Let there be Wolves
“…Some emergency at work, I don’t know what exactly, just some crisis that I had to get up in the middle of night and drive back to the job to take care of. So when the dream starts out I’m getting dressed – fast. I cram a baseball hat over my head. It’s this black hat I had when I was a little boy, the hat I wore the one summer I got to play little league. That was a great summer vacation… Then I pound down the stairs to the parking lot. It’s Chicago in winter and you know how it is. The cold makes your teeth hurt and everything is quiet. My shoes squeaked against old snow, the sound like that last whimper a hurt animal makes. My car windows were clear so I didn’t have to scrape them, just got in the car and started the engine and that’s when I realized I wasn’t alone in the car.”
I have patients who barely speak. Others, like Thomas, never shut up. He’s 23 and small framed. His bandages are gone and when he waves his arms I can see the black stitches in his wrist, like a long centipede clinging to pale flesh.
“It was a monster,” he said, “sleeping on the backseat. I woke him up when I turned over the engine. Man, he was pissed. I saw the movement in my rear view mirror and -.”
“What kind of monster?”
“It’s embarrassing but I’ll tell you. It was a werewolf. I’m not kidding. I had a fricken werewolf sleeping in the back of my Honda. Ha! So even though I don’t carry a gun anymore, I had one in my glove box. And I reached over to get it and I guess he knew because he climbed over the seat and started grabbing for my arm. I got the glove box open and the gun in my hand, but he got a hold of my wrist and he beat my hand against the glass until it broke and the gun went flying out through the broken window and into the parking lot and then… Then he was on me. He kicked my ass and as he punched me and clawed me I could smell the scent of wild animal, you know, matted fur, earth. And I could smell blood, too.”
We were quiet for a moment. I glanced at my clock. Seven minutes left until this session was over.
“What does it mean?”
“What do you think it means, Thomas?”
“Hey, I’m the one locked up. You tell me.”
They sense me sometimes, I suppose. Something in their subconscious, even though it’s broken, recognizes me.
“Well, you’ve made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. Maybe it’s a warning that you still need to be careful.”
“And that there will still be wolves?”
“Exactly,” I said. Then I kept my mouth closed and poked my tongue around the long fangs that are my incisors, the ones I use when I’m the monster.
“You’re the best, Dr. Forret, seriously.”
I smile back at him. He’s going to be delicious…