Chapter 1 of Mond

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    kjgriffiths
    kjgriffiths
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    <u>Dogs Have Wild Dreams</u>

    Camp K-9, Somewhere in Western Australia

    “RUN!!”                                                                         

    Her heart pounded, legs coming to a halt as the huge dark beast blocked her path. The animal’s curved talons would split her throat with ease if given the chance, saliva dripping from equally razored fangs. Paralysed, she watched the man — the one who had told her to run — stand in front of the monster. He waved his arm. The beast swiped. The man jumped, launching himself on its back. Her vision fuzzy, only the outline of their figures showed, someone tugged her arm, pulling her deeper into the dense forest. They were raked with fresh claw marks, both panting, palms sticky.

    Loud roars came, black fur approaching. Her companion pulled her behind a vast tree to hide, exhaling. She placed her head on her on the banging chest as the other tried to muffle her long gasps, covering her mouth with one hand and rubbing her back with the other. Familiar words of comfort were whispered into her ear.

    “We’re okay. The others will be here soon.”

    Footsteps and sniffs made their way.

    ‘I’m going to die,’ the overwhelming fear turned reality into a horror movie. She sucked in her bottom lip and closed her eyes as the embrace broke.

    Screams so loud the deaf could hear them came from the person who had hidden with her, the noise rang in her ears. She crouched, losing too much blood to stay conscious, but she half welcomed an end to the terror.

    Two gold eyes pressed towards her, staring into her fleeting soul. And then, pain. Nothing but pain. She screamed, her body writhing in agony, blood running over her hip and legs. The rivulets of red became ponds of maroons as her sight continued to weaken, the forest fading into a black void.

    Měsíc woke, her forehead dripping sweat and her heart, playing the sound of dismay.

    It was a dream. No monster after her. No pain.

    Brushing her dark hair with her unsteady fingers, she scanned the room. Left empty, her dorm-mates had gotten ready for another day in what felt like prison with silver bars hiding the outside and the room itself plain, painted grey. ‘Inspirational’ posters of cats in random positions. Her favourite, pinned above her said:

    Believe.

    Mocking them with the idea that there was something to believe in.

    The door swung open with a long screech. “Mmměsícccc!” her best friend Luna, sang. Her voice mimicking a rooster.

    “What?” the said inmate yawned.

    Luna skipped to Měsíc’s dresser, hands rummaging through, pulling out various clothes. At long last, she dropped a pile onto the bed. Měsíc’s outfit for the day. “Time to get dressed. We need to go. Hurry; I got up ages ago.”

    “Can’t I lie in bed for one more minute?”

    “Lobo and Hund are waiting in the cafeteria,” Luna rolled her eyes. “We both know that if you don’t get up now, you never will.”

    “Fineee,” Měsíc sat up, picking up the clothes.

    She gave Luna a thankful smile which her friend returned before walking back out.

    “Pink again,” Měsíc grumbled at the shirt, making her way into the changing rooms, they were almost as vacant as the dorm, only three girls remaining. She put on the plain fabrics, tying her hair into a tight bun. With hesitation, she placed her dog tags around her neck.

    #78990 K-9.                                                                                                                                 Was the code engraved on them, matching the tattoo on her left arm.

    Routine broke as a common sting felt among the inmates irritated her waist. She lifted the bottom of her to show the scarred hip, a disfigurement from a deep bite, she didn’t remember receiving. Too big for a dog, too small for a great white. Everyone in the camp had one. Most doing whatever they could to hide it.

    The wound had been new when she was imprisoned, healing to silvery marks since then, but memories of her previous life never returned. She was a scared, confused fifteen-year-old when she arrived.

    What crime did she commit to deserve this camp?                                                                   

    A question Měsíc asked herself every day since.                                                             

    Powering through the still lingering tingle, she left the cabin. Luna had been waiting outside, playing with her silk curls. The scattered old cabins, the small man-made lake, and large grassy sitting areas stared them down.

    “Took you awhile!” Luna teased.

    Měsíc chuckled as they headed to the cafeteria, positioned in the centre. “Sorry, you know I hate mornings.”

    “Are you going to tonight’s party by the lake?” Luna jumped. Her smile so wide, Měsíc worried her mouth would fall off

    “I don’t see the point,” she shook her head. The camp never threw parties. There was no unique reason to have one, leaving it to be either completely random or extremely suspicious.

    Or both.

    “Please. It will be so much fun! It’s a once in a lifetime offer. I doubt they’ll ever have a party again,” Luna beamed.

    Měsíc’s nose twitched; Luna didn’t even seem curious to why the staff offered a night-time social event after years of nothing.

    “Your brother is going.”

    “I don’t trust them.”

    “You worry too much,” the blonde elbowed her. “Go to the ball, I’ll be your fairy godmother.”

    “Fairy godmother? Please, you’re the Little Mermaid. You can’t talk to the guy you like.”

    “I’d prefer to be known as Cinderella. All she ever wanted was to party and be happy, get some freedom with killer shoes, pretty gowns and a hot prince. Plus, at least when a guy does have a crush on me, I know it.”

    “Who likes me?”

    “Exactly.”

    Měsíc snorted, entering the outsized cafeteria and without effort, they spotted the two boys across the sea of free tables and chairs. Most sat by the serving area, but the four friends preferred to sit at the one furthest from the door where fewer patrols came past.

    Lobo – Měsíc’s twin – was slightly tanner, having the same hazel eyes and brown hair to match. Faint freckles sprinkled across their cheeks and small noses. He stood an inch taller, 5’11, wearing one of his classic rock band t-shirts (the only tops he seemed to have in his closet). Hund, who sat next to him was playing with a deck of cards, shuffling through them. Instead of the generic fashion, the back of the cards was branded with members of the Australian soccer team.

    Despite knowing Hund, Lobo’s best friend for two years, Luna had yet to get the courage to talk to him beyond fumbled greetings and commonplace exchanges about passing the salt or borrowing a pen. He had short blackish hair, pale skin and vibrant green eyes that made the blonde squeal like a toddler seeing her favourite movie.

    “G’day sister,” Lobo smiled, combing his always messy hair.

    Měsíc gasped, a full bowl at her usual spot. “What on earth have you done with my brother?” she mocked, sitting across from Hund.

    Luna chortled, leaving to grab her own food.

    Lobo went to make some smart-ass remark, but instead his face fell as overhead speakers echoed throughout the building with the noise of a throat being cleared. 7:30 AM, time for the dreaded announcement. Every inmates’ head went up, either fiddling with something or biting at their fingernails.

    “Good morning inmates, Pepper speaking: numbers 78990, 79984 and 79878 have been selected by Wentworth for today’s experiments. You will be collected throughout your first class. Good luck with your studies and have a happy day,” the voice casual and chirpy.

    Měsíc eyes widened as soon as her number was called, tears merging. Face lowering to her food, she attacked with the spoon.

    “They are going to take you out of class,” Hund mumbled, clenching his jaw.

    “It’s okay Měsíc,” Lobo placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “This time, the lab might not be that bad. Maybe it’s just a blood test, you know?”

    She should have trusted him; he had been selected nine times while she had only been taken four. But like her, he didn’t remember a single thing.

    Měsíc gave a slow nod as she tried to eat her breakfast which, unfortunately, happened to be porridge (though it may have been spew). When the taste hit her tongue, she spat it out as if it had been left in the cafeteria for months with all the maggots to float around in.

    “The food is awful here; this tastes like compost. We’re better off eating the grass,” she took a huge gulp of apple juice, trying to rinse the foulness out of her mouth. The boys laughed in a perfect harmony and even managed to end at the same time.

    Four men dressed in camouflage walked past their table, guns held close with fingers on the triggers. Měsíc was not an expert on firearms nor the ideologies of those that held them, but the proximity was enough to make her quiver.

    “The bang stickers aren’t going hurt you,” Lobo assured, using his personal slang. “They’re not the white coats. A few of them are actually quite nice.”

    “It’s true. One of them taught me how to play cards,” Hund pointed at his deck, smiling. “Offered me a drag too.”

    Měsíc pulled a face, her left eyebrow shooting up.

    “Which I rejected – of course – because smoking is bad – causes cancer – and – nobody should do it,” Hund’s skin almost transparent.

    “You and Miss Mute going to the party?” Lobo slapped the back of his best friend’s head.

    “I’m not,” Měsíc shook her head. Fighting back a sigh at Luna’s new nickname, it changed every second. “Miss Mute wants to go but – She’s the outgoing one.”

    “The wordless person is the outgoing one?” her twin almost died from laughter.  “What a world we live in.”

    “It’s not the world. It’s the fact that I’m boring.”

    Hund turned to Lobo with a small smirk. “Did you ask a certain redhead to go with you?”

    “No!”

    Měsíc chuckled. “You have a girlfriend?”

    “No!”

    Hund and Měsíc exchanged grins, both restraining their giggles.

    Luna returned with her breakfast and gave Měsíc’s hand a quick squeeze, her glossy lips mouthing the word, ‘sorry’.

    Měsíc struggled to smile at the small gesture, trying to tell herself that whatever happened in the lab wouldn’t kill her. But she couldn’t force her mind to trust hope, not even if Lobo offered it.

    As Luna ate, she took out a small lavender screwdriver and some sort of computer chip from her pocket. The boys leaned across the table, watching her tinker. Luna had received the item the day before from the doctors in the lab and like it was the best thing in her life, refused to shut up about it.

    “What are you doing?” Lobo cocked his head.

    “I um, I,” Luna stuttered. “Doctor Vidal, he, uh, wants me to work with him on this computer project. He, uh, saw my information technology grades.”

    Hund grinned. “Best in the camp. You have a real skill, Sparky.”

    The blonde blushed a dark red, swiftly pushing a lock of hair away from her face as she went back to work.

    “I’m serious, you’re the only person who actually did well on the telegraph assignment. You even know old technology. Didn’t you do the last sentence in Morse code?”

    “It’s easy, really. Just a – matter of dots and lines.”

    “If only we could use what we learn.”

    After breakfast, there was only time to dash back to the cabins, and brush their teeth before school. The school much bigger than the number of classes held there: student body consisting only of hundred-and-nine children and eighty-two teenagers (the rest, too young to teach). Why they bothered to educate them was beyond Měsíc.

    The three said their farewells to Lobo as he went into his advanced health and fitness classroom and they passed onto their maths.

    Měsíc sat next to Luna, grabbing out an exercise book and stationery. She turned to Luna and chuckled. ‘H+L’ all over her notebook with her infamous pink, glitter pen from last Christmas (when the inmates got a tiny basket of small, mostly second-hand crap). Lucky for Luna, most teachers didn’t care. Her grades were so good; she could write with crayons and receive no criticism.

    Měsíc’s first session was held in a little, dingy classroom, which smelt like it had been gathering dampness and despair since 1870 — when the camp first established (according to history). The walls were covered with formulas, periodic tables, and quotes by famous historical figures. Mr Romulus marched in his everyday black suit, writing algebraic equations on the old-fashioned blackboard.

    English was the only subject to have a whiteboard, Lobo somehow managing to break the blackboard. Měsíc wasn’t even sure how that was possible. Disappointed by having missed the event due to the six-monthly dental appointment.

    Anxiety was hasty in its consumption of Měsíc, her fingers tapping on the desk. She had no idea when she’d be escorted to the lab. She could only focus on the clock, each tick louder than the one before.

    “Měsíc,” the teacher watched her through his dirty spectacles. “Doctor Wentworth has requested for you. You’ll be collected soon enough.”

    “Yes, sir. I was at breakfast,” Měsíc whispered, holding her head high.

    Romulus was a tall, upright man that no one knew much about and hardly found outside the classroom. When he was, it was with the other teachers rambling about revisions.

    “Now, algebra. It is the study of mathematical symbols, such as the letters: x, b and y. So-”

    A knock cut him off.

    Two large, muscular men stood in the doorway wearing earpieces and dark green utility belts, holsters filled.

    “78990, please stand as ordered by Wentworth,” One of the men narrowed his eyes as though Mesic was a doe to be hunted.

    The inmate rose, her legs slow. Luna clutched her hand tight once more as the man who spoke gestured for her to come forward. Doing so, she tried to conceal the fright, cursing imagination.

    “You’ll be right,” Romulus mumbled.

    Hund offered a thumbs up that Měsíc only just saw, being pushed out of the room. Walking through the halls, she saw all other numbers being taken out. Terror written all over their faces. The men stopped her at the building’s exit, turning to face her.

    “78990, I’ve heard they call you Měsíc?” one asked, his eyes studied her.

    She gulped, nodding. “Yes, sir. For the most part.”

    He smiled and took out two large white pills. “Please take these – they will make the lab visit easier,” his voice a yawning monotone.

    Měsíc reached for the pills and stared at them. Remembering the response last time, she had asked for water, she swallowed them dry and coughing. Like she’d been poisoned, her head ached and spun, throat burning with fire while gravity toyed with her legs.

    The escorts shared a proud smile. “Mild side-effects. Could’ve been worse for our little friend,” one said.

    The other nodded and wrote something down in his small notepad.

    Within seconds Měsíc’s world became black once again, eyes no longer functioning at all, even as she fought to keep them open. Everything weak, her legs finally gave way beneath her. Unconscious as she hit the ground.

    Wolf bei Vollmond,” a man’s voice echoed through flashed images of wolves and full moons. It was the only thing she had heard for hours. Like a broken record, the foreign phrase repeated itself. Over and over again. The voice possessed, what Měsíc guessed was a German accent. It sounded like the ones from the World War Two films Romulus made the watch when substituting for history.

    Wolf bei Vollmond,” the voice whispered again. “Wolf bei Vollmond.”

    Měsíc’s brown eyes fluttered open to the sight of blue ones. She gave a slight smile.

    She was back in her dormitory and the figure before her, Luna.

    “Hey.”

    Luna kneeled, levelling herself with Měsíc. She tilted her head, a frown spreading across her fair face. “Hey, how are you?”

    Měsíc tried to respond, but instead, screamed as the debilitating pain attacked her legs like a bolt of lightning. Tears assembled as the throbs only became worse and Luna’s frown grew, pulling Měsíc into a tight embrace.

    “It’s okay, it is okay. You’ll be okay.”

    “It hurts! It hurts!” Měsíc yelled into Luna’s shoulder as if an axe had taken her limbs. “Make it stop. Make it stop.”

    Her friend hushed her, placing a soft kiss on her temple. Měsíc shook, eyes drowning themselves. Her heartbeat quickened and she went to shout again, but instead the cry came out as a loud roar. Bizarre, Měsíc would expect it from a wild animal protecting its territory. Luna tumbled back from Měsíc, jaw on the floor.

    With a slight puff and shaky hands placed over her chest, the agony came to an abrupt cease and her tears stopped. Stammering, Měsíc blinked a few times.  “I don’t – I’m sorry. I don’t know – how.”

    Luna’s big eyes moved to her friend’s ankle. “Bloody hell.”

    Those words were enough to freak Měsíc out.

    What was Luna talking about? The roar? Why was she looking at her ankle?

    She grabbed Měsíc’s ankle and searched her left leg. Měsíc nibbled on her lip, hard enough that blood seeped from the corner of her mouth.

    “What time is it?” Luna squinted as the brunette caught the fresh salty scent. Měsíc watched the clock next to the bed of the absent Adolpha, one of the six roommates.

    4 PM. 4 PM was hardly ever a good time. Injuries would heal quickly, the senses of smell and hearing would intensify, the inmates became stronger, their teeth and nails would sharpen as well as curl. But the 4 PM dramas only happened after the Waning Gibbous phase of the moon, when it was complete and full.

    “It’s four,” Měsíc whispered as her lip wound vanished. She felt every little nerve, every little piece of tissue fix itself.

    “Your gashes are healed and gone. Your legs were covered in them,” Luna let go of the limb and collapsed onto the bed, next to Měsíc, footsteps moving down the corridor outside. “I wonder if the people outside the barriers have these issues, these mysteries.”

    “They don’t. That’s why we are here. We aren’t right, that’s why they keep us secluded from the rest of the world,” Měsíc wiped her cheeks.

    She wasn’t normal or anything natural, she had always known that. A good reason to follow the rules and never try to escape. She was there for a reason; she hardly dared to question what that reason could be. The truth might be worse than the camp.

    Some things were probably better left unknown.

    Ayla, Selena and Lupe entered the room and gazed at the two friends with curiosity spread all over their wide-open expressions from the conversation they probably overheard. Selena, who was a bit of a newbie, entered first, whispering to her friend Ayla. Ayla wasn’t mean, but she and Měsíc had never really hit it off. Lupe, the third and last was what Měsíc could only define as a bitch. Měsíc had always found her jet-black hair and otherworldly purple eyes off-putting; her striking colouring gave her a slightly sinister air. In another age, she’d be burnt at the stake as a witch.

    Luna plastered a smile, her voice high-pitched. “Hello, girls.”

    “Hey, are you two going to the party?” Selena asked with a small grin, walking over to them.

    “No, we are staying here,” Luna shook her head, giving Měsíc a quick glance. “We’ll give our algebra homework a go. Měsíc missed out on quite a bit. Though, I doubt our pre-moonlanding textbooks are going to help.”

    Lupe smirked at Luna and Měsíc could sense the mockery before words even left her. “Let’s face it Luna, it’s really because Hund asked Okami to go with him. You will never have a chance. He doesn’t like fairy princesses who showers in glitter. Move on before your sunshine sets.”

    Luna growled while Měsíc leapt onto her feet, arms crossing. “No, actually Luna – we are going,” her head shifted to Lupe. “Oh, and face it, my brother thinks you’re as attractive as a pig. Oh, wait – he said a pig was hotter.”

    Luna blinked a few times before breaking out in giggles.

    Lupe’s eyes could’ve turned Měsíc to stone, her smirk fading. She spun, loose curls whipping Měsíc’s face as she walked away. Ayla and Selena gave her a small grin, everyone knowing that Lupe had been trying to get Lobo’s attention since the first time she saw him.

    Luna stood, giving Měsíc’s shoulder a quick pat as she chortled. “Always an angel, Měsíc.”

    “You know it,” she snickered as Luna went over to her dresser. It didn’t take the blonde long to find a short, mostly faded blue sheath dress. One of the very few dresses Měsíc’s owned.

    Luna grinned, tossing it over before grabbing out her own party dress. Bright yellow and lacy. Two stains she hadn’t caused on the skirt.

    After getting dressed and an hour or two that Luna spent doing makeup (only natural colours allowed), the two friends walked over to the crowded lake. Pop music blasted out of several large speakers that circled around the water. In silence, they agreed not to discuss Měsíc’s injuries or the strange recovery any further; concentrating on enjoying themselves, putting aside the distress to bring whatever pleasure was available. The girls smiled, spotting a waving Lobo and Hund.

    “Should we reunite with them or pretend they don’t exist?” Luna chuckled.

    Měsíc gleamed. “Well, you have to make Hund jealous. I’ll go over to them while you look for a cute guy.”

    The blonde rolled her eyes. “He won’t get jealous. I’m just a fourth wheel.”

    “Fourth wheel, what the hell is that?”

    “It’s worse than the third wheel, I’m the silent extra.”

    “You are more than that. You’re the best person I know,” Měsíc shook her head, moving over. Luna played with her dog tags, having a moment of reluctance before following.

    “G’day sister,” Lobo grinned. “I didn’t think you would show up.”

    Měsíc gave Luna a short grin. “It is a once in a lifetime offer. The only other time us inmates are all together is when it’s time to eat.”

    “True,” Hund nodded, before shooting Luna a smile. “Cool dress. It suites you. Good to see you in something other than pink”

    “Thanks,” Luna’s cheeks turned bright red once again. Měsíc elbowed Luna as her grin widened. “I uh – thought I would – keep things fresh.”

    One of the sixteen-year-old girls rushed over to the group, wearing a sleeveless shirt that didn’t bother to hide her blemished collarbone.

    Hund beamed, wrapping an arm around her waist as he held her close. “Okami, I’ve been looking for you.”

    Luna’s blush came to an immediate death, watching the two. “Hey Okami,” she continued to fiddle. Měsíc could’ve sworn Luna’s eyes, for a moment turned green.

    “Hey everyone,” the girl smiled, taking a sip of her drink as her glance moved to Hund. “Hey handsome.”

    “Hello Okami,” Měsíc cleared her throat, recognising the number inked on her arm.

    #79878

    “I saw you on the way to the lab – are you okay?”

    Okami shrugged, a small sneer on her face. “I’ve been here since I was five. Secret is, don’t show them your fear.”

    “Can you teach me how do that?”

    “You don’t learn how to be badass.”

    “Badasses don’t say badass,” Lobo teased, Okami poking her tongue out in response.

    Hund grinned, kissing her cheek. “Sorry guys, I’m going to go show Okami the lake.”

    Lobo winked at Hund as he left with Okami, while Luna could only roll her eyes.

    “She said she’s been here since she was five, longer than he’s been here. She knows what the bloody lake looks like,” she grumbled.

    The boy left raised a brow. “I don’t think he really meant the lake. I think that was just a – huh – simile.”

    “Breathe,” Měsíc mouthed. The blonde nodded, taking two deep breaths with a short snicker.

    No one talked for a while, awkwardness sinking in and eventually, Měsíc went to grab a few drinks. The drinks were being served at a small stall, several metres away from the people dancing. It was being managed by one of the female chefs from the cafeteria. Měsíc was pretty sure her name was Amber or something similar, having always thought she had a kind face. She was one of those people who you couldn’t exactly label with an age – she had grey hair but could have been anything from thirty to sixty. She sometimes smiled, a strong contrast to the dour expressions of most of the other staff. Měsíc had never really spoken to her, but now was as good a time as any to test if she really was as friendly as her face suggested.

    Měsíc smiled, trying to be polite. “Three cokes, please.”

    The chef got out the cans and handed them to her, not saying a single word.

    “Thanks,” Mesic nodded, still glaring at the worker. “Why are we having this party? Is there something special about today?”

    The lady leaned in like she was going to whisper the answer. She gestured for Měsíc to move in closer and with a minor glower, she did. When she was close enough the woman smiled. “That’s none of your business,” was the harsh reply Měsíc received.

    Měsíc took two steps back, but she wasn’t overly shocked – there was no point in asking that question. She should have known that she was going to get a response like that. The staff never told them anything and they definitely weren’t going to say why they planned a party on the full moon (when things were stranger than normal).

    But it did make her head think.

    She left the chef and strolled back to her brother, Luna replaced by Selena. The two teens only an inch away from each other. Catching Měsíc’s glance, ‘the redhead’ dashed off.

    Měsíc smirked, but didn’t question it as she stood next to Lobo. “What happened to Luna?”

    Lobo pointed over to where the music was coming from, a large group of teenagers dancing in front of the DJ Booth and Luna wedged between two boys, moving her hips to the upbeat song.

    “She is the outgoing one.”

    “Told ya,” Měsíc laughed, watching her friend for a second before giving her brother his drink.

    “How was the lab?”

    “Just the usual,” Měsíc mumbled. “Passed out, woke up in the cabin, screaming.”

    Lobo sniffed, hesitating before he replied. “I promise as your brother; I’ll get us out of this one day and we’ll travel the world. Tokyo, New York, Great Barrier Reef, Athens, pyramids.”

    Měsíc chuckled. “I want to visit Oxford.”

    “Why?”

    “Oxford? I don’t know, something about it just seems right.”

    “Okie dokie.”

    “It’s getting darker,” she shifted topics, more teenagers exiting from buildings to join the party.

    Her brother nodded as he opened his can. “Yep, the moon is starting to show.”

    Měsíc searched the sky for a few seconds till she spotted it, whole and only just visible as clouds gathered. She pouted, memorising the strange words in her dream.

    “Wolf bei Vollmond,” Měsíc muttered to herself, still confused.

    Lobo glowered as if she had struck a nerve. “What?”

    “Nothing – I just had a weird dream last night. Do you ever have really weird dreams?”

    “Honestly, yes.”

    She had never asked anyone about dreams (not even Luna), hers regularly involving death or some level of injury.

    “I had a dream last night that I was butt-naked in the cafeteria.”

    She rolled her eyes. “No, not dreams like that. Dreams that – I don’t know.”

    Lobo sighed. “The other night I had a dream that we were two little kids sitting in the back of a car, coming back from somewhere fun – I think. There were two adults in the front, our parents probably – they were laughing and I felt – I don’t know – Happy and safe, I guess. I was reading out the signs as we passed them on the road – I am pretty sure one of them was pointing – directing us to Newcastle.”

    “What about beasts?”

    “Once or twice. Usually, I’m fighting them.”

    She shook her head.

    What did these weird dreams mean?

    They didn’t even feel like dreams. More like another life. “Do you often hear words from a different language?”

    He nodded. “Yes – All the time. You do too?”

    She took a sip of her before she replied but as soon as she swallowed, something felt wrong. It started with a stinging force in her hands and feet, then moved through her limbs and into her torso. Even her face was itching. The sensation became excruciating very quickly. From what she could see, other kids were undergoing something similar, some of them yelling out in pain and shock, staring at their own hands with wide-eyed horror. The music came to a premature close as the DJ left his booth and joined the kitchen staff, waltzing away from the lake. They were immediately replaced by armed soldiers.

    Nothing like this had ever happened before. Měsíc had never suffered this amount of pain and she held her head, the words ‘wolf bei vollmond’ echoing around her. Měsíc attempted to look for the speaker but it was just screams that were being produced.

    Lobo refused to join the others in panic. He grabbed his sister and easily threw her over his shoulder, snubbing any bit of agony. Měsíc and Lobo were of similar build, and he would normally stagger under her weight, but whatever was affecting him, gave a boost of adrenaline he needed to carry her as far as the foot of the stairs, leading into the boys’ cabin before succumbing to the pain and collapsing. He wailed at the despair he could no longer overlook.

    Měsíc held back her screams as she curled up on the ground. People were tearing off their clothes as their fingernails turned into claws. Roars coming from everyone. Teeth became fangs and eyes turned to vivid gold as dark fur sprouted over their bodies like an illness.

    Every bone in Měsíc’s body felt like it was breaking as she grew taller, bigger and somehow monstrous. Beyond the discomfort, Měsíc was horrified, her body transformed into an extra-terrestrial shape. She turned to her brother, except he was no longer the Lobo she knew. Instead of her twin, she was staring into the face of some human-wolf hybrid.

    A werewolf.

    Měsíc tried to squeal, but it came out as an animalistic growl. She slapped a hand on her mouth, accidentally cutting herself with her claws. Měsíc froze as she tasted the blood on her lips once more. The coppery flavour, strangely enough, pleasant on her tongue. Her mind told her she should be disgusted; but her instincts told her it was natural and nutritious. The warring natures left her grounded, panicking just like she was in her dream. She had been petrified, the beast hunting her in the forest; only this time she was definitely awake.

    Everything was real. She could actually die.

    The cut on her lip sealed itself with a tingling sensation. Her whole body stretched and calibrated and with closed eyes, she surrendered to the transformation. Thick fur continued to push out of her skin till it was across every inch of her skin. Muscular and standing seven feet tall, the last shreds of fabric fell off and her vision narrowed. Colours disappeared, replaced with a new sharpness and depth. A sense of power raced through her, swapping pain with hunger, a consuming need of fresh meat and pouring blood, more vital than air. She had never wanted anything so badly.

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Critique Central is a forum where you can submit a piece of your work to get advice on. Fill out the form to see what others think of your writing!

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