The next time she saw him, he wasn't injured.  She had been allowed home from the war to care for her grandmother, who was now bedridden.  The war was nearly over anyway, that was clear.

    There was a knock at her door at night, and, cautiously, she answered.

    "I've changed my mind," the boy mumbled.  "Do you still want to hide me?"

    She brought him inside, and he lived in the basement, behind a solid oak door, which she locked, as per his orders, upon the night of every full moon.  On such occasions, she could hear him snarling and howling and knocking over shelves and paint cans.  She told her grandmother that the neighbors had gotten a new guard dog.

    Often, on nights that the moon wasn't full, she would sleep alongside him in the basement.  She could tell that he had grown very ill and very weak from his confinement.  The air there was damp and musty, and he became extremely pale for want of sunlight.  And yet he refused to come upstairs, in case some passerby should see him between the gaps of the curtains.

    Four months later, the war was over and the girl's grandmother was dead.  Still the boy remained in the basement.

    "You can come up now," she told him.  "It won't be a problem if you're seen."

    "Have you forgotten what I am?"

    "You'll be fine.  The full moon is still weeks away."

    Reluctantly, he climbed the stairs, his legs weak and shaky from lack of use.  She helped him to a chair in the parlor and perched beside him on the armrest, pulling open the lace curtains so that the morning sun shone upon him.

    "Who are you?" she asked him.

    "I'm a monster," he replied, tears rolling down his pallid face.  "That's all I can ever be."

    "The world is full of monsters much worse than you."

    He did not answer her, just looked at her with pain in his eyes, the pain of infinite grief.  Gently, she put her arms around him, and sang to him.

    Gently, the girl sang a song for the werewolf.

The End

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