by Barrett S.
I trail him at a fair distance. Can’t
have him jumping the gun too soon. At least he’s going
to do it out here, in the woods. Makes my job easier. Thank God
for small favors. Still, we’re only about 4 miles from
town so I don’t know how “in the woods” you
could consider this place.
He steps off the gravel road and disappears
into the brush. He still doesn’t know I’m following.
stomping around in the woods like a pack of elephants.
He may not really be that loud to everyone else, but to me
he might as well be shooting a cannon before each step. I hate
cock-sure bastards like him.
I glance behind me, checking
the sky. It’s going that
pretty orangey-purple I love so much.
No one followed us; no one’s watching. And this a**hole;
no one’s going to miss.
I step off the road and
into the brush in the same place he did. I don’t
even have to be all that quiet either with all the noise
he’s making. He’s weaving
in and out of the trees, heading deeper into the woods.
You can only go ½ way into the woods, I think,
because after that, you’re heading out of them.
of him laughing in my face earlier makes me mad. I quickly
check that emotion. Any other night I’d fume
about it, get myself all worked up over the “I
wish I had”’s and the “he’s lucky
But not tonight. No sir. Tonight’s my special night;
and his last night.
I feel it squirm in my guts, aroused
by that last thought, and tell it to be still. It balks.
I mentally jerk its leash and tell it to shut up. You’ll
have your fun, I say, but I have to do my thing first.
I tried to talk to him. Tried to help him. Tried to keep
this from happening, but I should have known it would come
to this. The forty-six people before him wouldn’t listen
to me so why would he? He’ll make forty-seven.
would say I’m getting tired of having to do this
part, but I’m not. It’s my civic duty. I
am getting sick of talking to them when I find them and
offer a helping hand, only to have them slap it away.
Seems like all I’m
going is wasting my breath.
They all thought they knew
better than me. I would say I got the last laugh, but
its not funny. Death is rarely funny. And what I did
to them isn’t funny either; its just
what I do. Dog catchers catch wild dogs; shelters put
them down: I do both.
I duck behind a tree, hold
my breath and listen. He’s
getting undressed. Good. Again, this will make my
job easier. Although I would prefer to be farther outside of
town for this I should be thankful he’s not crazy enough
to do it at home, or (God forbid) in a neighborhood. Following
his lead, I loosen my shoelaces but keep my shoes
on. Its not time to strip… not yet. He’s standing,
shirtless but still wearing jeans, with his back to me, head
leaned back, basking in the cool, moist air of dusk. It’s
the last little bit of pleasure he’ll ever
experience so I give him a moment to enjoy it.
crickets are starting to chirp around us and the
fading fast. I sigh. Time to quit screwing around
and get this over with. The half-light has reduced
my vision to a definition less world of vague shapes
and muted colors. Now’s
as good a time as any.
I step out from behind the
tree and walk toward him. My skin’s starting
to tingle. It’s a strong sensation; not enough to make me want
to scratch because I’ve got a tight reign on it, but anyone else
would be scratching like mad out by now. He’s not scratching.
He’s got a lot of self-control,
I’ll give him that, but he doesn’t have enough to keep
it at bay. I do.
I feel my eyes changing. My vision flutters
for a second, blurring, then snaps into the enhanced acuity of
a nocturnal predator.
I feel it writhing within me. It wants out,
bad. I tell it to be patient and it obeys.
He finally hears
me coming and turns around. He’s not surprised. Not
even scared. Far from it. He’s grinning from ear to ear. “You
have gone and fucked up now,” he says with a smile, his
voice sing-songy. He’s too full of himself to realize that
not the one who’s
I tell him that it didn’t have to be this way
forced my hand. “I’m gonna tear you apart,” he
says. I’m just
a few feet from him now. He growls at me, trying to scare me,
but you can’t
out boogy the boogy man.
He glances down and sees my hands as
I close the distance. Their not so much “hands” any
more. More like paws with finger-like toes. I see the smile drop
from his face a split second before I wrap my right hand around
his neck and hoist him up in the air. I didn’t tell him
I was one too, and he obviously didn’t
smell it on me either. Good for me; bad for him.
He claws at my forearm and kicks at my chest and stomach; but
it does no good.
I feel it jumping for joy within me. It’s
quivering with excitement. I’m using its strength,
letting it out of its cage, one paw at a time. It swells
within me, filling me up and pushing me aside. I can feel
its uncertainty at this. Like a dog with a treat balanced
on its nose, I can feel it imploring me for permission to
let it have its goodie; let it take over for a while.
gurgling now, fighting for breath. He sees my yellow eyes
and stops fighting. I feel him give up. This is what you
would call in the dog training world “submission.”
moon’s not even up yet and I’m well into the
an easy thing to do when you’re the master instead
of it. I call the shots, I hold the leash. It does what I
say. He’s realizing this right
about now and is powerless to stop me. He won’t change
for a while still.
I feel my bones shifting, changing. My
muscles are sliding over one another, reattaching themselves
at different points on my skeleton, changing my posture,
hunching me over. Making me more like it. I slow the change
down, dragging it out so he can see just how “in control” I
really am. I feel my ears sliding up the sides of my skull
and realize I better say something before my mouth and throat
change and I can’t talk anymore.
about this,” I say with a voice that isn’t
my own, “I’ll make it quick.” His eyes go
wide with fear, then dull and lifeless when I break his neck.
I didn’t like him all that much, but
even an a**hole like him deserves to be killed humanely.
Part of him was still human, after all.
He crumples at my feet
like a sack of potatoes when I let him go. Crap! Looking down
at his lifeless body I notice my shoes and realize, I’m
still dressed. I went and fiddle-farted around and now I’m
probably going to tear my cloths up changing. Damn.At least
I loosened my shoes.
As my heel shifts upward and my foot
lengthens, my balance slips forward onto my toes. I step
out of my shoes, leaving them neatly in place under his body.
Speaking of which, his body is starting to show signs of changing.
can see the muscles dancing under his skin. Even though he’s
still got a while to go until he changes completely, I reach
down and grab his head with my toe-fingers and spin it around
looking at his own back.
Breaking his neck didn’t
really kill him so much as it ended his human life.
So now, when he does come back, his it will be
in charge. He would have no memory of what I was
about to do to him, and really, this is my last
gift to him. The last thing he saw as a man was
the world spin into a blur as I broke his neck.
The first thing his wolf will see will be my wolf’s
teeth ripping his throat out.
This is the compromise
I’ve worked out with my
wolf. I put the man down; it puts the wolf down.
My wolf kills for sport. I kill out of mercy.
I pull his jeans off, jerking them free of his
feet and toss them over by his shirt and shoes
before he craps himself. My jeans and shirt are
so tight on me now I know there’s no hope
of wearing them out of here tomorrow morning. Even
if they don’t tear under
the strain my changing body is putting on them,
the blood I get on them will ruin them.
My fur is
coming in quickly. It pours through my skin, filling
the space between my body and my cloths, stretching
the material even tighter. Yep. I’m
definitely going to need his cloths tomorrow.
With that in mind, I kick his cloths and my shoes
a little farther away from the body, just incase
my pet gets a little sloppy.
He’s about my size, maybe a little bigger.
I think his cloths will fit me just fine. I can deal with wearing piss smelling
pants for a couple hours on the drive home, but there’s no way in Hell
be sitting in another mans feces for any amount
My thighs shorten and my knees move to accommodate.
My legs bow up like a dog’s.
Like the wolf’s. I nearly double in girth.
I’m also about two feet taller now. One
night I scratched a tree trunk about where
I thought the top of my head might be. I didn’t
include the ears; that would be cheating. I
about seven feet tall fully changed, give or
take a couple of inches.
I return to the body
and crouch down beside it. That was the last
straw for my jeans and the seat gives out of
with a slap-stick ripping sound. I don’t
care. I barely pay it any attention. I’m
too busy watching his head slowly turn back
around. Ticking back to zero like an egg timer.
And when it dings, dinner will be ready.
mouth and nose push out from my face, turning
into a muzzle. And with that the last of my human
body is gone. I’m all nightmare now.
My wolf finishes sliding into the drivers
seat, eager to do his part. I’m
watching him like a hawk. Well, more like
a drivers-ed instructor. Except when he gets out of line I’m not just
in control of the gas and the brake; I can snatch his ass right out of that
drivers seat and make him sit in the back. He knows this so he’s on his
Timers about to go off. Any second now.
not too big on this next part so I look away. I’m not
squeamish mind you. My wolf and I share in the pleasure
of eating; I just prefer to think about eating something other
than the skin, hair, and organs I know my wolf won’t
stick his nose up at. I don’t have
a choice in the matter anyway. We share
a body, and to a point, a mind.
Ding! Soups on, boy.
The body’s eyes snap
open, bright and yellow like mine, just as my wolfs jaws snap
shut. “Good boy,” I tell my wolf. “Eat up.
I’ll bury whatever’s left tomorrow morning.
AUTHOR BIO: Barrett S. stomps
the ground in Memphis, TN with his wife and two young sons.
He is currently writing his first novel ( about zombies…Wee!)
and finalizing the thoughts and ideas that will certainly
result in 5-6 more books of varying subjects. When he isn’t
writing, Barrett is at an actual paying job, wrangling
his children away from speeding traffic, or trying not
to melt in the sweltering southern heat.