Not all villains are like that though. Some of us actually see heroes when we look in the mirror. Sometimes we’re just people who want to be seen. Sometimes the bad guys aren’t all that bad.
So, what’s my excuse? The entire city knows me as the “Blood Wolf of Boston”. When I first came to this city, I wanted to blend in, keeping my powers and the wolf hidden. Still, like always, the wolf made his choice. When he comes out, Aaron--me, everything I am--goes away and he has the spotlight. He draws the attention, he makes the scenes, he spills innocent blood. When I’m finally back, I barely have any recollection of what he did. The Blood Wolf is not Aaron. I am not the Blood Wolf.
The Blood Wolf was passed on to me from my father, who embraced him. He would often let him out in front of me to show me exactly what my fate was. The Blood Wolf would never go after me. He could sense that I was next in line to carry his curse, but he would demonstrate the awful things I would do. I remember being just a boy when the Blood Wolf began to take my fathers place in our small kitchen and before I could sprint away and lock myself in my room, he grabbed me by my small arm, forcing me to stay and watch what I would one day become.
I never wanted it, but my father would tell me that it was never my choice. The Blood Wolf could only be passed onto a child of the host. Once I turned twenty, he passed the curse onto me, which was enough to kill him and ruin any chance I had of a normal life. Whenever the curse was passed on, the original host would die. He knew that I would be left all on my own with this monster raging inside of me. It’s like he always said, fate had plans, and you couldn’t change fate.
And he was right. After living in Boston for three days, the Blood Wolf demanded to be set free: clawing his way out of my own skin, making me feel as though I was being torn apart. All I remember from that night was rampaging through the Fens. It was the closest thing to nature that the Blood Wolf could find.
You’d think that I’d be smart enough to leave. To maybe try and find some small mountain town where the Blood Wolf could terrorize some forest and live under the radar, but once the Blood Wolf got a feel for city life, seeing how many people were here, he wouldn’t let me leave. Any time I tried to leave he would take over again. I could even hear his sickening voice in my head, we like it here, just think of all the fun we can have. If I get close to the city borders, he forces me to take the back seat, or he makes me deathly ill. Now, I’m the one who’s trapped.
I came here in the summer, but now the temperature’s dropping. It’s how the Blood Wolf likes it. Personally, I can’t stand the cold, especially New England cold. Boston is decorated for Christmas, and joy’s everywhere you look. Everyone knew that the Blood Wolf could come at any minute considering his face was on every screen and news paper. Unfortunately, he wasn’t exactly camera shy.
Tonight I was wandering around the Common. The city finished up the Christmas tree lighting a few hours ago and the park was still bustling with college kids and happy families. I could feel the Blood Wolf observing, but not in the same way as I did. He was imagining all the chaos he could cause. Still, after living with him for half a year, I knew certain ways to keep him hidden from the world. If I started to feel anger out of nowhere, I knew it was time to find a way to calm down as much as possible. Keeping my anger at bay meant the Blood Wolf would stay down.
Walking through the park, I kept the hood of my sweatshirt up, covering my mop of brown curls. It was difficult to know how many people saw my face after the Blood Wolf was through with one of his sprees. It was safer to keep my face hidden as much as I possibly could. The crisp air pinched at my cheeks as each brisk New England breeze rolled across the city. I could feel the Blood Wolf itching to get out to feel the air for himself, to feel it flow through his coat. It was strange to think that something so minimal could bring such joy to a beast like him.
I stopped at the Christmas tree that was lit up near the center of the Common, the subway trains screeching below my feet. Gradually, there were less and less people walking around as the night went on. I stared up at the tree, remembering the few Christmases I got to celebrate. Of course, my father was busy satisfying the needs of the Blood Wolf. My mother, on the other hand, was around for a few years, afraid to leave me alone with the monster that was my father. She would always try to give me a good Christmas, knowing that there would come a time when I wouldn’t have them anymore. I remember the morning when my father and I realized she was gone. He and the Blood Wolf flew into a rage. He was gone most of that day. My mother left me a note, telling me that she couldn’t take me with her because my father would hunt the two of us down since I was the only one who could take on the curse. She told me that she loved me. Part of me wanted to believe that, but any mother who loved her son wouldn’t leave them to become a monster.
“Hey baby girl, give me a smile, won’t ya?” I heard a man yell from across the street, away from the Common. I glanced over my shoulder and saw the culprit. A homeless man, one I had seen before, was following a ginger-haired girl who looked about my age. She ignored him and walked a bit faster. The man followed her down one of the side streets, stumbling forward as he walked.
It’s not your place, the Blood Wolf snarled. She’s our prey. I clenched my fists in the pockets of my hoodie. Normally, I never got involved in the lives of the people in this city. I was their enemy, their villain. I heard the same man’s voice screaming more obscenities in a drunken stupor.
“Leave me alone!” the girl screamed and, without thinking, I started to sprint across the street towards her. I could feel the Blood Wolf’s senses beginning to kick in, but I still fought to keep him down. I couldn’t let him come out. He would murder them both in cold blood.
I made a quick left turn into the alleyway and took in the unfolding horror. He had her by a fistfull of her hair, his hand over her mouth to keep her screams muffled. The Blood Wolf wanted to be set free, but instead I took a deep breath and charged towards the drunk. I grabbed the back of his shirt and threw him off of her. She stumbled a bit, caught her breath, but I didn’t focus on her just yet. As I stared down at this little bald man, I let the Blood Wolf release a small growl.
“Stay away,” I snapped through the Blood Wolf’s chilling growl. Horrified, the man slowly took steps back before he turned and ran off into the night. I took a few deep breaths, the tension left my shoulders as the Blood Wolf went back into suppression.
“Thank you,” the girl said, her voice shaking. I spun around. She was so much smaller than me. I had to actually look down to look her in the eyes. I almost forgot what making eye contact felt like.
“Uh, it was nothing. I’m glad I could help,” I said, my voice rough from days without speaking above a whisper.
“It wasn’t nothing. It was brave. He could’ve hurt you.”
“I doubt it,” I scoffed, and looked away.
“Well, it was still courageous. There should be more people like you in the world,” she said. My eyes widened. I looked back up, ready to say something, but the words died on my lips as she had her back turned on me, and walked away.
Courageous. Well, that’s one I haven’t heard before.