blogaversary, fantasy, fiction, short story

Because the Night by Iseult Murphy

This story is dedicated to my friend, David Rae. His writing inspires me, and he is very supportive of my work. Click on his name to visit his blog, where he has many stories free to read.

Kathy had forgotten it was the night of the full moon until a collar of white fur, like an ermine scarf, sprouted from her soft skin. She thought it looked stylish, highlighting the length of her neck rising above, and the angularity of her collarbones peeking below. She slipped into a shapeless shift dress, coiled her hair into a messy chignon, and went out into the night.

The chill evening breeze played across her exposed flesh, heavy with a burden of tantalizing scents. She passed her neighbour on the way to the park, his head sunken into his shoulders, his black leather coat curled tightly around his body.

“Going for a run?”

“I’ve got a date.”

With her heightened senses, the darkness peeled back to reveal its secrets to her. She caught her reflection in the blind windows of an abandoned house, and saw her eyes huge and dark, like pools of oil, and pale antlers that emerged from her head to taste the air with their feathery branches. She revelled in the transformation, the exotic features that caused her to stand out filled with alluring beauty.

She tasted the air, and found him, his pheromones like a trail through the air, shimmering and effervescent. Coruscating light traced his journey to the park.

He was visible on the sports field ahead, rivalling the moon with his brightness. Seeing him again brought forth the vivid memory of their first meeting, a month before. Hurrying home from work through the park, eager to be indoors before moonrise, she spied him chatting with some friends, rucksacks slung casually over their backs and the aroma of fresh sweat a miasma around them. He was tall, with broad shoulders and dark curly hair, his smell the sweetest of the group. She stumbled into him as she passed him on the narrow path, laughing an apology as he turned, reaching out to steady her with a strong grip, and she caught the bare skin of his wrist with her nails, ripping until blood beaded out.

Crouched on the grass in a moonbeam, he was now in the final throes of his first transformation. She stood in the shadows thrown by an oak tree, and watched him, enraptured.

Convulsing on his stomach, he ripped at his clothes until they were in shreds, and his body was revealed in all its glory. He was clothed in soft white fur from neck to bottom, his limbs silvery and bare, his fine antenna shivering as he tasted the air. With a final pulse, his wings fanned out from his shoulders, glowing white lightly splattered with dots of black, a king’s cloak.

Overcome with desire, Kathy wanted to supplicate herself to him, but her own transformation needed to be completed. She fell onto the grass under the oak and thrashed against the tight prison of her skin that held captive the white fluff that flourished underneath, and the immense blade shaped wings, crumpled like wet paper along her back. She rolled and scraped and scrubbed the skin from her body. It flaked away like old paint, peeled off in sunburned strips until she lay damp and soft and new and panting and the world exploded around her in sights, smells, sensations that almost overwhelmed her with its kaleidoscopic beauty.

Quivering, tentative, she tasted the air. The male was above her, obscuring the moon as he flew over the park. She unfurled her wings. Batted them weakly, then with more strength.

A second shape joined the male in the sky. Larger, with leathery scythe shaped wings, its cries disorientated her as they filtered down to the ground. She watched them dance through the air, a choreography of hunter and prey, until the large creature fell upon the male, both shadows became one and they crashed to the ground. Kathy tasted blood on the air, and felt wet vibrations of feasting from the undergrowth. She rose towards the moon, and by its light, flew home.

The next morning, primped and powdered for work, she crossed paths with her neighbour as she hurried out and he sauntered in. He wore a jacket, and his large ears and sharp teeth seemed less noticeable than usual.

“How did the date go?”

“It didn’t work out.”

“Shame. Maybe next month you’ll join me for a meal.”

Kathy laughed politely, but as soon as he was out of sight, she shuddered.

9 thoughts on “Because the Night by Iseult Murphy”

  1. Wow so clever and so disturbing. You capture the beauty of moths perfectly and also the frailty and terror of nature. I love it. Thanks for writing t this for me. I feel so honoured. It’s like winning the lottery

    Liked by 2 people

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