The clock has stopped ticking. My spouse's snoring has gone quiet. The cat's
grooming has ceased. Everything stills, utterly, completely, fully.
only movement in my entire body is the slow surge of blood, and my
breathing. I am so still I can feel the swelling of veins move tissue
and muscle. I will, through sheer force, myself into a
point of consciousness somewhere behind my face, and nothing else. This is the reverse of phantom limb syndrome - my body is insensate and alien. I cannot feel my
breathing, my limbs, my blood, or the bedding. And thus removed I feel my body change, to be as it is when I run wild, ecstatic, in the night. As I reshape the
image of myself, I expand my awareness back into my body, bit by bit,
until I can occupy those changed members once again - first the surges
of blood, then the rock of breath.
And then I am a beast.
I stand up from the bed, and my skin
is there - empty, sagging, dead to the world. This new shape that had
been hidden in it crouches to get through the gap beneath the door, tip-toes through the
house, and out the chimney. It thuds down to the deck, through the garden
gate, and to the hedgerow fence. As soon as my toe crosses the line, the
pack is there, waiting.
Doing this is different than "just ending up" at the Sabbat-hill. The conscious direction stays, and so it is with the others there. We make our signs and off we go, faster than fast. Blazing, blurring, twisting. Half-smoke, half-form, bestial and wild as demons.
Tonight our hunt is sinister. A black bear the size of a house takes us thundering to another person like us - a horse so beautiful it's just a shame what's about to happen - we eat him. I know that some terrible law was broken, and that his body in this world must be taken from him so it cannot occur again. I really have no idea what happens to him when he wakes up. I imagine this un-asked question is answered by "nothing good."
And the strange thing is, I can tell that my spouse is shaking me in the bed. I've howled in my state, he's getting upset. I gallop back, crawling between my own teeth like smoke so that I can draw a perturbed breath and say "The hell did you wake me up for?" - I have to come back quickly, he gets scared because when I'm asleep a ladybug's fart wakes me up, but when I'm out... I may as well be dead.
I can taste horse. Not the blood, or the meat. But the musk and sweat. The froth and foam of a panicked prey-animal. The clock is ticking. My spouse is settling back into snoring. The cat is slurping noisily at her toes.
For that night there will be no more flight.