As the beast pulled his teeth from my shoulder I could feel that a slight tingling sensation remained. I knew what was happening and I wanted revenge. As he came in to bite me again I latched onto his face, some animalistic rage taking over. Maybe this was the beginning… was it possible to turn now?
The beast dropped me to the forest floor. I scrabbled to regain my footing, fighting to look up at him as blood poured from my throat.
The beast curled his lip, growling at me, “Soon.”
He howled again as he loped back into the forest, probably sending some kind of signal that the threat had been eliminated.
But it hadn’t. This only fueled me into action. I would kill him if it was the last thing I ever did.
I stumbled back through the woods, pain wracking my body, blurring me thoughts as I moved towards where Delgrose had said he had a camp. Delgrose told me he’d be waiting. He had thought I would run away, he was mistaken. I could tell that he had doubted me, I don’t handle doubt well.
I could smell burning wood wafting through the forest, I could hear the soft pop of what little moisture remaining in the wood popped free of it’s tomb. I came upon Delgrose’s camp, exhausted and bloody. He invited me into his tent and eyed me hesitantly.
I could sense something had changed. He’d seemed so handsome, so mysteriouss, before. But he had changed, he was staring directly at my wounds, assessing the animalistic quality of them. His stance was guarded, I could tell he was apprehensive, I could smell him leaking fear, and something else. Hatred?
I gurgled as I spoke, my throat not much more than a pulverized fruit. With a sick thought, I imagined the professor’s body after the stone had fallen on him. I tried to make light of the situation as he had not put down his crossbow yet.
“I’ll be fine.”
That probably didn’t look like the case but I was sure Elkrunner or Walter could do something to help what I could feel spreading inside me.
I could tell Delgrose wasn’t buying it so I stood up to leave, trying to nudge past him when his head connected with my face and the world went black.
I dreamt, and not the horrible dreams I’d been having, but one where I spoke with Liam. He was concerned for my safety. He knew I didn’t want this, knew that I would rather die than become a monster. He told me that I had to find a cure for it, that i would need to fight the urge to give in, the urge that was even present in my dreams.
Liam suddenly gripped me by my shoulders, shaking me, and yelling at me to wake up, to fix it all, to protect Kendra, to avenge the professor, to….
I opened my eyes with a jolt. That sounded like a gun. Could it be Reiner? No, no, he was long gone, who was it? The Sheriff?! I struggled to stand, it sounded like fighting outside, was someone attacking us? What was happening?
I grabbed my crossbow and eased open the flat of the tent. In the seconds I had to react I saw the scene before me, silver tools laid upon the ground, a fire burning bright and a pot with something silver in color boiling inside. The sheriff and Delgrose were fighting. Delgrose looked to be winning, the knife he was trying to press into my friend getting closer. He was trying to kill my friend. He was trying to kill me!
I took careful aim and pulled the trigger, knowing that taking him by surprise could increase the damage. I caught him through the throat, he turned to me, dropping the knife and falling to his knees.
Seeing his opportunity, the sheriff put his gun to Delgrose’s head and pulled the trigger, splattering his ill intentions upon the campground, killing him instantly.
The smell of his blood instantly overwhelmed me. Before I could be sick, the sheriff pushed me back into the tent and caught me up on what I’d missed at the lodge and I explained what had happened to me in the ’Wood.
His reaction was not the hostile one I expected. He seemed relieved. I would learn that it was because he was no longer alone in his secret. He too was a werewolf (by birth). Our companion! He healed me and forced me to drink a potion to keep the animal inside at bay during the full moon. He also gave me a warning, that if I were to ever change, he would kill me. And I had to return the favor.
We made our way back to the lodge, not bothered along the way back.
Bjorn was hurt but was being tended to by the strangely beautiful gypsy woman. I told all present what had happened, telling Elkrunner that she would be responsible for making my monthly potions for as long as we were together.
With everyone caught up, we went to sleep. My dreams were not peaceful, the were confusing. I was hungry and my bones ached. My teeth felt oddly shaped, my nails growing into claws. While I looked at my hands I could see my skin stretching and then splitting, clay colored fur growing from the skin beneath my own. My body burned, bits of my scalp and hair falling to the ground, one of my horns clattering to my feet. I curled into a crouch, clutching at my body, pulling the tightening skin off, tearing at the furred skin beneath, rending it open, and as it tore open, small, silvery purple moths poured out.
I awoke to screaming.