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 they\'ve 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 \'creative differences\'
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 I\'d been, what I was doing, that sort of
thing. Then suddenly his voice took on a more serious tone.
"Niles, you have to come here. I may need your help."
"What is it, Lyle? What\'s wrong?"
"I can\'t tell you over the phone." He whispered. "It\'s too important.
You have to be here."
"In Africa?" I said in disbelief.
"Yes, here. It\'s that important."
"But Lyle--"
"I\'m an animal over here!" He hissed into the phone. "I can\'t tell you
any more. I don\'t dare. Please, Niles, don\'t 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."
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 wasn\'t 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.
"Lyle, why did you make me come all the way out here?"
"You have family secrets, don\'t you, Niles?" I did.
"Secrets that you wouldn\'t tell anyone but those you trusted?" Yes.
"Well, I\'ve got one of those secrets, a dangerous one."
"What is it?" I said to him quietly. And then he told me.
"Niles, you\'ve heard the stories, the ones they always tell at Halloween
-- about people who change into animals?"
"Yes, but I don\'t see what that has to do with you, Lyle."
"Niles, I-- I find that the direct approach works best."
"WHAT! Lyle, what are you talking about?"
"I -- I\'m a lycanthrope."

"You\'re a what?"
"A lycanthrope."
"A -- A--"
"A lycanthrope."
I was beginning to fear for not only my friend\'s life, but for his
"A-- A lycanthrope. You\'re a lycanthrope."
"Like a werewolf."
"No -- not a werewolf. But a shape-shifter nonetheless."
I decided to play along, whatever his game was.
"OK then. Well, what are you?"
"You know, I could tell you, but then you probably wouldn\'t believe me.
I\'m sure you already think something about me, that I\'m crazy or something,
right? Am I right, Niles?"
I shifted uncomfortably. "Look, Lyle, the last I knew, people do not
change into animals."
"Niles, please don\'t make me do this the hard way."
"Uh -- What\'s the hard way?"
"The hard way is that I prove it to you."
I usually try to be as open-minded as possible to all things, so I said
to him, "All right, then."
"You want me to prove it to you?" As he made this daring challenge, his
eyes started to take on a wild look in them.
"Prove it to me." He sighed, with an exasperated expression on his face.
"I hate it when people won\'t take me seriously."
And he did prove it to me. He changed into a beast, right in front of
my eyes.
I stood there, in shock, and before I could do anything else, I heard
it... 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 beast\'s weight pressing on me as two huge forepaws