The Hound’s Fifth


I am a werewolf. I don’t know how it happened. I used to think that it took a bite or infection, like the old stories, but that’s not what happened to me. Somehow, the Moon began to live in my dreams, then my waking thoughts. Luna, the night mother came to me and made me what I am. It didn’t happen all at once, just slowly came to dominate my mind. Once a month, my sanity flees and I fly into an uncontrollable rage. Maybe I change into something else entirely, I can’t tell. The images I see are all fleeting and fragmented, distorted into impressions that my sane mind won’t face.

When I allow my mind to wander, it’s always there, waiting for me. It’s not the faces, though they’re there, too. It’s the Fear that I sense in all of them that grips me. That Horror feeds a growing part of me that craves more, much more. I come to my senses a moment later, but still there is some part of me, buried in the darkest dungeon I can contrive, that gleefully rages against those bonds.

It is a Gift! A treasure! I awoke renewed and vitalized this time. Naked and cold, yes, but so Alive. My mind is free of torment for the first time in ages. I can’t write anymore, I must expend this energy before it consumes me.

I’m beginning to understand the animal, I think. My mania was driven by the murderous rapture of the monster within me. How can I compose my thoughts here like any other, then devolve into this abomination that has no compassion, no reason? Am I just a memory in that beast’s mind? A miserly conscience that he pushes to the deepest recesses of his thoughts? Am I the mad man who haunts his visions with guilt and grief? What does he feel when he loses control and I escape the prison he has constructed around me? I don’t know. Even as I examine them, those feelings fade away.

I can’t allow the wolf to fill my mind with this gallery of victims. Their Fear permeates me now, and I see those shadowy faces in everyone I meet. A store clerk shrieked at me until I shook my head and realized that she only looked like one of the faces. Before I could stop myself, I howled at her and ran out of the store. As I hunched over the lock on my car, a growl grew deeper and louder in my gut. It felt like I was dreaming. The wolf was there, struggling with me. A person walked under a nearby streetlamp, I couldn’t tell what it was, just prey. Then it was a woman. I felt her heart beating in fear for a moment until I realized it was my own chest that pounded in terror. I came to my senses and was astonished that I hadn’t lept at her. I had barely turned on my heel.

I no longer feel that instant of exuberance when I change back from the wolf. In a strange way, I miss that moment of release, and envy the monster his lack of conscience. He is not burdened with the memories I carry for both of us. He lives in a realm of pure instinct, with no friends to care about or weep for. Maybe he senses in some primitive way that the whole world is against him and will hunt him until he is destroyed.

Last night, I denied him entirely. We struggled under the blue light of the moon for hours. I stripped the bark from a dozen trees in my frenzy. I had chosen this copse for its remoteness, there was no one to hear me murder this beast within me. Maybe it was his frenzy, we fought to the brink of unconsciousness several times. We contested each heartbeat and movement. I staggered and lurched about the forest for hours. Finally, I fell into a stupor that neither of us could rise from. I awoke to a dazzling morning sun. The pain was a welcome relief from the cold echoes of the previous night. Maybe I won, I can’t tell. I have no feelings of rage, but a strange calm that I don’t trust. I have no sense of triumph. I should revel in my freedom, if I’m truly free. The darkness I vanquished should be filled with light, not this emptiness that I feel now. The epiphany I deserve fell with my enemy.

It’s been months since I took up this journal. I thought I had vanquished the monster so completely that it took me some time to find where I had hidden the book. All my fear and doubt disappeared when I met her. She filled that space in me so completely that I couldn’t imagine sharing any corner of it with the wolf. That only lasted as long as our happiness, though. That old fear started stalking me again two moons ago. We fought until the moonrise, when I stormed out of our house. Nature comforted her, so we lived in a remote area. I ran deep into those woods blinded by rage. The monster, so long suppressed, came at me with a cunning and strength that nearly overwhelmed me. I dragged myself back to our house just before morning. Now that the full moon is here again, I fear for her safety and my sanity. I’m trapped here, unwilling to abandon the only happiness I’ve known, but unable to protect her. I’ll go back to the woods tonight, and confront the monster again. I have defeated him before, and now I’m protecting more than just my own self. Tomorrow, when it’s finished, I will either be her savior or we will both be victims of the wolf.

Doctor’s Note: Inmate admitted this day, unresponsive. Diagnosis pending

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