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©2005 Christie Goldenwulfe

This is the first thing I ever wrote for the Hunger world, a short story about my character Bennet. This is purely a horror short (no romance) and is not technically cannon to the Hunger series.


   It was cold, early November. The rain drizzled down from a leaden sky, casting a gray pall over the surrounding woods, fields, and farms. A time of crows, wood smoke in the air, and silence except for the distant, mournful wail of a train. The small, two lane road that led into a tiny Midwestern town in central Illinois glistened with water in the early evening gloom, reflecting the tail lights of a truck slowly making its way out of town. The headlights brushed over a figure walking along the shoulder, head bent down under an old hat, the collar of a long, dark duster turned up against the rain, a pack slung over one shoulder.  The driver did not see much more than that, but an unexpected feeling of unease stole through him and he pressed his foot on the accelerator, suddenly eager to get home to his wife and a warm bed.

   The smell of the truck as it passed was a familiar one by now. One couldn’t live his life on the road and not know that smell: the scents of exhaust, dust, gasoline, oil, and assorted human and animal smells.


   Bennet Marshall snorted and curled his lip as the truck moved on. Just because it was a familiar smell didn’t mean he had to like it. He would much prefer to have the scent of a woman in his nostrils, or some whiskey, perhaps some hot beef stew….or the blood of the prey. Something in him snarled and he grunted. There was a time and a place for everything. Right now he was soaked, and though cold couldn’t really bother him, it could still make him uncomfortable, which he was. He was also tired, having walked twenty miles that day already on the trail of his prey. He’d come across the scent of the Eater back near Quincy, and had been trailing it a good part of the day. The trail had gone cold a few miles from here, doused by the rain, which was due to continue the rest of the night and into tomorrow. His hunt was done for now.

   He paused only a moment to light a cigarette under the shelter of the brim of his hat and continued on through the slog at the side of the road, glancing at a car as it passed him. He really needed to eat, he thought with a grimace as the Hunger spiked through him. He wasn’t likely to get any prey in this town, however, as it had been in every small burg he’d come across in the last week. But the Hunger was starting to become an issue, and soon he would have to find something, somewhere. Every town had an underbelly. Every town had an undesirable. He just really hated it when he had to actively search for one.

   Dark was falling quickly as he entered the outskirts of the town, the lights of human civilization shining through the rain and gloom. With a small sigh he recognized the familiar glow of a motel sign ahead in the distance. It would likely be a run down affair complete with rats, roaches, and old, stained bedding, but it was better than curling up under a bush for the night. His pace quickened only slightly with the thoughts of a hot shower and a warm bed. There may be little left of what one could call humanity within him, but he was still human enough to enjoy a few simple pleasures. He wasn’t a complete animal.

   The name of the motel was the Wagoner Inn, and in the gloom Ben could tell it was a pink stucco on the outside. Charming, but he was used to it. He was glad to see that there were no cars parked in front of the rooms. That means he likely wouldn’t be bothered tonight.

   The “lobby” was small, vacant, and smelled of fried food and cigarette smoke, canned TV laughter drifting in from somewhere in the back. Ben looked around at the advertisements for the town and local attractions on the walls, when a missing persons flyer caught his eye. He looked at the smiling face of a local teenage girl from across the room, the picture obviously taken from yearbook. She looked to be a young girl, petite and blond though somewhat awkward and plain in her beauty. Surely a local tragedy, and surely somewhere dead by now.

   Perhaps he might find something worthwhile in this town after all.

   His sensitive ears caught movement from a room beyond and a moment later a balding, older man opened a door and peered into the room from behind smudged glasses, a cigarette screwed into his lips. Sounds from the loud TV poured into the room as he pinned Ben with a calculating stare before speaking in a gravely voice.

   “You want a room?”

   Ben met his weaselly eyes with his own calm, piercing gaze, raising an eyebrow at the clerk “I wouldn’t be standing here if I didn’t now would I?”

   The clerk scowled and shuffled into the room, attired in an old pair of slacks and a stained, white t-shirt, never taking his eyes off of the stranger. Ben felt his hackles rise ever so slightly and he shook himself mentally. Not him. He was just a sour old bastard who didn’t trust a soul, like himself. The clerk turned away for a moment, then slammed a key down in front of Ben on the counter.

   “It’s thirty-five a night. The beds are old, but they’re clean, and the water’s hot. Other than that, I can’t promise anything.”

   Ben nodded and pulled a few bills out of his pocket, dropping the wad in front of the old man who watched him like a hawk. He reached for the key, but the old man’s clawed hand remained on it, and his eyes narrowed behind his glasses as Ben met his eyes.

   “I don’t want to know why you’re here. I don’t want to know nothin’ about you, and I want you gone as soon as possible.”

   Ben held the clerk’s eyes for a long moment, his gaze betraying nothing. Water dripped off the brim of his hat between them, and the clerk finally looked away. He nervously ran a hand through his sparse hair as he backed off, mumbling to himself, and he retreated to the back room. Ben allowed himself to smile only a little as he took the key from the counter, gave the missing person’s flier a last look, and walked back out into the rain.

   It was dark now, and the garish pink neon bars around the edge of the roof of the motel reflected nauseatingly onto the wet pavement. Ben growled softly and looked for the number on the door that matched the number on the key. It was the very last room on the end, and he turned the key in the lock with a small sigh of relief. The room was dark, and held a myriad of scents despite the small attempts to keep the place clean. A person didn’t need a nose of his caliber to pick up the scents of old cigarettes, beer, and sex. There were other scents here as well, scents that intrigued a part of him, but Ben wasn’t about to go sniffing in the corners. That just wasn’t something he did.

   With a grateful grunt he heaved off his soaked leather pack onto an old, worn chair, followed by his duster, two sawed-off shotguns, a pair of pistols, a large hunting knife, and finally his hat. He scrubbed a hand through his mop of blondish graying hair and then over his whiskered face with a sigh. He was tired, and not just from his traveling. He was tired from a great many things. Things he didn’t care to think on too long, but when you live your life alone, your thoughts are the only company you ever really have. He checked the guns to make sure they were loaded, always with silver shot,  and put them within easy reach. He never knew when he would need to use his old friends.

   He needed that shower.

   He removed his travel worn boots and wet socks, then stood and stripped off his jeans, shirt, and underclothes. He often found it amusing that a creature such as himself wore so many clothes when his kind were perfectly fine being naked every day, even in the wintertime. It was a way to ground himself to his humanity, though, else he may succumb to the beast within completely and become what he hated the most.

   The bathroom held the usual luxuries: an old stained toilet, a cracked sink the color of some shades of vomit, also stained, and a bathtub/shower whose faucet and plug barely worked at all. Bennet didn’t bother turning on the lights. The light of a streetlamp shining through the mottled glass of the small window was more than enough to see by.

   After a while of fidgeting with the faucet and nearly breaking it off in a temper, Ben finally got the shower going and spent several minutes just standing under the heat, his head against the mildewed tile until he felt somewhat human again. He finished showering himself off and retrieved one of the small, rough bath towels and dried himself as best he could. He then stood before the sink and drank several handfuls of cold tap water, then he caught his reflection in the cracked, misted over mirror. He wiped off the glass with one hand, gripping the edges of the sink as he regarded himself.

   He didn’t look his age, and for a fact he couldn’t really recall just how old he really was. All he knew is he was at least as old as his memories of the Civil War. Still, he only looked maybe 48-ish, physically felt 19, and inwardly felt eons old. None of his kind looked their ages. It was just another part of his curse. And it was a curse. He’d met some that thought it was a blessing, and they couldn’t conceive of being human in any way. But he wasn’t like them. He had never wanted this. He hated what he was.

   Melancholy and regret took him strongly for a moment and he bent over the sink, gripping it tight.  He missed being human. He regretted the day he was dying on the battlefield, only to be dragged away in the chaos by something unfathomable. He wished he had died that day, devoured by the creature instead of turned. Instead he had been cursed and left on his own to suffer the madness of Hunger, to discover what he had become.

   For a long time he had roamed the wilderness as a beast, preying on anyone that crossed his path. He was mad, slave to the beast inside until one of his own found him. He tried to kill the newcomer, but this one was much older, and stronger. He taught Bennet what his maker should have taught him, about how to live with the beast inside, and how to temper the Hunger. The old one taught him the ways of their magics and how to use them. How to live with what he was. Slowly Bennet came back to his own humanity, realizing what he now was and what he had lost, and he swore vengeance against his own kind.

   He looked up at his reflection again and anger was plain on his face, his steel gray eyes piercing. His teacher had left him then, disappearing as quickly and mysteriously as he had arrived. He had been on his own and on the hunt for a long time now and had taken many of his brethren. Those who were unstable, as he had been. Those who preyed upon the weak. Those who took too many and succumbed to the madness and power of an Eater. But there were many more out there. He could not rest until he was either dead or every Eater on the planet was. And he had no intention of dying no matter how much he longed for oblivion.

   Suddenly the Hunger, sharp and intense overtook him and he bent over the sink, his muscles bunching under his skin, his fingers digging into the porcelain. He panted, trying to get control over himself, and looked up into the mirror. His eyes had changed from their usual gray to a light blue, his jaw clenched against slightly sharpened teeth. He panted as he brought himself under control and watched as his eyes faded back to gray. He was out of time. He needed to hunt. Tonight. He had gone too long and was becoming ravenous. He had to find something here, soon, because the consequences of losing control were unacceptable to him.

   He returned to the main room and sat heavily on the bed, his head in his hands. He would rest, and then he would do what needed to be done. What always needed to be done. Promising the beast within him that its dark desires would be fed that night, Ben curled up on top of the bed, still naked, and fell promptly to sleep.


   It was near ten in the evening when Ben’s eyes suddenly opened. He blinked, and then rolled over onto his back and stretched, yawned, then lay there for a moment scratching his tender human skin. His kind didn’t need much in the way of rest. His healing ability was something akin to magical, and so not much rest was ever needed to fully recharge ones self. It would have just been nice to be able to stay in one place and remain safe, warm…human, for a few days. But his life was never that easy. It was something he had accepted long ago.

   He rose after a moment of laziness and began to dress, his plan for the evening already well thought out in his mind. He had done this before thousands of times now; it was almost like second nature. The thought of the impending hunt caused excitement to course through his body as he pulled on his boots and the beast inside rose to the surface. His weaker, softer, human half was pushed to the background with practiced ease and by the time he shouldered his pack he was all calculating hunter in a human guise. There was no mourning now for humanity lost, no dark memories to haunt him. Those things caused weakness, a moment of hesitation, and in his world such things would cost him his life. He sneered at his human weakness as he opened the door. Not tonight. Tonight he was all wolf.

   The night was quiet, the streets deserted as he stepped outside and closed the door behind him. He wouldn’t be coming back here again. First, however, he needed to make sure that he wasn’t remembered. He walked quickly around behind the motel to a bit of woods in the back and knelt down on the ground, opening his pack. His kind had magic, oh yes, and it served them well. If not for their magics his kind would have been discovered long ago, and been destroyed. But their magic was ancient, tied to the very earth and all things in it, and his bestial mind understood the workings of things humans could not see, and only very distantly feel.
From the bag he withdrew an item wrapped in leather with great care, laying it on the ground and opening it almost reverently, revealing an ornate silver knife. His senses were assaulted by it immediately and he held his breath for a moment as he looked at it. To his eyes it seemed to glow with it’s own light, power coming off of it in waves almost like smoke. It left a taste and a scent at the back of his throat like ozone, and it sang softly in his ears. All silver affected his kind like this to a certain degree, but this blade was special. It was pure silver, and it had been blessed for such rituals of his kind. He had paid dearly to get it.

  He opened his coat and his shirt after a moment, revealing his chest, and then he retrieved one more item from his pack. A single feather. An owl feather, which he smoothed with his fingers and laid next to the knife. Then, gently, he picked up the knife with a sound like a soft growl in the back of his throat and pointed the tip to his chest. His heart began to beat quickly as he continued to make the noises, offering prayers in the language of his kind to the ancient powers. After a moment he pressed the tip into his skin, gasping as he slashed his chest with the burning metal, lightly carving a small glyph on his chest. The pain of silver was like no other pain. It burned, not only in the flesh and blood, but in the spirit as well, searing the body as well as the soul. It was the only real thing his kind feared, and in the hands of a human mob that knew what to do with it, it could be sheer terror.

  When he was finished, he slashed the air with the knife, uttering a harsh sound, and then drew the same symbol in the earth with the knife. After this was done he laid the knife back down on the leather and picked up the feather. With whispering noises he then brushed the feather lightly across the glyph several times until he was satisfied, and then pressed his face to the ground with a soft growl. The spell was complete, and from now on until the glyph healed, no one would remember seeing him.

  After putting the sacred items away, he dressed his wound and wrapped it in bandages, then buttoned up his shirt and overcoat. Grabbing a fistful of the dirt on which he had drawn the glyph, he walked back around to the front of the motel and sprinkled some in front of the lobby, then he walked back up the road a ways, sprinkling dirt here and there as he went. The clerk and those who has seen him on the roadway, though they would remember seeing him, wouldn’t recall anything specific about him, and would recall him only as someone unworthy of their notice.


   He was safe to begin the hunt now.

  Eagerly he allowed his animal nature to take over. He would need the cunning, the instincts of his animal side to choose a worthy victim this night.

  There are rules to hunting a human that no werewolf ever forgets. Forgetting to be careful and meticulous, allowing the beast to take over before it was time was a death sentence, not only from other werewolves, but from man himself. Man had a sharp eye, and was quick to notice things out of place in his world. His curious nature would not allow him to pass by that smear of blood on a leaf, or a shred of clothing on some bark. He would have to know what it meant, and man’s clever mind would find the truth easy enough. And then the hunting would begin, the werewolf hounded and herded until he was cornered, and shot down with silver, and the world would know the secret.

   Bennet knew these things as if he had been born to them. Sharp wit and a careful, clever mind were more valuable in this hunt than fangs and claws. He had to be careful, very, very careful, or his life would end, and the beast in him would not allow that. His animal nature would force him to be clever and cautious, for that was the nature of the beast.

   To that end he walked straight into the woods, his keen night vision showing him the animal trails, his footfalls careful like a whisper. He must find a place to den where he would be unseen for a few days. This was vital, as it took a werewolf a few days to finish eating the kill. Every part would be eaten, including the hair and bones, and the clothes would be carefully buried, or burned, or otherwise safely discarded. No trace could be left of the killing, or else it would lead a trail that would lead men straight to him. He had outrun this kind of trouble before, but one cannot run forever from minds bent on vengeance, or minds bent on capture and study.

   He was getting deep into the fields and woods several miles out of town when a scent caught his attention. A very tantalizing, curious scent, and one he had smelled many times before. He opened himself up fully to the wolf within and his senses suddenly became ten times sharper, snapping the smell into immediate focus. Something dead. Something human and dead. Female. Immediately he knew what he had found and he veered towards it, making his way down into a steep ravine filled with brush. He cringed at the sharp, crashing rustles that accompanied his movements in the tight space, but it couldn’t be helped. He found her hidden under a pile of leaves, branches, and brush, half buried in the cold, moist earth. Bennet crouched down and cleared away some of the debris, revealing her lifeless face, her cold, dead eyes half closed, staring up at him. He felt no pity, no remorse. To the beast inside she was food, nothing more than that. Except that she was already dead, and that was unacceptable. He needed to do the killing, and besides, he didn’t kill women and children. Even the beast understood that.

   Bennet studied the girl for a long moment, then bent close to her and breathed her scent in. Underneath the powerful scent of her decay lay the smells of other things. Her soap, shampoo, deodorant, and perfume. The smell of laundry detergent in her clothes. And here the scent of beer and sex. He uncovered her completely and took full measure of her. She had been violated, either consensually or not, then beaten and strangled. He scented her deeper, bending so closely over her that he touched her. There, he could smell the male now. Could smell the beer and cigarettes in his saliva which was all over her neck, face, and breasts, and when Bennet bent close to her genitals he could scent the most profound smell of the one who had ended this girls life. He breathed deeply, sorting the scent from all the others, memorizing it clearly.

   When he was satisfied that he had it, he carefully covered the girl back up, and sat back on his heels. Even now he could smell that particular scent as it moved away from here, and back over the hill. It was weeks old, but he was no ordinary creature. He would find this person, and a universal debt would be paid. Bennet rose then, and made his way quickly from the ravine back into the woods. He had the scent now. He just needed a den and the hunt could begin.

  It was deep in the woods near the railroad tracks that he finally came across a suitable area. It was a brushy thicket that had a small clearing in the center, perfect for his needs. Bennet stood in the middle of the clearing, having just finished clearing it out of branches and odd debris, and surveyed the area. It was near one in the morning by this time, and the earlier clouds had broken up and moved on, revealing a blanket of brilliant stars in the blackness. Bennet’s breath fogged in the icy air as he scanned the sky above, the branches of the trees a black latticework against the darkness of the sky. It was a crescent moon, which had set hours ago, leaving the world dark except for the scattering of starlight. More than enough light for him to see by.

   Bennet began to undress, making a nest for his belongings under the brush and drier leaves well away from the feeding area. The cold air was chill on his bare human skin, but for his kind it wasn’t uncomfortable. In fact, if he wanted to, he could walk buck naked through a blizzard and be okay. He wouldn’t be happy about it, but he would be okay.


   When his belongings were safely tucked away, he crouched in the middle of the clearing and cleared a small patch of earth from all debris, leaving the cold, moist earth exposed. When he was finished, he allowed the wolf to come into his hand and experienced the familiar pressure and tingling that was the onset of shift. He only wanted one claw though, and narrowed his concentration to his index finger alone. He watched as his already thick, grayish fingernail blackened and elongated into a curved talon, dark colored wolf hairs sprouting through the skin along the top of the finger. When it was enough, he cut off the flow of energy and bent to the clear patch of earth, scrawling an intricate design with the claw, growling and muttering under his breath as he did. His sanctuary must remain unseen from anyone who may come searching, even from accursed hounds and other canines. The spell he drew would ensure that none would find him here. Him, or his prey.

   When the design was complete, Bennet stood and urinated a few drops onto the earth, bringing the spell to life. The drops hissed and smoke rose up from the sigil, letting him know he had drawn it correctly. With a small smile of satisfaction, Bennet began to pace the clearing as power began to trickle out from the spell towards the outer edges. He had done this many times, created a ghaa’yarr, a place of safety when he had run into trouble countless times in the past. He sensed the power gathering and the wolf began to uncurl inside of him. Energy coursed through him from his center outward, setting each nerve aflame as he paced, the sigil beginning to grow blue in his sight as his eyes changed from gray to light blue. If he chose he could force the transformation now and explode into the form that his entire being cried to take, but he preferred to let things happen naturally to savor the sensation.


   Changing his shape was a lot like having sex. People might think that it would be a painful experience, but it was far from that. The body wanted it to happen, and though it took a lot of energy to pull off, the final transformation was rewarded with pleasure.

   Pressure began to build in his extremities, accompanied by a delightful tingling itch through his whole form. The changes began to take place simultaneously, a pleasant tightness growing with each moment. The pressure in his face suddenly blossomed as his nose and jaw elongated, his teeth lengthening and pushing themselves into their new shapes. His ears felt like they were being pulled as they too lengthened into pointed cups, arranging themselves on the top of his head as his skull structure changed. Long, black talons sprouted from his nails as the bones in his hands changed, and the pressure at the bottom of his spine forced a long, naked tail from his sacrum. At the same time his feet began to lengthen, his pinky toe disappearing altogether as huge, specialized paws were formed. His calf shortened considerably and his thigh rearranged itself to hold his weight on digitigrade legs. The pressure and tingling continued to build until he fell onto all fours, dark fur rippling out of his skin with the most wonderful sensation, and his body continued to make final adjustments until, at last, he howled his completion out into the night. He was unable to control himself, and his booming voice echoed for miles around, sending birds out of their night nests and causing the wildlife to go still with fright.

   He lay inside the clearing, panting with momentary exhaustion from the change. He was huge now, a creature something like a wolf yet like no wolf on earth. His head was far more massive than a wolf’s, yet it had a wolfish form. His face had a hellish expression to it, and his teeth were enormous and fearsome, especially his huge canines that protruded from his bottom lip even with his mouth closed. He was covered in a thick pelt of varying shades of dark gray and black, and his form was hulking and heavy, more the size of a black bear than a wolf.

   After a moment he got to his feet, his animal instincts demanding that he finish what he had begun. He stretched himself fully, digging his huge claws into the earth, and then shook himself thoroughly with a satisfied grunt. After checking to make sure that his belongings were safely concealed away, he made his way through the brush to the outside of the thicket and began to urinate at intervals around the perimeter. This would seal off his ghaa’yarr and finish the spell. None would find him here now.

   When he was fully satisfied that he had done all that he needed to do, he turned and breathed deep of the cold, clean air. He could smell the scent he wanted faintly, a signature above the normal smells of the forest. With a small growl and lick across his fangs, Bennet set off to begin the hunt. Somehow he would find what he was looking for, and he would feast.


  Blaine, Illinois was a small town with only a population of less than 500 souls, the majority of them farmers who were well asleep by now. The closest town was around 12 miles away, and in between was nothing but fields and forest…and darkness. No creature stirred this night as Bennet ran through the woods towards town on four legs, his wolfen body like a powerful, flawless machine as he flowed through the still, cold night. His breath came in hot, heavy pants that steamed in the cold air that flowed across his tongue and through his mouth, cooling him efficiently. He was all predator now, more animal than human, the beast inside of him fully awake and fully in control. His senses were preternaturally keen, and the scent of the trail he followed filled his whole head so that it nearly blocked out all other thought. Streams of saliva escaped his open mouth as he ran, eager for the taste of blood. But Bennet had done this countless times before, and was well in control of himself as long as he did not resist this need. Not now. Both man and beast were in tandem, for anything less would be disastrous. At this time, at this moment, Bennet was well and truly one with himself.

   The trail began to break up and become mixed with thousands of other scents as he entered the outskirts of the small town. Bennet slowed to a trot and swiped his muzzle with his tongue as he approached what looked to be a junk yard, the perimeter fenced off and tipped with rolls of razor wire. A scent came to him from the yard, causing his hackles to raise and his lips to curl back from his immense teeth, growling softly.


   Dogs. There were dogs in the yard, likely there to keep other humans out. Dogs that warned, and tracked, and harried for their human masters, but Bennet couldn’t be bothered with them right now. He lifted his tail high and allowed his musk to flow out strongly as he trotted past the fence towards the road. The dogs barked a warning only once before catching his scent, and then retreated to their dens in the yard. Bennet could smell their fear and it made him growl with hunger, but no animal meat would do this night. Not wanting to take the chance that the dogs had awoken their owner, Bennet hurried to a thicket of brush in an empty lot several hundred yards from the yard.

   Cautious now that he was in human territory, Bennet crouched in the brush and watched the road and the few other buildings in the area. Nothing stirred. If anyone had heard the dogs, they had dismissed it. This town was asleep. Bennet had little to fear, but it was always good to be cautious.

  Silently, Bennet slipped from the brush and crossed the street to the concealing shadows on the other side. He moved swiftly and carefully, broadcasting his scent as clearly as he could to frighten any other dogs before they could warn. None challenged him, and soon he crept upon the state route that ran through town that also served as its Main Street. Bennet crouched in the shadows, panting as he looked up and down the street for any signs of life. The lights of the few business signs and street lamps reflected in the wet of the street, and nothing moved. The scent continued on across the street and Bennet followed, always cautious, always alert for anything or anyone that might betray his presence. The scent grew stronger as he moved through the back streets, converging at last upon a lone trailer amongst a stand of trees. The source of the scent.

   Knowing better than to just rush right in and take his prey, Bennet instead circled the property widely a few times, gauging any threats that might present themselves. The lights were on in the main bedroom and voices could be heard in argument. There was also a dog that had already caught Bennet’s scent and stood stiff-legged, caught in between fear and a need to warn it’s master. This was not going to be easy, and Bennet’s Hunger had increased with his chosen prey so near. He paced, saliva spinning from his open jaws, warring between his need to be cautious, and his ever increasing need to taste blood. The two halves of himself were no longer meshed, the human part of him vying for control as the Hunger drove the instinctual part of him to take what he needed, and take it now. It took a supreme act of willpower to make himself sit down in the shadows and try to think of a plan. He was a fool. A fool for always waiting so long to feed, for always pushing that envelope to see how long he could go before he took another human life, seeing how far he could push before Hunger claimed him.

  He trembled as he watched the trailer, his ears pinned on the argument from within, forcing himself to concentrate on what they were saying. It was a man and a woman. The woman sounded like she was distressed and angry, and the man sounded irritated, but there was something else to his voice that betrayed another emotion. Fear? He was afraid of the woman? No, he was afraid of the conversation. They were arguing about her daughter, and suddenly Bennet understood. The daughter was lying dead out in the woods, and the stepfather had done the killing. Not to mention the raping.

   Bennet wanted this man now, no doubt about it. His lips rose from off of his teeth and he was moving towards the trailer before he knew what he was doing. He stopped himself again and cursed his humanity for making him weak, unable to control the beast when it mattered most. Hunger was making it harder for him to focus, his human thoughts and reasoning becoming blurred under the need to kill. He was becoming ravenous, a state where he would kill uncontrollably and without thought. He would kill in a mindless frenzy until his thirst for death was slaked in a river of blood, and he would pay the ultimate price of being hunted by his own kind. Hunted like those he hunted. He could not allow that. Would not allow that.

   He approached the trailer now with the intent of luring the man out somehow when the trailer door banged open, causing Bennet to leap back into the shadows in surprise. As if some invisible muzzle had been removed, the dog began to bark furiously as the man stumbled angrily out of the trailer, his wife screaming in anger in the doorway. Neither paid any attention to the dog that was trying with all his might to get their attention, to warn them of the beast that hid in the shadows, straining at the chain that held him bound. The man angrily yanked open the door to his truck, his wife screaming and sobbing all the while, and got in, slamming the door behind him. With a rumble the truck came to life, and with a final scream at the dog to shut up the wife slammed the door to the trailer. Tires squealing, the truck backed out of the driveway, headlights brushing past Bennet who flinched in response. The man had not seen him, however, and instead slammed the truck into gear and roared off down the road.

   Not wasting any time, Bennet leapt after him. He didn’t know where his prey was going, and at this point he didn’t care. His prey was singled out, and on the run. Bennet couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. The truck sped and lurched its way to the state road, and once there it sped up to high speed with a throaty roar of its massive engine. His kind were amazing creatures, almost magical in a way, and Bennet was able to keep up with the truck but stayed just behind it to where he would not be seen in the rearview. It took all of his power to maintain the all out run of nearly sixty miles an hour, however, and soon the truck began to outpace him by inches at first, and then by feet. His kind had amazing stamina to be sure, but they were not machines. He could only sprint like this for so long while the truck could keep its speed and more for as long as it had gas.


   The truck was now greatly ahead of him, and Bennet was slowing even further. Frustration and rage boiled inside of him as his prey began to elude him when suddenly the truck slowed a bit. Bennet caught the scent of cigarette smoke, the man having slowed to light up, and Bennet took his chance. Putting on a last burst of speed, Bennet caught up to the truck and with a mighty burst leapt up into the bed, his massive weight jarring the vehicle as he landed.

   Peering into the cab through the back window, Bennet exposed all of his teeth in triumph as he panted, his eyes aglow with Hunger. The eyes of man and beast met in the rearview mirror, and the man suddenly knew his doom. With a shriek the man turned to look through the back window, simultaneously jerking the wheel as Bennet’s paw smashed through the safety glass, his claws sinking into warm flesh and scraping against the bone of the man’s shoulder. The truck swerved once, and then at seventy miles an hour lost control and went into a series of flips across the pavement and onto the shoulder, shrieking the death throes of a dying machine.

   Bennet was thrown clear of the vehicle with the first flip, his form rolling across the pavement with a snapping of bones until he came to rest in a heavy heap of fur and flesh. He lay there for a moment, unmoving as the truck finally came to a stop with a crash onto the grassy shoulder some several hundred yards down the road from him. He was hurt, and dazed, and could feel the pain of his numerous injuries, but already they began to heal with lightning speed, his lacerations closing, expelling grit and gravel as they did so, his bones re-aligning and popping back together with a flash of pain, re-knitting within moments.


   With a growl rumbling deep within his chest Bennet got slowly to his feet to lightning flashes of pain, rising until he stood fully on two long, digitigrade legs. They were in the wilderness of woods and fields between small towns, the truck lying on the shoulder next to a large expanse of field. Woods lay to all sides of the field, dark and foreboding under a sky brilliant with stars, and there was no sign of civilization anywhere.

  The truck was smoking, having come to a stop upright, and it groaned and pinged as Bennet finished healing. The hood of the truck had come open and now lay crumpled upon the engine. The front end of the truck was smashed in completely, and the cab of the truck was somewhat sandwiched, the rest of it in various stages of complete wreckage. While this was a heavy-duty machine and while it was well built, and strong, it had suffered a major accident, and it’s driver was likely dead. Bennet smelled gas, the scent oozing thick and heavy into the night air. He had to work fast.

   He ran swiftly to the now upright truck, grasping the driver side door in his massive paw-hands. With a grunt he began to pull, peeling the door away with a shriek of metal until it ripped off in his hands, and he flipped it to the side. The man lay crumpled inside of the cab, and it was unknown if he was alive or not. In his drunken state he had not been wearing a seat belt. Growling his frustration, Bennet began to pull the man from the wreckage with care, painfully aware of the seconds ticking by. Every second was a chance that someone would happen by at this late hour, every second a chance that this thing might blow up. Bennet missed the days when horses were the only means of transportation. Things were a lot less complicated back then.

   With a final twist, the man came free, and Bennet was surprised to see that he was alive, but only barely. He wasted no time, and cradling the man like a loved one, Bennet leapt the barbed wire fence with a thrust of his powerful legs and ran deep into the overgrown field with his prize. He laid the man down amongst the dead winter weeds and began to undress him with care, removing every bit of his clothing, which he then bundled up and tucked under one massive arm. He ran back to the smoking truck swiftly, the scent of gas gathering in strength, and tossed the bundle into the cab. One last thing to do. He found a length of metal that had been torn away from the truck and found a puddle of gas forming on the other side of the crumpled vehicle on the pavement. Grinning, he struck the pavement next to the puddle with the piece of steel, sending sparks flying. He leapt back as the gas lit with a small “whump!”, watching as the fire spread towards the source of the gas.


   Time to go.

   Eagerly he leapt the fence and ran with abandon back to where he had left the man. He was happily surprised to find the man awake, though bloodied and dazed. But there was recognition in his eyes when Bennet stood over him, grinning the grin of hell, trembling with need and backlit by fire. The man uttered a squeak of terror, moaning in pain as Bennet picked him up and tossed him over one shoulder. Bennet turned to look at the fire before leaving, and watched with satisfaction as the gas tank exploded with a brilliant “Boom!”, lighting up the night for all to see. Someone would have definitely noticed that, and be coming to investigate now. They would forever be confused by what had happened, and that was the way it should be.

   Bennet ran through the night, his prey over his shoulder, his tongue lolling out of his mouth as he panted. He was as wary as before as he ran towards his ghaa’yarr, but the night was silent and still, the man over his shoulder whimpering on occasion. At the entrance to his den he stopped and urinated a few drops onto the earth, which glowed blue for a moment, and then he felt the energy of the place accepting him in. It was time. It was finally time.


   The beast in him did not wait, and pulled the man from his shoulder and to his muzzle, his teeth finding at last what they had been longing for. The man cried out and arched against him as Bennet’s teeth met his throat with a spray of blood. Blood filled his mouth, his entire senses, and famished, unable to wait any longer, Bennet pulled until a large piece of the man’s sweet flesh came away in his jaws and he swallowed eagerly.


   Bennet sank to the ground as power and euphoria infused him, the man’s body twitching in his arms. He buried his muzzle again into the stringiness of the throat and ripped away another piece, drinking the man’s life energy that he expelled as he died. It replenished his own body and power, and fulfilled his strongest need and craving more than any drink, any sex, any drug, any other thing on the Earth could. He was lost in the power and the joy that it gave him, gave his kind, as he ripped at his kill, crouching over it now as he opened the abdomen and swallowed great chunks of steaming meat.

   He ate until he was completely engorged, his fur matted with coagulated blood and meat, the body gone cold. Meat-drunk, Bennet noticed woozily that he had eaten the insides and most of the chest and neck of the man, his cold-dead eyes half-closed and glassy, staring up at the lightening sky. He must have been very close to being ravenous to have eaten so much in one sitting. Yawning, he moved away from the corpse to the other side of the ghaa’yarr where he flopped down into a pile of dry leaves and rolled onto his back, his head spinning. Sleep overcame him quickly as morning began to dawn over the world, his beastial features smoothed into a look of contentment.


  Over the next few days Bennet feasted, taking his time on consuming what was left of his prey. On the first day, as he was idly chewing sinew off of a thigh, Bennet heard bloodhounds in the distance. Hackles raised, he stood on two legs and scented the air, casting about for where they were coming from. The dogs bayed, but were fairly far away from the ghaa’yarr, and after a moment of listening to the baying he hunkered back down again over his kill. A century and more of performing this ritual had perfected it for Bennet, and he wasn’t worried. The dogs eventually went away, coming up with no leads for their masters, and the world returned to it’s quiet stillness, punctuated now and then by the distant wailing of a train and the snapping of bones. Bennet ate everything, including the hair, and three days later he crunched the last bit of skull and scalp and inspected the ground with a satisfied sigh. The only thing that was left of his prey was the dark, bloodstained ring of ground he had fed upon, and nothing more. He was always meticulous and left nothing for humans to find, for even the smallest of bits nowadays could lead humans to his kind. He missed the old days, back when he could just eat what he wanted and leave the rest for the buzzards.

   With a sigh he stretched his huge form fully and entered the edge of the ghaa’yarr where he stood and watched and listened carefully to the world around him with perked ears. Nothing moved in the forest, animals having sensed his presence and cleared out of the area days ago, and the only sound was the echo of winter birds in the trees. Deciding it was okay, he stepped out of the protected area and onto all fours, loping to where he knew there was a stream. At the stream he washed the caked and matted blood from his fur in the frigid water, lapping thirstily when he was done bathing. When he was sure he was clean, he climbed from the water onto the riverbank and shook himself thoroughly until his hackles stuck out in every direction.


   It was time to move on.

   Back at the ghaa’yarr, Bennet changed slowly back into his human form. The change was always accompanied by heat and his body steamed as he transformed. By the time he stood again as a man his skin was dry, and his thick hair was only slightly damp. Retrieving his things, Bennet sat and shook out his clothes and pulled them on. They were damp and chilly, but that was to be expected. At least he had gotten no blood on them. The feeding done, the beast in him once again retreated to the back of his mind, and Bennet was left reviewing what he had done as he pulled on his boots.

   He was a man cursed, yet he couldn’t help but feel that he offered humanity some sort of restitution for what he was. He preyed upon the predators of human kind, the scum that the world would be better off for if they just disappeared. There was some small measure of comfort in that for him, that perhaps by choosing to prey upon the human predators of mankind that some small measure of his sins might be forgiven. He could do nothing for the man’s victim, but at least his wife could perhaps have a better life now. If she chose to. He certainly hoped that she did.

  I'm an old fool, he thought as he shouldered his backpack and took a final look around. The power of the ghaa’yarr would dwindle and fade as the moon went through it’s cycle until it again returned to the phase it was when the spell was created, at which point the power would dissipate altogether. Of course Bennet would be long gone by then. Hell, he would be long gone by the next evening.


   With a sigh, Bennet screwed a cigarette into his lips and lit it behind cupped hands, taking a drag as he exited his temporary sanctuary. He had things to attend to, places to be…werewolves to hunt, he mused with a wry smile as he walked through the forest towards the highway.



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