by Erin McAteer
The night was silent. No creature stirred or made a single sound. Animals were always said to have a ‘sixth sense’, and right now it told them to shut up and don’t move. Else the ‘sticks-that-make-red-water’ would hurt them.
Silence was a golden mirror... until a bullet from a rifle and a heart-wrenching howl shattered the glass into a thousand of jagged pieces, cutting reality at the seams.
This all happened suddenly, every animal in the dark woods scattered. Birds squawked and flapped their wings, taking flight toward the dark sky and bright red moon. Deer snorted and ran away from the noise, the whites of their eyes showing, telling of their fear and confusion.
But a lone male wolf stood out, for no wolves had inhabited the area since the ‘naked-monkeys’ had taken them all. The wolf ran clumsily, as though a newborn pup, through the dense forest. Small trees snapped and plants were trampled as the wolf tripped over its long limbs. Scratches adorned his lean body. Blood caked his thin fur, falling off his body as he ran, in a shower of red. Trees zoomed by the confused wolf.
The woods opened into a clearing and he slowed down, trying to rest.
He had no name besides Wolf.
Scars cut through fur and skin on Wolf. His red-yellow eyes seemed to glow in the dark. Pain, anger, anguish, joy, and relief were only a few of the very mixed emotions shown in his eyes. As he reached the clearing he slowed to a stop. He fell into the strewn leaves and panted heavily, tongue hanging out. Pain rippled through him but Wolf ignored it, trying to get as much rest as he could before the humans came for him again.
Thoughts of his imprisonment with the humans drifted though his mind. He remembered the sharp crack of the ‘guns’ as the humans called them, the screams, the howls, the whimpers, every second of the wolf’s imprisonment was burned into his mind, like his scars were scratched into in to his body, he would never forget the horror they put him through... and the liquid they kept forcing into him... it made him a monster.
Wolfs’ ears twitched and turned back flat against his head, then perked up again. He heard them. They were back.
Time to run like hell.
“Get it! Boss’ orders!”
“Remember he’s a hybrid thanks to those damn experiments.”
“He went this way!”
“No, moron, this way!”
“Send those dogs!”
Wolf struggled to his feet and took a few uneasy steps. He fell as he heard the sound of dogs barking and snarling, his hope fading fast. He had lost a lot of blood and was very weak and shaky. Giving up seemed like the most logical answer but Wolf had been a prisoner for almost half his life. He did not want to die in that place. He lifted his head and gave a feeble attempt to howl, a weak croak came out instead. Wolf wanted revenge. Revenge against the humans. Against those who poisoned him, who slaughtered his family, who destroyed himself, his life.
A cold type of numbness washed over Wolf’s body. Not good. The Monster was coming out. Wolf’s muzzle opened in another feeble attempt to howl, to warn away all creatures to go away.
This time he got the point across.
Something snapped inside of Wolf’s brain. The chain holding onto his monster the humans created inside him. It unleashed a blood thirsty beast that resembled a wolf but was much larger and deadlier; but not a werewolf. Bones grew and rearranged themselves, muscle hardened and lengthened along with his entire body. His fur grew thicker, thicker even then Wolf’s winter coat, and his pupil’s grew smaller, narrower. Adrenaline rushed through him. His senses were enhanced, even more so than before, sight, smell, taste, and hearing.
Wolf started shuddering as footfalls echoed in the forest. All the creatures of the forest had taken the wolf’s warning to heart and fled as fast as they could. Wolf closed his stinging eyes and flattened his, long, ears against his head. Foot steps and dogs barking reached his clearing.
Three men and two dogs were intruding on Wolf’s territory.
Man and dog started on the convulsing wolf slowly, guns drawn and aimed.
Wolf began to rise and the men stopped, the dogs were quite silent, occasionally whimpering behind their masters knees. Cautiously the men cocked their guns and silently walked toward the large Wolf. Wolf turned around slowly. His vicious blood red eyes met their frightened dark ones. The men froze as the dogs tugged their chains loose from their masters’ hands and ran away with their tails between their legs.
“Oh my... ”
The wolf-beast gave a snarl and charged. The men’s screams filled the night, the crimson moon gazing dispassionately across their blood.
Copyright © 2005 by Erin McAteer