The Beast Inside
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
Karen looked out the window, nervously fidgeting with the curtains. Her sister still wasn't home. She should have told her no when Kay asked to go to the park, but Billy had come over after school and being alone with the hottest boy at East River High had been too much of a temptation. Besides, Karen had reasoned, the park was just down the road, how much trouble could the little beast get into?
A lot, Karen now thought, glancing for the umpteenth time at the clock. Her mother would be home soon and when she found out Kay wasn't, well, the proverbial shit would be hitting the fan.
Karen's stomach clenched and she felt she might be sick. She wasn't worried about what her mother would do, but scared for Kay. She knew the rules and what time curfew was. She was late. That meant something had happened.
Technically they had to be in by dark and it wasn't quite dark yet. It was twilight though and a few of the stars were already beginning to twinkle in the night sky. It was cloudy, but not too and Karen could make out the edge of the park just down the road. She strained her eyes trying to see if she could see her sister's form heading her way. The street was empty.
Karen tapped her fingers on the window sill and looked at the clock again. Kay would never take her chances by pushing her curfew this far. Glancing out the window one more time, Karen made up her mind. Grabbing her cell phone from the kitchen table, she stepped out onto the porch and headed for the park.
The fall air was crisp and Karen shivered a little, stepping past a Jack o lantern she and Kay had carved the night before. Kay had insisted putting a friendly smile on the decoration, afraid that a ghoulish Jack o Lantern would scare the smaller kids. Karen had argued with her about it but had finally caved, knowing in the long run it really didn't matter. They would be at their dad's on Halloween, just as they were every year. Their dad's family had their own traditions on that night, which left their mother alone to pass out the candy. She said she didn't mind though and it gave her some time to herself.
"Besides," their mother would joke, "you two are beastly this time of year. At least this way I can guarantee there will be some candy to hand out to the kids. You two would eat it all if I let you."
Karen could hear children laughing as she got closer to the park. From the sound of it, a lot of jeering and mean spirited behavior and Karen knew she had been right to worry. She rounded the corner in time to see a particularly nasty and ugly boy prodding a stick at Kay, who was trying her best to back away from him. She had no place to go though, since a circle of cheering shildren surrounded Kay as they encouraged the boy to continue with his attack.
"Look at her," he laughed, poking Kay in the side, causing her to squeal in pain, "she's going to cry!"
Karen grit her teeth and pulled her ips back in a snarl when she saw what the boy was doing. Why couldn't they just leave her alone? Kay never did anything to them and was always ready to be friends with anyone that smiled in her direction. Unfortunately this lot saw her friendliness as weak and jumped at any opportunity to torment her.
"Go ahead and cry," the boy taunted, too busy with his 'game' to notice that his auduance was backing away.
"Kay, it's time to go home," Karen said, snatching the stick from the bully and breaking it in two. The other kids backed away a little more and then stopped, vultures watching their prey from a distance, waiting to pounce on any weakness that they found. Their eyes gleamed brightly as they waited to see what would happen. They were not disappointed, laughing when Karen took the two halves of the stick and smacked the boy in the back of the head.
"I should bend you over and beat your ass with these," Karen snarled, shaking the sticks in his face. Just for emphasis, she thrust them forward, jabbing them towards the boy's eyes.
"You can't touch me," the boy yelped, jumping away from Karen and rubbing the back of his head with his hand. With his other hand he pointed at Karen and said, "I'm going to tell my mom and you'll be in trouble."
"Go home," Karen said, turning her back on the kid, ready to follow her sister home. To her dismay Kay still stood there, her eyes wide. Karen was ready to tell her sister to scram when a cloud drifted across the sky and Karen realized what it was that had caused her sister to freeze.
The moon winked into view as the cloud passed and Karen dodged beneath a tree, hiding from its sight. Horrified she watched as Kay turned her head up and howled, belowing at the moon a primal song known only to those that the moon goddess had touched. Across the night sky, several voices joined Kay, their howls joining to welcome the moon to the night sky. As though in slow motion, Karen turned towards the kids and screamed, "RUN!"
These kids were in Karen's opinion exceptionally stupid. Since they had moved to this neighbothood a few months ago, she had observed them playing in the streets, refusing to move when a vehicle would try to pass, daring the motorist to hit them. They would stay out past the city wide curfew, running wild while their parents remained blissfully ignorant that they were failing at their duty to raise the next generation, they taunted dogs that were chained in yards and thought themselves invincible. So they were confused as to why this girl was screaming at them to run, despite the obvious transformation the smaller girl was going through.
Karen tured and looked back at her sister, whose face was changing shape, becoming longer and more wolf like, her hair, which had been short, growing longer and more wild, fur sprouting on her face and arms. Her nails too were growing, curving outward and her teeth were becoming sharper and more jagged. meant for tearing at flesh and bone.
Her body also was growing bigger, more muscular and it was doubtful that anyone could poke a stick at her in this form without losing an arm in the process. The children however were slow, something in their DNA causing them to fail to realize the danger they were all in. Karen turned once more and screamed for them to run, but all that was going through their mind was what an awesome Halloween costume this was.
Kay's transformation complete, she bellowed at the moon once more and turned to her sister, waiting. Karen shook her head, knowing what a mess was about to be created. However it was what it was and there was no stopping the inevitable. Stepping out of the shadows and into the moonlight, Karen joined her sister.
It was the boy with the stick that realized the danger first. He turned to run as Karen bounded towards him, clearing four rows of teeter totters in one leap. Kay overtook her sister though, the younger sibling being quicker and more agile. She pounced on the boys back, tearing into the back of his head with a clawed hand, spilling out blood and gray matter. He screamed, but it was cut off as quickly as it began, his larynx being ripped out by Kay’s teeth. Kay chewed at the organ, stringy mucus that had been contained within, remnants of a cold the boy was recovering from, hanging from her mouth. Spitting it out, the young werewolf turned her prey over and studied him a moment, searching his eyes as the life faded from them. Thoughtfully she picked up a stick and poked it at him, a wolfish chuckle rumbling in the back of her throat.
Tiring of the game, she scooped his insides out, tossing his intestines at the swingset and looking around for her sister. She found her eating an arm that had been ripped off of a blond girl. Kay thought she remembered her name was Susan, but she wasn’t sure; he thoughts were always fuzzy after the change.
She heard someone crying and went to search in the bushes. A frightened child was hiding among them and looked up at Kay, tears in her eyes. She was shaking and she flinched backwards when the werewolf pulled back the branches.
“Please don’t hurt me,” she whimpered.
Kay tried to mock the girl, repeating her, but with her mouth in the current state that it was, it came out, “Pwease don whooor meh.” The girl got the idea though and cringed as Kay laughed. The girl cried, remembering how Kay had been saying those same words earlier, when the group of kids had surrounded her. “Pwease don whoooor meh,” Kay repeated and snickered again, her wolfish howl sending chills down the girls spine. A puddle of water formed in the dirt the girl sat in and Kay chuckled harder, clapping her hands with delight. Then she reached out and ripped the girl’s head off.
It was morning when Karen and Kay returned home. Their mother sat waiting for them.
“Kay didn’t make it home by curfew,” Karen explained. I went to look for her.
“I tried,” Kay said, “but the kids were aound me and wouldn’t let me pass.
Their mother shook her head. She knew when she married their father that raising kids that were half were wolf half would be a challenge, but this was really getting to be too much. “Well, we are going to have to move…again,” she said, opening up the fridge. “Would you like some breakfast or have you already eaten?”
Karen sat at the table and shook her head. “I’m stuffed. I’m sure Kay is too.” Then she hung her head sheepishly and looked at her mother through her bangs. Kay burped and that caused Karen to begin laughing and their mother shook her head again, cuffing Kay lightly on her chin.
“It never ceases to amaze me,” she said, hugging her daughter, “how you can be so mild mannered in one form and so vicious in another.
“I don’t know,” Kays said, hanging her head and trying not to giggle. “I guess the moon just brings out the beast in me.”
Copuright©2011 Lisa McCourt Hollar. All rights reserved