The Good Doctor Part 1 by Kim Robinson
Blinding light assaulted my vision when I first opened my eyes. My senses slowly returned to me. I felt and grabbed at the grass beneath me. My thoughts then arrived, and I conjectured I was waking up in a field and that my splitting headache came from a night of drinking.
However, my rational thoughts couldn't explain what I saw when I turned my head.
Next to my head were a pair of ribs. They were caked with a sickly pink meat turning gray. I noticed flies crawling inside and out. I started gagging at the thought of insect eggs being stored inside. My eyes followed the flies. A few crawled on the deceased creature's face, which grimaced with a mix of shock and pain. Then, I realized I was staring at the face of a cow.
I did what every rational man did when they are naked and afraid: I ran without question. From the field, I ran back into the village where I lived. The only audience of my bare backside was the sheriff's wife who lived across the street. She was baking pie with the window open. I will no doubt be the gossip of the town for today.
I mulled over the past events of the morning in a bath. I let the cool water calm me. While washing the muck from my body, I found a bite on my leg that scabbed over. I thought nothing of it at the time.
My first worry was being the gossip of the town, but my mind soon asked the real question: Why did I wake up naked in a field next to mutilated cattle?
As I dressed myself for today's village meeting, I prayed that I wasn't the cattle-slaughtering kind of drunk.
At the meeting, the sheriff announced that we had a werewolf problem. His evidence: A farmer's cow was found half-eaten, half torn to shreds in his field this morning. How did they know this wasn't a wild animal? Because the cow was locked away with a lock that can only be undone by something with opposable thumbs.
Everyone was advised to lock their doors at night. And if a werewolf broke into their homes, shoot it on sight with a silver bullet. Otherwise, scream for help.
After the meeting, I began my day at my clinic. As I went about my business as village doctor, my mind focused on the events of this moment and the conclusion there was a werewolf.
I thought, "Is it really me?"
I first dismissed the possibilities. After all, I had no memory of it. But throughout the day, my mind persisted in filling in the gaps. I began remembering last night in foggy pieces that bridged together into a coherent memory.
I was strolling one night during the beautiful full moon. Suddenly, my face was to the ground. Somebody was subduing me. The assailant then bit me in the calf, so I kicked at his shoulder until I felt something snap. I must have broken a bone of his. Before I could retaliate further, he ran away.
I hobbled home, but halfway through, I collapsed. The following images and sensations of that night were vague to me. But, I remembered sharp pains at the ends of my fingers and the inside of my mouth. All I remembered was feeling hungry.
Suddenly, I had little doubt that I was the werewolf. Part of me was still skeptical, but the majority of my rational self was convinced.
If I remained a werewolf, I would no doubt be hung by the village. So, before sunset, I closed the clinic early and escaped into my home. I only had mere hours before the moon rose.
I began writing a list of treatments based on my present medical and werewolf knowledge and checked off the ones I could safely test on myself without risk.
I wanted to cross off one thing right off the bat; an exorcism. There was a theory that werewolves were possessed by demons. I knew better than to believe it, but given the present circumstances, I was willing enough to splash myself with holy water and spouted Latin from a biblical text in my library. I felt no different.
Next, I opened my cupboard found a glass bottle of vinegar. I remembered hearing of ailments being treated with vinegar. I coughed, spat, drank, and repeated until the bottle was empty. There was no telling if that was enough, so I continued.
I tried treatment after treatment using household items I had on hand and whatever medical mumbo-jumbo I thought of. Mid-way through another treatment, I noticed something.
A glint of moonlight was shining on my arm. I looked up and saw the moon bright in the night sky.
I felt sharp pains at the ends of my fingers. Claws, thick and pointed, grew over my nails, creating a line of blood that ran down my arms.
My body was on fire, from my palms to my elbows and all the way to the sides of my face. Fur was tearing through my skin.
Finally, I felt my teeth curl and sharpen--the roof of my mouth and tongue feeling each little dagger.
I closed my eyes as I let the rest of the transformation take me... and then nothing. I realized was still conscious.
I looked into the washroom's mirror. I mean, I was a mostly wolf, but still a man. It was a partial transformation. Perhaps the earlier treatments worked to some degree. A sense of salvation washing over me.
The salvation was replaced by an immense hunger. There were cheeses and other items in my pantry, but none were of interest. I looked to my backyard and saw a stray animal that wondered in.
Nobody saw or heard what happened. I was satisfied, yet disgusted with myself. The sensation of tearing the skin with my nails, my wet hands bringing each damp piece into my mouth. The entire time, I was unphased, too hungry to think about it. I shuttered after the fact.
Still, I remained hopeful...until the next night, after I repeated all treatments when turned into a werewolf once more. Nothing different.
I looked to the moon and noticed something: It was smaller than last night and the night before. My partial transformation wasn't the result of the treatments. It was the moon. A partial moon for a partial transformation, I thought.
I received no extra relief from this discovery. After all, none of my treatments worked, and I lacked the confidence to try more. I crumpled my list and dropped it in a waste basket.
Still, I sought other possibilities. I'm not a gun owner, but perhaps I could sneak into the sheriff's home and off myself. He does live across the street. I winced from the thought. Perhaps throwing myself into the ocean was a less intense way to go. Then my stomach dropped from imaginary vertigo.
I contemplated ending myself because it seemed much more of a mercy than letting the village hang or burn me.
Deciding to table the matter for later, I passed out on the dining room table.
I kept quiet during next weeks. I treated whomever came to my clinic, left before sunset, and sated my hunger for the night with whatever meats I bought. When I was low on funds, I sought after whatever critter was in my backyard.
The town was notably quiet. Everyone kept to themselves. No one knew who to trust because for all they knew, they were socializing with a werewolf.
That's why I kept to myself; I didn't want to give anyone reason to mistrust me. Yet, every time I walked to work and home, I felt the watchful eyes of everyone on me, whether it was real or imaginary.