Baying At The Moon
(© 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.|
walked down the narrow ditch, stepping carefully over the clutter at the
bottom. For many years, the ditch had served as the local garbage dump, and it
was paved with rusted tin and broken glass. The full moon sailed across the sky
above, but here, under the canopy of leaves, the light was shifting and
uncertain. The ditch was dangerous in many ways, but it provided cover.
She crouched as a ray of the moonlight glinted off something
bright and shiny, fighting down the growl that threatened to burst free of her
throat. A slight breeze moved the leaves above, and the moonlight shifted, and
the glittering thing turned out to be no more than a shard of broken
windowpane, harmless unless stepped upon. But she did not relax. She could
never relax on the hunt.
The ditch was bordered by scrub bushes, and they rubbed
against her heavy shoulders, scraping against her flanks. The bushes were
thorny and snagged her fur. Impatiently, she tugged and sent a whole line of
them to shaking. She froze, ears erect, but nothing happened. After a while she
Where the trees ended, she paused for a long time, in the
shelter of some bushes, waiting. The moonlight washed the open grass of the
park before her like milk, and glittered off the little lake in the middle
distance. She was not interested in the park. At this time of night there was
no hunting there. Beyond the park, where light shone dimly through the trees,
was where she would find meat.
It was a long time before a scrap of cloud covered the moon.
Silently, moving flattened to the ground like a big cat, she slid across the
grass, feeling the dew on her belly. Skirting the little lake, she paused and
sniffed the air, her nostrils flaring. There were birds somewhere close, large
water birds nesting in the reeds around the lake. She could smell their
droppings. But they were not the meat she wanted tonight, and they were elusive
prey, liable to slip into the water as she came.
Across the park there was the road. She disliked roads.
Roads were not safe. Roads were dangerous with large fast moving metal objects
the meat used. She shrank back from the road and began trotting along it,
screened by undergrowth.
Ahead of her now she saw lights. The lights were bright, too
bright, and too numerous. There was a building with noise from it, too much
noise; talk and laughter and loud, loud music, which made her ears hurt. She
could smell meat, but too many. Too much danger. She made a wide detour past
that building. It meant she had to cross the road in moonlight but it couldn’t
be helped, and besides she could see more lights, smaller and further away, on
the other side. The road was free of meat vehicles and she crossed in a sharp
trot, her head low and ears flattened.
Finally, she was in the shadows again, and much closer to
the other lights. There were houses there – isolated houses, with gardens
between them. She sniffed again, and growled very softly. She could smell the
meat, now, and she felt the hackles rise along her back as her heart rate
accelerated. Very slowly, she began walking towards the nearest house. Now was
the time of supreme danger and supreme ecstasy, the moments she lived for. Now
was the time of the hunt.
boy sat at his table, looking out of the window, wishing he were somewhere
else. He could hear his aunt move back and forth in the next room, banging
things around. She always banged things when she was angry, and lately she
seemed to be angry all the time. Her anger tended to be vented on him. It was
easy to vent on him because he was a "parasite", left with her by his father
after his mother had died a year ago.
He sighed. It was hard to forgive his father, although he
wasn’t really at fault, with a job that kept him moving all around the country
constantly. Certainly, his aunt made no attempt to forgive his father, even
though the man sent money regularly for her to take care of his son. His aunt
was convinced his father was living it up and had dumped the boy on her. Or at
least that was what she told the boy, over and over again, at least six or
seven times a day.
He could do nothing to please her, no matter how hard he
tried. If he spent his evening on schoolwork, he was too lazy to help her – and
she was forever engaged in cleaning and tidying up. His father had once called
her neurotic, but that hadn’t stopped him putting his son with her. And if he
helped her, he was trying to evade schoolwork. Entertainment was out, of
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