When the Moon

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[“How did you know?” I asked, not sure I wanted the answer. I thought I had been careful. I thought she] wouldn’t notice the signs. But she was different from the other wolves. Her eyes missed nothing, her mind was sharp. I had no clue how she would handle this truth.

She sat back on her haunches and wrapped her thick tail around her paws. “You’re only around when the moon is out and full, and as soon as the sun comes up you’re gone. Every time you come to us, you’re scrubbed and washed clean. Cleaner than any wolf has a right to be. Even underneath that smell though, I can smell your humanity. It’s the lingering scent of one who eats plants and drinks cow’s milk.”

“But how could you know—”

“What a human smells like?” She shook her head and neck, the fur ruffling. “I was born and raised in a pen, and before I was set free humans would come and go and bring food. And they smelled just as you do.” She gazed at me with those bright intelligent eyes. “I had heard of werewolves. I mean, everyone’s heard of werewolves. But I never thought I would meet one.”

I swallowed a lump in my throat and began to pant. “And now that you have?”

She panted as well, but it was in laughter. “Save for the smell, you’re not much different from a regular wolf.”

I took a tentative step towards her, and she didn’t shrink back. “You… you won’t tell the others?”

“Why should I?”

“Because…” The words wouldn’t come at first, but then I blurted out, “Because I’m a monster. I’m a savage beast when the moon isn’t full. During the day I’m a member of a race that hunts and kills what you are.”

“And what you are.” She stepped towards me, and I did shrink back. I didn’t have the right to her companionship, her touch, her understanding. But she went on. “This is who you really are, right now. A wolf just like me. A wolf with a terrible curse, who becomes something you can’t control. But this, this is the real you.”

I lifted my head to her. “You really mean that?”

“I do.” She put her muzzle against my neck, burying it in my fur, and I took in the smell of her: dirt and grass and meat and the sun and the moon. “Your secret is safe with me.”

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