I had gotten used to them by now – the nights where I transformed. There were others like me, they just looked less like me, but they were there, I just had to seek them out. They looked more like dogs than I did. I had to try sniffing the behinds of other dogs like the dogs do and see which of them were offended how badly. That’s how I found out. It cost me a few scratches and bites though. But they always came around when they realized I was a fellow wolf. We were a club of our own. Only us, no real dogs allowed. Ah, the irony of it!
And then there was the social one. They always went to him. There was always a crowd around him where you hung out and played with the other wolves. Communication was difficult for me initially. All I knew was to growl and howl at the moon, but I figured it out soon enough. All it needed was a sharp sense of smell and sound, and you are good to go. But no, we never revealed who we were in real life.
Initially, it was just to kill time as I realized that others invariably paid him a visit and checked out who was hanging out there at least for an hour every full moon, and I tagged along. Soon I got addicted. Who wouldn’t be? Compelled to live a bestial life we didn’t have much choice. Our territories and our women were all there to be fought for and that was the story of every night. But then the one hour with the social one granted some peace and respite which we gladly accepted.
But then he started changing. We didn’t know if those were his true colours or if he had always been like that. That’s the thing about change I guess. The new is always met with some discontent before it soon becomes the old as we get used to it, and before you know it you don’t remember the old ‘old’ anymore. He would change where we met, he would change how we met. Sometimes making us go around blindfolded and use our noses for everything. Sometimes rearranging the garbage bins around bringing out rotten food which no one liked the smell of. Still he made sure we got used to it. Even to the stink, to the point where we missed the rotten stink when he changed things all over again, without giving us any advance idea of what to expect.
We stuck on though. No one dared to leave! And he knew it. He did not even growl or snap at those who dared to voice their discontent. They knew their options. They were always free to leave. They did not owe him anything, nor did he them. But they couldn’t. That was the catch behind the whole thing. There were some who managed to muster the courage to leave and go on their own, lead solitary nights without any care for this peace or the social living it brought them. Beasts for a night should live like beasts for the whole night was their idea. We feared them, ganged up on them, called them anti-social, subjected them to endless hostilities, but they endured, refusing to give in.
Things continued changing. I saw him more often. Not in his usual place where I went, but wherever I went to. I just had to peep into any random garbage bin and more often than not, he would look up and wag his tail at me. I wondered if he was following me. He said no, that he just liked being around everywhere, so that I could feel comfortable wherever I went. He also promised to tell me where all the others I hung out with at his place had been to. I said I’d rather not have that information. He said I’d have to catch him a squirrel for that to happen. Now where would I go for a squirrel at night?! I just had to clench my teeth and think something else while he recounted stories of all the places others had visited.
And then, just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. He was soon following me everywhere. Yes, everywhere. Wherever I went he was there. All I had to do was look back. I hated it. When questioned, he only wagged his tail. I tried closing my eyes and pretending that he wasn’t there, but it didn’t work. During the time I hung out in his group I realized he had been telling things about where all I had been to others and I was surprised to know that I knew a great deal of what others had been up to too.
I soon realized that life as a wolf had changed drastically from the first night. I had conquered another wolf, established my territory and ruled it with pride to this day, to the point where I was looking forward to these nights. And now I was more inclined towards the ‘society’ he had created, worried about the others and what they thought. In short, I was less of a wolf.
I told him the next month that I was quitting. He smiled and wagged his tail. I knew what he meant. I said goodbye and walked away. After a while I looked back, he was still there. I growled. He wagged his tail playfully. I turned on him with a menacing snarl. He still wagged his tail playfully. I advanced and snapped at him. He kept up the playfulness. I bit him, bit him hard on his leg. I noticed to my horror that he wasn’t even hurt! I went for his neck. He did not resist. My jaws closed on his throat and tried to feel the spine to break. There was none. It was as if I couldn’t hurt him at all. He kept looking at me playfully. There was nothing I could do.
It’s been a few months since I stopped going there. I stopped looking back or caring about his presence or existence. I know he’s there, always, with an eager wag of his tail, beckoning me to come play with him or go back to hang out with his group. I just get on with it. I don’t know what he is though. Whether a ghost of some wolf that was killed sometime back or just an illusion of my mind. But I do know this for sure, am not the only one he follows. Every dog/wolf has him on it’s tail. And I know for sure that his presence is only going to get bigger and bigger in future. But then I stopped caring and learned to turn a blind eye. That’s all I can do.