It was sheer carelessness that found me out in the woods by the old castle at night near the full moon. I was so focused on my investigations that I’d lost track of time, both daylight and the moon’s phase. These are things you need to pay attention to when there’s a killer werewolf on the loose.
I knew I’d screwed up as soon as I saw the moon in the night sky, but it wasn’t until I heard the chittering that I knew I was in trouble. An alien sound to the quiet forest, it had a vaguely insect quality to it. In hindsight I think it may have been laughter.
Looking around I caught streaks of fey light out of the corner of my eye, and realized there were fairy creatures in the woods with me. Not the happy playful kind that teach children to fly and take them to Neverland for adventures with Peter Pan, either. These were the old kind, the fairies that eat children and will torment mortals with the same cruel detachment of a cat playing with a mouse.
So I did learn something useful from my mistake. I learned that fairies were probably involved in the werewolf attacks, because that’s when the monster jumped out at me. And I mean jumped, at the peak of its arc it must have been high as the top of a telephone pole. I think it cleared 40 yards of horizontal distance in that leap. After it hit the ground things happened too fast to remember clearly.
It didn’t go straight for the kill though, because if it had it would have simply killed me. It circled, unbelievably fast, and in a panic I summoned up Power and flung magic at it, a blazing ray of heat from my hand. But the werewolf was far too fast, it leapt and dashed around, perhaps trying to get behind me, or maybe just toying with me.
I became gradually aware of a smell, an acrid, vomit-like odor that hurt my throat. It was so pervasive I could smell it on the air from my lungs when I exhaled. Now it could be that the werewolf simply stank like this, or maybe I threw up in terror and was just too scared to notice, but looking back I think it had something to do with the fairies. I was still dimly aware of them zipping through the woods around me, being very distracting to a guy with as much on his mind as I had at the moment. It’s possible this smell was something they were doing, perhaps a way of directing or herding the monster.
But those thoughts came later, at the moment I had bigger problems. In my panic I had called up more Power than I could really control. The werewolf danced around just out of my line of fire as I brought the heels of my hands together, trying desperately to keep the ray of death in check or at least point it at the furry killing machine that I was certain would be tearing my throat out at any moment.
Stone glowed red and sagged where I clipped the edge of the castle. That wouldn’t be fun to explain, but on the bright side if I were explaining it then I’d have survived the night. Between that thought and the flickering fey lights and that awful smell and trying to control the magic, I lost track of the werewolf.
And just as I realized that, I woke up.
I lay in bed for about ten minutes, and then sat down and wrote this. It’s dreams like this that make me think I have at least one good novel in me. This specific dream, however, I’m pretty sure is my subconscious telling me that Jim Butcher isn’t writing the Dresden Files books fast enough.