Chapter 1 : I
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A full moon is rising tonight. I hide in the shadows of my "special" room, little more than a dirt floored cellar with stone walls, windowless. The fear is rampaging through my body like liquid fire. It's the fear that keeps me down here.
Some kids are afraid of boogey monsters, some are afraid of the dark, some are afraid of their parents.
I’m afraid of myself.
My breath comes in misty shots; it's really cold tonight, and I wish I could be upstairs with my mum and dad, in front of the fire. But I have to stay here in the dark, unless...it happens...
My eyes are beginning to feel tired and heavy, but I know I can't sleep. If I fall asleep, I may wake up with blood on my hands and flesh in my teeth, with the house and myself and everyone torn apart, in ruins. Down here I may not change at all. If I do, somehow, I'll only have myself to destroy, and maybe the staircase. It's been rebuilt before.
Minutes creep by like eons. I look at my watch; it cheerily glows 7:56.
It is then that I notice the slim, ethereal white stripe across my wrist like a ghostly bracelet. At first, I don't really register what it is, but then my mind screams in alarm with bitter realization. It's moonlight, filtering in through a miniscule crack in the masonry above.
My eyes are helplessly fixed on the beam, no matter how hard I will myself to look away. The familiar feelings of dread, then panic, then anger bubble up inside as I feel the stripe beginning to burn and tingle. The disease is taking over; the monster is waking up.
The burning becomes more intense, my teeth grind. "No," I weakly hiss, but I am quickly becoming separated from myself, pried out of the way by the vicious, lustful desire of the beast. The desire is for flesh. Pulsing, bleeding, oozing hot flesh, how it tries to run and twitch --
"NO!" I scream to no one, to silence and darkness. I hate this , I hate this...
Fur is sprouting all over my face, my teeth are growing. It always hurts so much...I cry out in pain and frustration, but it sounds less and less human by the second. My mouth fills with blood as the gums are torn by shifting, lengthening teeth; I claw at my face with hardening nails. Thick tears get absorbed into the fur before they touch my fingers.
"No, no, noooorrrrggghhhh..." Speech leaves me at last. I choke on my own saliva.
Inside my mind, my own voice is becoming weaker and weaker, screaming, getting distant, being pushed steadily aside. There is no way to fight myself. I always lose the battle.
I feel now as though I am sitting inside a machine as the last of the details take shape on the monster's body. This machine has no controls, no door to get out of. It doesn't listen and it doesn't stop.
The machine roars and howls in fury, slicing the silence like a sword. I can do little more than watch through its eyes as it throws a sinewy fist at a wall, tries to uproot the staircase, gouges itself with its claws in frustration. Blood spills to the floor unnoticed by its one-track mind. It feels no pain. It only feels the hunger tearing through its stomach…
“Yeah…c’mon now. Oh, you’ve got some bad scratches.”
She covered her son’s body with a blanket and picked up shredded bits of clothing. Congealed splashes and smears of blood stood out darkly on the floor and walls. Half the staircase was splintered. Guilt choked up Remus’s throat and tears came to his eyes.
“Oh now, don’t cry Remmy, it’s not your fault dear. We know it’s not.”
Remus couldn’t eat the warm maple oatmeal set before him, even though it was his favorite. There was the all too familiar sickness creeping round his stomach, pulling roughly at his insides.
“Eat, dear, you need it.”
He picked at his bandages instead. The “scratches” were more like gaping gashes, garish crimson claw marks that criss-crossed his pale skin. Dark, old scars from similar wounds made strange patterns on his forearms, chest, legs…anywhere there was skin there were dark purplish lines. Except, somehow, his face. It had gotten away without much more than a few scrapes.
The oatmeal remained untouched. His mother ate it herself hurriedly, watching her son stare out the kitchen window with a far away look in his light brown eyes. Only eleven and already so old, she thought. There was a streak of gray developing at his left temple, the right beginning to follow suit. Dark circles hung under his eyes. As far as she knew, he hadn’t had a proper sleep in several weeks.
A distant flutter of snowy feathers caught his sharp eyes, and for the first time in a long time his hardened heart felt the warmth of happiness.
"Zephyr's here with the mail, mum," he said lowly, opening the kitchen window with anticipation. The beautiful, huge white owl glided in silent as a ghost, dropping a single yellowish envelope into his lap. It was addressed in emerald ink, sealed with purple wax, imprinted into it the ever famous coat of arms bearing the serpent, the lion, the raven and the badger.
"What's that you got there?"
"I've been accepted to Hogwarts."
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