We sat at a small table in his humbled home. Though Aidan was well-off he preferred to lead a simple life and invest his money in the well-being of his village.
His wife welcomed us with sweet pumpkin pie and tea. Aidan told her what had happened at the court.
‘People have gone mad!’ he concluded. ‘Believing in monsters, beasts as if there aren’t enough dark places in this world!’ He tried to sound brave yet his eyes were filled with fear.
‘What do you think happened?’ she asked him perhaps seeing the same fear.
Aidan sighed. ‘I saw the poor creature too.’ His jaw twitched. ‘I’ve never seen anything like it.’ He looked at me. ‘Its body was torn apart and it had…marks all over it, giant marks like…’ he looked at his hands and stopped. His wife watched him, her face filled with concern. All I could think of was did he know something? Did he suspect anything?
‘Have you seen it?’ she asked me.
‘What?’ I was confused.
‘Have you seen Leslie, the cow?’
‘Thank God she hasn’t!’ said Aidan. ‘That’s no image to welcome her in this town!’
Aidan was my first degree cousin. I came to visit him yesterday and I spent the night in a cottage not far away from his house. At first he insisted I should stay in his home but I said I wanted to sleep in what was once my father’s cottage. He understood. He offered to give me that propriety many times in the past but I refused. After all he inherited it from his father who had bought it from my father.
Besides, my place was not in this village. It would have been a waste of propriety to put it on my name. But more important that was not the reason why I wanted to sleep in that cottage. I needed to be in that cottage and make use of one of the cages. The cages in the basement. Aidan thought they were a family treasure because they were made of silver. Thank God he never sold them. Little did he know they were made of silver for a reason. Even the sizes of the cages were…well big enough to fit cows in.
Aidan’s father was a werewolf too, just like my father was. It was passed down from generation to generation so it ran through our veins, though we all had different moments when we ‘woke’. Aidan had not awoken yet and I was afraid he won’t understand what is happening to him. That was one of the reasons why I visited. I was so thankful for my father when he was there for me, guide me through the change, pain and explain to me what would happen. I was ready when it happened the first time…as ready as I could have been. You can’t be entirely ready for something like that. Not ever. I had grown accustomed to the pain and to my second shape but it had taken me quite a while.
Aidan was a smart man but I wondered if his father had ever told him anything. His father died two years ago. He was a hardworking man but communication was never his strong side. He never got along with my father who was the exact opposite but they both hated their third brother, Tom’s father. Tom, my second cousin was totally different than Aidan. Aidan was kind, warm-hearted and communicative yet Tom was selfish, cold and arrogant. He went traveling ten years ago and I haven’t heard of him ever since.
Aidan, Tom and I. Three werewolf descendants. That’s why there were three cages in the basement. One for each of us. I woke. Aidan didn’t and Tom I was not sure. But it was clear to me that there was another beast in the village and this one had gone savage.
I slept at the cottage again that night. Of course, I visited the cages before I slept but I didn’t use them, just thought and worried greatly about Aidan and the moment he would wake up. I wanted to be there for him. He would need me.
Morning came over me like thunder. There was a lot of commotion around the cottage and when I exited the house I saw a dozen peasants angrily walking towards the village center.
I was about to run to Aidan’s house but, he already stood in my doorway.
‘It’s worse!’ he said heaving, his face shocked. ‘Today it’s worse!’
For a moment I had the feeling he knew.
This time I insisted on seeing the body. Though it wasn’t something I wanted to see at all. Villagers crying, cursing, swearing, fear on their faces. This time, no butchered cow lay on the field. This time, a man was butchered in his own home. His wooden cottage was destroyed on one side. The creature had entered the cottage by breaking the walls. Its hatred had been great. The anger the creature must have unleashed…the house and not to mention the victim… poor Mr. Potter, his body and face unrecognizable.
No gavel could keep the people quiet today. The judge himself seemed restless as well. Fear had taken hold of all of them. Aidan sat quietly next to me but I could hear his heart beating fast. Mine was beating fast as well for I realized that Aidan was different today. Much more different than yesterday. What if, what if he had woken up and I had not seen it clearly?