Cycle of the Werewolf

by Stephen King

thumb|left|1985 paperback cover

The story is set in the fictional town of Tarker's Mills, Maine. Each chapter is a month on the calendar. A werewolf is viciously killing local citizens at each full moon, and the otherwise normal town is living in fear. The protagonist of the story is Marty Coslaw, a 10 year-old boy in a wheelchair. The story goes back and forth from the terrifying incidents to Marty's youthful day-to-day life and how the horror affects him.

The werewolf's first victim is a drunk railroad worker. Next is a woman in her bedroom contemplating suicide, followed by a hitchhiker, an abusive husband, one of Marty's friends in the city park, a herd of hogs at a local farm, a sheriff's deputy while he sits in his car, and finally the owner of a diner.

In July, the town's Independence Day fireworks have been cancelled. This is very upsetting to Marty, who has been looking forward to them all year. Feeling bad for his nephew, Marty's uncle brings him some fireworks, warning Marty to set them off really late so his mother won't find out. While outside enjoying his own private Independence Day celebration, the werewolf attacks Marty, who manages to put out the monster's left eye with a package of firecrackers. The werewolf escapes and police ignore Marty's report because they are looking for a human murderer, not a werewolf. As the summer continues, the bloodshed occurs again every full moon.

Fall comes and so does Halloween. To celebrate, Marty goes trick-or-treating with his sister. While out, he sees Reverend Lowe wearing an eyepatch. However, Lowe doesn't recognize Marty, as his face is covered by a Yoda mask. Marty, whose family is Catholic, never attend services at Lowe's church, which is why he didn't work out the werewolf's identity sooner.

Over the next few weeks, Marty sends the pastor anonymous letters asking him why he doesn't kill himself and end the terror. In December, he sends the last letter—signed with his name. Unbeknownst to Reverend Lowe, Marty has convinced his somewhat reluctant uncle to have two silver bullets made and to come spend New Year's Eve (which falls on the full moon) with his sister and him. Right before midnight, the werewolf breaks into the house to kill Marty. Marty shoots the werewolf twice with the silver bullets. After the wolf dies, it changes back into Reverend Lowe, much to the shock of everyone present.