The Werewolf and the Kitsune

Transforming into a werewolf was unpleasant enough, but to have it happen in front of his crush was plain devastating.

He tried to form the words to apologize but instead all that came out was a mournful, "Awoooooooooooooo".

How Lumin wished he hadn't left the house that day.

…...

Valentin "Lumin" Zykov was 13 years old when his first transformation happened.

He was sitting at the dinner table at his boarding school and suddenly the hair on his hands and forearms started to grow at an alarming pace. Before he could register what was going on, his fingernails had grown 3 inches longer and his shoes had ripped open because of sharp, claw-like toenails.

His classmates ran away screaming and he was expelled from school.

This was 13 years ago, but Lumin still had nightmares about the incident.

He was the only one in his family who had ever transformed into a werewolf. His parents didn't know what to make of it and his younger brother tried to be supportive but no one really understood.

Over the years, Lumin learnt to hide his affliction.

Unlike in the movies, and folklore, Lumin didn’t turn into a man-wolf hybrid. He turned into a full wolf on full moon nights.

Every month on the full moon night, he'd stay home by himself and shut all the doors and windows.

Renting a full condominium by himself in Briarwood was no mean financial feat, but he couldn't be bothered. Keeping his "condition" a secret was all that mattered.

His wolf form was startled by loud noises and strong scents, so he plugged his noise-filter earphones into his Lupine ears (it was a miracle they still fit) and waited for the storm to pass.

The transformation never lasted more than one night, and Lumin was always back to normal the following day.

Often Lumin was overcome by intense anxiety because of his condition - he worried that his friends would leave him if they found about it, and getting into a fulfilling relationship was out of the question entirely.

Talking to someone about his problems wasn't an option either. After all, who'd believe him? And even if he showed them proof, who would stay by his side to help?

So Lumin struggled silently, never letting the cracks show.

Today was Wednesday evening, some colleagues at work wanted to try out a new bar that had opened up in the neighborhood.

And Natalya said she'd be there too.

Lumin was completely besotted with Natalya from the moment he had laid eyes on her. He'd never been so bold as to let his feelings show, instead he spent his days admiring her from afar and idealising her inside his mind.

But Natalya seemed to be drawn to someone else.

A dark haired, mysterious new hire from Japan, Naotaro Moriyama.

"Call me Taro", he'd said when he'd first introduced himself.

Taro kept mostly to himself and worked harder than almost everyone else. If anything, he seemed very uncomfortable when Natalya approached him. Lumin was envious of him and the amount of attention he got from Natalya.

Lumin stiffened a bit when Natalya suggested that they invite Taro to go out for drinks. But sighed involuntarily when Taro politely declined.

"I'm going trekking on Mount Blair", he said simply.

"Trekking on Mount Blair, what a phoney", Lumin had muttered under his breath.

To see his crush fawn over some newcomer grated on his nerves. Everything Taro did rubbed him the wrong way.

Lumin was on his third drink when he started to feel extreme sensitivity to the clanging of the plates and the clinking of glasses in the bar.

His colleagues were rambling on about their workloads when Credence Clearwater Revival's, "Bad moon rising" started playing.

"Isn't there some kind of eclipse tonight?", Somene remarked casually and that was when Lumin started to feel very uncomfortable. He felt like he was going to transform any second now.

He quickly mumbled something to his colleagues and started to head out of the bar; he had to leave. It was happening.

It would be the end of him to have his colleagues see him turn into a werewolf.

His hair started to grow out and he'd hidden his hands in his coat to hide his abnormally long fingernails.

He was on all fours on the street when Natalya called out to him, "Lumin, are you all right?"

He turned around to meet Natalya's startled face.

Transforming into a werewolf was unpleasant enough, but to have it happen in front of his crush was plain devastating.

He tried to form the words to apologize but instead all that came out was a mournful, "Awoooooooooooooo".

Lumin ran away, some people clicked pictures of him - after all, it's not every day that you see a huge dog-like creature wearing a coat zip across the city streets.

The sound of the clicks, Natalya's horrified expression and the surprised murmurs of everyone who saw him on the streets were too much to bear.

Lumin ran and ran until he finally came to the outskirts of the city.

He climbed the little hillock and finally plopped down on the ground at the peak from exhaustion.

He had a clear view of the eclipse from the top of the hill. Tears started streaming down his face and he let out another heartrending howl.

"Awooooooooooooo"

"Keep it down, you'll scare the birds away", said an annoyed voice telepathically. When in werewolf form, Lumin couldn't talk to people but he could hear the thoughts of animals.

But he'd never heard another animal form such a clear, coherent thought.

He whipped his head around to see who had said it and noticed a red fox sitting on a nearby willow tree.

"Climb up here, the view is better", said the fox.

Lumin was surprised but listened anyway.

"You can talk?" He said dumbly.

"I can sing too", the fox laughed. It was a familiar sounding laugh, but Lumin couldn't quite place where he'd heard it.

"Did you come here to see the eclipse?" Asked the fox.

"No, I… I've just had a really bad day" Lumin said bitterly, "You see, I'm not a wolf during the day… I'm not a wolf on most days. I just turn into one on full moon night"

"Only on full moon nights eh. I turn into a fox every night. I'm a Kitsune. It's inconvenient, but what can you do…"

"That's rough man", said Lumin feeling sorry for the Were-fox (was that even a word?) He decided to refer to his new friend as the "Kitsune-fox" for the time being.

"I've gotten used to it" chimed the Kitsune-fox nonchalantly. "So, do you want to talk about why you were crying earlier?"

Lumin bawled out the entire story of the evening to his new friend.

The Kitsune-fox listened patiently and sighed.

"I'm sure it'll blow over. Your lady friend was drunk wasn't she? She'll probably think she hallucinated it or something. Cheer up"

Lumin felt better talking to his new friend.

Maybe things would blow over and he'd be okay. If nothing else, he'd made a new friend.

But it was almost daybreak again.

The fox's ears perked up.

He quickly said, "Okay, Mr.Wolf, I've gotta go now but let me know if you want to hang out again, maybe when we're in our human forms eh?"

"Yes, I'd like that Mr. Kitsune. But wait, what's your real name?"

"Naotaro. But you can call me Taro"

Lumin fell off his tree branch.

Author of 'How to be a Lighthouse'. I write for those pursuing excellence and meaning.