By Laura Nettles
I ran to the open window, desperate to lock it. It slammed shut, causing the blown glass panes to shiver in their latices. With a shaking hand I jabbed the lock into place and checked it. No snow would be coming through it tonight.
I sprinted to the door of my one room cabin to lock myself outside. Smash. The single knot in the floor half way to the door caught my shoe for the first time in my life. I sprawled across the wooden floor for but a second, but it was too late. The scar on my leg from the turning bite stood out harsh despite my growing brown fur. My skin rippled and tugged, my bones shifting, cracking, realigning. I screamed in agony but it morphed with my transforming vocal cords into a howl of misery; my baby daughter next to me, vulnerable.
The small cheery flames of the fire in the grate helped me to blank my mind through worst of it. By the time I was conscious again the fire was but coals being smothered by tiny dancing drifts of snow coming though the still open doorway.
‘Eat, must eat,’ flooded my mind in a never-ending cycle. My guts roiled and cramped, whether from hunger or still shifting I did not care. A succulent smell reached my elongated nostrils as the spasms slow into manageable contractions and the pain is pushed to the back of my animal mind. Gingerly I got up on all fours. My sprained ankle was fixed, fit for the hunt.
Following a sweet scent my eyes were brought to a human child. ‘My child.’ The idea is fleeting. I was a creature of the night and human thought process was hard.
Slowly I creeped up on the baby girl in her dress so as not to spook her. The smell from close up was intoxicating. Saliva gathered unconsciously in my mouth and dripped to the floor.
I nuzzled the arm of the child. Her skin was so smooth and soft, baby fat making her plump. Her shrieks of delight pierced my ears making my hackles rise in instinct, teeth bared.
A howl broke through the night, another werewolf. I scrambled to heed his call, the need to obey my maker overpowered the need to satiate my hunger. Through the open door I dashed, around deep snow drifts and into the woods I flew, leaving my forgotten daughter to the mercy of the elements and dropping temperatures.