It was a cool night with an occasional light breeze. A few clouds drifting by but an amazing array of stars on display and as the moon rose I noticed it was full. It hadn’t occurred to me and I was grateful for the abundant light falling on the narrow path so that I didn’t need the flashlight to guide my way.
The path meandered through stands of Aspen and Fir interspersed with a lot of Pine. It was a pleasant hike and I chuckled at the thought of the mind game my newfound friends had played on me. Nothing bad could happen in such idyllic surrounding I assured myself.
After a short time I came to a small clearing in the woods. A meadow I suppose I would have called it if I had encountered it in daylight. It was pleasant and I found a tree stump to sit on and rest. I listened to the sound of the breeze rustling the trees and soon I heard an owl call out.
I paid closer attention to the sounds of the night. The woods were alive with all sorts of animal sounds that I hadn’t noticed when I had begun my walk. As I stood up to continue my journey I saw a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye, or thought I did. I peered intently in the direction I had seen it but there was nothing there.
I moved back to the path and shook off the slight uneasiness that had taken hold of me. Silly to be unnerved by what was probably just my imagination. Back in the woods I nevertheless paid closer attention to my immediate surroundings and the sounds of the woods.
More owl calls, the rustling of the branches in the breeze, which was beginning to pick up but nothing more until about five minutes later. A flash of movement just off to my left. This time I was certain there was something there. I told myself it was probably just a deer but it had seemed much taller.
At that point I had to admit I was getting nervous. Silly or not I decided I should head back and turned around to retrace my steps. I got about a hundred yards back and had just crossed the clearing when I again saw the movement to my left. This time I knew beyond a doubt it wasn’t my imagination. I stopped in my tracks and heard a low growl in the direction the movement had come from.
I abandoned all pretext and broke into a dead run. Terror enveloped me as I heard the sound of breaking twigs. I was being pursued. I ran for all I was worth, my heart in my throat. All at once it occurred to me that it could be my young friends taking their joke to the next level. I stopped to consider the idea. That was a huge mistake.
What happened next is still a blur in my mind. I was attacked from behind and I remember the stench of unclean fur and fetid breath that was all around me. I swung the flashlight, felt it hit something and then began to run with all my might. I was aware of a burning sensation in my back and then I heard a gunshot ring out somewhere to my right.
I kept running, determined not to stop no matter what. I made it back to the cabin, ran inside and locked the door. I remember collapsing on the floor. The next thing I knew it was daylight. I opened my eyes and pain blindsided me. I took off my jacket and shirt and went to the mirror. There were four long angry claw marks on my back.
I cleaned myself as best I could and then headed back to the city. For reasons I still can’t fathom I told no one about what happened. However, I have an idea why that might be. All that happened twenty-seven days ago. You see, tomorrow the moon will be full again. All day long I’ve been feeling the strangest sensations in my body.
I feel a certain feral intent taking over my mind. I’ve noticed my hair is beginning to grow at an abnormal rate. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow night but I’m beginning to dread it. So like I said at the beginning, I’m not superstitious. However, I’m keenly aware that I’m not always right.