So…how do I begin?

I guess I should say the obvious. You saw the title, so you probably already know, but I need to write it. It's a barrier I have to pass, a self-imposed taboo I must break.

My name is Henry Landis, I'm 22 years old, and I am a werewolf…or rather, a Lycan. There's no real difference, it's not as if I'm offended by the term werewolf and I want to everyone to be politically correct about it. I just like the term better. I've been like this for about eight years now.

Let me get one thing clear…this is not going to be anything like you're expecting. You're expecting a tale of woe, one man's struggle against his bestial curse, leading up to a tragic ending in which his former love is forced to shoot him. Well, for one thing, I don't have a "love" to shoot me. I'm terrible with women.

More importantly, both the lore and the movies are all wrong. I don't hunt under the full moon, I'm not invulnerable to anything that isn't silver, and I have never fought and/or dated vampires. I'm getting ahead of myself. This is a damn long story, and you should know a little more about the person it follows than just the fur and fangs.

I'm mostly an awkward nerd. I like videogames, and movies made before I was even born. I'm a little eccentric, which considering my on-going situation isn't really surprising. I'm shy to new people, but when I know them, I have the tendency to become the joker of the group, which isn't entirely a defence mechanism. I never really fit in anywhere though…even less so now.

Introductions over, I'll get to why you're here. Firstly, the rules, but I only have what I know to go on. Maybe it works differently for others, but this is all I know.

Like I said, the lore got it wrong and the movies even more so. Most importantly, we don't lose control. When you turn, you're the same person you were before mentally, albeit with a few canine quirks thrown in. The tendency to growl at things that displease you, instinctively sniffing the air, that sort of thing. As time goes on, these little instincts bleed into daytime life as well, all easily resisted and hidden. That is, if you want to. The only really dangerous thing is depriving yourself of meat. It doesn't have to be human, or even fresh, it just has to have been alive. At least one decent portion per 48 hours should do it. Any less and you'll start to get real snappy with people. I've never hurt anyone because of it, but I fear that's only because I've never gone veggie for more than about two and a half days.

The full moon has little to do with it. I've always thought any impact it did have is simply because the link is so well established in popular culture that it creates a placebo effect. No, it's both far more frequent and far more controllable. For the most part, "the victim" can choose when they want to transform, even during the day should they wish, but make no mistakes, it has to happen. You'll get the urge to at least once every three nights. You can resist it easily even then, no harder than resisting the urge to drop a hot plate. If you stop it for five nights, you'll be in severe pain. It's almost unbearable at seven nights, the furthest I've managed to go. I wouldn't recommend it any longer than five, because at that point, it doesn't even matter whether it's night or not, you'll constantly feel the need to shift.
As for how one becomes a werewolf…I honestly don't know. I'm not the seventh son of a seventh son (who the hell has seven sons anyway?), and I don't think I was bitten. The closest I can remember is being bit by a hobo, and that memory is so vague that it could well be a dream. Indeed, I often wonder if I made that up to lend some sort of explanation to my experiences. It doesn't happen in one night, either. It happens over the course of years. Every transformation is a little more beastly than the last, until you finally come to full form, an anthropomorphised wolf thing. Honestly, I'd have preferred to get it over with.

Of course, you probably want to know about the powers, huh? It's the small things that are the most powerful, though. The movies make a big thing of the increased strength, but it's not really that much. I'm certainly stronger than I would be otherwise, but I'm no incredible hulk. The sense of smell is the most powerful, followed by the hearing. It's impossible to describe how it feels once that really starts coming in. You get headaches from the sensory overload, for a few days, it's impossible to focus on any one thing. Once you get over it, it really is amazing. The only way I can describe it is if someone put the world into HD, and that lame description probably says a lot for how hard it is to describe. Humans truly don't know how much they miss.

And now the big one. The transformation itself. It's not quite as painful as the films make out…not quite, but it's still incredibly painful. Of course, it's a little different as things get more severe, but typically, it starts with a hot, itchy feeling all over. You can probably guess that's the fur growing. Then the pangs of sharp pain, as if you're being punched from the inside. You start to change shape, a bit of extra muscle mass first, then the legs followed closely by the face. Your hands temporarily go into a fit as pads grow on your palms and you grow claws from your nails. This happens to the feet shortly after. The face is undoubtedly the worse part. It's one of the first parts to start changing, and one of the last parts to stop, and it is agony, someone grabbing the front of your mouth and nose, pulling it out in front of you, and combining them into a muzzle. You'll want to close your eyes, but you physically can't for longer than a second. You have to watch this unnatural thing happening. Your ears feel similarly to the mouth, as if they're being pulled and stretched. The whole thing takes about ten minutes.

When it's over, you're usually left catching your breath on the floor. It's so hard to explain the feelings you get next. Sure, it's not so bad…you don't wake up the next morning with bloody rags in a ditch, but…to not be human anymore…it's simultaneously liberating and terrifying. Some nights are better than others. A lot of the time, I'll just curl up on the bed and watch a movie. Sometimes that's nice. It's like the human world, and all its problems are a thousand miles away. Other times, well, I'll cry. For hours on end, I'll cry and howl and lament my lost humanity, whatever that even means. Yes, I'm a grown man, and it still happens. After eight long years it still happens sometimes, it's still all too much.

In fact, that's why I wrote this. So many secrets, so many lies…and all of it such a burden. I needed to get it down on paper. More than that, I needed someone to see it. I just could not keep it to myself, not any longer.

That's it for now. Maybe next time, I'll tell you about those eight years I spent keeping it all in. Now if you excuse me, it's coming up to midnight, and I'm starting to itch.