Authors: Michael D. Lampman
A Werewolf’s Saga
For my family—a wonderful day can feel long. May all your days feel like they last forever!
© by Michael Lampman
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Printed in the U.S.A.
I’ve seen many things in my life. I’ve come a long way from what I once was. I would have never thought that things would happen the way they did. I was simple back before everything began. I was basic. I was just a normal guy that tried to make his way through what I thought was just a normal world. I was quiet, maybe a little shy. I was calm. I thought I had everything figured out. I never tried to let things bother me, and was never one to hurt a fly. I was never one to want to pick a fight. I had what I thought was a good life. I had love. I had a home. I had a well-paying job. I loved what I did and I loved everything in my life. Nothing mattered more than what I could do, or what I thought of at the time. Nothing happened as planned, but I do think that things happened as they were meant to be. Life is like nothing that I thought that it would have been. Nothing is now the way I expected it. This thing that I am is nothing of what I expected to be.
Life is so simple—when that is what you are—simple. You get up every day, go through life’s journey, and do what you are expected to do. You do what the world wants of you, all the while trying to find some time for yourself. Simply—you make your way through life, make your living, and make your home. That’s what I was always told. That’s what I’ve always believed. It was nothing but a simple world, with a simple existence. Nothing else ever seemed to matter. Boy, how wrong I was to believe in all of that now? Man, how crazy I was to think that way.
And now, here I am. Here I stand, being this—this thing. I’m here being this—this creature—that wants nothing more than to devour the world. What am I? What did it mean? What do I do now? Where do things go from here? How did this happen? How do I live? How do I stop it, stop me, from killing again? These are all my questions. This is now my life. Things do change. Things have changed. I have changed. As I search for those answers, I find it important to think back to the time when things were normal. I think it’s important to try to remember that time, before everything started. I think it’s important to try to remember who I was—the man that I tried hard to be. Therefore, I began keeping this journal, trying to remind myself of my humanity. Hoping that it would help me discover what I am now, by trying to discover whom it was that I was back then.
This is what I think now. This is what I remember. This is my story.
“How many times do I have to tell you to do something? I told you to get this place ready before the visit. We’re running out of time Jimmy. You can’t keep procrastinating. You
keep getting it wrong.” Mister Maggery crossed the pure white tiled floor, and stepped in front of the many gondolas that made neat and organized rows across the store’s main floor.
He looked small in front of all of them. He looked just like any other man. For Jimmy Walls, his boss always looked intimidating, he knew that, but he always tried to think of him as normal. He tried to think of him as an equal, but not now, he looked very different this time. He sounded different. He sounded angry.
Something’s going on. He’s not listening to me. What the hell did I do wrong?
Those thoughts alone made his heart sink and his mind turn to fear. He has spent years working for Mister Maggery, and in all that time, he worked harder than most. He always did the best job he could. Being a store manager was never easy. He worked many hours, but paid well for it. It made him respect what he did. It made him loyal, and he always did what they told him to do.
Mister Maggery stepped to the corner of the second gondola and looked down the third aisle. Boxes of merchandise were everywhere. They sat in front of the gondolas. They sat in the aisles and blocked them completely. With all of them scattered about, they made everything look like a small group of young boys tried to build a fort, but gave up in the middle of building it. Their light brown color stood out against the white floor beneath them, making them stand out more than they probably should have looked. The backroom wasn’t any different. All of the stores in his district had the same size backrooms. They were all small. They barely fit what they were supposed to hold, but that didn’t matter. They were all small for a reason. They were designed to store only the things that wouldn’t fit out on the shelves. When they were stacked to the max, as this one was, it meant that he had a problem. It meant that nothing was out on the shelves. It meant that nothing would sell. Seeing boxes in the aisles told him that Jimmy was at least trying to get everything out, but that wasn’t his problem was it. He wasn’t here for that. This was his fifth visit, before
visit. His boss was coming tomorrow, and knowing that, how could he show him this place like it looked? He had seen enough of what was wrong, and not enough of what should have been right. No one knew how much pressure he was under, he had to do something, and he had to do it now.
However, Jimmy did know what Mister Maggery felt. He was under the same amount of pressure, which was obvious when he knew that a
I’ve been working nonstop for over a week. I’ve spent fourteen hours every day, trying to solve this mess. I’m doing my best!
And he wasn’t stopping. He didn’t think that he was falling behind. Whenever he took over a store, one that was this much of a mess, he knew what they expected of him. He knew what he had to do to fix it. He had to get the stocking issues solved first. He knew that would solve most of the problems. Next, he had to get the staff together. He had to pick up the sales. However, this time, it seemed far more hopeless. He knew that he had so much more to do. There was so much more that he
doing. He tried everything that he knew how to do, but also knew that it wasn’t happening fast enough. He knew it, but still couldn’t stop it. He felt helpless and felt completely
“I know, Mister Maggery, I know. I’m running out of time, I can see that, but that’s what I need—more time.” He crossed the distance from the four front registers at the front of the store, and walked to his District Manager with a cautious stride. He kept his eyes down and couldn’t bring himself to look him in the eyes. As for what he said, he knew that it took time to do it right, but so did Mister Maggery. In fact, the last time, he even gave him help. He gave him extra payroll and allowed him time. He gave him the chance to get it up and running, but now, things were somehow different.
He doesn’t seem to care about hearing me out.
That alone felt odd, but there was more to it than that.
He too felt different this time. He felt tired. He felt exhausted. He felt almost
. He felt alone now more than ever. “You have to give me more time, or at least get me some help?” He stepped in front of him with his legs that suddenly felt rather weak. He felt somewhat nauseas. He just didn’t feel right.
Mister Maggery listened, but didn’t need to hear anything more. “I can’t give you something that you should have done in the first place.” He had to remain calm. He had to keep his cool. He could feel Jimmy starting to break. He could hear the telltale quivering in his voice. He could see the unbalance in his legs. He had to wait for the break to happen, so he had to stay patient. “I’ve given you five weeks now to get this place ready. A month is more than what I would’ve needed to get this store back in shape.” He let his voice rise. It wasn’t booming yet, but it was getting close. He had to sound harsh. He had to win this fight.
Jimmy turned from him and looked back across the store to the front windows, and looked out them with wide eyes. They looked so large and covered the entire wall, and because of them, he was able to see everything outside with complete clarity. Seeing that much, he sighed.
Outside, the day grew deeper with the night coming fast. The sun glared down to everything below it. The once bright blue sky already started to darken some and slowly turned to a pinkish red. It all looked so peaceful. It all looked so beautiful. It all felt so inviting. He could see people everywhere, walking down the sidewalk across the parking lot. A young couple walked just by the window, and made their way back to their car at the front of his store. They held hands. They looked happy. They looked content. They both climbed into the car and laughed. To him, they looked free. They looked peaceful.
God do I miss that. When was the last time Sally and I were together long enough to go out?
He had no idea. He just couldn’t remember any of it. He began to feel like his life was passing him by. He was now thirty years old, so he knew that he wasn’t that old to feel this old. Everything felt like a blur. He wasn’t sure what was happening, what did happen, but he did feel something. Watching the young couple, he found himself staring at them, and sighed, so much so, he wanted nothing more than to leave right then, make his way outside, and to that freedom that shined back to him from that large glass windowpane.
“This isn’t good enough Jimmy. This shouldn’t be that hard.” Maggery put his hands to his hips, watching him closely. The break had to be coming. He could almost feel it.
“Maybe, you should have done it yourself then?” Jimmy watched the trees bob slightly from the causal wind that must have caused it. Seeing them, his mind began to wander even more.
Why am I thinking like this? What did I do wrong? What changed?
He couldn’t think anymore. He couldn’t defend himself. He wasn’t sure if he even wanted to try to. He just couldn’t do anything but watch the car with the young couple drive away as he watched it leave the parking lot.
“What was that?” Maggery felt his chest rise hard under his chin. If what he heard was true, he couldn’t believe that it was Jimmy that said it.
He turned from the window and back to his boss with nothing but the thought of the breeze blowing outside on his thoughts. “You heard me.” This wasn’t like him to say what he was. He didn’t like to fight. He didn’t like to ask for it to happen, and yet here he was, doing just that and more. His heart went from a typical flutter to calm all at once. He took a deep breath and felt the coolness of the air conditioning blast his lungs. Normally, he would have simply agreed with him, just said
and moved on from there, but not this time. This time he felt that so much had changed. Maybe it was the feeling of the helplessness that was coursing through his soul, or maybe it was something else, but it did happen. He felt helpless to stop it when it started. The finish was coming whether he wanted it to or not.
“I thought that’s what you said?” Maggery crossed the short three feet between him and his store manager with a flash in his steps. What he just heard wasn’t what he expected to hear from Jimmy Walls, but something that he wanted to hear more than anything else. “Then, maybe, you aren’t the man that I thought you were?” He smiled. He knew that Jimmy had always been a great employee. He worked hard for the five years that he worked for him. He cleaned store after store for him and did it all with style, but the pressure he was under to cut his payroll had become more than he could stand. Five years’ worth as a store manager was too much money to continue to pay out. He had to get rid of the waste. He had to trim the fat. He had to get rid of Jimmy. He didn’t have the choice anymore, and this seemed like the perfect chance to do just that.
Jimmy heard the words, but could only swallow a dry mouth. A single tear formed in his right eye, and streaked down his cheek. After all, five years of working for a company was a long time to spend with a place. For a moment, he could just stand there and listen to the two of them breathe. Feeling the tear, and knowing himself, he turned back to the window and to the world outside it. He knew he was going to cry. He was going to break down.
I can’t let him see me cry. I can’t do it. I won’t.
He did have pride after all. He didn’t have much, but he did have it.
“I can’t keep doing this, Mister Maggery? I just can’t.” A second tear rolled out of the corner of his eye and flowed down his cheek with a gentle streak.
Mark Maggery blinked. The realization that he had accomplished his goal flared through his mind. “I think it’s time to make the change then.” Everything he hoped for happened. The pressure of it all slowly faded away. Glee filled his heart as pride swelled up in his chest. He couldn’t believe how well everything turned out.
“I understand.” Jimmy sighed with a wince. All felt done as another single tear rolled down his cheek. It followed almost the same path down his face.
Maggery nodded. “I need your keys Jimmy.” He felt like dancing and felt complete. Now, all he had to do was to get the keys, call up Marty Daniels, the new manager that he lined up the night before, and get him there to take over
new store. The excuse for the mess, the one that he planned to blame on Jimmy, now seemed ready. Mister Gregory, his boss, would accept the excuse. He always did.
Jimmy watched the trees blow softly outside. The keys to the store were the symbol of his job. They were what he used to open the front door to the store. They went to his office. They went for the safe tucked neatly under his desk. They felt like a part of his person. Letting them go would mean the end of him being the store manager of Store 555 of the
small box department store chain. He reached down and unclipped them from his belt, brought the bright metal up, and looked at them with an endless fascination. They clanged gently before him. A single ray of light twinkled into his tear filled right eye. Its dimness looked so subtle that a gentle sparkle formed right in front of him. Slowly, he turned, holding the keys just a moment longer and held them out to Maggery.
“Thank you Jimmy.” Maggery tried hard not to smile any more than he probably already was. He looked at Jimmy and could see the tear stain on his cheek. Seeing it brought the pressure to completely disappear from his soul. It gave him strength. He loved the look. He felt the power. He took the keys.
Jimmy took a deep breath and allowed everything that happened to overwhelm him instantly. He had nothing else left to do. “I’ll clean out my desk.” He could feel the weight of those keys release him suddenly. Later, as he would drive home, he would feel ridiculous for feeling the way he now was, but at that moment, he did feel it. He already missed them. It made him feel naked, and almost lost without their weight.
“I’ll go with you.” Maggery didn’t intend to allow a
former employee to be alone in his office. Too much could be stolen from it. He had to protect the assets of the store. He didn’t trust anyone to have the chance.
Jimmy could do nothing more but sigh. He left the front of the store, made his way down the closest aisle to him, and made his way to the backroom of the store. Maggery followed him through the storeroom, and to his office.
Once inside it, the feeling of seeing it for the last time became almost too much for him to bear. After all, this was going to be the last time, he was ever going to see it again. The feeling was something like the reverse of having deja-vu. Instead of feeling something expected, it felt like a longing. It meant the end. It meant something new. It meant that everything changed forever.
He gathered his things. He really didn’t have all that much but a coffee cup and his lightweight spring style coat, which he put it on, and took the cup into his hand. It would be later, at home; that he would realize the cup was the one that he received from the company for doing so well with his last store. If he thought about it further, he would not have taken it home.
When he finished, he left the store, and slowly went outside to his car that he parked at the back of the building. Climbing inside it, he felt nothing but numb all over. Everything happened all too quickly to register in his overly tired mind. Now all he had to do was go home. Something, that now, sitting in his car, seemed rather difficult to do. He sat there, looking at the brick wall of the outside of the store and had Sally now come up in his thoughts.
How is she going to accept what happened?
How is she going to take this?
How are we going to survive?
Everything flashed before him. He didn’t have an answer for anything, but could only hope that she would understand. After all, it wasn’t his fault, so why would she be angry for it? Either way, he knew that he would have to wait to find out.