It was happening again. The quiet town was beset by a magnificent musical performance, yet there was no obvious source. This was happening a few times a week, always without warning, usually at dawn or dusk, and so far completely without explanation.
Not that anyone was complaining, actually. It was just a mystery, and mysteries are often dangled in front of us to solve.
Dusk or dawn, was the usual time, and so far only noticed when the weather was fair. It hadn’t gone on long enough to tell if the seasons would have an effect, so for now we’ll just assume not.
The style was lyrical and uplifting, more like a “choir of angels” than the sort of plodding dance music you hear in beer halls in the mountains. It wasn’t so much loud as available to be heard.
So I made an effort to pay attention at dawn an dusk for anything unusual. It took several weeks, but diligence paid off when I noticed that there were always bats in the sky when the music was most present. A flock of bats overhead could explain the timing, as bats tend to only be abroad and feeding near dawn and dusk. Was it possible our bats were singing to us?
I started haunting the public spaces and parks at dusk, watching the bats, looking for clues.
And that is when I spotted him. One night I saw a figure climb to a rooftop, then sort of jump into the air and disperse into a cloud of bats. I stayed where I was hiding and watched, not sure I believed what I had just seen, and listening to the music. After an hour or so, a cloud of bats returned to that roof, swirled into a tight cloud then seemed to melt into the figure of a man or older boy. I wasn’t sure in the dim moonlight, but from the way the figure danced around apparently dressing, he had reappeared naked.
Continued diligence let me spot the same transformation several more times, always apparently from the same rooftop.
The next night, and for several following, I tried watching from various roofs nearby. This was made difficult by the various owners being unaware of what was happening, and unwilling to help even if they had noticed the music. Either way, I wasn’t all that willing to explain that I was trying to catch a young man appearing as if by magic and naked on a roof. That just didn’t sound like a conversation I wanted to have.
But I remained patient, and worked various angles. Finally, I found myself on a roof that would put the full moon at my back if he appeared as expected. And, indeed someone did.
I saw a clumsy and furtive figure stand up on the roof dressed lightly for the growing chill in the air, and suddenly become a cloud of bats all trying to leave his shirt and pants at the same time. The bats flew off, leaving his cloths to drop to the roof where he’d stood. I stayed put rather than risk his noticing me. After an hour or so, the bats returned, and seemed to simply amass back into the rough shape of a young man, which then came into sharp focus in the moonlight as the transformation finished. I didn’t get a look at his face as he had his back to me, but he clearly needed to find his pants.
I tried a number of times to catch him, or at least catch a glimpse of his face. All to no avail. Either he could sense he was being watched, or he simply was shy. One night I waited for him to transform, then daringly climbed a drainpipe to investigate the clothes he left behind. Other than confirming what I knew already, I learned nothing. He didn’t return for his pants that night, so he clearly knew someone was watching. After that his transformations were rarer for a while, and I took to watching from farther away to give him the space he clearly needed.
Actually, I didn’t tell the whole truth. I noticed early on that the shirt and pants he usually wore were very similar to our school uniform. When I visited his roof, I was able to confirm that the shirt had the school crest on the pocket.
The werebat went to the same school I did!
And that little detail became what led me to him. But the story of that chase will have to wait for another night, the moon is full and lately the music has been sounding more and more like a serenade that I don’t want to miss. I’m beginning to think he’s noticed that he has a devoted fan.