They say that human life is purely a matter of deciding what's important to you. While I'm not sure if that holds true to someone who spends almost as much time as an animal as he does a human, I still thought it was a good saying. My name's Seth, I'm a werewolf, and this is my story.
When my mother and father were killed in a car accident, Aunt and Uncle Davis--the only living relatives I had left--took compassion on me and decided to raise me as their son. Having no children of their own due to medical complications, things just seemed to fall into place. I was only 3 months old then and don't remember anything about my biological parents; the framed photos on the wall and the stories I was told growing up were all I had, though I still loved and hoped to see them sometime after this life. Looking back, I was raised with love and discipline, and since my new family was fairly well off, we were able to live comfortably.
As I first went off to school, I noticed that my speed and endurance seemed to be higher than most of the others; I could beat almost anyone in a race, even some of the bigger kids a few grades up. I loved sports and could play for hours, only stopping when I was called in for dinner or it got too dark to see. My adopted parents, whom I simply called "Mom" and "Dad," were proud and often complimented me saying that I'd be an NBA star someday like Michael Jordan. I was happy in our little town bordering the forested mountains in Utah; I'd often gone camping in those mountains with my Wolf Cub Scout den, and even then something inside of me had especially loved to be in and enjoy the outdoors. In fact, with sports and camping, you could say I was outside more often than not. For the most part, anyone would say I was a pretty typical little kid; nothing too out of the ordinary happened until the day of my eighth birthday. I still remember that day vividly...
My party had just ended after a few hours of crazy games, cake, and presents in the hot summer sun of the back yard. I remember starting to feel a little strange by the time my party guests had all gone, like something was itching inside me trying to get out. Mom took me inside to rest on the couch for a while saying that I'd just had "too much party for one day" and turned on the TV to Cartoon Network before going to the kitchen to clean up. I'd been laying there watching for 5 minutes or so when, out of nowhere, it felt like my body had simply turned inside out. I gave a yell of surprise at the strength of the feeling and fell to the floor on my hands and knees. It wasn't the pain (that was minimal really) so much as being vividly aware of my entire body all at once and perceiving everything being changed and re-arranged inside me! Mom walked quickly into the living room drying her hands on a dish towel to see what the matter was. She began to ask if I was okay but abruptly cut short with a muffled shriek, her hands flying up over her mouth, the towel falling forgotten to the floor. I started feeling a crawling movement, this time on my skin, but didn't understand her reaction. I looked up at her questioningly, but then caught my reflection in the wide mirror on the wall and involuntarily yelped in surprise. I clapped my hands over my elongating mouth at the noise, but whisked it away as my thumb was sliced by a lengthening tooth. Right before my eyes, the light wound closed itself; a bead of not yet congealed blood was all that remained.
My blonde hair seemed to be flowing rapidly from the top of my head down my arms and deepening in color. Judging by the itching I felt running across my back and chest I figured the same was happening there. I leapt to a standing position and quickly took off my shirt; another look in the mirror was all I needed to confirm that I was now getting very furry for some reason. As I watched, my ears got pointy and moved up the sides of my head as a bushy tail shot through my shorts, ripping a big hole in the back as it lengthened. My hands got a little shorter and thicker; my nails folded straight down the middle, started pushing out to sharp points, and turned completely black. I could only watch in shock as my bare feet did the same, then tried not to fall over as my legs began to look less like my own and more like my pet husky's. As if on cue, he suddenly started howling in the back like a crazy wolf! I looked into my Mom's horrified eyes and tried to ask what was going on, but right at that moment, my whole face gave another pull outwards causing my words to come out all garbled, like an old record played at too slow a speed. All at once, my mind was flooded with sensory overload as a dozen smells and sounds assailed my mind at once. Most noticeable was Mom's hysterical screaming that rang in my ears, and my nose (which was now black and wet) picked up both the smell of cake and all my friends that had been there earlier for my party. It really was too much to take in, so I started to cry. Or, at least I tried to, but it all came out as high pitched canine whining.
Of course, I didn't know anything about shifting then. As my body finally stopped re-arranging itself I wiped away the tears and was face to face with-but what was I seeing? Those were definitely the shorts I got from grandma the day before, but was that really me in the reflection? I didn't quite know what to do about all of this, so I decided to do a little test. I raised my new hands and saw the figure in the mirror do the same! I looked like a dog, or I guess more like a wolf, except I was standing on two legs just fine. I hadn't noticed before, but my hair (or fur I guess it should be called) had turned a two-tone gray color with a lighter version of my blonde hair covering my belly and throat. This all reminded me of something; almost like a long-forgotten dream, but I wasn't sure just what it was.
I tore my eyes away from the glass and again tried again to ask Mom what was going on. The words were still awkward in this new mouth and had a deeper, barking sound to them. I don't know whether she understood what I'd said or not; she responded by just standing there with a petrified look muttering gibberish. Was I really that scary? I didn't want to look like this! What was happening to me? My mind told me it was the proper response, so I sat down like my dog would and pointed my nose to the ceiling to let out a mournful howl. Mom came back to her senses at that, and gesturing with exaggerated arm movements shakily told me to "stay here." She bolted to the next room where she frantically started pressing numbers on the phone. Even from that distance I heard her talk to Dad in a hurried voice telling him to get home right away, that there was something wrong with me. His work was just a few minutes away at an office on the main street of our town; I knew it wouldn't take very long until he got back.
In the meantime, because it felt natural, I fell on all fours and started pacing around the living room, looking up at myself in the mirror at every pass. What was I going to do? Would my friends still want to play with me? Would I still be able to go to school? My shorts were pretty tight, so I rolled on my back and tried using my hands-or whatever they were-to wriggle out of what was left of the torn and stretched cloth.
Right then I caught a whiff of something that smelled pretty tasty coming from outside. My mouth started watering as I took a few sniffs. What was that? Forgetting to stay put I made my way to the back door on four legs, stood up again on two so I could turn the handle (scratching some paint off the metal with my claws as I did), then dropped again to all fours and trotted silently out onto the back deck. There behind my new bike, eating leftover chips someone had spilled during the party was the neighbor's cat! Something new rose up inside me and guided my actions as I crouched into a spring. I launched myself off the top step, flew over the bike, and landed squarely on the cat's back before it even noticed I was there. Man I was fast! Without any control on my part, I began to tear into it and consume the meat in chunks without chewing. Before I could get very far, I felt a pair of hands start to lift me under my front legs. Again without any thought on my part, my body tensed into a defensive position over my prey and began growling and baring its teeth back towards the intruder. The hands let me go, but when I saw it was mom I snapped out of it. Why was I growling at Mom?
She looked down at me with a worried, fearful look now, then glanced from side to side over the white vinyl fence towards the neighbors' houses as if to make sure nobody was looking. At that she started backwards up the stairs while gesturing for me to come back inside. I looked up at her with questioning little wolf eyes, and she got all misty-eyed as if again on the verge of tears. "I know you're still in there somewhere, Seth!"
She wiped her eyes on the back of her sleeve, and with new found resolve straightened up and used that tone she did when I was in trouble. "Now, come here!" she commanded, pointing stiffly at the ground where she was standing. In reaction, my husky jumped against the chain link dog run fence out of sight along the far side of the house and started barking.
"Not you, Koda! Me!" I said to the dog.
Not wanting to see my Mom be sad anymore (and knowing that she wasn't fooling around when she used that voice), I turned from my prey towards the house and came back up onto the deck to follow her inside, my claws clattering against the dark wood along the way. As soon as I got inside she slammed the door and turned both locks, slowly shuffled into the living room, and then collapsed into the Lazyboy, palm open outwards across her forehead. I hopped up on her lap and tried to lick the tears still running down her cheeks to comfort her. She jumped, startled, but then just looked at me wonderingly without words, studying me for what seemed like a long time. I slowly leaned into her, and she hugged me tightly. Right about that time, I heard breaks squeak in the garage. Moments later, Dad rushed into the house.
"What happened to Seth? Is he hurt?" Where is he?
"Here." She carefully reached under my furry armpits and slowly held me out towards him, my front paws hanging down in front like a puppy's. Dad got real wide eyed for a moment as Mom set me back down on her lap, then dropped himself like rock into the nearest chair. There was another long silence from everyone, even the dog outside.
"Oh," was all he said. He looked into my eyes for a long moment. I tried a sideways smile with my wolf face. His features softened and slight grin played at the corner of his mouth. "Yep, that's him all right." Then his smile faded to a faraway look. "I guess I should have figured something like this would happen eventually."
"What do you mean, 'happen eventually?' What're we going to do?"
"If I'm right, he'll just have to change back on his own."
"What are you talking about?" she asked in an exasperated tone that suggested hysterics were shortly on the way.
"Just calm down for a minute; I guess it's time to share what I know."