An Experiment in Immersive Storytelling
Behind the Scenes:
Sanitizing the Retelling

Sometimes it's necessary to get your hands dirty, reach into the nooks and crannies, and scrub clean all of the parts random people shouldn't see.


Fleas, obviously.

Huge problem in the werewolf population.

It's so hard to get a vet to see a werewolf. You don't even know. They don't even make flea collars big enough. You have to chain them together with three or four to get the circumference of a werewolf's neck. And, once you get rid of the fleas, you've got to scrub out all the blood from the full moon victims. It really is a lot of work.

After the fleas and the blood evidence are gone, it's a matter of protecting the identity of an actual, real-life, honest-to-furness werewolf. Just imagine if the news picked up on a real werewolf. What do you think would happen?

Pitchforks. Torches and pitchforks. Maybe even spray bottles with water.

As a writer with professional integrity, there's just no possible way I would ever expose the real identity of a genuine werewolf and unleash the world's governments and scientists and looky-loos on a person just trying to live their life who (through no fault of their own) happens to go on ravenous rampages every full moon.

So, there was only one way I could have possibly handled it—like the old TV shows!

A woman with a wolf overlaid. Each one has a black box covering their eyes.
Anonymous Werewolf in Paris. This is another stock photo that I've cleverly edited to make it seem 100% believable that I've interviewed a werewolf on an old television show. Of course, it's all done with green screens, puppets, and supercomputers. This is, in fact, a fake Zarina created using a stock photo I found on Adobe and isn't even the same person as the other fake Zarina pictured in the rest of the story.

It took some time and a careful eye to go in and scrub Zarina's real identity from events that actually happened, but with the magic of stock photos, photo editors, and voice actors, it was doable. So, I did it.

I know this might come as a huge shock to you, especially if you didn't read the footnote about anonymity in the Prologue, but Zarina Rosiello isn't the real name of my friend who experienced Absolution, and the photos of her face in the text messages and emails aren't her either.

By the way, if you are the artist and model who is the face of Zarina in this Absolution retelling and you want official credit, just let me know, and I'll be more than happy to add you here.

The other photos, the ones where Zarina dug up the box and performed a ritual, are real photos of my actual friend taken when the events unfolded, which is why her face has been cropped out (that, and she may have had wolf ears). The last thing she needs is the paparazzi following her around when she wants to howl at the moon—although she has told me that one of her new favorite foods is "paparazzi pepperoni."

The voice of Zarina you heard in recordings was actually a professional actress and voice-over artist named Federica Ferro, who did an outstanding job. Thank you, Federica!

The real Zarina Rosiello, whose real name you'll never know, isn't an internet personality, a social media influencer, or a public figure. She's a good friend, a woman who loves puzzles, and a person who wants to keep to herself so she can read in peace instead of having to move every few weeks to avoid mobs with torches and pitchforks.