Holy shit! Sometimes I wish I could be a werewolf for real."
I growled to Kate, after throwing my stuff onto her couch.
"A werewolf? Really? What a surprise. But how come you think about it now?"
Sighing she went to her kitchen and filled her kettle whereas I tried to get rid of my jacket, seriously pounding from the felt 390 stairs I climbed to her domicile.
These cursed sleeves. They were never long or tight enough when the wind blew cold into them, but beware if you want to take this bewitched thing off. Then the sleeves stretched themselves to around five meters and the wristband gets so tight you fear for your blood circulation.
"First I could run these 83 floors to your flat in wolf form and second I could ease off for a little while, since you're not capable to teach me that people are assholes!"
Now she turned and looked at me with a slightly confused and deeply amused expression on her face.
"Hm. Maybe you should take a deep breath and sit down. If you get your thoughts straight and speak to me in some kind of comprehensible order, I should be able to follow you. Possibly."
She turned again and took her blue teapot off the shelf.
"Is pineapple- ayurveda okay with you? Sounds weird, but tastes good."
"I don't care. Couldn't be worse than Eva in action."
I bent over the back of her couch to get a package of cookies out of my pouch.
"I see. What did she
I held my head where one of Kate's decoration lanterns hit me, and rammed my foot on the floor to chase the pain away. These lanterns hung there for years but I still managed to hit one of them with some part of my body, every time I visited her. Today certainly it was the head and certainly it was the heaviest and biggest lantern of all!
A growl rumbled deep out of my throat and I started to cough right afterwards.
Kate nearly tried not to laugh, but only nearly.
"I know, I know. The laugh is always on the loser. "
"That's for sure. Please sit down and tell me what happened."
Obediently I sat down and opened the cookies package.
"If I got hurt to bring them here the least we can do is eat them. What happened? I asked myself the same question the whole day. Is everybody else insane or am I the one who's crackbrained?"
Kate sat down in front of me and took a double chock chocolate chip cookie.
"Do you remember Jonas?" I asked her.
She nodded while pouring tea into our cups.
"Jonas, the seventeen year old cutie in your seniors' class? With the three siblings? Of course I remember. What's up with him?"
"He came to me before class and apologized for not having done his homework today. He said he did it but one of his younger sisters must have taken it out of his schoolbag. He felt oviously low but reassured me he did his duty.
Today they had to show the book presentation I gave them to prepare during the last two weeks."
"Yes, yes. Didn't he choose 'the house of stairs'? You were so curious about his presentation, weren't you?"
"Indeed I was."
Angrily I took a bite off a cookie and went on with my mouth half full.
"Anyway he was very nervous and wanted to show me his homework today so I knew he'd done it and is not just saying so. He didn't want to get an F for it. As if I would do something like that. So I told him tomorrow would be good enough for me."
Kate pitched again and said: "That's so you."
I nodded in agreement.
"Correct, but he insisted on bringing me his homework today. So it's very clear he didn't just want to get extra-time.
To prevent more discussion I told him to bring me his paper to the faculty room after school. I would wait for him.
After that the lesson went on ordinarily. No, extraordinarily. Mr. Conrads was very pleased though."
Kate slapped her forehead with her hand.
"Yes! You told me you had your lessons-watch today. I totally forgot."
"And this saved my ass, you know?"
She frowned irritated.
"But you were so afraid. The conservative Conrads watching how you teach literature."
"Yes, yes I was. After the bell every pupil ran out of class as usual. Jonas was the last one and he said: 'Till quarter past three, Mrs. Berger.' Then he left and closed the door."
"So what is the big deal?"
"Just wait a sec Mr. Conrad's talked to me about the lesson and after that I went to the faculty room. There I saw Eva; she sat in a corner and whispered with Patrick. When I entered the room she startled and cut the conversation immediately. I ignored it 'cause, you know, she always tattles about me. After my next class Mrs. Weiss told me, Mr. Ables wanted to speak to me. Instantaneous!
A little nervous I went to him and thought about what could have happened. He told me right away, that he heard rumors about me dating a pupil and that it is inappropriate even if I'm only a trainee teacher! Can you believe that?"
Kate's eyes nearly popped out of her face as she roared with laughter.
"You're kidding me, right? Hahaha! You have to be kidding me. You? Dating Jonas? Hahaha!"
"Mr. Abels was gravely serious. A colleague heard how I appointed the afternoon date with Jonas Schreiber. And the only 'colleague' who could have been that is fucking Eva Cremer. Her classroom is next to mine, so she may heard what Jonas said to me and how she behaved in the teachers' room earlier? There's no doubt at all!"
Kate held her belly while laughing the whole time.
but didn't she gossiped about you being gay only three months ago.
she said you were after cute Mrs. Wengler, wasn't she?"
I agreed smirking.
"And this was more close to the truth than she will ever know. Lucky me, she didn't know for sure that time, and lucky me, Mr. Conrads was with me this time. He told the Headmaster what really happened and I was off the hook. Stupid bitch, doesn't she have any hobbies? And if she wants to target me she should prepare more accurately. There are lists in the faculty room which teacher will visit which trainee, with the exact time and place. And since she told Mr. Abels that I finish my last lesson at two a clock, to proof it has to be a private meeting 'slash' date. She either knows my class schedule better than me or she looked it up.
Needless to say the watch schedule is hanging right under the class schedule."
Drying her eyes my friend looked at me.
"You see? People are stupid. I told you. And assholes they are too."
"Yes, yes you are so right wisest of the wise. But why don't I get it? Why can't I feel it in my stomach? Why does it always get me off guard? I feel so stupid. I should have learned by now that people are idiotic assholes. But every time I'm so surprised by this unfairness."
"You're too endearing, sweetie."
I shook my head in despair and tried to warm my hands on the hot teacup.
"I'm so angry. I want to change into a werewolf, start running and rip something apart. Just because I can!"
Kate looked at me with evil glowing eyes.
"Yes, but please rip someone who earns it. I know some customers
No, wait. You shouldn't pollute your maw."
"I don't have to eat them. Ripping apart should be possible without eating.
I will run straight to the outskirts, find Eva and ambush her. Maybe she's with Patrick, then I'll get them both."
This started to get better and better.
"Yes! Perhaps you'll catch them red- handed. That'd answer this last question too."
"I don't need to. As a wolf I can smell sex if they've done it." I grinned.
"Jeez. That would be fun. I could bite their legs or something. Just a bit so they could still work the next day but hard enough they'll remember."
"Right. And every time they annoy you, you'll follow them and bite again."
"Not only if they annoy me. If they annoy anyone and I get to know it. Maybe someday they'll learn."
We looked at each other and said simultaneously: "Learning through pain!"
Then we burst into laughter and broke down on the table.
The evening got very funny. We pictured who we could bite for something and where to bite. At last we made a priority list.
It was twelve a clock when I went home. I threw myself onto my bed and slept immediately.
The next morning came too fast. The alarm rang at 6.30 a.m. and I didn't feel rejuvenated at all. But it was worth it. I crawled out of bed and on my way to the bathroom I wondered about some crumbs under my feet. My soles were black with dirt, as if I bathed them in mud. I shrugged, took a shower and resolved to clean and mop my flat on the weekend.
The day was ordinary, only I was tired, my head ached like hell and I felt really nauseous. I had the attendance on the schoolyard. On a normal day it wouldn't bother me, but this day was horrible. I caught two freshmen smoking. They stunk of cigarettes so heavily I nearly threw up on them. Next I brought a senior to the headmaster because she smelled like a brewery. I couldn't believe Mr. Abels had to search her bag to make sure she was drunk. After that my senior class came in and I thought 'Are all the showers broken at once?' They came right out of their gym class and I know not all pupils are comfortable with personal hygiene, but it never was that disastrous. This day was the best definition of Murphy's Law I ever lived through.
At home it didn't go any better. My nose was so hypersensitive I couldn't stand the odor of my own apartment. I opened all the windows but had to close them shortly after because it was freezing cold outside. Then I tried an incense stick but the aroma was so intense I had to put it out immediately.
As my friends came over for role-playing I benumbed my nose with tiger balm. My eyes were watering but I couldn't smell a thing.
We played 'till eleven 'o clock, then I cast them out because I was terribly tired. I didn't even have the energy to put the used cups in the kitchen.
The alarm woke me eight a.m. No lessons 'till ten. So I should have felt well rested, but I didn't. I was more tired than the day before. And again my feet were dirty, it should have made me wonder but I was just too exhausted.
The last two days of this terrible week I came home after school, fell into my bed and slept till the alarm rang. With each day I got more tired. In school I was so exhausted that I started hallucinating. The light was just too bright; pupils and colleagues stank and made so much noise I wanted to use earplugs. I threw five pupils out of the room for disrupting my class and realized an hour later that one of them only coughed. It was the day I decided to visit a doctor next Monday. Maybe I had the flu or the sleeping sickness.
The Weekend seemed so far away I wasn't sure I could make it without getting insane. But finally Friday afternoon came. I set off the alarm, unplugged my phone and curled up on my couch in the living room.
A clunk woke me. At first I thought my gerbils finally found a way to cut the metal attachment of their water bottle. But there it was again. A clunk followed by a muted squeak. It sounded like my swivel chair. Carefully I opened my eyes.
It was dark outside. I must have been asleep at least three hours. My eyes adjusted and the blue standby LED of my notebook barely gave enough light to discover a person's silhouette.
My heart started racing, I was scared. Who was this in my flat?
"Don't be afraid. I'll not harm you." a pleasant, deep female voice told me.
'Don't worry, I'll not harm you' is a sentence meant to be nice but I don't think it ever really calmed down anyone.
Suddenly my living room lights went on and I had to close my dazzled eyes. When I could see again, a black woman sat on my swivel chair, tilting and swinging, her brown eyes looking at me. She had a nearly bald head and prominent cheekbones that made her face strikingly beautiful. She wore black baggy pants, black boondockers and a very tight, very small dark camo top - never appropriate to wear in this season. I could see her belly muscles move as she leaned forward to look me deeply in the eyes.
Who are you?" I managed to say, after I realized my staring wasn't polite.
"Hallelujah! She's able to speak. And then such an awful boring question. Everybody asks this first."
"Sorry." I promptly said. It was reflex.
Her dark lips slipped back so that her white teeth blinked in her amused smile.
"I should have known. You apologize for me being rude. I always forget how you are."
Confused I sat up.
"Sorry, do we know each other?"
She laughed on my first word, then peered at me.
"Yes, kind of."
"Excuse me, but I do not recognize you. And how did you get into my apartment anyway?"
I had given the French window a quick look and saw that it was locked.
The black woman gave me a whimsically smile.
"Let's say I don't need an invitation to get into other peoples homes."
"So you are not a vampire. Lucky me." I said dryly.
Now she chuckled.
"Much better! You see? Funny works fine. But now to your first question: You may call me as you like. Some say spiritual guard, others guardian angel or God/ Goddess of the earth. On particular times of the year they call me Santa Claus, Father Christmas or 'Knecht Ruprecht'" her short, loud laugh sounded like a bark.
"But Christmas is all over now, isn't it?" She peeked at my bookshelf and leered.
"You can call me Zenabu if you want."
I swallowed hard. The picture my guest looked at was made by Kate. She gave it to me for my birthday last year. It showed an excellent shaped black woman, wearing only jewelry and swinging fire poi's. Back then Kate told me: "Her name is Zenabu and she's all yours!"
And now I was here on my couch and getting embarrassingly red because a buff black woman sitting in front of me implying to know all about me.
This had to be a dream. A weird, confusing dream.
"No, it's not a dream." She said. "But you'll not believe me yet. I just wanted to say it. And now to the reason for me being here: I just couldn't stand seeing you running around every night and therefore getting more and more tired every day without any clue what's happening. You look around for an explanation even want to visit a doc! - but you're not aware of the simplest one, are you?"
Her eyebrow raised, in a questioning way she looked at me.
"Explanation? For what? And what do you mean by 'running around every night'? I slept like dead the last five days."
"Yes. Right. And that's why you're tired as hell every day and got dirty paws
Puzzled I looked at her.
"Now you wanna tell me I am a werewolf and just cannot remember running around as a wolf all these nights, right?"
"You pretty much got it."
"Yeah. That would be the simplest explanation. How come I didn't think of it?" I shook my head, smiling.
"Always these nonbelievers!" irritated she rolled her eyes "Why am I doing this again? Right, right."
She stood up and hunkered down right before me, looking me deep in the eyes.
"Look in my eyes, concentrate on their color."
Then she clicked her fingers.
"What color do they have?"
Beautiful dark brown I wanted to say but there was only a yip coming out of my mouth.
Confused I tried to grip my throat, just to realize I no longer had a hand to grip, but two paws? Beige paws. I looked at them, bowing down to see them as close as possible. That's when I fell from the couch, head first, of course.
Zenabu laughed heartily.
"I knew it would be fun with you!" she snorted.
I tried to roll over and get on my- now four- feet. Not as easy done as you might think.
"It takes some time to get used to this body. Especially if you got your human mind still online." She giggled.
"The last nights the change was complete, so you had no problems using your body but also have no memory of what happened." Her hand went through the fur on my head.
"Don't worry. You'll learn. Besides there is nothing funnier in the world then a wolf looking worried."
Again this half barking half laughing tone.
"Go", she said. "Go and see yourself in the mirror."
She stood up and opened the door to my corridor for me. I went to the mirror on my bathroom door and stared.
What I saw was a high legged wolf with dark grayish fur. No, not only dark grayish. There were some light gray hairs above, so it looked kind of anthracite. And underneath there was a third color, only to be seen when I moved, it was dark copper underfur.
The legs were light beige and bit darker beige on the ears, the snout and a little bit around the eyes.
The eyes! What?
I leaned forward till my snout bumped onto the mirror. Startled I shook my head and felt my ears flapping. Jeez! That was so weird.
Zenabu kneeled down beside me one arm around my shoulders and looked through the mirror directly into my eyes.
"Yes, look at them. You're right. These are still your eyes. Still the light blue with that warm gaze of yours."
As I leaned my head a bit to the right she grinned, tousled through my fur again and said: "Yeah. Definitely you!"
Then she got serious again and gave me some time to just look.
She was right the eyes were mine. The same color I saw in the mirror every day. Only the iris was a bit darker on the rim and it seemed like they were glowing from the inside. But they were mine.
Zenabu raised her hand and scratched me between the ears. That was so unbelievably wonderful. I leaned towards her and rubbed my snout against her neck.
"Yees, my dear, yes. There is nothing better in the world than to be scratched in wolf shape, I know. But we have some talk to do, so you have to change back. Come with me."
A little disappointed because she had stopped scratching me, I followed her to the living room. She patted on the couch and as I sat down there she grabbed my snout and forced me to look into her eyes again. I nearly missed the sound of her clicking fingers as she asked: "What color do my eyes have?"
"Beautiful dark brown." I said, realizing through the sound of my own voice, that I was human again.
Zenabu saw the sadness in my eyes, shortly caressed my cheek and sat down beside me.
"Don't be sad. You may be a wolf every time you like. You just have to learn how to change willingly. And to teach you that, I'm here today."
"So how can I do it? Do I have to bethink my inner wolf or something?"
She started laughing again.
"No, no. Not so esoteric. You think of your wolf shape, that's all. You have to remember every detail. Now you know why I wanted you to look at yourself. If you want to keep your human mind, it's easier to use a mirror while changing. Look in your own eyes, but only the eyes. Changing back is as easy. Think of your human body and you're there. Now, let's try!"
She took a hand mirror out of her pants and we began to train.
It took some time and the little breaches in my memory showed me that keeping my human mind wasn't as simple as she said. But I got better at it.
As we paused something came to my mind. I was shocked, my heart started pounding.
Zenabu? Does that mean I was a wolf all night for the last days? Running around outside and don't remember anything?"
"Yes. That's why you were so tired all week." She grinned, but then she frowned.
"You're afraid. What are you afraid of?"
?" My voice broke and I had to start again.
"What did I do? I mean what happened in these nights? Did I hurt someone?"
"Oh, nothing much happened. Mostly you sprinted around the fields. You hunted some wild rabbits, but only for fun. No eating." She smiled.
"Only the first night was different. The first night you ran straight to the outskirts."
With shivering voice I asked: "What did I do?"
"You took your revenge. The same way you talked about it with your friend Kate."
My eyes dilated and I started sweating.
"No, no, not really the same way." Zenabu said ridently as she saw the fear on my face.
"You searched for her and then you followed her car home. Arriving there you hid in the shadows and waited for her to get inside. And then
" She guffawed.
"Then you jumped on her car and peed right into her radiator grill. I nearly laughed my head off." She held her belly while bowing down with tears in her eyes.
"Same problem now, hm?" I said angrily but also a bit relieved.
She laid one hand on my shoulder, the other still holding her guts.
"Don't be angry. Point is: You're too nice. Even as werewolf."