Fur vs Skin

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1.

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.❞


Haven’t you wondered why wolves howled at the moon? Maybe they are calling out to the souls they’ve lost? or a call to connect to others who are far beyond sight?

Personally, I believe wolves view the moon as a guide, something to escort them through the night and keep them safe from the unthinkable things that lurk to take their place among the shadows. Though they may be predators themselves, every beast has its weakness. The sudden sharp shrill of the bell jerks me from my thoughts, I blink rapidly, peering down at my notebook; somehow while lost in my own head, I was able to draw a small howling wolf at the top corner of my paper.

“Class dismissed,” the professor’s voice projected throughout the room, “I expect your essay’s by tomorrow or on Monday if you don’t have me then,” he called out to those walking out of the class.

Everyone was hustling toward the door, cramming to get out and enjoy their weekend off from University. I don’t blame them. Sighing, I stand up from my desk and collect my things, placing them all in my backpack in a series of motions. Slinging the strap over my shoulder, I push in my chair and make my way out of the door.

“Ms. Johnson?”

So close. I think to myself, as I turn on my heels, and face my processor.

“Sir?”

He tilts his head to the side while crossing his arms, his crisp shirt wrinkling with the movement. “Did you catch anything I said while I was teaching?” he asks, raising a brow.

I run my fingers up and down the length of my bag strap, tonguing my cheek. “No, sir,” I reply.

He hums, gazing at me from the tips of his glasses. “I see. Well, it seems I need to remind you, again, not to daydream or wander off into oblivion while I’m teaching or Ms. Johnson you won’t ever pass my class.”

“I understand,” I whisper, gripping the strap of my bag a little tighter than necessary.

“Good. You’re dismissed,” he says with a wave of his hand, dropping it to the edge of his desk.

Gritting my teeth from speaking out of term, I quickly left the room, slamming the door behind me. The university’s halls were big and wide, and enough space for all students to pass by with no trouble of bumping and colliding with each other. There weren’t many students lingering out by the time I did walk out of the classroom, everyone eager enough to get to their classes on time, luckily this was my last class for today and I was home free.

The heel of my boots thumped along the hardwood floor as I stride down the hall toward the double door entrance, through the glass planes I could see outside as the ground was blanketed in thick snow. Slipping my scarf from around my waist, I wrap the clothing around my neck to protect myself from the cold.

Washington’s cold air blasted me in the face the minute I stepped out. I could already see my breath clouding in front of my face as I strolled down the frozen path that leads to the student parking lot. I huddled myself further into my coat and crossed my arms to keep the heat from escaping as the frigid air nips at my nose and ears. My beat-up car comes into view and I quicken my pace ready to get out of the cold.

I dig into my pockets for my keys, unlocking the door manually when I notice a flicker of white fluttering amongst my windshield, frowning I lean across and grab the piece of paper tucked under the windshield whipper.

Turning the paper over, I read the written words;

A sin will always find you out,

This ought to give the sinner

Something to bitch and pout,

To light a flame in shouts

Of anguish after the fall.

There was no signature, the words left an uneasy feeling deep in my stomach. I scanned the vast and empty parking lot for any sign of life that could have placed this letter on my car, the sensation of violation of privacy rushes through me— the act of me being watched for this to be issued to me causing hairs to rise. Gazing around one more time, I quickly hop into my car and pull out of University’s lot.

As I zip down the icy road, my thoughts wander to the paper lying in the seat beside me: there was no trace of where it came from not a way of knowing who gave it. The words written confused yet baffled me, what sin? find who? I didn’t understand and a part of me did not want to figure it out.

Suddenly, something large and black shot out from the side of the road and directly in front of the car; gasping, my feet slam on the brakes as the tires protest with the force of the stop and the slippery road. My hands struggle to keep the steering wheel steady, grunting with every twist it gave, the back of the car swinging from side to side.

My wide eyes were fixated on the large beast, standing in the middle of the road on what seemed to be on hind legs; like a human, two arms at its sides while its face mirrored a wolf’s. With the car racing in his direction, he stared on with keen eyes, our eyes locking through the windshield as intelligence shines deep within the specs of its eyes.

At the last moment, he weaved out the way and onto the other side of the road, disappearing into the woods, its large frame thudding with unnatural speed. The car swerves off the side of the road, dirt, and snow flying into the air; coming to a hard stop.

My body bounces back into the seat of the car as the car straightens out, my hands trembling among the steering wheel. My breath comes out in short pants, I take a couple of deep breaths to calm my erratically beating heart and frantic breathing. Once calm, I wipe my hand down my face and peek slightly through the holes of my fingers to gaze out into the road; it empty from any life form. I shift my gaze to where the beast had disappeared to.

‘What the hell was that?’

After a few minutes of staring into nothing, to keep myself from going into a hysterical fit, I release a shuddering breath and turn the ignition; the engine of the car roaring to life with no difficulty. Slowly, I wheel the car off the side of the road and venture my way back home, driving slower than I was before, my eyes wide and alert as the image of yellow eyes glowed in my mind.

‘What the hell was that? ’ I couldn’t help but think once more.


It was sunset by the time I arrived home. The drive to the University was a forty-five-minute drive and the little incident along the road delayed my trip ten minutes back.

As the car rolled up along the drive-way’s edge, I take notice of the darkened rooms inside the house, usually, Mom was in the kitchen cooking around this time and I would see Dad in the garage working on something unidentifiable. The deep unsettling feeling I felt before in the pit of my stomach came back tenfold, I turned the car off and got out on shaky legs.

I played with the conclusion that they just went to bed early.

I take slow steps up the dirtied path, the grass was worn down by the feet that tramped over it throughout the years. Scanning the empty woods that surrounded our house, I look back up at the darkened building before me. Mom and Dad were always keen on privacy and decided to live in the woods where no one would bother them, I never minded the isolation my life was put into, the woods has always felt comforting to me.

The closer I got to the front door the worse I felt about everything, I noticed that the door handle was broken and the wood around it was splintered causing the door to stay ajar: as well as showing obvious forced entry into the house. I swallow the ball of fear that lodged into my throat, as my hands pat my pants for my phone. I curse myself for leaving the device in the car, left with no way to call for help. Dread begins to settle in with the fear, mingling and fusing together as I quicken my footsteps. I burst through the door of my home; the whole house black with darkness.

Everything was eerily silent, not a soul in sight.

“Mom?”

My voice bounces and carries as I walk further into the house, my steps cautious and eyes alert for anything out of place. My gaze adjusts to the dark and I could make out the outlining of our furniture and everything else arranged to make up the living room; all in a disarray, furthering the drop of fear in my veins.

“Dad?”

A rattling pot comes from the kitchen to my left, I whip around to face the entrance my hand reaching to turn on the light on the wall, flicking it on, the kitchen was drowned in’s glow; shining on every surface before it flickered rapidly before shutting off. Plunged into darkness once more, with the small lighting coming from the moon that was already set in the sky, the window planes above the sink providing its access.

I become paranoid, my erratic breathing returning as the feel of someone is watching causes the hair on my neck to stand and goosebumps to rise among my arms. The floorboards beneath my feet creak under my weight, continuing onward only to stop shortly after at the threshold of the archway.

“Mom. .?”

The kitchen was chaos, things were tipped over and scattered across the counter, food and ingredients splattered along the countertops, giving off an odd smell. Dishes were shattered on the ground in pieces, chairs to the dining table were flipped on their sides and the table was against the wall. I stared wide-eyed at the scene in front of me, stepping further into the area, my steps calculated not to step on any broken shards.

“Oh my. . god.”

Noise from around the island counter causes me to jump and snap my attention over to where it came from, waiting. When nothing happens, I take slow footsteps in the same direction, my breathing comes out in short pants while my heart beats an irregular pattern on my ribcage. A scraping against the wood makes my nerves jump and inch by inch I come close to where the noise rose from and a horrid gasp escapes me.

Laying on the hard floor in a puddle of blood; was my mother. She was lying on her back, her face tilted up toward the ceiling as she stared blankly at nothing, there was blood. . . so much blood, the red color staining my eyes as I ran the short distance between us and slide down to her side. Her clothes were soaked in the liquid, mine soon coming to the same state as I kneeled near her head, my hands hover over her body, unsure of what to do as I access where the blood was coming from. Most of it was coming from her neck, where three-length claw marks that reached from her neck to her chest pierced through her flesh.

Tears spring to my eyes, blurring my vision as I stare down at her.

“Mom!” I cry out, pathetically, watching for a reaction. “Mom, can you hear me?! Who did this to you?”

The same scraping noise from before resonates again, and I glance down at her blood-covered hand that laid beside her, fingers clawing at the floor, her nails were blunt and bleeding as they revealed the meat beneath her nails. I take notice of claw marks on the floorboards, deep with the impression that she’s been clawing at the floor for a long time.

A few tears slip from the corners of my eyes as I grab her hand and grip it between my own. Gazing back at her, her dull eyes already staring at me.

“Don’t worry, I’m going to go get help,” I say, brushing strands of hair away from her face. “I’ll find who did this.”

I look at her torn appearance, the breaking sensation of leaving her side tearing through me before I quickly rise to my feet, moving around her and towards the phone on the wall near the archway. I jog and slam my hand on the wall beside the phone and immediately take it off the hook, dialing nine-one-one: it rings, and I pray it doesn’t go out like the bulb to the kitchen.

There was a click on the other line and someone answers, “911 what’s your emergency?”

Before words could escape, a rough hand grabs the back of my neck, thick fingers curling around and choking me. A gurgled sound echoes from my mouth as I’m suddenly thrown back; colliding with the counter’s edge on the other side of the room. My pained cry drifts into the air as white-hot flames flare from the spot that collided with the counter, the aching in my back leaves me immobile.

“Hello? Hello? Is anyone there?” the faint voice on the phone is the only thing I hear, besides the ringing from the impact. “We have police on the line and heading to your location.”

‘They won’t make it in time.’

The thought was gone as quick as it came, I quickly raise my head, forcing myself up on my hands while leaning on the cabinet doors beneath the sink; my eyes scan the room for the owner of the hand that wrapped around my neck – I could still feel the pressure on my throat, stinging a reminder that I wasn’t alone.

There was no one in sight, not even an outline of a figure in the area, my breathing rose to a shuddering pant, fear driving itself up my veins and to my heart where it buried deep inside, I shift my wide-eyed gaze to Mom where she now laid still. Too still.

“Mom?” I whisper, watching her hand to see if they would twitch.

Nothing.

“Mom, please. . .” I croak out, the stinging behind my eyes coming back with vengeance. Dark thoughts start to cloud my head as I struggle to my feet, bent over the counter.

“She’s dead.” A disembodied voice states in the darkness.

I tremble, whipping my head from left to right, searching for the source of the voice and where it came from. A flash of red captures my attention to the archway entrance, where within the darkened living room, glowing red eyes stared back at me. They gleamed and shined hauntingly at me, seemingly reminding me of the blood that coated the floors and stained my memory, a flicker of white flashes beneath those set of eyes as the figure begins to smirk.

In a blur of movements, I’m slammed against the cupboards – the sound resonating with my back bent backward at an awkward angle, a hand squeezed tightly around my neck, the air supply to my lungs restricted. I gasp, my hands coming up and grip the wrist that held me down, my hands blindly shoot forward, gripping at the man’s shirt yanking and doing anything to lighten up the grip.

“What’s so special about you?” the unknown man muses, his body pressed against my front.

He was cold. His hand was like ice around my neck, so cold to the point it burnt, it was like walking outside in the snow with no shoes or socks on.

His fingers loosen just a tad and that was enough for me to take a deep breath and cough, gasping.

“I just don’t understand what’s so special about you. .” the guy mutters to himself, accessing me up and down. “You’re nothing but a halfling, weak, and defenseless. Like all the rest.”

To prove his point, he slammed me farther up against the cupboard, the ache in my back now increasing as his free hand went down to my waist and grasps it tightly, fingers digging into my skin.

I wince, gritting my teeth. “W. . what do you want?” I questioned in a breath.

Silence greeted me before the man answered, “Nothing. I’m just here to kill you.” it was said bluntly, and devoid of emotion.

Then something sharp and long pierced my side, lodging itself into my flesh. A sharp scream tore from my lips as pain shoots through my system, drowning my senses to focus on nothing but that spot that flared with heat. I flail my arms around and lifted my leg in an attempt to kick him away, but it only caused him to add pressure to my side and on my neck, cutting off my air supply.

I choke, my hands knocking things down from the counter. I craned my head up with difficulty, to stare into the eyes of the monster above me. His red eyes glare down at me with a calamity in them that shook me to the core. I pat my hand around the surface of the counter, feeling around for something to use to defend myself before I lose my life.

Dots begin to crawl from the edges of my eyes, and a small sliver of hope blooms in me when my fingers curl around the handle of a knife, without wasting any time; I swing my arm around and impale the knife in the spot where the neck and shoulder meets.

He roars in pain, the sound ringing in my ears as his hands instantly releasing me and grab at the knife that’s deeply lodged in his pale skin, blood begins to seep from around the blade in a steady stream. I take that moment to slip away from him, taking ahold of my throbbing side, wetness starts to soak through the spaces between my fingers and I pull my hand away in alarm to see the dark tint of blood on my fingers.

The sound of pots being knocked over and crashing to the floor dragged my attention back to the stumbling figure that had its potent glare fixated on me, a murderous glint within them, I take notice of the moon’s light shining down on his features. He looked to be in his mid-twenties with blond hair that looked to be white and a clean chiseled face that hardened to stone.

My gaze slipped down to his mouth where a pained sneer rested upon his top lip, giving me, a clear view pointed inhumane fangs. My heart raced a mile in my chest.

“You’re going to pay for that, little girl,” he growled, his eyes glowing a brighter hue.

Gripping that the knife’s handles, the man began to pull at it, growls riping from his chest. I didn’t stick around for much longer.

Holding my side, I dart towards the back door that leads outside, yanking it open, before I slip out— shutting the door behind me hoping to slow him down whenever he does after me. I knew he was going to come after me, there was no denying the hunger in its eyes that were ready to spill my blood among floors and walls of my home.

It pained me to leave my mother behind, it hurt to know that she was dead and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. I couldn’t save her. These thoughts and emotions surged in me like a hurricane as I ran for my life and never looked back.

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