Short Story
                                           May Moon Over Malabar
                                                                           By Charles E.J. Moulton


   I used to be a bastard.

   Soon, I will become the beast.

   Over killed with cigarette-smoke and beaten up by lunacy, I have trouble holding the pen long enough to write a
complete sentence. Sweatdrops disappear onto the ink, smearing my writing, making the letters blend together in a
blue mess.

   The ebb and tide of my spirit pregnant with emotion, it keeps the beast in me alive. When the lunar enemy I call
my friend appears, I will scream. My fountain pen drips. My lecherous body trembles.

   The moon waits for me. When I scream, the echoes will reverberate eternally. That flawless silver disc in the sky
performs an odd waltz in the universe, blessing me with dancing rays of lucid brilliance. Waiting. Dusk is slowly
approaching and the sun sets like a golden ball of ethylic flora inside a jar of death, trapped by the moon.

   I must write fast before I change, hoping that when glory is here, someone will find these papers and make the
right connections.

   I used to be a writer.

   I don’t know who to pray to anymore, but I am afraid.

   For the first time, I am really afraid.

   As I sit here by the window in my small flat on Borough’s Street 15, the sun sets.

   I was born in one of these towns, near Key West in Florida. The town I now call home is far from where I was
brought up. It is probably a town you never heard of. It has four hundred inhabitants and this town, Midlandsville,
Louisiana, is quite similar to it.

   Five years ago, I broke all connections with my family. My girlfriend took such a huge place in the lives of my
parents that I became unimportant. The battle occurred in my girlfriend’s presence.

   I researched the murder case of a young man who had killed his mother with an axe in Midlandsville. I begged the
Haroldford Gazette to send me there as a correspondent. My boss knew the editor and gave me a chance to get
out. I dunno. Drama was always my thing, but I wanted to write about it and not experience it myself. My family hated
me and my father would certainly see to the fact that I never touched my ex-girlfriend again. She had became their
daughter and I was now an ex-son. So, I wanted out.

   The local Louisiana paper covered five or six villages.

   They cooperated gladly and offered me an apartment.

   So in May of 1976, I arrived in Louisiana. I now lived in a small flat overlooking the Mississippi river meandering
into a small forest. Nice place enough to have me sigh between smokes, so I turned up at the office every day and
sent my stuff to Florida so that both magazines could publish my stuff. Every day, I presented another interview with
some local that had worked with the man that was now serving a life sentence in the local penitentiary.

   I interviewed women with sad faces and school kids with cool faces and fathers with long faces.

   I became a local myself, got to know the people. They got to know me and I received more respect than I had
ever received in Haroldsford. Two magazines paid me. I now had more money and got laid almost every night. A
happy life.

   At least until I met the town drunk, a man named Randolph Jones.
   
   Hanging out in the pub next to my town office gave me a chance or two to fondle a chick I didn’t know the name
of. Her blouse had just lost a button when he turned up. I hated the guy, but still listened to what he had to say.
After a few beers, secrets began to spill out and the topic of conversation meandered, like the river would into a
swamp, upon werewolves. My chick shifted her position, sighed, sniffed, eyed heavenward and groaned. All the
time, I kept wanting Randolph to piss off.

   “To the locals the word werewolf is blasphemy,” Randolph cried, “but I have never been a man of choosing
words. He is the Swamp-Fiend. We call him The Night-Creature. That is what is he is. He is a creature of the moon
with his origins way back in time.”

   I laughed, but Randolph persisted.

   “Laddie, it is the kind of story mothers tell their sons to scare them into bed and to keep their feet tucked in under
the covers when they sleep. No one believes in the truth of these stories, or at least they say they don’t. Unless you
look into their scared eyes or unless these things happen to you – then you never believe in the tales. And you feel
your animal jump out with a terrible yelp. It has a bulky maw and eats small animals. It also eats big animals – like
you and me.”

   The broad I planned to jazz slowly inspected other areas.

   “Look, man,” I spat, “my lady friend and I need some privacy. So scram.”

   “Let me tell you this, stranger,” he spat. “You’re a newcomer. That gives you a fantastic position. You are neutral.
Listen to me. Beware the moon.”

   “I dunno, man. Maybe not, I mean ...”

   “Oh, yes,” Randolph interrupted, “the guy that killed his mother with an axe had been bitten. The beasts are
using unusual murder methods. This town is turning into a lunar playground.”

   I looked at Randolph with disgust, awe, surprise, for once forgetting my chick.

   “Werewolves are cats,” he said. “They are fast, kicking down humans with their legs, leaving small bite marks on
their necks. The incubation period after the bite leads up to sickness culminating in miraculous recovery, the story
goes, before the victim turns into a wolf himself.”

   “Get real, man,” I spat. “I just want to do the horizontal mambo with my lady here, so scram, butterfly.”

   The bird got restless and left the cage.

   I sighed and sat back down on my barstool, realizing the girl was gone.

   “You chased away the angel, asshole,” I mumbled.

   I ordered another lager and decided that Randy dated my deeds for the night.

   My screw tart gone, the dark candy of horror became incessantly appealing.

   Randolph told me that the fiend appeared when the full moon was out and that I better beware and watch my
back when I passed the cemetery. He lived there, he said, and he saw them rising from the swamp every night.

   “In the swamp?” I asked, as I knew that the local cemetery but a lonely, forgotten marsh. “You’ve got to be kidding
me.”

   “There is more in the swamp than just mud, kid,” he persisted.

   Not much I left stoned to slap my head on the cushion. My ex-date was probably slapping somebody else, but I
didn’t care.

   I fell asleep and dreamt of beasts in swamps.

   That next day, I substituted as a teacher of English in the local school. It turned out that the local teacher was on
permanent sick-leave, so I had more cash in my sash. I made myself unpopular because of my unorthodox teaching
strategies. I taught in the open air, getting them to understand grammar by taking them to the theatre, had beers
with the actors and used foul language.

   The day I got fired from my teaching gig, I found myself back in the pub with the town wierdo Randolph. Randolph
said that he respected me for having such unusual methods. He didn’t care that I was beginning to gather enemies
in this town as well. Why couldn’t I ask the Florida newspaper to publish some stuff about the werewolf? Hey, I told
myself. Randolph, the old queer quack, was right.

   Soon, I was full of bright ideas and started chatting up broads.

   My masculinity was all geared up, when Randy again began chasing them away.

   This time, friend or no friend, I fought back.

   Randy and I had a big, violent fight in the bar. Randy left, badly injured, mumbled something about taking
revenge and was never seen again.

   Still, I phoned Florida that next day and told them about the wolf story.

   As fate so strangely has it, it turned out that Malcolm Marvin, the chubby little tobacco-spitting accountant-type
editor of the Haroldsford Gazette in Florida, said, through his Bogart-voice-Tobacco-smacking, that if I was willing, I
could stay where I was for as long as I liked and become their werewolf specialist.

   Malcolm blew the story up on the front page one morning when stories were dire and scarce. The story became a
hit and the magazine was even sold in Miami. So, good old Tabacca-Malc as I called him, assigned me for half a
year in Midlandsville as a regular Ghost-Reporter, digging up old stories of the so called “Swamp-Fiend” of
Louisiana.

   I was up to four packs of cigarettes that fall and the only way to stop me from turning into a cigarette myself was
the local slut named Rita. She gave me a whole bag of nicotine-flavoured chewing gum one day in turn for granting
her a night with me. I had no idea why she favored me. My old girlfriend had called me a bed sheet once and
certainly a dog or two had mistaken me for a lamppost.

   With Randolph gone, maybe I could score again.

   I knew where this was going: soon I would run the place and I liked that. I was a big fish in a little pond. Maybe I
wasn’t making enemies. That is what I thought, anyway.

   On the fourth of December that year of ’77, Star Wars was crazing out everyone and The Buggles were whining
about a radio star who got murdered by a video machine. Rita was still in our cute little house with the small patio,
coughing like a seal and her coconuts doing a shingle. In layman’s-terms, the chick had a major case of the flu and
urged me to go out and get drunk, before I got the flu, as well.

   I decided to follow Rita’s advice. There was more disco at that party than at a Donna Summer concert.
Eventually, though, I was tired and decided to visit “Mrs. White’s Party”, a feast that could only be enjoyed in the
bed of solitary dreaming.

   I told him that I would walk home.

   The host, a sporty sleaze named Bob, surprised me by urging me to watch my step when I passed the cemetary.
Didn’t I want to call a cab?

   I burst out into fits of laughter, almost peeing in my pants, actually thinking he joked. I saw twenty faces looking at
me like an odd Warhol-version of a Norman Rockwell-painting, beer glasses and chips in hand, condoms half-
opened in their pockets and hotdogs half eaten on their plates.

   Bob, the host, took me aside, his girl by his side and said:

   “There is a swamp behind the cemetery. If you walk by there, walk fast.”

   The seven beers were pushing my bladder and the numbness in my crotch was remaining. The cemetery was
ominous and I could only make out the shadows of the stones. All the time I thought of Bob and his words of the full
moonlight and the swamp.

   When I fell over I knew I had broken something. The face that emerged out from behind the cemetery gates was
hairy. It walked on all fours. I then remember a strong throbbing pain hitting me like a hammer.

   The jerk knocked me unconscious and I woke up ten miles east in the largest hospital in the county. I felt like a
bone was gnawing itself out of my flesh.

   Bob arrived with his girlfriend Mandy and told me that they had found me a quarter to four that night, mumbling
about a beast. Bob had quickly called the hospital from a phone booth. Rita arrived and was still coughing, although
her eyes looked like a Spaniel’s in her desolation. I gave her a kiss in spite of her less than energetic condition.

   A priest asked me some questions. He was not a local. He was carrying holy water.

   I spoke to him in soft tones and he read to me from the bible and I asked him why. He spoke in supple prose
about a certain Mr. Jones having asked him to come to the hospital to check the bite marks. The priest even
shivered as he casually tried to spray some water on them, before I sent him away with a growl.

   The editor that I worked for died a week after I was released.

   He was run over by a truck.

   The funeral was sad and Mrs. Ex-Editor fell on the floor and tried to pull Mr. Ex-Editor out of the coffin.

   She was dragged away screaming, froth dripping from her fangs.

   I was chosen as his successor. I conducted my work walking with a limp and complained loudly when I had to go
to the bathroom.

   My family called the publication, wanting to renew the contact. They had heard of my accident and told me that
they could help. They knew a doctor that could fix my bite marks. They thought that I had been bitten by a dog.
Maybe so. It had been a big dog with a phallos-like right fang inserting his evil blood into my bones. I needed my
bite marks to be fixed. I didn’t want to stay a werewolf. Fix me, Doc, I laughed.

   The Florida doc made no difference.

   My vacation back home soon enough ended in a screaming battle with my ex-girlfriend. I jumped into my van and
left them all never to return.

   That week after my return, the bitemarks started swelling and the nightmares left me in cold sweat. I was chased
by something large and hairy and I would wake up with the moon in my face disturbing my senses.

   My mood swings grew more agitating. I would be high as a kite and low as a cavernous truck. I coughed all the
time.

   On December 1st 1978 I miraculously stopped smoking all together and my mood swings disappeared. Rita had
broken up with me finally a week before and when she saw me in a store that week, she wondered what the hell had
happened to a man whom she had seen waving his fists about spraying ashes over the carpet.

   I remembered Randolph’s words in that pub:

   “The incubation period after the bite leads up to sickness culminating in miraculous recovery, the story goes,
before the victim turns into a wolf himself.”

   I became completely serene.

   I was an angel.

   I was in the eye of the storm.

   Until that New Year’s Eve.

   I only realized later that I was in what the werewolves call “the midsummer night effect”. It is what werewolves
experience before they transform for the first time.

   I was in Bob’s house again. Having drunk coke all night, I had ended up speaking to the town bore. He was a
librarian named Todd Markham, who always turned up for every party smiling and dipping crackers in yogurt.

   Todd, the perfect librarian, spoke to me about an old legend in very distinguished language. This was apparently
the very first moment of the Midlandsville beast. Todd, the most boring man in town, told me the most exciting story
in the village. I kept telling everyone that he exceeded his reputation.

   Early 18th century French settlers in Louisiana found themselves bored by local custom and sought an
alternative to established religion. Almost immediately, they met by the full moon and did, as it was told, “ungodly
things”. Unfortunately, the settlers were found out and abolished from society.

   Soon very ostracized, they were told to live by the swamp outside town and never to come back. They tried to
enter the next municipality, but were shut out from there as well. As revenge, they formed a moon-cult, gathering
round the quagmire by moonlight and eventually had a tradition of throwing their dead into the swamp as burial.
Their leader was apparently a very large misplaced Celt named Sean O’Swayne and he named this entire area that
was now Midlandsville, the Moon Land of Malabar, the land of the evil tavern. Malabar was the county people’s
name for the cult.

   It was derived from the words that were spoken about the sect’s burying rituals of lowering their dead into a
swamp by the way of strapping them on a bar or a rod.

   “There is something wrong with the bar adoring cult.”

   “Il ya quelque chose de mal avec la barre de culte d'adoration.”

   The entire cult became the Malabar Cult.

   When the hefty chap died, his followers mourned him terribly and in two days, the prophecy he had proclaimed
on his deathbed was fulfilled. He rose from the swamp that May as a Swamp-Fiend in order to kill those who had
made them recluse and proclaimed that for all time Swamp-Fiends would follow them until two adversaries met to
fight the combat. He became the Celtic wolf leading the settlers.

   He told me Randolph, the main Fiendologist in town, often went to the Swamp by day to check if large stones
were rolled by the wayside. Todd asked me if I knew why and I told him that Randy had told me why before our brawl
in 1976.         
   
   I left a little bewildered about Todd’s story about the May moon over Malabar. I thought of Randolph Jones’
father, who, like him had been a recluse drunk and how anyone who tried to uncover the story died or got ridiculed.

   As I passed the cemetery, the moon spread its’ light over the famous swamp. So this was where it all happened.
Full of awe, I entered the cemetery by the light of the moon and stood looking down at the swamp beyond it,
wondering what had created such a cult. Suddenly, it was as if a knife was stuck through my forehead. I looked up
at the moon with a bent back and a force grabbed my hair and made me gaze. The moon seemed to laugh at me.

   My bowels felt as if they were switching places with my lungs. I bent over, first signs of transformation being
nosebleed, feeling my teeth pop out of my skull and my eyes roll upwards. My belly danced and my hair grew.
Toenails curved and nostrils flared. The moon was in agony and the large creature that came my way was
breathing heavily as I threw his body against the tree. I broke its’ neck, eating its flesh and throwing it down. First
afterwards, I realized who I had killed: Bob. It had not been a coincidence that he had found me that night. He had
only been so quick in finding me, because he had attacked me. Obviously battling with his own attack, he had
chosen to call his fiancée instead of the hospital.

   All that was in the past. I was now the Swamp-Fiend, having killed the ruling wolf in Malabar.

   I rushed through the forest that night and came through the foliage up to a small cute house with a patio. There
was a woman there combing her red hair, who would soon die. I felt the animalistic glory of soon devouring her
heart. That evening I felt the presence of Sean O’Swayne and fell asleep with the words “there’s a moon over
Malabar tonight” on my lips, knowing two more had joined the swamp inhabitants below.

   Waking up by the swamp that next morning, I found red hair floating next to a baseball cap in the swamp. I woke
up naked and freezing, bathed in the lake nearby to wash the blood off and walked up to the small side-room of the
church in order to find the gardener in the bathroom, washing his face.

   I stole his blue uniform hanging on a hook nearby. Somehow, I managed to come back to my flat without too
many people seeing me. Only my landlady Mrs. Zelda Richards was there, who with her dyed hair and thick glasses
only saw someone if he came running up close onto her face. My flat was remote and not many people came into
that street, ten side streets away from Main Street.

   When I heard that two people were missing that day, I smiled. I knew. I could get my own back without getting
caught.  

   The next twelve months were a piece of cake. I knew that I would transform every midnight full moon, so I
unclothed and waited. When the crime was performed, I made sure my clothes were somewhere where I easily could
put them on again. Humans were a feast, eating cats were also equal fun.

   Now there was a man who needed to relieve himself of his sexual frustration. And reports of the brutal Louisiana-
murders once again circled the country. I wrote the stories for the magazine about them and tried not to enter too
much inside info. When people told me how awful it was, I nodded and agreed. But when I turned my back I
sniggered. I was the killer.

   Remember Randolph Jones, the town drunk? On the morning of the 3rd of October 1979, Randolph Jones
returned to town clean and no one knew how to react to him in his new get up. He had a suit on and was carrying a
briefcase.

   The post office had given him his old job back and he looked like he had decided something in his own mind.

   Ever since our talk in the bar, a place I called the evil tavern or mal avec la barre, he had been sceptical of me.
He disliked my cynical attitude and my disbelief in his stories. In the beginning, the opposite had been true. He
agreed with my methods and called me a friend. No longer than a month later, he had back talked me and called me
a fire-spitting dragonfly.

   Nobody knew where he had been and how he had become so strong and good looking, but he had received a
new power that had rejuvenated his combat strength. His father, who lived out of town, had made it a quest to
uncover the Swamp-Fiend and it seemed whoever tried to kill the fiend became the laughing stock of town. Now, he
would strike back. And it scared me.

   For the last three months I have tried to kill him, without success. But this night, the moon will be out and I know
that Randy has bought shovels and axes in Carter’s Steel ‘n Iron off Main Street. I bribed the bimbo to tell me about
it. When I gave her an extra kiss and asked her if there was anything else, she said he had had a very odd looking
cloth bag with him and it had looked like something limp and stiff was in it, like a body of an animal, and she
shivered at the thought. He had also blabbered something about “stones by a swamp”.

   The heating is on and the moon is out. I have just returned from the bimbo’s flat and she thanked me with some
wine from her cabinet. I am naked once again and waiting, fountain-pen in hand and anticipation in soul. Now I feel
my bowel turn as steps slowly emerge up the open stairwell to my remote flat. I look out once again into the open
field, moonshine bright, calm outside although the agony is immense.

   I know exactly what to do. I succeeded Bob as the Swamp-Fiend. I do not want to be overcome by Randy, but if
that is the case, I will be ready to kill him and throw him in the swamp like the others if nothing else. But the joy of
seeing Randy become one of us would be immense. This is an age old war between settlers and wolves,
Frenchmen and Celts and I am only another link in the chain.

   I have heard about other Swamp-Fiends and if I survive tonight, I will be ready to leave this place in order to find
them. As I sit here, I am thinking of the months May and December. I arrived in May and the birth of the first Swamp-
Fiend was in May. I decided to stay here in December. The next December I got bitten. The following year I was
transformed. With this one, I might be turning this story around to what Sean O’Swayne talked of as the two foes
joining. May is the birth. December is the puberty.

   The year is divided in twain.

   I will throw stones. That is what we do when we defend ourselves against beings stronger than us. How they ever
could missed the countless transformations is a mystery to me and probably only due to the fact that I stay aware of
my actions during the transformation as well during my life and death as a werewolf each night. I am driven by lust
and feel myself kill my victims, but I can’t control the murder itself.

   I began to wonder. The rest of the citizens in this town, are they but spectators of the show or hopeful beasts?

   Wait, the door is opening. I see a shovel. My adversary is here. I must go. My nose is bleeding. I am horny once
again. For blood. The old drunk is emerging.


   
Article from the Haroldsford Gazette, January 22nd, 1982:
   MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE SHAKES THE SOUTH
   By John Jones, Editor-in-Chief

   A story that has left the cities of Haroldsford, Florida and Midlandsville, Louisiana bewildered and confused was
unearthed on Tuesday morning by way of mail to the Gazette. Apparently, on the 29th of April old documents were
found in a locked drawer of an old desk in the small town of Midlandsville, Louisiana. These documents were
discovered by mistake in a desk that had been stored in the landlady’s attic for many years.

   Although there is only one name on the sheet, it is obvious the documents were written by a certain Richard
Brown who used to work as a journalist for the Haroldsford Gazette in the years 1975 to 1977, before eventually
becoming a local Louisiana editor in 1978.

   Mr. Brown, a personal friend of the current Editor, was a known chain-smoking womanizer and his disappearance
on the 23rd of December 1981 was a mystery to everyone. According to reports, a rehabilitated post-office-worker
named Randolph Jones was seen walking into Mr. Brown’s building that evening before both of them disappeared
never to be seen again. A fountain pen and a shovel were found on the forenamed desk after the almost blind
landlady, a Mrs. Zelda Richards had heard screams coming from the apartment of Mr. Brown. When the police
arrived at the apartment there was broken glass shattered all across the flat and into the open area of a field
behind the house. The two men had leaped out of the window shortly before the police arrived.

   Unclear, however, were the origin of the cat hairs that were found all over the apartment.


   Article for the Jules County Journal, Page 3, May 3rd 1989
   OLD YARN EMERGES FROM THE MURKY SHADOWS
   By Madeleine O’Swayne, Assistant Editor

   After two men mysteriously disappeared in the beginning of this decade, their fate continues to baffle the minds
of locals. They were involved in a werewolf myth that had people accusing them of satanic murders. Known as
adversaries to the citizens, their disappearance was a sign to many that the eloped and turned into a killer duo.

   The two men have not been found and stories are circling as to what actually happened on that fateful night. The
two men were good friends turned into known adversaries and were known for never speaking with each other since
having a brawl in a bar in 1976. The most incredible story of all is a story no one can consider. A story both men
researched, the one privately his entire life, the other since the fall of 1976 for the Haroldsford Gazette.

   Its’ origin lies in the early settlement of Midland, Louisiana, where a French moon sect was banned from town
because of bacchanal feasts of heathen eroticism. Apparently, their Celtic leader returned from the dead in order to
avenge himself and become the so-called Swamp-Fiend. As the story goes, the Swamp-Fiend must kill forever until
two adversaries, one wolf and one non-wolf, meet and end the fight by both becoming wolves or both turning good.

   Clear is that the disappearances of people in the area have occurred for years and is blamed on the packs of
stray wolves. Obvious is also that the National Enquirer issued several articles on the recluse couple of Swamp-
Fiends seen in other parts of the land. The author of this article is more inclined to believe the police, who seem to
be sure the two men met in 1981 in order to talk things out before the police arrived and then became conspirators
on a criminal journey. The cat-hairs, the broken glass and the disappearance are all part of a story whose mystery
never will be solved.  

     
From the National Enquirer, May 5th, 2001:
THE RETURN OF THE FIEND
By Simon Suttle

   The Swamp-Fiend has returned. Now in droves and it is crossing the borders into Canada. Citizens of
Washington have sighted as many as twenty running under the full moon up into northern territories. It has been a
long journey. Our magazine has followed these wolves since 1981, when reported murders escalated occurring in
southern states and then spreading into New Mexico, Oregon and Nevada in 1984. By the end of the eighties there
were reported killings in California and now we have a total of 3000 dead in Washington State. Where do the wolves
strike next?


From the Ambiguity Periodical, Essex, May 21st 2009:
PERUVIAN WOLVES
By Georgina Price

   Reported killings in Lima, Peru have led local forces to set up road blocks and secure bridges. Chosen
individuals have received special security, although no one knows from where these animals come. Officials are
reporting that the wolves appear to attack once every month when the full moon arises. The establishment
dismisses these statements as “ridiculous” and asks the press not to spread any “unrealistic assertions”. Clear,
however, is that local veterinarians as well as animal authorities have been consulted and that guns will be used if
the wolves, as they have done before, attack the civil community.
About Charles E. J.
Moulton
Charles E.J. Moulton is a
Renaissance Man: an
operatic baritone, rock-
and swing-singer, drama
coach, vocal
pedagogue, artistic
painter and an over
sixty times published
author. He works
globally, writing
everything from
academic research
papers and biographies
to mystery stories.
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