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Poetry/Short Stories

by Charlina

"I always wanted to be someone...now I realize I should have been more specific."
- Lily Tomlin.

"So here I am; A werewolf in New York." I said to the young, wild-eyed, silver-haired man.

A few months ago not even the president himself could have convinced me that werewolves exist, let alone that I'd become one. Then again, when has the president told the public the truth? But the public doesn't enjoy the truth as much as they do sensationalism. I should know. I'm a reporter. That's why I came to New York. After lengthy studies and courses in communications, I was convinced I'd become the next Walter Chroncite. New York, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. This city can make you or break you, and I walked straight into the middle of it: from 5th avenue to the projects, and all in between, I wanted to document it all. It was far from the rural town I grew up in. I was a naive home-fry lost in the confusion of the big apple. You have no idea how nervous I was in that steel elevator as it ascended up through the sky -scraper...my future hung on a string. I could only pray they'd like me. "Nervous?" asked a man in a pressed suit, curly blonde hair, and the fakest capped-tooth smile I had ever seen. A pretty boy. Except, at the time, I thought he was clean-cut and handsome. "Y-Yes," I managed to stammer, catching my own reflection. There I was, 5'5", the best leather shoes, wide-leg rayon pinstripe pants, a lime green satin blouse, short brown hair, round-faced, ....in other words, cute. "The name's Kent Brockwell. You may recognize me from Channel 6 News." "I'm applying as an anchor person there myself," I grinned. "My name is Courtney Roberts." "Well, Miss Roberts, you'll need someone to show you the ropes." Kent was true to his word. He was there for me, every shallow minute of it. It was what I had wanted my whole life, to be on the TV screen, provide the citizens with needful information...to look damn good. I had my paycheck, my wardrobe, dinners at expensive restaurants...heels, pearls, hairspray, and dress suits. Oh, and of course I was living in Kent's fabulous apartment with a fantastic view of the sky line.

I was still the new kid in town. I wasn't getting the ground-breaking stories I thought I would. I was getting the small assignments, those one or two minute broadcasts at the end of the show. Then came my big break. I was to be the first to report on the mysterious dog-attacks in Central Park. Finally, a head-liner. At least, that's what Kent told me. I was shaking, I hated dogs. I especially hated vicious man- eating dogs. I wanted to deal with the tough issues, the people-to-people problems. But I did as Kent told me (my damn blind trust again). I took a deep breath, stood with a confident poise, held up the microphone and read the cue cards, staring hard into the camera's reflective eye. "Wait...hold on...," I stopped as the growling behind the bushes became deep, loud, and ever present. "Stop the camera," I commanded, "get back to the van." They did as I asked, but I couldn't hear them calling for me. The moon's light had me asphyxiated as the imposing form slunk out of the darkness.
It wasn't a dog.

Story continued below


The most exquisite creature stood before me, beautifully dangerous. Under the clean long silver fur was a strong skeletal frame, that of real power. It had big paws with claws dug into the soil, digging up roots of shallow grass, exposing the primal dirt beneath. It alone stripped away the surface beauty. In a face of pure rage it stared, a mouth full of white curved daggers framed by black gums...and above the snarling snout were piercing eyes. The eyes tore through the blackness and stared straight through my soul. The held backwards ears pricked up, tall and triangular. Here before me was the formidable beast, far stronger than any dog or mortal wolf, many steps ahead on the evolutionary scale, built with a wicked precision. Behind me one of the crew had brought a police man...who had a gun. The shot was clear, it found its mark. The silver wolf howled in pain. I would never forget the look it gave me. It was that of betrayal. I don't know how I felt that message, but it rang clear in my brain. I had betrayed it. It made one last attack. It lunged, knocking me to the ground. With one quick swipe it created deep claw marks into my arm. It then let its own blood spill into mine. It was an act of desperation on its part. Now you will know...it seemed to say...now you will know.... I could feel it dying, I could feel the pain. With its remaining strength it scampered off. Until we meet again...

A week later...
It was all like a dream, not quite real. Needless to say they rushed me to the hospital. Yet, by the time they got me there, the wounds had already scabbed over. I insisted I felt fine and went home. The next day, it was nothing but a couple of faded scars. True to Kent's word, it had been my big break. I was now the subject of the news. Letters poured in for my concern. I got my wish, dealing with the hard-hitting stories of real people, their triumphs and as well as tragedies. And yet, as time passed, I grew more dissatisfied. I had everything I ever wanted. So why wasn't I happy? At night I began to jog. I had to be outside, I didn't know why, I just had to. The salads I used to always eat began to taste disgusting, I craved meat... "Courtney....You just don't seem yourself lately." Kent put his hand on my shoulder. I stared out the oversized window onto the city. "Where are the trees? Where are they all?" Confused, he answered, "Central Park." So I went, as fast as I could, to the very spot of the attack. The brown fur started to grow on my arms. So I did the logical thing: I screamed hysterically. "I DON'T WANT TO BE A WOLF!" Of course, this produced a few wayward stares from passersby. I caught a cab and took myself straight to my doctor. I couldn't think of anything else to do. He took blood samples...with startling results. "It seems," said the doctor, "the combination of this 'werewolf' blood and your blood has actually created quite a combination. The wolf DNA has infested itself, replacing your own, integrating itself into your body. There are also unknown unexplainable chemical reactions which may very well cause the transformations we see here." You see, the fur had kept growing. I was almost completely covered. My bones thickened and changed, becoming stronger. My hearing intensified as my ears grew pointed, my face stretched out, hands enlarging with fingernails hardening and curling over. I fell to all fours, more muscle bound than a panther. "Help........ Roawooor....me...rhhrrrr." "I can't. This is like nothing I've ever seen. It seems the new DNA is stronger than human DNA, that it can consume and replace..." He shouldn't have said consume. That made me hungry, though not for him. The eyes were the last to change, showing me the world in a whole new array of colors...not to mention sounds and smells among a billion other potent senses. There was no heaviness of the head or difficult of balance humans experience (however do we manage to get around on just two feet and without a tail?), it was if even the pull of gravity had lessened! Most of my clothes still clung to me (barely), though visibly ripped. But the doctor did not share my joy. They would condemn me a monster, hunt me just as they hunted the silver wolf, put me in a circus, perform scientific tests, or God knows what else...I would be the freak of the week. I had no choice. I killed the man, snapped his neck, as swiftly as I could to minimize the pain. I didn't enjoy killing him in the least, but I was scared, I couldn't think straight. I burst through the open door, leaping down the halls quick as lightning. I wanted out of there, fast. The lights were much too bright...and the smells...the smells were horrid. Even as I got past the entrance, the confusion continued. The open air wasn't, it was thick and polluted, making breathing unpleasant. There were too many loud noises, I couldn't focus on just one. The sirens, car horns, and motors pounded into my head! Lights flashed and zipped by! The people...everywhere, everywhere people! Shouting! I began to panic! The trees! Where are the trees! The ancient knowledge, the instincts, they told me a forest was supposed to stand here! Where are the deer! The rabbit! Raccoon, crow, bear, grass, pine, and oak! The running brooks! And the ground...why isn't the ground made of dirt? I soon realized I was being hunted. I bolted forward as gunshots rang out around me. I ran into a dark alley...and was cornered. In both hysteria and defense (for I knew they wouldn't hesitate to kill that which they did not understand) I destroyed my attackers. And now you know....and now I did....the fear...the confusion.... The want of fellowship....the pain of loneliness in a cruel world where the dominating factor is dead set against you...

I staggered back to Kent's apartment. With release and exhaustion, I'd returned to my normal biological form. In the hall someone remarked that I looked like Raggedy Anne. I cleaned myself up and went to bed, not letting Kent be any of the wiser of my night's misadventures. I went to work the next day, keeping my cool. I couldn't help thinking how false it seemed now, I had seen beyond these people and their plastic set of values. I smiled nonetheless. "Why do after all these hundred of years, people still fear wolves? We've built this great concrete maze and supercomputers, and a primal beast can still scare us?" I asked Kent. He raised his eyebrows at me, disapproving. "People have lost their edge, that's why. They've forgotten how to survive in nature, and the wolf still can. So who won in the end? Us or the wolves?" I continued to grill him. "We should start calling you Wolfine," he joked. "Wolfine...yes, I like it." he had no idea how appropriate it was. Although I had found a new link with nature, I wasn't about to give up the dependency I'd built around my city life to go howl at the moon. I'd never been the loner or the independent type anyway...I could be a reporter by day and wolf in my spare time. That's what the 'were' in werewolf is for, right? I had to keep from laughing as I reported on the wild beast who had torn through New York City streets, killing a doctor and several police officers. "I hope they catch the terrible thing before it hurts someone else," Kent shuddered. "I doubt they will...wolves are shy creatures, if it is a wolf. They don't like being around people more than they have too. Besides, its probably clever enough to evade capture. It could be right under your nose and you wouldn't know it until it was too late." (how ironic, right?) I sucked in my pride, "Kent, I love you but....I need to really be on my own. I appreciate all you've done, I just need some space I can call my own..." "Courtney....if you must, go then. I have to confess it just isn't the same anymore, you've changed a lot. Good luck kid. No bitter feelings here. You can drop by later, gather your things together." He sighed. "Thanks for your understanding, Kent. We can always be friends." I offered Changed? Kent, if you only knew.

A few days later, outside an appliance store, a strange man approached me, perhaps in his mid-twenties. His hair was purest silver. "I saw you on the magic box," he pointed to the TVs in the window display. "We meet again...and now you know." "So here I am. A werewolf. In New York." I said to the young, wild-eyed, silver-haired man. I smiled and invited him to lunch.

My stay in New York is going to be wilder than I expected. But at least I won't be alone. And I have the feeling this is only the beginning.