I must hurry. The sun has long since faded, and soon the moon, brilliant in its fullness, will come streaming in my study window. And I will be lost again ... I have tried so many times to write this story. Taken up a pen and set it to paper. And then the change has taken hold, the words forgotten and carelessly cast aside. If I can but once get this out to someone who might understand, and find a way to free me from this recurring nightmare. I must try. I must ... I have a few minutes left. I will try to explain. Werewolves. You must have heard of werewolves, surely. Creatures of legend. The transformation of a good man into a slavering horror. There have been many books, many films. You must have read or seen one. You must have come across the possibility. Bitten by a wolf, a man then turns into a wolf creature. Every month, as the full moon blooms, casting aside all human inhibition, blanking out all compassion. Driven only by the primitive lust for prey. For Blood! And yet there is more. I have studied my condition in the duller part of the month. For my affliction is surely unique. I have read from dusty books and scrolls. From older cultures than our youthful society. It is not only the wolf that can grasp a man's soul when the shining comes. In India, they tell of people becoming tigers in the night. In Africa, the leopard. Bats in Asia, jaguars in Brazil. In England, the old country talk is of people turning into hares and cavorting in the moonlight. It seems all manner of form is possible. The moon! The silver beam from the window is reaching out to touch the wall. I try to close it out with heavy curtains, but it always finds a chink, a gap to slip through and torment me. For me, there can be no escape ... I still have my mind, if only for a minute. I will keep writing, hoping someone will find this, find me. I was bitten, many years ago. I was a young man. It was Christmas. I was an innocent. I may not look it, but that was more years than I should rightfully claim. More than any human being is normally entitled to. My affliction has given me an apparent eternal youth - and that may be the greater part of the curse. Once, I tried a silver bullet, trying to end it all, trying to find peace. Not all the legends are true. It hurt! Oh how I remember the pain. It hurt, but it healed. Not in a long drawn-out human process, but in an agonizing, blurring reformation. In minutes, I was whole again. My despair grew tenfold at the prospect of the years ahead. At the centuries ... Now the silver glow is picking its way through the jumbled books on my desk, and I can feel the call. See the shifting colours. Hear the sounds. The change will soon be upon me. Is there enough time left? My pen scratches and scrabbles across the paper. I steady my hand, even as the light caresses. It would be of no consequence to tell my tale in an unreadable script. Around my wrist, the hairs are growing, turning pale, forming a white cuff. I snatch my hand back, hoping for a few moments more. It used to be easier. I could hide in the forests every month, away from people, invisible in the emerald depths. Only at Christmas could I venture forth, for only at Christmas would the revelers see nothing amiss. Another costumed fool in a drunken round of feasting and celebration. It was almost bearable. But I found that my transformation was formed within the beliefs and superstitions of the population. When a thrice be-dammed soft drinks company decided that the legend should be costumed red and not green, then my moonlit savagery could no longer hide, running free in the forests. I was condemned to dark dungeons and gloomy cellars. Only at Christmas could I wander free as I have always done. Only the crumbling determination of my fading humanity controls the pen, now. My arms are almost completely changed, my facial hair grows long and silvery. The girth of my body grows, every moment greater. I am glad that in these last seconds, I cannot see my face, as it fixes into that terrifying grimace, those rouged cheeks, that have frightened generations of small children. I can feel that dread, familiar chuckle arise within my throat. The moon is full upon me and I am lost again. As my thoughts fade and I become that other I so dread, I will try to sweep this note into the clutter of my desk and hope that the thrills and passions coursing through me will make that other let it lie, undisturbed, for someone else to find. That may be my only salvation. I ... I ... I can hear the bells, and soon it will be MY time! Ho! Ho! Ho! Mer ...

[After the mysterious disappearance of Mr Christopher Kringle, this note was found, by a cleaner, in the Santa's Grotto of Feldstein's Department Store. Police, searching for Mr. Kringle are said to found disturbing evidence of strange events connected to Mr Kringle's past life. A police spokesman is quoted as saying "Gee! I thought we knew this guy, but then you realize that you don't." The Police Department do not expect any quick developments in the situation. The spokesman blamed increasing pressures on police manpower and budgets, due the ever-earlier commencement of Christmas festivities. "Heck! Halloween ain't hardly started yet, but the stores are pushing Christmas! Seems it's on all the year round, these days."]

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Original story © Dave Sloan 2005
Layout, editing and additional material © Dave Sloan 2016
'tachras' and 'Winding Yarn' © Dave Sloan 2005, 2012, 2016

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