KELLY’S SECRET BY AMANDA BRITTANY
The full moon was having a strange effect on Kelly, but after the emotional roller-coaster she’d been on, was it any wonder?
It’s quite common to not feel yourself when the moon is full, Kelly,” said my flatmate Clare, when I explained my sudden change of personality. “I read it on the internet.”
“Yes but I feel so angry at the moment, Clare, as though I could rip James’s head off.”
“Probably best you don’t do that,” she said with a laugh. “But it’s not really surprising you feel a little bit cross.”
I growled and clenched my fists. “Cross doesn’t even begin to cover it. He won’t even answer my calls or my texts. We were together for six years. I thought he loved me.”
“Give him time, sweetie,” she said, barely meeting my eye.
A few days later when the moon dispersed, and the sky was plunged into darkness once more, my mood shifted from intense anger to dreadful sadness that the only man I’d ever loved had broken off our engagement.
A lunar month later the moon was full again.
This time things got weird. My eyes shone like blue glass, and hair began growing out of the back of my hand.
“Clare,” I yelled, and she came running into the bathroom.
“Oh my goodness, that does look a bit strange,” she said, quickly rummaging for the tweezers.
I winced as she tugged the hairs from my skin.
“Oh God, what if I’m turning into a werewolf, Clare?”
She laughed – a kind of pitying laugh. “Don’t be silly, Kelly,” she said. “Werewolves aren’t young women with gorgeous long hair.”
“Oh, for goodness’ sake, Clare.” I was suddenly overcome with anger. “I know for a fact werewolves spend most of the month looking perfectly normal.”
“Except,” she said, rolling her heavily made up eyes, and tugging out a coiled grey hair. “There’s no such thing as werewolves, is there?”
Afew days later I headed for the library to find out more about werewolves, hoping to put my mind at rest. I grabbed a book and headed for a table, where I scanned the pages. I learnt that werewolves were also known as lycanthrope. But Clare was right; they were merely myth and folklore. “You’re interested in werewolves?” I turned to see a tall, muscular man, in his mid-thirties, with dark hair falling to his shoulders.
“Werewolves,” he repeated. “Do you find them fascinating?” “Oh. No. Not really.” I shut the book firmly and stood up, but he held out his hand to shake mine. “I’m Shane.” “Right,” I said, taking his hand because I couldn’t think what else to do. “Well, Shane, I’m a bit late for work. I should head off.”
I left him standing by the table, flicking through the book I’d been reading, and wondered why he’d approached me.
The following full moon, my feet sprouted hair. It looked awful, and despite shaving it off, it grew back twice as thick. I didn’t show Clare. I didn’t show anyone. In fact, I rang in sick for work, and refused to venture out of my bedroom for the whole time the moon was high.
When the orange mass made way for a velvet black sky and a prickle of stars, my feet looked silky smooth once more.
It was a few days later I saw Shane again. He was sitting on the wall outside my apartment as I left for work. “Hello,” he said as I past. I nodded absently in his direction but kept walking.
“I’m Shane,” he called. “I saw you in the library.”
“Yes,” I said, quickening my pace, as he followed. “You were interested in werewolves.” “Sorry, but I’m late for work.” “I recognised the look,” Shane said. “The way your eyes shone.”
I stopped. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “You’re a lycanthrope.” I felt nervous. Was he a hunter? Was he about to stab a silver stake in my heart? Or was that how they killed vampires?
“Cross doesn’t even begin to cover it. He won’t even answer my calls”
“Ridiculous,” I said. “Just because a woman gets a little bit of hair growing on her feet during a full moon.” “You’re that far advanced?” I glanced around me. The street was quiet. I considered running, but suspected he could run faster, and maybe leap a few buildings too.
“Are you going to kill me?” I said, my heart thumping.
He narrowed his eyes. “Now, why would I do that?”
“Because I might go on a killing spree during a full moon?” It sounded ludicrous. He reached inside his coat. “Oh God, please don’t kill me.” He pulled out a card, and held it out towards me.
“Werewolves United,” I read. “We meet every Thursday. I wondered if you would like to join.” He smiled, and suddenly looked friendlier, dimples forming in his unshaven cheeks. “We’re always glad of new members, there’s not many of us about these days. Not since the slaying of 1765.” “The slaying of 1765?” “Yes, not many people know about it.” He paused. “We can help you control your angry urges with vitamins and mineral supplements.”
I looked about me once more. Was I really having this conversation?
“Come along next Thursday. We can give you a starter pack.”
With that he turned and raced down a side alley, leaving me standing alone, holding his card.
Hello,” I called, the following Thursday, as I entered what I thought was a disused barn on the outskirts of town. I could just make out the sound of people chattering somewhere in the distance.
I realised it was coming from behind a heavy door, so I knocked and opened it. A dozen people sat round a table. They all looked to where I was standing and smiled.
“I need space,” he’d said, but I knew he’d met someone else
“Hi, I’m Kelly,” I said. “Kelly.” It was Shane, pouring hot water into mugs. “I’m glad you could make it.” He beckoned for me to sit.
The group was compiled of people of all ages, male and female. They all talked a bit about when they’d found out they were werewolves and how it had affected their lives.
Finally, it was my turn. I had no idea what to say.
“Well,” I began. “I’m thirty, and I’ve only shown signs of being a werewolf very recently.”
“Ah, yes, although all werewolves have the DNA when they are born,” Shane said. “It doesn’t always show itself immediately. It’s heredity, so one of your ancestors must have been a werewolf, Kelly.”
I thought back to Great Grandad Jacob with all the whiskers. Gran often said she’d moved around a lot when she was a child. And then there was my mum. She often bleached her moustache. “So why now?” I asked. “Sometimes the werewolf in us lays dormant for many years, and a twist of fate – something that causes strong emotion – will release the wolf inside.”
I thought about James leaving me weeks before our wedding, his final words echoing in my head.
“I need space,” he’d said, but I knew deep down he’d met someone else. I just hadn’t wanted to accept it.
“My anger and confusion woke the wolf ?” I said, and everyone nodded.
The werewolves were a lovely bunch. They gave me tea, biscuits, and a starter pack. I went to a couple more sessions after that, and enjoyed getting to know Shane. In fact he took me out to dinner.
The night of the next full moon, I stared from my apartment window, waiting for Clare to come out of the bathroom. She had a hot date, and was showering and getting dolled up.
“Don’t be long, Clare,” I called, knowing I needed to take my vitamins and minerals at the first sign of the full moon. She didn’t reply.
Suddenly her phone pinged with an incoming message. I don’t know what made me check it. I wouldn’t normally.
Changeof plan,sweetheart–I’ll meetyouatthewinebar.Andwe’ve gottodiscusstellingKellyif wewantto getmarried.
I dropped the phone, my heart pounding, tears burning my eyes.
I could just make out my reflection in the window. The full moon was high in the night sky.
Hair grew quickly on my face and my clothes ripped as my body expanded. Pain shot through my body as my teeth grew and ears shot through my skull.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh,” I cried out, dropping to my knees in agony.
“Are you OK, Kelly?” Clare called. “I hope you’re not turning into a werewolf,” she added with a sarcastic giggle that faded when she opened the door.