So, I studied theatre in college, and one of the things that always fascinated me was the role of gender in plays and such. I even once did an experimental project where I explored if some of the stories we love the most would still have their power if the genders of the main characters were reversed. So, this is my take on the story if Lawrence Talbot were Lauren Talbot, Ben was Beth, and Gwen was Greg. Hope you all enjoy! Please don't be afraid to R&R! Do you think the story can still work? I'd love to know what you think.
''Even a woman who is pure of heart, and says her prayers by night may become a wolf, when the wolf's bane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.''
The full moon shined down on Blackmoor like an enormous eerie spotlight with an ominous glow. To say the least, it provided a cold, distant sense of foreboding, positively terrifying. And, was that a wolf's howl? No, it simply must have been a figment of Bethany Talbot's imagination - for the fourth time this evening.
She shook her head in an attempt to get rid of the thought, blinking quickly. Although she was trying hard not to, her heart was beating more rapidly by the second, and fear was reigning supreme on her face. She turned away from her fiance, Gregory Conliffe, who had attempted to plant another sweet kiss on her cheek.
The moment was punctuated by the shrill, blood curdling sound of a wolf's howl. At the sound of it, Bethany clung tightly to Gregory, throwing her hands around his neck. Though he knew it wasn't right, Gregory couldn't stop himself from letting out a small chuckle.
''There now! Surely you heard that one!'' She looked straight into his eyes, which at this moment, instead of holding empathy and love, held only sheer amusement.
''Gregory please! I'm begging you, let's get out of here - please?''
His smile only increased. He held Bethany tighter in his arms and pressed a reassuring kiss to her hairline.
''Bethany, there's nothing to be afraid of, my darling. Nothing at all.'' He rocked her gently as they sat alone together with their horses, just them in their own little corner of the woods they had been occupying for an hour.
''It's just your imagination.'' he said soothingly.
Bethany turned sharply to him, the fear in her eyes temporarily replaced with anger.
''It is NOT my imagination! There really IS something out there! I can hear it! When I was a girl, my father told me-''
''Ah, your father,'' Gregory laughed. ''Now we're getting somewhere. Bethany darling, your father filled your head with a lot of nonsense and silly stories -none of them true. Now come,'' and he tried one last time to pull her in for another kiss. Bethany however, was having none of it. She put a hand on his chest to keep him from advancing any further.
''No listen, do you hear that?'' Another shrill howl, this one seemingly much closer. Bethany gasped and jumped backwards. The hair on the back of her neck stood up straight. Yes, there was no use even trying to hide her fear now.
''Gregory, I don't like this. I don't like this one bit. Let's get out of here.''
Still for some reason, seeing how frightened she was amused him - to seemingly no end.
''You can't be serious? Surely you're not afraid of your father's ''forest devil man'' story?''
''Of course not!'' Bethany snapped, almost too quickly. ''But there is something out there, and I want to go -NOW!'' She turned on him with an angry gaze, but still, fueled by fear.
Gregory sighed heavily and released Bethany from his grasp. With this level of determination in her, he knew he was getting nowhere fast. With that, he got up, a rather large frown on his face, and prepared the horses to leave. Bethany stood and planted herself against a tree, looking every which way, but otherwise, not moving a muscle. Even though her wait for Gregory was only a few seconds, it seemed like an eternity to her. She began shaking and breathing hard, and every fiber of her being succumbing to her fear. Well, her father's forest devil man may not be out there -but something was. And she didn't like it.
''Gregory,'' she called, but it was barely audible. He was still saddling Heather, so named for her grey color. Heather was Bethany's horse, but it had once belonged to her mother, and for that reason, Bethany cherished her so.
Looking at Heather and Gregory, Bethany's breathing slowed, and for a few glistening seconds, she almost believed that she was in the clear. That is, until she heard what sounded like a low growl coming from just behind her. At this point, the lump in her throat returned one hundred fold, as did the heavy breathing.
''Gregory,'' she whispered. No answer. No response. Nothing there. Nothing but the sound of her own heavy breathing. With this, she ever so slowly started to turn around.
''Are the horses ready?'' she asked, again, barely audible, for fear if she spoke too loudly, someone would hear her - or something. Still no sign from her beloved. This caused her alarm rate to go up even more when she didn't see him by the horses.
She took a step forward, her eyes searching everywhere for him, but her body staying planted in the ground.
''Gregory! Gregory! Gre-'' and before she could utter another sound, her mouth was covered by a strong hand, pulling her backwards toward the tree. Another powerful arm wrapped itself around her waist, keeping a tight grip on her. Bethany struggled with all her might to free herself from this creature, but the more she struggled, the tighter the creature held on, grasping her tighter and tighter. Her screams were muffled and so were her movements, but she tried all the same. Finally she shifted herself in such a position to where she could see the creature's face. Much to her chagrin, she discovered the creature - was no creature at all, but Gregory, laughing his fool head off at her.
''Gregory! You- you moron!'' She pushed him backwards for emphasis. Immediately, his smile faded.
''Violence, my darling? That's not very ladylike.''
''Well, was it gentlemanly to scare me in such a way?'' Bethany parried. ''You know I don't like these woods. Too many demons reside here.''
Again, Gregory's smile returned. Demons. How he would love to know one day just what kind of rubbish her father filled her head with. Absolute poppycock, he thought.
''You're right,'' he said finally. ''That was unacceptable behavior. When we get back to Talbot Hall, I shall make it up to you.'' He said so with a devilish smile.
''Gregory Conliffe, don't you sport with me,'' Bethany tried her best to feign a serious tone, but to little avail. He saw right through it, and placed a sweet kiss on her forehead.
''All right. I'm sorry. I truly am.'' He put a protective arm around her waist, guiding her back to the horses. ''Shall we go, then?''
''Yes,'' Bethany said, all too quickly. The moment she let herself be guided from the trees, a pair of glowing yellow eyes emerged, and another low growl was emitted. This time, Bethany was so relieved to be getting out of there that she didn't notice. If only she had.
Gregory helped Bethany onto her horse, and mounted his own, when he noticed Bethany gripping the reigns of Heather so tightly her knuckles were turning white. At least for the moment, Gregory thought that his flirtations had calmed her -but then again, maybe not.
She looked at him in a cold, eerie way.
''Can we go now? Please?''
''Yes, yes.'' Gregory said, clearly disappointed. He sighed as he watched Heather and Bethany take off in front of him at a slow walking pace. Silly superstitions. Always spouting them to anyone who will listen. Forest devil man, ridiculous.
As Gregory was lost in his own world of complaints, he didn't notice the glowing eyes present themselves once more. Nor did he take the third beastly growl seriously when he heard it - he simply assumed it was one of the horses whinnying. It wasn't until something a bit more extreme happened that he was brought out of his pouty sulking attitude.
The glowing eyes allowed themselves to come out of the shadows, and a set of razor like teeth came out, coming straight toward Heather, letting out a defeaning roar. Before the creature could get the chance to attack, Heather whinnied and stood on two legs. This caused the creature to back up slightly, but Heather took off like a speeding bullet once she hit the ground again. Bethany screamed and flew into a panic as Heather ran at a sprint. Gregory stared in terror as Heather took off with Bethany, and he noticed that just as quickly as the mysterious creature had come, it had left - for now. All there was now was silence. A terrifying silence that Gregory did not like.
''Bethany! Bethany!'' He cried out in horror, willing his horse to follow where she had gone. Let it be said that now HE was the one scared senseless. Perhaps her father's forest devil man wasn't such poppycock after all.
Heather ran faster and faster, showing no signs of stopping any time soon, and not even attempting to listen to any of Bethany's commands to stop or slow down. Bethany's heart was beating so quickly, she thought it might leap out of her chest at any given moment. Heather's speed, along with the sight of that creature -what was that? Bethany had never seen anything like that before in her life - but she would most certainly see it again. Those teeth -how sharp and razor like they were! And those eyes, those evil, piercing eyes - they froze her blood and filled her heart with fear.
Just then, Heather stopped abruptly, but only because she had to stop. They were now at a dead end between the woods and, of all places, a tomb. And not just any tomb, but the Talbot family tomb. She yelped as she saw this, and tried to keep her tears from flowing. She tried her best to compose herself, but sweat was mingling with the tears threatening to fall from her eyes, and it seemed to get her started all over again. Now able to get control of Heather's reigns, she pulled on them gently but firmly, attempting to calm her down as well. Bethany took in several deep breaths, letting the cool night air caress her face. It was enough to give her hope that the creature was gone, and she was safe and could go back to find Gregory. This was false hope.
Bethany dismounted Heather, again taking another deep breath. She wiped her face quickly, trying so desperately to tell herself all would be well, and she would be back in Gregory's arms soon. She placed one hand on Heather's saddle, and one hand on her stomach as she continued to breathe and try not to cry.
It was when she took that last breath that she heard it. The growls, the growls getting louder and closer, turning into howls. Seemingly, out of nowhere, there appeared a strange creature, standing on two legs, covered in thick black fur from top to bottom, long knife-like claws, and a set of teeth that didn't look like they were for eating vegetables. Bethany gasped at the sight of it, trying her best to subtly back up and get back on her horse, but she let her fears get the best of her. Instead, she ran towards the tomb, in the hopes that she could find shelter inside. She screamed in sheer terror as she ran, but the beast was too fast for her. To gain speed, the beast ran on all fours, jumping in the air, and pouncing on top of Bethany just as she reached the doors of the tomb. Its claws were fixated around her neck, and its teeth protruded from its already bloody mouth.
''No, no please, no,'' was all that Bethany could manage to say, over and over and over. The creature fixated its gaze on her, either not understanding her desperate pleas, or otherwise not caring. It tilted its head backwards ever so slightly, and went in for the killing blow to her neck.
Years later, ask anyone and they will tell you, the one thing Bethany Talbot would always be remembered for, was the look of sheer terror on her face as she had been eaten alive. And Heather, poor Heather never stood a chance either.
''Bethany! My darling, where are you? Bethany? BETHANY!''