Stepping out of the apartment and into the crisp night air, I was startled by the brilliance of the full moon. It was at once awe-inspiring and welcoming — a beacon to illuminate my path to the Quick Mart seven blocks away.
I chuckled at the thought: Making a trek to the store after midnight to buy a jar of dill pickles for the cat. But who was I to argue with an irritable puss? When Mr. Grump wants pickles, Mr. Grump gets pickles.
An impressive breeze impeded my pace and seemed to carry the low moan of a lonely animal, perhaps hungry … perhaps beckoning for company — or prey.
The beautiful moon and the moaning wind were my companions on this unplanned journey, and the absence of cars and carousers on the street was invigorating. It seemed I was starring in a scene from one of those “last man on earth” movies. And right on cue, a billow of fog slowly rolled out of the woods up ahead and to my right.
“Perfect,” I whispered.
Just as quickly as the fog appeared, a figure emerged out of the fog — heading hurriedly toward me.
It was large and ungainly. It moved with an irregular gait, as if slightly injured. Was it human? Animal? Ready to attack?
Fur. Lots of fur, outlined by the moon. Definitely two-legged. Hunched over, but moving with speed and intent.
“Oh my God,” I thought. “It’s a werewolf.”
Before I could summon my nerve to run, the beast was upon me. Well, not upon me, exactly, but standing within a few feet of me.
I brought down my left arm, which had been shielding my face.
“Mrs. Fleckner?” I asked.
Yes, it was old Mrs. Fleckner, wearing a fuzzy coat, fuzzy gloves and fuzzy slippers.
“Mrs. Fleckner, what are …” I managed before breaking into laughter.
Mrs. Fleckner tilted her head in bemusement.
“I thought … I thought you were a werewolf, Mrs. Fleckner.”
I then doubled over in laughter, and Mrs. Flecker began laughing, too. Soon we were both laughing uncontrollably — hands on knees, tears spilling onto the sidewalk. Contagious, convulsive laughter.
We laughed until our sides hurt. We laughed even as we wiped the last tear tracks from our cheeks.
Then Mrs. Fleckner bared her razor-sharp fangs and chewed off my left arm and most of my left torso.