Werewolves

When we were kids and not playing marbles, we’d play werewolves. One summer in particular we played it almost everyday. The game started when someone would turn into a werewolf, then he’d chase you. You’d scamper in the back yard, dart around the brick oven and the shed. When you had a chance you’d run up the wooden stairs to the porch. Everyone knew werewolves wouldn’t get you there because they were afraid of getting slivers under their claws.

There was a basement, not my basement, where my friends and I would spend time drawing werewolves, when we were told to come inside. In this basement there were many dark corners. I would sit with my legs crossed and scribble on a sheet. I could never draw the ears quiet right so my werewolves always looked more human.

Sometimes he would come to the basement. He’d give things away. He’d whisper in my ear so the other kids couldn’t hear him. They would scribble in their coloring books or draw other monsters, not only werewolves. He’d say I was his favorite, I deserved the new marble more than anyone else and he would shake my wrist so my fingers would spread open and my crayon would fall to the cement. Then he’d roll the marble into the palm of my hand and squeeze it shut.

I would venture upstairs to his room, dance outside it and try to catch a glimpse, catch the smell of the dampness inside. I’d wonder if he was in there hiding in the closet, or under his bed by the window that had a thick blanket covering it. It was quiet inside, more than the basement or even the bathroom. It was a cave and caves are quiet. Werewolves don’t want you to say anything when you are inside.

Onetime I outsmarted the werewolf. We were playing our werewolf game when he came outside. He said he had something he wanted to give me but he didn’t want everyone to be jealous. I avoided the pretend werewolf and he stood next to the brick oven and watched us. Then he pulled something from his pocket and held out his hand. It was a steal marble, much bigger than any one I’d had. He nodded to me, smiling. I was tired of marbles; I wanted to play the werewolf game. The pretend werewolf swiped at me but I was too quick and he missed. I ran near the steps but didn’t go up them instead I circled under the deck to the brick oven. He wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize until it was too late. I grabbed the marble from his open hand. I grabbed it and ran.

He began to chase me and he was much faster than any of the pretend werewolves. Before I reached the steps I felt his breath already on my neck. I kicked my legs and ran to the gate with the latch too high for me to reach. I threw the marble as hard as I could over the fence. When he tackled me to the ground I was laughing so hard I started to cry.

We played werewolves less and less. But when we did play I always had a plan to get away. First I’d run to the gate and pretend I was trapped. When he’d come up to me I’d make him think I was going one way, then I’d go the other and run around the brick oven to the wooden steps, and up to the porch. Catching my breath, I’d lean against the railing and watch the werewolf snort and growl.

Werewolves

xstephens

Salt Lake City, United States

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