I’m afraid I have been remiss in my blogging – I’ve been engrossed in trying to finish the first draft of an espionage novel! And when it’s not that, I’m plagued with thoughts and theories about the Neolithic, etc. You know how it is. So here’s a morsel of fiction for you, not newly written, but I hope you enjoy it.
ON MOONLIT NIGHTS it’s so difficult for me to sleep. I had gone to bed with my husband at around 11pm, read for a while, and even fallen asleep before midnight; but by 3.30, I was awake again. I lay still and tried not to think for about half an hour, but then I started getting itchy and sneezy and I knew it was no good – I’d have to get up. I crept into the dark living room, pulling on my dressing gown as I went. I found my eye drops to stop my eyes from itching so much. The challenge now was to find something to occupy myself with, other than the obvious. I switched on the TV. Scrolling though the forty-odd channels, I found very little of interest. I left the tail end of a TV movie playing, and cast around for a book I hadn’t read. The itching was getting more severe. I ran my hands through my hair. No books appealed. I opened up the laptop and began to play Solitaire for a while. Along with a cup of tea and a cigarette, this could often keep me occupied for a few hours until the restlessness wore off. Tonight I played about five games, no wins, and then grew bored.
One of the windows must have been open a bit behind the curtains. A breeze was blowing in, cold and crisp, and scented with the woods. When I lived in London, I would have gone out at this point, no question, and roamed about a bit. City streets still feel more comfortable to me at night, although you’d think I’d feel more at ease in the countryside. Now I was hungry. I opened the fridge and pulled out some leftovers – lamb stew, part of a pie, milk. Anything I could get down me quickly. I devoured the food quickly, ravenously. It didn’t fill up much time and didn’t really appease me at all. There were things I might have done – I needed to shave my legs, I needed to file a lot of old mail and receipts, but those sorts of things were out of the question at this point. The itching phase was over now and it left me with an aching sensation in my bones and teeth. I massaged my jaw. I had to get up and stalk around a bit, trying to stretch out my hunched shoulders. I heard clicks as I did this. A look in the mirror confirmed my suspicions – I was changing. If I stay asleep on those full moon nights I can often get away with it – my husband sleeps really deeply and I think he likes the fur to snuggle up to. I’m not a real danger to people, never have been. So I don’t worry that I might do something to him.
Time to take some more direct action. In the fridge were some steaks which were for tomorrow night’s dinner. In order to get around the fact that my husband would miss them tomorrow, I’d have to replace them during the day, but luckily he was working tomorrow which would make that a lot easier than if he had the day off. On those occasions, I have to sneak out to the supermarket before he wakes up, but after first light, the precise timing of which is hard in the winter months. I ripped the packet open and demolished the good raw meat. It was glorious, but another kind of torture arose – I could really do with a nice cup of tea to wash it down with, but my talons were now too long to manipulate kettle, teabags and cup. Fuck.
I sat back, tried to watch the end of the movie, which I didn’t understand at all because I hadn’t been watching it. Eating the meat was always a tricky business. Often it would be satisfying and sleepiness would steal over me. I’d pull out the sofabed and sleep in the lounge until sunrise, then brush my teeth and creep back into bed. But after half an hour I knew that this time it wasn’t going to happen. It was now 4.30, and in the summer I might have been in the clear, but at midwinter I still had hours to wait until the moon’s effects wore off. The wind picked up outside and blew the curtains open a little. That was it. Actual moonlight entered the room and I couldn’t help myself. I tore open the curtains and pushed up the sash. Climbing out onto the flat roof outside the window, I sniffed the air and felt my fangs and claws grow to their full extent. Once I give in to it, I love being a werewolf. I threw back my head and howled with the joy of the night and the moon. Dogs all around the neighbourhood woke up and barked. I leapt from the roof to the driveway and bounded into the night, towards the forest and a nice fat pony.