It was my first night. I had been dreading this for the past 30 days, as the moon shrank into oblivion over the first 15 before making its slivery appearance and surging to its full glory over the next 15. The days had been spent nursing the wound on my leg, the nights lying in bed shivering in fear, waiting for this night. The wound was now almost healed, but the scar was something I knew I’ll carry the rest of my life. I didn’t know how this would affect my lifetime. Some said that people like me live longer; I was not sure that was a good thing.
I had heard stories, of strange creatures roaming the streets on some nights. No one had made the connection to the full moon though. They were just ‘some nights’, such an easy term. And then one day it happened. A late night in office and driving back on my bike, I was attacked. I just revved up and tried to get away from the strange creature. It was dark, furry and HUGE! It was drooling at its mouth. But it was the eyes – a fiery red with a hatred, and an anger I had never seen before. It was as if it was attacking me only because it hated me, and for nothing else. I didn’t know why…then. I had almost gotten away but then I felt its head scrape against my leg. I felt a sudden shot of pain shooting all the way to my brain, numbing all senses for a moment. Somehow, I managed to reach home. I could hear the dogs howling on the streets. The moon was in full glory. I knew what had happened.
It was my first night. The transformation, when it happened was painful. They say a woman giving birth is the most painful a human experiences, ever. They haven’t experienced a transformation. Imagine losing your organs, all your organs – your liver, your kidneys, your heart, your muscles, your lungs, everything and growing them anew. All while you are sane and conscious, and are awaiting it. It’s something you wish never ever happens to anyone, not even to your worst enemies.
And then, it was done, in a matter of minutes. I had no idea what to do next. I was thirsty, and hungry. I knew I couldn’t stay home. I would end up hurting someone close. I had to move away. I let myself out and into the street. The dog down the road began its long dolorous howl. Before I knew it I had joined in. Mine was longer and more powerful, and I knew it must have sent some shivers down some spines. The dog looked at me, and started a low and slow growl. We both knew it didn’t stand a chance against me. I snarled, let out a growl of my own and advanced. It cowered and escaped behind a wall.
I was now alone on the street. All alone. I looked at the moon and let out another long howl. It felt good. I was thirsty and hungry still. What do I eat? Was I supposed to hunt for animals? Or scavenge the overflowing garbage bins which the BBMP failed to clear? I decided to go as far from home as possible. I started along the direction to my workplace. I figured I might at least go see the one that did this to me. I didn’t know what I’d do if I met him. (Or was it a she?) I walked along, slowly increasing speed, moving into a gallop and then into a proper sprint. I had never run this fast before. It felt good, the winter breeze against my face.
I was soon at the place where I was attacked. I looked around. He wasn’t there anywhere. I let out a howl – long and drawn out. A couple of others joined in and we kept at it for a few minutes. Was sure many would have pee’d on their sheets hearing that one. I waited for them. They came from different directions – snarling, drooling, their eyes red with hatred. I didn’t know which of them had attacked me before. In a moment there were no such questions to ask, they were both on me, snarling and biting. My legs were hurt. They were no mere snaps, the bites meant serious business. And then one of them came for my throat. It’s intention was pretty clear. And the realization hit me. This was my life now, 29 days of normalcy and then the one day to be lived among beasts, as a beast. I snarled, growled and bit at them. They drew back a bit, before resuming their attack, this time going for my throat directly. I tried hard to defend myself, but they were two of them, strong, and relentless. There was only one way ahead for me now. I leapt at their throats. One of them leapt back in surprise. The other one, not so wise, kept coming at me, now sniping away at my legs, and suddenly I saw my chance as it made its move to get my hind legs exposing itself to me. I went for the kill, snapping on its throat with full force, all my hatred for them and what they had done coursing through my veins. I felt its neck snap under the pressure as it let a final whimper before going lifeless in my jaws, its legs twitching away. I pressed harder making sure it was absolutely still before I let go.
I looked around. The other one was backing away, still snarling and drooling away. But it was it’s eyes. The hatred was gone. There was only fear. The relationship had been established. I looked at the moon and howled. It joined in. I sauntered around, it followed me like a lamb waiting for orders. I realized it was a she. The one I had killed was a he, the alpha wolf and hence she now followed me.
In a few hours the moon started going down. I returned to the body of the one I had killed, to see who it was. I knew there would be questions asked the next day, inquiries made, and the press would be all over the place. And I knew they’d have no clue what the hell ever really happened. Who’d believe me even if I told them? The moon soon went down and the transformations began. The she had left my side and moved away to a more modest place now, closer home or a place where she kept a change of clothes I guessed. These were experienced wolves I was dealing with. The pain returned as my parts dissolved, to be replaced by my human ones. But it was much less this time, maybe it was the anxiety and the anticipation to see who I had killed. The man was lying in front of me, his neck snapped. I went up to him and turned him around. For some reason I wasn’t surprised. I didn’t know why. It was as if I always knew it was him. I made my way back home before the sun rose and crept into bed.
The alarm rang promptly as I woke up. I woke up groggy as if I had slept my night’s fill. Mom was sitting there watching the Shankara channel. She looked at my leg first thing “It’s healing well. The injections have been working looks like. Today’s the last one no?”. I nodded. I wished I could tell her what I had been through. Getting the rabies vaccines had cured my leg for sure. But then the nights…