Gone in 2 minutes…

I sat there watching her wait. The countdown at the South end circle had started. The traffic was tapering off from its peak in the evenings and the flow was fairly unimpeded except by the traffic lights. Being completely colour blind I just went by the position of each light. Wouldn’t make a difference if they changed it to blue from green or violet from red.

It had been raining for a while and the roads were full of the usual monsoon puddles. A slight drizzle started off again sending some people racing home-wards faster. No one wanted to be caught in another monsoon downpour. She seemed at peace, waiting for the lights. The sudden drizzle only prompted a look upwards to the sky and a smile. She seemed at peace with the rains even if she had to ride her two-wheeler against it.

I wondered if I should and would be able to approach from where I was. I checked out the timing. There was still close to 2 minutes on it before she raced along, consigned to yet another of the countless faces in the city.

I would have to cross through one complete road, and then past half the other road before I could get to her in that short time. And the traffic was in full flow all the way across. And time was running out, fast!

I took the plunge and put my first steps in. A couple of bikes honked along as they approached and moved past me, cursing their hearts out! One glance and I knew I had caught her attention. She was looking at me! And was that ‘concern’ I saw on her face? This might just be my day! I kept going. Cars and autos braked all of a sudden, and let loose a volley of curses as they raced past. There was no stepping back now. I reached the median. Just over a minute left now. I hurried along to the other side.

More cars, buses, autos and two-wheelers. Everyone with something or the other foul thing to say. There were some on the other side looking eagerly wondering what the hell I was doing crossing the road like that. Some were even trying to shoo me back. Through all this, one glance and I saw that she was still looking at me, this time undoubtedly full of concern!

I crossed the road, safe and sound, but with all my lineage and ancestry questioned and cursed into death and hell forever. I looked at the time to realise that this one had taken longer and I had only 30 odd seconds to run across. With no time to waste I continued to run along, this time not even slowing down for approaching vehicles. There were some skirmishes with some two-wheelers, and a few autos that whizzed by inches from me. (God! They don’t even bother to slow down!)

I reached her, just as she was starting up the engine. I went up to her and looked her deep in the eyes. She looked at me, a smile forming on her lips. She reached out in the rain, her arms all wet and her clothes drenched to her arms. “Aww you poor thing, you ran across the street for me?” and patted my head. I realised I had a tail which was actually wagging.

The light changed and she drove off. I put my head down and walked back, this time with some enterprising kids getting stone pelting practice at me. (Of course all I had to do was growl at them and they’d run off, but then it’s more dramatic being the smitten wolf with people pelting stones at it, than the menacing one)

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The antidotes

It had been long since the time I had turned. Somehow I had gotten used to it. You could say I was also proud of it and I noticed the pride in other wolves around me too. I even had my own territory to defend. Food was the main problem though. It wasn’t ‘food’ and ‘hunger’ as such. It was ‘blood’ and ‘thirst’. This was one thing we had in common with vampires, along with being strange creatures of course. But that’s where we drew our lines. They were dead, or ‘undead’ as they liked to be called and we were alive, very much! Ours was every full moon, once a month, they went about it every night. We grew old and died like normal people, they lived forever. We had no love lost with the Sun; the Sun and any form of light was their nemesis.
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Full moon nights

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.
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