Chapter 41 Werewolf
lost, really lost. The drums no longer called to him. He could
hear them in his mind still but he felt no desire to follow them
any more. The beat had changed, no longer telling him to come
on but telling him to step forward within himself, to become
what he could. It did nothing to him. He had killed some things
and that had helped him grow, he recalled. And when he had grown,
the drums had lost their power. He was stepping forward all right,
but under the impulse of his own magic, urgent and compelling
as a tidal surge.
As his body rippled with
vigour, his mind contracted. His thoughts had collapsed and
he had difficulty following any chain of reason for more than
a second or two. Images of his life were there and gone again
like the mountains under fleeting cloud. A yearning, adolescent
itch for action was upon him, though he couldn’t
think what he wanted to do. He couldn’t sleep for days
and it seemed to him that he didn’t quite fit in his skin.
His heart would beat fast for no reason and he feared he would
die, then a smirking calm would descend and he would start to
feel unaccountably pleased with himself.
He was aware that he had forgotten a
great deal. He couldn’t
remember how he had come to the cave. For a second he would recall
why it was important that he found out how he had come to lie
naked underground far away from anything he recognised but then
it would slip from his mind and all curiosity about his condition
He looked at his body and it seemed to him a very fine thing.
His hands were strong and large, his muscles huge and pronounced
and his teeth felt like shining knives in his head.
He had no difficulty recalling the deep savour of the meat,
how he had known what he needed to grow, the meat that moves
and then is still, the prey that had surrendered its power to
The beast feelings inside him were strengthening, but it seemed
that, as he digested his meals, the memories, or rather the sentiments
and attitudes of those he had consumed were digested too.
He spent a while playing
with rocks on the floor of the cave, knocking one into another
as if he was a child, he sat with an endless patience, watching
the snow fall in the distance as a woman waiting for a hunter
might. He pictured the traveller he had surprised in the valley,
saw the shaking hands trying to nock an arrow to the bowstring.
The memory of man’s fear
was delicious to him, recalled like the scent of baking bread.
His dreams were full of
Adisla but they were full of the wolf too. It was bound, terribly
bound, the fetters digging into its flesh and that awful spar
holding open its mouth. He had one of those strange feelings
that only make sense in dreams, the ones that blink away with
the morning light. He was dreaming about the wolf, he knew,
but it seemed to him that the wolf was dreaming about him too,
or rather, it was dreaming him. He felt he didn’t exist outside of that God’s
mind and that the boundaries between himself and the wolf were
insubstantial things, as nothing to their shared communion
He felt its constriction as if it was his own, a crushed, tied,
pinioned sensation that would suddenly relent and snap back into
release and contentment. When he awoke, his limbs were longer
and his teeth were bigger.
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