Spring has arrived early in our part of Brasil. In fact, we didn't really have a winter. Unusual for us, we lit our fireplace only twice this winter - we didn't even need to buy extra firewood like previous years. Farmers and locals that we talk to point out this strange weather pattern, how many years ago they used to have severe winters, awaking every morning to fields covered with frost. Nowadays, when I get up at 6am to prepare breakfast for our guests, all I see are flimsy white clouds floating beneath the mountains, heralding another scorching day.
I decree the arrival of spring because of the reappearance of bugs in our breakfast room. When I arrived in Brasil, December 2013, I had to spend a good chunk of each morning sweeping them out before I began laying out breakfast. When temperatures dropped, they disappeared. But they are now back and suddenly it feels right to unpack the summer clothes that were stored away, to return to the swimming pool.
The arrival of spring probably means the end of local werewolf stories. These are stories I've been hearing since I was a child, and that have circulated in this community probably since its inception. Stories told around fires at night, when electricity still hadn't arrived here. Stories shared by neighbours during the day, when they couldn't account for the bloody killing of all their chicken. Stories that have grown in shape and size, much like their subject.
The villain of a popular soap opera recently said: "I was born under a full moon, on a Friday 13th. Nothing can stop me!" Well, it is exactly a person born under this kind of conditions that turns into a werewolf (and maybe that's exactly what will happen to this villain - it's not unheard of in brasilian soaps.) Everyone is certain of one thing: the werewolf in this town is black ("black as the night"). He/she looks like a giant dog and, at first, that's what witnesses think they are seeing. It's only when the werewolf begins to move that they realise they are dealing with the paranormal. Another interesting fact about our local werewolf is that many claim to know who he is: they point the finger at a man with very long fingernails who lives in a squalid house with his mentally ill brother. Somebody started the rumour, most certainly because of the long fingernails, and now everyone looks at him with suspicion. 
I've asked my employees what they think of the werewolf stories and they all believe it. Some claim to have seen it or have neighbours who have made that claim. One even told me a story that sounds like an urban legend: that a mother with her child was walking home one night when, suddenly, she noticed she was being followed. The dog was black and terrifyingly large. Fearing for her baby, who was wrapped in a blanket, she picked up her pace. She soon realised the werewolf was following her and that she was in danger; she began to run. She felt the creature behind her leap and snap at her; it took hold of the blanket and pulled. She held tight to her baby and managed to escape, arriving home. She realised however that the baby's blanket had been torn.
When her husband arrived, she told him of their ordeal. The husband said nothing but smiled. And when he smiled she saw bits of the baby's blanket stuck in his teeth...
 There's something to be said about how a small community can turn on its own - usually the one that is slightly strange, mentally ill, etc. Luckily this particular community hasn't gone as far as lynching or burning...