The day I was born, my mother told me I had anger flowing through my veins. What does she even mean by that?
October 13th, two days from my 16th birthday, my family and I moved to Sharpsville- population 5,000. Driving down the neighborhood, we saw rows of houses with kempt lawns, colorful flowers perfectly placed along each walkway. My face smooshed against the car window watching the people mowing, trimming bushes and conversing with their neighbors. “Which one’s ours?”
“We’re almost there.” My mom drove, emotionless, down the neverending row of homes.
My mom pulled up to a house with black shutters and white siding. The neighbor was outside. I waved. He waved. On the other side of our house was a family throwing baseballs and laughing.
“Mom, do you need help?” I saw my mom bringing in boxes. She was still quiet and unresponsive.
I ran to our car, took a box out of the trunk, and went walking into the bright red front door. Crash! The box did not land as smoothly as I anticipated when I dropped it on the floor.
“Liam, I told you I didn’t need help!” There was a nagging tone to her voice. I went running toward the direction of my mom’s voice.
“MOM!” She was standing in my room taking a few of my things out. “What are you doing?!”
“Liam, I wanted to make sure your room was ready for your first night!”
“Uh. Those are my things, mom.”
“Tomorrow’s a big day. Your 16th birthday.”
I started to rummage through my things to place on the shelves. “I got this, mom.” She shrugged and slowly walked out of my room while mumbling. I had pushed so many odds and ends into my box from the shelves at my old room. Wow, what is this junk. I must’ve found these important when I was packing them. I created one pile for ‘throw away’ and one pile for items I could not live without.
Walking around the upstairs floor, I popped my head in each room. My mom’s bed was neatly made and her belongings were still boxed up.
I could hear my mom downstairs banging pots and pans together. “Do you want grilled cheese?”
Entering the kitchen, I saw my mom dancing while flipping sandwiches.
She’s in a good mood. I opened each cabinet. “Do you need help putting everything away?”
“Get to it!” She smiled as she continued to cook for me.
I started to hear voices outside the house. The noises were increasing.
A whisper turned into booming voices. “We won’t stand for werewolves!”
“Werewolves? I thought they never existed?”
“It’s possible that they do.” My mom spoke quietly while flipping the sandwich.
I ran outside with the smell of lunch escaping out the door with me. I approached the group parading past my house.
A young girl emerged from the group toward me and pointed, “Come join us!” Walking toward me she whispered, “There have been werewolves living in our safe town. If we find out who they are, those beasts will be killed.” Everyone was holding a sign, The Werewolves have to go!.
I continued to walk with the group because it seemed like the popular thing to do. “Where are the werewolves? Kill the werewolves!” I screamed up and down the streets of Sharpsville until my throat was raw. The town was shaken by the thought of people dying in the hands of an animalistic killer. Returning back to my house, my mom stood outside, hands on hips.
“Get back inside, your grilled cheese is getting hard.” I nudged my new friend and waved goodbye.
My mom grabbed my hand and yanked me inside. “What are you doing?”
“Mom, this is what everyone else is doing.”
“I don’t care. It doesn’t mean it’s right.”
Uhhhh, my mom was ALWAYS right. Always repeating cliches. Momisms.
“If your friends….”
“No mom, don’t go there.”
“If your friends jumped….”
“If your friends jumped off of a bridge…”
“Ok mom, I know what you’re going to say, I would never jump off of a bridge.” I took a bite of the sandwich. The sandwich was cold and hard. I chewed and chewed as the cold cheese stuck to the roof of my mouth, then slyly threw the rest into the trash can hoping my mom didn’t notice.
“Just making sure.”
I could still hear chanting outside of our house as I continued back into my room. Yawwwnnn. Time for bed. Pulling my shirt off I started coughing. A tuft of grey fur rolled out of my mouth. Bleh! What’s this? Little pieces were wedged between my teeth, so I went to the bathroom to floss them out.
When looking in the mirror, I noticed my ears looked different. They looked larger than I had seen before. I ran my fingers along the cartilage as I was preparing to shower. The warmth hit me the second I stepped in. It relaxed me as I focused on each drop rolling down my shoulder blades. When I opened the shampoo bottle, the smell overwhelmed me. I watched the shampoo drip out of the bottle onto the palm of my hand. Sniff. Sniff. It smells so foul, what is that? I threw the shampoo out of the shower curtain and turned the water off.
My left foot gripped the tile floor as it stepped down. My right foot followed suit. Hm, not slippery. Sliding my pants on, each hair stood on end. While putting my arm through my shirt sleeve, the seam ripped all the way down the torso. AHHHH! I threw the shirt as it smacked against the sconces next to the mirror.
“Honey, what are you doing up there?” Footsteps started to come closer.
I ran to my room before my mom could meet me in the bathroom. I threw the cold sheets over me and my door squeaked.
“Goodnight. I’ll be next door if you need me.”
My mom started to open the door wider.
“Mom, I’m too old for you to tuck me in, I’m going to sleep now.”
“Oh that’s right, you’re 16 tomorrow.” She flicked the lights off.
In the middle of the night, my stomach started to cramp so bad it woke me up. I looked over at my phone to see what time it was- 12:15 AM. My stomach cramping continued, I attempted to go back to sleep but I had a nagging feeling something was wrong.
I went to the bathroom, hoping to alleviate the issue. Upon looking in the mirror, I noticed I had thick brown hair starting to grow around my body. My arms also looked more muscular than usual. Man, I love being 16! The longer I stood in the mirror, the more I noticed the sudden changes occurring on my body. Sniff, sniff. I am really hungry. I clumsily left the bathroom, went down the stairs and walked out the front door.
My hands grew razor-sharp nails, my feet grew obscenely large. My sauntering turned into a harsh gallop as I walked about the neighborhood. Man, my stomach is still cramping, so hungry.
Head whipping around at every sound, I was now on the prowl. A man in a neon vest came running up the hill. Midnight run? Odd. I plodded through bushes and neighbors lawns, sniffing the air, wagging my fluffy tail.
The runner started to come closer to me. Sniff, sniff, sniff. Muscles, skin, blood...um..MEAT. Drool wiggled between my new sharp teeth. Sniff. Sweat. Yes. My shoulder blades pulled back and I started to stretch. My paw pads skid across the wet blacktop and before I knew it I was digging into the raw skin. Blood splatters painted the ground which created a reflection of my gruesome face. Indistinguishable muscle and tissue dangled out of my open mouth.
A noise came from the bushes behind me which caused me to stand up and run with aggression. I left the lifeless body sprawled in the middle of the road, and did not look back.
My head snapped right and left toward the lights beaming onto the road before hiding in the backyard. I felt my body get lighter, my skin felt less itchy as the hair vanished from the follicles on my skin. Tiptoeing in through the back of the house I heard footsteps upstairs. Going upstairs I felt my feet shrinking and pieces of my old self returning. I walked into my mom’s room which seemed noisier than usual.
“What are you doing awake?”
“I heard you, mom.”
“I’m okay.” She was fixing her hair and taking her slippers off.
I looked over at my phone. Three in the morning, what is my mom doing? I went back to my room, it was too early for questioning.
The sun started peeking between the blinds of my windows making me wipe the crumbly crust from my eyes.
“No more lives lost!”
I could hear chanting and shouting outside again. Sirens and honking sounded up and down the streets.
Ding dong! I peered outside.
That girl I met yesterday. I ran down the stairs, still in my pajamas and greeted the girl I met yesterday.
“Come outside and march with us! They found a body this morning.”
I quickly got dressed, to join everyone to march to protect the town. While marching alongside my new friend, I looked at my fellow neighbors. It was admirable how hard they wanted to keep their quiet town safe.
My mom peered from her bedroom window and smiled down at me.