Werewolf by Joshua R. Helms


My father is a werewolf.

We—my mother, my brother, my grandparents, & I—are hiding in my grandparents’ house, the brick house my mother grew up in, & we are locking all the doors to keep my father out.

His hands are heavy & we can hear him breathing. We can hear him growling. He goes silent for a few moments & then there is a crashing sound in every direction.

He manages to break into all three entrances to the house simultaneously. Each door falls swiftly to the floor & shakes the foundation, vibrates our legs.

We throw ourselves into the galley kitchen, close the doors on either end, & start barricading with pots & pans, dishes & bowls, frozen meat from the refrigerator.

My father hurls his entire weight at each door.

My mother starts crying & she asks my father to please stop. My brother & I continue stacking everything we can find in front of either door. My grandmother hammers cutting boards into the wall to cover the small window above the sink. My grandfather unplugs the refrigerator & asks my brother & me to help him move it. Then his face wrenches & his body rearranges.

Now he’s a werewolf, too.

We—my mother, my brother, my grandmother, & I—each grab the heaviest thing we can find.

My father makes a hole in each door & sticks his head through.

My grandfather is too big for the kitchen. Together they growl.

It’s like thunder.

Then we’re dead.


Joshua R. Helms recently finished his MFA at the University of Alabama and is the author of Machines Like Us (Dzanc Books, 2014). Learn more about him here.

Art by Ryan Florez