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by Garry Dean
by Garry Dean
Jack sat in his lounge chair shivering, not from the cold, but from an inner turmoil he could not place. He tried to watch TV, to listen to music, but even Billy Holiday could not sooth his jangling nerves. Tonight, he was Heavy Metal, all hard edges and ready to explode. He went out into the backyard of his small suburban home and took great lungful’s of the cool night air. That seemed to steady him, a little.
What the hell, he thought.
He went back inside, grabbed a sweater, and went for a walk. It was the middle of the night and the street was quiet. The scent of wood smoke hung in the air and here and there he noticed the odd house light still on.
Night owls like me? he wondered, No, not like me.
Something was wrong, he knew that much. He didn't think it was anything physical, in fact he hadn't felt better. What bothered him was the alternative. This same feeling had come over him a month ago –- a restlessness, a need to get out and go somewhere, but where? As he crested the hill at the end of his street a full moon came into view. It hung low on the horizon, its bright disc reflecting off roof tops and the windscreens of parked cars, filling dark spaces with a pearly light. The soft beauty of it stopped him in his tracks.
“Wow,” he breathed aloud.
Suddenly, he felt alright, better than alright, he felt great, calm and strong. The walk must have done him good, he realized. His eye was drawn to the old Draymore house across the road. Once a stately home, it was now an empty hulk, sagging under the weight of time. Somehow it had escaped the notice of developers and become part of the scenery, as innocuous as a stand of trees. In the moonlight it looked almost majestic, much as it must have appeared a century ago.
Before he knew what he was doing he was clambering through a gap in the wooden fence and walking towards the house, his feet swishing through the long grass in the large front yard. Running across the front of the house were the remains of old flower beds, now overgrown with weeds, but here and there an evening primrose poked its head up, a stab of white in the moonlight. As he drew closer, he saw the true state of the house – the empty windows that once held panes of leadlight and coloured glass and how the ornate timbers were now gnarled and twisted like old bones. There had been life here once, warmth and laughter, love and light.
As he stepped onto the front veranda, the old floorboards creaked underfoot. The sound was loud in the still night air and he paused, a part of his mind wondering what the hell he was doing here, while another more primal part, knew he was caught up in a mystery he was powerless to resist. The front door was boarded shut, but the black rectangle of an open window presented an easy access, and he swung himself over the windowsill. The room he found himself in was empty, save for a piece of crumpled paper that lay on the bare floorboards, illuminated by a shaft of moonlight. He walked over and picked it up, noting a stub of pencil lying nearby. Feeling a sense of déjà vu, he unraveled it and began to read.
You wont believe this but you are me.
The last word trailed off, followed by lines of meaningless scribble. None of it made sense except for the fact it was in his handwriting. It was then he remembered he had been here before, on a night just like this, on the night of a full moon. As it all came back to him he groped for the stub of pencil and tried desperately to write something, anything, but it was too late. In the shaft of moonlight he could see the skin on his hand was already beginning to change, and the pencil clattered to the floor. He fell back and cried out as his body writhed in agony. Before his conscious mind slipped away completely he thought he heard music. It was a song by Radio Head, something about witches.
Transformed, he lept out of the open window and bounded across the front yard toward the gap in the fence, aware of every blade of grass beneath his paws, every sense attuned to the night. He was free, truly alive, and he howled his thanks to the moon. Its light played across his fur, his muscles and every fiber of his being. In that moment, he knew there was nothing wrong with him, he was hungry that was all, and there was plenty of food around here.
Loved it! Kept me hanging on every word.
micheledutcher - Fun story, certainly. Thanks for letting us read it.
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