Your Day Breaks, Your Mind Aches

By Craig J. Clark

You tumble out of bed feeling grubby, as you do every morning when there has been a full moon the night before. You jump in the shower and wash off the dried blood that remains on your hands and face and the mud that is caked on your feet. It must have rained overnight, but you have no memory of it. If you had known about it in advance, you would have thought to put down newspapers.

Feeling fully human once again, you flip on the TV to find out if your nocturnal activities were newsworthy enough to make the morning show. Animal attacks have become so frequent of late that the local news hardly ever mentions them anymore unless the victim is human. While you wait for the news segment at the top of the hour, you get to work scrubbing the muddy paw prints out of the living room rug. Such a bother and an easily preventable one at that.

You've learned not to worry about breakfast on mornings like this. In fact, you hardly need to eat anything at all during the day when the moon is full. That sure saves on grocery bills, but you still feel bad about the cost to farmers whose livestock are ravaged or the emotional toll on families whose beloved dogs and cats disappear, never to be seen again.

Having finished in the living room, you turn your attention to the bedroom, where the paw prints are more concentrated, but at there's a darker rug in there. There's also the matter of the sheets and bedding, which need to be washed, and the room to be aired out. You look around to make sure you didn't bring some half-eaten thing home with you, as you have been known to do in the past. You remember all too well the dead raccoon that had raised such a stink until you found it stashed under the bed. You also remember worrying about whether you had caught rabies from it. Ah, to be young and naïve again.

Once the bedroom carpet has been cleaned to your satisfaction and the soiled bedding safely ensconced in the washing machine, you give the TV a brief glance on your way to the front door to pick up the morning paper. As soon as you put your hand on the doorknob, though, you remember something that always seems to slip your mind and dash back to the kitchen for a wet paper towel. Sure enough, the telltale bloodstains are there on the outer doorknob, but at least there is no trail leading up to your front door. (The rain is good for some things, it seems.) As you wipe away the blood, you make a mental note to check the front door first next time. There's no telling who might show up at your door first thing in the morning.

Retrieving the morning paper from the bushes, where it has been so carelessly tossed, you go back inside, disposing of the bloody paper towel in the kitchen garbage can. As you sit down at the table and open the paper, though, you hear a change in tone from the morning show hosts, so you return to the living room to see what the commotion is about.

"...what we have just been informed is stunning footage of a wild animal that was seen roaming the streets during last night's rainstorm," says the perky blond co-host.

"Heh, talk about your wet dog smell," jokes her male counterpart.

"I believe we're talking about something a little larger than that here, Chuck. This footage, incidentally, was shot by a high school student who wishes to remain anonymous because he doesn't want to get in trouble for staying up late on a school night."

"Certainly makes you wonder what he was doing up so late, Paula."

"It sure does, Chuck. And I'm told we're ready to roll that tape, so--"

You mute the TV, not wishing to hear any more of their inane babble. After a moment the picture changes to shaky video camera footage that was shot out a second-story window looking over someone's backyard. At first the image is so dark and murky that it's hard to make anything out, but when the camera zooms in you can clearly see a large shape moving on the wet grass. Then it must have set off a motion detector because suddenly it's illuminated by bright halogen lights.

While it's momentarily startled, you get a good look at it. This is no ordinary wild animal. It walks on two legs, is covered from head to foot in thick, brown fur (which is wet from the rain -- you can only imagine what Chuck is saying about it, if indeed he's capable of speech), has long, pointy ears and -- when it looks up at the camera and bares its teeth -- you see its piercing yellow eyes and the nastiest-looking set of fangs ever seen on man or beast. The picture then freezes, allowing you -- and presumably anybody watching at that hour -- to study the creature's face.

"Ah," you say, "so that's what I look like."

The phone rings. Ignoring it, you return to the kitchen, making a beeline for the cabinet where you keep the aspirin. It hasn't arrived yet, but you can sense a headache coming on. You expect it will be the first of many.


| Leave a comment

You are either a werewolf... or Amy Winehouse! ZING!

So far all of these stories end with a hint of despair and hopelessness, which is an interesting take on the horror/Halloween theme. In the world of entertainment, fear seems to be presented as shock and gore more often than not, so it's nice to approach it from what I feel is a scarier angle.

Too much red meat will give anybody a headache! How about becoming the first werewolf vegan?

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This page contains a single entry by Craig J. Clark published on October 9, 2008 2:22 PM.

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