DANS LES OMBRES
It was a quiet night, when I’m thinking back about it. And I’m still wondering how, how I could managed to guess that, that tranquil, peaceful and calm night might be the night of my undoing, of my death ?
Oh, if only I could have known, if only, if only…
I was walking in the street, a street lamp lit on. I was coming back from a gothic party, I was wearing my usual clothes these days : A red shirt, a black bolero, and a black pair of pants. No shoes. I was accustomed to walk in the streets without any shoes. And each time I walk through a park, I could not resist to have a trip in the grass. Aaaah, the soft feeling of grass under your feet… This night, I was walking on the grass, after returning from a gothic party. It was a full moon, providing the kind of light I really like. A ghostly light, making all things looking more mysterious. Even the street lamp could not totally fight the mystery falling from the moon. This night, under a full moon, after having walked on grass, when returning from a gothic party… My hair, that I’ve decided to let grow long, was black dyed, of course. And I was wearing eye lenses, making my eyes looking like as if they were violet, although, their natural colour was brown. And my skin, by heavy non-exposure to sun, was pale. I was but an illusion, under a full moon, after having walked on grass, when returning from a gothic party… Suddenly, it began to rain… I dislike cold water, so I searched for a cover, and entered a alleyway… In the alleyway, they strike. I never saw their faces… I just saw, no, perceived, the gun… Then, a blast… It is usually said that a victim of a gunshot never hear the noise of the bullet killing him… But I heard it… Oh, yes… I’ve heard it… I fell to the ground, I felt the sudden shock in my back when I hit it. But no sound came out of my throat… I was totally paralyzed. But I was still feeling… I was feeling the drops of rain on my face… I was feeling the blood soaking my hair and skin… I was feeling their hands rummaging through my clothes, looking for any valuables… I was still here… Unable to move, to talk… Only able of perceiving, and thinking…
Was it death ?
I didn’t pass out, but I think that would be merciful… No… I remained on this alleyway for many hours… Long hours… Under the rain, under the full moon… I was even unable to cry… But, oh, how I wanted to ! So much things I didn’t do, I didn’t see… I died as a virgin, too, but it looks meaningless, now… I saw my blood running freely on the ground, creating puddles here and there… Then, I heard a woman shrieking… The sun was beginning to rise… I have been discovered before the sun was risen… I knew, from that instant that now, I was belonging to the realm of shadows… Then, they came… Cops… Doctors… Passerbys… My body was taken before the sun came out totally… I saw, in a glimpse, a ray of sun passing through some roofs… And I hoped… Yes, I hoped… Because, I thought that if the sun ray touches me, I’ll be alive again. That the sun may revive my body… The sun ray slowly approached me… I hoped… And then, I was put in the ambulance, and the doors were slammed down.
I wanted to cry… All I was able to do was screaming endlessly in my head, begging for a last ray of sun… Only a last ray of sun…
I didn’t pass out. And I screamed, I screamed…
Later. The morgue. Pathologists discussing around. A white blanket over my body. I was able to hear them… Joking, discussing about their wives, their incoming meal… I was silent again… Only despair was filling me, now. I thought that nothing worse than that would happen… Being held prisoner in his own body, for eternity… That’s when they talked about me.
About my autopsy.
They approached, with their metallic tools : scalpels, scissors, and all…
I was afraid of course. But I was not prepared for what came.
-« Cause of death ? »
-« Probably a bullet. »
-« Again ? Begins to be annoying… »
-« Yeah… Look, here his the hole from where the bullet entered. Right here… »
-« See the burnt flesh ? Typical… »
-« The bullet came out here… Look »
-« Feh… How unlucky he was… I know a guy who received a bullet in the head, but who’s still alive… »
-« Blah, blah, blah, another of your urban legend, Tony ? »
-« Whatever. We don’t need to open any more. Cause of decease quite clear. Don’t need further investigation. »
-« Any known family ? »
-« Nope. This one will end in Saint Clemence. »
-« What’s Saint Clemence ? »
-« Ah, yeah, you’re quite new here. This is a tiny cemetery for those who can’t afford any grave. It’s here that ended homeless, fugitives without known relatives… That kind of guys. »
-“ Ah... Sad.”
-“Quite. Okay, guys, let’s wrap it up. Cole will take it later. Anyone want a coffee?”
Do you know what’s worse? The lack of sleep. Being able to fall into complete slumber, to forget for a while that you’re living.
Even that was refused to me. I waited. A long time. Imagine you’re in your bed, facing up, and that you don’t have to move. You won’t endure this for more than a quarter of hour. And, now, imagine what I was feeling after an entire night... I’ve tried to meditate, thinking about blood running through my body... Ironical, as my blood wasn’t running any more... But I tried nonetheless. I was imagining it running in my toes, then returning into my lungs to purify the blood by breathing... Alas, I was not able to breath... Whatever... I imagined taking away the negative energies inside my blood, and replacing it by positive energy. It did several times, slowly, taking my time to fully think and visualize each part of my body. That was all that prevented me from becoming utterly mad.
After some time – I’ve lost the track of it, I simply remember that I was arrived to my stomach – someone entered the morgue. He, or she, didn’t lit on the lights. He approached directly the table on which I was, and took away the white blanket that was covering. Ah. It was a man. Tall and slim, almost thin, and bald, that was making him looked like a skeleton. There was very few light, so I didn’t see clearly his face. But I heard his voice. Unpleasant, like teeth grinding on stone.
-“My, my, my... Quite a pleasant piece they received today... Heh, you’ll be quite a nice one to work on...”
At this instant, I was thinking that his job was to prepare my corpse in order for it to be buried properly. But, even if I had known, I would not be able to do anything... He whispered some time more, cackling about papers for Saint Clemence, stuff he’ll have to prepare, and so on... I didn’t understand quite what he was talking about, even if I was listening carefully. After all, I had nothing else to do. He took me out of the table, with difficulties, and placed me... Well, my body, on a wheeled stretcher. He whistled a bit, while driving me toward the exit. He had placed back the blanket over me. From the ‘trip’, I remembered only flashes of light through the white blanket. I had stopped my meditation, and I was watching at the differences of light I was able to perceive through the blanket. It was somewhat quite relaxing... Eventually, the man stopped the stretcher. I heard the opening of a door, and I perceived the change in temperature, the sounds of outside world: The breeze, the sounds of distant cars... I heard the man opening a car door. Then, he took my body and put it on seats...
That was not an ambulance, but a private car. That’s when I started wondering about this guy. What all of that was meaning? I started to panic again, but it was useless. I tried to remain calm and to think about what all of this was meaning... At first, I thought about possible ways of escaping, but I remember that I was unable to move. My calm was slowly fading away... But, soon, the travel appeased my nerves. Nothing happened for a while, and I was slowly drifting away into this stupor state. After all, nothing really mattered any more... I looked through the blanket, again, the differences of light... I perceived the differences in the engine, when it was going quicker or slower... At a moment, he started talking to me. If I would be able to do so, I would have jerked in surprise... But soon, I realized he was not talking to me... Well, not in the same way he would have talked to someone... It was more as if he was talking to a pet, or to an inanimate object... Technically, I was inanimate...
-“You see, it’s quite difficult, now, to find good materials... Usually, I find drunken men, or fat ones, or some that are too damaged by fire, electricity or whatever else, to be usable... You’re, indeed, quite a finding...”
I must admit that, the more he was talking, the more I was frightened... Who was he? What did he have in mind? My bane is that I have a lot of imagination... I thought about many things... I’ve nearly guessed, though... Oh, nearly...
We arrived at destination, whatever it was. He cackled a bit more, about my body, he’s good luck, and so on. I didn’t want to hear him any more. Again, he moved my body. It was still night. We where near a forest, or something like that, I smelled the leaves and the wood... A door creaking. The air getting a bit colder. Light getting weaker. I was put on a wooden table. The feeling of it on my skin was unmistakable. I heard a few noises reminding me of glass being moved. Then metal... Inside of me, I perceive fear. And angst. Then, he removed the blanket. I saw the cellar. Brightly lit. No windows. No other apertures than the door from which he has made me enter through. But what terrified me was the multiple... Things... That were exposed here: Heads, stuffed bodies... And not only animals... In the corner was the body of a girl, with only one arm, and without legs. She still have an aperture in her flank, showing the stuff material. Her eyes, made of glass, gave her a somewhat weird gaze... Here, in a big flask, were floating a head in formalin... This is a nightmare, I thought, this is a nightmare, I repeated to myself, trying desperately to deny the whole of this, hoping that I would awake soon... But, as for the ray of sun, my wish was not fulfilled... I saw him approaching with a scalpel, gloves on his hands, and a mask on his face.
-“You’ll be my masterpiece. But, first, I have to remove all deteriorating parts. Plus, I’ll have to do a few things, here and there...”
And he began to cut and remove my face skin... I screamed. I felt distinctly the metallic blade cutting through the skin, and then moving slowly, professionally, but painfully... It was horrible, the cold material skinning me like an animal... It last only a few minutes, I guess, but for me, it was like hours. Hours of endless screams. You don’t have to stop to breath, when you’re mentally screaming... He continued to talk to me...
-“Yes... It’ll be perfect... You see that, here?”
He pointed toward a big wolf corpse.
-“Heh... I’ll make a Lycanthropus in no time... My best job, ever...”
Then, he started skinning the wolf, removing the head from the body. He also took the muzzle bones, and cleaned them carefully. After that, he approached me again, an put the skin on my skinless flesh.
He then sewed the wolf skin. It took time, as he wanted first to fix the wolf jaws to my jawbone structure. He took his time. I guessed that what was pleasing him much, the contact of blood, flesh and skin...
Finally, he uses his scalpel to remove my eyes. Metal against flesh, grinding on bone... When he cut my eye nerves... It was... As if someone switched the light off. No more visual data. I was still hearing what he was doing, though. That’s when something strange happened... I was still feeling the air on my unprotected flesh... But that pain was slowly drifting away. I was gradually loosing all my other perceptions. I was fading away.
Death, at last... I welcomed it like a deliverance.
I was in water from toe to waist, my arms inside the cold liquid as well. I slowly open my eyes. I was seeing again. I saw black water under me. I could not see through it, though. I saw my reflection cast on it. And the reflection of a full moon. I lifted my gaze, as I was expecting to see the moon above me. There was nothing. Nothing but swirling shadows, forming a kind of silent storm... I saw red clouds, violet ones, in spirals. Silence reigned here. It was a beautiful, but somewhat terrifying spectacle... I ripped my gaze out of it, and return it to the water. I saw the moon. Two obelisks, one white, one black... I stared at the image of myself. A human, naked, looking at himself, through the barrier of water. Then, slowly, the image faded away. There was no more reflect of myself in this mirror water. And, little by little, a new image appeared. A wolf head... I shivered a bit, remembering the cellar of horror I’ve just left. But... This new image was somewhat... Pleasant... As if I was looking at a familiar and friendly portrait. The wolf creature has his eyes close, but I was able to study its general traits and frame. Grey fur, except patches of black fur upside and downside the eyes, forming shapes like fangs... The creature also have a patch of white hair fur on the top of his head, that must come black just behind the head, for the creature had long jet black hair. I knew this face, indeed. A dream I’ve already made, but the kind of one that remained deep inside me. Until now.
Suddenly, the creature opened his eyes. They were beautiful. Alive. Their colour, a rich violet, caught my gaze, and I was unable to remove it from those eyes. I don’t know what truly happened next... I remember that I wanted to pass through the barrier of water, to meet the wolf creature. So I bend down. The wolf creature did the same. When my face touched the surface of the water, his muzzle did the same. I closed my eyes when I pass through water. On the other side, I discovered that I was still able to breath. So, I continued entering the water. Slowly, all my body passed. I noticed that, curiously enough, my legs passed lastly, although, logically, they should have been here first... I didn’t really care... I think that logic abandoned me here definitely... It was dark, and cold. But I felt right. When my last toe through the barrier of water, I fell. Not too quickly, not too slowly. I fell like a leaf, so to speak... I opened my eyes, curious enough to see what surrounded me. I saw a pit of blackness, with reflections of blue, here and there. I was falling in a huge well of dark clouds... These clouds, forming the ‘walls’ of the well, seemed also to fall with me, a bit quicker, toward... Something... I closed my eyes again... Eventually... I felt...
I felt my body. I opened my eyes. Returned to the cellar. I heard the man rummaging through his stuff, whistling some merry air, unknown of me... I turned my head toward the source of the noise, and I saw him, his back facing me. It strike me then that I’ve actually moved... I looked at my fingers, their nails, and the somewhat pale flesh... I moved them a bit, testing my manual ability. At first, it was difficult to move them, but it returned quickly. The guy was still occupied. So, I stood up, very slowly, my ears twitching in every direction...
I lifted my hand toward my face, and touched it. Fur. That’s when I saw the canine muzzle. I think that, logically, I should have screamed – or howled – in horror. But, I’ve lived so many horrible experiences... And this one, was, actually, not horrible at all. I saw my reflection in a mirror on the wall. I was a human, with a wolf head grafted on the shoulders. I was able o see the sewing marks in the flesh. The wolf head fur was a mix of grey, brown and some bits of black and white. The guy has also placed golden glass eyes instead of my regular ones. I looked at them in the mirror. And gradually, they turn wet and violet. I blinked a few times. Yes. Now, I got living eyes. Violet ones...
I heard a clatter, and I turned the noise. The man, still whistling and rummaging, had put a big skinning knife near him. I supposed that it was meant to skin the rest of my body... I stood up slowly, without making any noise. And I approached him, slowly. I was... Starving...
Alerted by some instinctual signal, he turned quickly toward me. I think his heart skipped beat or two... At least, fear choked him a few seconds... He fell to the ground, taking with him a few of his tools. He whined a bit in fear. I thought the situation to be rather funny... He has skinned me, an action that we might consider absolutely horrible... And he was here, at my feet, shaking with fear... Well, maybe the sighting of a naked supposedly dead body, with a living wolf head on the top of it was a bit too much for his mind... Me, on the contrary, I felt really calm... I think I didn’t realized yet all that has arrived to me. And, at the moment, I was only thinking about the big, consuming hunger that was filling me. In itself, it was good news: My body has retrieved sensations... And, somewhat, I saw something shining inside the man. Something warm and nice, attracting me like a moth to a candle flame. It was so brilliant... I wanted it... I put my hand on it, and it matched with the place of his heart. I don’t really how I made it, but I absorbed this wonderful, warm and soft light... The guy choked a bit, then his body fell, as if it was a puppet that had its threads been cut down... There was almost no more light in him. I looked at my own chest, my hand near my heart... And there it was: The bright light... The positive energy I’ve imagined before... I feel the light running through my body, and becoming more and more bright. Soon, I was blinded by this wonderful light... And I felt changes on my body... Fur covering my whole body... A tail sprouting out of my spine... Nails becoming claws... Palms becoming black pads... When the light finally declined, I saw my new body in the mirror. I was now totally wolfish... Grey fur, turning white on my throat, my chest and between my thighs. That’s when I saw my face that I was a bit surprised. Exactly the reflection I saw in the water mirror. I smiled. My inner self turning out to be my new appearance... I didn’t understand, nor I cared for the moment. I simply enjoyed the new feelings provided by my new body and fur. After a while, I decided to get out. Simply to see where I was... I was walking in some kind of dream. I didn’t realize all the consequences.
The streets again. It was so good to breath air again... My sense of smell was also increased, and I was taking in many, many scents. My hearing was also improved, and I heard all that was making noise in the streets. It was... Wonderful... Being alive again. That’s when I heard them coming. For some reasons, hearing human voices made me returning to mundane reality. In one second, I considered the fact that I was now some freaky werewolf... I needed to hide, but where? I simply jumped in a patch of shadows. But I soon realized that it was too tiny. I thought that, if only it would have been greater... Then, suddenly, I saw shadows, collecting around me, increasing the size of the shadow patch. Obviously, I was surprised... Stunned, even. But I had no more time to think about it, as the humans were coming closer. I crouched down, in order to make me tinier, but even crouched, I was as tall as an average human... Problematic... I saw the humans. They were four, three guys and one gal. They were obviously drunk. They were talking and laughing, and they passed near me without noticing me. The girl, however, glanced at the shadow patch, and frowned a little. But she walked away without any more hesitation.
Okay. Hat was becoming weird... Now, my daze was drifting away, leaving me with many, many questions... Was I dreaming? Certainly not... Too much feelings, too much sensations for the whole of it to be a dream. And, right now, I was in a werewolf body, hidden in a shadow patch that I’ve increased the space... And, before, I was laying on a table, being skinned alive by a mad taxidermist. Well, ‘alive’ might not be the correct term... I was still present in my body, but... It was cold, blood was motionless in my veins, and my heart had stopped beating for an entire day and night.
So, I was dead.
And now, I was alive. Definitely.
I opened and closed my hand, pardon, my paw, a few times to get convinced of the fact that I was alive, and in a true wolf-human body.
It was not a dream. I found explanations later, sort of... But, for the moment, I was puzzled, and unable to explain anything.
That’s when the hunger in me rose again...