And part three of the Neubrandenwolf-Tale.
You can find all stories in proper order and some more information on this page: Neubrandenwolf.
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He knew it had been a bad idea.
He knew something would go wrong when he would run in an unknown area.
It always did.
Just a few days after the moon, his friend linked him on a social media post of the guy who owned the garden he had changed in. Of course he had found a paw print and was now sharing it with the world.
It wasn’t helping that his friends added: “Just around the corner from where we’ve been! Imagine if we would’ve seen the wolf!”
He did imagine it, he never liked when that happened. It wouldn’t have been the first time someone saw him – and certainly not the last.
Even after ten years of living with it he still felt like a stupid child whenever something like this occurred.
This full moon he wouldn’t be so reckless and he wouldn’t be in town either, as it fortunately was on a weekend.
The memories of his turning always haunted him when he screwed up. It showed him what might happen if he wasn’t careful. But where he was going he didn’t need to be that careful, he was save there and no one would notice a wolf running through the snow or care much about his paw prints afterwards. While he was driving towards his destination, however, his attack was all he could think about.
His girlfriend had just broken up with him and his best friend had dragged him out of country on a trip to “celebrate” his new-found freedom. All the drinking hadn’t helped his troubled heart and so he had decided to go for a run in the middle of the night to clear at least his head. The air had been warm around him and the full moon had shone brightly in the clear sky. His feet had led him to a small forest at the outskirts of town and he had run along the path leading through it when suddenly he had heard something behind him. At first he had thought it was just another jogger that couldn’t sleep either, but the breathing and patter of feet reminded him more of an animal on the hunt. Sweat had run down his face and he had contemplated for a moment whether he should take a peek before his curiosity got the better of him. Looking back he had seen a large dog – or wolf as he now knew – standing there and starring at him. His heart had jumped and he had come to a halt, locking eyes with the beast. It had barred its teeth and snarled at him. Knowing you shouldn’t flee and actually not fleeing are two entirely different things and before he could have stopped himself his body had turned back around and just ran as fast as he could.
The wolf had been close on his heels, its growls barely audible over his own racing heart. Briefly he had thought about turning off the path, but he hadn’t dared to do it. He just ran and ran.
Still the wolf soon had caught up with him and he had felt something heavy hitting his back. He had lost his balance and had fallen face first onto the ground. There had been a sharp pain as the beast had sunken its teeth into his arm. A scream had left his throat as it had pulled him around. He had tried hitting it with his free arm, but to no effect. Then he had felt something hard below his back and had remembered the flashlight he had brought just in case. As the wolf was still pulling at his arm he had simply grabbed the flashlight and hit the wolf over the head several times. Finally it had let him go. They had stared at each other for a few frantic heartbeats; then the wolf had shaken its head and had just run off. He had shivered and panted and when he had been certain the beast wouldn’t return he had gotten up and stumbled back.
After nearly an hour of driving he finally reached the old house that was right at the edge of a forest. He parked his car and took out the backpack from his trunk before he rang the doorbell. The could hear the sound echoing through the large house, followed by the swishing of slippers on tiles, before a short, roundish woman opened the door, a surprised look on her face.
“Tommy!” She exclaimed, a grin spreading.
“Hi Mum”, he replied and was pulled into a bear hug.
“Come in, come in”, she urged him and stepped aside.
He stomped away the remaining snow on his shoes and patted his clothes free from what little had landed on him on the way from the car to the house and stepped inside. Opening his jacket his mother soon grabbed it to hang it on a free hook while he got rid of his shoes and put them on the low shoe rack. When he got up his slippers already stood there waiting for him on the floor. A smile crept onto his face as he turned his attention back to his mother.
“Your father is in the living room, I’ll get you a tea; you must be freezing”, she told him and hurried off towards the kitchen.
“Thanks Mum.” He wasn’t cold, not even remotely, but he still appreciated the gesture.
Bracing himself, he entered the living room; his father wouldn’t be too thrilled about his visit.
“You’ve been careless”, he greeted him solemnly and Thomas lowered his head; he knew he had been.
His father lifted up a newspaper that laid beside him on a table and read the headline: “Wolf in town? Paw prints found in local allotment garden” before looking straight at him, “Seeing as you came here this full moon, it wasn’t just any wolf, was it?”
Thomas sat down on the couch, his head still lowered, kneading his hands. “No, it wasn’t”, he admitted nearly whispering.
“How many times do we have to tell you to be more careful, Thomas? It’s been ten years and you still act like it only happened last month!” His father scolded him, slamming the paper back onto the table.
“Don’t you think I know that? Don’t you think I prepared?! I can’t change the weather!” Thomas now snapped back, the moon already affecting his mood, at this accusation.
His father was right of course, he had raced his mind through all the possible outcomes, but it only came down to the mud that had captured his print.
“Enough! Both of you!” His mother intervened and sat down beside him. “Tell us what happened, Tommy, we only know the news side of the story”, she encouraged and took his hand.
He squeezed it slightly and nodded. “Katrin had invited me to her birthday party and it was on the day of the moon”, he started.
“And that wasn’t reason enough for you to decline?” His father interrupted.
“Of course, but she kept asking me about it. I hadn’t seen her and our friends for months, so I prepared. I looked at maps, I walked the area, but then the snow melted and one of the mud puddles caught my print”, Thomas explained, still angry at himself, angry at the weather and angry at his father for simply blaming him.
“Was it a good night at least?” His mother changed the topic.
“Yeah, it was fun”, he answered with a genuine smile.
“Your tea should be ready”, she then said, smiling herself and patted his thigh before getting up.
They sat in silence until his mother returned, but it wasn’t an awkward one, it was more like they didn’t want her to miss anything of the conversation.
When she did she asked him about the party, his work and what had happened since they last talked and he happily obliged by telling her everything he deemed interesting. He simply loved being home.
The next day he helped his father shovelling the snow in the yard and from the roof and with other tasks while his mother prepared his favourite goulash and a meaty dish for the evening.
When the time had come he hugged his mother and received a pat on the back and a “be careful” from his father. They stood with him on the back terrace that looked onto a meadow that lead to the part of the forest that belonged to them. He removed his clothes and put them on a bench, his mother would fold them later, she always did, and then shifted with a jump into the snow. For a moment he looked back at his parents, his mother was waving at him, a smile on her face, while his father merely nodded and had his arm around her. Yelping at them he then greeted the moon before he rolled around in the fluffy snow and ran off into the forest.
Behind the Scenes
Pretty much the only thing that was real this time, was the fact that it had snowed again and that it’s not unusual to drive long distances to get home…
And the fact that we occasionally have wolf sightings in Meck-Pomm thanks to the packs we have in the Lübtheener Heide and other regions.
With the upcoming chapters this will be even less based on stuff like that and more on narration.
The question is though:
Should I wait for the next full moons to publish each chapter or just publish them as soon as I have them done?
What do you think?
Well, I hope you enjoyed this story as well.
Stay tuned for part three: Crow Moon! 😉