Curse of the Moon

by William Henry © 2002

The hush of evening embraced the cabin. His pulse raced as it always did when the sun began sinking into the drab anonymity of twilight on this all too familiar night. The great maddening drum that was his heart pounded away in his chest. Salty beads of sweat sprang from his forehead and made a daring dash for his eyes, blinding him. He raked fingers through his raven hair and wiped his amber orbs with a trembling hand. A fist hammered on the table now in a fit of terror/rage, rattling a glass into the half-empty bottle of Scotch.

"Damn it all to hell," he muttered, laying the cold blue steal revolver down on the round oaken table. His gun was his only companion on this night. A permanent release from the torment, this gun, or so it was intended to do--or so it was supposed to do on every full moon. But he could never muster the courage to do it. This month he was resolved to end the nightmare. He picked up the revolver once more, placing the tip of the barrel up to an oily temple, even squeezing the trigger a hair. The sweat blinded him again and he laid the gun down.

This day was like every other when he’d escape his law practice in Nashville and drive his Jeep Grand Cherokee deep into the Tennessee Mountains to lock himself away in his cabin for a day and a half. No matter what was going on in his life, he always had to leave the populated areas. Had to.

He learned that early on. No populated areas. No people!

It had been the same every month for as far back as he could remember. He feared it was destined to lengthen to infinity. Damned for eternity.

He hoped--prayed--that somehow, someway it would be different. He had chosen this secluded location with the desire that he’d be as far away from any other human as possible. Someway he, as his transfigured self, would always find a cabin or house and do his wicked deed. Ravage the living. He knew this by the macabre newspaper stories that would always follow. He had a collection of clippings.

The throbbing in his temples began now, followed by a snapping of bones, the horrible cracking; his body was beginning the change. "God, please no," he cried as he heaved his nude body to the floor. "Not again." He looked down at his limbs to witness the ghastly stretching of his skin, the thickening, the leathering. No matter how many times he saw the "transformation" it always rendered him panic stricken, that is until the beast within was in control and he lost mortal consciousness. The fur began threading out of his pours. He screamed and moaned, rolling over onto his stomach. The sharp canine teeth punctured out through his gums. His skull cracked and shifted, his face jetting forward to form a snout. His hands and feet spread to become huge paws, claws tearing out of the flesh. He writhed in agony as his back arched, his torso twisting and contorting to form the body of an immense wolf, a silver mane covering his form--a great mountain of fangs, claws and fur.

With a firmament that seemed as all encompassing as a great black canopy, punctuated by a strangely lurid moon that called him out of his self-imposed prison to the dark, haunted woods, he released the song of unnatural fiends and crashed through the bolted thick oak door, splintered pieces of wood flying in every which way, and stole away into the amnesic summer night.


A hot beam of light flashed in his eyes now, the sweltering late afternoon sun waking him. He sat bolt up. His eyes took in his hands and arms, caked with someone’s scarlet life. "No," escaped his parched lips. "No." A hand rose to his face to feel the crumbly dried blood on his cheeks and chin. His eyes took note of the earthen covering that lay under him like a bed of vines, leaves, and grass, turning round to see that he was in the middle of the meadow not far from his cabin.

He languidly made his way back to where it had all began.

Turning on the TV and seeing the headlines on the local news, the awful realization that the beast within had won over the human without once more rushed into the stark light of reality. The report was that a "wild animal" had attacked and maimed a family. He had killed again, that terrible spike in the gut.

The gun still lay on the table; he slipped it back into the holster. He picked up the shattered remnants of the door, repaired the damage, then packed up the cabin and set out to return to his apartment and law pratice in Nashville.

"Next month I’ll do it," he mumbled with weak assurance as he slid into the jeep and shut the door. "Next month. Have to. God, I have to."

x x x

Read more Flash Fiction? or Back to the Front Page?