Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

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Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby JoshuaMadoc » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:31 pm

I suppose because my werewolf obsession is undergoing a super hyper ultra relapse of the millenia, I should probably join some places I've taken interest or had prior interest in to share all of my moonbiscuit-y things.

That said, I'll open up with a (actually rather violent and probably very explosive) preview of something I spent the past 30 hours or so rewriting.

--

It was dark. The night outside might have made it hard to see much of anything, but the hallway into this warehouse made it almost impossible to see anything. It's common for people to become uncomfortable in the dark, and I'm unfortunately not an exception. It didn't help that whoever owned this warehouse had some serious problems placing the litany of containers that were strewn about with not much in the way of organization.

"You still there, mate?" whispered Stuart.

"Yeah," I whispered back while feeling the left side of the wall with my left hand, carefully attempting to not trip over anything that my feet would touch above the floor.

3 meters. 4 meters. 5 meters. There were clicking sounds from further into the dark.

"... You hear that?" Whispered Chi-Wai.

"No, shut up, man," I hissed, frustrated with the lack of sight. I felt the tip of my fingers scrape over something long and tubular, stuck vertically to the wall. Feeling it up and down, my fingers finally found something else, shaped like a rectangle and with multiple protrusions pointing up.

The clicking sounds gradually became louder. For a moment, I hesitated. Not wanting to let the clicking noises drive me insane, I finally pulled the switch downwards, and multiple lights flickered from the entrance, past my head and into the intersection of the hallway.

Suddenly, there was a growl. Eyes widened and my grip on the hatchet tightening on reflex, I darted my head to the right, where the noise was. Standing just 5 meters away from me was a giant creature that dwarfed me in height, its large, almost hand-carved body covered with fur as brown as bog water, and a long, disheveled mane, partially smeared in a blood-red liquid. Its head was just as disheveled, with the face of a mad dog, wrinkled like a prune and matched by its bulging gray eyes.

It curled its mouth into a vicious snarl, displaying yellowed, blood-soaked fangs, its partially mangled ears twisting completely backwards in tow.

"OH FUCK!!!"

The giant brown beast charged at me. Stepping back, I lost my balance and fell down on my arse, feeling what might have been a swift gust of wind sweep and cut my hair to the side. I scampered to my right, swinging the hatchet to the left, and for a brief moment, I felt my wrists shake, having hit it by its left arm as it made another swing, its claws dug through my forearm. It hesitated briefly and when I wound myself up for another swing, I felt my upper body being pushed back, my feet having taken off the ground. I hit my back to the wall, barking in pain, not just in the back, but also from my chest and the side of my stomach, as if stabbed. Without thinking , I let one of my hands free, lifting the other, and drove the butt of the hatchet right into one of its eyes. The giant brown dog yowled in pain, quickly retreating and cupping its battered eyesocket with both hands. With all my roaring might I swung the hatchet wide, landing its head into the creature's skull, a few of its fingers on the hatchet's path bending outwards with a barely audible crunch. The creature briefly shuddered before falling limp to the ground, as if it had it's strings cut.

Refusing to let it get up in spite of an axe to the head, I took blind swing after blind swing at the motionless giant brown dog, wanting to make sure that it stayed motionless. Exhausted and with my hands half-numb from holding the hatchet like a vice, I turned to look at Stuart and Chi-Wai, standing behind the boxes and slack-jawed after seeing me killing the giant creature with all but a hatchet no bigger than the creature's forearms.

"Fuuuuuck me," muttered Stuart under his breath. I gave him and Chi-Wai a dirty look, pissed that they both chose to hide rather than be helpful. As I was hobbling drunkenly back towards them, I hear Chi-Wai suddenly shouting at the top of his lungs, pointing past me.

"ADAM!!"

My head darted up to Stuart and Chi-Wai, terror and shock painted on their faces, and I immediately knew what Chi-Wai meant. I tensed my grip on the hatchet and braced myself for another swing to my back, but as soon as I fixed my sight behind where the giant brown dog was supposed to be, its mangled face was already less than a few centimeters apart from me. It dug its claws on my right shoulder and my head and sank its teeth into my neck.

Stuart was about to run towards me, whereas Chi-Wai was about to run the opposite direction. Just as they were about to take a step, another dog-like bigger than the brown dog skidded across one side to stop at the hallway's intersection. It then took a long and dizzyingly fast stride, deftly producing a black, grey-edged blade almost as long as its own forearm. With one hand gripping the blade and the other maintaining a pushing palm at the end of the grip, it thrusted upward as it stomped its feet on the ground, the entire length of the object cutting through most of its tail and entering near the giant brown dog's arsehole.

The creature bulged its eyes wide open and let out another ear-piercing inhuman wail that's almost like a guttural shriek. It reflexively shot its jaws open, its teeth no longer sunk into my neck and arched its upper back inwards, both of its hands attempting to reach behind. The ashen creature twisted the sword and with both hands, levered it to the ceiling and pushed upwards, drawing it out of the giant brown dog's upper back.

With the mangled creature about to go limp again, the ashen creature tucked its blade under its left forearm and lifted it up towards the right of its face, its right foot shifting forward into a southpaw position. With a quick twist to the left and shifting its entire weight closer to the ground, it spun its left arm under to above the back of its head and its right arm around the opposite direction, its right palm diving to the floor like a bullet. Its right palm connects with the skull of the mangled giant creature, crushing it and causing the spine to retract violently from the force, stopping only when its pelvis crashes to the floor. The mangled giant creature had become nothing more than a crumpled heap of flesh, with limbs that twitched helplessly before stopping.

The ashen creature inhaled and exhaled deeply, throwing the mass of flesh to the wall. Its ears twitched when it heard gurgling and coughing, and looked to the direction of the sound. It looked at my near-lifeless body, struggling to move even a centimeter as I piddled blood all over my neck, Stuart and Chi-wai making their best attempt to nurse me. They both darted their eyes to the ashen creature, walking to the three of us, as it wiped all the filth from its blade and deftly sheathing it like a katana.

"G-get the fuck away from us!!" cried a frightened Chi-Wai, as he frantically waved his extended arm towards the ashen creature motioning for it to leave. It said nothing. To Stuart and Chi-Wai's bemusement and surprise, it instead produced some gauze, square-shaped cottons, and a black padded bottle from its back.

It lowered itself to its knees, and looked to Stuart. "Hold him still," intoned the ashen creature with a deep, but firm baritone, spotted by a pronounced Chinese accent. "Keep the pressure on his neck." It applied some contents of the black bottle into the square-shaped cottons, and pressed them carefully onto most of the punctures on my neck, swiftly wrapping my neck with the gauze and repeating it to the gashes and wounds on my head. With Stuart and Chi-Wai holding my arms and upper back, it delicately removed my blood-stained shirt, making sure that it didn't displace the bandages. It finishes by applying the cottons and gauze on my right shoulder and my stomach, carefully lifting my body as he rises back on his feet. Looking on, Stuart nervously approached the ashen creature. "Wh-Where're you takin' 'im?" He managed.

"Somewhere safe for all of you," it replied, its eyes meeting mine. With exhaustion catching up to me, my vision blurred and eventually faded into nothing.


--

To people like Happygun, whom I'm aware is a writer, I do apologize for the strange manner of writing. I'm actually more of an illustrator than a writer, and I was hoping that when I'm done with this and the sequel, I'd make an illustrated version of it in a thousand years. It'd make the action a lot less of a blur, at least.

Oh, and Happygun, I hope you don't mind me using some of your writing habits. :V
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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby JoshuaMadoc » Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:23 am

It's like Sarah but not.

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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby JoshuaMadoc » Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:13 am

My Halloween contribution for this year.

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WOPAH
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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby Kris@WLP » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:25 am

Interesting so far.
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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby JoshuaMadoc » Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:06 am

I hope it gets more interesting from here.

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Because why fight naked when you have a human half that knows Karate?
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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby bar1scorpio » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:05 am

Awesome artwork.
"Then again, I'm Gary Busey. Who knows what the f-ck I'm talking about." - Gary Busey
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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby JoshuaMadoc » Fri Nov 27, 2015 10:14 am

Filler content, because... well, redrawing things twice or thrice takes time.

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Nobody ever comes up with Native American samurai, let alone one who's also a werewolf. That's weird.
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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby JoshuaMadoc » Sun Nov 29, 2015 6:33 am

And there's the Wendigo Samurai. His name is literally Cherry-Blossoms-Over-Red-Sands. Just call him Cherry.

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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby JoshuaMadoc » Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:09 am

Lydia, from Moonlit Brew. I didn't like how her werewolf form originally looked.

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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby JoshuaMadoc » Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:19 pm

Brought back an old character. Alternate history version of Mori Ranmaru. He's kind of hyper.

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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby JoshuaMadoc » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:17 am

Breathing some Platinum Games on Werewolf: The Apocalypse, featuring a Glass Walker Assassin nicknamed "Golden Butterfly".

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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby JoshuaMadoc » Sun Jun 12, 2016 3:15 am

Unsung: Mace

Original concept "LYCANTHROPE: BEGINNING" by Adam Colin Carlile

Rewritten edition by Joshua Madoc


My name is Adam Hewitt.

There was once a time when I was just an average 18 year old, among many who were going on a special trip on the weekends to relax, after we were done with A-levels exams. It was supposed to be the last school trip we were going to have before we break up from school, for good.

What happened instead, would change the lives of everyone who went, including mine.


Chapter 1

June 2013.

***

Oh, shit. This wasn't how it was supposed to go.

Straw stumbled slightly as he hurriedly descended from the rocky outcropping that he was previously lying prone on, deftly holstering his compact binoculars back into one of the pouches on his chest while maintaining his precarious footing. As soon as his feet landed on the ground with an audible crunch of dried up leaves, sticks and roots, he ran briskly to one direction, ducking and weaving past tree branches on the way of his head while swatting away the ones lower to him. As the trees eventually cleared from his view, he reached for his portable radio speaker strapped to his shoulder.

He was told to roam the outskirts of his team's designated surveillance area, which included the road that led to an intersection to three different neighboring towns, for any sightings that could prove to be a liability to his and his teammate's primary objective: To search and destroy what's believed to be a recently-built nest of Ferals.

He was hesitant at first, questioning the need for something so trivial, confident that the nest is in a location remote enough that there couldn't possibly be much in the way of human lifesigns, if at all, but he knew that he had to go, even if it was just a quick sweep. He's been on this job long enough to know that there's almost always something lurking around the corner, and he was more than qualified to make sure of it, if no one else. Still, he was hoping that he would be wrong, and that it would all just be a waste of his time. After all, he agreed that the nest was a much higher priority, and it didn't feel right for him to leave his team without a scout worth his salt, not even for a minute.

Boy, did he wish he was REALLY wrong now.

"Buddy, you probably ain't gonna like this," he said in between breaths, "but there's a bus full of kids comin' our way, right into the nest we're supposed to be watchin'!"

"How many?" the radio responded after a brief crackle.

"Full house, Tiger! I don't see no other set a' wheels!"

"... Where are you now?" Straw could hear some commotion and another, frantic and flustered voice from the radio.

"Ain't far!" Straw replied, stepping on the guardrails from one corner of a road curve, and jumping a significant distance to the opposing curve, landing past its guardrails by just a meter and a half. "Get my ol' trusty ready, just don't break nothin' 'til I git to y'all, alright?"

"We'll be waiting. Tiger out." The radio fell silent. Straw could see some lights just beyond the next patch of trees coming to his view. Great. He can just think of one person in his group who's losing his marbles right about now, and it's probably the one that made the noise he heard on the radio just now. Not that he could possibly blame him; not only is the operation partly compromised by this new unknown, but their original plan has all but gone out the window indefinitely.

They were meant to search and destroy using firearms four of the five operatives were granted permission to deploy with, but using them now would spook everyone in the bus. If they knew that this was going to happen beforehand, they would've otherwise made immediate use of their firearms while the bus was out of reach of the gunfire. Their next best contingency plan now is Close Quarters-Combat, with a healthy supplement of Straw's electromagnetic and air-propelled crossbow, a pair of air-propelled crossbow pistols, a sword, and a machete attached to a shotgun. Straw has yet to find out what his two Hunter comrades brought with them as a backup weapon for this occasion, but he's damn well hoping it's a good one for each.

God, this shit's going to get real hairy, real soon.


***

My friends, Stuart, Wei and Tim and I were on our way to a weekend school trip, in a hotel just on the outskirts of Yokely. Just about enough students and teachers to fill up the entire bus. It could've been at least an hour quicker out of the four, five-hour trip if a few of us didn't end up getting sick on the way. When we finally came to the hotel, the teachers, through a proper comedy of errors, forgot just how small it was, and I ended up in a room crammed with six other people.

Tim decided to sod off to the Bar, while Stuart and I stayed, along with three others: Nathan, a short, dark-skinned, primly clothed boy with windswept hair; Lewis, a buzz-cut bear of a lad who contrasted Nathan in his boorish clothing that could have him easily mistaken for the hundreds of chavs you see in the streets; and Casey, a tall, willowy girl with short cut hair, wearing a white sweater and black tights. All three carried with them various shades of a relaxed, almost inattentive demeanor, as if they're lost in their own little world with little to no regard of others. They were making that clear in the puffing of smoke they were projecting in our general direction.

“Oi! If y'got time to puff up those fags, then give us a hand with these beds!" Said Stuart, coughing from the smoke.

“Mate, it's not like this shit'll kill ya,” chuckled Nathan.

“Would it kill ya t' not make me smell like them?"

Nathan groaned mockingly and rolled his eyes, while Casey began chuckling as well. "Oh, leave 'im alone, Nate," she said, playfully slapping him on his shoulder.

"You can't rush art, bruv,” said Lewis. Not much of an artist if even YOU were coughing, Lewis. You couldn't completely hide it from us.

“Couldn't you at least do it outside?" I said, between coughs.

"With those wanks outside? Fuck that," said Nathan, shaking his head in mock defiance. "Besides, none of the teachers are gonna come in here for a while. Might as well make the best of this pack," he sneered. I wasn't impressed one bit; his attitude was really getting on my nerves.

Eventually, the smoke started to linger in the room. Everyone, myself included, had all silently agreed that we weren't putting up with this for much longer, especially given that the room's small, solitary window was practically sealed shut, the locking mechanism having been painted over like the walls.

I rushed the rest of the packing, only taking out the bedwear, and thoughtlessly threw it at my bed.

"Fuck it," I murmured, turning around to Stuart and Wei. "Right, I'm off to the bar to meet with Tim, who wants to get smashed with me? Stuart? Wei?"

"Aye," Stuart replied. Wei nodded, picking up his wallet off his bedside table desk. On the way out to the door, I shot a glance behind me, looking at the three, clearly continuing to enjoy their state of zen from underneath all the smoke and reprehensibility.

Nathan noticed me, and raised his lit cigarette up to his forehead. "Have fun, poppet!" He chuckled, along with Lewis and Casey.

"Oh, fuck off, mate," I hissed, turning around to leave the room, the door being left open. With one last quick glance as I kept walking down the hallway, I see Nathan and Casey sticking closer together like paper and glue. Ugh.

"Fuckin' cunts," I murmured, shaking my head.

***

"Naaaaate, look what you did!" Cooed Casey, lightly shaking him side-to-side.

"Whaaaat?" Huffed Nathan, turning to her with an attempt to convey a concerned expression on his face.

"That was mean, you know," Casey harrumphed, pouting like a baby and pressing her cheek against his forehead, to Nathan's mock surprise. "You should apologize to them!" Lewis laughed at the sheer ridiculousness of two of them before taking another drag of his cigarette.

After a while, Nathan noticed that Casey was staring slightly into space.

"Babe, what's wrong?"

"Huh? Oh, nothing."

Nathan shifted his head, wrapping his arm around Casey's shoulder and gently pushing the side of her head to his shoulder.

"Really, luv, what's wrong?"

Casey takes a drag out of her cigarette, deep in thought.

"Did either of you see that fucked up thing on the way here?"

"I was sleepin'," said Lewis, shaking his head.

"I was sitting on the opposite side, it's all open hilly view from there," said Nathan. "Wait, what fucked up thing?"

"I dunno, we went by it pretty fuckin' fast," said Casey, slightly shaking her head. Her face briefly went waxen. "It was... big. Kinda fuzzy, too. I think it was eating something?"

She gasped.

"Nate! You think it's Bigfoot?!"

"What the fuck would Bigfoot be doin' in the UK?" Said Nathan incredulously.

"I dunno," mumbled Casey, pouting again. "Maybe it ran out of shit to eat in Alaska or wherever the fuck, tried to look for more, got lost, and ended up on a boat to here somehow."

Casey shook her head frantically. "Aaaaaah, I don't wanna get eaten by Bigfoot!" She wrapped her arms around Nathan and buried her face to his shoulder.

"Jesus, luv, you're gonna scare baby Lewis to death like that," said Nathan, smirking as he's gingerly stroking Casey's hair.

Lewis coughed slightly in reaction. "Fuck off, bruv, I got pubes!"

The three of them began bursting into laughter.

***

Opposite where three people had been laughing from beyond the window, a pair of large, glowing eyes belonging to a large wolf-like head, had been laying low, its gaze fixed on the direction of the window. It slowly rose...

... Only for it to have had a long, straight blade lodged from the back of the neck, its stabbing edge protruding out the cleft of its upper mouth several tens of centimeters. The glow slowly dissipated, revealing eyes that looked apart from where its head was facing.

The blade was held by an enormous figure with wolf-like paws to match, that looked vaguely humanoid. With one paw firmly holding the blade by the grip, it held the sides of the lifeless creature's skull with the other paw, quickly pulling the blade out. Then, in one quick motion, the figure swung the blade from high facing to the side then down, severing the creature's head from its body with a quiet "chuk", the body helplessly collapsing to the ground.

Wasting no time, the enormous figure gripped the severed head with it's sword-hand and effortlessly picked up the body with the other, placing it on its shoulder. It ran further from where the window was, stopping to a clearing from behind the hotel's bushes.

The clearing was littered with several corpses similar to the one the figure was still holding; they had been all lined up in a row, laying shoulder to shoulder. All of them were missing one or more of their limbs, though they had few noticeable cuts. Some had their bones fractured, broken, or some combination of both. Others had bruises so severe that it became bulbous growths with patches of skin laceration, a few of which even had exit wounds opposite the bruises that resembled explosions that left large cavities. Despite all of that, what corpses that remained relatively intact had matching heads placed on the ground, next to where each of their necks used to be.

The enormous figure gingerly placed the body and severed head he was holding onto the ground, next to another corpse, in a similar posture. After a brief moment, the figure scoffed before turning to look towards the hotel window behind him.

It rose, and ran off along the edges of the bushes.

Shit. Just how many of them are there?
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Re: Petting Lesser Wolf: Where no Wolf has gone before

Postby JoshuaMadoc » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:21 am

Chapter 2


The hallway connecting to the nearby pub was so quiet. Bare white brick walls, lit with yellow light, and worn gray carpets coarse to the touch. I would've been all nerves from the silence if it wasn't for me having to leave the noise and smell from the room we left out of. Aside from the occasional bits of paper, plastic, cardboard and all manner of other refuse, the floor was relatively clean, especially in the middle. I guess the cleaners had a lot of time on their hands from the lack of guests, but didn't really care enough to keep it spotless for much the same.

“God, am I glad that we've got distance from those twats,” chuckled Wei.

"Oh, fuck aye, just breathing this fresh air already made me forget about them," I replied.

“Hope you cunts fancy more o' that fresh air; we're off to a night hike in a tit,” scoffed Stuart.

Wei couldn't help but groan. “A late night hike? Is he fuckin' mental?"

"Yeah, didn't you read the schedule on the way here?" Stuart replied, pulling his head up as he kept up his pace. "Fuckin' wanker Oliver wants us to stretch legs after the bus ride and suck in some of that nature's fuckin' bounty soon as we get off the bus, never said what time."

Hearing what Stuart said, I absently checked my pockets, swearing and palming my face when I realized that I didn't pack a torch, neither in my pockets nor my bags. "Mate, I don't think Mr. Oliver's ever been outdoors before, if that's his idea of a hike," I said, with a slight twinge of nerves. Darkness wasn't exactly something that petrified me, but I never like it when I can't see where I'm going. I can only imagine just how much of a pain in the arse it would be to have to rely on someone else holding the torch, much less ask them to lend me one.

"Oh fuck no, have you seen the cunt?" Stuart chuckled. "I don't think he brought hiking shoes either, if y'don't mind me judgin'." He began to smirk when he noticed me checking my pockets.

"But you know wha-at?" he continued, reaching for the handle of the pub's door while grinning at me. "'s just a few hours of not seein' shit. I could cuddle wif ya all th' way if ya want!"

Stuart leaned closer to my face making mock kisses, knowingly taking the piss out of me. I slapped back of his head in response, completely unimpressed. "Jesus, Stu, Tim's a fuckin' shite influence on you," I grumbled. Wei and Stuart both laughed, the latter rubbing the back of his head.

I rather liked the pub. It was small, but the piss-yellow lighting actually made it feel lived-in with the lacquered wood walls. Not quite as impressed with the tables, though... or rather, the metal posts with dark wooden tables. From the way it's built and arranged, I really doubt the posts were there to actually help support the ceiling. Someone must've really been jealous of the pubs that civilization had to offer. The stools weren't that much better, either, although I got the impression that it's more because the pub's owner couldn't afford better stools. Standing behind the pub's counter was the landlord; a somewhat gangly old man, with side-swept hair that covered his receding hairline and what could be best described as mountains that ran from his jaw to his cheeks.

"Oi," said a voice to my side. I turn to the side and saw a boy with skin that was dark-brown like that of a tree, wearing a red lorry cap emblazoned with a ridiculously ornate letter 'T' on the middle of the forehead, and a white two-piece track ensemble with black stripes on the sides of his trousers. He waved to the three of us while taking another swig of chilled cola in a glass bottle. "Y'fuckers wanna take order? Even got milk here."

"Yeah?" I said, turning to look at the landlord. "You got any Bubblegum Fanta, mister?"

"Matter of fact I do, boyo," the landlord replied, taking a blue bottle out of an enormous drinks refrigerator that took up enough of one side of the counter wall that it completely covered a third of the space where you put food orders where waiters were meant to take from. The owner probably wanted the bartender to have an easier time getting the drinks out without having to come out of the bar every time, what with the space near the counter that could've been freed up and how cramped the bar was already. Did the owner build this hotel by himself, or did he hire a fucking berk to do the misreading?

I blinked, amazed that such a remote place would have something you'd usually find in a handful of supermarkets and fast food restaurants. "Really? All the way out here?" I said.

"Aye, not a fresh batch, though," the landlord replied, turning the bottle around, checking for what could be an expiry date. Satisfied, he placed the bottle on the bar counter. "Yup, this is good. Here you go."

"What about you two?" I said, turning to Wei and Stuart while absently picking up the blue bottle and opening it. "It's on me tonight."

Wei and Stuart both looked at each other, with Stuart shrugging, and then leaned to the side to get a better view of the selection inside drinks refrigerator. "I'll take some Irn Bru," said Wei.

"Any ginger beer in there?" inquired Stuart.

The four of us sat on a nearby table after having gotten our drinks from the landlord. I don't know what the other three were thinking, but I twitched immediately after sitting down. Fuck me, this stool's just as painful as it looks ugly.

"Mate, you really need to master the art of sitting down," chuckled Tim.

"I woulda if you told me how," I snorted, taking a swig. "Or, y'know, if you told me how to "GIT GUD" at life. Everyone knows your test results, mate. You can't hide it from everyone."

"Ay, genius is untouchable, a'ight?" Tim protested, pretending to put up a defensive posture.

"Riiiiiiight, like that time you asked which country Europe was," I said incredulously.

"No, no, I got it right eventually! Just you watch, I'll have barely scraped me dick at the passing grade, and I'll be sittin' pretty while you sorry cunts pick up your jaws on the floor," huffed Tim, as he turned to cross his legs and planting an elbow on the table, in an attempt to maintain an air of confidence in the midst of jocosity.

Stuart, Wei and I couldn't help but chuckle.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever the fuck you say, Turing," said Stuart, with his shit-eating grin.

"I *am* Turing, son!" laughed Tim, bobbing his head side-to-side. "Who was it that taught you three the majority of the physics exam?"

"Turing's a math-man, Tim," chuckled Wei, rolling his eyes. "Besides, you taught us fuck-all that all but most of us could understand."

Recognizing what Wei said, my face immediately crumpled into a very pointy glare, dead-set on Wei. Tim, Stuart and Wei all looked at me and burst into laughter as my face and ears grew redder. Fuck, he wasn't kidding, I really couldn't wrap my head around Tim's gibberish, especially with the physics exam.

"That's what I get for asking the fuckin' school maverick for help," I grumbled.

"Ah, you'll do fine, Adam," said Stuart, calming down from his laughter. "'Sides, you could ask for his help again when you're in Uni next year!"

"Hopefully one without him in it," I muttered, taking another swig from the bottle of Fanta.

"Hey," said a feminine voice behind me. Turning around, the four of us saw from beyond the pub's doorway a short, chubby girl with short blond hair and green eyes underneath her thick, rectangular glasses that sat snugly on her round button nose. She wore a very worn brown blazer jacket over a yellow top with a white frilly lapel that was cleaner than the jacket, and a pair of muted olive-green tweed knee shorts. She had an air of disdain on her that's even stronger than the three smoking stooges likely choking to death from smoke in our room, looking almost completely absorbed in staring at her phone and not much else. Standing behind her was a slim-looking boy even shorter than her, with curly bright auburn hair that rested on the sides of his petite freckled face, wearing a black t-shirt and gray jeans. He had been leaning on the wall opposite the door, crossing his arms passively and looking at us with a cautious frown. With them standing so close to each other, you'd think they were an item, but I got the feeling that she's not his type, much less really know her at all.

The girl turned her eyes up to the four of us, staring with a dejected face, before trailing back to her phone. "Mr. Oliver wants us all to go," she said flatly, before she and the boy turned to leave. Weird girl.

"'s the fuckin' night hike," scoffed Stuart.

"Fuck, already?" I huffed, looking at the clock above the bar counter, then to my bottle of Fanta, more than half of it having been drunk.

"Alright, pack in yer piss, lads," I said, screwing the blue bottle of Fanta shut with its cap.

The four of us made our way out the pub, and slowly converged with a gaggle of other students and teachers, the former having to quiet down to go through a quick orientation and recital of school safety policy. With the teachers satisfied, we all leave the hotel with our torches on, into the night hike while chatter slowly returned.

***

Harold hefted his immense weight at the walkways around the hotel. There wasn't anyone around, at least not from earshot or eyesight of him, which was something he'd prefer right about now.

He was beginning to regret not bringing much in the way of entertainment when he was assigned this job. All things considered, he probably should've done his checks on the paperwork rather than leave his younger co-workers to do the nitty-gritty that, honestly, he had very little to no energy doing. The better man would sympathize with him, since he's not getting any younger, a quick brush of his rapidly receding hairline being a reminder of the fact. More than that, retirement is just around the corner, and with the way things are, there's nothing better in his mind than a release as sweet as that.

He sighed. Let's not get ahead of ourselves and try to chase something that's still just a bit too far to reach.

At least right now, he has his phone with him, taking it out of a pocket from inside his jacket. Or at least, what he considers to be some sort of an alien lifeform taking disguise as a piece of machinery.

His wife pestered him to get one of these blank, keyless slabs of glass and metal, and it's not like he hated these things - he never fancied himself to be much of a Luddite. He just didn't see the point of getting one of these. A telephone is just a telephone, right? What are all the young upstarts needing all the things he's been seeing for? He may be old, but he's not quite that blind yet, he recalled seeing quite a lot of kids doing a surprising little amount of activity on their phones beyond swiping between two screens, like they're trying to hypnotize themselves. Still, what with his wife having the same exact model of her own, he couldn't really complain, especially when she told him that it's useful for more than just talking to each other in long distances.

He stopped to take a seat on one of the benches in the hotel's back garden. It wasn't the best-looking garden in the world, looking more like a theater stage than even the least glamorous garden seen in gardening magazines, but the grass, the plants, even the pots were in reasonably pristine condition. Whoever's in charge of this garden must've been rather proud of their handiwork here. Or perhaps it's just that the lack of human contact left the owner with little to do than have nature listen to them.

Harold chuckled and smiled faintly as he gingerly swipes his aged fingers through images of him with his family. As tempestuous as his wife and children could be, they've enjoyed a relatively stable relationship.

Suddenly, there was rustling, growling and a cacophony of other unidentifiable noises barely heard from the distance.

Harold stopped, and raised his head to look around.

"Hullo?"

No answer. Harold hesitated, before his eyes slowly trailed back to his phone. Suddenly, there was a loud bark, yelp, or a mixture of both, from behind him, startling him into standing up and whirling around to his rear. The barks became guttural and labored... as if whatever it is that's making the sound is wheezing. Harold squinted and leaned his head forward when he heard the labored barking and rustling become louder, his eyes widening when an enormous blur suddenly came to his view from out the bushes and trees.

Harold made an attempt to turn around and run, but he tripped and buckled from his weight, falling to his side. Before he could even muster what little strength he had to crawl, he yelped as he felt a weighted shock on his other side, with agonizing punctures felt on his arm and ribs. He turned around to see that, in what felt like minutes, he had been pinned by a silhouette that resembled some sort of large canine animal, with glowing eyes, and blood gushing from wounds covering its savage face.

Harold covered his face with his remaining free arm, screaming in pain as he felt a sharp pain in his arm and hand. The animal had bitten him on the forearm and wrist, and it was going to crush it with its jaws. He then felt a sudden weight from his bitten arm inching towards his lower face and neck. He grit his teeth to muffle his own screaming, and attempted to break his other arm free from being pinned. Soon, the animal became infuriated, and lifted the paw that pinned Harold's arm, poised to strike at him with its demented claws outstretched, and hungry for blood.

In a desperate attack of opportunity, Harold used his now-free arm to do a swiping motion of his own at the animal's face, barely feeling his fingers scratching against something warm and wet. He felt his bitten arm tug and drop to his chest as he heard a roar, before feeling a sharp gash to the side of his upper stomach. He could see that the large animal was frantically flailing its head side-to-side, but to his surprise, he also saw it grab on to the paw that it was going to strike him with, having become half of a forearm, with the rest of the paw dangling by barely a few sinews and some stretch of skin.

Suddenly, there were sounds coming from the wounded creature's torso, jolting twice before a final sound caused its neck to explode in a fountain of blood. Flinching from the noise, Harold close his eyes and turned his head to the side, covering his face with the other, unsavaged arm.

Harold felt a dull thump on his arm and then his chest, opening them to see that the animal's head had slumped on his chest. He wearily pushed the head to the ground, aside him. He was slowly feeling the pain as the adrenaline wore off. He wasn't in a state to get up any time soon.

Harold heard more rustling from the bushes some distance away from him. Exhausted and unable to see very far, Harold was barely able to turn his head to the side to where the noise was.

"Aw, hell!" barked a somewhat distorted and growling voice from the bushes. Harold narrowed his eyes to get a clearer view, seeing a slight set of russet blurs from the bush. The blurs became larger before it coalesced into shapes that Harold can-

Harold's eyes widened. Whatever this shape was, it was large and recognized as not quite a human. Thinking that it was another creature similar to the one he just fought, he attempted to scramble away from it, failing as his entire body was unable to respond.

"Whoa, hey, easy, easy!" said the voice in a tone that brokered for peace. Harold slowly turned to look up behind him, realizing that the voice came from the russet creature. Now that it's lowered and sitting next to Harold, he could make out much more of it, though his vision was still blurred after his glasses were knocked off his face.

Its hands were slender, with long, almost spindly fingers that ended in bulbous ovoids joined by short, walnut-colored claws with care, and thick, dark pawpads that felt somewhat rough to the touch. Oddly enough, it wasn't the same color as the blur that he saw- instead, it was mostly a padded assembly of different shades of khaki, covering what could otherwise have been fur as russet as its fingers, ending at its elbows. Its legs were a dark shade of green down to the knee, khaki on the rest. Trousers, maybe?

Its torso was the same shade of khaki as its arms, covered in what seemed to be large bulges protruding from its waist and chest. Harold could tell, even from the blur, that the creature had a long, triangular head, with a large black dot at the tip, and two more that glowed bright purple just above it, resting on a neck that was much longer than its head, although not so long so as to resemble a giraffe. For the height this creature could easily impose, it made absolutely no effort to. It acted oddly disarming. Humanlike, even.

Harold's initial fear of the russet creature was rapidly dwindling, slowly being replaced with confusion. What was it doing here and why? And did it just save him? What even *is* this thing?

"It's alright, sonny, I ain't gonna hurt ya," it whispered with a thick American Southern accent. Harold grimmaced and moaned in pain as he felt it gingerly touch parts of his upper body, occasionally touching the wounds on accident. "Oh Lord," It said, sucking the air between its teeth.

"Wh... What the... bloody hell..." stammered Harold, before he began coughing, wheezing and gasping for air, his body jolting up and down.

"Whoa there, don't you talk now," it said reassuringly, putting one hand on Harold's shoulder, and the other on his chest. "Feral there got you hecked up real good. You're bleedin' out somethin' fierce, maybe even in."

What? Bleeding out?

Harold continued to wheeze and simply stared at the creature. "Am I... going to die... ?"

It hesitated. "I don't know fer sure, son." It looked around before looking back at Harold, reaching for the bulges on its waist and producing white-colored objects that he unraveled. "I could try carrying you somewhere safe, or call my pals, but I don't wanna risk heckin' you up more and gettin' noticed by them Ferals. I could try ta patch you up, but I don't think gauze and bandages'll fix what broke in ya."

Harold closed his eyes, his expression waxen. Even while his heart was beating frantically from stress, he could feel it sink. He silently agreed with the creature- he's not exactly the lightest person for even a mountain to be able to carry anywhere safe, and if what it said was true, then it's not just his savaged arm that's gushing out blood, and he really did feel like something, or many things, were punctured inside his body. It was becoming harder for him to breathe, and he felt something excruciating well up inside him, wanting to physically come out of his mouth.

This wasn't quite how he imagined he'd retire. He wanted to spend his twilight years with his wife in relative peace, and die in his sleep. He never expected that he'd have to do the latter on a partially-destroyed garden out in the middle of nowhere, by some giant feral animal, and his only witness being a strangely-dressed giraffe-man with arms and legs. Shit. If the bleeding doesn't kill him, then surely his aging heart soon will.

Opening his eyes, Harold inched slightly towards the creature. "Then... leave me here... !"

The creature stopped before it could touch Harold again.

"The children... from the bus-" Harold continued to cough.

"My pals can take care of that. Don't you worry."

"Good... Tell... my wife... and children... I love them..."

The creature lowered its head and withdrew its hands, as if deep in thought, and raised its head again. "What if I told ya that y'ain't have ta tell them nothin'?"

"... What?"

"Son," it whispered. "Lemme ask you: Do you *honestly* wanna die?"

Harold looked at the creature. Realizing what the creature meant, his eyes slowly widened before grabbing the creature by one of its arms, his face turning into a pleading scowl.

There was silence.

"Alright," said the creature. "Don't make me regret nothin'."

It quickly and gingerly began to remove one of its arm's assembly of khaki, eventually unraveling it, and revealing its entire forearm, covered entirely in russet and cream-white fur. Bending forward and hovering its exposed forearm on top of Harold's bitten arm, it produced a large, oblong object with a large ring on one end, and what looked to be a fearsome-looking blade, bending forward to resemble the talon of a giant, horrible beast.

With the sharpened tip pointing at its forearm just below the wrist, it made a cutting motion that travelled halfway towards its elbow, drawing its own blood in a small fountain, and clenching the hand to draw out even more. Harold grit his teeth to keep himself silent, as the creature's blood poured all over his bitten arm, some drops of it even seeping into his other wounds. Just before its blood thinned and stopped bleeding, it made another cut, drawing it anew, and another time.

"That should be enough," said the creature. It withdrew from Harold, wiping the blade of its blood with a gauze. The wound on its arm had almost completely sealed itself seconds after.

Harold began to feel an odd warmth inside him, making him almost sweat from the added heft of his body. The painful welling shifted upwards towards his throat, touching on Harold's gag reflexes and causing him to reel to his side, coughing and vomiting a dark, viscous fluid from his mouth.

The creature pressed a hand against Harold's back, and gently pulling him to lie on his back once more. "That's it, son. Puke it all out."

Harold heard a sizzling sound that was barely audible. He opened his eyes and looked down to see that his entire body, especially his bitten arm, was letting out an almost steam-like vapor, which in turn made his body felt even warmer. His saw in surprise as his arm, maimed by a large feral animal not minutes ago, was slowly healing itself. Flesh seemed to join itself, obscuring exposed bone, skin slowly obscuring flesh. Before long, the hideous mauling was nothing more than a few shallow cuts, though some were taking longer to heal than the rest.

Harold heard a chuckle beside him. "Well now! It's workin' like a right real charm."

Just when Harold thought he saw what was, for all he ever knew, a miracle, what came next damn near blew his mind. He turned around to see the russet creature, but there was something... odd. He could've sworn that he lost his reading glasses somewhere in the scuffle, but he could see that the russet creature's head took on more and more features. It didn't take long for him to realize that, somehow, his sight was getting better at a startling rate.

Harold slowly stopped squinting, and saw a canine face looking down back at him. Its muzzle was lowered for a better view of its surroundings, showing Harold its near-comically long length and slightly rolling its bright, drooping purple eyes and brows slightly above. Stripes of white painted various contours of its face that pronounced its probable age. Its mane was an impressive wave of russet and white, covering its neck and cascading from its chin. What struck Harold the most, however, was its facial expression- canine features that somehow formed a human expression of concern for another of its kind. It was... mystifying to look at, to say the least.

Part of Harold's mind nagged at him, saying that he was looking at a very convincing costume, but with what he had just experienced, that would just be denying the truth; he was attacked and almost eaten alive by what's most likely a werewolf right out of a horror film, yet he was saved by what looked like another werewolf that completely destroyed almost everything the former stood for.

The russet-white werewolf was already making no attempt to be intimidating, what with the disarming posture. But now, in its clear entirety, it looked downright friendly.

It waved a paw at Harold, realizing that he can now see its face very clearly. "Hey," it whispered, smiling wanly. "I guess you can see my face now."

"My name's Bartholomew, but you can call me Straw," the werewolf said, one hand placed on his chest. "What's yer name?"

Harold blinked and remained slack-jawed. "Uh... Harold."

"Charmed," nodded Straw. Wasting no time, he extended both hands towards Harold. "C'mon, Harold, let's getcha up."

Spellbroken by the offer, Harold nodded. "Uh... yeah, right. Right."

Harold grabbed one of Straw's hands, looking down at it when he felt something leathery, but soft, almost like an actual dog's paws. He tightened his expression in anticipation of his heft... but he felt much lighter than he remembered. Perhaps almost too light. He stumbled slightly at the fact, the russet werewolf steadying him as he got to his feet.

"Boy, you musta been real hopped on adrenaline," Straw chuckled. Harold couldn't help but glance at him with a slight blush and frown. "Alright, let's getcha somewhere safe and isolated."

Just as Straw took a few steps with Harold's hand in tow, he suddenly darted his head to the side, frantically scanning his surroundings. He then quickly turned back to Harold, his relaxed, friendly demeanor that he had not a few seconds ago having immediately turned into an intense, wide-eyed scowl. "We gotta move!" he hissed urgently.

Harold was taken aback at the sudden change of tone and expression at first, but it didn't take long for him to realize that Straw heard danger coming from a distance. He nodded frantically, and began matching his pace with Straw, the weight on his waist be damned.

With Straw placing both his hands on Harold's shoulders, both rushed around the hotel from the side. Harold would sometimes make an aside glance out into the nearby forest, but Straw would always snap Harold back to look in front, never explaining why. Well, whatever the reason was, Harold was convinced enough that it was a very good reason, at least for his sake. They both come to a stop near the corner of the hotel's front entrance, with Straw looking back and forth at Harold and the nearby forest, then pulling his face closer to Harold and placing a hand on his shoulder.

"Alright," whispered Straw, turning to Harold. "Look, I'm glad yer still alive and kickin', but all that's just the easy part."

Straw licked his chops in worry, his scowl intensifying ever so slightly. "It's what comes after that's gonna th' real bother." Harold, shaking his head slightly in confusion, slowly realized what Straw meant. The attack, the blood Straw poured on Harold's wounds, his near-miraculous recovery...

Harold could feel his skin begin to crawl. He doesn't quite know exactly what it is that's going to happen to him, but he had a faint idea. "What do I do?!" he hissed anxiously, looking up at Straw.

Straw nodded. "Getcher self a room, lock yerself in until you're done changin' an' you don't hear nobody. If anyone sees you before that, just tell them you need to hide, don't waste time explainin' none."

Harold nodded back in reply, continuing to listen.

"Now, I ain't gonna sugarcoat this: Your first change, 'specially at your age, ain't gonna feel or look pretty. Everything's gonna hurt like the devil, and you'll look like you're falling apart. So for whatever reason, try ta keep calm and don't fight it. You wanna come back ta yer family, right? Try t'keep thinkin' about that."

"B-but what if my family sees me like... like you?!"

Straw shook his head. "Don't think about that right now. If any one o' them humans here see you, keep stayin' calm. You probably won't be able ta speak for a while, so try ta look as non-threatenin' as you can ta them, so you can gain their trust, just like I did with you." He suddenly snapped his head to the side, staring at the forest.

"Go! GO!!" Straw hissed, turning back to Harold, gently pushing him forward. "I'll come back fer you and th' young'uns!"

Harold turned to Straw's direction after a few paces, but he was nowhere to be seen. Resuming his pace, he turned around the corner and approached the hotel's front entrance door. It was a lot for him to take in, more than what's already happened, but that Straw had a point; there wasn't any time to waste. He was going to turn into whatever he is at any time, and he needed some place to hide. He thought about whether or not he'll go savage and cause complete and absolute destruction, but Straw never mentioned that at all. Did he forget to mention that to him? No, that can't be right. He looked really calm, all things considered. Maybe it's that he trusts Harold in taking control of the beast within?

Harold shook his head. God, he couldn't believe what he was just thinking. He sounded like lines from an awful film script, and he thought about it with a straight face and treat it like it's an everyday hassle... but if this is what it'll take to see his family again, then he'll have to make it real.

Harold staggered through the entrance doors and stopped. For whatever reason, he had one more realization that struck him, now that he's left alone and given more time to think: He ran quite a ways to get here, and yet he's hardly winded. It could've been the adrenaline, but he distinctly remembered the day before that he was only a few symptoms short of collapsing from the same kind of physical exertion that someone thirty or so years his younger could just sleep off for at least half a day. He could even feel the energy he thought he lost when the twilight years came knocking on his door. And just like his eyesight, everything around him sounded louder and smelled stronger, more than he remembered until now. Which means...

"Jesus, what the fuck happened t'you?!" said a voice in front of Harold. Spellbroken, Harold looked up and saw the landlord, carrying a rather large bundle of newspapers wrapped around with a raffia string. He came close to dropping them when he saw the state that Harold was in when he came inside.

Harold looked down to where the owner was looking, gasping slightly as he completely forgot about the sorry state of his clothing. His shirt, jacket and parts of his trousers were savagely torn apart, revealing stains of his own blood that has now dried and become cracked on his skin.

"Uh," Harold muttered, before regaining his focus and looking up to the owner. "Oh, right! Do you have a spare set of keys to me room?!"

"What?" said the landlord, taken aback at Harold's sudden question. "Yeah, they're on the reception wall over there," he said, turning to a wooden board with an assortment of numbered keys hanging from small metal hooks. "Why? What the bloody 'ell happened to you?!"

Harold shook his head and exhaled. "Need to... I need to change out of these rags. Think you could give me the keys?"

The landlord looked at Harold. "Uh... sure," he said uncertainly, bending down to place the bundle of newspapers down to the floor. He stepped to the counter to retrieve one of the numbered keys. He turned around, and saw Harold buckling slightly, anguish and sweat beginning to paint over his face.

"Oi, you alright? Y'look like you're going for the shits," said the landlord, stepping closer to Harold.

"Y-yeah, I just need to get to me room," Harold croaked, extending a hand. Fuckin' shit, this hurts!

The owner hesitated momentarily when he saw Harold's extended hand, looking oddly red from his fingertips. As if it was the only thing that was odd, everything about how he looked right now completely contradicted his appearance from just half an hour ago. Oh, fuckin' 'ell, he didn't get himself completely shit-faced on smuggled wine and throw his top into the lawnmower, did he? Why else is his top such a mess, his eyes looking all bloodshot, and chunks of red almost completely painting the lower half of his mouth and his chin? Well, whatever. He can call the police on this old badger later. He gingerly dropped the keys to Harold's hand, twitching and gasping in reaction to touching cold metal.

Muttering a word of thanks, Harold rushed to one of the hotel's hallways, key in hand, and struggled to keep standing. He finally staggered to a door with a number matching that of his key's, barely managing to unlock the door. He frantically opened and slammed the door closed, once again barely managing to lock the door.

He sighed, slightly relieved that he now has the room to himself, convinced that no one would be able to see him. Just as he opened his eyes, he stopped and stared at reddish smears just where he closed and locked the door. As he looked down, his eyes widened when he saw his fingertips not only red and swollen, but also covered with blood- HIS blood.

Before he could even begin to think of what's happening, he was bombarded with agony of multiple extremities, from the sudden feeling of his body completely losing all weight within, to a pain that can only be best described as thousands of nails slowly being hammered into his entire body. Moaning, he grit his teeth as he toppled over and hit the side of his body against the door, forcing him to prop his upper half with both of his hands on the floor as he slid down. His vision blurred, then coalesced back and forth, between gasps. His hearing dulled until he could only hear the sound of his own heartbeat, somehow becoming louder and louder.

This is it, he thought. He's going to become one of them. A myriad of thoughts flashed through his mind- mostly his memories with his wife and children. He knew that all of that was going to change very soon.

And just as Straw said, he watched in horror as the floor was showered with hundreds of strands of grayish-white hair, and bloodied yellow fingernails.

His hair and his fingernails.
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JoshuaMadoc
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