Creative Story: Lycanthrope Essay, Research Paper
Creative Story: Lycanthrope
You think you know a person. You think you know them, right up until
the day they come out and tell you about all their deep, dark secrets and this
whole other life theyТve been leading that you never even knew about. At least,
that was the case with my good friend, Lyle Lawrence Kingly.
My name, for the information of the curious, is Niles Jameson. I knew
Lyle Kingly for a good many years and was actually an associate of his for a
short time. We eventually went our separate ways, I pursuing my career of
choice, he pursuing his. I still think he was just a little too young to go
into the private investigation business, but we called it Сcreative differencesТ
and left it at that. We stayed friends, however, and tried to remain in touch.
So I was surprised, rather pleasantly, the day I received an overseas long-
distance call from Africa.
It was Lyle, calling to see how IТd been, what I was doing, that sort of
thing. Then suddenly his voice took on a more serious tone.
УNiles, you have to come here. I may need your help.Ф
УWhat is it, Lyle? WhatТs wrong?Ф
УI canТt tell you over the phone.Ф He whispered. УItТs too important.
You have to be here.Ф
УIn Africa?Ф I said in disbelief.
УYes, here. ItТs that important.Ф
УIТm an animal over here!Ф He hissed into the phone. УI canТt tell you
any more. I donТt dare. Please, Niles, donТt tell anyone what happens when you
get here, or anything about this phone call. It means my life, Niles, and it
could mean my death.Ф
I caught the nearest plane out to Africa. I was worried about my friend.
If I had to go to Africa to hear it, I knew it had to be important. I stopped
at his unreasonably small office in the city, but he wasnТt there. This meant,
unfortunately, that I had to drive fifty miles out of the city to his house. I
was relieved when I saw his face answer the door. We sat down and talked for a
while, he fixed me a light snack, let me rest off some of the effects of jetlag.
We talked for a good long time before I finally asked him.
УLyle, why did you make me come all the way out here?Ф
УYou have family secrets, donТt you, Niles?Ф I did.
УSecrets that you wouldnТt tell anyone but those you trusted?Ф Yes.
УWell, IТve got one of those secrets, a dangerous one.Ф
УWhat is it?Ф I said to him quietly. And then he told me.
УNiles, youТve heard the stories, the ones they always tell at Halloween
Ц about people who change into animals?Ф
УYes, but I donТt see what that has to do with you, Lyle.Ф
УNiles, IЦ I find that the direct approach works best.Ф
УWHAT! Lyle, what are you talking about?Ф
УI Ч IТm a lycanthrope.Ф
УYouТre a what?Ф
УA Ч AЦФ
I was beginning to fear for not only my friendТs life, but for his
УAЦ A lycanthrope. YouТre a lycanthrope.Ф
УLike a werewolf.Ф
УNo Ч not a werewolf. But a shape-shifter nonetheless.Ф
I decided to play along, whatever his game was.
УOK then. Well, what are you?Ф
УYou know, I could tell you, but then you probably wouldnТt believe me.
IТm sure you already think something about me, that IТm crazy or something,
right? Am I right, Niles?Ф
I shifted uncomfortably. УLook, Lyle, the last I knew, people do not
change into animals.Ф
УNiles, please donТt make me do this the hard way.Ф
УUh Ч WhatТs the hard way?Ф
УThe hard way is that I prove it to you.Ф
I usually try to be as open-minded as possible to all things, so I said
to him, УAll right, then.Ф
УYou want me to prove it to you?Ф As he made this daring challenge, his
eyes started to take on a wild look in them.
УProve it to me.Ф He sighed, with an exasperated expression on his face.
УI hate it when people wonТt take me seriously.Ф
And he did prove it to me. He changed into a beast, right in front of
I stood there, in shock, and before I could do anything else, I heard
itЕ A low growl. The animal crouched into a springing position and, with a
snarl, leapt upon me.
I was on the floor, paralyzed with shock and fright, as he stood over me.
I could feel the beastТs weight pressing on me as two huge forepaws stood on my
shoulders, paws which had the dexterity of human hands. He brought his face
right down to mine, and as I stared up into round, animal eyes, he spoke. He
said to me, in a ragged, snarling voice, УNow do you believe me?Ф
I could not answer him. I quivered on the floor, and said; УWЦ What
УThe same thing I always was.Ф He responded in that ragged voice.
УYour friend.Ф He got up off of me and, just as suddenly as he had transformed,
changed back into a human form. It was Lyle, standing there as though nothing
I slowly got up and faced him. УHow did this happen?Ф
УIt didnТt just happen, Niles.Ф He responded sarcastically. УIТve
always been this way. All my life. The only person itТs new to is you.Ф He
sat back down at the table where we had been talking just a short while ago.
Nervously, I joined him.
УWhat kind of creature are you, Lyle?Ф He smiled ruefully.
УI was wondering when youТd ask.Ф He said. УIТm not even a typical
lycanthrope. IТm a crossbreed, between two species. For years, I didnТt even
know what to call myself.Ф
УCall yourself what?Ф I asked in slight astonishment.
УOh, thatТs simple, Niles. IТm a Caline.Ф
УA Caline.Ф I said, and I paused. УUm, LyleЕ WhatТs a Caline?Ф
УItТs the name I finally came up with, to call myself.Ф He said. УIt
stands for half-canine, half-feline. You put them both together, you wind up
with СcalineТ. Which, unfortunately, I am.Ф
УA Caline,Ф I said. УHalf-dog, half-cat Ч Lyle, what are you talking
about? ThatТs impossible!Ф
He shot me a look. УWell, youТre talking to the worldТs only one, as
far as I know of, Niles.Ф
УWell, whatЦ When did all this happen?Ф
УLike I said, IТve been this way all my life. It has to do with my Ц
well, questionable parentage.Ф
УYour parents? What does this have to do with your parents?Ф
УEverything. My father was a werewolf from the States, and my mother
was a were-lion from over here.Ф
УYes, Niles, a were-lion. It would take a while to explain. Just
accept what IТm telling you for the moment. Anyway, dad came over here on a
vacation some years ago. I donТt know all the specifics, but sometime during
then he met my mother, and somehow they fell in love with each other. Dad
eventually moved to Africa so they could be together. They married on human
terms, and after several months together, Mom finally told him they needed to
have Сa little talkТ. To this day, neither one of them knows who was more
I just sat quietly, trying to absorb it all. He continued.
УI grew up knowing about my parents, expecting the changeЕ But I
never knew how I would turn out, what I would be. Not even Mom or Dad knew what
to expect, since no one knew what would happen if such two different species
bred before. But when I finally did start to change, I was still loved and
understood. I also grew up listening to a lot of arguments. Not real fights,
you know, but one constant argument: Mom wanted to stay at home, but Dad
couldnТt stand the hot climate. A few times he did actually move back, but they
just couldnТt stand to stay apart. The last I knew, Dad was still living here
together with Mom, but I canТt be sure. I havenТt called in a while.Ф
УIs there anything else?Ф I asked, astonished.
УOh, yes. IТm not a werewolf, not a were-lion, but a werebeast
nonetheless. IТm a Caline. So my worst troubles occurred when I tried to find
the two species I was a hybrid from. You have no idea how hard it was for a
crossbreed like me. The first group of werewolves I came across wanted nothing
to do with me. That particular pack wasnТt a perfect example of the whole
species, though, and I do have a couple of friends on that side. Were-lions,
however, are a much rarer breed, and I had to ask my mother how I could find a
pride. The were-lions were much more accepting of me, I suppose because I take
more after my mother. But anyone I met from that side always seemed unnerved by
me. I suppose they just couldnТt get around those inherent canine
УAnywhere I went, whatever species I tried to associate with, I was
rejected,Ф Lyle continued. УI was tolerated, refused, harassed, and ignored,
but never accepted. One time I almost lost an ear in a fight with a were-tiger
who said he СdidnТt like my attitudeТ. I just suppose no one could accept the
idea of me being a Caline.Ф
УWhat happened?Ф I asked, too absorbed in the discussion.
УWith you Ч and the were-tiger?Ф
УOh, I got away without incident.Ф
УOh,Ф I said. УI suppose the idea of such two different species being
successfully bred together didnТt come off too well.Ф
УExactly.Ф Lyle added. УYouТre not going to believe this, Niles, but
the most accepting group of my situation has been you humans.Ф
УReally?Ф I was astounded. Then I thought of something. УUm, Lyle,
how many people have you told all this to?Ф
УOnly my closest friends, Niles, the people I know I can trust.Ф
УAh.Ф Well, I was glad to know I was in that circle of people.
УMy looks are no help, either.Ф
УYou saw me.Ф
УWell, I didnТt see very much of you while you were in my face.Ф
УOh.Ф And he changed again, so I could get a better look at him.
He was basically lionlike in appearance, but with a distinctly canine
accent to his features. His fur was a strange, off-white shade, a color that
gave way to a stark white underbelly. His sable-black, glossy mane framed his
face and flowed down his neck, hiding all but the tips of his two pointed ears.
His hands and feet were now four huge, padded paws. He turned and looked at me
with round eyes that were neither canine nor feline, but beyond description.
They were almost aglow, with a look of wildness in them that was as frightening
as it was fascinating. But I could see what would have astounded a human and
caused a werebeast to judge him, what was probably the greatest problem with his
appearance; The same sable shag that comprised his mane also covered his tail.
But I didnТt really concentrate on his features as much as I did on him.
For right then, I just stood there with my mouth open, staring at him in awe.
He shot me a glance out of his round, animal eyes.
УLyle, youТre beautiful.Ф
УYou just tell that to all the other species.Ф
I could understand the words, but his voice sounded like paper that had
gone through a shredder. And I couldnТt help noticing the four, deadly-sharp
fangs that flashed in his mouth as he talked.
УWhatТs it likeЕ Being a Caline, I mean?Ф
He answered again, in that ragged voice. УBelieve it or not, Niles,
itТs actually got a few good points. I couldnТt list too many of them offhand,
though. UmЕ Ah, yes!Ф His eyes lit up. УWell, for example, I seem to have a
greater sensory acuity than most other werebeasts. I tend to notice things that
either of my parent species would ordinarily miss.Ф
УItТs the strangest thing, being able both to howl and to roar.Ф
He sighed, glanced at me, and continued talking.
УHowever, I do have trouble unsheathing and retracting my claws.Ф
From each forepaw came five razorlike claws that could rip a man to
shreds in seconds. Was Lyle trying to make me nervous?
УEvery time I get them into one position, I have such difficulty getting
them into the other,Ф he said, withdrawing the deathly blades. I had been
looking at the structure of his paws for quite some time, and soon I noticed
something. УWhat about your thumb Ч dewclaw Ч whatever?Ф
УI was just getting to that,Ф Lyle said, delighted that I had asked.
УItТs just another one of natureТs ways of dealing with the human-animal
connection.Ф Lyle held out a paw for me to see. One of the joints in his hand
Ц paw Ч moved, and a fifth digit equivalent to a thumb seemed to me to appear
out of nowhere. It was furry, and padded, and equipped at the end with a
retractable talon, just as all the others, but now it was in a roughly human
Lyle, standing on three legs, reached up and, seizing one of the thin-
stemmed glasses from the dinner table, held it with his five clawed appendages
as accurately as if his padded paw had been a human hand. He then began to
twirl it around more deftly than most humans could have. Needless to say, I was
He set the delicate glass back on the table and turned the paw toward me
again. The dewclaw moved back into place, conveniently out of the way. I then
realized that it had not just appeared, but had been there all along. This
joint, I realized, made it very convenient for werebeasts to get around.
Just then, Lyle let out a chuckle that sounded more like a snarl. УI
just canТt believe what you said, Niles. MeЦ beautiful.Ф I looked at his
smile, and I saw the huge ivory daggers in his mouth again. And I remembered
the reputation werebeasts have involving humans. УLyle?Ф
УHave you everЕ Killed anyone?Ф
He looked me dead straight in the eyes.
I stood there, shocked, horrified. Lyle should have been the one
surprised by the question, astounded that I could even ask such a thing. I had
expected him to say something like, СNiles, of course not!Т, or СWhat are you
talking about?Т, or СYou know I would never do such a thingТ. I expected him to
say anything, anything but what he had said.
HeТs killed someone before, I thought. He could kill meЕ With white
and shaking hand I reached out to steady myself on the back of a chair. Lyle
pulled the chair out, and helped me sit down. I looked up at him and said,
УLyle Ч how could you? Of all the people, youТre not the typeЕФ Of
course, by then I realized I was talking to someone who had just been telling me
about a whole other side to his life that I knew nothing about. I had no idea
what type he really was. Lyle put his hand on my shoulder.
УNiles, IТm sorry. I forgot youТd have taken it this hard. I should
have explained to you first.
You see, in my profession, I have a tendency to accumulate quite a few
enemies. The very nature of the business Ч sticking your nose where it doesnТt
belong, as it were Ч can get some people really mad at you really quick.
Private investigation has painted a bullТs eye on me, Niles, and there are
plenty of people who want to take shots.
This one man, the man I killed, had plenty of reason to hate me. I was
directly responsible for getting about 20 of his friends sent to prison for
illegal-arms trading. I nearly got him, too, and if it werenТt for a legal
technicality, a well-placed loophole, heТd still be alive today Ч and rotting
in prison where he belonged.
He took out a hit on me; he put a $20,000 price tag on my head. That
didnТt work out too well. After all, how would you know that this strange-
-looking animal is the same person youТre getting paid a sweet amount of money
to put a bullet through? I just had to stay a beast until they gave up looking
for me. When that happened, the guy took his $20 grand back and went out
looking for me himself.
He found me passing through an old abandoned warehouse in the city. He
had me cornered in there, I couldnТt get out. He was holding a gun on me, Niles,
and he was about to shoot. I didnТt have any other choice. He didnТt even know
what got him. One quick bite to the jugular and it was all over. He didnТt
suffer. IТm not that kind of person.Ф
Suddenly, I was beginning to see Lyle in a whole new light. He had
killed in self-defense; he was no murderer.
УNobody ever found his body either. I was too upset at the time to
notice, but actually, he tasted pretty good.Ф
УWHAT! You ate the guy? You ate the guy?Ф
УWell, Niles, I donТt often follow the family history, but eating your
enemies is a time-honored werebeast tradition.Ф
УReally, Niles, IТm not all that sure you understand.Ф
УI understand what you told me. But I still canТt believe you actually
ate that guy.Ф I shuddered at the thought.
УBelieve whatever you want, itТs still the truth.Ф He responded. УAt
least IТm not like some other werebeasts which I could all too easily name.
Besides, you act as if you still donТt understand me. YouТre sitting there,
fidgeting, looking at me like any second IТm about to jump up and eat you.
YouТre treating me like IТm some kind of wild animal.Ф
УOh. Well Ч yes.Ф Without knowing it, I had caught Lyle off-guard and
thrown him and emotional curve. But I continued nevertheless.
УYouТre making it very hard for me not to act that way. After all, you
have the qualities of some of the worldТs most vicious Ч and successful Ц
predators, you have better senses than I could even hope to imagine, you killed
УWould you kill, to save your own life?Ф
УThe question is no different when applied to a human. ItТs just
because IТm a werebeast that it has a little different twist.Ф
УYou do have a point, but LyleЦФ
УIТm one of the good guys, Niles. Think about it. СPrivate
InvestigatorТ. Why would I devote myself so much to helping humans?Ф
УBecause humans were the only ones who accepted you?Ф
Lyle beamed. УNow youТre catching on!Ф He said. УYou were right.
Humans were the only ones who accepted me for what I was, as you are learning to
do, Niles. The human world was the only one where I was treated without bias or
But still, let me tell you about one of my cases, just to make sure you
УOne of your casesЕФ
УYes! You wouldnТt believe how much help it is to be what I am,
particularly when it comes to my cases. I get some pretty weird ones. In fact,
some I wouldnТt even be able to solve if I were just a human. I could tell
УWell then, by all means, go ahead.Ф
УReally? Well, okay, let me think of oneЕ
One morning, I was at my desk when this woman walks into my office. She
was dressed all in red, just like she had come straight out of some old
detective movie from the 40s. Really weird, really spooky stuff, to say the
She said she had come to me because she was worried about her husband.
He worked for an oil company, and she thought that might have something to do
with what was going on with him. Her husband had been doing strange things,
working with suspicious people she didnТt know, barely even coming back home.
Nobody else could find him. So she turned to me.
There must be good money in oil. She looked rich. I remember she was
wearing a white fox on her shoulders. She must have forgotten it, because she
left it there and didnТt come back for it.
If thereТs one thing I share with other werebeasts, itТs an absolute
hatred for cruelty to and mistreatment of animals. So, after IТd torn the awful
thing to shreds and disposed of it, I started working on her case.Ф
So saying, he began his story.