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The Midnight Marauder

By Isabella Martinez

Fantasy / Adventure

A Lesson in Werewolves

She sat down on the edge of her mother’s bed and looked up expectantly, holding a book larger than her head.  The little girl had pitch black hair, so curly that it was almost an afro. But most striking were her eyes; huge, green and catlike – and more intelligent than a five-year-old’s eyes should have been.

Her mother looked at her and half-laughed. “Are you sure, Maya? It’s a pretty dense book.”

“I wanna know what it says,” little Maya insisted. Her big green eyes reflected the light of the stars’ outside. But not the moon. There was no moon that night. It was the new moon, the time of month when those that were werewolves heaved a sigh of relief that they felt no unnatural pull on their souls.

“All right,” her mother said. “Come up here.” Maya scrambled up to snuggle against her mother. Her mother turned the pages of the old book and found the chapter she knew Maya wanted. “Chapter 17: Weres and Animagus,” her mother began. “The most important distinction that must be made is the difference between “Weres” and Animagus. While animagus are wizards that can choose to turn into their animal-forms through the manipulation of magic, weres have little to no choice. An additional distinction must be made between the two types of weres – werewolves and werecats. Werewolves are bitten; not born. The bite of a werewolf in turn creates more werewolves that live for the sole purpose of biting; therefore, creating more of their kind. Werewolves can only transform during a full moon and lose all sense of selves while transformed.” She broke in her reading and looked down at her daughter. “Are you okay?”

“That’s the scary part,” said Maya.

“Werewolves?”

Maya nodded solemnly. “Oh sweetie,” said her mother. “Don’t think of it that way. Think about how sad it is.”

“Sad?” Maya repeated dubiously.

Her mother nodded. “Werewolves can’t control themselves when they transform. Because of that, people reject them. They live a very lonely life.”

Maya thought about it for a full minute than said, “Poor wolfy.”

Her mother kissed her on her head and began to read again; “On the other hand, werecats are born. Their bite is completely harmless and the “werecat curse” is only transferred genetically. Furthermore, werecats can change at will into their cat form every night that the moon is in the sky. The change is forced only on the night of the full-moon, and they are only partially aware of their human lives.”

“That’s why we’re inside tonight,” said Maya.

“Hmmm?” said her mother.

“No moon means the kitties can’t play today,” said Maya.

Her mother laughed and ruffled Maya’s curly head of hair. “Yes,” her mother agreed, her cat-like eyes flashing with merriment, “That’s why you’re going to bed early, my little werecat.”

6 Years Later

“Mum!” Maya ran down the street, most of the mail stuffed into the knapsack slung over her shoulder, waving one letter in the air like a flag. The owls had learned to mistrust the Night household many years ago, and always left their mail in a normal, muggle-inspired mailbox at the end of their lane. “Mum! Look! Look what I got!”

Maya was running so fast that she tripped and fell face-first into the dust right outside their house, sprawling in front of her uncle.

“Whoa, there,” he laughed, picking her up by the back of her shirt like a tom-cat picking up a naughty kitten. “What’s the hurry, Maya?”

“I got the letter! They’re going to let me go! They’re going to let me go!” Maya danced around her uncle in a circle, waving the already rumpled letter in the air. “I can’t believe it!”

“What is she talking about?” Maya’s grandmother asked her son, as she came outside wiping her hands on her apron. Maya’s mother was right behind her.

“Hogwarts!” Maya shouted happily. “I got a letter from Hogwarts!”

“What?!” said her uncle, grandmother, mother, and a few second cousins that happened to be standing around. None of the Nights had gone to Hogwarts in several generations – everyone was just homeschooled. But then again, Maya was the only one who had some normal-wizard blood in her. Granted, her good-for-nothing father had left her poor pregnant mother once he found out about the whole werecat thing; but little almost-eleven Maya wasn’t a thing like him. And the current Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, was known to be a bit, well, radical.

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