Are You a Werewolf, Or Did You Eat Too Much Cheese Last Night?

After what seems like the deepest sleep of your life, the morning sun enters your bedroom and causes you to stir. The night is over. And with the dawning of the day comes the realization that something terrible transpired in the darkness. Something unhinged. Something wild. Something animal.

You try to sit up, but it’s as if you’ve forgotten how to manipulate this body. As if you must relearn what it means to have your limbs carry out the instructions your brain sends them with sentient, purposeful intention. You look at your hands. You can trace the moments of your life in each crease and callous. With effort, you wiggle your fingers. As if for the first time.

You manage to get upright. The movement unsettles something inside of you. You groan, but do not recognize the sound. It is deep and guttural, inhuman. Emanating not from your throat but from somewhere ancient and deep inside of you. Maybe a lost history you no longer remember. Maybe your tummy. It is difficult to tell.

As your faculties slowly creep into your consciousness, you become aware of a strange taste in your mouth, bitter and acerbic, coating your tongue and the back of your throat. The taste is unappetizing in the harsh light of the morning, but isn’t entirely unpleasant. You can tell whatever caused it to linger was something you enjoyed. Relished, even. As if your muscles ache from a breathless dance you don’t remember dancing.

You stare at your own face in the mirror. It is yours, that is certain. But at the same time, you feel that this visage has lived in ways you have not. Reveled in ways you would not allow. Tasted delights that you would never sanction.

You stand. And experience pain. Sharp and awful. As if your insides were freshly torn apart and ravished, and only now are twisting and reforming into something recognizable. The pain is unbearable. Something whispers that you deserve it.

Your dog studies you from the safety of his spot on your bed, his eyes never quite meeting your gaze. You cannot be sure if this is from judgement or some ingrained natural survival instinct. But one thing is clear: whatever transpired last night, this animal remembers.

You stumble from your bedroom to the smells of coffee and bacon emanating from your kitchen. Smells you would normally find enticing, but this morning disgust you. There, your wife of seventeen years stands, casually sipping her coffee and munching her toast as if today is simply another morning. She offers you a piece of your own, accompanied by still sizzling bacon. But you are surprised to find that you feel quite sated. In fact, you couldn’t possibly stomach this food. Not pig flesh cooked on an open fire. Not today. You push the plate away, stifling a gag reflex.

“Where did you go in the middle of the night?” your wife asks with eyes that hold equal amounts of trust and concern.

“You didn’t come back to bed until almost sunrise.”

You scour your mind for a reply but quickly realize you do not have one. Just as well, because any explanation you might manage to push out of your throat has quickly been replaced with an overwhelming wave of immediate and urgent nausea. Whatever transpired in the light of the full moon last night, it is now exacting its terrible price.

You flail wildly, “DON’T LOOK AT ME!”

You cover your face to avoid the pain of seeing your beautiful wife realize she’s gazing upon a stranger and retreat back into the darkness.

Under the covers once more, you hide from the light. This morning will not be one of routine and comfort. It shall be one of penance. Of consequences and shame.

For tonight, the terrible cycle continues.

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