by Curtis 'Blade' Brookes
©2000 Curtis Brookes -- all rights reserved
Daniel nestled under a large lavender bush, licking the dried blood and dirt from the cuts on his body. He couldn't clear his mind. He didn't know where he was, even who he was. What he did know was that this was the seventy-second time this had happened. Three times every month he would lose consciousness and wreck his room. Perhaps he should stop drinking Dog Bites or Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters at the Student Union.
It took him a few minutes to regain his composure. He still couldn't recollect what had happened to him, but he knew he must find his girlfriend, Emma. She could help, but what was he to do? He was freezing from the late Autumn breeze, probably miles from his flat and naked in broad daylight. To his great delight Daniel saw a skip full of rubbish. Surely there must be something wearable in there, but all he could find was an old dust sheet.
"It'll have to do," thought Daniel. Grabbing the sheet, Daniel turned a corner and with relief recognized where he was. He ran towards the nearest phone, box passing several people as he went. Two old ladies pointed and laughed, whilst several students started shouting abuse. This was awful, if only he could contact Emma, she could help him -- but what would he tell her?
Arriving at the telephone box, Daniel was dismayed to see it occupied. What was worse was that it was occupied by several school girls. Should he hide and wait, or stroll nonchalantly up as if nothing was amiss. Cowardice prevailed, but too late. They had seen him, and had bundled out of phone box with a mixture of screams and hysterical laughter.
"It's easy. I can explain... I was at a Stag Party," cried Daniel. But they would have none of it. Instead, one of them grabbed the corner of the dust sheet and pulled it from him. In a twist he was back in the nude, in front of about a dozen people.
"Oh my god!" called an old man.
"Revolting!" cried another.
"He must be one of those pervy sado-masochists! Look at those cuts on his body!" bellowed an unshaven lout. Daniel wanted the ground to swallow him up, but he gritted his teeth, and stepped into the phone box. Not only did it give him some privacy, it also shielded him from the chill wind.
Emma was very excited. Tonight her favourite band was playing live at University, and her boyfriend Daniel had managed to get the last two tickets. What a sweetie he had been to her over the last few weeks since they had met. She hadn't had to pay for anything whenever they went anywhere, and he always remembered to be the perfect gentleman.
It was late afternoon as Emma marched up to Daniel's door and knocked loudly. There was no reply. She tried the handle, but it was locked. She called out but there was nothing. "He can't be out, as we have to leave soon. Perhaps he's ill? I haven't seen him today or last night," she worried.
While she wouldn't normally use it, Emma had her own key to Daniel's room. Concerned, she opened the door and her jaw dropped. All the furniture had been turned upside down. Sheets were torn, cups and glasses were smashed and expensive text books were ripped to shreds. The walls were caked in red and brown muck and in the middle of all this destruction was a pile of torn clothes -- but no Daniel.
She raced downstairs to ring for the police. Just as she replaced the receiver, it rang again. Emma picked up the phone, and accepted the reversed call.
"Daniel, it's you! I've been so worried, where have you been?"
"Can't speak now. Come to the park, and meet me behind the fountain. Bring me some clothes as well please," gabbled Daniel.
"Daniel! What's the matter with you?"
"Got to go -- bye." The phone went dead. Daniel had seen twenty enormous rugby players striding down the road from the Leisure Centre towards him, being led by one of the school girls. Their scowling faces were redder than their scarlet shirts. No doubt she had told him that some dirty, naked pervert had tried to attack her.
"Oh hell!" he yelped and in a flash he was off down the road in front of all the evening rush hour traffic. One bloke even leant out of his window and shouted, "Good on'ya mate!"
Daniel tried to hide his body as best he could, but there was little the empty packet of crisps he'd grabbed as he passed an open window could accomplish. He knew he must get to the park. At least there would be plenty of bushes to hide in until Emma arrived. To his surprise it took him only a few minutes to get there. He found that running in bare feet was quicker than with wearing shoes, albeit less comfortable.
Emma couldn't take it all in at first, but dutifully did what Daniel asked. Making her way swiftly to the park, she waited by the fountain.
Emma spun round to see her beloved boyfriend, ankle deep in mud, covered in scratches, hair all matted, shivering excessively -- with only a crisp packet for honour.
"What the f-!" she exclaimed.
"Can I have my clothes please?" whispered Daniel.
"Not until you tell me what's going on," retorted Emma abruptly.
"Stop messing around, I'm freezing!" said Daniel angrily.
"All right then," conceded Emma, "But I still want to know. Was it the lads' party last night?"
"Please, don't tell me it's another woman." said Emma nervously.
"Never!" replied Daniel firmly. "But if you want to know what happened to me. I will tell only if you promise to believe me."
"I will, I will -- just tell me!" pleaded Emma.
"Last night I had one of my funny turns. I've been getting them for a couple of years now -- but recently they've got really bad. It happens a few times every month, and I think I know why now."
"For Heaven's sake -- tell me!" screamed Emma.
"Emma... I think I turn into a werewolf," he whispered, barely believing it himself.
There was a hushed silence. Emma looked at Daniel quizzically as he started to get dressed.
Daniel continued, "My mind just flips, and everything goes red. I must have trashed my place pretty bad, just look at my body." He showed Emma the huge lacerations all over his arms, legs and back.
"I thought there had been a break in. I thought you had been kidnaped or worse." spluttered Emma.
"I doubt it," replied Daniel, "I'd probably have torn the intruder's throat out last night." Daniel smirked at his words, but Emma looked slightly frightened.
"Don't worry pet. I would never hurt you. I couldn't," said Daniel sweetly. "If you're worried, I'll go and see the doctor."
"I would like that," said Emma. "I don't think it's possible, but if you say it's true -- then that's good enough for me."
"Thanks honey," replied a relieved Daniel. He hadn't been sure she'd believe him.
"I suppose tonight's off then," sighed Emma.
"Sorry Em, but I've only had the first of my three bad days. You go without me."
"No. I want to stay with you. I want to see the real reason behind your problem. Perhaps you're epileptic?"
"Perhaps..." replied Daniel, unconvinced.
That night, Daniel stayed with Emma in her flat. For a time he sat on the floor, just looking at her combing her long golden hair. It would shine so beautifully in the moonlight. How he loved her. Even though he had told her such a ridiculous story, she had not questioned him. For all she knew he could have been with another woman, and got beaten up by her husband.
Then Daniel shook his head. "I shouldn't be here. What would happen to Emma if I changed? Can I guarantee Emma's safety?" Just as he thought that, he felt his clothes begin to tighten.
"Give me a cuddle," giggled Emma, "And turn the light off as you go. The moon's bright so you shouldn't stub your toe."
Daniel said nothing, fearing for his beloved's life while wondering what was different this time that he could remember his actions.
He climbed into bed, and pressed up against her. Emma sensed that something didn't feel right. Was the bed sagging more than usual? Was Daniel putting on weight? And she was sure he wasn't that hairy-chested...
Early the next morning, Emma sat motionless on the bed, looking at Daniel next to her. "I understand now," she said quietly. "You poor thing."
Daniel said nothing, but growled quietly to himself as Emma stroked his muzzle. The fur was soft and shiny, and Daniel's cold, wet nose glistened in the lamp light.
"What can we do? There must be someone who can help you?"
"What does it matter now?" growled Daniel. "I thought this kind of thing only happened in movies. Not in real life. I must have done something pretty bad to deserve this?"
"You don't know that. It might be hereditary or something else. How do we know?"
"What am I going to do? It'll soon be daylight and I'm still like this!" he cried, holding up a pair of hairy paws to Emma.
"What's worse, we've got our seminar today as well," replied Emma.
"I can't miss another lesson, but I can't go like this either."
"Can't you get dressed and bandage your hands and face?" Asked Emma rather timidly. Say you've got a nasty rash."
Daniel growled again, and then said "None of my clothes will fit me now. Its hopeless!" Daniel put his paws up to his muzzle, and whined like a lost puppy.
"Wait a minute, I've got a long cape and shawl. Perhaps you could put that on. Sure, it'll look weird, but you can make up some excuse. At least your voice still sounds human, albeit one with a sore throat." With that Emma dove into her trunk and produced the long black garments. She had to stand on the bed to reach Daniel's shoulders.
"This will never work." protested Daniel, but Emma was insistent. When she had covered him in her cape, Emma hugged him. She would still love him, whatever he looked like. In fact, she found him quite sexy.
"Thanks Em. I don't know what I'd do without you."
"What about breakfast?" asked Emma. "I've got some bran flakes."
Daniel snarled, and rolled his huge yellow eyes at her. Fortunately, Emma also had some raw meat in her small fridge-freezer and this she gave to Daniel. She was taken aback though when Daniel pushed the plate onto the floor, and ate his breakfast off the ground.
"We better make a move," said Emma. "It'll be light soon and people will be about."
Daniel started to cough violently, and Emma looked anxious.
"Don't worry," said Daniel when he had stopped coughing. "I think it was just hair-ball."
Under the cover of the early morning's dark, Emma and Daniel snuck into the library.
"Morning," said the librarian. Emma and Daniel froze to the spot.
"Urh... morning," replied Daniel. The old man on the desk didn't look up from his newspaper, and the odd couple continued into the economics section. No one ever went there, and it was next to the emergency exit that lead to their department.
They got into their lesson early and sat at the back. After an hour or so, the other students filed in. Most were either half-asleep or hung over and none questioned the giant cloaked figure sitting next to little Emma. The lecturer was too interested in what he had to say to notice. To Daniel and Emma, the lesson seemed to drag on for hours.
"What's that smell?" asked Emma quietly.
"It's me," said Daniel sheepishly. "When I'm stressed, I sweat like a..."
"Werewolf?" interrupted Emma.
They both chuckled.
The lesson eventually ended about lunch time. Emma and Daniel waited for everyone to leave before they made their move.
"What do we do now?" asked Daniel.
"Get back to my flat without being noticed," said Emma calmly.
"That's not going to be easy at midday," replied Daniel. The two got up, and started down the long, crowded corridor to the exit. Once they were out in the open, it wouldn't be too bad.
"Hey Emma. Who's your new bloke?" called out a girl from her hockey club, "Glad to see you dumped that wimp Daniel."
Emma gave the girl a cold stare, but Daniel just kept walking. They had almost made it to the door when the girl heard Daniel's claws scraping on the linoleum floor. Emma did as well, and looked down to see the glint of the sharp talon protruding from under the cloak. What was worse, several other people had now seen it as well.
"Hey! Who the hell are you?" asked the girl.
"We'd better run," cried Emma, and they bolted for the door. The black cape got caught on the handle, and fell to the ground. Daniel was left in full, hairy view. The corridor was suddenly full of screams, shouts and fainting women, but Daniel and Emma didn't stay to see what happened.
"We can't go back to either flat now!"
"Get on my back!" yelled Daniel, and Emma scrambled up.
She clung on for dear life as Daniel started running on all fours towards the woods. The sounds of pursuit quickly died away. Eventually, Daniel stopped and Emma got off.
"I must go away." said Daniel. "If I stay here we'll both become part of some freak show or government investigation."
"I'm not leaving you," cried Emma.
"You must. It's the only way," sobbed Daniel.
"Then I'm coming with you," she protested.
"No baby, you are human -- I'm not. I must go." The last thing in the world he wanted was to give her up, but he also wanted what was best for her.
Emma stood for a moment thinking, and then said "I could become a werewolf too."
"If you bite me. That should work."
"I can't. You've got so much to look forward to. I would probably fail my exams anyway -- but you're a model student."
"I don't care," Emma replied firmly. "All I want is you."
"I won't bite you anyway," growled Daniel firmly.
"You don't have to," replied Emma, and she produced a small penknife from her pocket and before Daniel could stop her she slashed her wrist. Blood poured from the wound.
"You must lick the wound, or I will bleed to death. Werewolves can recover from wounds like this. Humans can't," she said though a growing haze.
Daniel now had no choice. He padded over to her and licked her wrist. He then kissed her on the lips. It worked. Emma suddenly sat up, and then fell forward onto all fours. Her long hair started to spread all over her body.
Once the transformation had finished, Daniel growled, "We had better go now." They ran off into woods together.