Ill Met By Moonlight
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)
This contribution is part of a series:-
1. Baying At The Moon (11-Jun-2010)
2. Dark Of The Moon (3-Sep-2010)
| ||A full moon night, a boy, a monster...and a lynch mob on the loose.|
3. Ill Met By Moonlight (11-Oct-2010)
| ||When the moon calls, fighting the monster within is futile, and can be lethal...to yourself.|
4. Hunter's Moon (31-Oct-2010)
| ||Some monsters are much, much worse than others who stalk the night and merely want to kill you.This is part 3 of the series of stories which began with Baying At The Moon and continued with Dark Of The Moon.|
5. The Darkness Before The Dawn (25-May-2011)
| ||The Woman and the Boy face danger from a different source, one which may be the most lethal of all.|
6. Descent Into The Dark (14-Jul-2011)
| ||The Boy, alone in the streets of the town, gets into trouble. This is Part Five of the Werewolf Series.|
| ||In a desperate attempt to halt the Change that the full moon brings upon them, the Woman and the Boy climb down into the bowels of the earth, and into a greater danger. This is Part 6 of the Werewolf Series.|
"Tell me how you started."
She turns from the dishes in the sink, to where the boy
leans on the refrigerator, watching her through the screen of hair falling over
his forehead. She smiles slightly, shrugging, pulling off the rubber gloves.
"Why do you want to know?"
"Donít you want to tell me? If you donít want to, itís all
right." He turns to go, shoulders stiff with hurt.
"No," she says, hurrying after him. Heís as tall as she is
now, but still young, so young, and so easily hurt. "Itís not that I donít want
to tell you," she tells him, catching up with him before he can enter his room.
"Itís just that Iím surprised that you waited so long to ask."
"Itís OK," he answers. "Itís really all right if you donít
want to tell me. Really." Itís the sort of comment her sister would have made,
once. She remembers her sister, tries to block her out, canít. Some wounds
"Iíll tell you," she says. "Iíll tell you everything you
want to know...but itís a long story."
"I donít mind long stories." Heís relaxing visibly, the
lines of disappointment smoothening out from his face, and once again she
realises how young he is, even though their eyes are on a level and his
shoulders are broader than hers.
"Thatís fine, then," she smiles. "Iíll tell you all about
was when I was sixteen," she says.
Theyíre sitting in front of the television, which has not
been turned on. Sheís sitting on the carpet, leaning back against the sofa, a
glass of red wine at her hand. She doesnít believe in age limitations and would
have offered him a glass too, but he doesnít like the wine, itís not sweet
enough for him, and so he sips soda straight from the bottle as he listens.
"I used to belong to a pretty conventional family," she
begins. "Well, conventional to a point, and on the outside. Maybe thatís true
of everything you call conventional, that itís only on the outside.
"There were four of us. Dad, mom, my younger sister, and I.
No pets. My dad didnít like pets. Said they were dirty and noisy.
"We didnít live in this town, of course. That place is a
long way off, down by the coast." She names her hometown, the polysyllabic name
feeling strange on her tongue after so many years. "I left it many years ago
and never want to go back...ever."
"You left it Ė afterwards?" he prompts.
"Yes," she says, bitterly, feeling the rush of memories
strain to break through the dam she has built against them over the years.
"Afterwards. Thatís a good way of putting it. Before and afterwards, day and
night, and nothing ever the same again."
"What?" His eyes are wide, confused.
"Iím sorry," she says, shaking her head, sips the wine,
settles back, lets the flood of memories smash through the dam, and begins over
She was walking back from school, the autumn wind whipping leaves along the
pavement, rain in her face. She had an umbrella in her bag but had chosen not
to use it, preferring the sting of the rain, the water crawling down her back.
She was alone, of course; nobody wanted to make friends with her and she wanted
to make friends with nobody.
Her home street was already almost deserted in this hour of
twilight, the wind slashing across it, a few raincoated figures hurrying by, dim
lights in the windows of houses. Her own house was just about exactly like the
others, featureless, one of the mass-produced units of suburbia. Her steps
slowed as she approached it, but there was no way out, she had to lift the
latch of the gate and enter. Up to the front door, then, shoes off Ė family
rule, no outside footwear in the house Ė and fumbling for the spare key where
it was always kept, in the niche behind the letter-box. It was such an obvious
hiding place for a spare key that, her father said, no thief would think of
looking for it there, and so far he had been proved correct.
She went straight to the bathroom and stripped off her wet
clothes, rubbing herself down with her towel, grimacing at the smear of
menstrual blood on the cloth. She was early this time round. Her periods had
always been irregular, painful, and she could feel the first queasiness
beginning in the pit of her stomach. Sighing, she dragged on a sweatshirt and
jeans and went to get herself something to eat.
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