Fire & Rain, Part 2

October 21, 2010
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Chapter Two: One Week Later
“So which one is he?” Officer Thurgood asked.
“He kinda has a small Afro, and he should be stumbling all over himself,” I answered
Some guy friend of Janine’s threatened to try a speedball drug cocktail at this informal school dance. Well, he didn’t look like he had used drugs of any kind, but he appeared and smelled drunk. Janine had been all “he’s gonna hurt himself and I can’t do anything about it, oh poor me,” whereas her friend Paris suggested someone get the school cop involved. Of course, I’m dumb enough to rush to the aid of a ‘damsel in distress’, so I got the cop and Narc’d on the kid.
Officer Thurgood found the kid and hauled him out of there in handcuffs. As I walked away from the scene before this happened, a tiny pixie-like girl, her head level with my chest, watched me leave. She lost it, screaming, “What’s your freaking problem? Why’d you narc on him?” in my general direction.
Then Janine saw me walking off. She stood in front of me and also started yelling at me.
“Why’d you do that?!?”
My temper actually flared at her for once. “You were the one who was all like, ‘Oh, I’m so helpless, somebody should do something’.”
“Oh really!”
“Yeah, Paris even suggested it!”
Paris piped up. “I only suggested it; I never said someone should really do it.”
“Look, how would you feel if that stupid kid died from an overdose or alcohol poisoning because you didn’t say anything? Huh?” I shot back.
“Yeah, but now he’s in jail. His life’s screwed up now because of you!” Janine screamed.
“Good! Maybe he’ll learn a lesson from it! I don’t have to take this, you yelling at me, good freaking night!” And I left. She looked furious, beyond anything I had seen in a woman. I was the only kid leaving the dance in a crowd of people trying to get in. I stopped by the bathroom to splash some cool water on my red face, then I stepped into the night. My foot barely touched the parking lot pavement when my vision grew bright with a million stars, my head violently rocking forward. When the stars left, I spun around to discover six other guys and the pixie-girl forming a circle around me, two of them carrying glass bottles and one carrying a rusted aluminum baseball bat. My throbbing head started repeatedly chanting, oh sh**, as I prepared for a fight.
The pixie-girl spoke. “What’s your problem, Narc? Scared?”
The part of me most connected to my sarcasm picked this time to rear its ugly head. “No, just shocked that you offered so many men sex in return for me leaving this place in an ambulance.” I threw my one-sided smile at her. She exposed her teeth in a feral grin. “What, is that supposed to scare me? Should I regret what I just said, because I’m not sorry for it, not one bit. A truly attractive girl unlike yourself wouldn’t have to offer her skin for this kind of thing, y’know –”
One of the bigger guys caught me mid-sentence and threw me into one of the streetlights. The pixie-girl shrieked, “This is what Narcs get!”, then the rest of the guys came at me. I chopped one of them in the throat, crushing his windpipe, leaving him on the ground, choking and gasping for breath. This enraged the other five further, and pretty soon, I was on the ground, a target for the hundreds of blows that didn’t rain on, but rather hailed on my body.
They’re gonna kill me, I thought, I cheated death a week ago only to die today. Go figure.
All of a sudden, the entire world shifted. I felt my mind change. Part of it unlocked itself, and another part came unglued. My thoughts vanished, replaced with animal instinct. My pain took over. Without hesitation, I plunged not teeth, but fangs into the guy that threw me. Most everyone towered over me now. This did not matter. My body felt powerful, dense and muscular. I shook my head until the man managed to extricate his leg from my mouth, crawling off under the cars. I wheeled around to face the others. My sense of smell registered before my sight. I could smell them. Four of them remained, ready to stop me, reeking of alcohol. The pixie-girl made an effort on the kid with the crushed windpipe, but CPR couldn’t save him. He rasped, flinging his arms in an endeavor to find air, but gave up, slipping into unconsciousness. The kid with the bat rushed at me while the others swore steadily in shock at the turn of events. I lunged at him, catching his throat in midair. He came to the ground with me. He sputtered nonsensical phrases, blood pouring from his neck. I shook my head hard. A gargling sound escaped his lips. I shook my head harder, to break his neck, to kill my attacker, to survive. My conscience played no role in the decision. Instinct ruled now. I no longer remained a slave to human morals. I gave one more almighty shake. A satisfying SNAP emitted from his neck. His thrashing body went limp. I released him, sniffed at his corpse, and found the metallic odor of blood masked by an overwhelming stench of alcohol. He died massively drunk. He did not suffer as greatly as he should have.
My skin, drenched in crimson, felt no sensation of liquid running down its surface. A layer of thick gray animal hair covered my pale skin. From the energy I now had, I let loose a savage growl at the other three men and the pixie-girl. They sprinted, leaving their three fallen friends behind as cowards would. They thought they could deceive me in the maze of the parking lot. They were drunk, though, and I was not. I could think coherently. In the confusion I smelled yet another noxious scent. Fecal matter? Under normal circumstances, I would have died laughing from the fact that I had scared someone shitless.
I chose to pursue what looked like the pixie-girl in the darkness. My first hunt, not of small game or deer, but human. The pixie-girl deserved my wrath the most. She instigated the whole mess. She would now pay for it as three of her friends had.
I caught up to her, grabbed her ankle, tripped her. I ripped at her abdomen, determined to kill again.
I stopped the moment I realized who I really attacked.
I backed up. My human logic returned. Janine laid there, stark white, a red stain spreading across her white shirt that now counted several holes in it. I smelled. The pixie-girl was nowhere near me. I relied on my sight, which still worked poorly in the darkness, even with the luminescence of animal eyes. This mistake cost me dearly.
Janine trembled as she rose to her feet, backpedaling as fast as she could. Tears fell down her face, visible in the streetlights. I tried to draw closer.
I whimpered. She turned away, limping, holding her side with both hands. I heard her cries. Each shaking breath drawn into her lungs pierced my being. Her scream reverberated in my skull. Whether I returned to a normal human body or not, she would hate me.
I ran. My feet told me to run. I never ran like this until now. Running never was my thing. I didn’t have the patience to go through the training. But it came easy tonight. Four feet cover terrain faster than two. My breathing came in pants, but I never ran short of breath. My body should have been on fire, but I felt no burn from the muscle exhaustion. My instincts told me to run, so I ran.
I ran past the local Wal-Mart, past my neighborhood, over the highway between my town and the mountains. I ran to the mouth of American Fork Canyon, then into the mouth.
I could not return home now. I was no longer human, at least in body. I killed a man, possibly two men. Even if I changed back, the authorities would hound me over the death of Mr. Baseball Bat. I could go to prison. In Utah, they still had the death penalty. Self-defense be d***ed. That kid probably came from Highland or Alpine, where most people have too much money to spend. Hiring a lawyer to sue my parents would not be a problem.
I could not go back…
If I did, I would have to face Janine…
A part of me died forever in that moment...
I followed the stream for who knows how many miles. I guessed from the moon’s place in the nighttime sky that about an hour had passed, maybe more. My relentless pace finally slowed when I looked back. I saw no lights, none from houses, businesses, or cars. My throat burned from dehydration. My stomach ached for food. The water from the brook assuaged the fire in my esophagus. Pollution or purity, I didn’t care.
My reflection shone in the water, next to a duplicate of the moon. My human clothes fell off a long time before. My thick gray and white coat gleamed in the moonlight. My eyes reflected light. They were much beadier and a little disguised my fur, but still had their familiar emerald glow. My mouth had become a muzzle. I bared my teeth, examining my new fangs, licking some caked blood from my muzzle. In fact, I resembled Dakota, almost exactly. My markings around the eyes even matched his.
I thought for a split second that I might be a werewolf. I looked at the reflection of the moon in the water. It had a crescent shape. So I couldn’t be a werewolf…phew…
I gazed at the starry sky. The moon radiated the Sun’s leftover light. Even though I knew I wasn’t a wolf, some part of me desired to cry out at the sky.
I reared my head and howled. I howled my apology to Janine, and to no one else
…I’m sorry…


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