God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference
- Reinhold Niebuhr
Remus had woken up long before sunrise, which was not at all unusual for him. He often liked to stare at the moon as the sky's colour subtlety began to change from its midnight blue to a hazy orange, the full orb slowly fading away into nothingness.
As his gaze fell to the tree in the yard he began to feel a great sense of anticipation, remembering how Helios was there, just waiting to be ridden, talked to and brushed. Remus' excitement grew until he could no longer stand to simply sit on his bed. He could at least wait down stairs. Peering into the hallway he noted how his mother had picked up his blocks, making the path down the hall a much safer route than it had been the night before. He silently padded down the stairs and crawled into the large chair of his father's to read as he waited for his parents to wake up.
As he slowly read a particularly menacing account from the book When Dragons Attack, the grandfather clock next to the stairwell began to chime. The normally docile tones sounded rather menacing as they echoed in the silent hall. It took him some time to figure out what time it was (counting in fives was difficult) but after a moment of staring at the clock and counting on his hand, Remus realised it was about five thirty in the morning. His parents wouldn't be up for another hour at least. An hour isn't all that long to wait, unless you desperately want to do something. It took little time for him to recognize that interminably waiting was out of the question. He could go out, play with the horse for a bit, and then come back inside without anyone being the wiser.
Remus felt the terrible chill of the outdoors as he opened the door. It let out a vociferous creak, but thankfully it didn't seem to disturb his parents. He grabbed a nearby scarf and jacket from the coat rack and quickly made his way towards the tree where he spotted the horse nibbling at a spot of grass. He gently stroked the nose of his horse as he murmured to it:
'Hey there, boy. I found a name for you. Hope you like it. It's Helios. It's after a god that drove the sun with a wagon of horses.' The horse didn't seem to outwardly disapprove of the name, which brought a broad smile to Remus' face. He began to think himself to be quite clever, as any person would, had they accomplished the feats he had. Coming up with such perfect names and sneaking out of the house unnoticed were not easy, after all.
'I knew you'd like it,' beamed Remus. A sudden gust of wind blew past his ear, making him nearly stumble with surprise. 'I think it's time for me to go back inside. I'll be sure to bring you a better blanket for nighttimes. There's one in the-'
The horse suddenly jumped a bit and brayed rather loudly, startling Remus enough to let out a small yelp.
'What's the matter, boy?' Remus asked, trying to stay calm as the horse started to rear on its hind legs. He looked about for any sign of what could be distressing the animal, but couldn't see a thing. Remus grabbed the rough rope, trying to placate the animal, which was looking about wildly as it let out louder, more startled whinnies. 'Shh! You're going to get us found out and then I'll be in trouble! Shh! Helios!'
Suddenly Remus heard a horrible snarling noise behind him. He whipped around to see the largest and most fearsome looking creature he'd ever seen. It looked somewhat like the wolves he'd seen in his books, but its eyes glowed with an unnaturally terrible light as it snarled at him, revealing its long sharp fangs that glistened in the moonlight.
Remus froze in terror seeing the large thing as it slowly and menacingly made its way towards him. His father had once told him it was best not to run or most animals would pursue you, so he moved as slowly as he dared, backing his way towards the house. By his estimates, he must have been halfway to the house. Only twenty yards or so, and he'd be safe in his house and his dad would get rid of whatever the thing was. Twelve yards...
Without warning, the creature let out a bloodcurdling howl that made Remus come to a sudden realisation: that thing was no ordinary wolf; it was a werewolf. As suddenly as it had howled, it let out a frightening snarl and began to run full force at Remus. Remus turned and ran for his house as fast as his small legs would carry him. A light had turned on in the house. His parents would save him.
'DAD!' he cried out as he half sprinted, half tumbled towards the door. He only had a few yards to go when he let out a scream of anguish as he felt a stabbing in shoulder and was dragged to the ground with brutal force. The wolf savagely tore through his flesh and shook Remus with such vigour he thought he'd snap in two.
He could see his blood splattered on the ground. His eyes closed as he prayed someone would make it stop. 'Dad...Mum...' he murmured with half closed eyes as the creature let out a sudden shriek of pain and let go of him. The snarling of the beast was slowly drowned out by the hammering of his own heartbeat.
He felt himself being cradled by someone. He saw another person brandishing a fiery wand at the creature. The wolf had started to jerk oddly on the ground, as if in pain. He closed his eyes again as the beating in his ears seemed to intensify, making his head throb in pain. The wolf had its back arched unnaturally and cried out. Its limbs were bending and stretching and its face was contracting. His heartbeat seemed to slow, and the pounding in his ears slowly ceased.
Remus heard his mother sobbing as she clutched him to her chest. His shoulder burned with such a stabbing pain, he thought he'd throw up.
Where the wolf had been, there was now a naked man who was shaking, looking ashen and weak. The man's back convulsed weirdly and made an unnatural sound of breaking bones as he clutched his sides with claw like hands. His eyes were shut tight and his face was covered in blood. His twitching eyes suddenly opened to reveal the most haunting stare Remus had ever seen. The bloodshot eyes were yellow, like the wolf's, but held a horror that was entirely human.
'Oh God...' the man uttered quietly upon seeing Remus. Grabbing his head and curling up where he lay he started shaking worse than before and began sobbing, making a horrid retching sound. 'Oh God...'