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Author's note: This came to me in a dream. Yup.
If there was one think he did not like, Eric did not like getting screwed over. He looked across the poker table in the back room of the almost abandoned bar, one of the freshmen at HU grinning back. Eric glared at him, keeping his grey eyes from shifting color. The freshmen, known as Will, put down four aces and a king, Four of a Kind. Eric’s Full House looked very puny to that.
The cheating little bastard. The boy’s eyes fixed on the deck the whole time, his large lips moving silently with silent numbers. He knew how to count cards…but he couldn’t count in his head.
Very calmly, almost pleasantly, Eric said, “You think I’m stupid?” His voice was quiet, filled with what some idiots thought was happiness. The voice was too quiet to be happy, it was more of suppressed anger, calmed and sharpened to a dangerous point.
“Huh? I know you are.” Will said with a smirk, his brawny arms pulling up, linking his fingers behind his head. Will was apparently, one of those idiots, his brain probably as shriveled with video games and TV as a raisin is shriveled with sun.
Right away, Eric was assessing how to beat him within an inch of his life.
He shifted his right arm out farther than the other. He planned to strike with his left hand, shoving Will’s face into the wall behind him.
“I know you were counting cards, you didn’t hide it very well.” Eric smirked, leaning back to gather himself for the jump. His voice still held that dangerously pleasant tone. He leaned forward again, his legs coming up nicely under him. “So, no, I would not call myself ‘stupid’”
Finally, Will saw the danger in that light banter, and his eyes went from tawny to wide, as realization hit him in the gut. “What?”
“I said, I know you were counting cards.” He tensed, ready to jump.
Will stood up, showing his full size. Impressive, he was about 6”4 and had a football player’s build. Eric stayed sitting down, as calm as ever. Eric stood at seven-foot even, so he knew that Will couldn’t beat him in a height match. He flexed his muscles, grinning at the thought of another murder.
Eric struck, the blow seeming almost casual, yet full of power, as Will’s head smashed into the dry wall behind him, leaving a hole the size of Eric’s stomach. Will fell to the floor, his temple bleeding, his eyes glazed. Eric knew Will was out like a light. He grabbed Will’s legs, and started pulling. Eric walked out of the back exit door, no one noticing the short beat down that just happened, with Will dragging silently behind him, not Eric anymore, but Randal Eethers, the escaped mental patient from Huntress Mental Hospital.
Jason looked out over the city on Witcham Hill, looking for food. A werewolf’s diet consists purely of meat and blood, hot and running, raw and petulant. It has its own scent; sour, slightly rotting, soft…bulky. The same smell occurs in children, the homeless or regular animals. But…of course, you couldn’t just steal any child off the street, even though it was what he liked best. Runaway children are better, they’re missing, and nobody knows if they’re alive. Animals were…different. They had the same smell, but their insides aren’t like any human’s at all. They taste like what they eat…garbage. Oh, he remembered a time when the deer tasted like meat, and that was when the Indians ruled the land, and the white man didn’t even think of America. When the bison roamed on the prairie, and didn’t have to worry about being slaughtered one by one.
Jason’s black fur stood on end at this last thought, the wind slipping through his spread tendrils of hair and giving him a chill. His eyes flashed crimson, and his lips pulled back from large, knife-like teeth. He felt the impulse build in his chest, growing to simple need. He howled, his anger and hate for humanity rolling off of him in waves, his rage letting go in a whoosh of air out of his lungs, in more of a yell than a howl. And as the howl passed through the sky, the wind carrying it over trees and houses, it came loud and clear onto the Huntress University campus, where Randal was just opening up Will’s shirt, and digging the tip of a Swiss army knife into his sternum. The blood poured out in a single motion, almost black with color. Randal hooked his fingers into the nice opening he made and spread apart the ribcage, the satisfying crack of cartilage loud in his head. Once the lungs we’re completely exposed, Randal howled with laughter and he grabbed the heart and pulled, in one fluid motion, it came out cleanly. He took it between his teeth, and started skinning the flesh from Will’s ribcage.
Jason heard the laughter, loud and insane, and he began to trot down the hill. His muscles rippled under his midnight fur, and his claws dug into the ground as he dropped to all fours. He lunged forward, grabbing the earth and pulling himself ahead with terrible speed. His hind legs pushed himself faster with all of his pent up energy, his fur staying close to his body so he could go as fast as possible. In what was seconds, he was ten miles from the hill, at the University.
He stepped into the street lamps of the campus, his fur glowing dangerously, his red eyes catching the light and making them bright with fury, and his foot sank into a large and empty ribcage. Fresh blood ran over his nails, his foot coming down on the spine of the victim. The heart was gone, dug out by a hunting knife, or bare hands. The eyes were gouged, and white feathers protruded from the sockets, running red with blood. The tongue was gone, a bloody stump where it had been protruding from between clamped teeth. Black hair was splayed everywhere, stuck together in clumps. There was a large bump on the temple of the victim, purple and black like a bruise. At least he was unconscious during his torment, and that gave Jason a little incentive to not go hunting for the killer. He didn’t like something else killing his prey, in his territory.
He pulled his head up from the gore, his eyes searching, his ears twitching with excitement. He gingerly stepped over the carcass, and continued into the woods, searching, always searching.
~ ~ ~
Aaron wasn’t right after his meeting with the police about Will’s murder. He got into this habit of looking over his shoulder every few minutes, and he would wipe his lips with the back of his hand every now and then. He didn’t look so well anymore, like he was always awake.
She turned her head and looked at Aaron, her heart falling as he looked over his shoulder, his eyes moving frantically. Jason walked beside him, shaking his head. Quinn felt anger flare in her chest; Jason acted like Aaron was an embarrassment to him, a nobody. They were brothers and he still felt that way!
Quinn longed for her boyfriend back, the one that made her laugh with his dirty banter and his lopsided grin. The one she fell in love with on her freshman year in Collage. Not the shivering nervous breakdown he was now.
She looked at her feet, sighing and longing to feel Aaron’s presence again.
Jason walked beside Aaron silently, shaking out the feeling of somebody watching them. He shook his head, wagging his midnight hair into his emerald eyes. Jason was aware that if he kept this up, he would slowly go insane. Aaron swung his head over his shoulder, his strange red hair glinting in the sunlight, and whimpered.
“He’s watching, Jason…” Aaron muttered, walking a little bit closer to him. “I can feel it.”
“Shut up, Aaron.” Jason muttered, “Don’t talk; I know he’s there too.”
Aaron looked at Quinn, longing in his eyes. “She hates me now.”
“What do you mean?” Jason looked up at Quinn also, to find her staring at him with her big hazel eyes. Hate bordered her features, and showed in her corneas. If she had been a werewolf, she would have driven him crazy.
Aaron whimpered again, swinging his head over his shoulder. “She doesn’t like how nervous I am, we fight about it at night.” Aaron looked at Quinn, trembling slightly more. “We haven’t…you know…courted…yet.”
Jason held back a scoff. “Aaron, if you say courted one more time, I’m gonna hit you.”
“Courted.” Aaron said, and grinned his crooked smile. “Just to annoy my brother…I’ll say it again. Courted.”
Jason punched him in the gut. Hard enough to send him falling, but Aaron didn’t seem to move.
“You need to try harder than that, bro.” Aaron smiled again. Then looked at Quinn, who was staring at both of them in confusion.
“I don’t want to know.” She said.
Both of them chortled with laughter.
Randal sat at a bar, drinking down shot after shot of whiskey, savoring the sting as it went down his throat. He was staring at a girl with night black hair and blue eyes. She had multiple facial piercings, one on the lip, one on the eyebrow, and he suspected one down below the beltline.
Perfect. He thought, grinning. Randal never used to be like this, and, in fact, he was one of the softest people you would ever get to know. He was bullied at school, he got into fights, and slowly, ever so slowly, he started to contemplate against his school. He would dream about red and burning fires, the school and everyone in it melting before his eyes. Twisted bodies all fallen around the school, charred and crusty. He wanted the picture to be real, and he savored every chance he got to drift off and watch the school burn in his head. He practiced burning wooden boxes, refrigerators, and, once he was in sixth grade, he went onto burning cats.
He loved to watch the cats run around, mewing, partly screaming half the time, and once they were dead, he would throw them into a hole he would make, like an artificial grave, and bury it. His thoughts have always been a little off, especially since he went to Village Mental Hospital. He just thought of it as seeing the big picture. And then he was transferred to Witcham.
He began to notice some differences ever since he got out, though. For instance, he would always hear a demonic undertone to his words when he spoke to himself. He didn’t really care, just as long at the power he felt in his bones stayed.
He stood up, lumbering over to the woman, putting on a grin that said “hey, I’m just lookin for a good time.”
She looked up with a grim acceptance that chilled Randal.
She knows, she knows! His head screamed. But what came out of his mouth showed no panic at all. “Hello, miss.”
(she knows she knows she knows)
She looked ahead, her eyes setting into the glazed dead look. “Don’t play coy with me, Demon.” She said in a husky, attractive voice.
Randal’s smile faded at once, his eyes going a flat black. He felt cold, colder than he ever felt. And for the first time since he was sixteen, he felt fear. Fear that he wasn’t really there, like he was just some breath of air, riding the wind on the false idea that he was human.
(she knows she knows)
He pulled himself out of his disconcerting thoughts, looking at the woman with more anger.
“Who are you, miss?” He glared at her, his lips quivering.
“I’m as bad as it gets, Demon. Call me Blaise.” She smirked, stuffing a hand in her back pocket of her black jeans. Her dark hair glistened dangerously, her eyes flashing black.
“Well, I’m Randal.” He said, dazed. She was immensely charming, with eyes that put you in your place. You knew you were real when you were with her, you could feel your insides melting at the sight of her.
He grinned. “How would you like to go for a ride?”
She smiled, and agreed to come along.
Jason looked at the moon, wondering if there were others…like him. Sing It Back by Moloko played softly as he watched the sky darken.
“When you are ready, I will surrender, Take me and do as you will…”
The moon glowed down on Jason’s face, making him smile. He trembled with the Change, his muscles bulking slightly.
“Have what you want; your way’s always the best way…” The voice from the radio sung.
Finally, finally, the last sliver of sun set behind the hills, the sky darkening even more.
“I have succumbed to this passive sensation, peacefully falling away.”
And right then, as Randal was stripping off Blaise’s shirt, Jason howled, and slunk into the woods, the chorus to the song fading as he got deeper.
He saw the dark, slowly creeping upon him, the laughing voice of Him taunting Aaron all the while. He ran, but he just seemed to be getting closer, the floor moving under his feet, carrying him faster, and faster towards the darkness. Aaron screamed, and tripped over the head of Quinn, her eyes sunken, her tongue gone, her heart stuffed inside her throat, still beating, more blood spitting out of her with each beat. Aaron groaned, scrambling back, but forgetting about Him.
The black descended upon him, swallowing Aaron whole, and he went down, screaming, fading, getting eaten and pulled apart as he did so.
Aaron gasped, sitting up in his bed. He felt cold, shivers racked through him violently. Sweat poured down his neck in buckets, wetting the pillow. He felt around for Quinn, and his hand grasped air. A moan escaped him, as his heart shattered a little more.
She must have left after I fell asleep. He thought. “Oh dear god, its’ gonna kill me!” He screamed, hot tears streaming down his face freely. “Why cant he just leave us alone!” He roared, bending over his curled knees in his agony. He sobbed, shivering, screaming, until he was too tired to move.
He fell onto his side, still sobbing slightly, and as his sobs tapered into whimpers, just seconds before he fell asleep, he whispered, “Stay with me...” And he drifted off into the darkness.
Blaise felt sorrow as she lay there in the bed next to the Demon called Randal. Her heart felt shattered, and she could barley breath. Her chest heaved up and down, shaking with silent sobs. Her eyes were wet with tears, hot and fresh. And as she slept, as she dreamed of black and evil things, she whispered, “Always…”
Jason heard the muffled moans of his brother, and his heart went out to his younger sibling, he howled again, putting every sound of sympathy into his tone, hoping to God the Aaron would hear.
Aaron, in fact, did, hear his brothers cry. And as he dreamed of being tortured, his brother came soaring in, his long wolfish arms outstretched, his fingered paws, gripping the Demon’s neck. Jason bit into the Demon’s shoulder, and tore out a large, twisted bone. Once again, Aaron was running.
Jason ran into the woods, feeling that he needed to be there. His paws pulled hin foreward, passed the meadows, down the creek, never stopping, just pulling. This was what Jason knew had to be done. And this would be the confrontation that the thing living under the woods was waiting for. Jason stopped by a large rock that was in a shape eerily like a skull, he examined it carefully, walking around it three times and then sitting. As Jason rested, he felt a large hand on his forehead; he felt the evil of the thing rolling out of thin air. The hairs on his back stood up, and Jason let out a snarling roar. This thing scared him, and he didn’t like being scared. As Jason roared, the thing squeezed tight on his temples, making him scream. It didn’t let go. Soon, Jason was just whimpering, cowering in front of this beast.
Its voice entered into Jason’s mind, and Jason felt cold. Like ice.
I am called Bane; I guard the gates to the Abyss. A loud, hungry voice said. The growling undertone was precise and noticeable and Jason knew Bane was worse than Satan himself. I live under this forest, and I don’t like trespassers. The voice snarled. Jason whimpered in response, his ears flattening against his head, his neck bending between hunched shoulder blades with an invisible weight that was burdened onto him. His eyesight was turned to black, all detail going out of the night in an instant as he sat there. The voice was immensely powerful, filled with death and sorrow. The smell this thing gave off reminded him of a book he once read, it was old and rotting, like the infected skin
of a long rotten animal. The name of the book sounded silently in the back of his head, the crooning voice of a mother that he never had. Stephen King’s The Shining, with the long-since dead woman in the bathtub, purple skin bulging with parasites and worms. The eyes dry and sunken
(murder redrum redrum murder murder redrum)
with time. With all the time those eyes have not blinked, always watching, waiting for little Danny boy to stumble upon her in room 217, so she can wretch her wrath upon the little boy. Jason felt his sanity waver just on the tip of a knife. The blackness was loud, drowning out all other sounds but the voice of the Abyss.
Tell me, why are you here? The voice rumbled darkly, millions of souls talking in an unearthly undertone with its voice. Jason found it hard to breathe, let alone speak. He struggled with his throat, forgetting that his mouth was no longer made for speech, that his teeth could not form words in any coherent human manner. His mind was a jumbled, clouded mess of brains and pumping blood, his thoughts sprawling out across his baron consciousness. Finally, he grasped his mental voice, just barely hanging onto the last threads of his sanity.
I-I felt your presence. In the woods. It wasn’t much, but it was enough. Jason knew Bane wasn’t looking for an explanation. The thing laughed slightly, bearing down more weight on Jason’s temples ever so slightly. He winced.
Interesting, I should have known you were with the Psychic boy. Are you here to fight me? The weight wasn’t slight anymore, it was crushing. Jason howled, and bent his head more. He knew he couldn’t fight this thing.
But it was inevitable that he had to. But not yet.
No, no…of course not. He said frantically, his mental voice high pitched with fear. Curiosity lead me here for the most part…I didn’t know if you were here for sure. He was afraid Bane would see through his lies, and crush his skull with a small flex of his mental energy.
Instead, Bane laughed. You are a fool, little brother. He bellowed happily, the ground rumbling under Jason’s feet. I can feel your fear in my bones. The voice was loud now, almost angered.