Noire

My feet pound against the wet grass. The air is thick with the smell of rain, and little droplets cling to my skin and hair.

I race through the trees, ignoring the chill and the damp. The forest is filled with the susurrus of rain, punctuated by rolls of thunder, and the sound of footfalls in chase behind me.

The silhouettes of the trees blur at the edges of my vision, but I can see the dark forms bend and bow, swaying beneath the strong wind.

A jagged bolt of lightning rips apart the sky, revealing the angry, wrinkled faces of the hovering clouds. Somewhere behind them is a full moon, waiting for me.

Sometimes, it feels like a dream. But his footsteps behind me are a sobering reminder that it is not.

He is the man who killed my parents two years ago, who stood above me, covered in their blood, and asked me if I wanted to die. He is the man who made me what I am.

My legs are burning, my breathing ragged as I come to a small clearing in the trees. I slow and turn to watch him approach. We're both soaked, and I push the wet strands of hair from my face and wait for him to speak.

I do not fear him. I do not hate him. Those emotions died inside me a long time ago. And he only watches me with vigilant eyes that glow in the night's dim light.

I glance to the sky, which has become a patchy gray with a few winking stars peaking between the clouds. The rain has stopped. A distant roll of thunder rumbles faintly.

He hooks his thumbs in the pocket of his jeans and pushes at a pile of leaves with a bare toe.

Neither of us speaks. We can both feel it approaching and growing.

There's nothing to say. He belongs to the realm of fiction, to the world of my nightmares. And I am here, because of it. I understand his loneliness, but I cannot forgive him for it.

I am a prisoner to the same instinct.

The last wisps of clouds retreat, and suddenly, the full moon is revealed, round and bright. I stare at it for a moment, horrified and fascinated by its hypnotic beauty.

And then the change begins—cracking and burning and delusions to bridge the divide between man and animal. I hear screams, my own cries mingled with the shouts of the man. I press my eyes closed, struggling to keep my conscience.

But it slips away. By morning, this night will be nothing more than a vague nightmare.

The pain recedes, and I feel the earth beneath my paws, the heavy air weighing upon my fur, and the hunger burning in my stomach. I hear the mournful call of the man as he lifts his head to the round moon, and I join his sad chorus. And the hunt begins.

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Written for the Review Game's May Writing Challenge Contest. Vote for your favorite between the 8th and the 14th.