Will A. Sanborn
The adolescent boy lay on the bed, lost in his thoughts, the pleasant surroundings of his room and the colorful posters on the walls ignored, his gaze fixed blankly on the ceiling. With his breathing heavy and his face a mask of confusion and concern, his mind labored over the same jumbled ideas once again. His thoughts coming in slow, jumbled spurts, they tumbled together, forming a half-shaped mass of understanding. Brooding over the situation facing him, he tried once again to conceptualize it, his uneasiness growing as he grasped only its shadowy outlines.
After lying still for quite some time, caught up in his worried confusion, his thoughts were interrupted when he noticed the slow and subtle change in the light bathing the room around him, the shadows stretching out along the walls. Glancing at the clock on the night-stand, then moving his gaze quickly to the window, confirmed the lateness of the hour. Seeing the sun sinking low in the sky, ready to dip below the horizon, his worries were escalated as the inevitability of the situation forced itself upon him.
His thoughts raced out of control at the idea of the approaching night. Over the past few days he had come to some understanding of it, but understanding did not make what was happening to him any easier, his mind struggling to place meanings and consequences upon the changes he felt welling up within him. Already he could feel the forces pressing in upon him, just as with the nights before, and they were slowly building, threatening to consume him.
What was happening to him? And yet he knew, or at least could give a name to it, but still it did nothing to ease his mind. As before, with the sun's rays slowly dying, he could feel the forces of the night reaching out to him, trying to impress its wishes upon his body. Soon the moon would be out, and the full power of it would wash over him, could he resist its call?
He'd tried to fight against it, but it was in vain, as the changes, minor at first, but growing in intensity with the continuing nightly progression, forced their way upon his flesh. Each night the changes had been more pronounced, the moon marching relentlessly through its cycle, and tonight, in just a few hours, the full moon would rise; surely tonight would be the worst of it, as the changes within him took their toll.
As his eyes stared with a heavy gaze into the encroaching darkness of twilight, a quiet knock on the door intruded into his racing thoughts, pulling him, if only briefly, away from his worries.
Turning away from the window, he sat up on the bed, watching the door; there was another quiet knock, before it slowly opened and his mother peeked her head inside. Seeing him sitting there, she regarded him with a concerned look on her face, he returned her gaze, but his was dull and preoccupied.
"Scott, are you okay? You've been up here all afternoon..."
Pausing, taken aback by her intrusion, he finally forced out "yeah, I'm alright Mom."
"But you've been so quiet lately, and spending so much time in your room this past week. Is there anything wrong?"
His pulse quickening, his mind racing at her inquisition, afraid of being discovered, he answered her. "No, everything's fine... I just felt like being alone. Okay?" his voice straining at the end of his reply.
Watching her son, looking at him as if trying to search for some insight to his behavior, her face reflected her concern. "Okay Scott, I just wanted to make sure you were feeling alright." Then, trying to help but just grasping at straws, she finished, "if there was anything bothering you, you know you could tell me... Do you want to talk about it?"
"No... it's nothing," his thoughts defensive and his voice becoming more insistent, all his efforts were focused on avoiding discovery.
"Are you sure?' her voice trailing off, unsure of what to say.
"Yes. Now just leave me alone" he almost snapped at her. Then in desperation he turned, rolling over on the bed, withdrawing from the conversation to stare at the wall in front of him. His heart beating loudly against the heavy silence, the moments dragged on before he finally heard her shut the door, leaving him alone with his thoughts. The relief of ending the encounter mixing with his other jumbled concerns, his weary mind found temporary solace as he fell off into sleep.
Awaking slowly to the darkness, gathering his bearings, his memories returned to him as his eyes adjusted to the soft light pouring in through the window. His thoughts became more agitated when he realized the source of this silvery glow. Jumping out of bed to stand before the window, he saw the pale orb of the full moon rising up before him in the darkness, casting its spell across the world, washing the landscape with its ghostly presence.
Throwing open the window, unable to resist the call, he felt the cool chill of the night air engulf him, as the power of the moon's glow poured over his body. Feeling the energy building, his mind reacted, his thoughts becoming frenzied, consumed with the flickering understanding of what was about to overcome him.
As the power grew within him, his body became charged, his nerve-endings running hot and cold, his senses expanding against their bounds. As before, he tried to fight it in futility, but his body pushed on, changing against his wishes. Tonight, as he'd thought, the changes took him farther than they'd gone before, much farther.
With his whole body tingling, engulfed with the power flooding upon him, he scratched wildly at his itching skin, quickly shedding his clothing for some margin of relief. His nerves all firing at once with the energy surging through them, new hairs began to emerge from his skin, growing wildly, knitting together to form a coarse covering, then blending into a finer coat of fur.
At the same time he felt his flesh becoming malleable, stretching and molding to the forces exerted upon it. With the power surging through him, the pain was replaced by wondrous new sensations, as he gave in to the pressures of the change, and endorphins swept through his system. His vision blurring, the physical effects of the reworking of his body overwhelmed his senses, leaving his mind reeling from their intensity.
Moments later the change was complete, leaving him dizzy from the rush of those new feelings, gasping at the vague pleasure of it all, the pinnacles of sensation now just fading into memory. Blinking his eyes, which now saw the landscape of the night with a sharper vision, he glanced down at his changed form, having fully realized the hidden potential locked within his body.
Relaxing the grip his paws held on the window sill, he crouched there, regaining his equilibrium as his senses adjusted, re-tuning themselves to his altered body. Panting through his partially-open muzzle, he caught his breath, perusing the moonlit landscape before him with newly-opened eyes, his tail twitching in excitement behind him.
Then crouching down on his haunches he leapt with powerful grace, jumping through the window, coming to land on the ground a few feet below. Breaking into a quick-paced gait, running easily on all fours, he sped across the yard into the silvery-lit fields beyond. Off to run with the moon, his thoughts were free and untroubled, the awkwardness of the time of change forgotten for the moment.
Looking out the window of her room, his mother watched him leave to explore the new world just now opened up to him. Sitting there, watching with mixed emotions, a bittersweet smile crept across her muzzle. Her lupine ears twitched ever so slightly, as if recounting old memories of her youth; "adolescence is always a little difficult," she thought to herself.