Another Night

Winner of the Fastories October Competition


He woke with a sharp pain. The clock read 02:15. He grabbed at his fingers only to see the nails dangling. The blood spotted the cotton bedspread. He pulled the duvet back with a flourish to reveal his toenails in a similar state. They had progressed slightly faster and now beyond the yellowing gunk that dripped and congealed at the corners, new, coarse, black nails grew threw.

He watched as they forced themselves free of his toes and thrust out into a curl. He flashed a desperate look at his hands and saw the same. With his palms he stroked at his face, clean shaven only that morning, now feeling days, if not weeks of growth. His chest pounded and throbbed, almost to a rhythm, but a tempo that ran higher, much higher than usual. He barely strained and could hear the rats in his tenement, heck, he could hear them in the park across the road.
He darted to the window and tore at the curtains. The full Moon glowed and thundered at him like a heartbeat. The light shone down and bathed him in a natural urge. His mind was slowly receding and all that would soon be left was the need, the desire.

He struggled against himself and ran to the door, clawing the handle from the pine. He darted down the stairs with agility that he was now well familiar with. Reaching the basement he tripped and tumbled down the stairs, landing in a heap by the bars. His safe haven, only feet from him now, but he knew it was too late. His knees cracked, his back arched and in a triumphant loss, he howled.


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