Greetings dear readers.
Welcome to Chapter II of "Sweet and Snarly Sixteen". This was a fairly easy chapter to write, but it took a while. It was a good five hours for me to get it written. phew
I had some people ask me if I was ever going to show Carolyn's first transformation, so I've obliged them here. I sort of took inspiration from An American Werewolf in London in terms of how Carolyn reacts to it. The finished result though, I visualize as looking like the wolf in Cursed or the 1987-88 show Werewolf. Her howl though, is DEFINITELY the one from An American Werewolf in London though.
I do hope everyone enjoys this.
As you all know, reviews are to my writing process like a nitrous tank is to a car -it just makes it all go crazy fast. LOL
And awayyyy we go! :-)
July 15th, 1973
The breaking wave cascaded down on Carolyn's head as she approached the beach. She pushed her long wet hair away from her eyes and continued swimming. She turned around and looked behind her. David was churning his arms, intensely, trying to keep up with his older and stronger cousin.
Carolyn flipped onto her back and called out to him as she changed over to a backstroke. "Come on David! We're almost there!"
David looked up and saw that they were almost in to the beach. Encouraged by this, he put his face back down and began swimming with renewed energy.
Carolyn noted that the water was getting shallower quite fast. Soon, her bare toes were touching the sand. A few seconds later, David was able to stand up again as well. The two youngest Collins family members then floated and allowed the waves to carry them up onto the shore.
As they stood up and walked back to their towels, Carolyn took notice of how David was carrying himself. He clearly was tired, but had managed to keep up with her adequately. He'd made amazing progress since she'd begun helping him with his swimming. The water was fairly rough on this Sunday afternoon. A wind coming in from the Atlantic was causing large waves to roll into the beach at Collinwood. Out on the ocean, numerous sails could be seen as local day sailors took advantage of the bright, windy day. She could see that battling them had worn David out, although they had made the swim challenging for him. As for her, she felt like she could go back into the water and swim even further. She felt like she could swim all the way to the harbour at Collinsport, if she wanted to. And this was after already working several hours at the cannery (The cannery processed the catch as soon as fishing boats brought them in. The boats came in as soon as they were full. As a result, the cannery usually was operating on some level seven days a week during the summer season.) It was getting on towards half-past five in the afternoon. The change was only hours away now.
The water, Carolyn noted, was coming further up the beach than usual. The tide was at its highest now; the ocean waves were feeling the pull of the now full moon. Carolyn was also feeling the pull of the full moon. She felt…like she was bursting with energy. It left her almost giddy. She looked over to the path that led up from the beach towards Collinwood. At that moment, she felt like she didn't need it. Carolyn felt like she could climb the sheer side of the cliffs and not even feel tired when she reached the top.
David looked at her briefly. "They're starting to turn gold."
"Huh?" She hadn't been paying attention to him, she was thinking of the cliffs.
"Your eyes; they're all green now and are starting to turn gold."
"Oh…Yeah…It's getting close."
"You can feel it, can't you?"
"What's it like?"
"Do you mean now or when it happens?"
"It's weird. It's like I'm so full of energy I want to burst. I feel like I just want to let loose and run. I feel like I could go back into the water and swim up to Nova Scotia or down to Boston. It's like something you can't wait for it to come –like Christmas morning, or something."
"You're never scared by it?" David asked quietly. He was well aware of how strange -by the standards of others- his family was. Uncle Barnabas and Vicky were vampires. He himself talked to his mother's ghost –and he suspected he could probably talk to other ghosts if the opportunity arose. But, what happened to Carolyn was something else entirely. She changed into a giant wolf every month. He knew he wouldn't enjoy that one little bit. If ever given the choice –and for the record, he didn't want such a choice- he'd rather be a vampire than a werewolf.
"No, not now; I was when it started though." Carolyn said quietly. She allowed her thoughts to take her back almost four years.
Carolyn was bored. She was always bored here. Collinwood was a lousy place to grow up. It was ancient and falling apart. There was never anything to do that was any good around here. Well, she could watch Willie try to do some gardening after he'd been drinking and then try to guess when he'd fall down and pass out. Or, she could watch her creepy Uncle Roger skulk about, looking for anything valuable in the house.
Her mother kept telling her that she should invite some friends up and then she'd have something to do. She sneered at the thought. WHAT friends? At school she was pretty much as isolated socially as she was physically isolated at home. She recalled when she started school in town when she was small. She actually tried to make friends and succeeded. However, as she and her peers got older, the stigma of the Collins family became more and more significant to her friends. Soon enough, she was no longer being invited to birthday parties or to come to sleepovers and the like. Before long, the other girls would all hang out together…and it was clear Carolyn was not welcome to join them. And as for boys, well she HAD started to take an interest in boys –she'd turned twelve the month before and had started to notice boys a few months before that- but none of them werr interested in a Collins. It was around that time, that Carolyn's existence had begun to revolve around her music, her magazines and her room.
It wasn't fair, she sighed to herself. It was a big, wondrous world and she was incarcerated in this tomb by the ocean as surely as criminals were locked up at Shawshank Prison. And what would happen when she grew up? Her mother no doubt expected her to take over the family businesses. What businesses? They had a few leaky boats left to their name and that was about it. Her mother did her best, Carolyn knew, and was a most capable woman, but it was as if some forces were working against them. Her mother probably thought that when she was an adult, Carolyn would want to take over and be able to turn things around. Yeah…Like Carolyn wanted to spend the rest of her life here. She wanted to see the world. And as isolated as Collinsport was from the turmoil of the 1960's, enough had filtered through to scream that the times were-a-changing; like that song by Bob Dylan proclaimed.
Carolyn tossed down her magazine and started to furiously pace her room. She didn't know how she'd be able to sleep tonight. She felt so energized and wound up, she felt sleep would be impossible. She wanted right then to escape. Escape from Collinwood; escape from her dreary life. She wanted to go out and join the world. Her energy seemed to peak again. She caught a glimpse of the full moon through her window. The moon…Just a month before, men had walked on the moon for the very first time. (In fact, the launch date for Apollo 11 had coincided with her twelfth birthday.) She emitted a sigh –that strangely came out like a growl. Men had walked on the moon and she was still stuck at Collinwood. It was so…
Carolyn never finished her thought. A strange tingling sensation began and spread through her entire body. All of her sudden her body was rocked with spasms. She dropped to the floor as if struck. Blind panic struck the young girl. What was happening to her? She tried to call out to her mother…her uncle…anyone…for help.
"Mom!" She tried to shout, but her words came out more like a low growl than the piercing scream she wanted. With Collinwood's huge size, there was no way she'd be heard.
Carolyn began to claw madly at her clothing. It was as if she was couldn't stand having anything on her. Her pants she was able to undo and pull off. Her shirt and underwear though, she simply tore from her body, leaving her writing with fear and pain, totally naked on her bedroom floor.
It was then she thought that if she pounded on the floor, maybe someone would hear her. That insane drunk Julia Hoffman was in the house. (Carolyn has personally thought it rather telling that Julia was able to effectively abandon whatever life or professional practice she'd had to move into Collinwood. Obviously her services had not been in high demand where she'd practiced psychiatry before.) Even SHE would be better than nothing right now. As she tried to make a fist, Carolyn's eyes grew wide with terror as she saw that her fingernails were growing –seemingly magically before her eyes- into very sharp looking claws. In fact, her whole hand was reshaping itself into a paw (more accurately a hand-paw hybrid) with an accompanying horrid cracking and grinding of bones. Carolyn tried to scream, but it came out as animal growl like what a dog…or a wolf…would make. She looked down at her bare feet…and wished she hadn't. Her feet were reshaping themselves into paws as well. She could see the bones moving –with the accompanying disgusting cracking noise- about beneath her skin and her toenails growing long and sharp like her fingernails.
The terrified girl rolled over with a moan, and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror on her closet door. Her whole body was changing! On her bare chest, in place of her tiny breasts, muscles were rippling under her skin. Her entire torso was growing to an immense size. And her face…As she opened her mouth to try and scream for help again, she noticed –with yet more horror- that her teeth had grown incredibly long and sharp. It wasn't the mouth of a twelve-year old girl any longer. It was the mouth of some wild animal. Her ears had begun to grow long and pointed! And her body was changing colour too. Actually, she realized, it wasn't changing colour as starting to be covered with thick, dark hair. It was growing everywhere! In a matter of seconds, it wouldn't matter if anyone HAD come in and seen her naked on the floor. There was no longer any of her skin that was showing. But that couldn't compare to her face. In addition to those horrid teeth, her eyes had turned gold and her face then began to blur. No…It wasn't blurring. It was changing as well. It was reshaping itself into a muzzle.
Carolyn squeezed her eyes shut, praying for this to end. Some instinct demanded she rise. As she pulled herself up, she saw that her hand now looked something between a hand and a paw. It still had five opposable digits, but was covered in dark fur and had vicious claws where her previously short fingernails were.
Things looked different now. As she got up, she'd knocked her bedside light off, causing the filament to break. The room was plunged in darkness, but she could see perfectly. In the mirror, a nightmarish sight was reflected to her. A huge wolf, standing- amazingly- upright on two legs was revealed in the glass. Carolyn tentatively moved her right arm. In response, the wolf in the mirror moved its massively strong looking left arm. It's a dream, she thought to herself. It has to be. It can't be anything else.
The open window beckoned. As if driven by an instinct, Carolyn leaped out of it, landing gracefully at the base of the tower where her room was. Without even pausing to reflect on how she could jump that distance so easily, Carolyn took off for the woods that covered most of the Collins estate. As she ran, her fear disappeared and she found herself enjoying the experience. She'd decided this had to be a dream, so she might as well just go with it until she woke up. As the night wore on, Carolyn roamed through the woods. Once she came to the main road. A car approached and she retreated back into the trees. As the car passed, she was not only able to smell the exhaust, but the scent of the occupants as well. She felt hungry as well and began to look for prey. She took down a deer and fed on it, finding it sated her. As the night wore on, she felt her energy start to ebb. Looking to the sky, she saw that the moon was beginning to set. Instinct carried her back to Collinwood and up the tower's side into her room. As she got back into her room, her body began to tingle and shift again. She collapsed to her knees as the sensation overpowered her. Looking at her hands, she saw her human hands return. Vaguely, she'd recall climbing into her bed and passing out.
Carolyn awoke to a sunny summer morning. She stretched her arms and yawned. Well, she thought to herself as memories to the night flooded back into her mind. That was the strangest dream she'd ever had in her life. She idly wondered if maybe Julia had accidentally dropped one of her –many- pills into Carolyn's water glass at dinner last night and she was tripping on something.
Carolyn threw back the covers and got out of bed, stretching herself and enjoying the ocean breeze on her naked body….Wait a minute, she thought. Why was she naked? She looked at the floor and saw the remnants of her clothing from the night before, as well as the fallen nightlight. In the mirror she saw that her mouth had blood around it, from the deer she'd "dreamed" about feeding on. Looking at her bare hands and toes, she saw they were filthy –as was the rest of her body. She sat on her bed, with shaking legs. She'd thought all of it a dream. But, if the part about her tearing off her clothing had been real…and the evidence before her seemed to indicate that it was…Could the rest of it have been real as well.
That morning, Carolyn walked around the grounds. To her horror, she saw huge paw prints, leading to and from the house. What was going on? Was she some sort of monster from the movies? For a short while, she considered telling her mother about it but decided not to. Her mother felt the Collins family had to be the family that could do no wrong. Finding out that her daughter was a werewolf (if it was all true) was a pretty big wrong. Carolyn remained silent. (In hindsight, she would feel that was a mistake.)
The full moon in September arrived. That evening, Carolyn was nervous. Would it happen again? Was she going crazy? As she sat in her room, she felt the tingling again as the change came again. This time, she wasn't as scared as she was wondering how this was happening to her and why.
By October, Carolyn had begun to recognize the symptoms as well as come to a resolution that she couldn't stay here. Sooner or later, she'd be found out. What would be she termed then? A freak! She'd be locked up somewhere and studied by scientists, or seized by the government, or just put into a padded cell for the rest of her life. No, the only thing to do was get away. But to where? New York City! That was the answer. It was huge. It would be easy for her to disappear into it. Plus, from what she'd heard of it, it was full of weirdoes and freaks. One more of them –as that was what Carolyn judged herself to be- wouldn't make much of a difference. She swore that the day she turned sixteen, she would leave Collinwood forever and go to Manhattan.
"So you're not scared anymore?" David asked.
"No. It's what I am. It's a part of me." Carolyn said as she wrung some salt water from her hair.
"That's good." David said as he took his cousin's hand and smiled at her. Since the family's big battle with Angelique, he and Carolyn had grown quite close. They'd become far, far more like brother and sister. David worried a little about Carolyn when the full moon came. Carolyn, on her part, had started acting like a big sister to David. That was why they at the beach. David had never been taught to swim by his father. Elizabeth and Barnabas agreed that would simply not do. To their surprise, Carolyn had volunteered to teach David and practice with him. After she'd taught him the basics, he'd picked it up surprisingly quickly and actually enjoyed swimming in the ocean with Carolyn. (The manor's swimming pool was scheduled to be overhauled later in the month, so they could be able to go swimming in it, in August and into September if the weather was good. For right now though, the ocean was fine.)
Reaching their towels, the two sat down and let the sun dry them. Carolyn put on her sunglasses and stretched back, allowing the sun to dry her one-piece purple bathing suit. She glanced up the beach to a cluster of rocks that lay beneath Widow's Hill. (Barnabas had solemnly intoned how the hill got its name. Women would come to the hill to watch the fishing boats return…if they did return. Many a woman had learned she was a widow on that hill…and more than a few had opted to join their husbands in the sea and rocks below.) It was there, she knew, where Josette DuPres had fallen in 1776, and where Victoria had fallen the previous fall, causing Barnabas to turn her into a vampire.
Victoria herself still had some problems looking at that spot when she and Carolyn came down there at night. Carolyn had offered to teach Victoria to swim as well. (Not that she need fear drowning any longer, but Victoria had always felt she had missed out on never having learned due to her commitment in the asylum and wanted to rectify that. As Victoria always came to check on her after full moon, it was the least Carolyn could do in return.) So, she and Victoria came down to the beach quite often at night to swim. Carolyn could see well enough in the dark, and Vicky saw everything perfectly. Of course, Vicky didn't have a swimsuit, so when they went swimming, Carolyn would just leave her suit in the house and they would swim with nothing on. Every time they came down here though, Victoria seemed to be anxious about Widow's Hill. To be honest though, Carolyn really couldn't blame her.
As she savoured the warm July sun, Carolyn found herself wishing that Joe was here. She would really have to invite him over to go swimming once he got back next week. She had a feeling that going swimming with him would be far more fun than with David…She might even be persuaded to leave her swimsuit up in the house if Joe played his cards right, she thought to herself with a small smile.
"Say…" David said from next to her.
"How you don't do your best stroke?"
"My what stroke?" Carolyn asked in a deadpan, sensing that David was now trying to be funny again.
"You know…a dog paddle." David said with a giggle. Carolyn just stared at him for a second, and then shot her arms out and pulled him into a headlock as David started laughing uncontrollably as he tried to break free.
"I'll show you a dog paddle" Carolyn laughed as she started to give David a noogie, while he just kept on laughing.
A little later, Elizabeth, David and Carolyn were finishing their dinner. As a rule, Barnabas and Victoria didn't join them at the table during the summer that often. The sun simply set too late (and the windows faced west, causing the room to remain too bright for their tastes) and the two vampires had declared it wasn't fair for everyone else to hold off their dinner until the sun set and they got up. (Barnabas and Victoria would join everyone at the table though once autumn arrived and the darkness came earlier.) Afterwards, Carolyn took her turn doing the dishes –after recruiting David into drying. As the evening wore on, she felt her restlessness beginning to increase.
"Honey" Her mother called to her from across the foyer.
"I'm going to bed now. Will you be alright?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine."
"Ok sweetie. Be careful." She said as she gave her daughter a kiss on the cheek and climbed the stairs.
Carolyn could feel it now. The moon would be rising soon. A joyful tension began to spread through her body. It was as if her body knew that the rising of the moon was imminent and the change was almost upon her again.
It was coming soon, she decided. From upstairs, she could hear footsteps as Barnabas and Vicky were walking around. In the kitchen, she could hear Willie –who'd had the day off- fixing himself a sandwich and opening a beer. David himself was watching an old rerun of Bonanza on the television set. She smirked at the ironic coincidence, as Michael Landon had played the title role in I Was a Teenage Werewolf, back in 1957 –the year of her birth.
"I'm going upstairs." She said simply. David, who knew what that meant, and what was imminent, simply nodded his head.
"Have a good…night…I guess." He told his cousin.
"I'll try." Carolyn said she ruffled David's hair –to his annoyance- as she walked past him to the stairs.
Up in her room, Carolyn methodically stripped naked. As she reached for a robe, she saw the calendar on the wall. The next day was her sixteenth birthday. She pulled on the robe and tied it up. As she walked out of her room, she realized that the next time she came back into her room, she'd be sixteen.
Carolyn silently walked along a back hallway and took the back stairway –that had been used by the servants in the days when Collinwood had kept a large household staff- down and left the house by the kitchen door. Once outside, she walked past the gardens that had been put in after the manor had been rebuilt. Vicky was making that her special project and her work was starting to pay off. Dropping her robe as she reached the main lawn, Carolyn saw the full moon rising. She smiled at it, like it was a friend returning –which in a way, it was. Carolyn spread her arms out, as if she was allowing the moonlight to caress her body, as the familiar tingling began. She smiled to herself as she felt the change come upon her.
It didn't hurt like it had when she was twelve. Either the transformation got less painful as time went on, or she just got used to it, Carolyn honestly didn't know. However, even though there was still some discomfort with the change –the sound of her bones moving around was something she knew she'd never get used to- it didn't hurt her any longer. Now, she welcomed the feeling of power that came into her body every month.
As the change completed, Carolyn reared her head back and let out a loud, roaring howl. In Collinwood, David heard it and shook his head in wonderment as he tried to imagine what it was like for Carolyn. He was glad she seemed ok with everything though, as he turned his attention back to the chess lesson Barnabas was giving him. In her room, Elizabeth rolled over and looked out the window at the full moon as she heard her daughter give her monthly cry. Over the last four years, she'd heard howls at night during the full moon. It had never dawned on her until learning what Angelique had done, that she'd dreamed it was her daughter making those noises. Not for the first time, Elizabeth wondered if there was anything she could have done to protect Carolyn from all of this. Sixteen years tomorrow, since she'd given birth to her daughter, Elizabeth thought. She rolled over and tried to go to forget the howl, so she could go to sleep. She wanted to be up early, when Carolyn returned. She wanted to be able to fix a special breakfast for her and tell Carolyn about her birthday surprise.
Out on the lawn, Carolyn lowered her head again after her cry to the moon. Rising to her hind legs, the werewolf that was Carolyn Collins Stoddard took to the woods to begin her monthly prowl.