Conversational Lycanthropy

Conversational Lycanthropy

A Story by Brandon R. Chinn

A man briefly laments his confusion as to how he happened upon a date with a woman who seems to dance easily between distinct physical forms.



It’s easy to slip on the edge of what is�"and what isn’t�"when you convince yourself that you understand every border of your reality. Every plane, every shadow, every crawling place that becomes sucked back into the unparalleled neurosis of living.

She looks at me, her eyes large and blue. Her pupils are not quite dilated enough. She looks right through me when she speaks, even when she’s smiling. Fingers gracefully holding that little wooden stick, she stirs her coffee as a complete afterthought; the white flame of cream underneath the whirling black film of the coffee’s surface is churning within its own sealed void.

I swallow, uneasily. “What was your question, again?” I ask.

She’s obviously bothered that she has to repeat herself. She’s not used to that. People pick up on her words whether they want to hear them or not. It’s as if all her thoughts are unsolicited dreams�"requests burrowing into the brain of the thoughtless, pushing past their thrown-in mental barriers and barreling over the dim stretch of comfort.

“I said, have you ever actually seen one?” she repeated.

I want to parry her question with something, but the words won’t come. This scene is so absolutely normal from the outside, I almost want to laugh at the absurdity of it. You could pick us out of any frame of two people quietly engaging in some sort of discussion over coffee, but that’s not what this is. In fact, as of now, I can no longer remember how I stumbled into this scenario. She may as well have taken me by the shoulders and thrown me forcibly into the wall, the physical remnant of it swallowing me with a sick sucking sound.

“No,” I say softly. Of course not. No one has. And she’s trying to�"what? Convince me otherwise? Snap the last twig of my sanity like dry kindling? She may as well just burn me down to ember and ash.

She smiles. It’s not a nice smile. The two halves of her face simply don’t line up, they don’t match, they don’t speak to one another. Her eyes are two still, blue pools. They remain unchanged, regardless of the smile she continues to try and plaster on for me. That smile isn’t there to mollify me. It’s not there to disarm my sense of fear and terror. She smiles the way a primate does in the wild, bearing all teeth and fang.

“Right now, you’re trying to figure out a way to escape me,” she says, bringing her tone down just as low and quiet as mine. “You’re trying to remember if you saw any exits on the way in here. You’re trying to look towards the entrance, to see if maybe you can slip past me faster than I can get out of my seat.”

Without my consent, my eyes flicker to the exit, to the entrance. The entire physical world around me seems to be made up of no more than those two options.

I lie to her. She smiles again. Grander. Whiter.

“This is how it works,” she tells me. “None of them can remember. None of them can force their minds past that initial point of ‘how’ and ‘when.’ All that matters is that you’re here, with me, now. And we’re waiting. Waiting on the first action, the one that might give way to the second. It’s a who goes first type of a game. The entertaining part for me is, will you make some desperate ploy for escape, or will my patience simply run out? The end result is the same, no matter what. That part doesn’t matter, though.”

That small bit of separation in between the dark fabric of her clothes and the smoothness of her skin evaporates. Or maybe, it was never quite there. I want to believe that she was always dressed, that her blouse and slacks adorned her just as they would anyone of her age, of her type. But in that dark, looking at her just right in this shadowy frame of mind, I can see the truth of it.

I can hear her voice now. Her real voice. That drop that shifts unseemly between the masculine and feminine, with enough animal rage threaded through it to completely immobilize me. The terror she exudes over me is not just that pressure of fear keeping my brain from properly working, it’s an actual force, a gravity cementing me to my seat.

“Do you want to see?” she asks. It’s not a question. It’s an abrupt disillusion of two distinct, separate realities. One in which she is a smiling girl fussing over coffee. One in which her skin is not smooth, and her teeth are white, and long.

I come back to her eyes. Blue, and round, and bright as the moon. Blue as the deepest, deepest sea. So blue they are almost black.

© 2015 Brandon R. Chinn

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Added on July 26, 2015
Last Updated on July 26, 2015
Tags: horror, weird, fiction, prose, dark, short, flash fiction, weird fiction, werewolf, date, terror


Brandon R. Chinn
Brandon R. Chinn

Tacoma, WA

My name is Brandon Chinn. I am a novelist living in the Pacific Northwest. I love all kinds of fiction, but I mostly write science fiction, fantasy, and horror. You can check out my novel series, The .. more..