How often did one get to hunt a hunter? I knew I was lucky to get the chance – especially when it was the one animal I felt most connected to. I shivered, prompting the guide next to me to silently offer a blanket. I wrapped it around myself before inching into a seated position. My eyes scanned the forest so intently that I didn’t notice I was left alone until suddenly four wolves burst into view. They played, clashing their teeth together while they teetered on their back-legs – each seeking the superior position as leader.
I was entranced, leaning forwards until the blanket slipped from my shoulders and bared them to the freezing winter night. I was shivering, frozen enough that my teeth chattered but instantly the play stopped and four pairs of eyes fastened on me intently. I gulped, my eyes widening slightly before I stood up and looked about, frowning. I’d always wondered why the guides brought only allowed one person out at a time, and now I knew. People alone were easier to kill, to feed to the wolves which brought them their business.
I backed up as the wolves approached me with deadly focus, my breathing speeding up as I looked about and everywhere was the glitter of approaching eyes – a lupine army, ready to rend me limb from limb. I whimpered, shivering but no longer withdrawing. I would not be a coward when approaching my death. I watched in surprise as the four main ones stopped, and between one blink and the next, my guides appeared, the wolves drawing in around us until there was nowhere for us to escape.
“Peace, sister. We didn’t bring you here to feed our pack. We brought you here to offer you a choice. Will you join us under the moon, or will you choose to return back to your normal life. We’ve been seeking one like you for so long that we had grown weary but you! You will bring us back to greatness if you allow us to gift you with the power we have. We can smell the strength of the moon in your veins and it called to us until we were able to find you and bring you out here. Please, join us this Halloween night for our hunt…” Their words startled me; confused me. It was true that I’d always been fascinated by the moon; always slept better when under her comforting shine. But…magic? Me? I’d never once entertained the thought let alone the hope of that.
I was unsure what to do, what to think but my heart began to pound as one by one the guides shifted into the grey wolves that were just larger than life; larger than those surrounding. There was none of the Hollywood lies about cracking bones. It was an instantaneous change. They went from human to wolf within one step. Fixed on me were hundreds of eyes, or at least that was what it felt like but I was fixated by the wolf stepping forward, letting my hands glide over his head while he crooned. I didn’t have to say anything before the four wrapped around me, one with a head on my shoulder, one on my chest and the other two using my thighs with pillows.
It only took a nip for my blood to spill and suddenly I felt hot and then, without a single ounce of pain- I felt things different; I could see clearer and for miles and even better – I had the whole pack whispering into my mind, welcoming me with no jealousy or the ridiculous complaints I’d experienced everywhere else. I finally felt like I was…home.
We were hunters, never the hunted as we roamed the autumn night. Our breath streamed out as we ran. I adored the sound of our paws almost in unison as we, the almighty pack, hunted. Our hungers were strong that night and we happened onto a street. Orange fruits were filled with flickering lights which mimicked the glow in our eyes as we ran and ran on until we found what we were searching for.
Our jaws dripped with drool as the humans in the centre of our group panicked. The scent of their fear filled our noses, made us growl and bare our teeth. Food was something we all needed on this Halloween night, a night when nightmares were free to run the streets as we did. With so many hunting, the three humans were left as nothing more than mush and bone fragments.
We returned to hunting, only some of our number smothered in the red gore of their meals as we looked for yet another kill, another opportunity to drive those who found the remains the next morning. We raided houses, slaughtered pets and then the occasional person who roamed the streets. None of us were sated fully by our kills though the darkness in our souls, beginning to grow all too rich and deep, took us over.
Blood-soaked muzzles surrounded me as I found my consciousness suddenly back with me, my body having shed the wolfen frame which had given me such dark and murderous delight on a night which would have normally been fraught with candy and children’s laughter. Instead of that, I could hear the screams and pleading beginning to fill the air as the muzzles dipped closer.
At first they were gentle, cleaning the blood from my own kills from my skin but soon tongues were replaced with teeth and my soft appreciative murmurs were shrieks of pain.