Four days without electricity, without solid shelter or heat. My stomach growls angrily. It will be taken care of after dark, though I won’t remember.
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When I was told of my curse, three days lay between me and the night sealing my fate. I shoved the warmest clothes I owned into a bag and took the first bus out of town. I was too much of a coward to kill myself, so I ran. In the last haven of civilization I passed, I bought a few camping supplies then walked into the forest, knowing I’d never be seen again. For two days I hiked, hopelessly lost, but it didn’t matter. A hundred miles of nothing stretched in every direction, and I built my makeshift home on the edge of a rushing stream, satisfied that even if I ran all night, I’d never get close enough to hurt anyone. The wet foliage fought my attempts to start a fire, and I eventually gave up, too exhausted to stay awake any longer.
I woke at dawn next to an eviscerated deer carcass, its flesh torn by the fangs of a wild animal and its blood coating my naked body. My stomach emptied itself as the stench of death washed over me, the taste of blood filling my mouth.
For most of the day, I stumbled naked through the forest, finally finding my way back to camp. I curled up in my sleeping bag, shivering and bloodied from sharp sticks and stones, but the sun had no mercy for my exhaustion. I took my clothes off as it dipped below the horizon, hoping to preserve the only pair I had left. My others had been shredded, scattered across the wilderness. I sat, naked and trembling, waiting for the darkness to take me once again.
The wolf took pity on me on that night. I woke in a small den under an overhang. And the next night, I woke up back in my tent, curled up on my sleeping bag. With dawn, came exhaustion, and all I could do was sleep, trying to ignore the viscera still wedged between my teeth.
I huddle in my tiny tent, shivering and praying for nightfall when the fur will return. I don’t remember much of the change, but I remember being warm, being full. My lean body and delicate skin are no match for the biting cold and harsh environment. I have no claws, no fangs for protection, no sensitive nose to find food, no thick fur to defy the wind.
Out here, the human in my veins is the curse, not the wolf.