Writing a “How To” Manual
That Monday, when I returned to school, Wolf was not there, and I realized that there was to be a full moon that night. I made a decision that I was going to find out, once and for all, what was going on. During the last class of the day, we received an A for the project Wolf and I had worked on together so diligently. I pretended to be feeling a little sick, and left the class early. I ran to my football coach and got myself excused from football practice.
I ran home and borrowed my dad’s car and drove out to The Coldfoot farm. I had never been there before, and I was surprised to see a lovely little cottage. The property was surrounded by a stereotypical picket fence. A porch, about six feet wide, wound around all four sides of the house. I could only presume that the family could sit and relax on the lee side, whichever the lee side happened to be at the time they were using the porch.
I stepped up onto the porch. There didn’t seem to be anyone around. I was about to knock on the door, when I realized that if I circumnavigated the house on the porch, I could look into any room, provided there were no window coverings. I didn’t want to be a voyeur, really I didn’t, but I was snooping after all.
The third window I looked into was covered by a very sheer curtain, which allowed me to look into the house. I saw their living room. All three members of the family were seated on the floor in a circle. They were enshrouded in wolf pelts. Their arms were held out in front of them, palms up. In the middle, between them, were at least twelve lit votive candles. Wolf and Miriam were gazing downward, but Luke seemed to be chanting, and he was facing the ceiling.
Well if they were going to turn into wolves at sundown, it appeared to me that some sort of religious ceremony preceded the entire event. I had gone this far, and I wasn’t going to miss the grand event. I returned to the car, drove a safe distance away, and began my wait. Just as the sun began to retreat at the western horizon, I drove up to the house again.
First I peeked into the living room again to witness the transformation, if there was to be one. The three of them had done away with the wolf pelts, and were extinguishing the candles. They picked them up, and placed them lovingly on the mantle. When everything was stored, they embraced each other in a group hug, and left the room.
I followed them into the kitchen. Wolf and Luke began to set the table, and Miriam began to remove food from the oven. From what I could see, it was a standard American meal, which she served family style. There was a meat loaf, green beans, baked potatoes, already smothered with butter, and a bowlful of dinner rolls. When I saw the food, I realized that I was very hungry, as my stomach began to rumble. I wondered how I would be welcomed (or not) if I knocked on the door at that moment.
On the one hand, I had not been invited. On the other hand, they did not know that I had witnessed their little religious ceremony, so I would not be upsetting any apple carts. My curiosity, and my hungering stomach, sealed my fate. Boldly, I walked up to the front door and knocked. Wolf answered the door. He was grinning at me.
“Come in,” he said grabbing my hand, and pulling me in.
“I hope I’m not interrupting dinner,” I fibbed.
“Tim, my love, I’ve been expecting you. We all have.”
“You knew I was coming?” I asked incredulously.
“Well, not today exactly,” Luke said.
“We wondered how many days Wolf would miss school on the full moon, before you would become curious enough to come around to investigate,” Miriam added.
“Have you had dinner?” Wolf asked, and without waiting for an answer, he said, “It would be an honor if you ate with us. This day is holy for us.”
I nodded and smiled, and pulled out my cell phone. Dad didn’t answer, so I figured he was busy in the store. I left him a message that I was having dinner with the Coldfoots.
We completed the meal, and we all helped clean up. Miriam announced that she had apple or peach pie for dessert, and asked me which I preferred, and if I wanted, tea, coffee or milk. I opted for peach pie and milk. After all, tea and coffee are a no-no for an athlete during practice.
Well, I knew now that my loving new family was not a pack of werewolves, neither were they regular wolves. It was well past dark, and nobody had transformed into anything but a loving family having dessert after a hearty meal. However, I did know that I had witnessed some sort of ceremony, possibly a religious one, and I needed an explanation. The Coldfoots were Christians, or so we all believed, but the ceremony looked pagan enough to me.
“You knew that I was curious. You all said so,” I finally blurted out. “Is anyone going to tell me what’s going on? You all might as well know that I love Wolf. I’m his soul mate. I’m never letting him get away from me, so that makes me a member of this family, and I want to know what all the secrecy is all about, and why Wolf cuts school once a lunar month.”
I turned to look at Wolf. “At this point in our relationship, Wolf, I have the right to know.”
Luke took my hand. A fire went through me. I felt infused with the intelligence of centuries past. An energy of strength and knowledge was being passed from him to me. Was it a symbol of the joining together of our two families? I didn’t know, and I didn’t care. All I knew was that somebody was going to explain all this secrecy and mysticism to me in just a moment.
Wolf looked at his father. “It’s true,” he said, “Tim and I are soulmates. We are going to spend this lifetime together, and an eternity beyond. Please tell him the history of our family.”
“Yes, I will. Let’s go into the living room and get comfortable. Miriam sat down on the sofa, and Wolf and I sat on a love seat facing the sofa. Luke took two votive candles from the mantle, placed them on the coffee table and lit them. He sat down next to Miriam, directed his eyes toward me, and said,” Let’s begin.
“The cult of the wolf is often found throughout Indo-European, Turkic, and Native American cultures. It is a common belief that many Native-Americans are descended from nomadic Mongolians.
“In the mythology of the Turkic and Mongolian peoples, the wolf is a revered animal. The shamanic Turkic people even believed they were descendants of wolves. Within the Arapaho tribe, there was a small group, who believed that they were descended from the Turkic and Mongolian people, who had migrated from Asia. They believed strongly that these wanderers were descended from wolves. Many years ago, this group was large. They believed that the moon had special powers over the wolves. When the moon was full, the wolves were at the height of their intelligence, strength and sexual prowess.
“Every month, when the moon was full, these people donned wolf pelts, and chanted holy prayers, requesting the moon goddess to infuse them with these attributes of the wolves. This is probably what gave rise to the myth of werewolves.
“Little by little, these moon worshipers assimilated into the larger Arapaho people. Mark, you are sitting here with the last remaining descendants of these people. We know that all I have told you is just a myth. As Christians we believe in one universal God, but we want to keep our culture alive, and so we repeat the ancient prayers every month at the full moon.”
When Luke concluded his narration, there was utter silence.
Finally Wolf asked me, “Have you nothing to say?”
I thought for a while, and after a long pause I answered him. “Yes,” I said. “First of all, I’m disappointed you aren’t a pack of werewolves. Not that this story isn’t fascinating, but werewolves are much more exciting than religion. Secondly, as a newly inducted member of this family, may I join you in prayer next month?”
“Of course,” Luke said, “But I must ask you to keep our secret.”
Mark laughed. “It’s kind of fun knowing that everyone in school thinks I’m a werewolf”
“I have a request of my own,” I stated, and stared at Wolf. “Wolf, I want you to try out for the football team for our senior year. We’ll have more than a winning team, we’ll both have a chance to get football scholarships to a good university. Without a scholarship, I don’t think my folks can swing the expense. They both gave up everything to move here, and their customers pay them more in barter than in cash. Don’t misunderstand. They’re perfectly okay with that, but that doesn’t pay for me to go to college.”
“I’ll consider it only because you’re on the team, and I can get to hug you every time our team scores a touchdown, but actually I’m counting on an academic scholarship. I don’t know if you are aware, Tim, but I’m a straight A student.”
“I didn’t know, but so am I, so you don’t have to be so smug. That reminds me, we got an A on our science project. I almost forgot to tell you.”
“That’s great. We should collaborate more often.”
I winked at my love. “You bet,” I said.
“As much as I love you all, it’s a school night. I’ve got homework to do, and my folks make me turn in early. I really should leave now.”
“Hey, Tim,” Wolf said. “Why don’t you give me our homework assignments, and I won’t be behind as usual tomorrow.”
“Great idea. I’ll call you as soon as I get home.”
I thanked Luke and Miriam for their hospitality, and gave them a big hug. They hugged me back, and when they said goodnight, they called me, “Son.”
Wolf walked me to the door. His goodnight kiss was more passionate than I expected. We were having trouble breaking apart. He started to laugh.
“What?” I asked.
“When you don’t show up next month, the guys will think I turned you into a werewolf.”
Now I broke out laughing, and it was Wolf’s turn to ask, “What?”
“Tomorrow, I’ll tell the football team that I stepped outside late last night to throw out the garbage, and I was attacked by a group of wild wolves. I’ll say that I was able to shoo them away with a stick I found on the ground, but this morning, in the shower, I noticed a scratch on my arm, that one of them must have inflicted on me. They’ll think that changed me into one of those kind of monsters.”
“They’ll see you don’t have a scratch.”
“I’ll put on a Band-Aid. Nobody will question me. They are dying to believe that you are a werewolf.
To be continued........