Fiction Friday, TGIF

Howling At the Moon

The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences what other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.

–Ming-Dao Deng, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony

It draws her in, with its bright light, when the night comes. She is drawn to it, unmistakably, the pull she always felt growing stronger and stronger over time.

From a long time back, she couldn’t explain this if she tried, but lots of people love the moon. She wasn’t alone. Nothing so strange, except there was.

Her love of the night continued to grow too. It felt like home, her hours of peace and pure tranquility, when so many slept. She stayed wide awake throughout the hours of darkness and solitude. Something deep inside of her wouldn’t let her sleep anymore. It became normal and expected. It was invited, instead of fought against.

Walking along, under the moonlight, the waves crashing over the rocky shoreline. She looked up at that moon, thinking about the pull it had on the tides and on her limbs and her very spirit.

Her limbs. Speaking of her limbs.

They were changing and morphing into something alien to her, somehow, so slow and under the overhanging watchfulness of the moon. It seemed to be spying on the progress of this change in her.

It would have begun in puberty, with hair growing, suddenly. It was at the normal amount for her age group, but soon enough it was something more.

She could try to wish it away, to be like the other females, but they would look at her, under moon or under sun, and exclaim:

“Why do your legs have such thick and fast growing hair? That can’t be right.”

It wasn’t. No cream or product could touch the growth once it began. No hair remover, laser, or treatment she tried helped. She was slowly watching the hair move up her legs, out from her arms, dark and rough to the touch.

Hands and fingers, even the thumb. It was relentless, unnatural. She was being stared at, so she hid and only showed her face when the light of the moon was all there was to show herself off with.

The hair, it crept up and around each arm, to her shoulder blades, to the small of her back. Everybody has hair, fine and unnoticeable, over most of the surface area of the body, other than the bottom of the feet and palms of the hands. It should be undetectable, in most places, or you were a freak of nature.

The moon didn’t care. The night didn’t reveal. The solitude was her friend.

One morning she happened to notice the hair taking over most of her face, chin and cheeks, lip and inching its way from the eyebrows to the sideburns. The hair became the thickest, on her head, it had ever been. Where wasn’t their hair most harshly spreading?

The next full moon was just a few nights away. The hair caused her to finally become a shut-in. People knocked on her door and she ignored them all, shying away and shrinking from the knocking that kept coming. Then, suddenly, the moon was at its brightest and she came out.

She’d stare at her hairy hands, now hairy palms, and know there was no denying it, no going back.

The moon pulled her out, all resistance disappearing, and the cold night air nipped at her cheeks, but the hair there kept her warm from its bite. Her fingernails had grown, in those days she’d remained hidden away, and now they were long and like weapons.

She knew what she had become and she did not hide from it, all horror films aside, and she would embrace her fate. She would belong to the night, with so many nocturnal creatures. It was where she belonged now. Her love of the moon made much more sense to her this time. It had called to her, even when she hadn’t realized why. Now she had only to examine her hand to know it and to fully believe.

The howl escaped her before she’d realized what was happening. The moon brought it out of her. It felt as natural as breathing. She was home.

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