L is for Lycanthropy

Werewolves!

The classic werewolf tale can seem a bit cliche nowadays, which is why I chose a werewolf as my protagonist for a cliche short story contest (I’ve talked about this before). The fact that I didn’t complete it by the deadline isn’t stopping me from finishing it…eventually. It’ll be roughly 5 times longer than the original guidelines also, but who’s counting?

Originally, lycanthropy in folklore didn’t have a cause. People just randomly turned into wolves and it was attributed to magic and witchcraft. It wasn’t until modern times that a bite was needed to pass along the infection. Trust modern man to make it orally fixated.

The same is true for the convention that werewolves can only be harmed by silver bullets. This is a modern idea as well and was designed to increase the horror level of facing a Were.

In paranormal romance novels, however, the Were loses some of it’s horror aspects and becomes more a sex symbol. An object of desire with rippling muscles and a sadness in their eyes, they’re generally haunted by what they’ve become and therefore a sympathetic character. This has also been overdone to a certain extent recently, with the lycanthrope running the gamut from supreme alpha male to pack members to lone wolf looking for an equal.

Their curse also varies from the Were having control over the change to being overcome every full moon to a wide variety in between.

My particular Were, Julian, can control his change, unless affected by silver. Unfortunately, we start his story with him being shot….

And now a short excerpt from Night of Redemption. It’s still in rough draft stage, so reader beware.

I’d just gotten a taste of the cool water I’d purchased from the store when I heard the shot that ruined my day. And my favorite shirt. The one with a wolf’s head howling at the harvest moon.

I felt the water bottle slip through my fingers as the bullet tore into my shoulder. That’s gonna leave a mark, I thought wearily. I really need to move to a better area.

The wound started to sting. A deep bite that morphed quickly into a burn. I looked down, shocked by the pain. I’d been shot before and it hadn’t felt remotely this bad. I almost expected to see flames shooting from a gaping hole, the burn was so intense. But the only thing to be seen was flesh and blood…my blood. Lots of it. Which meant the bullet was silver.

Regular bullets don’t hurt people like me as much as silver does.

Shit. So I hadn’t just gotten caught in a random driveby as I had assumed. What a fool I’d become, thinking I was safe here. That no one would know where I was among the dregs of society. Or what I was. Someone had found me.

I fell to my knees, feeling the blood flowing down my chest to pool at the waistband of my jeans, dribbling down my now-useless arm. My bag of toiletries tumbled to the hot tar as I clutched at my raging shoulder with my other hand, seeking to stem the flow while looking for my assassin.

“Huh…blood IS thicker than water” I was going into shock but was unable to stop myself with silver in my body and I watched the blood begin to ooze across the pavement as if racing the liquid still flowing from my downed bottle.

I could hear him coming. Smell his fear, sweat, determination…and garlic? Lots of garlic. I began to laugh a bit hysterically. A vampire hunter. I’d been shot by a vampire hunter in broad daylight at Piggly Wiggly.

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