It started with a moonbeam that smacked him right across the eyes. Then came the scratching and clawing, somewhere nearby.
But it was the howling that finally woke Bobby up.
He sat bolt upright and looked out the window next to his bed. Deep tracks in the snow led away from the cabin.
Then he saw it, standing there on top of the big hill in front of the woods. He shrieked and scurried backwards, falling out of bed and crashing to the floor.
He picked himself up and hurtled down the loft stairs, then streaked across the kitchen and busted into his parents’ room.
“Ma! Ma!” he whispered.
Nancy’s face glowed in warm orange light as she lit a lantern.
“Ma, there’s something outside.”
She smiled and patted the empty side of the mattress. Bobby didn’t even notice his father wasn’t in bed. The boy sat down, and his mother slipped an arm over his shoulder.
“Tell me what you saw, Bobby.”
“Well … there was this man … or this wolf … or something, out there on the hill. And it was howling.” Bobby pointed back toward the other side of the house. He looked around him, finally realizing Dan wasn’t there. “Did Pa go after him?”
“Listen, honey,” Nancy smiled.
Her teeth gleamed white in the low light. Her eyes shimmered yellow. She squeezed him tighter, and her nails dug into his shoulder — hard. Bobby winced and tried to pull away, but her grip was too strong.
“It’s a full moon tonight,” his mother went on. “On nights like this, folks can see some strange things.”
She took his hand in hers and held both of them up to the lantern. The back of hers was covered in coarse brown fur.
So was his.
Off in the distance, someone howled.