outside, David motioned towards the front porch swing. The two boys sat on the swing hip to hip, each with an arm around the other.
David shivered and inched a little closer to Sky. I need to talk to you. I hope you don’t mind listening to my insane ramblings.” David gave a nervous laugh.
“Of course not. Is it me? Did I do something wrong?”
“No. No. No. Not at all. It’s my own weirdness. My family actually. Since you live here, I’m sure you’ve heard about the supposed curse on my family?”
“Yeah. Of course. Everyone has, but it’s just town legend. Werewolves and witches don’t exist. If you’re worried that I wouldn’t like you because of that, you’re crazy.”
David grinned. “That’s comforting to hear, but what I want to talk about goes a little deeper than that. Some weird stuff has been happening.”
“Ok. Spill it. Tell me. I’m here to listen and not judge.”
“Thank you, Sky.” David smiled and took Sky’s hand, intertwining their fingers. “So, whenever my grandad would visit us out in California, he would tell us all the old stories and family legends. Matt really got caught up in the stories and took them to heart. Then the car accident happened, and Matt really struggled.”
Skylar squeezed David’s hand. “I’m so sorry, David. I’m sure words can’t even describe how horrible that must have been, or how tough it must still be.”
David leaned his head against Sky’s shoulder. “Thank you. It means a lot for you to say that. Well. after the accident, like I said, Matt struggled. Then my boyfriend bailed on me. Everything was just spiraling downhill, and I couldn’t fix it by myself. I called Aunt Nancy, and she agreed to let us come here. It seemed like the best plan, and it still does.”
“So, why do you sound unsure?”
David took a deep breath and continued. “This is where the weirdness starts. As soon as it was settled that we were moving here, Matt started having nightmares. I mean, he had been having nightmares since the accident, but now they were different.”
“Different how?” Sky asked.
“Before, he dreamed about the crash. He was in the car. Did you know that part?”
“Oh, my God! No, I didn’t know that! That would cause nightmares for sure!”
“Yeah. Well, now, in his nightmare, after the crash, I show up. Right after I show up, a wolf kills and eats me. Then the wolf stands up, and its eyes have changed color from amber to bright blue. That’s how his nightmare ends.”
“Wow. That’s intense. It does sound like his subconscious has combined the old stories with his traumatic experience with the crash.”
“That was my thinking, but I’m not done with my story yet.”
“Wow. Ok. What else happened?”
David lifted up his arm and pointed to the bandage. “See this?”
“Yep. I was going to ask, but I hadn’t had the chance yet. What happened?”
David sighed and rolled his eyes. “This is where you will start to think that I’m losing my mind.”
“Never. Just tell me. We’ll figure it out together.”
“Ok. You asked for it. Last night, after our much too short make out session,” David smirked at Skylar and Sky blushed bright red. “I went into the house. Just before we were all going to bed, Aunt Nancy asked for one of us to empty the trash. I volunteered. As I was dumping the trash into one of the bins in the backyard, something big rammed into me, and it bit my arm. I thought it was a stray dog. Matt insisted that he got a good look at it, and he swore it was a wolf.”
“He could just be projecting his nightmares and his fears into reality. It might have been a dog like you thought, but your brother was expecting to see a wolf, so he saw a wolf.”
“Exactly what I thought last night. Then this morning I took the bandage off to shower and put clean gauze over the wound and I saw this.” David peeled the bandage away, showing Sky his clean, smooth, unblemished skin.
“Are you sure that the dog broke the skin?” Sky said, his eyes wide with shock.
David raised one eyebrow. “I went to the emergency room. They cleaned and bandaged my arm. My arm hurt and itched all night long, and when I removed the old bandages, there was dried blood on them. The dog… or wolf… definitely broke the skin.”
Sky traced a finger slowly along David’s arm. “There’s not a mark on you. I don’t know what to say. It’s impossible.”
“You mean impossible like werewolves and witches?”
“Yes. Exactly.” Sky gave off a nervous laugh.
“Anyway. that’s my story. I really needed to tell someone. I needed to say it out loud. Thank you for listening and not running away.”
Sky leaned over and kissed David’s cheek. “Anytime, boo. I’ll never run away from you. I plan on being here to see you through whatever comes your way.”
David turned his head and their lips met in a tender kiss. He broke away with a groan. “I’d love to continue this, but I seriously need a nap. I got like zero sleep last night.”
Skylar chuckled. “If you’re too tired to kiss, then I guess you really are tired. Go get some shut eye. Text me later.” Skylar gave David one last kiss and turned to go.
David nearly stumbled into the house. On his way to his bed, he only stopped long enough to tell Brad that he was going to take a nap. In less than ten minutes, he was fast asleep.
When Matt got home, the house was much quieter than usual. He went into the living room, and Brad was sitting in front of the TV playing video games. “You the only one home?”
“David’s asleep. Mom is still at the office, working on a deadline. I thought it might take you longer than this to walk Terrie home.” Brad smirked but didn’t even look up from his game.
“Shut up, jerk-face.” Matt rolled his eyes. “She had to eat a quick dinner, and then she’s meeting Kim at the library to work on that stupid English assignment. Why is David asleep so early? Did he come home early from work? Is he sick?”
“He worked all day then Skylar came over. They talked for a while out on the porch. After Sky left, David said he was gonna take a nap. I guess he didn’t sleep much last night.”
Matt was beginning to worry all over again but decided David needed his sleep. “Well, since your mom’s not home, let’s go down to Will’s Diner. What do you say? Can you tear yourself away from that game long enough to eat?”
“Shouldn’t we be working on that same stupid English assignment that the girls are?”
“Later. I’m starving.”
“You’re always starving!” Brad laughed at his cousin.
“Whatever! You wanna go or not?”
Brad shut off the game and got up. “Sounds good to me. Let’s go.” The two boys left David alone in the house.
Nancy Holliday was working late at the newspaper office again. Even for a small-time newspaper, being a reporter was not a nine to five job. When she’s working under a deadline, Nancy was sometimes at the office until well after midnight. She looked out the window and saw that it was dark already. She also noticed that the moon was full. Nancy loved the full moon. She glanced down at her calendar and saw that tomorrow would be the full moon. Well, close enough for me, she thought and decided to call home and see if the boys had eaten dinner yet. No one answered so she figured they must have been eating out at Will’s again. Nancy put thoughts of home and thoughts of the moon behind her and got back to work.
David could hear the phone ringing, but that’s not what woke him from his deep sleep. It was the intense burning pain all over his body that woke him. Though his whole body was in pain, there was also a strange sense of power coursing through him. And hunger. David was suddenly hungrier than he had ever been in his entire life. Meat. He craved meat. As another wave of pain hit him, David flicked on the light and looked down at himself. He stared in shock and disbelief as he watched his body change in size, shape, and appearance. Hair began sprouting out all over his body. His fingers lengthened and turned into claws. The pain in his face became even more intense. David tried to get to the mirror to see what was happening to him, but before he could, his conscious mind blacked out, and the beast took control. David’s conscious mind was gone. The creature let loose a blood-curdling howl, crashed through the window, and ran off into the night. A werewolf was loose in Roxbury Falls.
As Kim left the library, the only thoughts running through her head were of jumping into bed and calling Juan as soon as she got home. Kim hadn’t even been home since she left for school that morning. She didn’t mind, though. Her parents were always fighting, and Kim didn’t like being at home. Terrie left the library at nine-thirty and tried to get Kim to go, too. Kim wanted to finish up, so she had stayed until the library closed at ten. Now she wished she had listened to Terrie. Kim hated to walk through the park alone at night, but tonight she did not want to take the extra time to go all the way around. At least it was a clear night, and, with the moon so close to being full, the park was well lit. There were no streetlights in the very middle of the park, but with the help of the moon, Kim should be able to see just fine. The park was eerily quiet and deserted tonight, so Kim hurried on her way. Then off to her left, a sound caught her attention.
“Hello? Is someone there?” Kim was in the most densely wooded section right in the middle of the park. She looked off to her left and saw something moving.
“H-hello? Wh-who’s there?” Kim was getting nervous now and started to walk faster. She heard a growling noise from behind her, and she looked back in the direction that she had seen something moving. She saw two bright blue, glowing eyes. The eyes were much too high off the ground to belong to any animal except maybe a bear, but Kim didn’t think that a bear could have made its way to the park without someone seeing it. Besides, bears did not have blue eyes that she knew of. Then, as the creature stepped out of the trees and onto the moonlit path, Kim saw a sight that she could hardly even believe was real. What Kim saw looked like a giant wolf except this wolf was standing on its hind legs like a man. Even more unbelievable was that the wolf appeared to be wearing remnants of human clothing. The clothing was torn and ripped at the seams as if it was about three sizes too small for what was wearing it. Kim started to scream as the wolf snarled and lunged at her. Before she could even back away, the beast was on top of her. It ripped out her throat with one swipe of its huge, hairy claw.
After feasting on the young girl’s body, the werewolf howled and disappeared back into the night.