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?

My Weekly Special - - Contents - By Amanda Brit­tany

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.

Loveyou,James.X

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.

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