Welcome to Plaucheville
The school bell rang at Pointe Coupee Catholic High School before Kevin had even made it to the doors, stumbling on the bottom step. He made his way to the double glass doors stopping once to take a puff off his prescription inhaler before he made his way inside the hallowed halls.
Kevin had a lanky body and a scraggly appearance. His dirty and unkempt blonde hair stopped just above his uniform collar. He had a green uniform jacket and white button-up shirt that was left un-tucked from his khaki slacks. His worn dress shoes had seen better days. He could not shake the vivid dreams he’d had for three nights now; the mysterious hooded man in the forest with one eye. The dreams were imbedded in his mind. Lucid dreams about the mysterious man in the forest, wolves, a ghostly woman, and running… so much running as he tried keep up with them. He could see himself running on all fours, his hands and feet on the ground, running for miles without tiring, without taking a puff of his inhaler to open up his closing airways. The ghostly woman ran effortlessly keeping pace in the mystic forest of his mind as she laughed. He remembered feeling unstoppable and powerful and he wished the dream would go on forever. It exhilarated him until his alarm clock rang out and he had to get up for another grueling day.
Now he was at school, it was so hectic so noisy. He could barely stand it. He sat down at his desk and tried to ignore it, the teasing and ridicule he received every day. Kevin snuck a peek at his secret crush, Tasha, two rows ahead and to the left of him. He could only see her back but oh what a beautiful back it was, Kevin thought. He had to suffer through three semesters viewing her greatness from afar. He could only see her golden tresses, feathering down, but he could imagine her doe-like blue eyes and warm smile. She didn’t know that he existed, but an image of her had been burned into his mind.
“Hey shithead, that’s my sister you’re staring at!” Brett, the twin sibling of Tasha spat out venomously. “I’ve had to look at your ugly ass for three years now and I am sick of you!” Brett Traiteur shouted.
Brett had a dimpled chin; high protracted cheekbones on a face that made him look like an over-filled balloon. He had an athlete’s physique, a quarterback’s frame, a thick neck, a real jock with engorged shoulders like he wore his football shoulder-padding though he wore only a tight T-shirt. He had Tasha’s blue eyes, but on his face the blue eyes were cold and brutal, a real goon.
Brett stood up from his desk, one hand held a heavy hardback book, the other a clenched fist. Kevin desperately searched about the room for help, the history teacher Mr. Phelps was nowhere to be seen.
“I meant no disrespect, Brett,” Kevin tried to retreat, strategically trying to get between desks and an angry brother, “I didn’t intentionally mean to stare at your sister just deep in thought, man…”
“It’s time to throw down!” Brett hissed as he faked throwing the heavy history book prompting Kevin to duck down and cover his head.
He spastically stumbled backwards; he craned his neck looking around for any possible reinforcements. However, his hopes quickly sank, no students appeared to be concerned with the squabble or they chose to ignore what was happening close by. Even Brett’s sister, Tasha, had her back turned to him, hoping that he would just leave Kevin alone.
“I don’t wanna fight you,” he meekly pleaded, sliding the desks between him and his aggressor. He stumbled backwards off balance and fell on his ass onto an empty desk seat.
Brett snatched the ends of the desk with his enormous meaty hands. Then he slid the desk forward so he and Kevin were face-to-face. Brett’s biceps strained to get the desk halfway up in the air like it was a bicycle popping a wheeling. Kevin suddenly saw the incandescent lights from the ceiling above him before gravity had a hold of him. He felt himself falling backwards, a hard thump smashing his head on the hard ground. The desk now horizontal papers and pages were flapping through the classroom like birds as darkness enveloped him.
When he came to he found himself seated on the desk class in session confused and delirious. Kevin looked for Tasha who stared at him with pity, her blue eyes moist with concern.
“Kevin?” All eyes were on Kevin as Mr. Phelps stopped a wellpracticed but monotone and boring speech to form the question.
Mr. Phelps waited for Kevin to respond. Phelps was a tall, dark skin African-American, who was well-traveled and spoke with a French accent. His pristine bright white collared dress shirt and light tan Dockers made an even more noticeable contrast with his dark skin. He had a creased and furrowed face, as his sixty-two years suggested. He had short black, curly hair and extremely big ears. One large gold hoop earring helped to offset his lazy eye, the other golden eye trained on Kevin.
He formed the question again, this time hushed whispers could be heard in the classroom, but no response came from Kevin.
“Kevin?” Mr. Phelps queried his voice authoritative and stern.
Phelps had grown tired of Kevin’s absences. He was out of the classroom more than he was in, and when given his assignment his daydreaming and procrastination had become annoying. He had had enough; he blew up at him the likes of which the world hadn’t seen since the Great Explosion of the Krakatau Volcano in Indonesia.
“Kevin Reynoll, I am talking to you! Can you hear me, boy?” Phelps yelled, “I’m tired of you ignoring and disrespecting me in my own classroom!”
“What… Excuse me?” Kevin came to his senses just in time to see Mr. Phelps staring at him, his ranting foreign to him.
Kevin had a splitting headache and a severe concussion from hitting his head, his whole world in a spin. He couldn’t comprehend what Mr. Phelps had asked him. He beheld Brett, who tried ignoring Kevin and pretending he wasn’t involved in a scuffle.
“I just about had enough of this!” Mr. Phelps bent down and hastily scratched out a reprimand on his notepad, “if you’re not going to pay attention in my class go to the principal’s office, I will stand for no more distractions.”
Mr. Phelps beat his fist against the top of his desk, graded pages flowing up in the air like a butterfly catching the breeze, taking flight. Kevin jumped straight up out of his seat. Phelps gave Kevin the pass forcefully, which he begrudgingly accepted.
Kevin didn’t fully understand what had taken place, but with the tone of Mr. Phelps’ voice and the familiar yellow slip he complied, “yes, yes, sir…”
A brief discussion in the principal’s office validated what he already knew would happen; a five day suspension. Kevin waited outside in the hall until the bell rang, freeing the students. He went to his locker and put away his books. This was his chance, he thought. He snuck out into the courtyard and sidled along the sidewalk.
Playing hooky from Pointe Coupee Central High School, home of the Cougars, John Chism was free to answer his cell phone. He sat astride his bike in the back of the strip mall by the railroad tracks, at the area the kids’ affectionately called “the dips” where they could off-road and get wasted. The call prompted him to cross over the railroad tracks and head east on Highway 1, zigging and zagging until he arrived at 504 Fourth Street West, Kevin’s Catholic High School.
“Hey buddy! What’s up?” John Chism’s steel-toed boots came into contact with the gravel, stabilizing the silver BMW, 2013 R1200GS Enduro motorcycle until it came to a full stop then he pulled off his helmet.
“Can you give me a ride home?” Kevin questioned.
Kevin Reynoll and John Chism were childhood friends, they went to the same Catholic grade school together, played together, even stayed the night at one another’s place when they were young. But a messy divorce split the pair up. The broken Chism family bowed out of the Catholic experience and registered with Pointe Coupee Central High School, John had started another life, but they couldn’t help but keep in touch with each other. Kevin started to pull away from their straining relationship because of John’s suspected drug use and his new unsavory friends and they hadn’t reunited for three months until Kevin’s call.
However, today, Kevin needed a ride and John faithfully delivered, with a grateful attitude he said, “Of course I can!”
Kevin hopped on the BMW and they were off. The Enduro roared through the back streets and off-road until he arrived at Kevin’s trailer.
“Well man, I hate to drop you off and run but I think I fucked up something on my bike when I jumped it at the dips and I need to get home and check this mother fucking thing out,” John waited until Kevin got off his bike before continuing, “Maybe we can get together sometime soon since you are suspended from school.” John said with a grin. “Yeah,” Kevin hesitated, smelling the pungent aroma of marijuana coming from John’s jacket, “yeah, yeah, we’ll see, thanks again, man.”
He opened the door and said his hellos but nobody responded. He could feel the fire burning in his lungs, a horrible feeling he had been growing accustomed to, his lungs closing up on him again. He clutched his hand to his chest. His heart rate was increasing. He searched for his emergency inhaler in his pocket, looking around at the quiet and empty living room.
His grandmother, Betty, the one who had raised him had been hospitalized yet again and he had the house all to himself. A precious secret that he guarded fiercely lest a nosey bystander, children services, or any friends find out he managed a household all alone.
He thought about his emergency inhaler and headed toward his room. Greeted with wall to wall horror posters a normal child would be frightened, even the mirrors were covered with the latest gory flick, but not Kevin. He practically pole vaulted to his bed plopping onto it with his entire body. After taking a puff he wasted the day away watching videos and cable television until he fell asleep.
Pretty soon a cacophony of howling across the dreamscape chilled Kevin to the core, but not in a bad way. Excitement ran through him as he beheld the familiar surreal full Moon of his dreams again. The Moon undulated, following him, alive with colors bolder, brighter, exotic colors throughout the night sky. The big strange Moon followed Kevin through an enchanted forest. Soothing bells could be heard on the calming winds. Dream catchers flowed from side to side on trees like they were forbidden fruit.
“Kevin,” the disembodied voice of a woman called out to him, “come… come to me.”
He searched around for the disembodied voice so inviting and comforting, “where are you?”
Slow rolling fog in front of him. Suddenly he heard a sound coming from the brush behind him. Soft footfalls made him twirl around to see a woman who was unclothed and terribly scarred. The scars traveled down the right side, right arm on down to the thigh, ending at the knee and her cheek seemed to have mild sunburn. The essence of beauty nonetheless, with her hour glass figure and seductive smile, who could resist Tonya’s charms? Her almond eyes were huge and unusual with her Navajo ancestry and her glowing eyes changing color in the moonlight. “He has a gift for you, sweetheart.” Tonya whispered softly in his ear and pointed into the darkness. Kevin peered at the thick fog obscuring his view.
He could hear footfalls coming from directly in front of him, instantly putting him on guard, his body went rigid. The rolling fog dissipating until he could see a dark shadow take shape, human in form.
“Do you wish to be all that you could be?” The stranger’s visage obscured by shadows but his one glowing green eye showing through the thick fog.
The stranger thrust his hand into Kevin’s hair and finding the large lump in the back of his head. His eyes adjusted to the dim light and he could see the cloaked figure more clearly under his hood. He saw the stranger’s one brilliant emerald eye, in it a look of savagery and vicious cunning.
“You are man enough. I have something for you. I can make you powerful; I can make you strong without compare…” The stranger pulled forth from his cloak a Wolf print mug full of glowing liquid.
The woman sauntered up next to Kevin, gingerly placing her hands upon his shoulders, “Aticus could bring you vengeance from your bully called Brett. He could bring vengeance upon everyone that ridicules you.”
“What did you say?!” That’s impossible, Kevin thought, but then he came to his senses, “of course she knows my thoughts and experiences, I am dreaming.”
He could see Aticus’ feet through the sparse fog. Aticus’ feet were not feet at all but large furry paws. He began to hyperventilate. Just dreaming, he told himself, but his lungs began to close up.
“Inhaler!” He searched for his life saver but had no luck.
“I can make you werewolf…” Offering the large mug to Kevin, “I can make you a werewolf strong and bold… You can get your vengeance upon Brett.”
As he stood wheezing and gasping for breath Kevin pled, “Make me a werewolf then, I beg of you.”
Aticus produced an unknown, powdery substance and began dropping it into the large cup filled with the flowing liquid. He swirled the mixture around and spit into the cup for good measure. As he offered it, Kevin gratefully accepted it. He greedily gulped it down. Instantly he gagged his throat on fire and his lungs inflamed.
“Now you’re a werewolf...” Aticus smiled his mischievous smile as Tonya howled.
Kevin’s body began to feel strange as Tonya howled Aticus’ orders. He felt his lungs beginning to inflate once again, his muscles began to engorge then he blacked out.
The sun warmed his face when he awoke. He convinced himself it had been just a dream. However, he found himself outside, shirtless with torn jeans and no shoes.
“What sorcery is this?” He had gone to bed in his room dreaming of wolves and a man in the forest who gave him a drink that gave him extreme power, but it was just a dream, wasn’t it? Did he sleepwalk all through the night?
Dazed and confused, his hands gripped the grass that was still wet with dew. He had remembered going camping when he was younger, waking up in the morning wheezing and trying to catch his breath, then two or three puffs off his inhaler before he could enjoy the day. But this morning he could breathe naturally in and out, unhindered by his asthma. He found himself breathing strongly and naturally.
Confusion set in, looking around at the strange town he found himself in. He saw a sign that said “Welcome to Plaucheville, LouisianaPopulation 248 souls”. From his calculations he had to walk almost fifty miles before making it back to his hometown of New Roads. It’s a good thing that he was suspended from school and no one would be home. Instead of walking he thought he would try his luck running with his new found lungs and legs. He couldn’t place his finger on it but he had changed somehow, for the better. In fact when his suspension had lifted he thought he might even try his luck at track.