Night fell surprisingly fast after the sun disappeared behind the hills. Everyone had retreated to their own homes- which were spread out fairly well. Nobody had any direct neighbors, nobody had anyone to see if they were indeed the werewolf. The Seer made her choice for the night, finding nothing more than an innocent human, the Doctor made his and the Wolf Hunter discovered the Diseased.
All was quiet, until the werewolf stumbled from their house, head spinning, mind in a daze. The moon had begun its ascent into a star-studded sky, wreaking havoc upon the one afflicted. They hurried from their door to the street, from the street to the forest, trying as hard as they could to get away. They didn’t know why they had to, they just felt it in their gut, an instinct that told them now was the time to run. They had come across a clearing when they couldn’t walk any further. Pain started to streak through their body, rushing through their being, sending waves of agony down their limbs. They let out a cry, which sounded close to a howl of pain than a human wail. It was after then that the change started to take full hold over them.
They doubled over, hands going out to support them as the bones in their legs warped in shape, their ankles rising, calves shortening, as their toes grew long, razor-blade claws. They screamed as their spine cracked, as fur began to grow thickly over their body, covering new muscles, new forms. Their face began to morph from a human nose to a wolf’s, as a snout started to become prominent, teeth falling out as new, sharper, carnivorous ones took their place.
The werewolf was still moaning as the last dregs of the transformation started to wear off, as the final moments of their fully human time started to fade into the past.
When it fell silent, it looked up to the sky with bright yellow-orange eyes, almost gold in the glow of the moon. A rush of adrenaline cleared the last of the pain, and the beast raised its muzzle higher, letting out a blood-chilling howl. It climbed up in the sky, echoing throughout the valley.
After a few moments, it turned back toward the distant lights of the village, tiling its head to one side in curiosity, before leaping into a bound, heading straight for the small cluster of houses.
Reagan sat, alone, in her front room, sorting through the cabinet beside the kitchen archway. There were various books inside- each of a different time period, genre and author. None shared any of the same qualities. She frowned as she pulled out a guide on growing tomatoes, putting it in a pile to one side. She was nearly on the last shelf, having cleared out three others of a similar size. It was then that she heard a knock at her door. She felt herself flinch, as she turned around slowly, peering over the top of one of the armchairs, looking through a crack in the curtains. The sky was still painted a deep red.
It was then that she heard a knock at her door. She felt herself flinch, as she turned around slowly, peering over the top of one of the armchairs, looking through a crack in the curtains. The sky was still painted a deep red. Which meant the werewolf couldn't be out yet, could it? She crawled over, not daring to allow herself to be visible through the window. She crawled over to the door, leaning against it. She waited a few minutes. She didn't hear any footsteps. Were they already gone? Slowly but steadily, she pulled herself up, one hand on the handle of the door, the other on the wall opposite, as she looked through the peephole. Nothing. No one.
Reagan gulped. She put the chain across the door, before opening it slowly, trying not to make any noise. She still couldn't see anyone there. She waited a little while longer. Nothing happened. Was she safe? She took the chain off, slowly opening the door winder, leaning out carefully, ready to jump back inside if she saw something. There was still no one. Her front garden was empty. She frowned, glancing down at the front step. Her frown deepened, and she looked back down. There was a small bundle of dried leaves and purple flowers.
She looked at the bundle for a few moments, frowning. Then she leaned down, and picked it up. There was a small card attached to the back, using a plain old piece of string. She retreated back indoors, not without checking outside once again. Once she was certain nothing had followed her in, she shut the door, put the chain across and locked it. She didn’t know whether it would do any good if the werewolf decided to attack, but it was the best she could do. She walked back over to the center of the room, and sat down in the armchair facing the window. The sky had turned from red to purple, and was quickly fading to black. Reagan sighed. She fumbled with the card, not noticing how much her fingers were shaking until now. She managed to turn over the card so she could read it. What it said surprised her.
To: Reagan Norman
Number 6, Rabbithole Track
From: The Doctor
Notes: If the werewolf comes tonight, keep this on you.
It should stop it from attacking you.
She looked at it for a few moments. It was from the Doctor. That meant she was to be protected. That meant that she wouldn’t die tonight, if she kept the dried flower with her. She fumbled with one of the many pockets on her grey uniform, struggling to undo one so she could put it in. She still hadn’t changed out of it, and was doubtful that she would, or at least, not until the night was over. It had pockets that she needed, especially if she had the protection of the Doctor for this night. A wave of relief washed over her as she realised just what this meant. She was saved for the night. After a few more moments spent sitting there, cherishing the feeling of complete security, she got back to her cleaning, humming a tune.
A little way away, on the outskirts of the village, the werewolf sniffed the ground, picking up every scent, memorizing each and everyone one. It smelt rabbits, deer, foxes, squirrels and so, so much more. The forest was teeming with wildlife, all living in a vague harmony. It lifted its muzzle, sniffing the air. It could smell something different now- something less animal, the smell of something it knew well. The scent of human.
Cameron sat in his kitchen, at his table. He sighed, tightening his hands around his mug of tea. The taps worked. The cupboards had enough food in them to last for a few days. They wouldn’t have to gather things like herbs, and there were a few carrots and potato’s at the bottom of his vegetable basket. There wasn’t, however, any meat. Which meant they did have to hunt. He suppressed a yawn, before taking a long swing of tea. He put the mug back down on the table, leaning back in his chair. It creaked in protest.
He straightened the second he heard the howl, sitting bolt-upright, his eyes suddenly wide. It sounded close- dangerously close. Did that mean it would attack him tonight? He felt his fear begin to stir, and he stood up, abandoning the half-drunken tea. Stumbling toward the back door, he reached out. His hands fell on the lock, and he fumbled with it for a few moments, finally hearing it click into place. Next he locked the door using the key, before taking said key and leaving it on the counter beside the door.
Without so much as a second of hesitation, he darted for the front door, bolting it too. He was suddenly conscious of how silent it had become. He hadn’t noticed the silence. There had always been noise surrounding him- since before the facility, during his time there, and up until this moment. There wasn’t a second howl, there wasn’t any growling. Just silence. He gulped, washing down the bile that had risen in his throat.
After another few silent moments, he turned to the stairs. He might as well give himself a chance of escaping, if it did come for him. If he could see it coming, he would be fine. If he could see it coming, he could climb out on to the roof, away from the beast which he assumed would be looking for him. He doubted werewolves could climb.
It lifted its muzzle once more, letting out a second howl, one, if possible, more chilling than the last. It bared its teeth in frustration. The scents were too crowded, too clumped together. The werewolf took a few steps, treading carefully as it searched for something to hunt. To track its prey, the werewolf had to single out one single smell, the smell of what would normally be the weakest amoung a group- However, this group had been selected well. It had a hard time separating one from the rest.
Reagan froze as she heard the second howl. She had heard the first less than an hour ago, and that one was distant. This one was much, much closer. She hurried as she re-packed her cupboard, putting the books back in hastily, her attempt to organize them abandoned as her heart began to quicken. It didn’t take long to stuff the rest of the books on the shelf. Once she had, She rushed to the light switch, turning all of them off, and walking over toward the back door. She kept her back to it, looking through the window beside it. She parted the blinds as she did so, staring into tall, dark trees.
The second howl sounded far more agitated than the first, as though the werewolf were cursing to the sky. Cameron suppressed a yelp as it rung through the air. Why did they have to ‘assign’ him to this particular project? Why couldn’t it have been something with… fluffy kittens or something. Why couldn’t it have been something, anything that wasn’t dogs. He was curled up in a fetal position, legs tucked in as his arms wrapped around them. His back was against the wall beneath his window, and he rocked back and forth slowly, steadily. Hopefully it wouldn’t come for him- hopefully it would head after Reagan. They lived fairly close to each other- maybe it would go for her instead?
He stopped himself, squeezing his eyes shut as he realised what he was saying. He was wishing for someone to die in his place. He took a deep breath, trying to calm his breathing. Although, maybe he wasn’t wishing her death. Maybe she was the werewolf. Maybe she had decided to take a walk or something, and been caught by the moon, and transformed?
She was about to pull away the curtain and look closer into the darkness, when she saw something. In the darkness of the trees, from the bracken, she could see two, almost glowing, pinpricks. She felt her heart sink as she realised they were getting closer. They were growing in size as the werewolf stalked toward her, its eyes reflecting the glow from the street lights. Reagan started backing away from the door, staring at it like it was poisoned. For every step she took, the werewolf seemed to take five. By the time she had reached the other side of her kitchen, and had her hand on the frame of the arch, the werewolf was in full view.
A slight gust of wind rustled the trees behind it. Reagan watched the silent scene from her living room now, still backing away slowly. The wolf’s dark fur was caught along with it, and it rippled like grass in a field. She gulped, shuffling backwards slightly faster. Its eyes were bright, and she could see the excitement and dedication of a predator during the hunt. It stalked every closer, claws glinting in the mixed light from the moon and street lamps. Her foot was caught on the edge of her rug, and she found herself on the ground within seconds, whispering curses. She sat there for a moment, rubbing her back, before she saw a large silhouette in the window. She shifted a bit, her pulse starting to rise as the idea of what was to come started to pile upon her. It was then that she heard the sound of something crumpling, and she frowned, glancing down at one of her pockets, discovering it filled. She quickly undid it, sating the nagging curiosity.
Her heart leaped at what she found. A little crushed now, but still usable, were the dried leaves and flowers the Doctor had sent her. Her life depended on the accuracy of what the doctor told her. She stared at her hands, a mixture of emotions. She felt happiness- happiness like she’d never felt before. She would live. Albeit for just one more day at the most, but for a little longer all the same. She looked back up to the window, expecting the shape to have disappeared like a nightmare. It was still there- in fact, she could make out a ragged ear as the werewolf, looked at the door. Her hopes plummeted faster than a bundle of rocks in water. Seconds later, there was a loud crash, as the werewolf swiped at the door. Reagan froze, suddenly unable to move as she stared at the long claw-marks being etched into her door. This was not good. The one thing standing between her and death was a half-ruined door, and a small bundle of dried flowers.
Her hope was quickly shrinking, and she found herself under the spell of a new wave of fear. There was another crash, followed by a loud snap as the door gave up. The werewolf stood there, little more than a shape, a picture framed by moonlight and trees, in the doorway. Reagan’s breathing was faster then it had ever been before, her heart pounded in her chest, she opened her mouth, and screamed, finally regaining the ability to move. She pushed herself backwards, moving toward the wall behind her as fast as possible, until she felt it on her back. It had put one paw on her carpet, and stood there, watching her as she cowered, wishing as hard as she could that she could just melt through the wall. Then, it started to advance, opening its mouth slowly to reveal long, curved teeth, glinting in what little light there was. Its mouth was nothing more than a large hole, a signal that certain death was coming. Reagan let out a whimper, feeling tears start to well up in her eyes. So much for the Doctor’s protection.
It inched closer, and seconds dragged by like hours. It knew how to scare its prey, it knew that very well. When it was within a paw’s reach to her, Reagan shut her eyes, clamping them shut, putting her hands to her ears. She didn’t want to hear it any more. She’d given up- why couldn’t it see that? Or maybe it did, and just wanted to torment her as much as it could. Her breathing was now uncontrollable. She’d never had a panic attack before. She wasn’t sure whether she was glad or not that she’d actually been able to experience it. She sat there for what felt like an age, bracing herself for the sudden pain that would come when the werewolf attacked. She could feel its warm breath now, as it panted into her face, saliva dripping down from its mouth, on to her bare feet as it leaned closer.
Why hadn’t it attacked yet? It seemed to be sniffing her, its breath stopping and starting at a regular pace. Reagan cracked her eyes open, staring out on the world in a blurred mess. Directly in front of her she could see the werewolf, its eyes boring into her. At that exact moment, it peeled back its lips and snarled at her, backing away faster than it had come, dithering as it started to back off, deterred by something. Reagan stared as it made its retreat, left in stunned silence. She looked at her hand, discovering the bundle of flowers still clamped in her pale fingers. She looked back up, toward the broken doorway to her home. The werewolf had already disappeared back into the forest, and, without the wrecked door, nothing seemed any different before.
It took a while before Reagan started to move again. At first, she just wiped the tears from her eyes, making strange high-pitched noises as she tried to regain control over her own lungs. The panic was starting to subside, and she could feel adrenaline fading from within her. She gulped, trying to swallow down the rest, before she tried to stand up. Her legs failed to support her, and she fell back to the ground in a heap, cursing again as her knees shot bolts of agony down her legs. She looked at her legs, frowning. A cool breeze blew into her house, and she remembered that the door was wide open. Well, wide open being used in a loose term. She stared at the door frame.
A few seconds later, she was laughing. She didn’t know why. Her life was just about to end, she had had a near death experience, you could say she stared her death down the muzzle. And she was laughing. She laughed for a while, more at how pathetic she had been, before she wiped the remainder of her tears from her eyes and tried to stand again.
After a long while spent standing there, clutching on to a nearby windowsill and waiting for her own legs to stop shaking, Reagan started toward the hole, taking another deep breath and peering out, her toes curled around the edge of the step down from the doorway. The night had faded once more into silence. The only sound was that of trees swaying in the wind, and wind whistling through chimneys. She took a deep breath, before turning back in. She needed to do something to at least block the door. She glanced down at the wreckage of the previous door, and couldn’t help but imagine her own body in a similar shape- snapped in two, with long, deep clawmarks etched into it.
She walked back through the arch, back into her living room, and went over toward the large box. It stood in the corner of the room, and was filled with blankets, coats, jumpers, all kinds of winter-wear and a few pairs of shoes. She pulled out a large, cream blanket, and closed the box again. She stood up, walking back into her kitchen and stood by the door, blanket over her arm, thinking of how to hang it. It wouldn’t do anything against the werewolf if it did come, but she had the flowers for that. She decided that pinning it up would be easiest- the plaster around the door being fairly soft. There was a collection of various-sized drawing pins in the cupboard. She put the blanket down beside the door frame, once again jumping over the broken door, opening up the cupboard and finding the box of pins. She walked back in and put it down on the counter, then started to move the door outside. It wouldn’t do anything just lying there on her kitchen floor. After that, she took the two longest pins that she could, and picked up the blanket. She held up one corner of the blanket, moving onto her tiptoes as she struggled to reach the space above the door frame. She pushed the needle through the fabric, and hammered it into the wall with her fist. Then she found the other corner and did the same.
The blanket shifted in the wind, allowing a small draft into the kitchen. Reagan sighed, finding another two pins and pushing them in further down, before she took another two and put them in at the bottom. When she was done, the draft had been reduced significantly. She took a deep breath, feeling calm wash over her once more. Her hands had stopped shaking, and her legs now supported her without a single complaint. Reagan headed back into the main room, turning up to the staircase and heading upstairs.
She lay in bed, her window and blinds closed, mulling over what had happened. She had been the first to be attacked- did that mean that no one else was? Did that mean that was it for Night 1? Was no one else actually going to die until the next day? She snuggled down further into her blankets, enjoying the soft, cradling feeling of a mattress. Either way, she could tell the others tomorrow that she was attacked, and could even show them the flowers as proof. That way, wouldn’t they all know she was innocent? That meant that she would only have the werewolf attacks to worry about. She felt a pang as she remembered exactly what had happened, suppressing a shiver as her mind flashed through what had happened. A thought struck her. Werewolves were real. They weren’t a made-up beast used to terrify small children out of their wits- they weren’t a tale spun by storytellers, eager to impress around a campfire. Oh no, these creatures were real.
Cameron sat there for a while, curled up, his mind in a blank state, staring into space. He hadn’t heard a howl in a while, but he had heard a scream. Did that mean Reagan had been killed? She had been attacked, at the very least. That meant he was safe. For now, at least. He shook his head slightly, looking up at the ceiling. He felt like he should be mourning- like he should do something to pay his respects to Reagan, almost to thank her for dying. It meant that he wasn’t going to die. He scolded himself once more for thinking such things, before reluctantly uncurling himself. He might as well go to bed, he thought, not even bothering with pajamas or any other normal thing. He was tired, he was stressed, and he wanted to sleep, to forget about all this, to wake up and discover it was all a dream. A sigh escaped him. What a cliched thing to think. He knew full well that he wouldn’t wake up in a land of sunshine and rainbows tomorrow. Well, if he did then he would most probably be dead.
He drifted off thinking of things along these lines, debating his current life, thinking about Reagan as a person, and wondering how she had fared.
The sky was once more stained a dark shade of red, and the stars in the sky had begun to fade. The moon had disappeared behind the same hills as the sun had just the night before. The werewolf stumbled through the forest, form changing slowly from wolf to human. It paused a moment, steadying itself on a tree, long claws digging into the bark. Its muzzle was shorter, its legs far less quadrupled, its spine clicking back into place. By the time it had reached its residence, it was mostly human. The vague scent of flowers was just that- vague. It was no longer as strong as it had been, no longer as sweet, as obscuring. It fell against the door, shuddering as the last of its wolf left it, before it pulled itself up.
It managed to drag itself into its bed as the sky started to fade into blue, dropping into a light sleep, dreaming of chasing rabbits in the forests.