The Darkness Before The Dawn
(© 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.|
in the mean streets of the old part of town, night is a time of terror.
Night is when the gangs come out to play, and the common
citizens try and stick to the bright lights, or stay in what they hope is the
safety of their homes. At night, the dark lanes are owned by the gangs.
The Boy came down the stairs, glancing quickly to left and
right. His breath was quick with excitement, his heart beating fast. He knew he
shouldn’t be here, that he was deliberately tempting fate, and that made him
feel as though he was on a high. There was a smidgen of guilt mixed in the
excitement. The Woman didn’t know where he was; she hadn’t the faintest
inkling, and he didn’t mean her to have the faintest inkling.
He just wanted the excitement. He craved it now, like a
drug; the rush of those few hours when he put himself in danger, knowingly, and
tried to outwit it. When he thought about it, he knew it was stupid, but he
still went ahead and did it anyway.
It wasn’t close to the Change. Even he knew well enough now
not to come around here when the Change was on him. But now, with the moon an
almost invisible sliver in the sky, he wouldn’t give himself away, and he could
risk it. At least he believed he could risk it. After all, he’d been coming
down here for months now, and he hadn’t got into trouble yet.
He’d had to lie to the Woman, of course. He’d said he was
going down to the drag with a couple of friends, to watch a movie. She’d looked
up from the book she was reading, and nodded pleasantly. "What time will you be
back?" she’d asked.
"Midnight?" he’d answered. "One at the latest."
"You have class tomorrow, don’t you?"
"It’s an afternoon class." This was true. He never stayed
out late if he had to get up early. He still retained that amount of
discipline, and was proud of it. "I don’t have to go before two."
"All right. Do you want me to wait up for you?"
"No, why should you? I’ll be all right."
"Fine. Be careful." She’d blown a kiss at him and gone back
to her book.
He hated lying to her, even though he found himself doing it
more and more these days. He hated the idea of the hurt that would well up in
those eyes of hers, like tears. Sometimes he thought she held him captive with
those eyes. Sometimes he hated her for it, and sometimes he thought he was in
love with her.
More and more often these days, he found himself thinking of
his relationship with the Woman. Was it right to even privately think of being
in love with her? Much more than anyone who had ever been in his life before,
she was the only family he’d ever actually had. Far more than his father, who
had abandoned him with his aunt, and infinitely more than that cold and abusive
woman, she had nurtured him, almost created him, and made him what he now was.
And what was he now, precisely?
He shook his head, slipping off into a narrow dark alley,
feeling broken glass crunch under the soles of his boots. He didn’t want to
think too much about what he now was. Too much thought along those lines could
Even so far from the Change, his eyes were sharper than average
in the dark, and he knew how to look at things from his peripheral vision. He
depended on it a lot during these excursions, sticking to the darkest, least
frequented alleyways, where even the gang members hesitated to venture because
of the danger from other gangs. He thought he was reasonably safe, but at the
same time kept a tight grip on the knife in his pocket.
The knife wasn’t long, but with a heavy bone handle and so wickedly
sharp that it had a scabbard to prevent him from cutting himself. He’d bought
it months ago, and kept it carefully hidden, most of it from the Woman. He
never went out at night without it.
Through a narrow gap in the buildings to his right, he could
see the street parallel to the alley. A car drove slowly down it, low riding,
windows rolled down, all the seats occupied. He caught a quick flash of eyes
scanning the street. A gang car, then, and patrolling the territory. There
would probably be others around, to make it worth the patrolling.
[ Continue to page 2 ]