I was a sheltered child. For the longest time, I didn’t know evil was real. Evil only existed in fairytale books or in Disney movies, with full orchestra and dance ensemble. Cruella de Vil, for instance. You know, toe-tap-able evil.
Before tonight, the song Werewolves of London was pretty much the extent of my werewolf knowledge. And instead of actually thinking about hairy monsters, that song is one of those time capsules that takes me back to 1982 when I was a freshman in college, weighed 105 and danced to it atop a bus at midnight.
How bizarre it is to be 50, arguably jaded, weigh 145 and actually encounter the heretofore mythological beast with canines the length of my hand—which, by the way, did not put me in the mood for dancing. The funny thing is, I discovered tonight that facing down a pack of werewolves, while hair-raising and all, is still a far cry easier than dealing with divorce and a spiteful ex so focused on erasing his own guilt that he wants to obliterate me altogether.
A few months ago…
(Hospital Room, Psych Ward, Atlanta, Georgia)
Phoebe is in bed with bandaged hands, eyes are closed until…
Maude pokes head in, then enters. She’s in her 70s, looks like Tracy Ullman. Wearing pinstripe blazer with galaxy patterned tights and silver boots.
Phoebe, silent, watches the eccentric stranger pull up chair and sit down next to bed.
Maude: Hello, dear. I’m your representation.
She reaches out to shake Phoebe’s bandaged hand.
Maude: Maude Greenhouse.
Phoebe: I’m sorry, but I already have a lawyer. I don’t need another…
Maude: Of course you do, dear. You blew up your house.
Phoebe: I beg your pardon, but I did not blow up my house!
Maude: And hubby…or should I say ex-hubby is saying you’re nuts and he wants to take the children. Here’s the court order, darling…
She tries to hand Phoebe sheaf of papers but Phoebe’s bandaged hands can’t hold them.
Phoebe: Can you just read it, please?
Maude: Sure thing. (Maude reads legalese to Phoebe)
Phoebe: But why would he DO this? I don’t understand… It was a fire, beyond my control… The kids weren’t even there! They were at their dad’s for the weekend.
Phoebe’s face changes.
Phoebe: Wait. Is there something I don’t know? Where are the children? How are the children?
Maude: There, there. Absolutely fine. Safe and sound with what’s his name.
Maude: …and the new girlfriend. Hasn’t anyone talked to you about this since you came in here? Do you remember what happened?
A man’s voice (Irving): May I come in?
Irving, who resembles Einstein, enters room.
Maude (to Irving): There you are!
Irving (to Maude): I was under the impression you were going to wait for me.
Phoebe: Excuse me, but who are you? Can we please get back to this court order? Because I do not understand…
Irving: My apologies, young lady. My name is Irving. You can call me Irv. I am, for better or worse, your healer.
Phoebe: You’re (she takes in his disheveled appearance) my doctor?
Irving: And you are looking much better than you did when they brought you in. Do you remember what happened…exactly?
Irving pulls chair over and sits next to Maude.
She looks away from them.
Maude: Well, we just wanted to introduce ourselves. We’ll come back later. You need your rest.
Maude nudges Irving.
Irving: Yes. Rest is the best medicine, except for golf, maybe. Nothing like a little golf to take your mind off things.
They look at Phoebe, who is looking out window and not at them.
A few days later…
(Hospital, Courtyard, Sunny Day)
Phoebe, now in street clothes, sits at table under umbrella and reads book. There are others nearby. An attendant pushes a patient in a wheelchair. No one is with her. But then she looks up and Irving and Maude are sitting directly in front of her, very close.
Maude wears leopard jumpsuit and her hair is pink. Irving still looks like Einstein.
Maude: We are so proud of you, dear!
Irving beams, nods.
Phoebe: Where did you two come fr…? Why proud?
Maude: Your decision! You saved your children from an ugly court battle. You allowed your children to go live with their dad. You sacrificed your own needs for theirs.
Irving: Very brave.
Phoebe picks at cloth on her jeans, head down.
Maude: What’s wrong?
Phoebe: I didn’t have much choice, did I? I was told he would win anyway because judges give dads custody when they ask for it. I didn’t want to make it any worse on the kids than it already is.
Maude: Still, dear, it took courage.
Phoebe is silent.
Irving: So, Phoebe, what’s next for you? Any big plans?
Phoebe: By the way, Irv, is it? The doctors here say you don’t exist. Why should I talk to someone who lies about being my doctor?
Irving looks uncomfortable.
Phoebe (to Maude): And you’re not my appointed attorney. I checked. But what I don’t understand is how do you know about my custody decision?
Out of nowhere, Maude hands Phoebe a white bag. Phoebe peers inside.
Phoebe: Everything bagel?
Maude: With cream cheese and salmon.
Phoebe: I haven’t eaten cream cheese in 20 years.
Irving: You need to keep your strength up so that…
Warning look from Maude.
Irving: …you don’t shrivel up and blow away.
Phoebe: I have never been in danger of blowing away, but thanks for pretending that I could.
Phoebe pulls out bagel and takes bite.
Phoebe (with mouth full): This is a really good bagel!
Maude: So…what IS next? When you leave here…this afternoon?
Phoebe: Like that, for instance. How did you know I was leaving today?
Irving: A little bird.
Flutter of wings. A bluebird lands on table, chirps, flies off.
Phoebe: Look. Who are you guys? Really.
Maude: We’re here to help.
Irving: That’s our job.
Phoebe: What? Like Guardian angels?
Irving: You said it, not me.
Maude: The important thing, dear, is to put the whole thing behind you.
Irving: Like exploding your house, and…
Phoebe: I did NOT explode my…
Maude: And embrace who you ARE.
Phoebe: Yeah, a lunatic and a failure as a wife and mother.
Irving: Don’t say that! It’s talk like that that can make things get dark, and fast.
Phoebe: Hellooo! Look around. This IS dark. The only thing missing is the straight jacket and a few dust bowls for effect, just to illustrate my abject poverty. They have locked me away because Dennis told them I had something to do with what happened at the house. Now Dennis has the kids and I don’t have money for an attorney to get them back or to get him to resume the alimony payments he so kindly stopped paying the minute he put me in here. What could be worse than this? I am broke and completely alone.
Maude: What are we, chopped liver? Plus…be careful what you ask us, dear. There are far worse things in life.
Irving: Far, far worse! And when you utter such a thing, we are compelled to…
Maude: We are here because we want to help, not because we want to show you “worse.”
Phoebe: Alright then. What should I ask you?
Irving: Ooo! I know a good one. Ask us why you are here.
Phoebe: I am here for observation and treatment.
Irving: No, no! Here, here. Earth!
Irving: Ask us why you are alive!
Phoebe: I am meant to be a wife and mother and I have failed miserably.
Irving: Get outta here! Are your children healthy? Fed? Clothed?
Maude: In school? Loved?
Phoebe: Do you guys always finish each other’s thoughts?
Irving: Phoebe, you’ve excelled at motherhood. You’ve done everything as best you can.
Phoebe: What about being a wife? Because I certainly failed at that.
Maude: Look, there’s more to life than being a wife.
Irving: Hey, that rhymes!
Maude: You are meant to do something else. Something big!
They stare at her.
Irving: Don’t you want to know what it is?
Phoebe (who stands and dusts off crumbs): Nope. Not really.
Maude and Irving watch Phoebe walk away. Suddenly they are right beside Phoebe. Phoebe is startled.
Phoebe: What are you, cartoon characters? You’re not there, then you’re there!
Irving: Sorry, dear.
Maude: But we think it’s time you faced it.
Phoebe: Faced what?
Maude: Phoebe, you…you are a fairy.
Phoebe (looks around, suspicious): You’re patients. That’s what this is. I get it now. Excuse me, it’s been real, but I’ve gotta go.
Phoebe begins to walk quickly. Maude and Irving appear in front of her and block path.
Phoebe: What the…
Irving: It’s true, dear. You are a fairy. It’s time you understand yourself. You’ve been protected for too long and, in this case, ignorance is not bliss.
Phoebe looks around for attendant.
Phoebe: Look. You guys seem perfectly nice. I mean, perfectly nice and crazy, but…hey, no worries here. Let’s just forget this ever happened and call it a day.
Phoebe tries to walk around them but they keep appearing in front of her.
Phoebe: Okay, now…I’m getting irritated. Look, please. I am exhausted, sad and, and…I haven’t used good conditioner in a week. I just want to go home.
Maude: You don’t have a home anymore.
Phoebe: No…I guess not…
Irving: Scorched. Fizzled. Kaput.
Phoebe: I mean, I just want to get out of here. A friend is picking me up and I’ll stay with her until I figure things out.
Maude: Phoebe, we know. We know how the house exploded.
Phoebe looks apprehensive.
Irving: We probably should have told you before now. It’s just that…
Maude: It’s a lot to digest.
Maude: And we wanted to protect you a little while longer.
Irving: But now, if we don’t tell you, you’ll be in even more danger.
Maude: As well as the people around you.
(Phoebe looks worried.)
Phoebe: Okay. If I listen to what you have to say, will you stop following me and leave me alone?
Back to present, April 4, 2015, the night of the Full Moon party
(Construction site for a new beach house, nighttime)
A man (Julian), seems dressed for GQ, stands on a newly constructed deck. Behind him is rather elegant beach house under construction. It even has a turret. With chiseled chin and perfect hair, Julian looks out over extensive dunes to ocean in distance, which is reflecting the light from the full moon, rising in the dark sky. There are distant howls, screams and sirens.
(Nearby, in the dunes…)
Cooper and Lucy look at the spot where Phoebe disappeared through the tall grasses, when she ran off to follow the fairy lights.
Cooper: Why do women always do that?
Lucy: Do what?
Cooper: The opposite of what I say! What do we do now?
Lucy: We stay with her. I don’t know what’s going on, but we are better off together.
They begin to follow Phoebe but crash into someone. Lucy turns on flashlight. It’s Sheila, the town mayor and shopping mall landlord. She looks disheveled.
Sheila: What are you two doing back here? Rabid coyotes have gotten into the area, somehow. It’s not safe.
Cooper: If you knew about them, you could have warned the public before you sent people out to be fresh kill.
Sheila: How was I to know they’d develop pack mentality? We thought we were only dealing with one.
Lucy: Sheila, if it’s so dangerous, why are you out here by yourself?
Sheila: Well…I’m the mayor. It’s my duty to protect.
Cooper: And just how do you plan to protect us from a pack of coyotes? By turning up your nose at them?
Sheila: Cooper, your lack of charm continues to astound. It just so happens I have a plan…
Suddenly, there are sounds of panting and growling very close. Sheila, Cooper and Lucy look around to find themselves surrounded by five abnormally large, dog-like creatures with glowing eyes.
Cooper (Grabs stick from ground): Okay Sheila, you can start your plan any time now. And since when are coyotes the size of tigers?
Lucy backs toward Cooper and shines flashlight into animals’ eyes. One animal whimpers at light. Light seems to keep them at bay.
Lucy: I don’t think these are coyotes.
Cooper (Gets closer to Lucy): Wolves, maybe?
Lucy: Not any that I’ve ever seen.
Cooper (Waves his stick at creatures): Okay, Madam Mayor. What do you think these things are?
Cooper: Aha! Not so pompous now, are we?
Lucy: Cooper, look.
Cooper and Lucy look down at Sheila, who has fainted.
The fairies Glade, Clementine and Balthasar fly across the tops of the dunes. They light up, the way fairies do. Wolves howl in distance.
Clementine: I didn’t know werewolves were part of Phoebe’s test!
Glade: They aren’t. Now we switch to Plan B.
Balthasar: What’s Plan B?
Glade: When I figure that out, I’ll let you know. Right now, let’s just get Phoebe away from danger. She’s not ready for this.
Clementine: Up ahead! A house.
Glade: Great, Plan B is we lead her to the house. It might be safer than out here. Is she still behind us?
Balthasar (looks back): Yeah, but she’s very slow. How will she ever pass the test?
The three fairies fly toward house.
(Meanwhile, behind them…)
Phoebe chases the twinkling lights up to newly constructed house and onto the deck. She realizes twinkly lights have disappeared. She looks around for them. The shell of the house is a bit creepy. Too silent. Phoebe hears the creak of wood and turns toward it.
Phoebe: Who’s there? I just want you to know…I’m armed. So…yeah.
Julian walks out of shadow of house, into moonlight. He carries a Coleman lamp.
Julian: You’re the one trespassing.
Phoebe: Oh. Sorry. I was just…um, lost. I’m new here. (Phoebe eyeballs him) Did you just…do a fashion shoot somewhere?
In the distance, howls and screams. They both look toward noise.
Julian: If you’re new, that full moon party must have been quite an introduction to island life.
Phoebe: Yes, it was very…colorful.
Julian: I’m Julian, by the way.
Julian: Did you say Phoebe?
Phoebe: Yep, that’s my name. Blame my parents.
Julian: I see. So, where are you staying?
Phoebe checks out her surroundings. It feels isolated.
Phoebe: Off Ocean Boulevard.
Julian: Hmm. You realize every person in St. Simons could claim that address. You’re going to have to give me more to go on if I’m to take you home.
Phoebe: Home? I just need to find my friends again. We got separated in the dunes. Oh wait. (pulls out phone) I can text.
Phoebe sends Lucy text: Where are you? I’m at new construction house that looks like castle.
Julian: I’d invite you in for a drink, but… (He indicates shell of a house in complete darkness) I was just over here to check something and watch the moonrise.
Phoebe: If you don’t mind, I’ll just wait to hear back from my friend.
Julian: Sure. No problem.
Phoebe: So…nice place. At least what I can see by moonlight. Will there be a mote?
Julian: Uh…thanks? It should be finished by June.
Phoebe: Is it a vacation place, or do you live here with your staff?
Julian: It’s…one of several homes. I travel a lot. Look, did I do something to offend…
Phoebe: Oh wait. (Her phones makes a noise and she looks at it)
Lucy’s text: Don’t come to us. We’ll come to you.
Phoebe: They want me to wait here. Is that okay?
A nearby growl causes both Phoebe and Julian to start. They look into bushes and a large dog-creature steps into moonlight and toward them. Growls increase as it moves toward them.
Phoebe: What is that thing?
Phoebe backs into Julian, who puts one arm around her in protective gesture.
Julian: No sudden moves. Try not to stare it straight in the eye.
Phoebe: Should I look at its razor sharp teeth instead?
Behind them, another growl. They turn to see two more creatures coming at them. The wolf-creature closest to Phoebe begins to whimper at her. It ducks its head and wags its tail.
Phoebe: Do you think it wants me to pet it?
Julian: I wouldn’t if I were you.
But Phoebe breaks away from Julian and cautiously moves forward. The beast pants playfully, whimpers and wags its tail again.
Julian: Honestly, if I were you….
At the sound of his voice, the two closest to Julian growl and gnash their teeth at him. He stays back while Phoebe moves closer to the first one.
Phoebe: There, there you great big, overgrown thing with glowing eyes… Nice doggie.
Phoebe inches forward with hand out as creature sniffs and wags tail. Its head is level with hers. She looks into its eyes and it lunges to lick her face then rolls over and looks like it wants belly rub. Its eyes stop glowing.
Phoebe: Okay… this is weird. I don’t know if I should scratch behind its ears or run for it.
Julian: My money is on run for it.
She turns to see the other two cornering Julian. They look like they will eat him alive. He is carefully backing toward the house.
Phoebe: Do you own a cat, or something? Here, let me…
She moves toward the other two with her hand out.
Phoebe: Hey there, it’s okay.
They sniff and wag their giant tails at Phoebe. They whimper, the eyes glow less and less.
Phoebe: Good doggies.
They let Phoebe pet them and they sit like they are waiting for a treat. Even sitting, their heads are level with hers.
Julian: They seem to like you.
Julian relaxes and moves toward Phoebe, but the dogs immediately raise hackles and snap at him. Their eyes glow red.
Phoebe calms them, makes kissy faces and rubs their ears.
Phoebe: Yeah, they seem to think you’re the dangerous one here. What’s with that?
Julian: I’ll just keep my distance while the four of you bond.
In response to howling in the distance, one of the creatures on the deck sits back and howls. The sound is thunderous. Phoebe freezes, unsure of what to do. But once the creature finishes howling he looks at Phoebe, pants, wags tail and rolls over.
Phoebe: What are these things? (She continues to pet them)
(Meanwhile, back in the dunes)
Cooper has Sheila over his shoulder and holds out stick. Behind him Lucy swings flashlight as large dog-creatures snarl and advance.
Lucy: Oh wait. I think I just got a text.
Cooper: Really? Are you really going to stop and text right now?
Lucy pulls out phone and sees Phoebe’s text. She puts flashlight under arm and texts back.
Lucy (to Cooper): It’s Phoebe. She’s up ahead at the construction site. Let’s make our way there.
Cooper: I know the place. The nails for that castle paid for my new wide screen TV. That house has a special place in my heart. But I just have one question.
Lucy: What’s that?
Cooper: How exactly are we going to get there with the Hounds of Baskerville surrounding us?
Lucy: Carefully, I guess. Just keep swinging that stick and I’ll use the flashlight.
Cooper (repositions Sheila on his shoulder): Sure, she looks thin enough. But she might want to lay off the pancakes and lattes.
Cooper and Lucy slowly advance. In distance, they hear other creatures howling and then one lone howl. The creatures near them prick up their ears and run off into the dunes, leaving Cooper and Lucy alone.
Cooper: Let’s not question it. Let’s just get out of here.
Lucy: Consider me questionless. All I want is four walls and a door that locks.
They quicken pace.
(On castle roof)
Glade, Clementine and Balthasar sit and watch as Phoebe, below, bonds with creatures.
Balthasar: I don’t get it. Werewolves hate fairies.
Glade looks through binoculars.
Glade: I’ve never seen anything like it. We must report back.
Clementine: I’m bored. Not bored, exactly. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m having loads of fun. It’s just I think it’s time for my beauty sleep. (Yawns, flicks hair)
Glade: I didn’t know this was his house. We made a terrible mistake leading her here.
Clementine: Oh well, the mutts protected her for us. (Yawns again)
Balthasar: But WHY did they protect her?
Lucy and Cooper, still carrying Sheila, arrive at house.
Phoebe: Hi! I was so worried. Who’s that?
Lucy: We bumped into Sheila. Then, she sort of passed out.
Cooper (stops short and indicates creature sitting next to Phoebe): I see you’ve made a friend.
Creature growls softy at Cooper.
Phoebe: They seem to be okay with me, sweet actually, but they don’t like Julian one bit.
Cooper: Are you sure about the sweet part? Because that thing is close enough to bite your arm off.
Phoebe: They’re kind of, I don’t know, like old hound dogs.
Cooper: My Spidey senses are screaming you’re wrong on this one, but my back wants to agree with you. Who’s Julian, by the way?
Cooper puts down Sheila.
Phoebe: Oh, forgive me, Cooper, this is Jul… (Looks but there is no Julian). Well, he was here a minute ago. This is his house.
Sheila: Where am I? What happened?
Sheila: Oh. You. Where are we?
Lucy: Don’t worry. We found a safe place.
Sheila: You call this safe?! (She points to werewolf, now resting next to Phoebe with its head between its paws)
Phoebe: They’re okay, once you get to know them.
Sheila pulls out phone.
Cooper: Who are you calling?
Sheila: Animal control.
Phoebe: Aw. What will they do with them?
Sheila: Put them down, I hope.
The werewolves begin to bark and growl at Sheila. Then, they turn and run.
(Sheila, Phoebe, Cooper and Lucy watch beasts disappear into the maritime forest.)
Lucy: Whatever they are, I think they speak English.
Cooper: Does the word werewolf come to mind, anyone?
Phoebe: Werewolves?! But werewolves are…
Lucy: Make believe.
Cooper: I don’t know. Maybe it’s like the reverse of The Easter Bunny. You patently don’t believe in it and then it turns out to be real!