Humour / short story

Chairwolf

There has to be something in the shed…

There is always something in the shed, Brian thinks, as he inspects the space using his flashlight. He is becoming impatient. Hours have slipped away since Brian decided to re-arrange his office, unhappy as he was with the cluttered work-space. Is he procrastinating? Brian rubbishes the idea each time it enters his mind. Procrastination is avoiding work whereas Brian has taken on additional work, to properly organise his office today in order to get through more work in the future. As the new moon rises in the sky, all Brian needs to complete his work-space is the right kind of chair. He continues his search through the shed with flashlight in hand.

There has to be something in the shed…

A spacious shed was an advantage of taking up a rural property, Brian convinced himself. True, the previous residents had not attempted to clear the shed at all. Brian took an optimistic view, however, and determined that he could find hidden treasures to upcycle into his home, just like on one of those home improvement shows. They are forever upcycling unwanted materials from some old shed or tip, Brian thinks. In the furthest corner of the shed, forgotten among the bits and bobs and bric-a-brac, Brian’s flashlight uncovers a worn wooden chair. He inspects the chair from a distance. Finely sculpted legs support the neat and simple frame. The seat appears to be upholstered with fur. Brian moves towards the chair for a closer look. It is a little basic, except for the eccentric fur cushion on the seat, all-over roughened and weathered by time but remaining altogether serviceable. It needs a good clean, Brian acknowledges, no question of that. But as a chair for his desk, it has the right combination of character and charm, of form and function. It ticks all of the boxes. As he places his hand on the back of the chair to raise it, a sharp rattle causes him to drop it as quickly. Brian takes a step back. What was that, he wonders? Was the frame of the chair a bit loose? Well, it has been sitting in the shed for an indecently long time, Brian thinks. He places his hand on the chair once more, cautiously this time, and raises it with ease. Just a bit of looseness, nothing more, Brian reckons. He returns to the house with chair in hand and settles in to the essential cleaning, scrubbing the legs and back of the seat, brushing the dust and cobwebs from the fur seat that resided upon it for far too long. In no time at all, the chair is settled in to its place in the office. Satisfied with his work and exhausted by the long day, Brian retires to bed.

While Brian sleeps, the new moon shines into the office through open curtains and directly on to the chair. It is moonlight like the chair has not felt upon it in years. In the deep of night, a change is taking place. Once more, the chair rattles, although gently this time as it absorbs the intense moonlight. The chair quivers, desperately weak from laying dormant for so long. The individual furs rise on the seat, soaking up moonlight, allowing energy to flow through the chair from top to bottom. The chair’s legs stretch, producing a low growl as the joists loosen and relax. Under the new moon, the Chairwolf returns to life.

There was more to that fur seat than Brian could have possibly realised. Before it was reduced to upholstery, the fur belonged to the coat of a wolf that had been hunted and killed in a woodland not too far from where Brian now lives. An overlooked detail from the capture of this wolf was the report of a missing local man from the following day. A coincidence? Not so, as it happens. Those hunters did not kill an ordinary wolf on that fateful night. They killed a werewolf. In stripping its fur, however, some skin of the werewolf went with it. Enough skin, enough of the cells and DNA of the werewolf, that its identity could be transferred along with it. The werewolf fur was not simply attached to the chair seat. Rather, it had bedded in, taken root in the timber frame and strived to live again. For a long time, it sat in the shed adjacent to this house, an oddity, unwelcome among the previous family’s furniture. But now, with Brian residing in the recently vacated property, the Chairwolf could be picked out for an unexpected chance to live once more.

Day after day, Brian unknowingly works in the office, sitting on the steadily recovering Chairwolf. Each night that follows, the Chairwolf bathes in moonlight and grows in strength. Its legs become firmer. There is less looseness in the seat as it becomes taut. The back of the chair takes on a noticeable sleekness. Night after night, the once-dormant and shed-bound Chairwolf is rejuvenated. In Brian’s warm, comfortable office room, the Chairwolf is thriving. Urges return to the Chairwolf, bloodlust courses through its frame.

On this night, a full moon in the sky lights up the entire office. The revitalised Chairwolf stretches, but the once mild growl of its joints gives way to a howl that reverberates around the house. A few silent moments pass before the office door opens. Brian enters the moonlit room, weary-eyed yet curious to know the source of the howl that he has heard. He looks around and there is no immediately obvious source. Brian sees the chair, bathing in the moonlight that pours in through the window. He stares for a while, captivated by the simple elegance of the chair. The Chairwolf lures Brian towards it, transfixing him, a gentle encouragement to take a seat. He turns his back to the chair and lowers himself to sit. “Ouch!” Brian springs back to his feet with a yelp, after feeling a sharp pinch on his rear end. His hand rubs the point of contact, finding a stray splinter lodged there. It has broken through his light pyjama bottoms and pierced the skin. Brian grumbles to himself, forgetting what reason he had for ever leaving his bed. He makes his way out of the office and returns to his bedroom.

In the office, the Chairwolf feels a primal rush. It has tasted blood for the first time in what feels like an eternity. It is restored in every sense. The Chairwolf is back. Over the course of the night, it hears the howls of its would-be rescuer, now victim, transformed to a werewolf himself. If only Brian had known what was waiting in the shed…