Marisa’s Musings -October 24th, 2019 “Red Fang” Part XII

As I was still asking myself that question I stared up at the Aurora Borealis over head. 

I could make out the stars through the swirling colors. It’s an incredible sight. I can understand why Nathan comes up this way every so often. I don’t think I’d ever tire of this sight. According to Lisa and Otto, Nathan also goes to Norway, Sweden, Finland or one of the other northernmost countries where you can see these lights. Those countries also tend to have open wide expanses of wilderness which allows him to ‘cut loose’ with his abilities. Those countries also haves long periods where the sun may not appear for weeks or even months, which makes it easier for him to be out and about even during the ‘daytime’ whether he’s out in the woods or in a city. 

As I lay there I understood that the night, or those periods of long-nights, do have a lot to offer a person. But, to actually have to live that way most of the time? I mean, I know Nathan can ingest extra blood so he can go out into daylight for a few hours a day (then load up some more if he needs to in order to keep being out in it) but it’s still physically uncomfortable (even painful at times) for him to be out in it. 

I shook my head. I wanted Nathan more than anything… but to be like him?

One of the wolves who was cuddled up to me must’ve sensed my distress, for he suddenly raised his head then nuzzled and licked my face as if to comfort me. At first I thought this was more of Nathan’s doing, but he was no longer with us. I figure he must’ve silently got up and headed who knows where, leaving me with my protectors. Carefully I reached up and stroked the licking wolf’s face and then scratched him behind one ear. He seemed to like it. Then one or two others took notice and they decided they wanted some attention too. Eventually, after I gave them all a bit of love, we all settled down and sleep quietly overtook us.

The dreams that followed were the most vivid I’ve ever had. I was in the middle of a greenish fog which slowly dissipated and I found myself staring at a woman I’d never met in my life, but who’s face I knew quite well. 

It was Madeline, Nathan’s first wife and Lisa’s great-great grandmother. I recognized her from a number of paintings Nathan has done of her over the years. He keeps practically all of them in his art studio which is located on the top floor of the same building that houses his club “The Crypt” in the basement.

She was standing in the middle of a room with shelves with canned (meaning jars) of fruits and pickled items, a large mound of potatoes in one area, and carrots in another. I quickly realized this was an old root cellar. But instead of gathering any supplies located there, Madeline was simply standing in the center of the room looking down at the dirt floor. I caught the gleam of anticipation in her eyes. A moment later the ground began to ripple, as I had seen it do many times before, and Nathan rose to the surface.

He was standing upright as he emerged from the rippling soil with his arms open wide.  As soon as the ground became solid again, Madeline stepped eagerly into that waiting embrace, and I couldn’t blame her. Nathan was clearly as glad to see her, in more ways than one (since he was naked as usual when he came out of the ground). As they kissed, I swear you could practically hear their hearts pounding in unison.

Then the scene changed, I now saw the two of them curled up in front of a fireplace. Nathan was wearing clothing now and there was a little boy, from Madeline’s first husband who died during the war, fast asleep on a chair nearby. Nathan was holding Madeline in his arms as they were talking softly so as not to wake the little one. While I couldn’t make out what they were saying, I saw a number of occasional kisses and caresses being exchanged with genuine affection.

Feeling like a voyeur I turned only to find another scene playing out before me. The boy was now 8 or 9 years old and smiling as he watched Nathan and his mother dancing a waltz. They clearly had eyes only for one another, even though there were a dozen other couples around them. As I watched the scene seemed to melt and now the two of them were dancing alone in their bedroom. Madeline was wearing a white chemise, while Nathan was wearing what was then called a man’s dressing gown, which was basically a more elegant version of the modern bathrobe. As I watched them, I caught the first signs of crow’s feet in the corners of Madeline’s eyes. Her figure also seemed slightly fuller now, not that it seemed to bother either of them. I swear they were acting like a young couple about to celebrate first anniversary.

Other scenes of domestic life rolled out before my eyes like a movie with the occasional fades which revealed a new scene. I witnessed walks, trips, travel to foreign lands, gatherings with friends, and a number of quiet personal moments. I knew time was passing, but the emotions and passion between Nathan and Madeline never seemed to diminish even slightly.

Then a new scene began, and for a moment I thought we were back at the beginning, for Madeline was standing in the root cellar again. Then I realized she was wearing a robe instead of one of her dresses. I also noticed there were traces of gray in her hair, along with a few extra lines here and there. But as soon as Nathan emerged she opened her robe and let it fall to the ground to reveal she was wearing nothing underneath. And although time and gravity had been at work on her body, she was still quite desirable. I became a little envious watching Nathan scoop her up in his arms and begin kissing her like a sailor who’d been away at sea for way too long.

As he spun her around in his arms, more time passed and her hair became more gray until nothing but long silver tresses crowned her head. But the thing that got me was the fact that Nathan’s attention and affection towards her never changed. He was still at attentive, flirtatious, and devoted to her as ever. And neither did their passion for each other.

Just then the Chainsmokers/Coldplay song “I Want Something Just Like This” started running through my head.

“Yes,” I murmured, holding my arms out as if to hug someone, “That’s exactly what I want.” Now I’m going to admit, I was so caught up in the tune, that it took me a moment to realize that I my arms were wrapped around someone because I could feel the warmth of that person.

‘But I’m asleep,’ I thought to myself in confusion. ‘Aren’t I?’ Instinctively, I began to grope around with my hands to try and figure out what was going on and awoke to a wolf licking my face. Sighing I muttered, “So much for waking up in the arms of a hot guy.”

“In spite of technically being a vampyre, I am not undead, so I resent that remark,” came Nathan’s voice from just above my head.

Looking up I found that I was lying in his arms. Glancing around I found the wolves had not only surrounded but covered us in a huge puppy pile. As I became more aware of our situation, I quickly realized that Nathan was naked, and that one of my hands was very close to a certain ‘region’ of his anatomy.

My eyes locked with his.

“Careful, I can be very ticklish,” he warned.

Instead of answering, I looked around and spotted our friend and his mate curled up together. Clearly she was very happy to have him back, Sangui-sapio and all. Then I thought about Madeline and all I had seen about her life.

Turning back to Nathan, I kissed him with everything I had. Then I moved my hand lower and took hold.

His eyes widened, but instead of admonishing me as he had in the past, he said, “Are you sure?”

I nodded.

“Why?” he pressed.

“Madeline,” I answered after a moment.

“You saw her memories,” he said and began nodding to himself.

Her memories?” now it was my turn to be taken by surprise.

He gave me a gentle smile. “You now know firsthand, that I remember everything that ever happened to me because of the Sangui-Sapio. And you know I have access to the memories of its previous, and currents hosts.” Here he gestured at me and our wolf friend. “But what I didn’t tell you, was that I also have the recollections of those who’ve ever had even ‘some’ of the Sangui-sapio in them.”

“Madeline had some in her?” I gasped.

Nathan sighed, “Yeah, I hadn’t realized it myself for the longest time but eventually I figured it out.”

“How did it happen?” I pressed.

He gave me a disappointed look, then sighed, “Someone wasn’t paying attention in biology class. Okay, when a man and woman are really into each other, certain activities can lead to an exchange of body fluids which…”

“You guys weren’t using protection?” I cut in.

Nathan shook his head. “She caught an infection after giving birth to her son, and wasn’t able to conceive after that, so we didn’t bother worrying about protection. And since I was still getting used to my new existence, I hadn’t realized what had happened until much later.”

I started to frown. “But she never became like you.”

“She never wanted to. And as I learned later on, the Sangui-Sapio respected that and simply gave her a healthy long life,” Nathan explained at gazed out at our wolf friend and his mate. “Just as it will with him.”

I thought briefly about how good Madeline looked and moved during her later years. “Can the Sangui-sapio that’s in me, do what it did for Madeline?” I began.

Nathan nodded. “I already asked it to. Not that I had any idea what you were about to decide, mind you. It’s just,t I like to make sure those I care about are ‘taken care of’ so to speak. Especially if there’s the possibility of them one day contracting something serious.”

I knew he was referring to my father and his fight with cancer. I’ll admit, I have wondered and worried from time to time if I might develop that same form of cancer one day. So hearing that  Nathan had already made ‘arrangements’ for me, was a huge relief.

“So, the Sangui-Sapio will have to remain in me, but I won’t become like you,” I asked, just to be clear.

“Only if you wish to. Whether it be now or one day many years down the road, you’ll have the option,” he told me reassuringly.

“And if I choose not to?”

“It will return to me, and I will have a bit of you to carry with me always,” he smiled.

Feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders I relaxed into his chest and kissed him deeply once more. I knew where I wanted things to go next, but my stomach had other ideas and started to growl.

Talk about a mood killer.

A couple of the wolves who’d been keeping us warm raised their heads and gave me a funny look.

“You haven’t eaten since before we met up last night,” Nathan observed and slowly sat up. “And you don’t strike me as the type of person who’s into raw bison.”

“Definitely not,” I replied, doing my best not to look over at the remains of last night’s kill.

“Luckily, I know of a nice place less than an hour from here, where we can get you a good meal and I can hide from the sun for the day,” he continued.

That made me do a doubletake. “We’re in the middle of the tundra, how can there be a place to stay that close by?”

“I never said it was close by,” Nathan corrected. “I said we can get there in less than an hour.”

“But it took us a few hours to get where we are from the airport,” I pointed out.

“That’s because we were trying pick up the pack’s scent and then zero in on their location,” Nathan replied reasonably.

Apparently, him having an answer for everything was one of those little quirks I was going to have to get used to. Still, as much as I wanted him in that moment, I was sorely tempted to smack him on the arm. But I resisted and pulled out my cellphone. I knew there probably wouldn’t be any reception here, but since it was still kind of dark I was curious to know that the time was.

You can imagine my surprise to see it was 7 in the morning. Then I reminded myself where we were and that the nights were longer here. However, I could see the first hints of the coming dawn way in the distance. Nathan then informed me the sun would not be up proper for another 2 hours, which meant we needed to get him indoors as well get me food.

Around us the wolves began to meander amongst themselves, while our friend and his mate came over. She came to a stop just out of arms reach, while he came right up to me. Bending down, I ran my hands through his ruff once more and gave him a hug which he readily accepted. “Take care of yourselves,” I told him, knowing that a part of him understood my words perfectly.

He in turn, nuzzled and licked me. Then he looked at Nathan and gave him a short bark. To which Nathan smiled and said, “Thank you, I will.”

Then the pair returned to their pack and slowly moved on.

“He invited you to come and run with them again sometime, didn’t he?” I asked Nathan who was already transforming back to his own wolf form. Once shifted, he nodded, then gestured for me to climb onto his back once more.

Obediently, I climbed on board and felt the fur stretch and wrap around me once more. And boy was I glad for it. When we took off, we were moving way faster than last night, and I couldn’t help but keep a death-grip on Nathan as we went.

But as he promised, we reached our destination in just under an hour. Although, I was more than a little shocked by what we were looking at as I climbed off him.

“Are you serious?” I asked Nathan as he began putting on the clothing I had been keeping safe for him since the night before. “I thought you said there was a ‘nice place’ we could go.”

“It is a nice place,” he protested.

“It’s an ICE place!” I cried gesturing at the white curved structure. “It’s a frickin’ igloo! It’s going to be freezing inside.”

“No, it’s not. Take a closer look,” he instructed.

Frowning, I did as he instructed and got closer. Now I could see that it wasn’t made of ice but was a geodome partly covered in snow and frost. I could make out a chimney of sorts and as I moved around I spotted a wooden section that acted as the entrance to the structure. I was slowly becoming less annoyed and more impressed. I’d seen pictures of such places on the internet. Most of them were found in the Nordic countries. However, I had heard there were some here in Alaska but those were located way north of where we were.

“I had it built by some friends from Norway a few years ago,” Nathan explained.

“So you own this land?”

He nodded. “I went the ‘homestead’ route back in the 1960’s. I own several pieces up here in fact, and before you ask, yes, I do have cabins/homes built on them too. And all of them are well stocked with food, warm beds, and heating materials.”

Taking another look at the dome I could see there was a huge window looking out onto the tundra and the sky. Having slept under the Northern Lights outdoors, I started thinking about being able to do it again but inside a nice warm place with a bed.

My mind suddenly switched over to sharing a bed with Nathan all alone up here under those lights…then I started thinking about Lisa. My best dearest friend, who also cared for Nathan every bit as much as I do. While she and I had talked many times about one of us being with him, we hadn’t really…

Suddenly, my phone started to vibrate. I had a signal? All the way out here? Pulling the phone out I saw that I had full bars and a message. It was from Lisa. “It’s your time. Go for it.”

“What?” I stammered, staring at the message in confusion. She knew? But how?

Nathan came over and placed a hand on my face. “Open your mind and listen,” he told me.

Then I heard Lisa’s voice inside my head saying, “Welcome to the family, Bestie. And remember, I love you too.”

“The Sangui-Sapio,” I whispered in shock, “She has some in her as well?”

Nathan nodded. “I only do it with certain people who are very dear to me who I want to keep a close eye on. This way I can be there all the faster in case I’m… needed during an emergency.”

The way he said that last part told me it wasn’t something he wanted to discuss right now. And I was fine with that. Just knowing that my bond with Lisa had become even stronger and made us closer than ever, made me extremely happy.

But not as happy as Nathan did over the next few days and nights…

THE END – as promised

MARISA’S MUSINGS – October 24th, 2019: “Red Fang” Part IX

The first thing I noticed was one of the poor creature’s paws beginning to stretch and lengthen. “NATHAN STOP!” I cried, which he promptly did.  He shot me a confused look then saw what was happening to the wolf and quickly reverted to his own animal form. 

As he did so, the wolf’s paws began to revert to their true state as well. Once they had, I gave the wolf a reassuring hug, which it accepted without hesitation. It trusted me and I knew it. Hell, I didn’t just know it, I could feel it. The bond we were sharing was so strong. I’d never felt like this with anyone or anything before, except for maybe Lisa. But she wasn’t here and I could feel the wolf’s growing despair as if it were my own.

The poor thing just wanted to go back to its pack, especially his mate. But we both knew it would never be accepted, not if it kept shapeshifting without meaning to. Memories filled my mind of happier times of hunts, playtime, sleeping in a huge pile for warmth against the cold, the bond he shared with she who was his mate…

She was beautiful. And I say this not just because of what the wolf was feeling either. I could see her clearly in my mind.

She was more blonde than I would’ve pictured for a wolf, but oh that face. So sweet, so intelligent, and that fur, Lord I would’ve loved to have the chance to run my hands through that ruff as I had with him.  Her coat was so soft looking. And I knew from his memories she was intelligent and a great hunter, as well as a wonderful companion. 

“If there’s some way to get you back to her, we will,” I sighed aloud.

“And we’re going to,” came Nathan’s voice from behind me. Then he placed a hand (a human one) on my shoulder. Surprised I turned and saw he was back to his normal self. He was even wearing some of the clothes I’d been holding onto for him, namely his shirt and pants. “You… how…?” I stammered.

“You inadvertently helped anchor our friend,” he smiled, nodding at the wolf in my arms, who was still in his true form. “That bond three of us share, allowed me to see what was going on between you two. He was so focused on showing you his pack and mate, that I was able to shift back to myself without triggering the Sangui-Sapio in him.” 

“Can you get it out of him now? Like you did with the Cannibal Killer?” I asked.

Nathan looked at the wolf and sighed. “The Sangui-Sapio has been a part of him for months instead of minutes or an hour. It’s become a part of him, like it has with me.”

I pulled the wolf closer to me. “So it’s too late? There’s nothing we do for him?” 

“I didn’t say that,” Nathan corrected. “But first I to need to get him back to his pack. And to do that, I’m going to need your help.”

“Anything!” I said firmly, which earned me a lick and a nuzzle of gratitude from my furry companion.

“Good. First, I’m going to need you to take my clothes again, because I’m going to shift back into wolf form,” Nathan told me and began to remove his shirt. “And then once I’m in that form I’ll only communicate with you through our bond. I don’t want to scare the pack, once we find them, by talking out loud. Seeing one of their own kind speaking like a man will only freak them out.”

“It would kind of freak me out too,” I confessed.

Grinning he continued, “You may want to put my coat on top of what you’re wearing.”

That made me frown. “Why? Where are we going?”

“Out onto the tundra where it will be colder. That’s where we’ll find the pack.”

“For how long?”

He shrugged, “All night?”

I blinked. “You do know how long a night lasts up here…” I began when suddenly a distant howl pierced the night. The wolf in my arms raised his head and a feeling of longing and sadness suddenly swept over me. 

As it ended, I suddenly knew who it was. “That was her,” I breathed, looking at Nathan, “His mate.”

He nodded. But before he could speak, the wolf threw back his head and let loose a long howl of his own. I’m thrilled to say that before he finished, his voice was joined by hers. She had heard him and was letting him know it.

I have to say it was both strange and beautiful listening to them calling to one another. Emotions and memories, none of them my own, began filling my head until Nathan took one of my hands in his and called me back to myself. I was about to say something, but he placed a finger to his lips with his eyes closed tight. I stayed quiet.

After a few moments the howling came to an end, and I could hear were the sounds of the breeze rustling the trees around us. 

Finally Nathan broke the silence, “A few miles north of us. The pack is with her. Here, put my coat on, it’s going be really cold up there.”

Obediently I did as he instructed, while he stripped down to nothing. Yes, I did peak, and I liked what I saw. Well, up until the fur started appearing. Then I averted my eyes. 

After that, Wolf-Nathan came over started nuzzling his way between my legs.

“HEY! What’s the big idea?” I cried, feeling slightly annoyed. I mean there have been a number of times when I would have loved for that to happen, but that was when he was himself.

‘Get on my back and hold tight. Otherwise, there’s no way you can keep up with the two of us once we start moving,’ Once again it sounded like Nathan’s voice, but now I knew I was only hearing him inside my head.

Obediently, I did as I was told. After a few more ‘suggestions’ I half sat, half lay across his back, with my hands firmly gripping his ruff. I wasn’t really sure how well this was going to work, but then I felt some of the fur stretching and reaching up and around my waist and back. Feeling more secure I smiled and turned to our friend who had been anxiously watching and waiting.

“Let’s go find her!” I shouted and immediately he took off, with us in hot pursuit.

Soon the airport and all the signs of man vanished into the distance. In spite of the ride being a little bumpy, the ride was exhilarating. Initially, I let out the occasional cry of “Watch out for that tree…” or “Oh God you’re not going to jump that…” but then I got more used to it. I even kept myself from gasping when we leapt a twenty-foot gorge that no normal wolf could have managed, but by then I we’d be fine.

Eventually, I got so comfortable I began looking up at the night sky. 

It was incredible. I’d never seen that many stars before. And many of them were so bright! Brighter then I’d ever dreamed possible. Then before I knew it we were in the open tundra. 

OKAY, MY BAD, TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT TIME… I THINK…

Embarrassingly yours,

Allan Krummenacker

PS: What can I say? These stories and the characters take on a life of their own sometimes. 

MARISA’S MUSINGS – October 24th, 2019: “Red Fang” Part VIII

The next thing I knew I was out in the snow, running across a huge clearing. I could see the edges of the forest on all sides. The dark trees seemed to stretch high into the night sky, I could see stars. Miles and miles of stars. I’d never seen so many before in my life. They seemed endless, and so very bright. 

I remembered I was still running, and brought my attention back to what was in front of me. More snow covered ground and I realized that either the snow was really deep or… my head was a lot closer to the ground. Yet it felt perfectly normal… aside from the burning pain in my chest. Only it wasn’t so bad as before. I spared a brief glance downwards. There was blood, a lot of it. Yet even as I stared it was slowly disappearing, because it was being re-absorbed through the skin under my black fur. 

Yeah, you read that right. My black fur. I was in Nathan’s head right then and he was on the run and booking across the snow at incredible speed. From what I was experiencing we were on all fours, which was why the snow was so much closer to our face. He must’ve shifted to full wolf form after being hit by the gunfire. In the past he’s complained about how uncomfortable it was to be hit by bullets, but he always seemed to be half-joking. Now I know how much it really hurts him. I’ve made a mental note to try to keep him from making himself an unnecessary target in the future.

In the distance I could hear the rangers and men with the guns far behind us. Their voices became more distant as we ran. They had given up the chase it seemed, but then I managed to hear the word ‘snowmobile’ mentioned. Neither of us liked that sound of that. 

Then I thought, ‘Okay, we need to get out of here…’ 

Suddenly, I/we stumbled and stopped. Then I felt Nathan’s thought echo in my head.. ‘Marisa?’

Before I could respond, I started hearing, “Ri-sa… Ri-sa…” over and over again, followed by something cold and wet brushing against my cheek. I opened my eyes and found I was on the floor of the room at the airport. And a pair of worried looking eyes were staring at me.

They were wolf eyes, and to my immense relief, they were watching at me from a wolf’s face this time.

“Ri…sa…?” it spoke again. Apparently, being back in his true form was making speech harder for the creature. But the fact that it could still speak at all, meant there was not telling how long he could keep his own shape. I started to wonder how he had gotten his own form back, but then I remembered, Nathan had actually shifted back to full wolf form. Thanks to the link between the two of them, which I seemed to share now as well, the wolf had reverted to his natural form. 

Sitting up, one thought raced through my head. What would happen if Nathan shifted back to himself? Would the wolf’s form change too? I suspected that’s exactly what would happen, which meant I had  both myself and my new furry friend the heck out of there and quick. The million dollar question was, how?

I turned to look at the window the wolf had come through earlier. I wasn’t too high and both of us could easily slip through, but then what? Security and rangers were still out there, no doubt with guns at the ready. And even if they didn’t shoot, the first questions they’d be asking would be where the hell did I get the wolf?

The answer suddenly came, loud and firm. “STAY PUT! BOTH OF YOU!”  

“Nathan!” I cried and looked around, but there was no sign of him. 

I saw my companion was looking around too, so he’d heard it too. He was on high alert now, but seeing no one he finally looked back at me with the most confused look. “Easy, he’s in our heads,” I assured my new friend and petted him gently. 

He readily accepted the gesture and started rubbing up against me. Thanks to the ‘connection’ courtesy of the Sangui-Sapio, I could feel that he was very happy to not be alone anymore. But there was also deep longing inside him. He was missing his pack, especially his mate. Even if we got him out of here in one piece, and get the Sangui-Sapio out of him, then what? Even if there was some way to find his pack, would they take him back? And if not…

My thoughts were interrupted by voices coming from the window. Some of the security people had come back and I could hear them rather clearly. Moving quietly, I headed to the window for a quick look. To my surprise, I could see the men were still quite far in the distance, yet I was hearing them as clearly as if they were mere feet away. 

‘Damn, no wonder Nathan always seems to know what’s going back at The Crypt,’ I thought. The Crypt is a club in the basement of an old building, that Nathan owns. And in spite of it usually being filled with young people, Nathan always seems to know when trouble may be brewing, or tempers rising, even across a crowded dance floor. From there he naturally intervenes before anything serious happens. 

Just a dark shape lopes from around the corner of a nearby building and heads towards my window. It seems to be emitting a greenish mist as it moves. It even walks between by two security guards who take no notice of it whatsoever.

I smiled and opened the window a little wider. “Hurry up and get in here,” I hissed as he drew nearer. Just then I heard the wolf in the room with me give a little growl. Quickly I turned and saw he had his teeth bared slightly.

“Easy,” I told him, “He didn’t mean for this to happen to you. He’s going to make you better, then we’re going to get you out of here and someplace safe.”

I’m still not sure if he actually understood my words, he probably did. But I think mostly he trusted me and knew I was there for him. As he calmed down, Nathan slipped in through the window which I quickly closed. A second later, there was a knocking at the door.

“Miss? Are you all right in there? I thought I heard growling?”

It was the security guard who’d been stationed outside the room. We’d completely forgotten all about him! Clearly he’d heard the wolf growling at Nathan and was now inserting his key in the lock to come in. How the hell was I going to explain how not one, but two wolves had gotten into the room with me.

Just then, Nathan (still in his animal form) turned to the wolf and the two of them nodded. Just as the door opened, the pair of them breathed more of the greenish mist at the portal. 

The guard blinked briefly and then smiled, “Are you and your dogs all right, Miss?”

“Yes,” I smiled and petted my ‘dogs’. “We’re fine.”

“They seemed to have calmed down,” the guard nodded. “Glad we were able to find them for you. You’ll need better kennel crates, if you’re going to keep traveling with them.”

So that was going to be our ‘story”, I thought and nodded. “Yeah, my boys are pretty strong when they get riled up. Thanks for all your help. We should be get going.”

“Of course,” the man smiled, “I’ll lead you through the terminal and outside.”

Which he did. Of course, Nathan and the wolf continued to exude their mist so that anyone who glanced our way simply saw me walking my dogs out of the facility.

As we walked, I did catch some of what the rangers and other security people were saying. From what they could tell, they nailed the ‘werewolf’ which turned out to simply be a bear with a serious case of parasitic mange. The body was already being disposed of and there was nothing for anyone to worry about.

Once we were outside Nathan led the way across the street and beyond the parking lot area. After making sure there was no one around, he began to shift back to human form. But as I feared, the wolf began to change shape as well. 

TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT TIME….

MARISA’S MUSINGS – October 24th, 2019: “Red Fang” Part VII

I couldn’t believe my ears, but I knew damn well I had heard the creature’s exact words! Before I could react it spoke again, “Mar-is-a…. please… end…”

It knew my name… and it was asking me to kill it!

My eyes fell to the rifle on the ground between us. Then I looked to him. His human/wolf shaped face was nothing like the old wolfman movies I watch with my father. Nor was it anything like the faces the more modern movie-makers have come up with. This face was literally moving and reshaping constantly as I stared at him. Only the wolf’s eyes themselves never changed, and were watching me the whole time with that pleading look in them. I could see tears running out of those eyes, they were red just like Nathan’s. It was those tears that got me.

Instead of reaching for the gun, I reached for the animal to pull him close. At first he tried to recoil, but  then it seemed to realize that I was trying to do, and let me put my arms around it’s huge neck. 

You might think I was crazy for hugging such a creature, but how could I not. The poor thing was in agony. Trapped in a body that was not sure what shape it should be taking. It’s mind filled with images and memories of another life, a human’s life no less. A human who could shift his shape and become other creatures. Walking on four legs, or two, or six… wait, SIX? 

Where the hell had that come from? Nathan never turned into anything with six legs. Now my own mind was becoming confused. I was seeing creatures now, things not of this world. Some reminded me of prehistoric beings I’d seen in books or documentaries, but were still quite different. I held up one of my hands and it was like I was looking at several different images all at once, each layered on top of the other. One of them almost looked like a pseudopod, while another had claws with seven fingers/toes.

What was happening to me… the answer suddenly hit me. The Sangui-Sapio! My tears, the wolf’s tears, they were both running down my face. Just as the wolf had accidentally ingested some of Nathan’s blood during that hunt, now some of that mixed blood had passed into my skin. The same thing had happened with Isabella all those years ago. When she had slowly been dying in her brother’s arms, his tears had fallen onto her skin and been absorbed without his realizing it. 

Now, I don’t want to sound like a complete idiot here. Between what happened with Isabella, and that Cannibal Killer who bit Nathan a few years ago, I knew he could infect someone else pretty easily. But he never mentioned the memories. 

Okay, technically he did. Many times in fact. He’s always teasing that he has an eidetic memory, but because he’s been around for over 150 years, there are a lot for him to sort through to find certain memories. But he never mentioned the ‘other’ memories. The ones that were not his. Mind you, I’m not talking about the one’s I was getting from the wolf in my arms. There were other memories. Old ones, from other Para-Earths…

But I pushed them aside. Right then I only wanted to focus on the wolf’s memories. We were connected now in a way I never dreamed possible with any creature, human or animal. The poor thing’s anguish ran far deeper than I had first imagined. After having accidentally ingested some of the Sangui-Sapio, it had felt stronger, tired less easily. It had taken down a full moose by itself and the pack had eaten well. And of course with every kill there had been blood, more than enough to satisfy. 

At first this all was fine, but then the nights started getting shorter and he had found the sun becoming uncomfortable and needed to stay in a den. Not that the pack really minded, they were more active at night mostly. But when the nights became shorter and the sun lasted longer and longer, he had had to dig a den and could barely come out unless they had eaten well the night before.

The pack had tried to stick by him after first, but with his inability to hunt as often they began to grow restless. The final straw though had come when he began to ‘change’ physically. It had happened while he had been sleeping. He had been dreaming, or actually remembering things that had not happened to it, but to another…. namely Nathan. There had been a fight, in a place with stones and death. It was standing on two legs, instead of four and… had awoken with a start hitting it’s head on the ceiling of the den. Instinctively, it raised a paw only to find the toes of that paw had elongated. So had the leg attached to it. 

Confused, it scurried awkwardly out of the den (which seemed much smaller than it had remembered) and into the clearing where most of the pack lay. The shock of seeing what had happened to their leader was too much. At first the pack growled, then caught his scent. Confused and frightened they bolted would not return. No matter how hard he tried to catch up with them, they kept running. Only his mate occasionally would stop and look. She even tried approaching him, but then his body would shift some more terrifying even her to the point that she fled.

Alone, and unable to hunt properly, the wolf had started following the smells of food wherever it could find some. Successfully killing sick or wounded prey to satisfy the need for blood. Eventually, it found prey caught in traps and would take from them, but then it began running afoul of humans. 

They had always avoided people. People had long sticks that lit up with a loud noise. Occasionally, this was followed by pain and blood. He had lost prey and even some of his own pack to those noisy sticks. The creature now knew it was called a gun, but how it knew this was confusing. There were so many memories filling it’s mind. So much confusion… and the dreams.  Those terrible dreams! Places and creatures it had never seen or experienced, yet it could remember them.

But recently, while feasting on a trapped deer, a man had shown up and used his fired his gun. He had felt the piercing of the… bullet, rip through his side. Instinctively, it turned and ran, but on two legs instead of four. More shots were fired and several hit, but it managed to get away. When it was safe, the wolf had lay down in a cave. With no pack to feed to help keep it warm, it expected to die all alone and forsaken. But instead of death, the pain simply went away and the wounds healed.

“That’s when you realized, you couldn’t go on…” I murmured aloud, still holding the creature close. “No pack, all alone, and afraid that this painful existence might not ever end.”

“Ma-ris-a…” it said once again, in that same broken manner as before. I understood now that it recognized me from Nathan’s memories. As that thought passed through my mind, I realized I had Nathan’s memories now as well. That startled me. Nathan’s thoughts and feelings… were in me now as well.  And I now knew him in ways I’d never dreamed of before.

Suddenly, the both the wolf and I gasped. Pain! Red-hot stabbing pain ripped through out chests. Unable to help ourselves we collapsed to the ground and rolled apart. The pain was beyond belief and the next thing I knew, everything went black.

 TO BE CONTINUED…

(A thousand apologies for leaving you all on this much of a cliffhanger, but I promise not to keep you waiting long for the next installment – Yours Respectfully, Allan)