Chapter 7: Bad Puppy
Friday, April 12th (First Quarter-Moon)
Franklin panicked a little. 'How can he tell what I'm feeling? Is it on my face or something?'
Franklin chuckled uncomfortably. "Look, love's a really strong word." He tried to make light of how his stomach fluttered when either Wolfgang or Jed looked at him or said his name. He wasn't sure what to call how he felt, but he knew it couldn't be love. He'd just had sex once with them.
'I can't possibly be in love.' Franklin was a jumbled mess of emotion, desire, and thought. 'Can I?'
Franklin straightened. "I had a lot of fun." He nodded, his arm still around Wolfgang's waist, as he tried to convince both himself and the pair of men. "But, ah, love takes time."
Jed cocked his head as he looked at Franklin. "Okay, that's fair." Jed smiled at the skinny man. With his arm around Wolfgang and his eyes on Jed, Franklin's body began to respond to the proximity of them both, even though they had just finished with each other.
Franklin gave Jed a goofy grin. He absolutely felt something powerful toward both Jed and Wolfgang, and he was more than happy to explore an even deeper connection to them. For the moment, he really wanted to feel Jed's thick, hairy chest under his hands. Franklin stepped forward, and Wolfgang moved with him until they were inches away from Jed. Those strange, gray eyes of Jed's flared, and Franklin could swear they were almost silver. "My whole evening is free," Franklin said and leaned into Jed. He looked at Wolfgang who was still beside him, and then he turned back to Jed. "Can I spend it with you guys?"
Jed smiled, and slowly ran one wide, callused hand down Franklin's chest, causing the skinny man to shiver. He got to Franklin's groin and turned his hand to cup the young guy's testicles. "I think that sounds good." Jed's gaze locked onto Franklin's eyes. "What about you, Wolfgang?"
The slim man moved behind Franklin and pressed his naked body against him. Wolfgang's hard cock felt warm and virile against Franklin's ass, and he wrapped his arms around Franklin. "I think that sounds lovely," he murmured in Franklin's ear.
A low growl reverberated in Jed's chest, and as the big man leaned down to kiss him, Franklin was nearly certain that Jed's eyes swam with silver.
But as they made out and Wolfgang worked himself inside the groaning server, Franklin found that he simply didn't care.
Saturday, 13 April
Evan McAllister woke. He lay in bed and his single eye moved to the eastern window where the light streamed in from the Spring sunshine, though it wasn't the light that had awakened him.
He frowned and sat up. There was something wrong but he couldn't quite put a finger on what it was. He tried to clear his throat and realized with a start what was amiss. There was no air in his lungs. He had to force himself to take a breath, but he no longer had the urge to breathe. His eye widened.
Slowly, with a shaking hand, he felt along his Adam's apple for his pulse. He sat very still, waiting for the thrum of his heartbeat to send blood pumping through his veins.
"Nothing." His whisper was filled with both wonder and dread.
Suddenly, he once again felt the power of his entity - the one that seemed to be the most powerful of all he channeled.
Calm yourself, conduit. This shell has given up, but our work here is not done. We will enable you to finish, and then you can join your ancestors.
The old man slumped. He stared down at his hands and struggled to force his mind to accept the truth of his situation. The spirit sensed his turmoil. Calm. When you are ready, we will begin. There are preparations to make.
Evan wet his lips and sat up straight. "I… I am ready."
The next mental message had a different inflection. There was both satisfaction and determination in its tone.
Good. You will need to be.
"We agreed on a ten percent consignment fee." Daniel crossed his arms over his chest as he faced the proprietor of Eureka Furniture. The noon sun was warm on his shoulders as they stood outside his shop, near the tailgate of the man's truck. His dark eyes narrowed as he stared. "You don't get to change the terms of the deal whenever you like."
Russell Anderson smirked. "Actually, I do. I'm the owner, and if I say I want a twenty-five percent cut of anything that sells out of my shop," he shrugged, "well, then that's the way it is."
'Tear out his soft, pale throat,' Daniel's beast urged, and he fought hard to stay in control. He turned away from Russell.
"Just go. I'm no longer in business with you." Daniel struggled, his hands opening and closing. He began to reenter his workshop, in desperate need to get away from Russell. There were only six days before the full moon, and the wolf grew stronger every minute.
Russell made a noise and put a hand on his shoulder. "Now, wait a minute, you can't just…"
Daniel turned his head, amber spreading in his typically brown eyes. The beast was close to the surface, and Daniel vibrated slightly with the effort to avoid killing the man. 'One bite will end it. His blood will be exquisite.'
Russell blinked and dropped his hand. "Err." He took a step back. "I'll… I'll give you a call. We can talk."
Russell jumped into his truck and pulled away quickly driving down the narrow gravel road off of the hill where the workshop was located. Daniel forced himself to stay rooted in place. The smell of fear from Russell made that nearly impossible, but he did it.
Once Russell was at the base of the hill, Daniel watched as the vehicle turned and began to speed down the blacktop. "Let him go," he bargained. "Please, just…"
The beast rolled over Daniel's will, and the man went to his knees. "No," he gasped. "Please…"
Daniel's jaw popped, and he groaned. It was happening. He reached with shaking hands and tried to unbutton his shirt, but as he swayed on his knees, he lost his balance and flopped onto his side. He grimaced, mouth open, and the shift truly took hold of him.
His teeth grew, and bones in his face moved. His spine, hips, and limbs all underwent a similar change, and soft, thick fur began to sprout from his skin.
"Faster, you fucking prick." Daniel's voice growled from his half-changed throat, and he writhed in agony in the dirt and sawdust in front of his shop. He could still hear the engine of Russell's truck. "We'll catch you. Faster, drive fas-", his words cut off as his voicebox changed too much to produce speech. Instead, he finished in a snarl.
Clothing tore and Daniel's chest swelled with muscle and fur. Moments later, a dark, nearly-black wolf stood and shook the ruined clothing off of itself.
The big animal ran to the edge of the hill and looked down. The truck was now going forty miles an hour, and it was almost two miles away.
With a leap, Daniel cleared the edge of the hillside and ran down the side. Impossibly fast, the huge wolf streaked alongside the nearly-abandoned road and closed on his target.
Russell frowned as he drove. He could have sworn something had changed in Daniel's eyes. But, beyond that, he felt a sudden, impending sense of danger and doom while he stood close to the man.
He exhaled a shaky breath. That feeling hadn't left, and his stomach still tried to tie itself into knots. He laughed, the sound a bit forced. "Jeez, he's just a carpen-" A black shape caught his eye in the side mirror. He jerked and looked in the rear-view.
A huge wolf ran down the center-line of the road. Russell locked eyes with the thing in the mirror, because it was only about thirty feet from his tailgate.
"Mother fuck!?" He punched the gas to the floor, and slowly, the truck began to accelerate.
The beast closed, its great, red tongue lolled and streamed saliva. Huge, white fangs showed past its parted lips. But those eyes. It was those eyes that snagged Russell's attention.
He fearfully glanced at the road ahead, then once more in the mirror to keep the thing in sight.
'Gone!' He wet his lips. 'Where is it!?' He checked the passenger mirror and saw nothing.
A terrible feeling of dread washed over him. Then he saw it from the corner of his left eye and reflexively turned. A huge gaping maw of teeth filled his vision as the beast lunged at him, crashing through his driver-side window. The sound of glass as it shattered was drowned out by Russell's terrified scream and screeching tires.
Jed luxuriated in bed with Wolfgang and Franklin, one on each side. His thick arms lay snaked under the pair, and he held them against his hairy chest. Over the last few hours, the men had enjoyed sex multiple times, and the beast growled with constant, languid contentment in Jed's mind.
Jed smiled at Franklin. The young man dropped to sleep almost as soon as they had stopped having sex. Though it was only one p.m., Franklin was worn out. 'Ours.' The beast's mental voice echoed in Jed's mind as he looked at Franklin.
"I suppose he is, in a way," Jed murmured.
Wolfgang grinned and stretched against Jed's naked body. "I can't hear him, but I can feel him." He propped himself on an elbow and looked across Jed's chest at Franklin. "He's feeling possessive of that one."
Jed sighed. "Yeah. There are a few that appeal to the beast more than others."
Wolfgang nodded. "I understand why." Jed knew that Wolfgang shared the beast with him when they touched, so he truly did understand whereas others could only guess. "Franklin is submissive, willing to let you, well, us dominate him."
Jed began to respond when his phone buzzed in his pant's pocket on the floor. "Shit."
Wolfgang reached and picked up Jed's clothes, then handed the phone to Jed. The big man nodded his thanks, then answered. "Hello?"
"Jed?" Daniel's voice was shaky over the connection. "Son, I need help. At my shop. Hurry."
Jed's eyes widened, and he sat up, dislodging a sleeping Franklin as he did. "What?" The line disconnected. Jed immediately tried to call him back. After it rang three times, he got out of bed. "Shit. Something's wrong." He began jamming on his clothes. "I've gotta go."
"What?" Wolfgang sat up while Franklin flopped over on his face and continued to sleep. "What's going on?"
"I don't know." Jed tied on his boots. "My dad, he's in trouble of some kind."
Wolfgang began to rise. "Okay, let me put…"
Jed turned and shook his head. "No. Stay here with Franklin. If dad's in trouble, then he could be aggressive." Jed remembered what had happened those years back and he visibly paled. "I can handle him alone, but maybe not if someone else is there."
Wolfgang nodded. "Okay, Jed. Sure."
Jed grabbed his flannel shirt and threw it on. He spun to leave the room, and Wolfgang said, "Call if you need me." Jed turned to look at him, and Wolfgang set his jaw. "I'll come if you do."
Jed nodded. "I will. Thanks."
Jed left Wolfgang's place and was soon driving as fast as he dared through the streets of Eureka. Once he hit the highway, he could see the hill where his father's shop sat.
"Hang on, Dad. I'm coming."
Daniel lay in a daze of agony. He was just inside the open double doors of his shop, his haven from the world. Instinct had driven the wolf there in its condition, and he had sawdust all over his naked body from where he had dragged himself into the structure. Then the beast retreated, forcing Daniel to revert back to human form and take the brunt of the pain.
The wolf in him allowed Daniel to retain control, and he barked a harsh laugh. 'Yeah, of course.' He gasped at the amount of pain in his body. 'When we're fucked up, you hide. Bitch.'
Daniel's beast growled in anger, but it also shied away from the physical sensations in the man's broken body.
He heard an engine. At first, the beast rose up again, ready to fight even in their state. 'Wait.' Daniel recognized the sound. 'Jed. It's Jed.'
The truck stopped, and Daniel heard boots on gravel, then the rough wooden floorboards as they entered the shop.
"Dad?!" Jed quickly moved to Daniel's side. "Holy fuck. Dad, what happened?" Jed's hands hovered over Daniel's body as if he were afraid to touch him.
Daniel grimaced. "Wolf… made me chase Russell's truck." Jed rolled Daniel as gently as he could onto his back, but his shattered pelvis still screamed in agony. The beast flared at this new affront, and Daniel's eyes turned almost completely amber. "Unghhh… son, voice."
Jed focused. "Calm yourself now. I am not your enemy."
The beast in Daniel reeled under the force of Jed's command. It retreated some, cowed beneath his son's power.
Jed nodded. "Good." Then he let his gaze take in his father's injured form. "Tell me how it happened."
Daniel gritted his teeth, all slightly canine at the moment, and blood marred their white color. "The wolf tried to jump through his window while the truck was doing at least fifty." His jaw opened, and he panted as his broken right femur slowly pulled itself together. "Unnnn. Fuck."
There was an obvious concern on Jed's face. Daniel knew he was a terrible sight. His pelvis had been shattered along with his right leg. Jed wet his lips. "Dad, is Russell…"
"He's alive, the bastard," Daniel cursed, but in truth he was thankful. Russell didn't deserve to die. "I mistimed the jump. Went through the window, but missed his neck. Then he ran over my back half when I fell away." He suppressed a groan as Jed moved his healing leg into a straight position so that it would reform correctly. Daniel took a moment to breathe through the pain, then continued, "Last I saw, he was moving like a bat out of hell toward the freeway."
"And you dragged yourself all the way back here with a broken leg and pelvis." Jed grimly held Daniel's leg. He flinched as there was a deep, wet 'pop' from Daniel's hip. "You're healing slow. You need protein."
"I'm running a bit low on sides of beef," Daniel joked, though there was no laughter. He stared at Jed. "Don't leave me. I don't trust what the wolf will do in this state. I'll just suffer until it's done."
Jed bit his lip. They both knew that Daniel was in for hours of pain if he didn't get food. Jed pulled out his phone. "Dad, I'm going to fix it. I won't leave, but we need help."
Daniel was in no state to argue, though he knew there was a huge risk to anyone else approaching him in his state. "Ok." His eyes teared as he lay there. "Don't… don't let me hurt anybody else, son. Please." Daniel grimaced. "End me, if that's what it takes."
"It won't, don't say that." Jed stood and dialed. He turned away from his father as the line picked up, though Daniel still easily heard him.
"Shawn." Jed rubbed his head as he spoke. "Hey, buddy. I really need your help right now."
"Yes, that's correct, ten ultimate cheeseburgers," Shawn repeated. "No, I don't want to make any of them a combo meal." His fingers drummed on the edge of his car's door as he waited on the confirmation.
"Okay, sir." The voice crackled over the worn speaker in the drive-through. "That'll be $46.90, for ten ultimate cheeseburgers. Please pull around to the pick-up window to pay and to get your order."
"Thanks." Shawn did as he was instructed, and the nervous drumming of his fingers continued. It felt like a lot longer than the four minutes it took for the crew of the fast-food place to finish his order. Finally, three hot, greasy bags were handed through the window. "Thank you!"
Shawn pulled away, pointed his car south toward Daniel's shop, and stepped on the gas.
Evan slowly walked across the grounds of the Yurok Tribal office. No longer limited by his body, he still needed to put on the appearance of a ninety-two-year-old man, bent by age and time. The girl, Amy, had returned to the office from a chore and waved at him as Evan walked toward the Klamath River. It wasn't unusual for Evan to visit the water's edge and look out over the waterway, though he knew it worried the young woman.
Evan dutifully waved, aware he'd likely never see her, or his beloved town again. Still, he wasn't sad.
Evan knew without a doubt that he would continue to exist after the spirits allowed his soul to pass on. So for him, life was but one step on an eternal journey. Though he had a task to accomplish before he would be permitted to shed his physical form.
He finally made it to the brush and trees at the tottering pace of an elderly man. As soon as he was out of sight of the office, Evan straightened and strode purposefully to the river.
A spirit of the rivers and waves rotated to the fore, and Evan waded fearlessly into the water. In moments he was lost to sight, submerged beneath the murky waters of the river.
Evan was fully aware as the spirit turned toward the mouth of the river and the ocean, and he rode along, a passenger in his own skin. He felt a rush of movement as they shot forward. Soon they were in the salty waters of the Pacific Ocean, and they turned parallel to the coast.
Somehow able to see perfectly beneath the water, he watched in wonder as they sped south under the waves, powered by the gifts of one of the many entities which inhabited him. All the while, the others continued to whisper the secret lore he would need in the upcoming trial.
Jed met Shawn's car about three hundred feet away from his father's shop. He didn't want any possibility that Daniel's wolf would target Shawn. Right now, it was injured, angry, and it would lash out at anyone it could.
"Thanks, man." Jed breathed with relief as Shawn handed over the bags of food. "I owe you, big."
Shawn rubbed his arms as if he were cold. "Yeah, no problem." He looked past Jed at the closed doors of the shop.
Jed knew that Shawn could always tell when his father's beast was on the prowl, or out of control. It was uncanny, but a few times over the years, Shawn's odd sense had likely saved his life.
Jed tapped the top of the car. "Go on. Thanks again." He gave the man a lewd smile. "I'll pay you back."
Shawn laughed and put his car into gear. "As long as you make me want it, I'm down." He threw up a hand and drove quickly down the gravel road.
Jed turned, the warm bags in his arms, and fast-walked to the shop.
"Garbage has never tasted so damn good." Daniel had already eaten six burgers, and he had another in hand as he finished swallowing the last one he'd consumed.
Werecreatures like Jed and Daniel could heal massive amounts of damage if given time and resources to do so. While they were near immortal under the power of a full moon, other times of the month found them more vulnerable.
Periodically, he flinched as his body pulled and pushed on the broken bones in his hips, which could be clearly seen, thanks to Daniel's nakedness. Mostly Daniel focused on the food. He took a huge, canine-toothed bite of the latest in line.
“Good to hear." Jed's voice carried a note of relief. Though it was unlikely Daniel would have died from his injuries, if he didn't get fuel, he could have suffered long and hard.
Daniel felt control return as the beast slowly receded. As the pain decreased, and as he forced calories into his body, he regained more command over himself. Jed's voice kept the monster inside from lashing out, but even then only barely.
His son found a burlap sack and draped it over Daniel’s groin, but Daniel was past the point of caring.
Jed grabbed an unfinished chair and sat on it the wrong way around by Daniel’s side. “Dad, we need to talk about Russell.”
Daniel gulped down his seventh burger, and Jed handed him the eighth. Daniel sighed. “Yeah.” He unwrapped the greasy sandwich and raised an eyebrow as he considered. “He definitely has a story to tell. I just hope the wrong ears don’t hear it.”
The evening brought no relief to Russell. His hand shook as he raised the glass of whiskey to his lips, and he stared ahead at the bottles of liquor behind the dark wood of the varnished, spotless bar.
“Russ, you okay?” The frizzy, long red hair of Gus, the bartender, stood almost straight out in a remarkable afro. The man’s pale green eyes typically glittered with amusement, but now they looked with concern at his regular.
Russell shook his head. “No. I’m not okay. They don’t believe me.” He took another sip and exhaled slowly. “Cops don’t believe me, but something broke my damn window.” He worked his jaw. “I ran the fucking thing over, and it dragged itself off. I saw it in my mirror.”
“What?” Gus stopped wiping the bar. He leaned over, totally engaged in Russell’s response. “What was it?”
“A wolf.” Russell stared at remembered horrors. “A big, black, goddamned wolf.” He tossed back the rest of his drink. He grimaced as the whiskey burned its way down his gullet.
“Whoa.” Gus’s round face easily expressed his shock. “A wolf?”
“Yes, absolutely. And the thing tried to come through my window and rip my head off.” Russell fished in his glass for a piece of ice. He popped it into his mouth and crunched.
Gus was an observant guy, and his eyes shifted as a quiet presence appeared at Russell’s elbow. “What can I get you, ma’am?”
The gray-haired woman slid a thick, worn textbook of some sort onto the bar. “Oh, it sounds like this fellow needs another drink.”
Russell nodded. “Absolutely.” He chuckled. “Thanks.” He extended his hand to her as Gus moved to get more whiskey in front of Russell. “I’m Russ.”
The woman smiled, and with surprising strength, gripped Russell’s hand in a firm shake. “Ursula.” Her smile remained as she released him, and the newly-filled glass of whiskey appeared before Russell. “That sounds like quite the experience.”
Russell noticed that she didn’t call what had happened a story. “Yeah.” He took a healthy sip of the alcohol.
Ursula gently lay a hand briefly on his arm. “I’d be interested to hear about your encounter with this… dog, was it?”
“No.” Russell emphatically shook his head. “No, it was a wolf, I’m sure.”
Ursula nodded. “Okay. You seem pretty certain.”
“I am.” Russell took a breath. Now that he had an engaged audience, he began telling the story to the very interested woman.
All of it.
Author's Note: Please let me know your thoughts about the chapter at the following email address link. Wayne Gray
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