Vital Signs

The Weremother: A Short Story

Often in that period in her life, when she least expected it, she would feel the change creeping over her. It would start in the middle of an intense conversation with her younger son or with her daughter, behind whose newly finished face she saw her past and intimations of her future flickering silently, waiting to break cover. Black hairs would begin creeping down the backs of her hands and claws would spring from her fingertips. She could feel her lip lifting over her incisors as she snarled: "Can't you remember anything?" or: "Stop picking your face."

She had to concentrate on standing erect then, determined to defeat her own worst instincts just once more, but she knew it was only a matter of time before she fell into the feral crouch. In spite of her best efforts she would end up loping on all fours, slinking through alleys and stretching her long belly as she slid over fences; she would find herself hammering on her older son's window, or deviling him on the phone: Yes we arc adults together, we are even friends, but do you look decent for the office' Even when he faced her without guile, as he would any ordinary person, she could feel the howl bubbling in her throat: Did you remember to use your face medicine? Beware, she is never far from us; she will stalk us to the death, wreaking her will and spoiling our best moments, threatening our future, devouring our past.


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