This short story was recently published in issue 6 of Writing West Midlands’ ‘Write On!’ Magazine. It’s always a pleasure to be included in ‘Write On!’ and I’m thrilled that this little gothic tale is tucked in amongst so many great pieces of writing.
In a country village where animals scampered through the trees and birds flew happily above the land, a tale flowed across the countryside like smoke on the wind. A legend which spread from mouth to mouth as the local housewives went about their drab days.
A whisper as bread was bought; a snipe as tea was drank; they told it in their homes and shared it in their gardens, adding and subtracting as it went from ear to ear. All across the land it went, as wild and organic as when it was first told.
A prophecy of nightmares, thought true by those who heard it; a story that terrified the frail and made the young cower in their beds. Everyone feared the story of blood, guts, gore and death.
The two beasts who walked the night as they ripped flesh and tore muscle, lapping metallic blood and savouring the beautiful taste of human throats. The tale that grew with each embellished telling. The wise, eccentric women who concocted their brews and fed their cats; only leaving their dusty house to go round the village preaching their dark practices and sprinkling their bizarre leaves. The pair, so they say, transformed in the dark; their teeth becoming sharp and cruel, flesh swiftly covering itself with thick black fur, arms and legs replaced with those of an untamed beast.
The people of the village were sure that the pair ran through the forest at nightfall, bounding with their long hairy legs and bloodthirsty teeth to consume the bodies of the locals. The story of wild Wolf Women running across the village in the black night, littering the landscape with corpses was only enhanced by the cruel murders which had taken place of late.
Everybody was convinced that it was the creatures; except the so-called Wolf Women themselves. They just smiled and went about their normal days and gave no thought to the stories.
As the murders continued, the locals fuelled the tale of the Wolf Women; whilst the true killer chuckled and slaughtered more young girls. His axe was covered with crusted blood and his shirt was stained a dark brown. His face was carved with glee as he went into the night. As another pretty young girl walked into the dark, he struck. The unfortunate maid screamed and as the murderer rose he grinned, his face lined with sweat. He was pleased with his latest work and began to walk.
He went on with dark delight as he dreamed of his next victim. The sweat on his face dried suddenly and his checks flushed red with terror as he heard a deep and menacing growl at his heal…