If someone you love tells you he is going to hunt a particular werewolf, don't laugh.

Don't blink in surprise at the seemingly completely random statement. Don't watch his face remain stolidly neutral or switch to slight disappointed hurt at your laughter. Don't try to fix things by telling him he can't be serious when you can plainly see he us just looking at his determined face. Don't gawk at him with unbelieving eyes and expect him to tell you he's joking, that he's only playing April Fool's when it's the middle of May.

Don't glance out the window at the front of the house and see the dusk settling into night and stars twinkling in the same positions every night at the same time and the moon full and pregnant rising from the trees just starting to spring with life. Don't gulp and look at him with fear in your eyes as the night suddenly goes quiet as if the whole world is awaiting your further reaction. Don't whisper his name and allow him to brush tears from your cheeks while you are thinking he's gone mad and he's thinking you're asking him to stay. Don't watch numbly as he strokes your hair and goes to the bedroom you have shared together for fifteen years, raised two children from, screamed at each other from during severe arguments and grabs a gun from the top shelf of his precious gun rack – the heavy-duty rifle he has had as long as you have known him and never used.

Don't speed him off with a peck on the cheek, hoping he'll return in an our with his head hung in shame because he realizes he's senile or hoping that you get a call from the police hearing that they are holding him for the night for brandishing a weapon around town. Don't wait until he's halfway to the door to tell him you love him and warn him that he better not get into any trouble with the ladies (jokingly since you know he'd never cheat on you) and wish he'd told you that was what he was doing rather than what he's really doing. Don't watch in dark silence as his truck pulls out of the driveway and turns right at the stop sign, heading in the "bad" direction.

Don't pace the floor between the phone and the door, wishing, praying, that one will ring or one will open, knowing that neither will happen as long as you pace. Don't sit down and stare at the television set blankly. Don't pick up a photo album and remember all the good times: the high school graduation where you first met him, the café on a business trip in Europe where he got down on his knees before the Louvre and proposed, the hospital where your first son was born, the nursing home where you said your last good-byes to his grandmother who you loved dearly for her cookies, the kindergarten classroom your daughter hated because she had to leave her daddy, your class reunion where he proposed again and celebrated his twentieth year of marriage to you, the moment last year when your youngest entered her first middle school play as a seventh grader. Don't blot your tears with a bit of tissue and pretend everything will be all right.

Don't get dressed for bed near two in the morning and ask forgiveness from the Lord for whatever you did to Him and do not remember so that He'll send him back to you. Don't wake up with dark circles under your eyes because you couldn't sleep a wink for fear you wouldn't hear him return to you and you would miss the chance of a lifetime. Don't run to the phone and answer it with a frantic tone that will worry your neighbor asking for a bit of sugar. Don't continue looking out the window and hope beyond hope that it was all a dream – that his truck is parked right outside as it has remained for the past two years on a Saturday.

Don't stride down the driveway to get the mail and stand there holding a bunch of bills while you gaze down the road in hopes of seeing him turn the corner and wave to you just before he blows a kiss. Don't turn on the television and watch the news with rapt attention. Don't listen to the broadcast about a murder the night before that left a middle-aged man with a gunshot wound to the chest and a fierce bitemark on his shoulder. Don't gasp when they show the man and ask if anyone knew him would call in because he had not had a wallet on him and could not be identified as of yet. Don't pretend you're in a fantasy – a very dark and evil fantasy – and try to shake it off.

Don't call the police and tell them you'll be down in fifteen minutes because that's how far a drive it is from your house to the precinct. Don't open the door and gasp in surprise when you see a man standing there with a gun thrown over his shoulder and a shirt half-torn with claw marks and recognize him for who you love. Don't clasp him tightly and pull him inside and ask him where he was when he winces away from your touch as if he doesn't know you. Don't allow him to sit at your table with your children when he tells you he had a twin he you've never met before.

Don't allow him to grind his brother in front of the children as if he was dirt or lower. Don't gaze into his eyes and notice there's something odd about them and watch as his eyes narrow in anger or disgust. Don't jump from your chair and run screaming when you realize this strange man killed your husband and is shifting to kill you now. Don't tell the children to get the police when you are yanked off your feet and turned on your back so that you stare up into the snarling face of a wolf with the same yellow-gold eyes the stranger had had.

Don't whimper as the wolf gingerly nips at you. Don't remind yourself of the animal instinct to mate when you see him shift back to human form just above you. Don't close your eyes and pray it will be over soon as he bites your neck and draws blood. Don't open your eyes and look up at the moon through the window when you know it's full. Don't allow the howl top pass your lips when you realize you are beginning to change.

Don't run with the wind through the trees and join others like you and forget your children and howl at the moon and dismiss your husband's death and live off your wolf side's instincts to hunt, kill, and feed. Don't pretend you don't remember what happened when you wake up cold and alone in a pool of blood that smells like a deer's but could belong to anything for as bad as your human nose remains in its mortal sense.

Don't think you can go home after you scared your children and endanger them to the life you must now live for you know your wolf side will kill them for not being like you because they have become weakened prey later in life. Don't look at the sky and swear out loud to change whatever damnation that has now befallen you due to your undoing. Don't hate and curse yourself for not being what everyone else expects you to be.

Don't live in fear that you will become hunted and alter your attitude toward humanity, blaming it for what has befallen you and your family. Don't change willingly and choose to be happy with what you have become because you believe you can't change it and shouldn't try.

If you are ever put into that position, don't forget me.