Horror and Thriller Fiction posted July 7, 2014


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Werewolf story

The Dare

by w.j.debi

The smell of the dank and ancient castle's keep assaulted my nostrils and the eerie sound of my own footfalls made me shiver. I forced myself forward into the narrow passageway, my flashlight directing the way into the gloom. When I reached the guards' room a few minutes later, I stopped to gather my courage. Why was the dungeon the only part of the castle to survive intact? Why couldn't it have been the castle tower? I would have felt safer looking out of a tall window. The moon was supposed to be full tonight so there would have been plenty of light to gaze across the countryside from a tower.

I took a deep breath of stale air and sighed. Why did this have to happen to me? I was a nice girl. I tried to live a good life.

Closer inspection of the guards' room revealed that it was neat and far cleaner than I expected. Maybe an ancient knight still lived here and could walk in at any moment to rescue me from this craziness. Sure, like that would ever happen.

Two narrow passageways led toward the dungeon cells. I chose the one on the right and plunged ahead. Ten steps down the passageway brought me to a cell on the right and one on the left. Two cells down. How many to go? Probably more than I cared to know about at the moment. When I reached the count of twenty, I began to wonder just how long this passageway was. I paused to shine the light on my watch. It was nine-thirty, only thirty minutes since I entered this wretched place. It felt like hours.

"Hello," a husky voice said from somewhere in the darkness.

I squealed in a most un-ladylike manner and stumbled backward into the wall. The flashlight dropped from my hand, rolled across the floor, and came to rest against the opposite wall. Five steps to retrieve it. It felt like a million miles, but I went for it. Once the flashlight was back in my hand, I straightened up and returned to my previous position against the wall. I scanned the walls, floors and ceiling with the light.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. There's no need to panic," the husky voice responded. There was a pause before he continued and put a sinister tone to the next phrase. "At least not yet."

I gulped. "Who are you?" The words came out an octave higher than I expected.

"You invade my territory and you wonder who I am?" He chuckled.

I pointed the light at the cell across from me. A face smiled back at me from behind the bars of the small window cut in the door.

"Would you mind lowering the light a little? It hurts my eyes."

"Oh, sorry." I moved the beam so that the center of the light was on the door, but I could still make out his face. "So, what are you doing in there?"

"Trying to protect myself and anyone else who may be out tonight."

"From what?"

"From me."

I took a deep breath. If he was trying to scare me, it was working. "Who locked you up?"

"I did."

"I don't understand."

"No, I don't suppose you do." He chuckled again. "It's a complicated story. What are you doing down here anyway?"

"I lost a bet. I'm supposed to count the dungeon cells and spend the night."

"Well, if you are wise you will run along now and tell your friends you completed the task. There are forty-nine cells. I've counted them plenty of times so I know."

"I can't. I'm supposed to spend the night. They are camping in the castle ruins next to the entrance so they will know as soon as I leave."

"Too bad, but you should still leave and soon."

"Why?"

"Several reasons. First, as you may have noticed this castle is crumbling to dust. The structure is none too stable and any part of what is remaining may collapse at any moment. For another thing, the moon will be rising soon."

"So what? Are you a werewolf or something?"

"Exactly."

He said the word with such conviction that a chill went down my spine and I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. "Oh."

"I'm serious." He elongated the "s" in a sinister way and then snapped, "Get out of here."

I stifled a scream. It was a moment before I gathered my wits. "Okay." I took a few steps toward the guards' room and then paused. "Who comes to let you out?"

"No one. I lock myself in and let myself out while in human form. As a wolf, I cannot turn the key. Don't worry about me. Worry about yourself. And don't come back or let your friends come down here. It's dangerous."

"Can I ask one more thing?"

He growled. "You're a curious little creature. I like that. I get lonely. Maybe it's time I had a companion."

The sound of a key grating in a lock sent my heart racing, and I broke into a run.

A howl followed me all the way down the passageway and then hysterical laughter followed by more howling. I ran faster.

At the guards' room, I paused for a moment to get my bearings. If I picked the wrong passageway, I could end up trapped at a dead end. If this guy were crazy enough to think he was a werewolf, then he really could be dangerous. My classmates could harass me all they wanted for my cowardice, but I wasn't spending another moment down here.

I bolted out the passageway that led to freedom. I didn't care that I was outrunning the reach of my flashlight. I had to get out of this creepy place.

"Help!" It was a pathetic sound, but maybe my classmates would hear me and come to assist.

An answering howl startled me. I tripped and fell, landing hard on my hands and knees. The flashlight flew out of my hand, bounced a few times and went out. I was in total darkness. I felt around for the flashlight.

Something was running toward me in the darkness. Hurry!

Then suddenly all was silent.

Every hair on my head and arms prickled. The growling of a wolf started low and grew nearer. Its breath warmed and moistened my face. Then it suddenly grabbed my pant leg and started dragging me through the darkness.

I kicked and struggled, grabbing to catch onto anything I could and somehow latched onto the flashlight. He didn't like the light before, so I paused long enough to switch it on and point it at him.

He snarled, his jowls dripping with saliva and his teeth bared. Oh, he was far larger than I imagined, with bristling fur and angry eyes. I directed the beam into those eyes and he lunged at my left arm and bit down. The viselike jaws clamped on hard. Thankfully, I had prepared for the cold by wearing a heavy coat and his teeth got caught in the fabric. I directed the beam of the flashlight directly into his eyes. He shook himself loose from my coat, yowled and backed off a few feet into the darkness. I kept the flashlight directed at his eyes.

We were both panting as we regarded each other. I was shaking, but steady enough to concentrate on keeping the light pointed at his eyes. Blind him with the light. Maybe that will save me. Other than that, I didn't dare move.

I'm not certain how long we stared at each other, but he suddenly turned and disappeared back into the darkness toward the dungeons. I sat there a moment longer to listen to his receding footfalls, then got up and ran in the opposite direction.

Rays of moonlight above my head led outside and I crawled through the entrance into the night. The fresh air was wonderful and I gulped it like a thirsty person does water.

"Hello? Hey, where is everyone?" I expected my classmates to be camped around the entrance ready to harass me for not spending the entire night in the dungeons of the castle keep. No one answered. The tents and sleeping bags were gone. The fire was smoldering. Did something scare them off? Or were they in town having a good laugh at my expense? They had no idea I nearly died. Some friends they were. I made one more feeble attempt to gain their attention just in case someone stayed behind, "Hello?"

A howl broke the silence, giving me a start and sending shivers down my spine. I took a deep breath and released it slowly. Maybe I should try to get the fire going again.

After a few minutes, the fire was blazing and I sat on a log near it to take advantage of the warmth and protection. Unconsciously, I scratched at my wrist. In the firelight, I pulled my sleeve up to look more closely at the wound.

My blood froze. It couldn't be. The bite...the wolf bite...on my arm. It broke the skin. I gulped. It could get infected...or...

Another howl broke the silence and I jumped at least an inch. It was closer and louder than before. A twig snapped. My eyes darted to a stand of trees about two hundred feet away and I strained to see into the gloom. Leaves fluttered ever so slightly. I held my breath. An owl screeched. The fire popped. I kept scanning the area for signs...of what? I wasn't sure.

I pulled my coat tighter around me in an attempt to stop my trembling, brushed a tear from my cheek, and looked up at the large luminous moon. How long did I have?



The Werewolf writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
There is a castle that's crumbling with age. In it lives man, all alone. The man is a werewolf. Someone comes. What happens?

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Thank you to Imagine Life for the loan of the artwork "Waters of Avalon"
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