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There are so many ways to become
a werewolf. With a little effort you can
make your own transforming wolfskin,
tanning the hide yourself, sewing
the proper threads into the paws,
untangling gray fur with a comb
made of teeth; put on your wolfskin
cloak, become the wolf yourself.

Or if that's too much trouble,
just pick certain herbs
(the ingredients can be found
in any decent grimoire), mix
them in a bowl, and have a salad
dressed with moonbeams.

The change will come before
you reach the dessert course.

Even easier, just watch the calendar,
find a full moon on a Friday
and sleep outside, wait for your body
to shiver and change, spend the night
in the woods, chasing rabbits,
smelling the stars.

Or, if you're patient, and have faith
in your own capacity for evil,
lead a bestial life (like Peter
Stubbs of Bedburg, who often
dressed as a wolf during his
quarter-century killing spree,
terrorizing his village in the
1500's); if you're bad enough,
you might rise from your grave
a werewolf.

Or drink water that has been touched
by a wolf.

Most werewolves are creatures
of intention, but there are accidents, too.

Everyone knows the movie-classics-version:
going out walking, being bitten by a werewolf,
becoming the monster. But there is also
a sadder way: two people, making love
on the night of a new moon, can conceive,
all unknowing,
a wolf child, who will grow up
looking in the mirror,
touching his own changing face,
wondering what went wrong.

 

Copyright © 2002 Tim Pratt

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Tim Pratt is an editor, writer, and reviewer living in the California Bay Area. Though he is pure of heart, and says his prayers at night, he may become a wolf, when the wolfbane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright. But it's very unlikely. For more about him, visit his website.



Tim Pratt won a Hugo Award for his short fiction (and lost a Nebula and a World Fantasy Award), and his stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Year's Best Fantasy, and other nice places. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife Heather Shaw and son River. For more information about him and his work, see his website. To contact him, send him email at tim@tropismpress.com.
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2 Jun 2020

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