Everything was changing. This much he understood. As far as to the how and why, he had some conception that it had to do with a coming of age and passage of time. The connection between the two was completely lost on him. At home the subject was taboo, ignorantly ignored or purposefully avoided. Perhaps the halls of learning would cover the subject in detail or at least provide Cliff Notes. Popular kids knew or at least seemed to. They spoke of it in either hushed tones or obscure, coded boasting. The kids without the pumped up kicks kept it to themselves to avoid being poked fun at and embarrassed. In the end he was, as it always seemed, on his own. Thus his only recourse was to run.

Had he grasped the comparison of life to a box of chocolates perhaps he would have raced his way into notoriety. However, the need for privacy was entangled within this need for release. Thus the unkempt pastured fields and abandoned backwoods became his stomping grounds. Patience and desire kept his soul in check as he waited for the nights when the moon rose high and lit up the nighttime world in a silky brilliance. It was on these nights he would release the BEAST. This was the simple name he bestowed upon his alter ego, as he raced shirtless, shoeless like a wild animal through the woods. Leaping, jumping, climbing, and never stopping, always running.

He had no way of knowing that this was the first schizophrenic personality to be born of unbridled necessity. The urges, the physical changes, the desire for the night, did make him fear that he had been overcome with a bout of lycanthropy. Potential psychological disorders and social anxiety aside, the beast was free and he found contentment in this.

WILD-THINGThe Beast raced across the fields, seeking the limpid pools of cool blackness to tread upon. Of course, after a minor case of ringworm he discovered those “limpid pools” were actually cow pies. Thus, in the future the Beast would dodge these. Into the night, into the woods and the Beast found purchase and purpose and briars and holly bush leaves. The Beast considered shoes because that s*** hurts in the dark. But no! The Beast don’t need no shoes. Race the wind, bark at the moon, howl into the night and find solace, peace and a profound sense of loneliness. This was not enough. There was something more.

Crouched like the animal that he was the Beast drank from the stream, the cool night wind caressing his bare back. The night and his run were almost done and exhaustion ebbed at his very existence. Suddenly searing pain, as something arched over him, landing on the far bank. And there she was. Long hair tangled in burrs and leaves, dirty, with mud up to her knees clad in nothing more than a night shirt and panties. The moonlight bathed her radiant animal beauty and cast her fair shadow upon him. Was she another like himself? He must know and thus gave chase. But she was nimble, quicker and then the sunrise took him away.

Summertime and freedom gave way to endless nights of searching, scouring miles of untamed wilderness…desperation…depression…sorrow. Then…in the end…they found each other. Oh rapture, exaltation and an understood kinship as they raced into the night.

They spoke nary a word, communicating only with their eyes and simple gestures. Occasionally leaving cryptic messages scrawled at their usual haunts for one another. Perhaps both feared speaking would break the glamor of it all and thus silence that spoke in volumes. Nature will inevitably take its course. Many a night was shared perched on lower branches watching the nightlife of the forest. Others were spent lying in the cool grass of the open meadows gazing upward as the constellations danced across the night sky. With the chill of early morning he felt her warm in his arms as the nights took them.

And then…she was gone. All that remained was one last scrawling in the dirt path, nearest the meadow, where they had shared many a night. She would never return, he understood this and wept openly into the stillness of the night. Gathering his cast aside garments, he bade farewell to the forests and fields and returned to the world of men.

True story or a post-modern romantic tween lore with a touch of bestiality? Something darker hidden within the context? Neither, nor, or maybe all of the above and ending with a lesson that should be taken to heart but inevitably borders on humorous. That being, talk to your kids about puberty and sex education or they will realize on their own they are nothing but mammals and do like they do on the Discovery Channel. This may lead to a very disturbed, confused and unfulfilled life as an adult.

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