The moon rose quickly, soaring into the sky like a kite on a windy day. The Doctor gave mistletoe to Elissa September once more, while the Detective discovered a second innocent. The Seer, of course, discovered the werewolf.
At first, all Adeline was aware of was a searing pain. She was screaming-screaming as loud as she could, crying out in her agony. But she couldn’t hear it. To her, it sounded like nothing more than strangled gasps, which changed to something close to snarls and growls. When the pain had finally subsided, she felt considerably better. She stood there for a few moments, breathing heavily.
Then, she looked up. Something had caught her attention- another sweet, inviting smell. She remembered it from her previous dream. She started to wander over toward the direction of the smell, drawn to it. The murder she had seen through the werewolf’s eyes seemed like a distant memory. It seemed like nothing more than a waking dream. Besides, she didn’t really mind if she did something like that again- not if it meant she could be closer to the source of the smell. Besides, she thought to herself, it wasn’t as though finding the source of a smell was going to kill anyone.
She took off into the forest, bounding through trees, jumping across logs. She could feel the wind rushing through her fur, whistling around her ears, running down her back. She was in her element, dashing through the woods. She could see things ahead of her that she would not have been able to see if she were human- she could see the distant forms of deer running as fast as their legs could carry them, she saw the closer forms of foxes slinking into the masses of brambles either side of her as she leaped past them. She could hear the owls hooting from far away, calling across the valley. She could feel what was going on around her- she could shut her eyes and still be able to navigate perfectly. All her senses were enhanced, all of them showing her a colourful range of new things to explore and experience.
The scent, however, was empowering. It coursed through her body, filling every cell of her. She let it spread throughout her, guiding her to its source. Of course, she didn’t go straight there. She wound through trees and the tangled forms of fallen branches. She enjoyed what freedom she had at the moment.
When she did come to a halt, though, it was on the edge of a long, winding lane. She peered down, craning her neck to one side, trying to catch a glimpse of what lay ahead of her around the bend. When she found she couldn’t see, she started to creep forward. She felt the moonlight on her back as she followed the outer curve of the lane, as it started to widen, as the ground beneath her changed from patchy concrete to solid tarmac.
After walking a little further, she could make out the shape of a house through the trees- illuminating the darkness with its small, yellow glow. The smell was coming from there, drawing her in. She picked up the pace a little, trotting toward the front door. Then, she became aware of a second scent- one that was unpleasant. One that made her lip curl with distaste. She hesitated as she neared the door. The horrible smell was growing stronger with every step she took. She stopped by the front door, sniffing at the ground. It reeked of the smell. Adeline sneezed, shaking her muzzle. Whatever noise there had been coming from the house halted. She tilted her head in curiosity, forgetting about the smell for a few moments. This was almost exactly like what had happened the previous night.
Except this time, the door was opened for her. Adeline stared in bewilderment as Elissa opened the door. The woman stood tall as she could, holding out a small wreath of something. Adeline stretched forward to smell it. She towered over the human.
With one single sniff, she recoiled. The source of the horrid smell was this wreath. The source of the wonderful smell was this person. Adeline bared her teeth, taking a few steps back as Elissa took a step forward, waving the leaves in her muzzle.
Adeline backed away fast after that. She knew that the smell of the leaves would put her off if she hung around too much.
In that split second, Adeline felt a part of her reawaken.
She looked at Elissa, freezing up. She glanced around, her gaze darting down to her paws, before she looked back at Elissa. The woman stood there, holding out the mistletoe with a certain defiance. What scared Adeline the most, was the fact that she could smell the fear, and that fear sent a rush of excitement through her. Adeline took a step forward, stretching out a paw, trying to show how she wouldn’t harm Elissa.
“Get the fuck away from me you monster!” The woman growled, her face settling into an expression of anger and defence.
Adeline shrank back, her eyes lying flat against the top of her head, her tail falling. She turned away from Elissa, back toward the forest. The darkness seemed so inviting. Elissa still glared at her, holding the mistletoe wreath like a weapon. Adeline gave a whimper of remorse- which to Elissa probably sounded like a snarl- before running off into the forest.
She didn’t stop running. She didn’t have to, either. She could keep running until dawn, if she really wanted to. This felt different to last night- last night she had felt like she was half-asleep, like she was in fact in a dream. This time, however. This time was different. This time, Adeline was aware of everything. If she listened hard enough she could hear the beat of her heart- something far louder and slightly slower than she remembered. She could hear the thud of all four paws, she could feel the damp leaves beneath her crumpling and making her paws wet. She was aware of things in the distance, she could feel the chill in the summer’s air.
She kept running, through the forest, toward the base of one of the hills. Even then, she didn’t stop running. Elissa had been correct. Adeline was a monster. She had killed Reagan the previous night- she was about to kill Elissa just then.
Adeline only showed signs of stopping when she sensed something solid ahead of her. She couldn’t see it, but she could feel it. Something deep within told her that she couldn’t go forward any further. She bared her teeth, slowing down to a walk, before beginning to stalk toward the invisible wall. Something flashed across her mind- invisible wall sounded familiar. She paused, looking up to the sky as though it would aid her searches within her mind. She had heard something like it recently. Then it came to her. On the second day, a group of people had gone out to try and find a way to get out of the village. They had come back saying things of an invisible barrier- a forcefield. Adeline straightened herself, walking over toward where she could feel the barrier, and brushing against it. She felt her fur stand on end as a slight electric pulse moved through her body.
She put her nose to the ground, taking in the scents. It smelt like nothing- mere air. Adeline took a few steps back, tilting her head as she looked back at the barrier. Something behind her made a noise. She turned around, snarling. She winced as her tail struck the barrier, and she saw the fox that had startled her. Adeline bared her teeth at it, and it scampered off, tail between its legs. She took another look at the barrier, before turning away from it started to run once more.
She woke up, once more greeted by the sight of her ceiling. Adeline frowned, looking up at the white. Sunlight filtered in through her half-open curtain. She glanced over, sitting up. She couldn’t remember returning here- her mind went blank after she had started running back into the forest. She put a hand to her head, leaning forward. Her head spun, her mind a jumbled mass of thoughts. She had little doubt now. Every single detail of the previous night hung in her mind as though she was watching it as a film. Adeline sighed, looking toward the window. She was a monster.
Food. Adeline didn’t feel hungry. The thought of Reagan hung in her mind- she could remember the feel of the blood on her paws, she could remember how it had started to dry on her claws, tangling in her fur. She walked down the stairs, into her living room. She looked around hopelessly, before sitting down in a chair, leaning back and taking a deep breath.
She sat there for a while, just sitting and thinking, barely moving. She only moved when she started to get thirsty. Her mouth tasted horribly dry. Adeline sighed, standing up and wandering into her kitchen, taking a glass from one of the cupboards and filling it with water. Then she returned to her seat, sipping the water quietly.
A small clock chimed quietly to itself. Adeline found herself counting each ring. In total, there were nine. She sighed again, drinking the last of her water and sitting up. The sun had risen above the hills, and the sky had lost its previous red tinge. It was a clear blue-skied morning. Reluctantly, Adeline walked over to her door, pulling on some boots and heading outside. She noticed the smell from her garden almost immediately, wrinkling her nose at its potency. It hadn’t smelt this strong before. She felt a shiver of revulsion run down her spine, and she hurried out onto the road.
As Adeline walked into the village square, she started to feel self conscious. She felt as though everyone would just turn around and glare at her, as though they would all know like the click of her fingers, that she was the werewolf. She crossed her arms tightly in front of her, her head down as she walked into the crowd. She had seen Elissa a little way in, talking to some people- most probably about the previous night. Adeline stayed near the edge, trying to make herself as small as possible. She was vaguely aware of Keelan a little way off, talking to others normally. Questions burned in Adeline’s mind- Did Keelan find out last night? She felt her test tighten, and looked up to the sky. When she looked back down, Christina was looking at her.
“Welcome back to Earth, friend!” She cried, patting Adeline on the head, giggling.
Adeline looked at her for a few moments, dazed. “Hello Christina.” She finally said, shaking her head slightly.
Christina’s grin faded and her giggling subsided. “Are you alright, Adeline?” She asked, her voice taking on a concerned tone.
“Hm? Oh, yeah, I’m fine.” Adeline said, hurriedly, waving a hand in a way she hoped seemed uncaring. “You don’t need to worry about me.”
“You’re sure?” Christina leaned in closer, frowning deeply. Adeline forced herself to meet her gaze, and found herself straightening to her full height. Which was almost a foot taller than Christina. “’Cause you’ve seemed off since yesterday.” She glanced around, as though she were checking for onlookers, before looking back at Adeline. “You know, if there’s something you want to tell me, then go ahead. While we may be in a life or death situation, we were room mates at one point, right?”
Adeline smiled a genuine smile, her heart warmed by the words. “I… I will, but not right now, okay?” Christina nodded, walking back off into the crowd.
Adeline shivered, despite the warmth of the day. She glanced around, her gaze lingering on Keelan for a second. Big mistake.
Keelan looked at her in that exact moment, and their gaze met. Keelan raised an eyebrow, tilting her head slightly to one side.
Adeline pulled her shoulders together, taking a deep breath and settling with what she hoped seemed like a confident stare.
Keelan smiled, before nodding her head very slightly in the direction of herself.
Adeline lifted her head, debating declining for a moment, before she nodded. Then, she turned away from the crowd and started walking toward one of the other roads. Keelan waited a few moments, before taking her normal route back to her house. Adeline waited until the crowd was out of sight before changing direction, ducking into a short alleyway between two houses, emerging on another short road.
It took her a little while to find her way to Keelan’s house, but at last she found herself standing at the end of the long drive, peering into a gravel path with tufts of grass growing here and there. After a deep breath, she started off down the tree lined path. It was like walking through a long tunnel, made entirely of a mass of green. Adeline clenched her fists, staring forward nervously. Even though she herself had no doubt now, she hadn’t a clue what Keelan would say, how Keelan would act. Adeline hadn’t a clue what Keelan was going to do, and that alone made her nervous. This was before she even considered the fact that Keelan might tell someone.
The short walk was over all too soon, and she could see Keelan’s cottage up ahead. Keelan herself leaned on the door frame, arms crossed, looking expectant. Adeline corrected her posture before striding toward the other woman.
“Well now, somebody seems a little different.” Keelan looked her up and down again, frowning. She didn’t move from the doorway for a few seconds, standing there and merely looking at Adeline.
Adeline sighed. “Yeah, well.” She glanced over toward the neighbouring field. It, like the drive, was overgrown. “I discovered a little more about myself.” Her gaze returned to Keelan, and she met the woman with a level stare.
Keelan shrugged, moving out of the way to admit Adeline. “The same goes for me.” She paused as she shut the door. The room became slightly darker. Keelan turned back to her, resting against the door itself this time. “So tell me, what’s it like being a werewolf?”
Her body went rigid. Even though she fully expected this, she was still surprised. Adeline let out the breath she hadn’t noticed she had been holding, drawing air back into her lungs. There was a long silence, and pause, before she could meet Keelan’s gaze once more. “It’s… it’s…” She stopped, frowning. She couldn’t describe her experience in words. It wasn’t something she felt she had the ability to do. It had been both glorious but terrifying at the same time, it had been one of the best things that had happened to her, but it had also been the worst tragedy. Adeline bit her lip in thought, glancing around the room as she did so. The curtains were closed. “It’s strange.” She settled with, looking back at Keelan. “To say the very least, that is.”
This seemed to satisfy her, and Keelan went into the kitchen to make some tea. Adeline sighed, walking over to an armchair and collapsing into it, head in her hands once more. “So.” Keelan’s voice came from the kitchen. “What are you going to do now? Now that you’re certain you’re the werewolf?” She paused for a second, before adding, “You gonna hand yourself in to us all? Spare yourself the pain?”
Adeline leaned back staring at Keelan’s ceiling. “I know it’s probably the right thing to do, but…” Adeline knew she wouldn’t be able to. “No.”
Keelan walked back in, carrying two cups of tea. “To be quite honest, I’m not surprised. If I were in your position, I would do the exact same.” She gave Adeline a grin, handing her one of the two.
She frowned at her, taking the cup and sipping it. “Why are you not trying to persuade me otherwise? I mean, if I don’t hand myself in, then you stand a chance of dying yourself.” Adeline shut her eyes for a second, enjoying the warmth as it spread through her. “Don’t you value your life? Don’t you want to live?”
Keelan shrugged. “Sure I do, but what would I be able to tell you to change your mind? I mean, it’s a better use of my time just talking to you normally. You’re a stubborn person, and I can tell that. You value your own life more than you’d like to admit, so trying to convince you to do something other than what you want to do is a fruitless action.” She smiled again. “I don’t like wasting my time.”
“But you could still try? I mean, you’d never know, maybe you’d be able to convince me?”
A chuckle emerged from her this time. “Adeline dear, are you trying to get me to convince you otherwise?”
Adeline blushed, falling silent. She didn’t really want to hurt anyone. Then she remembered that she already had. A lump rose in her throat.
“Anyway. Shall we move on from that subject? I think we’ve already established that you’re not handing yourself in, correct? There’s no point trying to tell me otherwise.” Keelan sighed, drinking her tea. “You’re alright with this… murdering everyone lark?”
Adeline was quiet, sipping her tea every now and then while Keelan waited. She didn’t know what to say. Of course she wasn’t alright with it, but… Most people would have broken down by now, and become sobbing heaps of human. Was she really not alright with it all? If she wasn’t, then wouldn’t she be crying right now? Wouldn’t she be trying to hand herself in anyway? Adeline hadn’t really thought about handing herself in before- wouldn’t it have crossed any other normal person’s minds? She let out a shaky breath, breathing in the scent of tea. “Truthfully, I don’t know.” She muttered, finally, staring at her hands. “I feel like I should be crying right now or something. I mean… I’ve killed two people now.” She looked back up at Keelan, seeking some sort of hatred in her eyes. “That’s more than anyone else here- heck, even one is more than anyone else!” She found nothing. She found only pity. Anger boiled momentarily within her.
Keelan shrugged. “Well you never know with the murdering thing…” She took another sip of her tea. “After all, there are people of all different backgrounds here. I would be more worried about getting caught than the morales behind what you’re doing.”
“It’s not like I can help it. I mean, I’ve just been overtaken by this… this feeling. I get this urge to follow this scent, it just smells so… nice… And so I follow it, and when I find the source… It’s a person, and they just smell so nice…” She trailed off, staring into space, thinking about the smell. She would be lying if she said she didn’t like the smell. “But, once I find them, something else takes over. I just start attacking them, and when I snap out of it, they’re dead. Or at least, that’s what happened with Reagan. I came out of whatever it was, and there was blood all over my paws, and I could taste it…” She shivered.
“That’s not really unexpected. I mean, of course you’re not doing this on purpose. Why the heck would you? Unless you’re some psychopath, then there is no reason to murder every goddamn person in a village.” Keelan sighed. “Well, you can’t do anything about the killing.” She paused for a second, looking into her mug, tutting, before putting it down. She leaned forward, hands clasped. “So you need to change your attitude toward it. Your a werewolf now. From all the myths and legends I’ve managed to read over the past few days, they generally have to eat something that’s of human origin. Although, I don’t know whether this is good to be put into real life. Either way, you’ve got to get used to it.” She leaned back, crossing her legs. “If you can’t change something, then you have to learn to put up with that thing.”
Adeline felt detached from herself. She felt like she was not in her own body for a moment or two, as though she were floating around, watching something that looked like her converse with Keelan. She didn’t feel as though she were there herself. What was this that she was now? Was she something really this terrifying? “But wouldn’t getting used to it or whatever be wrong? What sort of a person would that make me? If I could kill someone without flinching, then I’ve lost myself, right?”
Keelan shrugged. “Depends on what sort of a person you want to be. You can keep fighting this other side of you, you can muscle up and learn to gain control over it, or you can submit to the beast within.”
Neither option sounded particularly easy, or even right. The first, though, was perhaps more favourable. How she would gain control over her own self, she did not know. Was it even possible? “How would I control myself?” She muttered, freezing when she realised she said it out loud.
Keelan raised an eyebrow. “Well you learn to resist the feeling, you learn to suppress the thoughts you have that make you attack whoever it is.”
“How the heck would I do that?!”
“You think I’d know?” She chuckled, putting a hand on Adeline’s shoulder. “Look, just do your best and you’ll get it, alright? I’ll help if I can, but keep in mind that I’m not a werewolf myself. I’ve never had to deal with this before.” She smiled at Adeline. “You’ll be fine, okay? Just do your best for us all, okay? If we’re gonna die then it has to be for a good reason. If you’re determined to live then take their sacrifices- albeit unwilling- under your belt and strive to achieve your goal. Of course, you’ll have to do something extra special when you get out of here.” She reclined back into her chair, and stretched. “After all, there’s going to be nineteen people who have to die before you can win.”
Adeline frowned. “But isn’t there a ‘Wolf Cub’? So… aren’t I technically not the only one? There’s one more person on my side, right?”
Keelan frowned as well. “I have to say, I forgot about that. Well, I suppose that the Wolf Cub would be on your side. After all, you get to kill two people the night after the wolf cub is killed.” She sighed, glancing at the clock. “I wonder if the Wolf Cub knows who you are…” She shrugged, smiling at Adeline once more. “Anyway. We need to vote, do we not? After all, you never know how many people are going to vote for you, so you need your vote there just in case.”
Adeline shivered. “Alright. Who are you voting for?”
“That is a good question. Hmm…” Keelan stood up, taking the two empty cups into the kitchen. When she emerged again she had an answer. “Well, I suppose I have to vote for you. After all, you’re the werewolf.” Adeline looked at Keelan with a sense of betrayal. “Oh now don’t give me that look. I’m afraid that I choose myself over people I’m not particularly close to.” She grinned again. “Besides, you’re not one to talk. You’re going to kill all of us just so you can live, correct? I hardly call that fair!” She stretched her arms, heading over toward the door. “Now, let us go and condemn whoever we want.”
Adeline nodded, following after her as she went toward the door, walking through first and waiting just outside as Keelan locked her door and joined her. Together, they both set off toward the village square. Adeline felt far less nervous than she had been originally.