THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF Part Seven
Naked, smeared with blood, the taste of blood—A tinge of sweetness, like grapes…No. That must be only my imagination, tormenting me.—the taste of blood still in my mouth, my eyes raw from weeping, I returned to the water. I intended for myself a final baptism, one wherein I would follow after the Christ in His death but not share in His holy Resurrection. I would drown myself.
I stopped at the river’s edge, staring down at my reflection. I saw a well-formed youth, little hair on his chest or arms, no beard, but a tangle of blonde hair spilling over his pink shoulders. A face not unattractive, handsome, perhaps, in the estimation of some, even wearing its expression of abject grief. These things my reflection showed me, dancing on the surface of the water. I saw only a monster.
I waded out until the water rose over my head, let the current take me. As my lungs began to burn I opened my mouth, letting the water in. In my thoughts I prayed for forgiveness. Not to God. I did not in truth believe in God then, not in any god. Could any supreme being be so cruel as to allow what had happened? If such a deity existed, I could feel nothing of reverence for him or her, could offer nothing save contempt. I prayed to Kethryn for forgiveness.
I awoke on the opposite bank, still very much alive. Blaming the river for casting me out too soon I tried again, with again the same result. The second awakening brought realization. The Devil would not let me drown. When I would lose consciousness, he would seize control either of my form or of the water and hurl me up onto the riverbank. I cursed in frustration as I returned to the village, remaining there long enough but to find a knife; I took this off the corpse of a man I had know, a kind man who’d always worn a smile and had a pleasant word for me. I recognized his face even covered as it was with a pall of crawling, swarming flies.
I left the village. In the woods I sat down and opened both my wrists. I waited, bleeding out, growing tired and cold, at last falling asleep, the sleep from which I would never awaken. Such at least formed my intent. I awoke, tired and sick, but alive. The cuts to my forearms were almost healed. Enraged I took up the knife, still beside me, and cut my own throat.
I suffered. For two full days I lay, passing in and out of consciousness, too weak to move, starving for water, ants crawling over me, into my eyes and nostrils, into the gash in my throat. Vermin of the woods sniffed at me, pawing me. No one from the village came to my aid, or to finish me off. By the third day I felt strong enough to stand. The wound at my throat had closed. Today there is not even a scar.
I had heard stories of other Dogheads trying to destroy themselves and failing. These were not, I now understood, fictions. I knew then for a fact, I could not die as other men died. The beast inside me would not allow it.
I would not be bested. Desiring nothing else than my own end, living as a beggar and pariah, hiding myself in the deep woods when the transformation overtook me, where I chanced to find no human victims for my savage jaws, I made my way in time to the coast. I hired myself out on a sailing vessel, bound for Alexandria. I had no intention of ever seeing the city.
How long, I reasoned, could a werewolf hold its breath?
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!