A/N- This the story I did for NaNoWriMo, and it's already complete...I still have to edit the last two chapters, but I figured I'd go ahead and start putting it up here. I realized after I wrote it and it was only like eleven chapters- counting prologue and epilogue- so the chapters are sort of long. The prologue is actually my least favorite part of this, mostly because it sounds so out of character considering the rest of it- but this does take place eighty years before the story, and I imagine she might have changed a bit over eighty years.
I finally stopped drinking when I hit seventeen years old.
(Sometime in the 1920's.)
There was darkness all around me, choking me, smothering me, filling my mind with fog and sludge. I couldn t move, couldn t see, couldn t even breathe; I was wrapped in a cloud of shadows that I couldn t fight my way out of. I tried to suck in air, but my lungs wouldn t work; I began to panic, opening my mouth and finally sucking in sweet air with a deep ragged breath, and suddenly I was free. I was face down on a concrete sidewalk, next to a row of once-impressive buildings; I was bloody, my dress in tatters, but it didn t matter because- and this realization hit me like a train- I didn t know who I was. I brushed the dirt and grit embedded in my cheek away as I pushed myself into a sitting position.
My mind was blank. I couldn't think of who I was, or where I was- what my name was, even. There was nothing before the past few seconds: all I had was an empty, black void. The only thing in my mind, the only thing that I could concentrate on was a name, a scrap of a name, even: Toni. Who was Toni? Was I Toni? What the hell was going on? If I was Toni, what was I doing here? How had I gotten here? Who was I?
I rocked backwards, cradling my knees to my chest, and I whimpered to myself, the noise breaking the silence. Only after I made the pathetic sound did it occur to me that if someone was there- if the someone who had done this to me was there- then I had just drawn attention to myself.
Suddenly, there was a voice, authoritative and certain of itself from the darkness. "You have been chosen by God."
Thoughts whirled furiously through my head. My shoes were gone, my feet black with dirt, there was something suspiciously like dried blood caked to my skin; I broke down, sobbed to myself, eyes focused on the ground. There is no feeling worse than not knowing who you are.
"You have been chosen by God to do battle against the demons- but to do this, God had to make you a monster. I am the prophet Thiess, chosen by God to care for you and your kind, granted immortality so that I can forever be of aid in your everlasting battle. You are Antonia- who once led a life of sin, but God has rescued you. You are a lycanthrope now, and if you do His bidding, you will be welcomed into heaven."
"And if I do not do His bidding?" The words came unbidden from my mouth, rolling off my tongue as if it were the natural thing for me to say. It struck all of the sudden as funny, and I let out a demented giggle- I had no memory, but I had the willpower to be sarcastic with the only voice I had in the darkness.
A figure swept from the darkness: an elderly man, face lined with wrinkles and dark brown hair seasoned with grey. I had the momentary feeling that he was going to hit me, but instead he knelt down in front of me, placing a warm hand on my knee. "Antonia, why would you do that?"
I couldn't explain it, this urge rising up in the back of my throat to disagree, to rebel. But why would I rebel against this man, this kindly-seeming old man? Then something clicked in my mind, and I looked up at him sharply, tearing my knee out from under his hand. "Lycanthrope? What, like a werewolf?"
He was too solemn, too assured of his words; disbelief and terror ripped through my chest.
Obviously this old timer was a nutter.
"You're crazy," I murmured, shuddering internally as he peered into my face with piercing, soul-searching brown eyes.
"Stop saying that! That's not my name!"
"Then what is?"
I reached desperately for the only thing I could think of. "Toni. My name is Toni."
"And what do you think Toni is short for?"
"You're a liar!"
"Get up, now. It's a whole new life ahead of you."
For the first and what I would later think would be the only time in my life as a lycanthrope, I cried.