Child of the Moon

July 28, 2023

I was running as fast as I could. My feet kept sliding on the slick, icy ground, but I had to keep running. My heart pounded in my head, and there was a searing pain in my side, but I couldn’t stop running. Not if I wanted to live. Ahead of me was nothing but snow and rock stretched out as far as the eye could see. I ran past huge boulders scattered along the mountainside, all of which were covered in thick layers of snow. My head whipped back and forth, searching for my pursuers, but there was no one behind me. No screaming villagers with torches and pitchforks. I was safe. Suddenly, my feet slipped. I yelled in surprise as I tumbled violently down the edge of the mountain.

I kept tumbling down the mountainside until I crash-landed into a thorny bush. I cried out in pain as the thorns tore at my exposed skin leaving deep gashes. I tasted blood in my mouth and felt it drip down my legs. After some struggle, I was able to make my way out with only a few scrapes to show for my efforts. While checking the severity of my wounds, I pulled off my torn jacket and used it to clean up my bloody legs. Suddenly, there was a loud SNAP! I jumped up and scanned the dark woods around me. Through the heavy snowfall, I could just make out a dark, shadowy figure approaching.

I stood, trembling from pain and fear, my breath making clouds in the frozen air. Where could I run? Where could I hide? The only real option I had was to stand my ground and fight to the death. My life or theirs. My back stiffened, preparing for a fight, as the figure slinked into the moonlight. My blood went cold. It was a wolf. An impossibly large wolf, seven feet in length and about half as tall. His dark gray fur shone silver in the moonlight. It looked as if he could devour me in one large bite. I stood, frozen, sure he would pounce if I made the slightest movement. Not daring to cross him, I waited, gazing into his menacing black eyes. I knew I needed to do something—anything!—instead of waiting for the death blow. My mind was racing desperately trying to find some means of escape. I looked at the ground below me and saw a large rock. I considered throwing it at the wolf.

If I hit him hard enough, it might give me enough time to scramble into a tree, I thought. My heart rose. It might just work. As I reached my hand slowly out toward the rock, the wolf lunged, and I screamed.  My arms instinctively flung themselves in front of my face as I braced for his teeth to rip apart my flesh. But it never came. I stood there, shaking, my face buried in my arms. But there was no new pain. Cautiously, I lowered my arms and looked around. The wolf was gone.

Where he had been standing was a boy. His white shirt hung in tatters across his broad chest and his pants were ripped right below the knee. His legs were scratched and scraped and covered in bruises. And his feet were bare, despite the bitter cold.

“Who are you?” I asked tentatively. The boy said nothing but gave a strange smile. His upper lip curled, almost a sneer. Everything was silent, except for the howling wind. Never blinking, the boy’s glinting black eyes held my gaze. There was something almost familiar about his eyes and I had the strangest feeling that I had seen him before.

“I’ve been looking for you for quite some time,” he said with a smirk. “You’re a hard one to catch.”

I raised my eyebrows, confused. No one had ever looked for me before. Rather, they prayed for me to run off so they didn’t have to deal with me for a while.

“What’s so special about me?” I asked, a hard edge in my voice.

The boy gave me his odd smile, and this time, I could see sharp teeth poking out from each corner of his upper lip. They were abnormally long teeth. Like mine.

“You look like a smart girl,” he said slyly. “I’m sure you’ll figure it out sooner or later.” Then, he grabbed me by the arm and dragged me further into the forest.

I twisted in my captor’s grasp, clawing and snarling like a feral animal. He didn’t seem to notice, though my claws were leaving long bloody scratches on his forearm.

“Stop it already, will you?” he snarled. Then his voice became soft and calm, almost soothing. “I’m not trying to hurt you.” Despite the situation, he made me feel safe and once again, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of familiarity. I stopped fighting.

“Good,” he said softly. “That’s much better.”

We stood there watching each other in silence as the heavy snow fell all around us.

“I’m going to let go now,” the boy said. “You are not going to run away.” He sounded confident.

“How are you so sure?” I asked with a sneer.

“I’ve got something to show you that I know you really want to see,” he said as a playful smile tugged at his lips.

“What is it?” I asked, irritated by his answer, or lack thereof. Yet, I was genuinely curious.

The boy narrowed his eyes.

“Look,” I said, sounding much more confident than I felt, “Either you tell me where you’re taking me, or I’m going to scratch and claw and bite you until I get away.”

He looked up to the moon, who was shining her beautiful light upon us through the barren tree branches. It looked as if he were asking for help from some almighty being. After a moment of silence, the boy heaved a heavy sigh and spoke,

“Fine,” he said, relinquishing his grip on my arm and backing away from me. “You want the truth? Well, here it is.”

I watched him, unimpressed. “What is that supposed to―” But before I could finish, the boy began to howl.

His beautiful melodic voice seemed to fill the entire wood. Somehow, I knew those lyrics. An overwhelming urge to sing filled my soul. Suddenly the music burst forth from my lungs, not in English, but in a language of howls. Long and short and loud and soft, all melding together in beautiful harmony. We sang of the moon and her children and all the creatures of the night. As I sang, I could feel myself changing. Growing. My body became larger as thick fur sprouted from my skin. My hands and feet became soft and padded. My bushy tail swayed happily in time to our song. I sang to the moon with all of my heart, with the boy by my side.

But he wasn’t a boy anymore. He was a wolf. He was a werewolf. As we sang, hundreds of other voices joined our own. It created a symphony that echoed all throughout the dark, cold woods. As the song faded away, the wolf-boy walked up to me and nuzzled my neck affectionately.

“Welcome home, sis,” my brother murmured.


Annelle Ryder is a nineteen-year-old with a fiery passion for writing. She has been writing since the age of six and hopes to someday be able to write for a living. Her greatest goal with her writing is to create characters that all people will be able to see themselves as and relate to. <3


Featured image by Henrikas Mackevicius on Pexels