A/N: A short oneshot attempting (though failing miserably) to show the stupidity of intolerance and bigorty. That is all this is. Oh, and if you don't like the ending, trust me, you're not alone. I HATE it. Anyway... um... yeah, that's all this is. Kinda depressing. Actually, VERY depressing, in my mind, though you might not think so. Ummm... alrighty then. Enjoy!
Oh, and just because I miss some of my friends, I'm dedicating this to them: Julie and Kristen in California, Devon in Florida, Ariana on a college visit who-knows-where, and Maria in Poland. Whoopie.
I had never thought there was much chance of a normal life. For all I knew, I probably would never be allowed into Hogwarts, anyway. I had known about prejudice, but I had not experienced it fully. I'd seen parents shoo their children away from me, and I've seen other kids give me suspicious glares when I passed by, if they knew what I was. Most of the kids in my neighborhood did know what I was, though, for it was rather difficult not to hear my cries and screams of ineffable agony each full moon. They and the wolf's howls that followed all emanated from the shed in which I locked myself like an audible, airborne poison, permeating the night and driving people wild with fear and suspicion. Of course, it wasn't long before most of my neighbors figured it out. The children in the area all feared me. They tended to scamper when I approached, but sometimes they stayed where they were, whispering behind their hands with judgmental glances in my direction. I always ignored them. I'd gotten it all my life, and thought nothing of it.
I was ten when I realized what prejudice really was, however. It was the day following a full moon, and I was tired. Still, though I was weak and exhausted, I was unhappy to stay cooped up in my bedroom. I strolled calmly down the street to the local playground, my head full of silly thoughts and hopes. I had dreams of a normal life plaguing my mind again, no matter how well I knew it was impossible. These thoughts distracted me from the other children who had begun to snigger at my arrival. I did not notice them, for I had my imagination wandering to a beautiful place… a place where I could go to school like a normal boy, a place where I would be accepted and liked, and not have to suffer the monthly terrors that I really did.
As I sat calmly upon an empty swing, the laughter of the other children who were in the park with me began to get tiresome, and I glanced irritably over at them. They giggled at me in a little cluster on the playground's picnic table. Some of them looked quite a bit younger than me, and a couple of them might have been in their teens. "Alright there, werewolf?" one of the older boys shouted my way. I ignored him, bowing my head solemnly, and slouching to remain withdrawn and unseen. I liked it more when they ignored me as I did them. Their constant suspicious gabbing could certainly get annoying. I tried to sink back into my thoughts, for to stay in reality left room to focus upon the freshly stinging gash across my chest that I had received from the previous night. It was hurting again, even as I tried to ignore it and return to my imagination. It seemed futile. I shook my head as the pain grew intense, and stood to return home where I knew my mother could try to reseal the wound again.
"Where're you headed, werewolf?" one of the kids shouted after me as I passed them. "Why are you limping, eh? Did you beat yourself up again last night?"
Still, I ignored the comments. I passed right by the little group in silence, feeling their accusing stares on me. I tensed slightly as their laughing grew louder, and this only provoked more terrible stinging to pierce through the slash on my chest. As I doubled over in pain, another boy called out. "For a werewolf, he sure doesn't look particularly tough."
"Yeah," cried another boy, laughing, "he looks real scrawny, doesn't he?"
The first boy then spoke directly to me. "Hey, werewolf! Why are you ignoring us? Are you scared?"
A girl in the crowd laughed. "Who cares? He's freaky. Werewolves freak me out. Let's just go."
"No, no," the first boy said to her, and I could smell his desire to challenge me as he stood from his seat upon the picnic table. I stopped in my tracks as he leapt down from the surface to land on his feet on the wood-chip strewn ground in front of me. "There's no need to go," he told his friends. This boy was clearly older than me. He had to be at least fourteen, I could tell, as he stared down at me with disgust on his face. "Ugh, look at it," he spat, glancing me up and down. "It's so pitiful."
I stood up as straight as I could without my chest hurting too badly, but still I said nothing. He was hardly worth the angry comebacks that were floating through my mind. I knew hat anyone who hated me for what I was certainly was not worth my time. I merely stared at him composedly, my eyebrows high on my forehead as I challenged his bravery silently.
"Why don't you talk, werewolf?" he said. "Are you a mute?"
"Nah, he can't be," laughed a younger boy. "Not with the way I've heard him screaming every full moon. Never let's me get any sleep, he doesn't."
"I can talk," I said defensively, but a reverberating smack made me instantly regret it. The older boy had hit me around the face. My cheek stung where his palm had collided with it, and my entire face burned with anger. I did not speak again. I merely glowered at him defiantly in a feeble attempt to intimidate him.
He was howling with laughter now. "Oh, look at it! He's getting mad! Let's see how tough the werewolf can get when he's really mad, yeah?"
"Oh, let's not!" the youngest one of the group squealed. "What if he tries to bite us?"
But the oldest did not listen. He shoved me to the ground easily, for I did not protest or struggle. I had no reason to think that I should, nor had I any means of defense. They were afraid not of me, but of the wolf that I became once a month. That wolf was buried somewhere deep inside of me right now, comfortably dormant after its freedom the night before. They were only trying to provoke it out of me again, but I knew it was not possible. I stayed silent and calm where I had been pushed, even as my palms felt red and sore from having pressed them to the wood-chip ground in an attempt not to fall. It hurt, but I did not protest. Fighting back would do me no better; it would only give them more of an excuse.
I was a logical child. I liked to read, and I liked to learn, and I never indulged in arguments or physical fights. As the boy gave me a violent kick to my shins where I lay, however, my limits were feeling pressed. I would not fight back, but I was starting to feel what I had never let myself feel before—something resentful and sad, as I realized how unwanted I was in this world. Tears stung my eye sockets as I held them back, and the cut on my chest throbbed angrily. I could feel it opening up again as the older boy kicked me again, this time in the stomach. I grunted to feel it: the nauseating pain in my abdomen, and the sharp stabbing sensation in my chest. I could feel my shirt growing damp and sticky as I bled again from the newly opened wound, and I coughed furiously, shutting my eyes tightly as I tried to block out the pain.
"He's bleedin' already, look!" another voice called. I heard another pair of footfalls approach me where I crouched in my suffering. "I guess he really isn't so tough." On his last word, an agonizing blow to my side winded me. I squinted open my eyes to look at the two standing above me as I struggled to regain my steady breathing. The second boy who had joined the first looked slightly younger, but he was holding a long, thick tree branch threateningly in his hands. His expression was one of pure amusement. It terrified me.
"Oh, don't!" a girl cried, though a suppressed chuckle was evident in her tone. "He's not doing anything!"
Please, listen to her, I prayed silently. Don't hit me again.
But they did not listen to her. The second and younger boy raised the tree branch in his hands, a sick grin on his face, and thrust it toward me. I shut my eyes just at the moment it collided with the back of my head. For a moment, it didn't hurt much, but then, as I caught my breath again, I realized how my skull was pounding in protest, and felt blood in my mouth. I groaned, spitting my own blood onto the ground. "He's not doin' anything now," the first boy laughed, "but wait until he's older. He wouldn't stop for nothing to kill everything in sight, trust me. I've heard them stories about these werewolf types." His voice grew deep and mysterious. "Bloodthirsty killers, they are," he said convincingly. A moment later, he spat at my face, and I could not move for the throbbing soreness in my body.
"I can't believe we've got one here, in our neighborhood," a small boy squeaked from the picnic table. "It's a really freaky thought, what it could do to all of us in our sleep, isn't it?"
"Yeah," said the oldest, glaring down at me in disgust. His foot connected with my jaw, and an angry crunch blocked out all other sound and thought from my head. I tasted dirt from the bottom of his trainers on my tongue, and more blood mixed with it as a whole tooth fell from my open mouth. I was choking. My gagging sounds were met with screams of laughter, even from the one girl who had previously spoken at my defense. I had never felt so alone, or so hated in my entire life. I tried to crawl away from them, but my chest wound was hissing in complaint at my movements, and I collapsed again. I wanted so to get away… to run back to my mother and have her hold me, and comfort me. I didn't care that I was acting like their idea of a coward, because I didn't want to fight back; I was never the sort to fight back.
I coughed painfully, and tried to speak. "Stop," I managed, but it was very muffled by the blood gathering in my mouth and trickling down the back of my throat. The oldest boy merely bent over slightly towards me with a malicious glint in his eye, and punched me. I gave a strangled moan of pain as his knuckles clouted my eye. He did not stop there. His other fist flew down out of no where, and the blow to my opposite cheek made me reel backward. I was crying, now. What had I done? Did I really deserve this? Why were they doing this to me? I had not provoked them! This was unfair! This was not the life I wanted to live!
"Why should we stop, werewolf? You'd do worse to us if it was the full moon." The laughs were suffocating me. I was surely drowning in their haughty cackles. Looking up, their cruel expressions were all blurred in my teary vision. I gave a sniff. I would never hurt them… never on purpose. I couldn't help what I did on the full moon, but I always made sure to lock myself up each time, so everyone would be safe from the horrible beast I became. It was unfair that I should be beaten this way for what I had never done, and what I would never do. "Yeah, that's right, werewolf," the boy jeered. "Cry. Cry, like the little cowardly beast you are." A blow to the side of my face befell me, and I knew it was the heavy branch, though my eyes were shut as they began already to swell. I could feel the splinters stinging my cheek, feel the scrape of its roughness making me bleed, and feel the purple bruise developing as it pounded against me so violently.
The front of my shirt was sticky, and I was starting to grow immensely weak as the gash continued to bleed freely, draining me. I groaned through my childish sobs, and tried to slink away again, bleeding down my face and chest, but hardly caring. I crawled as fast as I could, dragging myself along the ground to escape. A horrible blow to my ankles made me stop, however, and I screamed in agony. A painful snap seemed to echo as the bone broke, and the laughter grew louder still. This was enough, now. I couldn't handle this. I was only ten years old. I had only felt pain this fully on the nights of the full moon, and even then I did not feel this hated, except by my self. The obvious hatred they emitted was penetrating my mind, practically convincing me. I was really so terrible that I deserved this, wasn't I? I was a bloodthirsty monster, and I deserved this beating.
The blows kept coming. Feet, fists, branches, and small rocks all befell me, and I cowered weakly as they rained upon me like a downpour of hatred. I wanted to plead with them—convince them to stop, now—but my jaw had swollen, and I was missing teeth. I could still taste the blood in my mouth, which slid sickeningly from me like drool, dangling from my lips to splash grossly upon the ground. There was blood on my forehead, and blood in my hair. The gaping cut on my chest had bled down my stomach, and it felt nastily hot against my skin as I was pressed to the ground by hateful stomps.
I gagged, feeling myself needing to vomit. The laughter was making me ill more than the hits I took from them. The tears still flowed down my face as I begged for them to stop with tiny pleading whimpers. I heaved, feeling the pain so completely all at once, and as my stomach churned gravely inside of me, my eyes rolled back in my head. Everything spun for a moment as something heavy connected with the back of my neck, and then, everything went black.
The hatred of the beating still haunted me when I awoke in Saint Mungo's that night. Their words echoed madly in my mind, throbbing, as I opened my eyes. My mother was leaning over me, and she was crying. My father stood beside her, his arm around her shoulder, and though he did not cry, his eyes looked very red. There was no physical pain anymore, only sorrow left over from the hate I just experienced. I stared intently at my parents. They looked so sad, but resigned—as though they had expected it. They understood the intolerance. They probably had understood it from the moment I'd been turned, but they had sheltered me, and kept me safe from it for the past six years since I'd become this filthy animal. The prejudice was clear, now, as I lay there turning over the events of the day in my head. I was only ten years old, but that did not matter to people, if they knew I was a werewolf. I was ten years old, and I had just been beaten for what I could not control.
It was at that moment that I accepted that this was my life, and that this was the violent hatred that would follow me wherever I went like a plague. This was what I was doomed to, but I accepted it then, as I watched my parents' mournful expressions smile at me. In that instant, I understood what prejudice was, and comprehended at last what it would mean for the rest of my natural life. This was the way things were. This was the horror that was the real world, and I would just have to live in it. This was my life, and I accepted it.
A/N: Thanks for reading! I appreciate all reviews!