Mom said it happens to all the girls, but I think she was just trying to make me feel better. In the same breath she warned me not to talk about it to school because the girls it hadn't happened to yet would be embarrassed and jealous that I got it first. I went to school the next few days obsessively staring at all the other little girls, staring at their bottoms, their tiny breasts, their arm hairs, wondering if they were going through what I was.

Mom had to buy me all new underwear, because I ruined mine. She bought me a lot of new dresses and skirts so no one would notice. She said I was going to experience a lot of changes in my body and my emotions and to be read for that. That explained why I would cry and laugh and scream all at once. She bought me special deodorant for my changing body and said I'd get to go shopping for new shoes soon. She made it sound like a privilege, but I just felt like a disgusting freak. I asked if it would happen to my little brother and she said no, it only happened to girls, and I thought that was unfair.

After a few weeks the tail stopped growing. It was about four inches long and soft and fuzzy. I had to cut holes in my panties so it wouldn't chafe against my skin. It was a bright turquoise blue, but Mom said that color could change. I kind of liked it. It wagged when I was really excited, bounced to the beat of any music, and flattened when I was sad. It was hard to see without a mirror. Now I know why dogs are always running in circles. Luckily, unlike dogs, I could reach back and pet it to remind myself it was still there.

Soon the hair on my body had thickened and darkened to a electric teal. This was when I was positive no one else was experiencing the changes that I was. I wore long baggy clothes to cover all of my arms and legs, grateful it hadn't spread to my face yet. I started getting overwhelmed by the heat and it smelled rancid, the stench of sweaty damp fur pressed close to my body with no room to breathe. I was embarrassed by the odor but after a while I stopped noticing it. None of the other girls had fur. I looked at adult women, wondering if they shaved their fur off. Mom said I couldn't shave it off, that it would grow back thicker. I thought it was an old wive's tale so I locked myself in the bathroom and spent an hour meticulously shaving a small patch on my stomach. When it was smooth I put the razor on the sink and looked at myself in the mirror. Within seconds the hair had grown back, twice as long as it had been. I cried into my furry blue hands and didn't emerge from the bathroom for hours.

My ears enlarged enough to poke out of my hair and my horns came in gnarled and pointy. I stopped going to school. I could have worn a hat but if I needed to raise my paw, the claws would frighten everyone. I didn't even discuss it with my parents. They just woke up one morning and I was sitting on the couch watching television instead of getting on the bus. It was Clarissa Explains it All, not that this part matters, but it's a really good show.

"I'm a monster," I cried to mom. My brother was hiding around the corner, terrified of me. My mother held me in her arms.
"We all are. You're just better at it than others. You're an overachiever."

My habits evolved as well as I grew up. I didn't like sleeping in my bed anymore; I preferred to lurk in closets and under the bed. I no longer had an appetite for pizza and soda; obviously I now hungered for blood and human flesh. Mom taught me to feast only on emotions like despair and loneliness and defeat. These things weren't as delicious but they were filling. Sucking out the passions of civilians got dull occasionally. Sometimes I would slip up and accidentally devour a bratty child or a postal worker. When I came home with human blood smeared over my furry face, staining my sharp pointed teeth and leathery lips, my parents looked at me in disappointment. And rightly so, they had raised me much better than that. 

When I ate my brother it was the only time they scolded me. I felt bad but he was so tantalizingly scrumptious. They forced me to defecate him out using laxatives and meatmucil. They duct taped him back up together. He was smelly and scared for a few days but other than that, as good as ever. I felt bad, but we monsters are somewhat attracted to fear. As that emotion diminished, he became less tempting. He became used to me and my terrifying monstrosity. As he grew bigger than me he became more comfortable and to this day he will pet me and take me for walks at night so I can howl at the moon.