You have before you my newest short story, title evident. As the story evolves, I will post a link on the bottom of each page, leading to the next segment of story, and on each subsequent segment, I will put a link back to previous segments. I do this for a few reasons.
1.) I want to allow readers to get a quick taste of fiction during their hurried blog readings. Not everyone has the time to read a 10k word short story. =)
2.) I hate long posts that stretch for miles. I like the feel of “turning a page”, even if it means clicking a button.
3.) (Selfish Reason) I won’t have to struggle with what I’m going to post on the blog today!
And now, without further ado:
By the Light of the Velvet Moon
Cicadas sang their long awaited mating song, drowning out the other usual sounds of the night. The whisper of the wind, the hush of the stream, the chatter of the crickets and the frogs, all masked by the cacophony of the insects firmly set in finding a mate before the end of the summer and their ultimate deaths. That seemed to be fate of all the creatures of the forest: a fast, hurried life, brief moments of pleasure and procreation, and then death, either at the mouths of other beasts in search of a meal, or by the curse of a short life span.
I was bothered by none of this. I had no hunter, I was in no hurry to die, and a mate was not in the cards for me. No wolf would have a mate so queer. This was the very reason why I wandered these woods alone. The call of my brethren sang enticingly, even over the song of the cicadas. I whimpered, but did not respond. They would not welcome me into their packs, would not walk fur to fur with me through the woods as I longed to do. My scent was in harmony with theirs, but soon my voice would no longer be capable of the bittersweet song that I longed to sing.
Even if I were to join them, it would not be long before my presence was no longer welcome.
I turned my nose to the sky and inhaled the crisp night air. There was something different in its fragrance tonight, something that did not smell of fur or feathers, honey suckle or hickory. It was foreign. Odd.
Leading me away from the calls of the pack, the smell moved my cautious paws, driving them closer by curiosity. In a moment of self-awareness, my eyes scanned the blanket of stars. The moon was full, but still hidden by a mask of trees. My heart raced, conflicted between investigating the mysterious smell, and seeking shelter before the moon hit its apex.
I whimpered and pawed the ground nervously in my indecision. In the end, curiosity won. With a huff, I put my nose to the ground and air and sought out the object of my obsession. I found it near the edge of the woods, almost outside of my territory. If I had continued much farther, I would have crossed the black river. I was afraid of the black river. It often smelled of death.
The source of the scent was a discarded heap of colorful skins. They did not move, smell, or look like fur or scales, but they had the same disembodied movement of a snakeskin when I brushed them with my paws. A sound in the near distance snapped my ears to attention, like the snapping of a twig. It was followed by other sounds, familiar sounds, more snapping, accompanied by an anguished scream, like the final yell of a dying bear that morphed into the bitter howl of a pained wolf.
I panicked and ran, leaving the mysterious skins behind, racing through the woods to my secret spot. The unnatural howl followed me on the wind. It was lupine, but I had no desire to join it as I did the howls of the pack.