Every Friday this summer I'd taken hikes deep into the
Rockies to meditate properly and forget the noisy stress
of the world, and this Friday was no different. With work
and college, I was pretty busy most of the week, and on
my precious day off I'd go to one of my favorite places:
Having wound through the various trees on the dusty path
for an hour or two while lost in thought, I decided to
toss down my camelbak and sit up against the branchless
base of a nearby pine and take a quick break. I closed
my eyes as a soft breeze played through my hair and made
the green branches around me sway softly in the patched
shade. I loved it up here-so peaceful!
I must have dozed off and lost track of time, because
when my eyes fluttered open again, I noticed that the once
straight beams of light that filtered through the trees
had become longer and slanted as they do in that magical
way when the sun is setting. Jumping up, I dusted myself
off already starting to jog as I snatched up my pack. At
the fork in the trail, I chose the more overgrown path
that went deeper into the woods without breaking stride.
I'd normally take the route more traveled by, but I was
in a hurry to write my paper and this path got me much
closer to my house than the meandering route I'd taken
I'd gone almost a mile when out of the corner of my eye
I caught a glimpse of something furry crouching in the
undergrowth just off the side of the path. There had been
something in the news recently about an increase of wolves
or something in the area, and more curios than startled
I decided to check it out having never seen one up close.
I skidded to a stop, re-traced my steps, and pushed aside
the branches to do a quick double take, and that's when
it happened. I had only time to inhale sharply when a grayish
blur exploded upon me! Embraced in a strong grip, I was
knocked clear across the path in a backflip to land in
the brush on the opposite side. While still in the air,
something that felt like thick needles punctured my neck.
Just as suddenly as it all started, the blur was gone,
leaving me dazed but unhurt where I fell. I got shakily
to my feet, and looked around, confused as to what had
“I suppose you'll want to know why I just did that,” said
a deep, almost inhuman voice directly behind me. I whirled
around, then simply stared, mouth falling agape on its
own accord, as I tried to take in what my eyes were seeing.
Undecided on whether I should be terrified for my life
or just continue stare at him with an expression of shock
and amazement like I was, I lost my balance and sat down
Crouched no more than 10 feet away was what looked like
a huge, muscular human body covered in thick gray fur--a
giant canine head on top, a bushy wolf's tail behind, and
where the hands and feet should have been were huge paws
tipped with deadly looking claws. I guess that confirmed
the wolf story!
He simply looked at me for a few
moments, his intelligent, golden eyes expressionless,
and then spoke again in a serious tone. “It's been a long time since regular humans
have seen one of us here,” he said. Although he did
pull it off, it was apparent his mouth was not built for
“Who... Wha... How did you...?” I
muttered, then swallowed, unable to form a coherent sentence.
“There isn't much time, he said. “I've
got to get you to a safe place.”
I ran my hand distractedly across my neck and gasped when
my fingers felt the two identical almost bloodless puncture
wounds. I continued to stare, afraid to take my eyes of
him. If I left now at full speed, could I outrun him? It
seemed unlikely with the way he'd attacked me earlier,
and if he'd wanted to kill me he could have done so easily
by now. It was about then I started feeling weak and shaky,
most likely from shock of the experience, or so I guessed.
Something hot and strange was pulling inside me from beneath
the surface, pulsing through my veins and sapping all my
strength. I felt the blood rush to my head as I began to
black out. In this condition especially, there really wasn't
anything I could do.
“Looks like it's already started-time
to get you out of here.”
What was that supposed to mean? I must have fallen over
at that point, because the last thing I remember was looking
up sideways from the ground as the--werewolf I'll call
him for lack of a better description--walked slowly towards
me on all fours, crouched low as if waiting for something
to happen, and that's when the darkness enveloped me.
I woke up slowly, reluctant to forget the vivid dream
I'd just had. It had felt so real! I reached around to
find my alarm clock, thinking that must have been the cause
of my waking, but instead of touching the expected plastic,
my hand brushed against some kind of cold, rocky surface.
How in the...? I eased my eyes open to see that I wasn't
in my bed, but had instead been laying in a pile of soft
pine boughs in some type of cave. My entire body felt sore
and tired, like I'd just been swimming in cold water the
whole night, and for some reason my clothes felt surprisingly
tight as well. As I looked around, I could make out the
setting sun's light through the trees from the craggy opening,
and someone sitting towards the entrance with their back
against the wall. As my eyes adjusted, I saw that it was
a man in his thirties wearing only gym shorts and a t-shirt
looking as though he'd probably gotten dressed hastily.
I immediately noticed about him an air of calm and control.
“Where am I?” I demanded
at the stranger, half yelling but still loopy from sleep.
He answered without moving, as though he'd already known
I was awake.
“Don't you remember anything from last night?” Something
about his voice was familiar
“What do you mean? I've never
seen you before in my life!”
“Oh, but you have. You just
don't... recognize me.”
Then I remembered why the voice was so familiar.
“Wait! You're the-the...”
“Werewolf?” he cut in. “That's
right. But I'm not the only werewolf in this cave.”
I turned quickly around at that expecting so see someone
else in the dark, but only the back wall met my gaze.
“I don't understand,” I
said in confusion, turning back to him.
He swiveled his head around slowly to meet my gaze, then
gestured with a quick nod towards my neck.
“Yeah, but what does that have to do with...” and
then the realization of what he was really saying hit me
“Does that mean...?” I
“That's right,” he replied. “You're
a werewolf now.”
Avoiding all attempts of diplomacy, my mouth fell open
on its own accord once again.
“I know-it's probably a little hard to believe," he
said in a matter-of-fact, almost tired voice. "I remember
when I found out for the first time, too. Didn't quite
know what to think; didn't know how to tell my family.
But that's the thing! You can't tell anyone; that would
be just as dangerous for you now as it is for the rest
“But, what did I do? Why did
you bite me?”
He searched my eyes carefully before
was careless to let you see me, but I thought the reason
would be pretty obvious. Our true identity has to be protected.
There are few enough of us as it is without people trying
to hunt us. It's far worse then identity theft when regular
humans see us in our true form, so when they do we have
to either change them, or kill them. You're just lucky
I chose the first option.”
My head began to spin with all these new revelations,
and feeling weaker than ever, I collapsed once again onto
the makeshift bed.
“Your body's still weak; while
you were out for the last 24 hours your cells were completely
re-structured to allow for transformation. Some people
don't even survive the process; it takes a lot out of
Hence the reason for my exhaustion.
“Here, eat this,” he continued as he tore
a chunk of meat from a recently killed deer with his bare
hands and tossed it over to me. “You'll feel a lot
better.” Sure enough, despite the fact that it was
raw the deer did look very appetizing, so I caught it in
one hand and began to eat. My teeth cut through the rough
flesh with ease, and as I ate my strength began to return.
“So, it wasn't a dream after all,” I said
to myself in unbelief. To him I said, “So, I get
that werewolves are real, and though it blows my mind,
that now I am one. But, where do we go from here? I have
to get back to my family and work and school-I'm sure they're
wondering where I am by now; they might even come looking
“You'll have to stay here, at least until I can
teach you how things work. Any sooner and you could loose
control of yourself and hurt people. Follow me,” he
said as he got fluidly to his feet and moved gracefully
into the now dark forest. I propped myself up on my elbows
to test my strength, and was surprised to find that not
only was it recovered, but that I was much stronger than
normal and could move just as fluidly as he had! I crossed
the cave to the entrance in a few quick strides, catching
quickly up with him in the silent darkness.
“What are we going to do?” I asked nervously
while continuing to follow him through the trees. The full
moon cast an eerie blue glow over everything. “Do
werewolves, I mean, do we change during the full moon or
something like that?”
“You're going to learn how to change forms, and
no, not everything you've heard about werewolves is true.
People have it partially right, about silver being harmful
and that being bitten causes you to become one if you survive-as
you've just found out-but most of the rest of it is just
superstition." He continued, explaining the finer
points of shifting as we went. “Basically, just picture
yourself as a werewolf, and concentrate on it. Will yourself
to morph. It's really pretty straightforward, but is sometimes
difficult at first,” he said, pausing as we arrived
in a small, grassy clearing. “I'll go first to give
you an idea of what to expect.” With that, he took
off the shorts and shirt he'd been wearing, and closed
I watched in awe as his body fluidly re-arranged itself
in a matter of seconds into the amazing shape from last
night. I'd never expected to see something so beautiful,
so natural. As he said earlier, people didn't really understand
true lycanthropes, least of all Hollywood and its ridiculous
“No let's see how you do,” he said in the
same, deep voice from last night. “You might want
to strip down first so your clothes don't tear to ribbons,” he
I got undressed, feeling a little nervous, and was shocked
yet again as I felt that my once average-sized muscles
were now rock-solid and toned; no wonder my clothes had
been so tight when I woke up! I tossed my clothes in a
pile, and focused on willing myself to change like he'd
explained. It started slowly at first, with black fur growing
out evenly out across my skin, then picked up speed as
my arms and legs began to stretch and change, claws appearing
on my hands and feet as a bushy tail shot out my back.
My nose extended out into a muzzle making room for the
larger, longer teeth that were pushing their way in and
my ears moved up to the top of my head while sharpening
into points. Suddenly, I was plunged into a world of information
like never before as the new senses kicked in. Every sound,
smell, and movement around me basically jumped out and
bit my face off! It was almost hard to control the new,
wolfish instincts welling up in my mind, but after concentrating
I was able to keep it under control. Lastly, my eyes turned
a shade of gold. I was a werewolf!
“Good Job!" he said, a wolfy grin on his face. "Looks
like you managed to shift without any problems! It'll get
easier, even second nature with experience. I've only ever
seen two other first shifts, but they tell me some have
a hard time when the instincts kick in. You did well.” It
hadn't been as smooth as his transformation and had taken
a while longer, but the new sense of confidence was almost
overpowering-I could do anything!I let out a long, joyful
howl of pure exhilaration, and heard his howl join mine
creating an eerie, harmonic song that echoed through the
trees and into the distance.
“This is amazing!” I exclaimed in a voice
still my own but much deeper. “I feel incredible,
like I could just run flat out forever!”
"We will," he said, still grinning. "But first,
you'll notice that when in true werewolf form, we have ways
of communicating with other werewolves, of knowing where
each other are.” He was right! I hadn't noticed it
with my excitement of everything else going on, but I was
aware of his presence and exactly how far away he was--even
with my eyes closed! I could also feel other werewolves in
the distance, though they must have been hundreds of miles
away. “You'll feel me stronger than anyone else since
I was the one who bit you, and-” <-we can also communicate
through telepathy and share memories if we choose.> Wow!
He'd said that last part in my mind!
<Like this?> I ventured.
<You've got it!> he replied. <Now...catch me if
And with that, he took off in a
blur. I'd never seen anything move so fast! With a bark
of glee, I ran at full speed after him, the trees doing
what the stars did when they made the jump to light speed
in Star Wars. <Yeeeehaaaaw!> I
yelled in my head to everyone in particular, howling again
as I did. I ran at first just for the pure exhilaration
of how fast I was able to go! I could feel all my cares
blowing away in the wind behind me, like they were never
there. <You'll never catch me!> sang his voice in
my head. Impossibly, I forced myself to go even faster,
and soon spotted his tail blown out behind him, doing crazy
acrobatics while following his body around, under, and
between the trees. I got close and closer, then finally
sprung out in a crazy jump and tackled him to the ground.
We smashed into trees and rocks, bouncing around and laughing
like crazy in our minds as we went. I was indestructible!
We both came to a stop, all sprawled out laughing on the
ground while panting heavily.
<That was the most fun I've ever had in my life!> I
<You're picking this up pretty quick!,> his mindspeak
unaffected by the deep breathing. <While were resting,
I'll show you my story, the story of how I became a werewolf...>
A wispy image formed in my mind's eye, almost like a movie
though a little more vague, that included subtle emotions
I could actually feel as they happened. I saw from his
perspective that his parents were both werewolves, but
that he wasn't born that way. When he got to be old enough,
they told him who they really were and gave him the choice
of whether he wanted to be bitten or not. He accepted,
and had since grown up and lived a double life as both
a father that owned a small business, and a werewolf. I
saw that he'd met several werewolves in his day and had
even spent time with some, but there there weren't very
many in all, just a bunch of packs scattered throughout
A bewildered <Wow.> was all
I could manage.
<So what's your story?> he asked. <Focus on the
memory you want me to see, and then "aim" it at
my presence. That's all you have to do.> I tried to think
of how to tell my story and a few memories of where I grew
up came to mind. I shot those over to him, and waited. <Okay,
good. Keep going; what happened after that?> I thought
about my family, my high school, my current college, and
shot those over in quick succession. <Whoa! Slow down
a bit! One at a time. You can also group them together into
one long story like I did if you want...> After that crazy
game of tag and exchanging our life stories, I felt much
more at ease-like he was more of a brother now instead of
some werewolf that had happened to bite me.
<So, I can live on my own and have a normal life just
as long as I keep our true identity safe, then. I can do
<Exactly! I think you have enough control to go back now.
But you still haven't felt anything yet--let's go hunting!>
Even after all these years, that day still felt like yesterday.
We stayed in contact, and over time have become great friends.
When I'd gotten back I was able to explain to my family,
boss, and college professor that I'd simply hiked too long
that day, and once it got dark had decided to spend the
night in the mountains. Being so tired like I was, I'd
slept the whole day, and had later tried to make my way
home in the dark again, only to get lost and eventually
wander into a campground--and that's where the forest ranger
had found me. Of course I'd never gotten lost, but had
had to come up with some sort of story to explain where
I'd been, and besides-it was partially true, about me having
spent the night anyway.
I'd since graduated college specializing in regenerative
medicine, gotten married, and had a family, all the while
keeping my true identity safe. Safe, that is, until my
youngest son was born a werewolf...