The wind whipped through her beautiful silver fur as she ran through the woods, her four legs pumping faster as she gained upon her prey. The wolf could see the frightened deer just up ahead, and she moved in for the kill. When she got close enough, she let out a ferocious growl and leapt high and fast into the air, landing on the deer’s back. The wolf opened her jaw wide as the deer tumbled to the ground beneath her – and then she stopped. The deer bucked her off its flailing body and quickly scampered off, leaving the wolf behind panting heavily and grunting in frustration. She turned and ran back the way she had come, slowing as she approached the lake. In the moonlight, the lake was gorgeous, and she stood there for hours just staring, her eyes seeing through the darkness like any other wolf, yet she was also able to see colors that most other wild animals could not. Her silver fur shone almost as bright as the moon itself, casting a light into the overwhelming darkness.
When she could sense the approaching dawn, the wolf reluctantly headed away from the beauty of the lake and the moon, toward a solitary cabin. There, she approached a sliding glass door at the rear of the cabin and, stepping over a pile of loosely folded clothes, the wolf stopped to look at her reflection in the glass…
And then she changed.
Bones shifted, silver-colored fur disappeared, teeth shortened and readjusted – a gruesome scene to a bystander, if there were anyone around for miles to behold the transformation of this beautiful wolf into an even more beautiful girl.
Once the change was complete, her world faded to blackness once more.
Claire Noir had been blind since birth, but she had seen the moon for the first time at age thirteen. That was the night she had first become the wolf.
She had awakened from a fevered dream, sweating and kicking. It was the tenth night in a row she had had that same one. In the dream she had been running through a forest – which was odd, because prior to the dream Claire had never seen a forest, or anything at all for that matter. She had tried to imagine what it could look like, she could feel red and green and blue, she had lived in the woods near the lake long enough to know what a tree felt like - but in this dream she had actually seen a forest.
Still reeling from the dream, Claire had suddenly felt a strange sensation in her body, deep within her bones. It was like every part of her was tensing up and then relaxing all at once. She felt like she needed to move or run or flail her arms and legs about to get this feeling to go away. Claire tried doing a few stretches, figuring that maybe she just needed to work her muscles a bit, but nothing worked. Exhausted and still pondering her recurring dream, she gave up trying to fight the overwhelming sensation.
That’s when it happened. The moment she stopped trying to fight it – the moment her body stopped resisting the shifting of cells and tissues and organs – Claire transformed into the wolf.
The first change was excruciating and, on top of the extreme pain, utterly terrifying. She had no idea what was happening to her. She started to feel around for her cane, and suddenly she realized she had no hands – she had paws. Then she noticed something even more bewildering, something impossible – Claire could see her paws. And her bed, and the floor, and then her reflection in the mirrored door of her closet.
Claire Noir was a wolf, and she could see for the first time in her life. She just stood there in amazement, staring into the mirror at the wolf’s reflection, her reflection.
Claire’s sister, Catherine, had barged in suddenly, asking what all of the raucous was for, and then she screamed.
"Dad! Oh my God, Dad! A wolf! There’s a wolf in Claire’s room!"
Her father had come in, half asleep in his vintage Beatles t-shirt and his red pajama pants. "What’s happened?" Are you girls okay, what’s – "
And then he had seen it, or, more accurately, her.
"Claire…" he had stammered.
"Oh God," Catherine squeaked, "where is she daddy? Claire’s gone, it ate her!"
All the while, Claire hadn’t known what to do to calm them down - or even if they should be calm at all because she, for one, was not calm. But the sight of her sister’s face, and then her father’s, had startled her. She had always had these images in her head of what they would look like. Not so much mental pictures, but sort of a vague feeling or description she associated with them. There she was, thirteen years old and seeing the faces of her loved ones for the first time – she was mesmerized.
Catherine’s shrieks had become louder, and her father had just been standing there in disbelief when Claire finally snapped out of her puzzlement and tried to get their attention.
She tried to speak, to say "It’s me, Claire, so stop freaking out," but all that came out were yelps and growls. Frustrated, the wolf whined and shook her head, hoping that somehow they would know it was her.
Just then, her father looked at her and said, "Claire, you’re one of them too."
Wow, that was simple, she had thought. In point of fact, though,
Claire’s situation was very far from simple, as she would soon come to realize.
"Dad, what are you saying? Where’s Claire?" Catherine was beyond confused.
"This is Claire, Catherine. She’s turned into a wolf."
"Sweetie, I’ll explain in a minute. Now, Claire, can you hear me, can you understand what I’m saying?"
She could, so she nodded - as best she could in wolf form, anyway – she hoped it looked like a nod.
"Good, good honey," her father replied, "now you have to change back. It might be hard, but you can do it – just will yourself to be human again."
Easier said than done, Claire had thought, but she tried. She thought hard of her normal body, and her bed, and of how she was probably still dreaming - and nothing happened. The wolf whined loudly and looked up at her father.
"Just try harder, Claire, you have to think of your body changing and shifting back and just…I don’t know, make it happen."
Catherine was in shock. "Dad, what the hell are you talking about?!
This isn’t Claire; it’s a god damn wolf! And I think it hurt her."
Claire tried harder this time, and it hurt. She tried to force her bones and muscles to make the change – then it worked, and boy did it hurt. Upon returning to her human form, Claire was crying, and screaming, and, she then realized, naked. Her clothes had ripped to shreds when she had first transformed. She went to grab her blanket and cover herself when she was hit with the reality that she was blind again, and she crumpled to the floor in sobs.
Catherine, completely blown away by what had just happened – and a little grossed out – could do nothing, but stood there with her jaw hanging wide open. Her father took Claire’s blanket and covered her with it.
"Daddy? Dad, what’s going on?" she said, choking back tears. "What happened to me? I was a wolf and I…your pants are red, I think, its just like I imagined, but…other things are not at all what I thought and Catherine is so beautiful and her hair is so light and – "
"You…you can see? " Catherine asked, finally snapping out of her slack-jawed stupor.
"No, not any more," Claire replied, "but I could when I was the wolf, and daddy, why the hell was I a wolf?!"