Panic bolted through me, my chest tight unable to breath…trying to open my eyes, where the hell am I? Why can’t I open my eyes?
Constricted like a cocooned moth, I tried to move but I was unable to even open my eyes, move my hands, my heart thundering, rasping in fear.
Something sticking my eyes together, forcing my mouth open, struggling as everything is glued together. My arms bound tight by my body, twisting, imprisoned in this sticky substance. Breathing heavily, I try again. Fear swells through me as I realise I’m completely bound up, like a mummy.
Eventually, after what seems hours, I manage to free my hands, wiggling them, this way, twisting them around and my first instinct to wipe away this stuff, like ropey cobwebs off my face, and my eyes open…
Trembling I assess where I am, I’m covered in this stuff which is stuck fast to a tree in a wood, the light flickering through the thick branches, dancing on the undergrowth. What the hell am I doing here? Last time I remembered I was in bed.
Groping my face instinctively I notice my hands …they’re not my hands! My frenzied mind reasons, this must be a dream, or a drug!
Nausea clenched my stomach like serpents writhing around, gagging, feeling my muscles moving, changing shape as I stood there.
Power surged through me uncontrollable, wild- my body morphing. My legs, taught and strong, swaying slightly, my strange hands touch my face, it doesn’t feel human!
Panting, tearing the web like substance from my legs, my body, staggering forward, suddenly bolting over onto all fours.
Damp, musty scent of wood and leaves saturates my senses, but how can this be? Have I ever smelt in a dream before? I walk on all fours as if it’s the most ordinary thing to me, feeling the dead leaves and cool soil beneath my clawed hands and feet as I make my way through the vegetation, trees and bracken
Just relax, it isn’t real.
I’ll wake up soon and find myself in my comfy bed, the cotton sheets soft on my skin and my guy lying there beside me. I always wake first and enjoy that dreamy sensation of wrapping around my lover, cuddling and laying in his arms half asleep.
I want to do this now, I want to feel his skin beneath my fingertips as I trace my hand over him.
But I can’t wake up, this dream hasn’t ended. Fear starts in my mind and spills into my body, Is this real? How could this be real? How could this be my reality? It’s ridiculous. What did I watch before I slept?
My crazy over-imaginative mind, when Jason wakes up, he’ll wake me and I’m not sure I’ll tell him about this nightmare. He might just think I’m too crazy. But the relief will be intense.
Wake up. Wake up.
I try to yell, to make some noise and I howl like a wolf. Hair standing on end, I move backwards, easily like a dog, horror and dread rush in a torrent now through my body, my mind in a frenzy of confusion.
Indistinct shades, greys, beiges and greens cloud my vision but my focus is sharp. I can see more accurately than in my real life and my sense of smell and hearing are magnified. With every rustle, movement I notice where these are coming from, flooded with that sweet, earthy soil, leaves and delicate flowers.
Looking down at my feet, feet that were hands, I observe my nightmare figure, horrified by the long claw like fingers and muscular forearms. Now I see why I feel different.
Edging away from the sticky web, scanning for clues. I see a scrap of what looks like material, smelling it, I realise its mine. It was mine, how can I smell my own scent?
For sure we notice other people’s scents, we don’t notice our own scents. But I do now in this dream.
Maybe I’ve lost my mind or maybe Jason slipped me something in my drink as a joke and now I’m hallucinating.
Walking away, if I keep moving perhaps I can jolt myself out of this.
Something rustles in the distance, heavier than small creatures, and a pungent smell fills my nostrils.
Without thinking my ears flip back, immediately I’m alert. I want to laugh but a growl comes out of my mouth.
Without warning a savage and wild compulsion overtakes me and I start to run, I’m powerful and bold.
Not having to watch my step with four feet padding swiftly through the wood, the coolness of the earth soothing, and sensing where that noise came from and I decided to follow it.
People. Humans walking innocently in the wood with no idea of what lurks in the shadows of the trees.
People who are lucky enough to encounter me and not a different beast. It’s bright daylight and naturally I stick to the darkness of the trees. Naturally!
I watch them, curious of where this dream will take me, they don’t spot me and are not aware of my predatory presence.
Suddenly smelling something else, turning my head slightly to see, it’s another werewolf. Bigger than me and male, I can smell it’s a male!
He’s stalking the humans, I want to shout to warn them but I can’t. And it’s only an illusion. It’s not real. It only feels real.
The werewolf stalks, his body close to the surface of the ground, each footstep slow and deliberate. Stalking the alpha human male, take out the alpha male and the others will be easy.
I don’t want to watch but I’m transfixed. It’s not real. What will happen, how will he do it?
Now I wish I was with Jason wrapped in his comfort, his protection.
But my mind is here in this wood. A wolf watching another wolf about to take down a man. A human man. And I can’t stop starring.
The werewolf leaps out at the man, so fast, the man lets out a scream just before the beast clamps his jaws firmly over the human’s throat.
Blood gushes like a violent waterfall spraying the werewolf, the man and the startled and staggering human companions
Their faces turn to terror, wide eyed, opened mouths as their brains scramble to make sense of something that doesn’t exist. Something terrible, wrong, evil.
I watch their futile attempts to scramble to safety leaving their friend, father or brother -that need that drives us to survival. Flight or fight.
The werewolf never lets go and the man never had a chance. With no weapons the attack so fierce and brutal the man has no energy to stop it.
Then he’s down.
Turning swiftly around I run back to where I came. I can’t watch what comes next, I can’t see that. I want to wake up now, I’ve had enough. Thank God I’m only dreaming. What the fuck, such a sick dream.
I run through the dense undergrowth, faster and faster.
When I stop I’m panting, I must wake myself and I look for something that can shake me out of this.
Again, trying to speak but what comes out is a howl. Hunching instinctively, I want to speak and now that alpha will know I’m here.
He’s not alone and within minutes I’m surrounded by a pack. Cowering, I avoid eye contact.
The alpha comes up to me and sniffs the air then stands back.
I realise the stupidity of the situation but am unable to express my thoughts in this creature’s body. I have no vocal chords to express language, only thoughts. Others come up to me and sniff around me.
In my waking world I would find this experience terrifying and amazing, being approached by beasts. I’ve always had an affinity to nature, to folklore, but that’s when I wasn’t directly involved in it.
Now as a creature myself, some half-breed, for tonight at least the experience is alien to me. I cannot express myself, I have no language. Panting in fear, I’m trapped in this vile thing, neither wolf nor human.
The alpha and his pack are streaked in blood, human blood covers their jaws, crimson stains their black/ grey fur and reeks so strong my human reaction would be to gag. But instead the coppery rich smell invites something else and I find myself salivating. Lucid dreams. He motions me with his head to join them and I follow obediently.
Dead but Dreaming.
The hunger awoke my soul so intense that I had never known.
Brutal, savage, calling me to the forest to find whatever that place put in front of me. And I knew then with that burning inside me that I was no longer human but something, which I had always dismissed as fiction or a dark fairy tale.
So, I ate. Human or animal. I would wait my turn, the lowest of the pack with a strong alpha male and female, the other members ahead of me.
As I tore at the flesh before me I felt disgust, nausea writhed in my body, but that savage appetite drove me with its full intensity. I couldn’t look at the faces. I wanted to wake up but the burning raging inside me won’t subside, fierce and brutal.
I howled out my loneliness and anger with a longing so strong to be what I normally am. To be with my lover and to be in the waking world. To do regular things. Make coffee, laugh with my man whilst we cook dinner. Tight, gripped with panic and dread and whatever the hell this was, it was horrifying, never ending.
Empty, lost and the pack sensed it. What had done this to me?
Then surrounding me, growls low and threatening echoing in the night’s silence, they drove me off into the wood, the alphas’ leading.
Had they sensed I wanted answers? How stupid, wolves or whatever the hell they are don’t sense answers.
Finding myself in a strange part of this forest, my mind tried to make sense of this illusion of metamorphosis. Am I dead or am I just dreaming.
Running from the pack, chasing me through the woods on and on. Howls and growling, snapping at me, fear burning through every limb, every cell, I daren’t look back. Like strewn beads on a floor, my mind scattered, confused. They’re going to kill me, rip me to shreds like the human.
Suddenly they stop dead, I continue on, seizing the chance to escape, my heart hammering in my chest.
Slowing down, I spy in the distance a small clearing amongst the trees and a dishevelled hut just beyond it. The pack behind me seems agitated now, whining and baying, and for a while we just remained where we were, resting but alert. They hang back from me, why are they ushering me here? I thought their intent was to kill me, now I’m not so sure.
Suddenly alert, I see something macabre, sinister.
Flickering, moving unnaturally upright, a huge shadow of a werewolf. I could just make it out moving between the trees in the distance.
Through the grasses and the shadows, I see it now, massive and foreboding with saliva drooling from its enormous jaws. Slowly I creep towards it, fear teeming in every muscle.
It looks in my direction, I freeze, too scared now to even breath.
But I must face it; I know somehow, by instinct that I have to reach that hut. The answer is hidden in there.
The hut is all I need to get to, if only I could draw this beast away from it. I see a light in the window, faint and flickering, my body rigid with dread. Scent of death drifts like a fog from that direction.
Something deep inside me tells me I have to confront the beast, I know I cannot beat it.
I will most likely have my throat torn and be ripped it pieces as it sinks its huge fangs into me. And then? Will I wake up?
Can I die in a dream? I could wake up or I could die.
Peculiarly, knowing I could die now in this strange place brings me a kind of peace. A calm that I do not have as this creature.
The beast looms around as if it’s waiting for something, expecting something. Maybe it is, maybe that something is me.
Carefully, creeping forward, trembling as I edge closer, I’m glad there is no moon tonight more darkness to hide in.
Night encircles the world around me and I know it will not be long before my scent is picked up.
Why hasn’t it left the clearing, I just need to get to that hut. The hut, and then what? The answer, I need the answer. Jason floods my mind; my life permeates my being. My normal everyday waking world.
The pack fall silent as I move my body close to the ground forwards towards this beast, towards the end to this nightmare.
Something distracts it and I’m all too aware that I am now out here on my own, the pack waiting behind in the safety of the wood watching. As I emerge towards uncertainty, to the final exit.
As soon as he spots me he jumps upon me in one gargantuan leap and clamps his massive jaws, rumbling growling, ferocious.
Slumping down on the floor submissive, bound by its weight, its grip, pain. Oddly I don’t feel as afraid as I thought I would, I feel resigned. To die now and end this nightmare.
Confusion reigns my mind, and I try in this moment to find some sense but the only clarity I have is being held in the jaws of the beast.
Sharp incisors pierce my flesh ever so slightly, it seems so real. His weight and bite holding me paralysed. His breath rich and putrid fills my nose, his heat penetrating me. I make no effort to move.
At length he releases his grip and stands over me his eyes smaller, expression of confusion. For what other beast would dare to cross a monster such as this?
Slowly I sit up and face the hut, my eyes locking onto its form.
He moves back and looks at it and then at me. I don’t break my stare of my goal, my target. The hut…
Hearing sounds from inside the hut, waiting, then the werewolf turns and walks in his odd upright manner to the door, scratching at it with those macabre paw-like hands and claws.
Pounding faster and faster, my heart thrums against my chest as I wait to see who or what comes to the door. I can wake up soon. Panting in anticipation, instinctively I start to move backwards.
Another noise and the sound of a heavy bolt being drawn back.
The door opens and I can’t believe what stands in front of me.
Looking down at my hands, not hands, just giant paws, complete with claws. My legs, my tail, I look like a wolf. Am I dead then?
Is my mortal human self-dead? Is this my spirit, my ghost inhabiting this creature? I want to wake up.
Turning and running, I run as fast as I can back to the wood, the safety of the trees.
How can that be? I saw…I saw myself. My human self. What am I now?
I cannot wake up. This horror has only just begun. This isn’t a dream.