Teratogenesis

An ongoing serial in the form of a blog.

Thirteen Lunar Months In The Life Of A Lycanthrope
teratogenesisuk

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read Teratogenesis over the last year.

At times this has been a real labour of love, at others simply a labour.  I’ve learned many things from the Teratogenesis project:  design skills, web managing, how to run a blog.  I’ve also learned that I love to write and no matter how tough it is to write at times, it’s generally worth it.

This first draft will remain up as long as LiveJournal want and it will remain free for that whole time.  However, an edited text will soon be available as an eBook with bonus material.  Keep an eye on GLOSSOLALIA for more details and for my further work.

For those of you who are new to Teratogenesis, where else should you start but the beginning?  The image below will take you to the first post and you can read on in order without spoiling anything.  Although, the title of this post is a big clue…

Totality

Dedication:

This work is dedicated to my parents and my grandparents for making me who I am.


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By the time you read this, I will be gone.

On Monday morning, Lyall came to see me.  He forced his way in through the door, ravening and insane.  He kicked and beat me the length of the hallway, shrieking all the time about hunger and treason and perfect quiet.  I heard ribs and bones snap over and over.  The message was clear:  this beating would have killed a lesser man, but Lyall did not want me dead, not yet at least.  Every instinct in my body was to change, to become the beast, and fight back.  But escalation would do me no good.  Lyall was used to his body, he would know how to change, where would hurt me and how to ride with my blows.  Reason was my ally, not his.

I was scrabbling across the floor, to the packed bag I had been keeping under the table.  I knew it inside and out since my trip last week.  I plunged my hand into it as Lyall sank his teeth, his fangs, into my thigh.  I couldn’t help but close my fist around it as my hamstrings snapped.  Although the knife seemed red hot and heavy in my hand, I lashed out as I rolled back.  It was an arcing strike that gouged the table leg and Lyall’s neck.  The blade bit deeper than any fang or claw, puncturing blood vessels and his airway.  My brother, the wolf, fell back whimpering, his tail literally between his legs.

It was a shock for me to see an actual werewolf.  In dreams, strange things come and go, but to see the wolf in my living room was something else.  We are larger than any wolf or man, covered in a wolfish fur.  The head has the muzzle and fangs of wolf and the ears but is otherwise human, apart from the fur and the burning golden eyes.  The hands are human, but with the pads of a hound on the palm and fingers, the nails are black talons.  The body is broad across the chest, the arms jointed with a second elbow, the legs with a second knee.  The spine extends into a bushy tail.  The stench is body odour, blood and dog.  Scars grow white fur.  The blood pressure is massive, Lyall’s wound painting the opposite wall scarlet.  The voice is capable of all human and wolf range.  My brother begged for mercy as he cowered before me.  And I gave it.

I took off my bloody shirt, slipped the tracksuit bottoms I’d been wearing off and changed.  I’d been practicing, trying to change without tearing my clothes, without knocking things over.  Without dropping what I held in my hands.  The knife screamed through my senses, as acrid as the hot metal I’d forged it from, as bitter as a battery on the tongue, but I did not let go.  I pinned Lyall with my knees, he offered no resistance, submitting to his elder and alpha.  I took hold of his muzzle with my left hand, careful not to scratch him with my claws.  When he realized what kind of mercy I was going to show, he started to struggle but a predator’s jaw are a one way trap, all the strength is in the closing.  As I drew the blade across his throat, it didn’t bite until it reached the nick from the table leg.  I cut as deep and as quickly as I could, a mortal blow.

The werewolf physiology permits no surrender, Lyall thrashed as he died, raking his claws against me.  His body tried to boil new blood to replace that lost to his wounds.  Even for his huge form, there was far too much blood crying out of him for his body to have held.  But the moon is our mistress and our body cannot deny her hand.  Her silver is our bane, the one wound which we cannot salve.  I had to plunge the knife into the back of his neck, where spine meets skull, into his animal brain to give him any peace.  I rolled him onto his back as he moulted and shrivelled back into a man.  “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” because it bypasses the ribs.  The silver blade pierced his heart and I left it there.

I expected grief, as I knelt over my brother’s corpse, but we had grieved for Lyall long ago.  And what had come for me that day was not my brother, not truly.  His soul was long lost to that madness I almost killed myself to overcome.  Madness; such a relative term.  Lyall was a danger, not just to me, but to every human being in this city.  I have know idea what he has done, how he has lived, but I know that no good has come of him in a long time.  I wanted to ask him so many questions:  “Where did you go?”  “When did you start changing?”  “How long did you resist the hunger?  Did you fight it at all?”  But there will be no answers.

It was dark by the time I finally stood up.  I had changed back without thinking and feeling the evening cold.  Either no one heard or no one cared about the commotion.  The blood had congealed.  I didn’t dress straight away, but showered instead, washing the blood from my bones.  I dressed for cold weather:  vest, t-shirt, shirt, jumper, long socks and combat pants.  I took my coat from the broken stand in the hallway and checked that it was clear of blood.  I put on my slippers and tucked my trousers into my socks, and carefully avoided the blood.  From blood stained backpack from under the table, I took what I needed and left the laundry in the bottom.  The useful gear, the flint and steel, the whetstone, the Swiss army knife, went into the pack I’d bought especially for this final flight.  When I was packing for last week’s trip, I started setting aside what I would be taking and what I would be leaving.  Instead of going home for Christmas this year, I made excuses to my parents (“I’m too busy with work, the trains are too bad) and packed.  I’ve been ready to go for while.  I just needed someway to slip past Lyall.  And now I don’t.

I need to leave now.  There is a dead body in my flat and it’s a hell of a mess to leave for Trudie to clear up, but I have  left a confession that will make more sense than the truth pinned to the door.  My laptop is left running and this should post automatically at 4pm on Thursday.  I have to go and I can’t come back.  In the eyes of the human law, I am a murderer.  By the laws of my own kind, I am a traitor to our god.  I do not recognise the authority of either to judge me.  I renounce them all and will live my life alone, in the wild.

 

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This morning I had dry bread and homebrew for breakfast.  Larry Talbot never had to put up with that.  I doubt he had to be up at half five in the morning, either.

I won’t go into too much detail about the Wolf-Key ritual, but it is out there on the internet and common to what I now know are several different shape-shifting cults and magical traditions.  It is used in variants by the berserkers in Europe, the magi of the Hermetic traditions, the fox-people of Japan, jaguar shamans in the Amazon and is part of some voodoo traditions via their African roots.  Essentially, the principle is to purify yourself and then induce an altered state in which you contact you totem.  The various means of purification and altered states are what set each variant apart from the others:  one witch might fast and drink a mushroom tea, another ascetic might purge themselves with salt water and mortify themself.  I elected to just wash with a bottle of mineral water I’d brought with me.  This almost sent me into a vision quest in itself.  When I started this, I didn’t factor in having melt the water in the first place as it had frozen in the bottle, let alone risking hypothermia.

I set off yesterday morning, allowing plenty of time to get away from the city.  I decided to perform the ritual in the Peak District because I plan on going somewhere else when I shed my skin.  This meant various bus and train connections, before hiking off across a common in the middle of the night.  I’m exaggerating a bit there, it was half four in the afternoon but it didn’t get any darker through the night.  I didn’t bother making camp anywhere, I just walked and walked as far as I could away from civilisation.  I had a thermos of hot water and a loaf of normal bread and picked at these as I went.  It was quite spooky and I get my nostrils open for warning signs that this might be the hunting grounds of another werewolf.  I had the knife, just in case.

Eventually, I felt myself drifting off and decided to give in to the wolf.  Stripping in minus-God-knows-what on a heath, in the middle of the night, is one of the most reckless things I’ve ever done.  I simply had to trust that the fur I was about to grow would keep me warm.  Luckily, it did and it was so cold I was able to experience my first conscious transformation.  It was very much the opposite of the change as I’ve felt it in the nightmares I’ve had.  It’s just as painful and terrifying, but I felt as though I was coming up to the surface of a deep lake of blood, drawing breath as my mind and body return to humanity.  I imagine that it is very much like being born.  There was the usual pain in my limbs and trunk, in fact pretty much everything short of my hair felt like it had been torn and broken.  I soon went numb, as I woke up naked on the snow, having to shift my arse and dress before I not only froze to death, but froze to the ground.

I dashed back to my gear and put my clothes back on.  Bringing a couple of those little tin camping stoves was one of my better ideas.  I lit two of them and sat between them as I fought off frostbite and boiled a few handfuls of snow to drink and defrosted the water to wash.  It was quarter to five and I had to prepare myself for the ritual, laying out my blanket, bread and beer.  Thankfully, I had hot water to wash with, though it soon froze… on my skin.  Even between the two stoves, there was simply no way for me to stay warm as ice formed me and I changed into the clean clothes I’d brought.

I was not prepared for what the kykaon and wolf-bread would do to me.  Ice cold herbal beer isn’t that bad, it’s the pins and needles, spastic tremors (worse even than the shivering,) vomiting and migraines that put me off.  I took my first bite of the bread and mouthful of kykaon as the eclipse began.  It was too cloudy to see the moon, but I could feel the shadow begin to slide across the secret, silver disc in the sky.  I had specific things to focus on, images that were important to me and represented specific anchors and footholds on my descent into the spirit world.  When I reached specific ones, I would have to drink more beer and eat more bread.  I thought everything was okay until I looked up and saw the moon turning red.  All perfectly normal for a lunar eclipse and then I realised that the clouds hadn’t parted and the moon should not have been visible at all.  Soon, the various icons and mementos began to come to life in my mind, wriggling away from my minds eye or trying to hold my attention as I went from one to another.  It was increasingly difficult to follow but I need to make a sort of controlled descent to acclimatize my mind.  I don’t know whether it is because of what I am and the natural connection I have with my ancestors or whether it is just the way the ritual works, but I was finally able to make a safe contact with the ancestor who cursed me and all my kin.  Stay with me, this was when it all got a bit psychedelic.

The-One-Who-Brings-Night was the son of the Wolfish King.  The Wolfish King had declared war against the Kaleidoscope God and was faced with only one means of destroying That-Which-Is-All-Things;  he would have to open a way for Outer Dark, the maddening void that burns at the touch of creation.  Not simply the absence of anything, the Outer Dark is an active and malignant intelligence, responsible for everything that destroys and corrodes: from the simple and implacable entropy in thermodynamics to vast, cyclopean demons left dead and gestating in the hearts of black holes.  An generation of monsters had been birthed, but each had been slain by heroes, each of whom formed a single chip in the stained glass window of The God.  But the Wolfish King offered something to Outer Dark that it could not deny, a race of beasts who would swear themselves to the destruction of All Things.  The Outer Dark had the King make a sacrifice to the Kaleidoscope God, but to poison it with the flesh of his son, The-One-Who-Brings-Night.  Through this blasphemy, the Outer Dark was able to breach the gates of creation and seed itself inside the Kaleidoscope God.  With brands of black bale-fire, it burned The Wolfish King and his sons to bitter ashes and remade The-One-Who-Brings-Night into a king fit for both wolves and men.  It taught The-One-Who-Brings-Night how to undo his flesh and remake it into the shape of a wolf, to proof himself against the destruction of his body, it dissolved the bonds of time and space placed on his mind by the Kaleidoscope God.  And in return, The-One-Who-Brings-Night swore that he would sacrifice his own sons and daughters, as he had been sacrificed, to the war of the Outer Dark.  These are the things I learned, first hand, from this terrible unborn hunger.

There was a specific way to end the ritual, a formal path moving from chthonic memory back to consciousness, a way to bind the unconscious with chains of adamant.  I eventually came to, it was light and my clothes shredded by another transformation.  I was freezing for the third time before lunch.  On reflex, I shrugged down into a warmer, wolfier form and was amazed to find my mind my own!  This prompted a fair amount of running, jumping, test-driving and generally doggy scampering.  The ritual worked.  Although, I’m sure you’d guessed that by now.

It was almost lunchtime and I had no intention of trudging back through the snow in damp clothes and boots, so I packed everything back into backpack, then changed again.  There was no pain this time, no plunge toward death and rebirth.  I was suddenly just a rather large wolf wriggling it’s front paws through the straps of a back pack.  And then I was away, bulking out my shoulders (front hips?) until the bag secure on my back.  Even in the snow, there was no problem following my tracks, the spoor I left was as much a psychic leaving of guilt and resolve as size ten footprints.  I was able to make it back to the last village by two o’clock, although I had to circle around it until I could find somewhere discreet enough to get dressed.  I had time to kill before the bus arrived, so I bought a couple of packs of sandwiches in the village shop and ate soup in the pub.  I couldn’t face a beer, though.  Then it was back into the palava of buses and trains and cancellations until I got home at about half seven.  While I’ve written this, I’ve cooked and eaten two steaks and a pork chop.  I’ve not bothered with veg, I’m a carnivore now.  I’ve also drunk three cups of tea and I’m only just warming up.  Tonight I intend to curl up in bed, under my duvet and my fur.

 

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On Thursday, I caught up with Trudie during my lunch.  I haven’t really seen her in weeks but I still think she deserves an explanation.  It was quite strange, she was as quiet as a mouse the whole time I was talking, watching me watch her.  I think she can tell that something had changed.  Whenever I scratched my stubble, she’d bite her nails or tuck her hair behind her ear, mirroring my movements.  It was eerie, the shift in who was enthralled with who.  I hope I was as gracious as Trudie had been with me.  I tried to make a little small talk, how everything was with the quiz (they’ve stopped going apparently) and how everybody was (she’d not seen them since,) but Trudie was so strange.  I asked her if we could meet after work on Friday, and she jumped at the chance saying that she’d cancel her plans and we could meet up.  I said “no, don’t do that” and she just asked when and where we should meet.  Considering the mountains we used to have to move to meet up, this was really disconcerting.  Anyway, we arranged to meet earlier today and I’d explain everything.

I needed somewhere that Lyall couldn’t follow, somewhere to break the trail to Trudie.  Since he’s been living like a tramp for the last ten years, I asked Trudie if she’d like to go to one of the swankier restaurants in town, knowing that there’d be no way for him to get in without making a scene.  And if he did make a scene, I’d have killed him there and then and confessed everything.  I am ready to leave right now.  The kykeon I’ve brewed for the wolf-key rite is done, I’ve baked the bread with the remaining ergot, I’m only waiting for the eclipse on Tuesday.  It will be the ideal time for the ritual, the moon is full but it will be eclipsed, meaning that I’m as close to this power as I’ll ever be for another month, but it’s power over me will be weakened briefly.  It’s also the shortest day, when that terrible feast was held, all those generations ago, and I was cursed along with my ancestors.  The wolf-key had been celebrated in those dark and liminal days in ancient times, the secret passed from tribe to tribe and cult to cult.  Thank god for the internet is all I can say.  I don’t think I’d have stood a chance at doing this if I’d had to fast and purify and work my way through secret degrees and orders.  It would have consumed me completely.

Considering I don’t really plan on ever spending any in my new life as a wolf, money wasn’t an object.  I wore my suit and we went to lunch in a restaurant that charges most of a week’s wages for two courses.  I think Trudie would have believed me if I had told her the truth.  She was leaning forward the whole meal and I had to order for her because she didn’t even open her menu.  It was terrible to see her like that, as though she was in some sort of trance.  Part of the attraction to Trudie had been her opinions and how much I agreed with her.  It was disappointing to be the one leading the dance, when we used to do everything together.  She believed everything, how my estranged brother was back, how he’d gone crazy (which is true, lycanthropic psychosis is an actual condition.)  How I was leaving and needed her help with closing up my flat, how she was not to go near until I sent her a text with the all clear, so she would be safe from Lyall.  I bought another of the silver necklaces (it seemed to weigh a ton in my pocket) and gave it to her over dessert.  I’d not taken it out of the box, I’m getting itchy red welts from handling the knife I made, so I think silver is becoming as much a bane to me as it is to Lyall.  As soon as she put it on, she seemed to brighten up, as though she’d mentally yawned and cleared her head.  We agreed that she’d meet with my landlord and hand everything back in the new year, I gave her my parent’s address to forward whatever remains of the deposit.  I gave her a letter I’d written for them, too.  It explains everything, completely, right from Lyall leaving to the madness of this last six months.

I’ve handed my notice in at work, I should be able to give them the two weeks, providing the ritual works.  If it doesn’t, then I’m not likely to care.  We’ve been carrying so much dead weight this last year, we all know what the others do and have got on top of everything since I took over.  It didn’t take much to convince management that the job wasn’t working out.  I just said that it wasn’t the challenge I’ve been looking for.  It’s only half-truth, my job isn’t especially challenging now that we’ve got a handle on the work coming in.  It still surprises me how much work my predecessor was making for the rest of us.  The whole thing seems pretty irrelevant now, though.  In a week, I will have resolved my wolf nature, one way or another.  Once I have, I can live wild and free and feral, setting aside the nonsense of civilisation.

I can’t stand it much longer.  The urge to run and scream and howl.  I want to lash out at everything and anything that crosses me and it’s taking more and more of my willpower not to.  And there is more and more that is pissing me off, too.  With my hearing as sharp as it is these days, the sound of everyone in the office breathing grates on my nerves.  The scents and odours of the city turn my stomach.  My patience has gone out the window.  I’m sick of it.  Sick of it all.  I just want to tear it all down.  Only, it’s not me, not entirely.  It’s the hungry ghosts of my ancestors, and the monstrous emptiness they are enslaved to, that want to burn it all down, to crack the earth and douse the stars.

 

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I’m resolved to what I have to do.  I need to set a lot more distance between between myself and the civilised world.  The hunger is ascendant, it’s growing stronger day by day.  In my dreams, it calls to me.  It speaks of an ancient war against the gods, of oaths sworn to destruction and a war against the world.  This emptiness isn’t just the wolf-shade of my ancestors, it is an entry into this world for an some unknowable un-thing.  It is the antique and benighted soul of my forbear, but it is also the shark’s fin of a predator from before the dawn of creation, cresting into a world it has no good business in.  And it will consume me as it consumes all things if I don’t resist.  If the wolf-key ritual fails, I will become a cannibal thing like my brother.

If the ritual does fail, there’ll be no second chance.  I need to skirt so close to this abyss that should I stumble, I would fall forever and become the hand of the annihilation that haunts me.   But if I can master it’s secrets, it will hold no power over me; there will be no coin for it to buy my soul and I can be incorruptible.  But if I cannot steal it’s secrets, like the berserker and varangian cults before me, then I will be forced to give trade my flesh and soul to salve the gnawing within me.  I’ll defusing a bomb in my own heart and if it fails, it will destroy me.

Isolation is what I need.  I will conduct the ritual somewhere lonely and out of the way.  It’s supposed to be easier and have a greater chance of success that way.  But I need to wrap up my life here.  There can be no return from this, even if I am successful.  Especially if I succeed, for what would there be left for me?  Over the last year, I have already died to myself, changing from one man into another; now, I need to slip loose my humanity and become the wolf.  I cannot keep pretending: my work means nothing to me, Trudie would never be safe with me, my home is a cage.  I am a wolf.  I know this now.  An omega wolf, a willing outcast, even amongst my own cursed kind.

In any case, I will be clearing as much of my stuff out of the flat as I can.  A pair of duffel bags is waiting in my bedroom.  One is filled with warm clothes and bedding, the other with camping equipment.  My destination is set far from here, where no one will know me and I can live in peace.  Even if it all goes wrong.  Should I succumb to the alien hatred, there will be nothing that will suffer under me, nothing for me to hunt or kill bigger than a rabbit or a badger.

I’ll set my computer to post one last blog entry once I’m gone and leave it running.  I’ll explain everything- well, almost everything- to Trudie.  I’ve sent notice to my landlord that I’ll be leaving in the end of January;  I’ll be long gone by then and the keys will be on the table, deposit be damned.  I’ve given the same date to the phone and electricity companies and they’ve sent out final bills.    I’m not bothered about the cost, where I’m going, money will do me no good.

 

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He’s been following me all week.  Everywhere I’ve been this week, I’ve caught a whiff of him.  A reek of dog and cold blood and a brother I haven’t seen in our entire adult lives.  I can walk into a room and I can smell his breath, his perspiration, the cells his skin sheds.  Lyall is my brother and I’d know him anywhere, even without the paranoia that had been stropping my senses to an edge.  I’ve felt his eyes on me from passing busses.  He’s left his reek in the cafe where I get my lunch.  His footsteps were around every corner.  The remains of my brother are a carriage for this wicked hunger, this shadow that has haunted my ancestors for centuries.

In the dreams, I’ve tried to get as close as possible, but as I get closer to it, it starts to gnaw on me.  I can’t focus on this thing without it trying to get it’s claws into me.  I know that if I stare directly at this gorgon, it will rust through my soul.  But it is the source of all this and I’ve got to find a way to free myself from it.  All I can do is look back and the furthest I can go is to the bronze age and to a nightmare of human sacrifice.  I see a house laid to ruin, it’s patriarch glutted on blood and it’s sons carving the flesh from the corpse of their youngest brother.  I feel tongues of fire arc from the cannibal feast and burn them to ashes.  I watch as flesh stiches itself back on to bone, as veins trace their way through fat, coarse hair covers skin and the youngest son is remade into an instrument of destruction, as the very shade that haunts me and possesses my brother rends it’s father to scraps of meat.

If I can’t escape this fate, I need to be as far away from people as possible and with no way of making it back to them.  The wolf key ritual needs to be performed somewhere isolated, somewhere I can quarantine the plague I would become.  Either way, I’ll be dying to myself.  I will need to leave my life behind.  And what is my life?  It’s all been burned behind me anyway.  I’ve got a lease on a flat that almost collapsed beneath me, an ex-girlfriend I have to walk past on a daily basis and a family that either thinks I killed my brother or wants to eat me alive.  I’d trade it all to live the rest of my life in dog years, free of all burdens and lies.

But there are preparations to be made.  The ergotised beer is bubbling nicely and should be ready in about two weeks.  I need to work my notice.  I need to close the utilities.  Divest myself of all the crap I’ve accumulated over the years:  the paperbacks, the games and distractions, the exercise bike, the noisy electronic devices that filled my life.  I want to explain everything to Trudie.  My brother must be killed.  There is a lot that must be done and little time to do it.

 

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A few weeks ago, I finally got around to discussing my absent brother.  One of the things that really confused us all when he disappeared was that Lyall didn’t leave a note.  He was notorious for leaving notes around the house, I’d often come home and he’d have left a note on the table saying “in the garden,” even though I’d have probably seen him kicking a ball around through the patio windows before I’d see the note.  You’d pick up a mug to make a brew and there’d be a rolled up piece of paper inside it that read “milk, one sugar, ta.”    He not only developed a specific sense of dead pan humour, but also a way of writing neat notes incredibly quickly.  It was something the police went over at the time and it eventually became a point of contention between me and my parents as I suspected them of destroying a note and they-  It was their opinion that I had killed him before he could write anything.  They were never able to explain how a teenage boy would dispose of a body without leaving any traces of blood or skin or hair.  Ever since, I’ve always associated the feeling I get from first reading a note with my brother.  Even if it’s to call a stroppy customer and explain why their order is late, it’s that moment of revelation, of picking up something and learning what it says that reminds me of him.

Last night was the first night of decent sleep I’d had in almost a week.  Not only was it in my own bed, but it was in my own skin.  It could only have been better if I’d woken up with Trudie.  But that’s not going to happen.  Not now.  I woke up warm and rested, free of aches and pains.  I had time to eat a decent breakfast of porridge and toast with an apple and a tangerine that set me up all day.  I wore my comfortable chinos and a baggy shirt with a vest underneath.  I had a clear desk from last week and there’d be nothing waiting for me when I got into work.  It looked like it was going to be a brilliant day.  Until I found that note in my post.

“I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE.”

It was written, in thick black marker, on the back of a flier for a group called The Hexmen, folded in half so that it opened like a book.  Even beneath the solvent burn of the marker and the bitter paper of the flier, I could smell that other wolf.  I could smell the oils from his fingers, a smear from the hand that pinned the flier to what ever it was written on.  You see, I could tell that this note had been written one handed, the paper pinned against my front door and the writer’s hand, the text arcing in a Ouija board crescent.  The writing had been done at head height and it had been done quickly and neatly, considering.  I knew this because that was exactly how my brother wrote his notes.  And this was undoubtedly his hand-writing.

Instead of coming straight home, I did some quick shopping.  After all, I’d been a fugitive all last week and the cupboards were bare.  Thankfully, it’s running up to Christmas and the jewellers are opening later and later.  Not only did I do my week’s shopping but I bought a carving knife, a cheap sauce pan, one of those “writes anywhere” pens and lovely silver necklace.  It was a slim silver chain with a pendant sphere, made half of onyx and half of silver, that spun in it’s mounting like a miniature time-lapse moon.  It was relatively easy to remove from the chain.  I ruined a spoon putting the silver on the blade, but if it saves my life, who cares?  God knows how I’m going to carry it around with me, I put it back in the cardboard sheath that it came in so that it looks less like an offensive weapon.

I went straight into the heart of the other wolf, of my brother’s territory.  My senses are sharp, we’d have cleared up at the quiz this week, and I was looking over my shoulder for him all the way.  I needed answers, although this explained so much anyway.  I wanted to see my brother.  I wanted to kill this beast.  It was just like when I change.  I was a spectator in my own skin.  I followed my nose to the strongest of his markings, a piss stained doorway that reeked of wolf and bloodlust.  I had saved a single silver link from the chain, it seemed to weigh a ton.  I wrote my message on the door.  I hammered that silver splinter into the wood with the handle of the knife.  The challenge was made.  I was asserting myself as the alpha wolf.  I might not have that terrible bloody hunger, but I’m smarter than Lyall, I have the resources of the adult life he had been denied and, eventually, I’ll be free of that cannibal inheritance.  On the door, in the same childish rainbow, I wrote:

“I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.”

 

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teratogenesisuk

I’ve had to delay making this update for a few days as I’ve not been home since Wednesday.  I changed on Monday night and went about my business, patrolling my territory.  Only it's not just my territory anymore.  Another werewolf had been through and had marked a large swathe of my area.  And it’s definitely another werewolf.  I’ve got used to the smell of dog piss and can tell most of the dogs apart.  Humans are much more obvious in the way they – we – mark our territory:  signs, walls, doors, locks.  This thing is different, it smells too much like my own markings.  Yes; when I’m a wolf, I’m taking a slash all over town to mark it as mine.   When I’m a wolf, my first instinct is also to force a confrontation.

This probably isn’t a good idea.  There isn’t much I can tell about this other werewolf, other than that it is another male and has made the pact with the ancestral shadow that falls across us.  I’ve been a werewolf a matter of weeks.  I’ve only just become comfortable saying that word, “werewolf,” and already I’ve got to start defending my hunting grounds.  Not that I’m hunting, but that is the instinct.  Defend, confront and, I guess, establish an order of things.  I know that some werewolves have lived in packs, I have the memories (which are coming easier and easier.)  But I also know that nothing good comes of that.  An alpha will dominate the rest and I have no memories of any ancestor who resisted the call of this darkness within that was also strong enough to become an alpha.  Quite the opposite, there are recollections of hunting down those who would refuse the community of the pack and the pact with the hunger inside.

It’s also looking for me.  Probably on much the same instinct.  So on Wednesday, I took a few shirts into work along with socks and undies.  After work, I get changed and wander around town, trying to get as far away as possible from my usual haunts and then I find somewhere quiet I can sleep rough.  So far, no one has found me curled naked in an abandoned bingo hall or burnt out church.  I’ve even gone as far as the hospitals out in the suburbs, they’ve got great sprawling grounds where I can stash my clothes until I need to change back.  I’ve made sure not to go to the same place twice, I’ve even doubled back, following scent markers into this other werewolf’s own claimed area, marking them as my own so that they have to double back the next night.

On the plus side, the aches that precede the change have passed today, which means I can go home safe in the knowledge that I’ll be of my own mind if something or someone does attack me.  I’m also considering making some sort of silver knife.  Silver won’t hold an edge, it’s too soft, so it would be some sort of stabbing device.  Basically, what I’ve thought to do it to buy a kitchen knife, a cheap pan and a silver necklace.  Then I’d melt the necklace in the pan and dip the knife into the molten metal, silvering it.  I’d probably need a file of some sort to put the point back on, but with a steel point and silver along the blade, it should leave some pretty nasty wounds.  Plus, a bladed knife would be no good to me, I’m not Steven Seagal, I just need something silver and dangerous and a gun is not an option.

I’ve also been able to find some ergotised barley from someone on a forum.  It’s not exactly illegal (I don’t think) but the guy went through all sorts of blind drops to make sure we never met.  For all I know, he could be the werewolf who’s after me.  Still, I’ve got a homebrew kit and I’ve set it in motion.  It’s one of these quick brew kits so it should be ready before Christmas.  Making the bread shouldn’t be so difficult: flour, water, the rest of the ergot and yeast, although I suppose I could make pitta bread type things, the ritual doesn’t specify that it has to be leavened bread.

 

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63
teratogenesisuk

Another crap week has passed.  I’ve hardly left the house and, even though this was normal for me this time last year, it’s driving me around the twist.  I’ve spent every waking hour trawling the internet and the library looking for any explanation about what will happen when I go to sleep tonight.  I think there may have been a partial change last night, I don’t remember anything, but I woke up aching and I’d clearly slept badly; I woke up with the sheets wrapped around my legs.

I don’t think I can do this on my own.  I’ve spent the best part of a year trying to work out what was wrong with me and now I know, I can only find one solution- a silver bullet.  I’ve tried the lucid dreaming thing more and more, even attempting to “loosen” the voids between lives with cheap vodka and a fistful of legal highs from a head shop across town.  I wish I could say that it was bullshit, that it didn’t work at all; but it performed all too well.  I felt myself plunging through my past lives, through all the other souls I have been.  It was like watching each life in fast forward, only the strongest most intense moments would be remembered:  the lovers, the hunting, the murders, so many bloody wars.  And there was no control, everything was in reverse order, I think.  Not so complicated when I only had one ancestor alive at the same time, but it became apparent that there isn’t just one lineage of wolves in my family tree.  I experienced World War I from both sides and the American Revolution from three:  red coat, revolutionary and a Oneida tribesman who was trying to keep his clan neutral.  Eventually it all became a blur of intersecting scenes from dozens of different lives, all over the world.  Then there was a sense of gathering, of having fewer different personalities and being further and further away from the present.

My wolf-ancestors began to smoulder down to the original sparks that set this burning rage in my blood alight.  I’m not sure where they came from but they were all dark haired and olive skinned.  I don’t know enough about Bronze Age people (oh yes, it was that far back) to identify which culture they came from, but it could have been anywhere from what is now Iran to Greece.  But the land itself was all mountains, rivers and groves of trees.  I’ve tried looking for the trees on the internet but there is such a variety that it doesn’t narrow it down.  I saw conifers and evergreens, deciduous trees in autumn, olives and scrub.

None of this helps with what happens tonight.  I’ve considered trying to stay up all night, but the thought of drifting off during the day and going on a rampage through the city centre doesn’t appeal.  Yet.  There is an element of me that wants to change, to forget the pain of being a man, to paraphrase Doctors Johnson and Gonzo.  All of the anxiety, all of doubt and complication could be put aside as easily as shrugging off a jacket.  Work, rent, bills, Trudie:  I could make it all go away and live out the rest of my days as a wolf in the middle of nowhere.  Death or ego-death are my only options it seems.

 

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62
teratogenesisuk

This has been a pretty bad week, even for a year of bad weeks.  I’ve not exactly finished with Trudie but we’ve sort of stopped speaking.  I’ve been fairly honest with her, explaining that I’m scared of losing her, that I can’t let her get too close in case it does go wrong.  And this will go wrong.  I know it’s going to go wrong.  I explained that I don’t want to hurt her, although I think she’s under the impression that I’m worried about breaking her heart when I’m actually more worried about tearing her apart.  So we’ve agreed wait a while before seeing each other.  I’ve not been going to the quiz and we work far enough away from each other that it’s not that big an issue.  But it aches to be without her, she’s like a pilot light guiding me through this madness.  I’m coming into port, I need to steer around the rocks, either I’ll be home and dry or I’ll run aground.

The dreaming situation is much more controlled.  All that reading I did on lucid dreaming is beginning to pay off.  Once I understand that it’s not a dream, it’s a memory, it’s like veil of gauze has been removed.  Everything is so much clearer and I have control over what I see.  Not what I do, I’m remembering not truly dreaming, but I can push further back from ancestor to ancestor, I can move through the salient points of their lives.  But it is hard, so hard to come back to myself.  Every time I go back, it is to an ancestor who has been consumed by the great collective wolf of our ancestry.  It’s a chthonic hunger, black and raging from beneath the world, like some stygian current.  They get consumed by this abomination and, through them, it commits great evil.

I’ve been a hermit in medieval France, hiding away from people because of what I am.  But still the spectre grips me, I need to rely upon its instincts to hunt, to feed myself.  Under it’s yoke, I hunt and kill and eat the children of the nearby town of Dore.  The next ancestor is woman, she is drinking from a stream when she sees a wolf instead of her own reflection.  Then the shadow falls across her and she again turns on the children of Magdeburg, where her husband is a magistrate.  I remember being attacked by a madwomen while out in a winter storm with him.  When he fights her off, I recognise her as the mother of a child I had eaten weeks before.  Her words will haunt me forever:  "The night has teeth. The night has claws,”  she looked me in the eye, “and I have found them."  She leads us out toward toward the stream and, in the storm, we three become separated.  I know where she is going though, for there is a lodge that I’ve using for my own hunts and that is where my prey waits.  I change, for my ancestors could do this at will, and race ahead so that I can savage the hag before she can save the child I have taken.  This is how my husband finds me, a wolf above a crying child, surrounded by gore and viscera.  He is quick with his sword, the blade silvered especially for the hunt of me, and I’m glad when the point pierces my heart.

There is a pattern to all of this.  The shadow tortures the werewolf until the must accept a pact, the shadow offers control and clarity, to ease the pain and fear.  But in return, it takes over the wolf body, which isn’t always entirely wolf.  And it devours children, for it is the flesh of innocents the beast craves above all else.  But the beast is a lazy liar.  It doesn’t teach the werewolf how to control their shared flesh, it just reaches into their dream-memory and grafts the first pact it enacted with the first wolf into their instinctive mind.  And this is where I hope to be able to break the cycle.

While I’ve been searching the internet and my dream-memories, I’ve been able to establish some truth amidst the wannabes, the perverts, the psychopaths, the medical conditions, the shamanic traditions and games played with funny shaped dice.  There is a recurring reference to something called the Wolf Key, a ritual meal of bread and beer that is used to strip away ego and “connect to the wolf within.”  A lot of the ritual is like the lucid dreaming techniques I’ve been using.  Only it is performed under the influence of ergot, a psychedelic fungus that grows on the rye used in the bread and beer.  I intend to bake this bread, to brew this potion and move through my ancestors, back through them all until that first pact, shortening the way and stealing the devil’s thunder for myself.  When I can take the knowledge without paying the tribute to this destroying force, I can move beyond the cycle of hunting and killing and liberate myself from the enslaving hunger.

 

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