Teabox Tales - Shout At The Moon
Updated: Dec 21, 2021
Another Teabox Tale based on a writing prompt! This prompt was by U/Granite-M and can be found here. I thought it was a really cool idea.
I like writing from an animal's perspective, and thinking about all the things that are different about their lives and experiences compared to ours.
It started a month ago, on the night that Mother Moon was full.
We saw a human all on his own as we hunted. He was lost; away from his pack and without the implements that make his kind so deadly; so we went for him. The meat of a human is tender and succulent, and I suggest any young wolf try it at least once if the hunting is good.
Kharra, barely a yearling in her body but an elder in her ferocious spirit, went for his leg and pulled him to the ground. Her brother Ghen took his arm, shaking it between his jaws. He was pinned. I stood on his chest, priming myself to lunge for the throat. I prepared myself to savour the taste. I imagined the warmth of a man’s lifeblood on my muzzle.
Then, his terrified eyes met mine. His gaze pierced me like the sharpest thorn.
I hesitated, just for a moment.
That was my undoing.
Moving at a speed I have never seen a human move before, he went for my leg with his teeth. I yelped in pain as his jaws snapped shut, startling Kharra and Ghen and allowing him to escape. He stumbled to his feet and ran, ragged and bloodied and disgraced. The pack went hungry that night.
His teeth barely grazed my skin, I think. Old Hesh groomed the wound, and she only saw the smallest bit of blood; just a little red bead. She said that he probably went away with a mouthful of my wiry grey fur, as my winter coat had been growing in nicely. I hope he choked on it.
The days passed and the little red bead went away. We forgot all about the human, for we caught a deer and two rabbits soon after. I felt magnificent, my body quick and my mind sharper than it has ever been before. The hunting was quick. Too quick.
Something seemed to change in me as Mother Moon swelled in the sky. It was winter, but my fine coat was shedding before its time. I would wake in my bedplace to find dandelion puffs of my fur all around, and I would feel the awful bite of first light’s chill in all of its ferocity.
And then I sickened. Slowed down. I could no longer keep pace with the pack, and I became a liability in our huntings. Kharra and Ghen laughed at me, and I was forced to stay behind to be tended by the elders. It was as if I was my parents’ cub all over again, and I burned with shame.
My fur fell away more and more, and my teeth went blunt. My jaw strength atrophied as if I was already rotting in the ground, and I thought I was going to die.
Not like this, I thought. I could not face the Great Hunt in the sky like this.
I was restless on the night that Mother Moon was once again at her fullest. I awoke from a fitful, feverish sleep to find my body numb and clumsy; stumbling to my paws to find my front legs as clumsy stubs, and my back legs as bent-up trunks.
Though it disturbed me greatly, I tried to pay it little mind as I headed to the stream for a drink. Cold water and moonlight are always balm on troubled thoughts. I lowered my head to the stream but found myself unable to drink, the water splashing my eyes as if I had no muzzle at all.
I shook the cold water from my eyes, surprised. That was odd. I tried to look at my reflection in the silvery water, just to see what was wrong with my muzzle. I would be horrified at what I saw.
It was not my face. It was a man’s face. The face of the man that bit me, looking at me with cruel and mocking eyes.
I careened backwards in panic, but my limbs didn’t move as I commanded. I tried to run, my body just sort of stumbling onto my hind paws with no regard for grace or balance, my front paws dangling strangely.
I shambled my way to a clearing, open to Mother Moon and her stars. I attempted a deep and plaintive song to her, to beg her for her aid, but my voice came out all wrong. Strangled. Not a howl, but a hideous man shout.
I was a man now. My assailant had tainted me with his sickness.
Distant voices echoed through the trees, and I saw a procession of approaching torches. The men of the village were coming for me, but I was too weak to outrun them. They crowded me and wrapped me in soft furs, speaking gently in some strange tongue of man that I did not understand. I was carried back to a man den and fed warm liquids by a fire. They stroked my head fur and whispered to me until I was asleep. Perhaps they thought I was the man whose face I wore, and perhaps they thought I was hurt.
I was a wolf at dawn. My fur was full, my limbs were strong, and my face was my own again. When the men found me, they hit me with sticks and chased me out into the forest, where I found the pack looking for me.
I told them the story of what had happened in a big confusing tangle. About the stream, and the man’s face in my reflection, and being taken to the man den and wrapped in warm furs. But they didn’t believe me. They said it was a bad dream, and we dined on a deer they had caught for our breakfast.
I have tried to forget, but it still bothers me. It wasn’t a bad dream, it was real! I really did turn into a man and go to the man village!
My fur is thinning again, but it is springtime now, so that is to be expected. Sometimes I feel tired, but I can run with the pack just as I ever did. I do fear that it will happen once more, but I pray to Mother Moon with my songs and trust that she will not put me through it again.