The lanterns are lit early tonight. Shudders are closed and doors are bolted with multiple locks. The people tuck themselves away before the sun goes down. Animals are collected up and put in safe guarded barns. Not even the farm dogs are left outside tonight. Even they are allowed into the safe walls of the homes that sprinkle across this mountainous and dreary landscape. The fog hangs low, settling heavy and leaving the grass wet and glistening. It’s still outside. The normal bustling main street is silent. Fear is indeed, quiet, after all. And the fear here tonight is thick enough for one to smell it. Breathe it down deep and let it settle in one’s lungs. The Kudu sits in the saddle of her horse, un-phased by the fear that has crept into the town and closed every establishment and homestead. She doesn’t fear the creature the moon that is now rising up into the ink sky will bring. Like a beacon it will summon it out of the shadows. For one night a month she becomes someone the Kudu knows. The Kudu urges her mount to the edge of the forest. She needs no light to see by. Something moves within the trees. The glint of fangs catches the moon as she comes from the darkness. Her toothy grin is all the Kudu is greeted by. She’s long and lean as she makes herself known.
“I thought you weren’t going to show,” She jeers.
The Kudu pulls on the reins in her hand.
“You know I never miss it,” She grins back.
Stella shakes her shaggy head and throws it back in a long, loud howl, one that will keep the townsfolk afraid for another month to come.
“Ready when you are,” She barks.
The Kudu nods and before she can blink the sleek werewolf is gone, racing through the forest. The Kudu presses her horse forward, it obeys with a toss of its head and a shrill whinny. And just like that they are off. Is it a race? Or just a game of chase? Neither of them has ever really categorized it as either. What it is though, is two wild animals allowing themselves to be free, if only for a night.