by cheryl losch
Writers Cramp Entrty
|Sarah looked up at the old water tower. Welcome to High Water, it announced to visitors and town folk alike in patchy, peeling white paint. High Water. Her home town. It was where she was born, grew up, went to high school, and then as quick as she could, moved away to study genetics and DNA with a minor in historical figures and legends at a high priced college that granted her a scholarship because her father somehow paved the way. And now, because of him she was back again.
She was shocked when she received the news last month. Heard how he had been found shot, on the back porch, with nothing but a gray wool blanket wrapped around him. Sarah couldn’t help but smile. There were plenty of nights she arrived back from the prowl to wake up with far less than that surrounding her. It always amazed her how her father was able to think ahead and plan for the return. Except this time. This time someone got in the way. Someone knew.
Her mother had left the family years ago, when Sarah was young. Turned out she couldn’t quite handle being married to a werewolf like she thought she could, and then when her daughter developed similar characteristics, well, that was just more than she could cope with. Never quite getting over her feelings of abandonment, Sarah continued to send her mother a card each Halloween, just out of a simple sense of childish spite.
Sarah was standing on the back porch of the family farmhouse, watching the daylight fade. It had been a month since her father fell to a carefully placed silver bullet and she wanted to do a little investigating of her own. The daylight was fading, shadows lengthening, and she knew it wouldn’t be long.
Sarah felt the shiver first. She always did.
As the moon rose in the sky she felt her breathing deepen; her heartbeat began to accelerate. The chills were giving way to a strong sense of nausea as her skin began to crawl. Small rough hairs began to sprout from every pore as her manicure disappeared in favor of long yellow weapons. Her fingers started to lengthen at the same time her brows came together and her jaw began to shift. Her teeth realigned and grew. Sharpened. Her knees bent backwards with a sharp crack as her haunches developed. As the rest of her body pulled and snapped into its gruesome new form she emitted a primitive sounding moan with the intensity of the pain. She had only moments to go before the change was complete.
She heard the soft click of the rifle and turned.
“I always knew you was just like your daddy,” a somewhat drunken slur sounded from yard.
Sarah braced for the hit, not sure if she could attack in time while the shift was still in progress. The shot rang out, and she watched as the man fell face down, bouncing slightly as he hit the softness of the recently mowed yard. She heard another voice, soft and familiar.
“So did I. And you won’t take her.”
“Mom?” Sarah asked in surprise, not quite able to make out the form in the shadows, and not sure how long she could hold onto her human thoughts.
“Go do what you have to do. The porch light will be on when you return. We have a lot to talk about,” her mother replied. “It will be okay.”
The transformation from woman to monster was ending and she let out a piercing howl, grateful the agony was soon to be behind her for good. She turned on all fours, facing her mother and what remained of her human brain realized that her mother had been watching over her all along.
As their eyes met under the bright glow of the full moon Sarah saw her mother smile and just before she succumbed to her destiny understood that High Water was truly now her home.
Word Count - 668