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Sibling Rivalry

by Wayne Keisler

No one, who hasn't been one, can understand what being the youngest child means. It means having to wear hand-me-downs and having to hear time and time again," why can't you be more mature like your older brother?" He is always held up to you as an icon. Nothing that you can do is ever good enough to equal what he did. You're left on the bottom always looking up. Parents don't really mean to do this, but that doesn't mean that it won't hurt just the same. Billy was despondent with the situation.

David had long been Billy's bane. As a brother, David was OK and that really made it worse. If he had been a real jerk, at least Billy would have had an excuse for hating him. David had always been a really cool brother though. He had always had time to help Billy with homework, ball, or anything else that he needed help with and to tell the truth, Billy looked up to him.

David was the athlete of the family. He had played football since grade school and was better that average at it. Billy really liked going to watch David play. Their father was so happy with David. What father wouldn't be proud of a son who was a football star and a letterman at several other sports? Billy had tried sports, but just wasn't good at them. He leaned more towards the books. He did have straight A's in school and had probably read more books than the rest of the family put together.

The trouble is, few parents really notice this in their children. You don't get the praise for bringing home good grades as much as you just seem to get in trouble if you screw up. It didn't help that David always did everything right. That was held over Billy's head like an unseen club. Every time he wanted something that didn't fit with his parent's plans for him, down came the preverbal club. Billy never showed visible marks from this imaginary club, but not all scars are visible.

Billy's parents were always after him to get his nose out of the books and go outside. He spent so much time reading and on his computer. The computer was Billy's most prized possession. It was his window to the world. He could access anything he wanted to see at the touch of a key or mouse. He had started out in school reading everything that he could get his hands on. When he ran out of things that interested him there, he went to the public library. When he was younger, computers were not as prevalent as they were now.

It was amazing how much information was available out there on his favorite subject; werewolves. Billy had been reading about them for years and now he spent much of his time searching the web for sites on his favorite subject. He has seen all of the movies. American Werewolf in London, all of the Howling movies, Wolf, Silver Bullet, I was a Teenage Werewolf and so many others, that he had forgotten all of the names.

He collected images from the web and already had about 5 Meg of graphics dealing with the subject. He would have liked to put up some of the posters that he had found, but his parents would have freaked! They were the typical, Leave it to Beaver, style of parents. He really doubted that if they knew of his fascination, that they would approve. He had such a hard time getting them to take him to the movies. He would tell them he was going to a certain movie and when they dropped him off, he would slip into the one he really wanted to see. When the movie let out, he would wait outside the movie he was supposed to have seen and question someone who had actually watched it. That was they way he fooled his parents.

Billy harbored a secret wish that he could become a werewolf. He thought about it a lot. To be able to go out and run through the night on all fours and now to have to worry about a thing. It would have to be wonderful. He hated the books that depicted it to be a curse to try to get rid of. He couldn't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to be rid of  something which he wanted so badly.

He was sitting at his computer late one night reading another story from a web site that he had found. Once more the person had been bitten and had become a werewolf at the full moon. He read the scene of transformation with a tense excitement. Billy's chest grew tight and he realized that he had been holding his breath while he read. When he finished, he leaned back in his chair and said to himself," Why can't I become a werewolf?" "I wish that the stories were true and that I could be bitten."

"NO," someone said.

Billy looked around startled and saw that it was David.

"Billy, you can't mean what you are saying!" David pleaded with his younger brother.

"David. I didn't even know that anyone was still up," Billy said

"Billy, I heard what you said and I can't believe that you would want to be one of those. Do you have any idea what it would be like to be one," He asked him?

"It can't be that bad and I think that it would be kind of fun," Billy replied.

"You don't have any clue what you are talking about, because if you did, you wouldn't ask for that!"

"Oh and I guess that you do, huh," Billy retorted.

David walked over and looked out the window without saying anything for a few minutes. Billy just looked at him, wondering why David was acting this way.

"Do you remember that hunting trip I took with Dad last year, when I was attacked by dogs," David asked quietly?

"Yeah, you had to have stitches," Billy remembered.

"Well, it wasn't any dog that got me."

"You aren't going to tell me that it was a werewolf are you?" Billy asked, his interest was waxing now.

"That's exactly what I am telling you," David said as he came across the room and sat by Billy.

"But, werewolves aren't even real," Billy said hesitantly.

David looked up and said," Yes they are Billy!"

Billy could tell from the expression on David's face that he wasn't playing around this time. David liked to kid his younger brother, but Billy didn't see any sign of mirth in that face. Billy sat there trying to deal with what his older brother had just admitted to him.

"Then, all of those camping trips weren't for scouts then," Billy asked?

"Billy you can't imagine what it's like. I can't control the wolf when the moon is full. It's always in here," David said as he thumped his chest. "I am so afraid that I will hurt one of you. Do you remember that horse that was killed by feral dogs several months ago? Well, I did that. I stalked the animal and took it with no trouble at all. I couldn't have stopped if I had wanted to. When I had killed it, I fed on it. I was in there the whole time. The wolf instincts and mind was in control though," David started to sob. "The worst thing, is that I liked it!"

 "Billy, you know that I love horses, but it was nothing more to me than a meal, that night," David said. I can't help myself anymore and I don't even want to. I'm looking forward to the next time, God help me."

Billy looked into his brother's face and saw the feral look that had replaced the sobbing. This more that anything else made him shiver. He hugged David and they sat there for a long while. Finally, David told him that he had to go to bed. Billy sat there on his chair and thought over what he had found out that night. David was a werewolf! That surely explained some of his actions over the last year.

Still, Billy couldn't help but wonder. What was it really like? He had a vivid imagination and with what he had found out, it was running wild now. Oh how quickly he forgot the pain and anguish that he had seen in the face of his brother. He had been conditioned by reading all the stories to admire the werewolf. This brought him back to his dream of becoming one. His brother was one and was there anyway that he could think of to get himself bitten without being killed? He would have to think about that. He went to bed that night and dreamed his most favorite dream. He was a wolf, running through the forest.  Billy smiled in his sleep.

The next day, Billy woke up and started his day. It was Saturday and he didn't have to go to school. He usually helped his father with his Veterinary business, but this day, he felt lazy and didn't want to get up yet. He lay there and thought about what his brother had told him the night before. David had sworn him to secrecy. He hadn't wanted his parents to find out about it. They were all right with his apparent love of camping and never even tied the moon phase in with the trips.

Billy knew that he couldn't just follow David to the woods. When he changed, he would turn on Billy and kill him. David had already told him that he couldn't control it. How could he do what he wanted to try? Then he remembered the other week when the bear had escaped from the zoo. His father had been called and had shot the bear with his tranquilizer gun and then they were able to transport it back to its cage. Would that work on a werewolf? Slowly, a plan formed in his mind.

Billy decided that if he was able to knock the werewolf out, it couldn't still bite him. He figured that the thing that made one a werewolf was in the saliva. But, if it was in the saliva, wasn't it also in the blood? That would make things much easier. He made plans for the next full moon. He knew that David would go camping again. He managed to get the key to his father's workplace and make a duplicate. The night of the full moon, he slipped out early and retrieved the tranquilizer gun and an especially heavy dose of the drug. He also managed to find a syringe and he was prepared.

He snuck into the trunk of David's car and there he waited. It was a long rough ride to the place where he camped and Billy was bruised when he got there. Also he was thirsty. He hadn't prepared as well as he thought that he did. He had jammed the lock and tied the trunk lid down from the inside. Thus, when David had doffed his clothes and waited for the change, Billy was able to peak out from the trunk. He worked the gun around and got ready.

David's skin shown in the moonlight and Billy couldn't wait for what he was sure would come. David groaned and fell to the ground. He screamed in pain and started to shiver. Billy watched, as course brown hair started to push up out of David's skin. Fingernails lengthened into huge claws. He saw what had once was his familiar brother, become something else entirely. A vestigial tail pushed out of the back of David's spine and he quickly grew much larger. Billy saw the legs change and become digitigrade. Billy was so entranced by what he was seeing that he almost forgot about the gun.

He hurriedly pushed the muzzle of the gun out through the crack and sighted along the barrel. The illumination from the moon was incredible. He considered for a split moment, that he was about to shoot his brother, but knew that it was going to really hurt him. He fired! The animal on the ground screamed and tried to get up. It couldn't figure out what had happened, but it looked for a culprit. As it almost got to its feet, it stumbled. Its coordination was getting worse and it fell to the ground.

Billy crawled from the trunk and took the syringe that he had brought with him. He cautiously went over to the beast before him. It was incredible and what Billy saw there didn't horrify him like it would have anyone else. He wished he had brought a camera! He plunged the needle into its arm and drew a full vial of blood. Then he looked at it and saw something that shocked him. There was no comprehension in its eyes at all. All that he saw there was the beast and Billy knew that it would happily kill him if it could.

Billy went back over to the car and put the gun into the trunk. He looked at the syringe that he held. This was what he had waited for all of his life. David's warnings went for naught now. Billy was too close. He plunged it into his arm and injected all of the blood into himself. He waited in the moonlight for something to happen. Except for the sting from the needle, nothing happened. Billy wondered what went wrong. The werewolf on the ground was beginning to be able to move some and Billy knew that his time was short. Disappointed, he got back into the trunk and tied it shut once more.

After a while, he heard the beast manage to get back to its feet and stumble over to the car. Billy could hear its heavy breathing and hear it scratching at the car. He was scared. Why had he tried a stupid plan like this! The beast realized that it couldn't get what it smelled and ambled off to find better prey. Billy breathed a sigh of relief when he heard it leave. He wouldn't have dared get out of here now though, with it running around in the woods. He fell asleep in the stuffy trunk and only wakened as the trip back started.

Billy managed to sneak the gun back into the office and hoped his father wouldn't find that some of the drug was missing. He went to his room feeling disappointed that he hadn't changed last night. He was sore and tired and wanted to get some sleep. He went to his room and snoozed.

Almost four weeks had gone by and Billy knew that the full moon was coming around again. He almost envied David this time of the month. Tonight, Billy knew was the night that David would change. Billy stayed in the house, even after David had left for the woods again. His parents went to bed early that night. Billy's father had a vaccination clinic that next morning and it always took a lot out of him. Billy knew that his father hated that part of the job.

Billy got offline early that night also. He was restless. He lay on the bed and tried to sleep but couldn't keep still. He opened his window and looked out. He had an impulse to go out and he did. He walked down the street and took the path to the pond. He was feeling bad. It was like he had a fever. He was sweating! Billy wiped his head with his hand and made his way to the edge of the pond. He looked up to see the round, cheese like orb coming up over the horizon. It fascinated him for some reason.

Billy's temples throbbed painfully and he reached up to massage them. Agony ripped through his guts! Billy screamed and grabbed his stomach. The pain spread. Liquid fire flowed from his stomach outward to his extremities. He groaned in pain. His fingertips were burning and he looked down. Gray hairs covered his fingers and Billy could see that his nails were pushing out into claws! Oh no, the injection! It was working now! He had no time to consider what he had done to himself. Fire consumed his body.

Bones broke and realigned. Agony doubled and redoubled again. Billy would have screamed and kept screaming if he could have. He couldn't even catch his breath. He was getting his wish and it was killing him! Hair grew thickly abundant over his whole body. Clothes ripped as his body grew huge and changed shape. He felt ears move up his head, as his muzzle pushed out. Billy's mind was receding into the background, as his body became the wolf.

The wolf got up off of the ground and sniffed the air with sharper senses. The new wolf was so hungry! He scented prey just over the hill and padded that way. He approached the cow pasture from the downwind side. The stupid cows never knew that danger lurked nearby. The wolf leapt over the fence and bounded towards its target. Billy's mind saw what it was after and tried to stop it. There was a mother cow with its almost newborn calf there and the wolf was going right for it. They bolted, but not quickly enough and Billy felt his body grab the calf by the neck and crunch down.

Billy tried to be horrified at what was happening, but as warm, salty blood burst into his throat, he was drowned in the wolf's ecstasy. He was caught up in the feelings of the predator. It tore still warm meat from the dead calf in chunks. The first things it instinctively went for, were the soft and rich internal organs. The calf's mother, warring with instincts, hovered just out of range. The wolf looked up with a bloody muzzle and growled a warning. Still the cow was reluctant to leave, but it was too late for her offspring.

Once the wolf was satisfied, it looked for a place to hole up for the night and let its meal digest. It came to a huge shape that stank of humans, but somehow, it seemed like a den to him. He looked down into the cave that it knew was there and crashed through the flimsy barrier and stalked around its den. The scents were at once strange and familiar. It went over to a corner and after making the place comfortable, lay down to sleep.

Billy woke, feeling cold. He wondered where he was. As he looked around, he found that he was in the basement. He immediately remembered last night. He shivered and wiped his mouth. Whether with cold or fear, he couldn't have said. He looked down to see blood on his arm.  He went over to sink and washed the evidence off his face,  then went on to the dirty clothes pile and got some clothes to put on. His mind was still sort of numb, as he thought over last night's horrors. He was really thankful that his folks slept with their door shut and a fan on. The broken window might have woken  them and Billy didn't know what he would have done, if they had found him.

He stumbled tiredly up to his room. His memory of last night was shockingly clear. He almost cried as he thought of the hapless calf that he had eaten. For the first time, he felt what David felt after the kill. Emotions were even now warring within him. He felt guilt as the killing, but knew that he would do it again. He even now was getting excited. Now he understood the despondence that his sibling felt.

He changed clothes later and remembering the clothes he wore last night, went back to get them, before someone else found them. There also had blood on them from the violent change. He would have to get rid of them later. He got back home and took them to his room. Every time he thought about what he had done, it brought tears to his eyes. The bloody clothes in the bag, over in the corner, was evidence of what could happen. He hated to think about what could have happened to his parents. That's why David left at that time of month.

Billy lay there, when David came into the room. David smelled the blood on the clothes. While his senses weren't those of a wolf any longer, they were shaper that any human's. He ran over to the bag, tore it open and asked Billy," What the hell have you done, you little fool!?"

"You changed last night! Did I bite you?" David asked

After David had tried to save him, he hadn't the courage to tell him what he had done. He looked up and saw the shock on David's face. Billy knew that he had to tell him. He couldn't lay guilt that was his and his alone on David. He had enough worries as it was. In a rush, Billy poured out the whole story.

"But why Billy?"

" I........had to know," Billy said.

"Do you know what you've done?" David asked.

"How could I not know?" Billy said.

Then David snarled at him," You could have killed our parents, you fool!"

"I know...I know," Billy admitted, starting to cry again.

David, feeling sympathy at the foolishness his young brother had shown, went over to him and hugged him.

"You know what you are going to have to do know don't you," David asked.

"Take up camping," Billy replied.

"Don't beat yourself up over this. The kill you made was necessary," David told Billy. "Your body has to have the fuel to change back. You couldn't stop it if you wanted to." "Don't worry Billy, we will get through this some how."

Billy lay there embracing his older brother. Oh, how he wished things would truly be OK again, but he knew better. There was no return from here. The only comfort he had was that he had someone else that knew what he was facing. After all, misery loves company.

Copyright 1997: Keisw@aol.com . If you want to post this anywhere else, please ask the author for permission first.       Thank you

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