the short story project


Amitabh Paliwal

The Werewolf of West Orchards

October 31st was a cold night illuminated by a full moon shining in all its glory. Beneath the silvery moonlight sky in a lonely street sat Orhan Bonner enjoying the haunting silence. The moonlight was soothing, it reminded him of all the glorious stories he had read.

He was interrupted by a noise. It came from the bushes. Terrified but intrigued Orhan walked towards the bush half-expecting something magical on this fated night. Just as he was about to peer into the bush, he heard a shrill cry of what sounded like a wolf followed by the sound of footsteps coming running towards him. As he turned around he saw a big burly figure with a furry head, who had fangs for teeth and sharp claws. Frightened, Orhan fainted.

When he woke up the next day Orhan was pleased to find himself in one piece. The sound of his parents’ bickering had woken him up, it was a normal day. Still, the more Orhan thought about the night before the more anxious he became. He was almost sure that he had seen a werewolf that night. The thought terrified him as he started looking for signs of a bite and to his horror, he found one – right on his shin.

Now he had to really check. He started by looking up symptoms of werewolf bites online. Okay, the internet said it would take one week for the symptoms to show. This did not help his anxiety. Anyways a high fever, fierce aggression and seeking loneliness were to be expected, he nodded to himself as he read further.

Certain that he had been bitten by a werewolf the boy started wondering about his new nocturnal life. His musings, however, were cut short by a loud knock on the door. “Orhan you are getting late for school,” yelled his mother as she busied herself preparing lunch for her son.

“Coming,” shouted Orhan as he got ready in a jiffy, promptly forgetting all about his curious discoveries.

One week later though the symptoms began to show Orhan was feverish, nauseous, irritable and a little dizzy. He tried to hide this from his parents the best he could, he did not want to be better, he wanted to complete his transformation and become a werewolf.

After a few days of self-medication, his fever sure had subsided, but now he experienced spasms in his back quite frequently. Curious he checked out the website again which said that the people undergoing transformation might feel a bit of pain as their bones reshape, satisfied he decided to continue with the transformation.

It did not take long for his parents to notice that something was wrong with their child. He had not been eating properly for about two weeks now and had become aggressive and irritable. Concerned, they decided to have a talk with the boy. Orhan looked pale and weak as he sat across the table in their living room, ready to defend himself, ready to defend his dream of becoming a werewolf.

Orhan’s mother Amy was a frail woman with a stern face and a harsh voice. She and her husband Richard had decided that it was best for her to address the boy, to find out what was going on.

Concerned she enquired about his strange behavior. Orhan chose to stay silent. It was better to stay silent he thought than to reveal his plans and be called a madman. He knew his ambition of becoming a werewolf was a far fetched one, but he was not going to surrender another dream of his to his authoritative family.

Amy was insistent in knowing what was up with the boy, but Orhan was unmoved, not giving any leads, insisting that he was all right. After poking around a bit more Amy made her exit giving the boy time to think and introspect. Orhan, however, had his mind made up already, he was going to be a werewolf and nothing could stop him.

Brushing aside the concerns of his parents Orhan took another one of the painkillers he had been carrying ever since the pain in his muscles had become unbearable. That was about three days ago and now he wondered if the pain would ever subside. He was however disturbed by the sight of a cloaked figure staring at him from the living room door. Promptly he called out for the man’s attention but the man slowly faded away.

Two days had passed since the failed intervention carried out by Orhan’s parents. Since then Orhan had many sightings of the cloaked figure and other such strange people, anyways his condition was getting worse day by day and hiding it from his parents was getting really cumbersome.

It had been three weeks since he was bitten by the werewolf which meant that he could be transforming by the full moon at the end of the week; he could not put his parents in such grave danger he thought to himself and made his decision. He was going to run away.

The plans were in order as Orhan planned an escape into the forest which was a mile away from his house. Assisting him was the cloaked figure who always helped Orhan with everything and the best part of it was that nobody other than him knew the cloaked guy so his plan would never be found out. Together they planned how Orhan was going to pack food lasting for a night on the day of the full moon and make a break for it riding his bicycle as fast as he could. It seemed like a wonderful plan.

So on a fateful day, Orhan gathered some food and was about to race away on the bicycle when he realized that he no longer had the strength to do so. Disappointed Orhan quickly amended his plans. The forest would have been nice and poetic but even the empty streets would do. He bade farewell to his mother telling her a story about how he had made a new friend and had plans with him. By four in the evening, he was out of the door, with no interest in returning. He took a long last look at the lovely house which sheltered him, strangely he did not feel anything for the people in it. But the house, parting with it was necessary he told himself if he were to ever live his life as a werewolf of some repute.

It was almost seven in the evening now and the moon would be up any minute. Orhan’s mother was worried about her son going missing for more than an hour and had asked the police to help her out; that must have been an hour ago.

Finally, the moon appeared in the night sky looking as beautiful as ever. Expectantly Orhan stared at the moon waiting for something to happen.

Suddenly he felt his back twitching, his muscles aching and his face burning. He howled like a wolf in great agony, and then he stopped and fell to the ground, convulsing, writhing in pain.

It was then that he saw the cloaked figure again, it seemed to be moving towards him. “O’ Poor little boy,” the cloaked figure muttered before he caught Orhan in a tight embrace. His arms were soothing Orhan thought, slowly losing all the terrible pain he had endured through the course of the past few weeks. It was peaceful there. Orhan then went to sleep in the embrace of the mysterious cloaked figure never to wake up again.

After a long and arduous search, the police were able to find the dead body of Orhan. Needless to say, his parents were devastated. The postmortem report said ’Rabies’, a victim of fantasy young Orhan had died a dog’s death.


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