It’s that time of year again. Time for another story of Vivienne and Onyx. I based this story around the fact we have two full moons this year during October. I had hoped to write and publish this story sooner but time got away from me. It happened to work out, though, because the second full moon of October was Halloween which made the timing of this story perfect.
If you haven’t read a Witch’s Cat story before, you can read last year’s, “Origins“, here and my very first one, “The Witch’s Cat“, in the Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales anthology (the ebook is free) through the Fellowship of Fantasy group.
So sit back and enjoy this year’s story, “The Blue Moon Hunt”. This will make my third story with these characters and each has been published in October. I hope to return to these two again next year so stay tuned.
Onyx padded through the brown, curled leaves as he wove through the trees. The full moon cast a silver glow all around him, his black fur blending with the shadows of the night. As distant voices reached him, he stopped, ears twitching while taking in the sound.
It was the villagers, out on the hunt for the beast terrorizing them these last few months. During each full moon, a werewolf emerged from the forest, killing livestock and tearing the square apart. But this month the villagers’ superstitions were working overtime. Two full moons. With double the death and destruction imminent, they’d gathered to decide what was to be done. Onyx had been in attendance with Vivienne and the words of the villagers still echoed in his ears.
“We have to kill it before it kills us. How long will it be satisfied with animals?”
Vivienne stroked his fur as shouts of agreement rose around them. The farmer and his son to their left the loudest of all.
“Halloween is the second full moon. I say let the hunter become the hunted. Let us meet the beast before it comes to us and kill it!”
The shouts almost made him go deaf.
Tonight was Halloween, and the howls of the werewolf rang through the air as the full moon glared in night sky. Onyx was glad for the extra light if he hoped to find the creature before the villagers. He just wondered why it had to be him.
Skipping around a tree, he halted. There, just five feet away, stood a mangy wolf. Dressed in raggedy clothes, it stood hunched, head hanging low with its mouth agape and dripping saliva. Its eyes were silver like the moon.
They stared at each other.
Then, raising its snout to the sky, the werewolf howled.
“Because dogs like cats!” Onyx swung around and bolted back the way he’d came. While he would have liked to have given the mutt a good scratch on the nose, he didn’t feel like risking becoming a werekitty.
The werewolf lopped after him, barking as it ran. Yells in the distance came closer as the villagers heard the commotion. Thankfully they were still a good distance away. Still, he’d rather not have them interfere. Onyx shot to the right, hopping to lead the werewolf farther away before dodging to the left again.
Nips at his heels and hot breath on his tail challenged Onyx in all his skills of running, jumping, twisting, and shimmying he knew. But it only slowed the beast down so much.
They came to the forked tree and Onyx jumped up, scaling the trunk. He’d just tucked up his tail when the werewolf snapped at him. As he settled on a branch, the wolf circled the tree, watching its prey. Keeping a wary eye on the dog, Onyx glanced about. But it was just them. The wolf came around the far side of the tree when a gust of wind sent leaves flying from the ground.
Vivienne walked toward them, snapping open her cloak as she approached the werewolf. It stepped back, waving its head left and right as it cowered backward until it hit the tree. It whimpered as it hung its head. She stopped, still as the night as the werewolf cowered.
When it looked up again, it gave whinny grunts, like those noises when humans believe their dog is talking to them.
Lowering her cloak, Vivienne took out a glass vile filled with a silvery liquid and removed the cork. She reached toward him and poured the contents down its throat.
The werewolf whimpered as it shrank in size and its hair fell out until a hunched over man sat at the tree’s base. Lifting his head, he blinked as the final bits of silver faded from his eyes. The farmer’s son looked up at Vivienne before glancing at his torn clothing.
“Me? I was…”
Vivienne slowly nodded.
“I… Oh, no. Did I…” he chocked as he said, “…kill anyone?”
She shook her head.
He dropped his head into his hands as his body shook.
“How? How did you know it was me?”
Onyx dropped from the tree and sauntered over to Vivienne. He jumped into her arms and purred. Smiling, she tapped Onyx’s nose.
“Why would you help me?” he said. “I… spread rumors you were behind the werewolf. Secretly, I think we all did.”
Vivienne stroked Onyx’s fur and scratched under his chin before looking up at the man. But she didn’t answer.
Shouts drifted to them as torches appeared through the trees.
“No.” The farmer’s son scrambled to his feet. “They’ll kill me once they find out.”
Vivienne stepped toward him, her finger out to silence him. She waved her hand and a path of glowing, white flowers sprang up. “Follow these and you’ll make it home without anyone finding you.”
“But the moon—”
“Won’t bother you anymore.” She turned to leave and scratched under Onyx’s chin.
“Wait. How can I repay you?”
She smiled over her shoulder and said, “Don’t think poorly of others in the future. What they look like on the outside does not reflect what they are on the inside.”
Vivienne and Onyx disappeared into the night shaded forest. After a few moments, they heard the farmer’s son walk off as he followed the path home, the flowers fading as he passed them. By the time the villagers arrive, they’ll find nothing but an empty, glass vile.