New Account Registration re-enabled - apparently the extension we use for ReCaptcha service had a configuration change and to utilize the more secure form it needed different parameters. We did not notice this when it occurred. Sorry folks!
Curtis arrived at his new house, trying to juggle his four suitcases. As he walked up the garden path, he was greeted by the sight of his grinning girlfriend, Sarah. She flung open the front door as soon as she saw Curtis arrive, and rushed towards him with her arms outstretched.
"I've missed you so much. How are you? Do you like the digs I've found? Let me help you with the cases. How was your journey?" gabbled Sarah like an excited child, between a barrage of kisses.
"I've missed you too." replied Curtis softly. He leaned forward to kiss Sarah on the forehead, but she had already darted off into the house before they had connected.
"Do you want some grub? I'm making some sandwiches." called Sarah.
"Okay!" shouted Curtis as he wandered around. Inside, the house was pleasantly decorated, if a little old-fashioned. Up the creaking stairs were the two bedrooms.
"Who's got the other bedroom?" called Curtis.
"What do you mean? There's one for you and one for me." came the reply. Curtis' heart sank. So she still wasn't ready for sharing a bed. Still, he had all term to change her mind.
"Here are your sarnies. I had to use that old envelope opener of yours to cut them." Curtis face stiffened. "Don't use that for food. It's a family heirloom." he snapped.
"I'm sorry." she replied quietly. Curtis suddenly felt very guilty as he looked at the sheepish figure standing at the foot of the stairs, plate of sandwiches in hand.
"No, I'm sorry. Actually that knife gives me the creeps, but Granny insisted that I take it. She said it had saved my grandfather's honour once. I don't know what she means, but I've kept it all the same." said Curtis, as he brushed back Sarah's hair from across her face and then pressed her nose like a button to substitute as a punishment.
"It's time we made a move. We've got history in twenty minutes." said Sarah.
"You go, I'll be along in a minute." replied Curtis "I've still got to unpack."
"Okay, see you later. Don't be late." and Sarah scurried out the door. Curtis wandered back to his bedroom to finish his sandwiches. He wasn't bothered about punctuality - only fun. Just before he eventually left for his lesson, he dashed into the bathroom to draw a heart on the mirror in toothpaste, hoping that Sarah would see it when she got back.
After their lesson, Curtis joined Sarah in the corridor.
"What do you fancy doing tonight?" asked Sarah.
"I don't think I will. I've still got a lot of unpacking to do, and I'm a bit tired."
"Would you mind if I went with the girls to the Union then? Only there's a new band playing tonight. And they're meant to be very good"
"No you go, I'll be fine." replied Curtis.
That night, the house felt very empty once Sarah had left. Curtis settled down on his bed and shut his eyes, trying to blot out the rays of the full moon streaming through the curtain-less window.
Blade tried to open the latches of the window, but his claws couldn't work the fiddly mechanism. Howling in anger, he pounded on the glass. Finally Blade leapt at the window. The double glazing shattered, and the beast was off into the night.
It wasn't long before it had caught its first quarry. It had been too easy - food normally put up more of a fight than this. His claws could rip his prey to shreds in a flash. This small piece of meat was swallowed in one gulp. Easy kills were no challenge, and Blade was still hungry.
Blade sat resting on his hind legs, and began to lick his fur. It had to be clean and shiny, otherwise he would be troubled with those fleas again - biting him while he was asleep.
"Where am I? " thought Curtis.
Blade didn't answer, but continued cleaning his coat.
"What am I doing? I must get back home."
Blade's head sprang up. Someone was coming. He sniffed the air, but couldn't tell who it was.
"Who's there? " called a disembodied voice.
Blade snarled. He felt threatened. What should he do? To run was weak. He must fight.
"It's Dave the security guard. I can smell his peanut sandwiches. " thought Curtis. "If only he would pass on."
"Is anyone hurt? Can I help? " called the kindly old man, as he flashed the beam of his torch about the bushes. Suddenly the guards torch shone on Blade, blinding him. Blade roared in anger, and leapt at the terrified guard.
"No! " shouted Curtis, but he was too weak - and Blade was too strong. Curtis knew there was nothing he could do.
"TAYSTEEEEEE!" growled Blade, as he picked pieces of chewed flesh out of his front teeth with his foreclaw. With a final howl, Blade stood up and ran into the night - looking for more prey.
Next morning, Curtis managed to sneak back to his house without being seen. It was early, and most people were still in bed. He hadn't a key for the front door, so he darted around the back and climbed up the drainpipe to his open window. Broken glass lay everywhere, cutting Curtis' hands and feet.
"How am I going explain this, let alone pay for it! " groaned Curtis to himself. What few articles of furniture he had were broken to pieces; the window was smashed and blood and mud littered the floor.
"Oh my God, suppose Sarah sees this!" thought Curtis. He frantically began to tidy up, cramming the remains of his possessions into some black bags for the dustman to take. It was almost dawn, and Sarah would be awake soon.
"I must get rid of Blade. If this goes on someone will get killed!"
Then Curtis remembered the old security guard, and he sank to his knees. He was responsible. He began to cry. His tears turned the caked dirt on his face back into the red blood and mud it had been last night.
Curtis left before Sarah awoke. He was sombre all day. He said nothing to anyone, least of all Sarah. He couldn't even look her in the eye. Fortunately today he had no actual lessons with her, and he managed to avoid her. Curtis hoped she hadn't noticed, but was almost certain she had.
Late that afternoon, he returned to the house on his own. All day he had agonised over what he should do, and his lessons passed in a blur. In the last lecture of the day he had finally faced the inevitable. He had to protect others from Blade. Most of all, he had to protect Sarah. He returned to the house alone, and searched for the silver knife. Now he knew why his grandmother had given it to him.
When he had found it, he hurried to his empty room. Curtis settled upon the floor, and reached across for a pad of paper and a pen. Resting it on his knee, he began to write. As he did, his eyes filled with old pain.
- Dearest Sarah,
- I don't know how to explain this to you or anyone, but I'll try. You must believe my words and my motives - and of my love for you.
- You know I've never liked to talk about my childhood. I told you that my parents divorced when I was only nine. What I didn't tell you was that my father moved away, and my Mum had to work nights to afford the items that weren't covered by the maintenance payments. My little brother was only three, and I had had to look after him. Many nights I was left dealing with his bed-wetting, and had to cuddle him when he threw a tantrum. Even after being repeatedly bullied myself at school, no one ever hugged me.
- I can't remember exactly when it first happened. There used to be a stretch of woodlands that backed onto my garden. I loved playing in the woods, exploring the nooks and crannies. It was my own little world - an escape from my real life. I wanted to live there permanently - to be one with the wilderness. At first this appeared to be no more than youthful exuberance.
- On sunny days when no one was at home, I would creep out into the woods. I would instinctively run to the dark thicket at the far end, away from the houses. I felt so happy there, just playing by myself. After a while I would sit on the ground and just look up at the trees and the sky beyond. At first I felt relaxed and happy, but then the urge began to grow. I felt the need to do something - but what? On some occasions, the urge would be very strong - more sexual. I would strip off my clothes and roll around on the ground. I would be covered from head to toe in leaf mulch and dirt - but I didn't care. I had a shower when I got home, and no-one ever knew.
- One day, when I was about thirteen, I went to the woods and something very strange happened. I changed. It was special, exciting. I seemed to hunch and grow. I had burst free from my humanity, and could roam free!
- I awoke the next morning, naked and filthy, but contented. I sneaked home when no one was there, and got in using the spare key hidden under the mat. I was excited at the time. I prided myself with the idea that no one else at school could change into a werewolf!
- This happened once a month for the next three years, and then several times a month after that. I could always feel it starting. The pulsing in my arm, the twitching muscles in my legs, the prickling on the back of my neck, the sharpness of my teeth. I can recall the image even now. I'm in bed, and the lights are off. I look down at my hands. In the moonlight I can see my nails beginning to grow, but then I remember nothing more until morning. When I awake, my room is a mess, the sheets are all in a pile on the floor and my pyjamas are torn to shreds. Thankfully my mother was always at work when it happened. What would she have thought?
- That was just the start, now it's turned evil. Now it's awful! Last term they bulldozed down the woods and built a housing estate. That has made the dark power all the more suppressed, more potent, more sickening, more depraved, and more frequent. I can contain it no longer. Last night I killed someone. I no longer deserve to live.
Goodbye Sarah. I hope you can forgive me.
- No matter what, I will always love you.
As he finished, his tears dropped onto the paper, smudging his name.
"Best thing really" thought Curtis. "It would have been better if my whole life could be simply erased."
He put down the paper, and picked up his Grandfather's knife. Just as he held it up to his heart, he began to waver as a million doubts flashed through his tortured mind.
"I don't want to die! What about Sarah? She'll be the one to find me! What's Mum going to think? Whose going to nag my kid brother to do his homework? This can't be the answer. Surely there's another way to stop Blade? There must be! "
Curtis arm began to go limp, and the knife dropped to the floor.
"I will go to the Police, and confess. At least in a secure mental hospital I will be safely locked away. "
Just then, Curtis heard the front door open.
"Are you there dear?"
It was Sarah.
"I'm so glad to be home. I've had an awful time. Where have you been all day? I've been trying to find you."
Curtis began to sob. Just moments earlier he was about to leave Sarah forever - now he had to face her.
"Did you hear about poor old Dave, the security guard?" called Sarah. "I'm scared. Some evil sicko cut him up. And what's more, I heard a window smash down our road last night - and something was outside my window. There's a huge paw print in the garden. I was terrified - I called to you but you didn't reply."
There was a pause.
"Are you there Curtis?"
Curtis desperately wanted to reply, to run downstairs and sweep Sarah up in his arms and tell her everything was going to be all right, but the sun was setting. Curtis was becoming hungry, and Blade was growing stronger. Curtis looked at his hands - fur was sprouting out of the skin. A change was coming!
"Are you in the bathroom Curtis?" called Sarah, and Curtis heard the stairs creek.
There was no time to think. Seizing the knife Curtis thrust the sharp salvation into his heart. The pain soared and then fell away. He could feel Blade scream as he screamed "It's Over!"
Curtis fell to the ground, and the knife clattered onto the floor.