Metamorphosis

The boy lay in his bed. Nothing was covering his frail body but a thin sheet that rested on his form like a second skin. The window, left open to combat the muggy air of the room, let in a light breeze that buffeted the old curtains. They were patched many times over, and sewn together clumsily up the middle, in vain effort to block out the night.

An involuntary shudder ran through the boy as a wolf howled from the nearby forest. He breathed heavily, a frantic prayer racing through his mind, hoping against everything that the beast would not come that night.

Then, like a firework of dazzling light, moonlight streaked through a rip in the curtains and hit the boy. He jerked and screamed as though being branded, but no one heard him.

And then the beast was upon him.

He felt its hair bristle on his neck, his arms, his stomach, his legs. He felt its fangs pushing aside his human teeth, grasping for a place to rest. He felt the beast in his soul, tearing it apart, and replacing it with a malicious hunger for death. Cold shivers ran through his body as the beast grew. His breathing became hoarse and came in short bursts. A low growl rumbled out of the beast’s chest, and in a small part of his mind, the boy realized the metamorphosis was complete.

The boy felt the beast straining for the outside world, and in the one sane part of his mind, the boy resisted the animal instincts. The beast tore at the bed, fighting the boy’s grip on reality. Then the boy’s mind slipped entirely as again a wolf called, drawing the beast out and hiding the boy. Both beast and boy leapt off the bed and through the tattered curtains. They plummeted to the ground, landing lightly and balanced. The beast shook its head and answered the wolf’s call. Then it bounded into the forest, taking the boy with it.

The beast was boy, and boy was beast.





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