The full moon rises over Fraser Island, highlighting the golden highs and lows of the dunes. My naked body stretches, bones, crack loudly as my jaw narrows and extends. Collapsing to the warm ground, I dig my bare feet and hands into the sand as they compress in size, squeezing the muscles and tendons as they morph into paws. I raise them to see the fingernail’s turn to long rounded claws, cutting my fingers as they do. Golden brown fur pushes its way up through my skin, covering my body; now halved in size. The pain is fading, having decreased from an excruciating tearing of muscle and tissue, to a dull throb as the process slows.
My sight increases with the change, even without the moon at its brightest I could see perfectly over a great distance, and if I could not see what I sought, I could smell it from afar. If they were not within line-of-sight, and downwind, I could hear the accelerated heartbeat of my prey as they realised death was approaching.
With the psychical transition complete, comes the mental change. My mind becomes clear; doubts or fears vanish, nothing can hurt me; I am becoming a hunter; an animal. Losing my human mind to the beast brings the hunger; the hunger for meaty flesh and the warm blood that flows from a fresh kill.
A light breeze sends a smell across my wet sensitive nose. Pointed ears pivot like radar, picking up the almost nonexistent sound from the bushes ahead. Perfect eyes then pick up an ever-so-slight movement thirty-metres away in the undergrowth. The scruff of my neck bristles as I freeze on the spot. Saliva drips from my fangs. ‘Hello dinner.’
A large Hare lifts its head high, nervously sniffing at the air while twisting its long ears. It senses danger, but does not know from where, or from what. It turns its back on me and continues to forage for food. ‘Dumb animal.’
I move low and slow over the dune towards the tasty furry morsel, my fur blending with the sand, making me invisible. After what seems like an eternity, I reach a point where sand meets bush, and I am within ten-metres of a feast. It will be hard not to make noise once I cross the threshold.
I take the first step with my soft padded paw, placing it carefully to the leaf strewn ground. Many weeks without rainfall has made the islands vegetation dry and brittle, hence the crackle of crushed leaves as I apply weight to my leading leg. The noise is minor, but sounds like rolling-thunder to the wary prey, and the tense hunter.
The Hares intelligence may be dull, but his instincts are sharp. Before his tiny brain can process the danger, his legs jump into action and carry him away to safety. But I have higher intelligence, and even sharper instincts, and give chase before he has even flinched a muscle.
I close the gap in several bounds. Pouncing from a run, my mouth opens wide while turning my head to take him around the back of his neck. I clamp down with my vice like jaw; sharp teeth penetrate the soft skin under the fur, and turn it red. Paws land on the already dying animal and I pull up, snapping it neck. I feel it go limp, the pumping of the warm, life-giving juice slows with the last few heart beats. ‘Now to feed the hunger.’
The sun is rising over the horizon when I awake in my human form, covered in blood and fur. After washing the muck off in the cold surf, I return to the tree where I undressed, to retrieve my clothes and towel off before donning my rangers uniform. I dust sand off the embroidered label that reads, “S. Irwin – Dingo Specialist” and head off to work until the next full moon.