A Vignette: The Werewolves of New Jersey

The Werewolves of New Jersey live rather unfulfilled lives.

On the one hand, being caught in the classic dilemma of having no desire to rip out the lungs of the unsuspecting, it is good that they suffer from a certain deep depression which turns their transformations from helpless explosions of uncontrolled bestial murder, into rather more passive circumstances.

On the other hand, they spend every full Moon sitting beneath lonely street lamps, listening to The Cure on headphones and reading the lesser works of Emily Dickenson.

(You’d think at least some of them would be listening to Mitski or something, but perhaps certain kinds of existential despair simply go better with Robert Smith than anything else.)

It’s not their fault. No-one fears them; and while, in theory, this should be some relief, it causes a certain malaise. As we all know, the most common skinshifter is a tragic figure, one who wishes to remain human and to retain conscious thought, but who becomes a beast under the full Moon, returning to human sentience only after the Sun rises and unspeakable horrors have been committed.

Actually, that’s part of the problem: at some point, somebody said, “Well, if I can’t help being a beast, then the consequences aren’t really my fault, are they, now? I’m not the one in control. It’s not even my body; it’s this weird, magical, anatomically-impractical wolf-human hybrid doing all the murders. What if the Wolf has some sort of logic? I mean, it must be smart enough to escape, say, being shot, even in a world with lots of guns; and it’s never seen on camera, even if there’s now a camera on every phone and a phone infecting every brain. Why all the angst? Why is it more important for me to try to get briefly locked up, thus frustrating any potential reason or logic the Wolf may have for the actions it takes, than for me to observe the pattern of throat-tearing and see if, possibly, some of it wasn’t for the better?”

The challenge is that self-reflection is best in those who are truly prepared to look at themselves in the metaphorical mirror. And when the Werewolves of New Jersey look into that shadowy glass, they see… nothing.

People care about the Werewolves of London.

They care about the Jersey Devil.

They care about whatever supernatural television show is currently distracting everyone away from this visible world takeover by paranormal forces.

The Werewolves of Jersey did a lot of soul-searching before they realized: they really have very little soul. Maybe enough to dance a little bit, but certainly not enough to play the blues with any sincerity.

If you see a Werewolf of New Jersey coming your way, be kind. Attempt to be afraid. Act as though you’re really concerned about your immanent death. But they’ve realized: it doesn’t matter if they’re murderous beasts masquerading as humans, or innocent humans trapped in murderous supernatural bodies.

Maybe that sort of thing is interesting in New York, but here in Jersey, it’s just everyday life.


Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.