Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cycle of the Werewolf September By Stephen King

Cycle of the Werewolf

By Stephen King


In the Stinking Darkness under the barn, he raised his Shaggy head. His yellow, stupid eyes gleamed. I hunger, he whispered. Henry Ellender The Wolf


Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November, all the rest but the Second have thirty-one, Rains and snow and jolly sun, and the moon grows fat in every one. Child's Rime


"Even a man who is pure in heart and say his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms and the Autumn Moon is bright.” Laurence Talbot-1941 The Wolf-Man


Full Harvest Moon - September This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.


As the month wears on and the night of the full moon approaches again, the frightened people of Tarkers Mill wait for a break in the heat, but no such break comes.  Elsewhere, in the wilder world, the baseball divisional races are decided one by one and the football exhibition season has begun; in the Canadian Rockies, jolly old Willard Scott informs the people of Takers Mill, a foot of snow falls on the twenty-first of September.  But in this corner of the world summer hangs right in there.  Temperatures linger in the eighties during the days; kids, three back in school and not happy to be there sit and swelter in droning classrooms where the clocks seem to have been set to click only one minute forward and for each hour which passes in real time.  Husbands and wives argue viciously for no reason, and at O' Neil Gulf Station out on Town Road by the entrance to the turnpike, a tourist starts giving Pucky O'Neil some lip about the price of gas and Pucky brains the fellow with the gas-pump nozzle.  The fellow, who is from New Jersey, needs four stitches in his upper lip and goes a away muttering balefully under his breath about lawsuits and subpoenas.


I don't know what he's bitching about, Pucky says sullenly that night in the Pub.  I only hit with half my force, you know?  If I'd a hit him with all my force, I would knocked his frockin smart mouth right the frock off. You know?


Sure, Billy Robertson says, because Pucky looks like he may hit him with all his force if he disagrees.  How about another beer, Puck?


Your frockin-A, Puck says.

Milt Sturmfuller puts his wife in the hospital over a bit of egg that the dishwasher didn't take off one of the plates.  He take one look at he dried yellow smear on the plate she tired to give him lunch, and pounds her a good one.  As Pucky O'Neil would have said, Milt hits her with all his force.  Damn slutty bitch, he says, standing over Donna Lee, who is sprawled out on the kitchen floor, her nose broken and bleeding, the back of her head also bleeding.  My mother used to get the dishes clean, and she didn't have no dishwasher, either.  What's the matter with you?  Later, Milt will tell the doctor at the Portland General Hospital emergency room that Donna Lee fell down the back stairs.  Donna Lee, terrorized and cowed after nine years in a marital war-zone, will back this up.


Around seven o'clock on the night of the full moon, a wind springs up the first chill wind of the long summer season.  It brings a rack of clouds from the north and for awhile the moon plays tag with these clouds, ducking in and out of them, thicker, and the moon disappears yet it is there; the tides twenty miles out of Tarkers Mills feel its pull and so, closer to home, doest the Beast.


Around two in the morning, a dreadful squealing arises from the pigpen of Elmer Zinneman on the West Stage Road, about twelve miles out of town.  Elmer goes for his rifle, wearing only his pajama pants and his slippers.  His wife, who was almost pretty when Elmer married her to at sixteen in 1947, pleads and begs and cries, wanting him to stay with her, wanting him not to go out.  Elmer shakes her off and grabs his gun from the entryway.  His pigs are not just squealing; they are screaming.  They sound like a bunch of very young girls surprised by a maniac at a slumber party.  He is going, nothing can make him not go, he tells her and then freezes with one worked-callused hand on the latch of the back door as a screaming howl of triumph rises in the night.  It is a wolf-cry, but there is something so human in the howl that it makes his hand drop form the latch and he allows Alice Zinneman to pull him back into the living room. He puts his arms around her and drawls her down onto the sofa, and there they sit like two frightened children.


Now the crying of the pigs begins to falter and stop.  Yes, they stop.  One by one, they stop.  Their squeals die in hoarse, bloody gargling sounds.  The Beast howls again, its cry as silver as the moon.  Elmer goes to the window and sees something he cannot tell what go bounding off into the deeper darkness.


The rain comes later, pelting against the widows as Elmer and Alice sit up in bed together, all the lights in the bedroom on.  It is a cold rain, the first real rain of the autumn, and tomorrow the first tinge of color will have come into the leaves. 


Elmer finds what he expects in his pigpen; carnage.  All nine of his sows and both of his boars are dead disemboweled and partly eaten.  They like in the mud, the cold rain pelting down on their carcasses, their bulging eyes staring up at the cold autumn sky.


Elmer's brother Pete, called over from Minot, stands beside Elmer.  They don't speak for a long time, and then Elmer says what has been in Pete's mind as well.  Insurance will cover some of it.  Not all but some.  I guess I can foot the rest.  Better my pigs than another person.


Pete nods.  There's been enough, he says, his voice a murmur that can barely be heard over the rain.


What do you mean?


You know what I mean.  Next full moon there's got to be forty men out or sixty or hundred and sixty.  Time folks stopped dicking around and pretending it ain't happening, when any fool can see it is.  Look here, for Christ's sweet sake!


Pete points down.  Around the slaughtered pigs, the soft earth of the pen is full of very large tracks.  They look like the tracks of wolf but they also look weirdly human.


You see those fucking tracks?


I see them, Elmer allows.


You think Sweet Betsy from Pike made those tracks?


No.  I guess not.


Werewolf made those tracks, Pete says, You know it, Alice knows it, most of the people in this town know it.  Hell, even I know it, and I come from the next county over.  He looks at his bother, his face dour and stern, the face of a New England Puritan from 1650.  And he repeats: There's been enough.  Time this thing was ended.


Elmer considers this long as the rain continues to tap on the tow men's slickers, and then he nods.  I guess.  But not next full moon.


You want to wait until November?


Elmer nods.  Bare woods.  Better tracking, if we get a little snow.


What about next month?


Elmer Zinneman looks at his slaughtered pigs in the pen beside his barn.  Then he looks at his brother Pete. 


People better look out, he says.


This Story is from the Book "Cycle of the Werewolf" by

Stephen King. You can find a copy at www.Barnes&

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