Well, I decided to continue the story of Winter Moon. Not just with this sequel, but a third part is already drafted as well. If I manage to do it, you will get a continuation every month close to the next full moon. The whole thing will be put below the title “Neubrandenwolf”, because let’s face it: The stuff that happens to the guy takes place in Neubrandenburg, even if I don’t say it. 😀
Anyway, I wanted to publish this post already last week, but I got sidetracked by watching Zoo. Though, as it turned out that was a good thing. For the third part I checked out the moon-names for title purposes and discovered that the full moon in January was called the Wolf Moon. Of course I had to change the title for that. 😉
As that is out of the way, have fun with
The other day it had finally snowed. The first time this winter, even if it was already January. He loved the snow; he loved how it made the world look peaceful and pure, but he especially loved how it felt on his fur and below his paws when he ran during his special night. His only fear was that it would thaw before that. Walking his way up to the hill he lived on, he thought about his plans for that night. Two days ago he had had a phone call with a friend that would complicate things.
“Hey, you’re the only one left, who hasn’t told me whether they come to my birthday party or not”, his friend had greeted him.
“Oh, sorry, I forgot. When was it again?” He had asked, clearly remembering it would be on the day of the full moon.
“Next Thursday” his friend had confirmed.
“Ah, yeah, I don’t know. Friday is my day off – ” he had started, but had been interrupted by: “Oh, come on! It’s my birthday and everyone will be there! You have to get out once in a while, you know, right?” His friend had, not for the first time, mocked his status as a recluse. “Besides, I know for fact that you’ve never been to the Brewhouse and always wanted to go there!”
He had sighed at that and given in: “Let me check my schedule and I’ll call you back tomorrow.”
He had struggled with himself. On the one hand did he want to go and hang out with his friends that he hadn’t seen for ages, the great food he had heard so much about was an additional bonus. On the other hand would this cause several other problems as he was unfamiliar with the area and his potential running grounds.
The evening after the call he had spent with a map of the area. Even if he only stayed a couple of hours he wouldn’t be able to make it back in time for his run, so he wouldn’t have a choice but to improvise.
After work the next day he had gone to the restaurant and taken out the map he had printed and followed the path he had marked to the allotment nearby. He made notes of the hedges, the arbours and sometimes of the smells. Even without the moon his senses were better than those of a normal human, so he easily noticed that not many people had been here recently. They probably just checked on their belongings in their gardens or fed the resident birds.
A path ran throughout the allotment, branching off every few meters into new ways leading to the entrances of several gardens lying beside each other. At some point he had strayed from the main path to the left, this way he passed the garden entrances, but also came closer to the brook that ran parallel to everything. At this edge of the allotment he had found an unlocked gate between the hedges that led to the brook. Carefully he opened it, already hearing the bubbling of the water. This was where he could start running. No one would see him if he kept close to the hedges.
But first he needed that hiding place.
He had gone through the row of gardens leading to the brook and checked them for signs of their owners and the accessibility of their entrances. As his boots left prints in the snow he had to be careful when he looked for a proper hiding place for his clothes, he didn’t want people to think that he was planning on robbing something. Finally he had come across one garden that seemed promising. Someone had recently been here, the footprints still led to the arbour, so if the snow stayed no one would notice a second pair. The gate was low enough to pass with a bit of effort and the arbours’ terrace seemed like a good place to hide his backpack. He was certain this should work; he just hoped the owners wouldn’t be here when the time came, that would be more than awkward. After he had made a note on his map he had started a timer on his phone to see how long it would take him to get here. When he had reached the restaurant again he was satisfied with the results and took his bus home. After dinner he then had called his friend to tell them that he’d come, but only for a few hours.
The days leading up to the birthday party he went through his plan time and again to see if it’d really work. When the day came he felt prepared enough, yet still terrified, but that was always the case if he had to change in an unknown environment; he liked his routines. He had a little time to get home from work before driving back down for the celebration. In his flat he changed into comfortable clothes that weren’t too thick to stuff into his backpack – as his usual bag would be too suspicious – alongside his supplies; something he had tried several times. With a last check he went to catch his bus.
Entering the restaurant, he was met by the delicious smell of different kinds of meat coming from the kitchen; he was definitely looking forward to the meal. His friend had invited quite a few people, fifteen if he counted correctly, some of which he knew, others he had never met before, neither of them knowing the truth about him. The only available seat was beside one of his friends’ single lady friends, which was just a simple hint at the fact that he had been single for all the years they had known each other. A few of them – including him – decided to take the special plate consisting of a plate full of different kinds of meats and several side dishes like potato-variations and red cabbage. After some small talk and catching up, the food finally arrived and smelled even more delicious now that it stood directly before him. Luckily for him this was a restaurant where using your hands was encouraged, so he didn’t feel bad about grabbing a ham hock and sinking his teeth into it. It tasted as delicious as it smelled and it was hard to control his hunger and chew normally instead of just gulping it down. Still, he took little breaks between his refills so he could control himself better and it wouldn’t be too obvious that he ate far more than his share. He didn’t know the hunting grounds here, so he made sure to be sated enough to not attack anything – or anyone – out of hunger.
After the meal was finished and the few leftovers packaged, he wanted to leave, but his friend made him stay for the hand washing ritual. A bowl of soapy water was brought to them by one of the staff dressed as a medieval maidservant and she declared that the women would wash and dry the hands of the men. Of course woman sitting beside him was the one drying his hands. She coyly smiled at him the way she had done all evening. On days like these he never knew if this was real attraction or if it was the wolf that subconsciously made them swoon. It didn’t matter either way. He thanked her politely and stood up to say his good byes.
As he got out, his backpack loosely hanging over his shoulder, a few smokers already stood at the bottom of the entrance stairs. Their smoke interfered with his fine nose, so he quickly made his way past them, bidding his farewell. The property was surrounded by a stone wall with a few bars as fence here and there and a large gate that opened the way onto the street or onto the parking lot, depending on whether you were leaving or entering. Out of the gates he took a last look back and saw the others still standing there and with a forced smile he waved once again and turned left, as if he wanted to take the bus. Out of their field of vision he crossed the street and turned right instead to get to his actual destination. A little behind the gate he crossed the street again and with swift steps made his way to the hiding place.
He considered himself lucky that no one was around or had been here recently, but the snow had mostly thawed by now and he feared he might leave footprints in the mud. Still, he didn’t have a choice, so he crossed the low gate, went down the path to the arbour and stepped onto its open terrace. Alert he looked at his surroundings while he undressed himself and stashed everything in his backpack, his papers and remaining money at the bottom. He put the bag underneath the frame of a canopy swing and turned to leave. At the entrance of the terrace he stood for a moment looking up at the pale beauty above that was hiding behind tall trees and snow clouds. She looked magnificent. Taking in the cold air his body started to shift and soon he made his way through the garden. He tried to leave as few prints as possible through balancing on the edge of the cement plates that were vertically put into the ground as path borders; he still slipped a few times.
He followed the way he had studied to the brook and further down to a side arm of the local river and soon found himself on a still snowy field, as the ground here was too cold to let it thaw. Yelping joyfully he ran a few paces through it, rolled around in it and threw it into the air with his muzzle. Enjoying himself he howled his greeting to the moon and set off to fully enjoy his snowy run.
Behind the Scenes
As I did last time, a little overview of what is based on real things/events:
- There is a restaurant at the edge of town called the Wallensteinkeller (Wallenstein-cellar) or commonly called “Brauhaus” (brewhouse) where the only cutlery you get is a sharp knife. For minimum two people you can order the Wallensteinplatte (Wallenstein-plate) where you can get the stuff described above. It’s delicious. Also the staff does dress up as Magd (maidservant) and Knecht (servant), the foods have funny descriptions (black juice of the sugar beet would be coke) and the hand washing ritual really happens like that.
- We were there for my Birthday celebration, but the moon-behind-the-threes thing happened a week earlier when we went there to order a special meal for Breagit.
- This and me looking at a town map while waiting for my bus, I decided to write this story and let the protagonist run past the Brauhaus into the described Gartenanlage (allotment) onto the Torffeld (turf field) behind it.
- I know a family that have their garden there and they brought me to the brook once, but the garden itself is kind of a mix between theirs and our garden, I’m pretty sure their terrace has a door, while ours is accessible.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this story as well.
Stay tuned for part three: Snow Moon! 😉