werewolf, werewolves and lycans


Growing up, I had heard the term vrykolakas used as often in reference to one of the accursed, like me, as to the undead, animated corpse that rose from its grave at night to prey upon the living. The word meant both, or either, an unclean, evil thing driven by bloodlust. In fact the term Cynocephalus is of Roman origin, I believe, and this I learned from the Christians, although throughout Arcadia the term “Doghead” had been always in use, both to describe those bearing the curse of Lycanon and also as an insult, meaning a disagreeable, violent person, or sometimes a criminal.

I knew this vrykolakas that plagued the Marmorca was not another Doghead like me, but a Strigoi, which is the common term amongst the Slavs and Macedonians. The Christians called such being wamphyrs.

My captors had me up the next morning before the sun had broken the horizon, taking me back to my hole to dig.

“I want to get word to your Chieftain,” I said, on the way. I knew some of the Marmorcan men spoke Greek, at least to an extent, as I’d heard them using it. I spoke to anyone around me, trusting someone would understand. “It’s important that I speak with him.” I said it often enough that, by the time I reached the pit and started to descend into it, I got a response.

“Our Chieftain does not commune with slaves!” snarled one of my guards, a brute missing half his teeth and blind in one eye.

“He will want to talk to me,” I said. “I can free his people from the vrykolakas.”

“Get in the hole and get to work!”

“You will be making a mistake if you do not tell him,” I said.

“And you will be making a mistake if you do not start digging!” He gave me a shove and I scarce grabbed the rope in time to save myself from falling.

“You will hit water today or it will mean stripes for you tonight!” the brute called down after me. I did not fear the henchman’s whip, though. Not that night.

Sometimes the change creeps up on me. Other times I sense it coming. That day I could feel it. The night’s moon would be full, or close enough to it. The beast would hold sway. I felt it gnawing in my stomach, eager for its release. I did not strike water that day. When evening came and my captors threw down the rope for me to haul myself up, I refused it.

“I will stay in the hole tonight!” I shouted up to them.

“Get out of there! I’ll cut your balls off if I have to climb down and fetch you!”

“Listen to me!” I said. “Tonight I will transform into a demon! You will hear it with your own ears and, if you should drop a torch down this hole, you will see it with your own eyes! You must not lower any ropes! Many of your people will die if I get out of this pit!”

I heard one man laugh, another curse.

“Let the fool sleep in the hole if he wants to, if he thinks he’ll find it any more comfortable down there!”

“Remember to tell the Chieftain!” I said. “After I transform, he will believe me when I tell him I can kill the vrykolakas for him!”

“The wretch has taken leave of his senses,” I heard one of the men say.

“Wait,” I shouted up to them, “and you will believe me soon enough!”

The Evil Cheezman • February 23, 2020

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