Liah S Thorley - Writer

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The Black Dog

The silent piano looks sad and abandoned in the blue haze of twilight. Its grand dark casing is silhouetted against the pale wall behind, and the closed lid traps the keys inside. White petals flutter in the evening breeze in the glass vase that stands on the mantle over the fireplace. One brakes free and tumbles onto the parquet floor below. The night is creeping in through the open French windows.
She sits staring out like a marble statue bathed in moonlight. Only the glisten of tears on her cold cheeks show she is alive. A shiver scurries up her spine and she draws her legs in tighter to her chest.
She has been here before. When darkness comes and surrounds her like a black blanket, suffocating and heavy on her chest. Somewhere outside a dog howls and she feels the pull of the moon in her heart. Slowly she stretches out her legs, slides out from beneath the piano and gently plants her feet on the floor. She wants nothing more than to run out into the garden and into the fields beyond. Instead she waits, watching, listening.
For a moment she closes her eyes and pictures the moon’s silvery light. Upstairs a floorboard creaks. Eyes spring open and dart a glance at the ceiling. How can it be? She is the only living thing inside the house. She breathes in deep, her senses heightened. Her hearing is so sharp she could hear a pin drop from the other side of the building. Drifting down through the floorboards and plaster above is the scent of iron, sickly and dead. The vision of the room above flashes through her mind so fast she has to grasp the door jam and catch her breath. Violence beyond words searing through her and into her own family. Throats torn and bodies ripped. A knot of nausea grips at her stomach, but the moon catches her before she falls. She looks up at the full fat disk and lets it carry her.
Nails lengthen and hands turn to claws. She watches as her skin prickles and coats with fur. Outside the black dog howls again. This time she answers. The howl is clear, bright and wracked with pain. Her eyes glint with sadness as the wolf inside takes over, and she rushes out into the night.