Friday, October 18, 2013

Cycle of the Werewolf October 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 fast in every one. Child's Rime


"Even a man, who is pure in heart and says 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 Hunter's Moon - October With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can easily see fox and the animals, which have come out to glean.


When Marty Coslaw comes home from trick or treating on Halloween Night with the batteries in his wheelchair all but dead flat, he goes directly to bed, where he lies awake until the half-moon rises in a cold sky strewn with stars like diamond chips.  Outside, on the verandah where his life was saved by a string of Fourth of July firecrackers, a chill wind blows brown leaves in swirling, aimless corkscrew on the flagstones.  They rattle like old bones. The October full moon has come and gone in Tarkers Mill with no murder, the second month in a row this has happened.  Some of the townspeople Stan Pelky, the barber is one, and Cal Blodwin, who owns Blodwin Chevrolet, the town's only car dealership, is another believe that the terror is over; the killer was a drifter, or a tramp living out in the woods, and now he has moved on, just as they said he would.  Others, however, are not so sure.  These are the ones who do long reckoning on the four deer found slaughtered out by the turnpike, the day after the October full moon, and upon Elmer Zinneman's eleven pigs, killed at full moon time in September.  The argument rages at The Pub over beers during the long autumn nights.


But Marty Coslaw knows.


This night he had gone out trick or treating with his father (his father like Halloween, likes the brisk cold, likes to laugh his hearty Big Pal laugh and bellow such idiotic things as Hey, hey! And Ring-dang-doo! When the doors open and familiar Tarkers Mill faces looks look out).  Marty went as Yoda, a big rubber Don Post mask pulled down over his hand and a voluminous robe on which covered his wasted legs.  You always get everything you want, Katie, says with a toss of her head when she sees the mask but he knows she isn't really mad at him (and as if to prove it, she makes him an artfully crooked Yoda staff to complete his getup), but perhaps sad because she is now considered too old to go out trick or treating.  Instead she will go to a party with her junior high school. She will dance to Donna Summer records, and bob for apples, and later on the lights will be turned down for a game of spin-the-bottle and she will perhaps kiss some boy, not because she wants to but because it will be fun to giggle about it with her girlfriends in study hall the next day.


Marty's dad takes Marty in the van because the van has a built-in ramp he can use to get Marty in and out.  Marty rolls down the ramp and then buzzes up and down the streets themselves in his chair.  He carries his bag on his lap and they go to all the houses on their road and then to a few houses down town: the Collinses, the MacInnes, the Manchesters, the Milikens, the Eastons.  There is a fishbowl full of candy corn inside The Pub.  Snicker Bars at the Congregational Church parsonage and Chunky bars a the Baptist Parsonage.  Then on to the Randolph's, the Quinn's, and a dozen, two dozen more.  Marty comes home with his bag of candy bulging and a piece of scary, almost unbelievable knowledge.


He knows.


He knows who the werewolf is.


At one point on Marty's tour, the Beast himself, now safely between its moons of insanity, has dropped candy into his bag, unaware that Marty's face had gone deadly pale under his Don Post Yoda mask, or that, beneath his gloves, his fingers are clutching his Yoda staff so tightly that the fingernails are white.  The werewolf smiles at Marty, and pats his rubber head. 


But it is the werewolf.  Marty knows, and not just because the man is wearing an eye patch.  There is something else some vital similarity in this man's human face to the snarling face of the animal he saw on that silvery summer night almost four months ago now.


Since returning to Tarkers Mills from Vermont the day after Labor Day, Marty has kept a watch, sure that he will see the werewolf sooner or later, and sure that he will know him when he does because the werewolf will be a one-eyed man.  Although the police nodded and said they would check it out when he told them he was pretty sure he had put out one of the werewolf's eyes, Marty could tell they didn't really believe him.  Maybe that's because he is just a kid, or maybe it's because they weren't there on the July night when the confrontation took place.  Either way, it doesn't matter. He knew it was so.


Tarkers Mills is a small town, but it is spread out, and until tonight Marty has not seen a one-eyed man, and he has not dared to ask questions; his mother is already afraid that the July episode may have permanently marked him.  He is afraid that if he tries any out-and-out sleuthing it will eventually get back to her.  Beside Takers Mills is a small town.  Sooner or later he will see the Beast with his human face on. 


Going home, Mr. Coslaw (Coach Coslaw to his thousands of students, past and present) thinks Marty is so quite because the evening and the excitement of the evening has tired him out.  In truth, this is not so.  Marty has never except on the night of the wonderful bag of fireworks felt so awake and alive.  And his principal though is this: it had taken him almost sixty days after returning home to discover the werewolf's identity because he, Marty, is a Catholic, and attends St. Mary's on the outskirts of town.


The man with the eye patch, the man who dropped a Chunky bar into his bag and then smiled and patted him on top of his rubber head, is not Catholic.  Far from it.  The Beast is the Reverend Lester Lowe, of the Grace Baptist Church.


Leaning out the door, smiling, Marty sees the eye patch clearly in the yellow lamplight falling through the door: it gives the mousy little Reverend an almost piratical look.


Sorry about your eye, Reverend Lowe, Mr. Coslaw said in his booming Big Pal voice.  Hope it's nothing serious?


The Rev. Lowe's smile grew longsuffering.  Actually, he said, he had lost the eye.  A benign tumor; it had been necessary to remove the eye to get at the tumor.  But it was the Lord's will, and he was adjusting well.  He had patted the top of Marty's whole-head mask again and said that some he knew had heavier crosses to bear.


So now Marty lies in his bed, listening to the October wind sing outside, rattling the season's last leaves, hooting dimly through the eyeholes of the carven pumpkin which flank the Coslaw driveway, watching the half-moon ride the stars studded sky.  The question is this: What is he to do now?


He doesn't know, but he feels sure that in time the answer will come. 


He sleeps the deep, dreamless sleep of the very young, while outside the river of wind blows over Tarkers Mill, washing out October and bringing in cold, star-shot November, autumn's iron month.


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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