Its late. The moon, full and heavy, is blindingly luminous through the window above Ava Danes bed. Its not a comforting light. It only makes the wide night sky seem even blacker.

Ava can feel it through the glass, bathing her sweating skin like iced water.

Shes so hot.

She leans over and heaves open the window. Her shaky breath mists out and mingles with the humid night air. She lifts the damp, dark hair from the back of her neck, to expose it to the cool breeze.

So many scents and sounds carry in from outside …

Theres a tiny electric buzz sparking in her bones. It tickles and warms her as if her whole body is itching on the inside and she has no way to scratch. Its maddening. Dizzying.

Ava shuts her eyes and shakes her head. She wants to let go. To lose the fear and the doubts – just give in to the craving. Why should she fight it? This has to happen …

Avas heart begins to pound. It feels like a fist knocking against her ribs, so hard it hurts. She can see its movement beneath the soaked white cotton of her nightclothes.

The moon seems incandescent like it has caught fire.

Ava knows now. It will happen tonight.

The burning heat now pounding through her body seems to be melting her bones. The pain is delicious and irresistible. Ava wonders how she could ever have wished it away.

The change feels maddening near now. Why won it come?

Ava clutches the bedclothes, panting for breath, filling her lungs with the scents of the night. She could howl with pain and frustration.

So close …

She bites her lip, tastes the iron tang of her blood – then smiles as, under the moons gaze, spasms of sheer exhilaration shoot through her.

It has begun.

Ava laughs feverishly as her bones begin to shift. Muscles tear and ripple. Teeth twist into spikes. Silken hair sprouts from every sweating pore. She shucks off her damp, clinging clothes, rolls over onto her front, and

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