Monday, April 27, 2015

YA Gets Real: Werewolves

My friends and I had gathered around the campfire. Orange and red hues danced across our faces. Malcolm had told the most gruesome tale he could think of, which made Barry wretch in the bushes a few minutes earlier. I shrugged, telling him he had nothing on me.

“Fine,” Malcolm said, leaning back against in his folding chair. “You tell a better one, Dylan. Make someone other than Barry heave, and we’ll call it a win.”

A few snickers rose from the guys around us. The only adult here was Malcolm’s dad, and he had gone to bed hours ago. He was a pretty cool guy, didn’t really do much other than provide the necessary supervision to make our parents relax about camping in the woods.

“Please don’t,” Barry pleaded. The poor guy had been downing water, trying to get the taste of rancid marshmallows out of his throat—or at least, that’s what he told us his sticky, white vomit had tasted like. Spoiled milk mixed with something sickeningly sweet.

“Cover your ears, Barry.” I leaned forward, letting the fire catch the whites of my eyes. “Months ago, there was a story in the paper. A man—”

Rustling sounded from the nearby bushes, and Barry’s face bleached.

“This isn’t funny,” he said, voice hitching.

Malcolm rolled his eyes. “Dude, chill. It’s just the wind. Let’s hear it.” He gestured for me to continue.

I held back my response, annoyed by Malcolm’s constant assumption that he was our leader. “A man walked into the woods, going for a hike. He stumbles across this lady who has fallen, her bone twisting out of her skin like—”

The rustling happened again, and Barry stood up, inching away from the bushes. He had been sitting right next to me, but the look of terror on his face told me he wasn’t going to come back to this side of the fire.

“You’re such a baby,” Malcolm chided.

“I don’t see you sitting next to the bushes.” Barry backed up some more, leaving me as the odd man out next to the woods.

“Her bones had pierced through her skin. He picks her up, assures her he’s going to help, and walks to the nearest cabin.” I leaned in, casting a long gaze at Barry for effect. “He gives her some alcohol, something to help her sleep it off. She wakes up drenched in blood, half of her leg—”

A wolf jumped out of the bushes, landing right next to me with a growl escaping its lips. I jumped backwards as Barry let out the shrillest scream I had ever heard. The wolf lunged at me, snapping its huge teeth. I threw my arm up in defense, and it clamped down. Its jaws moved back and forth, shaking his head to try to land the kill.

I kicked my leg out, catching the wolf in the side as the rest of the guys scrambled away. The wolf let out a cry, loosened his jaws just a bit. I wrenched away from him, only to have him snap at my arm farther up. Malcolm’s dad came out of his tent.

“Everyone get back,” he said. He took a stick from out of the fire and swung the flame towards the wolf. It snarled and snapped, but fell back into the bushes, running off.

My arm bled through my shirt and jacket. Red blood bubbling over itself as I blinked at it.

Malcolm’s dad ripped off my jacket and forced my sleeve up my arm. I hissed as he inspected the wound. “We’re wrapping this up and going to the hospital. Now. Malcolm, you and the rest of the boys stay in the SUV until I get back with the car.”

“I could drive—” Malcolm started.

“No arguing. I’ll be back after I get Dylan to the hospital.” His dad helped me to my feet. It was weird. I stared down at my arm, feeling light-headed and a little off, but I didn’t feel any pain. There should be pain when this much blood was trying to free itself from your body.

“It’s not that bad,” I said.

“Get in the car, Dylan,” the man growled, rushing to his tent and grabbing his keys. He ordered Malcolm into the SUV one more time before shoving me into the front seat of his car. We drove down the curving roads back to the nearest hospital, an hour away. Malcolm’s dad had given me a towel, which I kept wrapped closely around my arm. Even though my skin should have throbbed from the pain, it didn’t.

Malcolm’s dad stayed at the hospital long enough to explain the situation to the doctor, give them my parent’s contact info, and then he left to get my friends. All that time, the wound still didn’t hurt.

When the doctor came in and peeled off the bloodied towel, he turned my arm over and over, asking me how much pain I was in. None. No pain. He poked at some of the deeper bites and tears, but still, nothing. He reached over for the first batch of saline to clean the wound, and once the blood dripped off my arm into the hospital pan, all of the pain came flooding back in.

The doctor looked up at me. “Hurts, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah,” I said through gritted teeth.

“That’s good. It means you’re not in shock anymore.” He checked my pulse and blood pressure again, nodding in confirmation. “Yup, no longer in shock. How does it feel?”

“Hurts,” I mouthed, not able to make my voice the least bit sarcastic as he pressed some gauze against the raw wound.

“All right, Dylan, let me explain what will happen next. We’re going to give you a rabies postexposure prophylaxis, since we’re not sure if the wolf was rabid. Usually they don’t attack humans like that, especially by themselves, so we have to assume the worst. I’ll fax follow up paperwork to your primary physician, but you’ll have to see him for more doses.” His fingers worked around the wound as he spoke, cleaning every bit of reddened flesh. I winced with every touch.

Seven stitches, a few shots later, and I was waiting for my parents to come pick me up in the lobby. So much for getting turned into some awesome, supernatural creature. Instead, I got rabies immune globin.


These posts are silly, parody posts of some scenes that can be found in YA tropes. These fun shorts should make you smile on your Monday morning.

I love YA books, as a reader and a writer. Still, there are some tropes that deserve to become real. While these stories are still fiction, they provide an alternative, possibly more realistic, version of scenes from stories we love.

Also, I should mention, I love werewolves with all of my flipping heart.