Games Gone Wrong
The door creaked loudly in the darkness, much the chagrin of the opener, as he was trying to exit the small room in secret, unnoticed by the still sleeping occupant.
Greg Lawrence was a man who enjoyed simple pleasures, well-bred horses, expensive wine, and beautiful women. All of which he had been partaking in as of late, with the death of his father he had come into his inheritance and in his opinion the best way to make use of it was in making himself comfortable in however he chose to do.
And this night it was with a bottle of the finest wine the inn he’d been staying in had to offer and the alluring Abigail, who had been on his arm since his arrival into town, having been charmed by his winning smile and smooth tongue that had enchanted many before her. It wasn’t many girls that he found good enough to bed, very few in fact, as Greg had standards that were bordering on perfection, no one ever ended up being good enough in his mind, there was always something that ruined the illusion.
He was a man of impossibly high standards, what he wanted was rarely a reachable thing for anyone be them man or woman. In friends and business partners he strove for things that no one could ever possibly be, integrity and honor that had no bounds. And in a woman, he wanted flawlessness, many girls had come close but always fell short in the end.
But Abigail was beautiful in every way, he had found her to be exactly what he wanted when he met her. Slender and smooth, with creamy skin that looked like porcelain next to her flaxen hair and grey eyes that seemed to glisten in the sun, she was divine and devilish at the same time.
And she had liked him from the moment they’d met in the inn, eating up his attentions like a woman starved for affection, something he hadn’t minded at all. It was only this evening that she had told him she loved him as she gave him everything she had to give.
All of which he took most gladly, even though he felt no love for her in return, only a great appreciation for her and what she was most willing to give him.
But over his stay, she had become very suffocating, almost as if she thought he was going to stay, which was ridiculous as he never stayed anywhere long no matter how wonderful the woman.
He stifled a laugh as he made his way out of the inn, his escape now assured as she’d not woken up.
“It’s almost as if she thought I would marry her, how absurd,” Greg thought to himself as he started down the path leading towards the stables where his horse waited, snow swirling about him as he did.
Hearing a twig snap behind him, he paused turning to look over his shoulder, but upon seeing nothing he shrugged and continued already thinking of where to go next.
Perhaps he would return to visit Amanda, she liked him quite a lot if he remembered correctly.
As he was busy thinking of the lovely brunette in the neighboring town, Greg never heard the soft footsteps behind him, nor did he notice the shadow that slipped around him in the night.
It was the sharp cold voice that was almost unrecognizable from the sweet simpering one he was used to that stopped him.
“What are you doing Greg,” asked a very pale looking girl, still clad in her night shift, that Greg unfortunately knew quite intimately.
Grimacing at having been caught he answered, “Ah Abigail, I thought you asleep, I was just checking on my horse here. Nothing to worry about, why don’t you go back inside hmm?”
The lie flowed from his lips with practiced ease, it meant nothing to him just one of the many languages he was fluent in. His deep brown eyes were full of a false sincerity that would have most anyone believing whatever he said, but the rigid stance of the woman before him didn’t budge.
Face drawn and angry tears beginning to drip down her flushed cheeks, she snapped, “Lies! You were leaving, leaving me! Why would you do this??”
He didn’t necessarily like this part, he wasn’t a cruel person, he didn’t like seeing a woman cry or leaving them like this, but there were times – such as this one – that he had to do what was needed and tell the truth, or a version of it.
And one look at her, Greg knew his game was up and more lies would not patronize her, so he dropped the smile to one of a sensible expression as he said, “You must have known I wouldn’t stay. I have enjoyed our time together, perhaps I can come back one day and visit you.”
There was no room for argument in his tone, he didn’t want to prolong this or cause her any more pain.
Her cloudy eyes, now wet with tears grew soft as she stepped forward, closer to him murmuring softly, “But I love you, maybe I can come with you. We could be happy together.”
He sighed, knowing now what he must say and that he most certainly would never return, and brushed a stray strand of her golden hair out of her face.
“And I am very fond of you, but I do not hold you in the same regard. We couldn’t possibly be happy as you say.”
His words had a sharp effect on her, as she immediately recoiled away from his touch, her eyes growing hard and cold with a deep pain beneath.
“But you led me to believe that you did.”
It was not a question but a harsh statement that pierced the night air like a knife, seething anger coloring her tone as she clenched her fists.
Before he could try to defend himself, she spoke again but there was a strange echo almost to her voice as if she were speaking from deep within a cave.
“This is your game, to have your fun and then leave, to give false promises and then break them along with the hearts of those you made them to,” she said, as a wind he couldn’t feel began to blow her hair about her, giving her a deadly beauty that he’d not seen before.
Greg shivered, suddenly feeling cold even through his thick woolen coat.
“Now Abigail, don’t get angry I truly never wanted to hurt you I car- “
Cutting him off with a snarl she took a step closer to him, her eyes blazing with a darkness that almost made him take a step back as he’d never seen it in anyone before.
“No, you Gregory Lawrence, only care for yourself and your own pleasure. Don’t insult me any further with your pathetic lies you miserable creature, I won’t hear them.”
A sick cruel smile twisted her face, something that sent shivers down Greg’s spine as she advanced towards him.
Putting a hand out to stop her, he said, “There is nothing more between us, stop this Abby.”
At the fond nickname he’d given her weeks ago she froze, and pain mixed with the anger in her expression.
“Don’t you dare call me that again,” she hissed lowly at him.
It was then an unearthly change came over her that kindled a spark of something Greg had not felt in a long time; fear.
Her fingernails sharpened to that of claw like talons gleaming in the moonlight, as her grey eyes took on a supernatural shine of their own seeming to glow as her skin became paler than any person he’d ever seen before, an ashy sickly tone that gave her a deathly pallor. Abigail’s once beautiful blonde tresses flowed about her, blown by a nonexistent wind, tangling and snagging on the branches surrounding them both giving her a wild unhinged look.
It was then that he knew exactly what he was looking at.
A very very angry one, Greg was suddenly aware that he’d made a grave mistake. No one angered a witch and walked away without some type of recompense.
Eyes going wide he stared at her, starting to back away from her slowly hoping that he could get to his horse before she did anything.
But it was too late for him, she sunk her sharp nails into his shoulder, her grip like that of iron. Crying out in pain as she did, he found himself paralyzed in her hold as he fell to his knees.
Looking up at her, a spike of icy cold panic and terror struck him dumb as he saw hatred and unfiltered pain in her once loving eyes.
Leaning forward, her lips at his ear, she whispered in a tremulous voice, “I would have given you everything if you had loved me in return.”
She pulled away to look at him, eyes growing hard again.
“How many women have you heard say exactly what I’m saying now, how many hearts have you broken?”
Greg couldn’t answer her, not only was the pain in his shoulder becoming more intense but his vision was starting to blur before him.
“Please, have mercy,” he said, begging almost as he looked into her eyes imploringly.
Her lips twitched into that of an unnatural smile once more and for a moment Greg believed she would.
But that was not to be, and, in a flash, she grabbed his other shoulder, clamping down on both them harder than before. Blood dripped down his back as he tried in vain to escape her grasp, anguish written on his face.
A strangled breath left him as he gasped out, “I’ll do anything, please!”
Leaning down to where she was mere inches away from his face she growled, “Anything you say? Fine, then I curse you Gregory Lawrence, to be as you are on the inside on the outside forevermore. A false love that can never be true for you will only ever get what you’ve given, to be treated like the animal you are by everyone.”
Letting her lips trail against his face, her breath hot on his cheek she laughed, a bitter malicious thing that spelled trouble.
“May you wander forever as the dog you are!”
With that she ripped her claws out of his shoulders, sending a pain like he’d never felt through him causing Greg let out a scream of agony that changed midway to something that resembled an animalistic howl.
He could barely hear her, but a chilling laugh sounded by his ear once more.
“Goodbye Greg, I hope you’ve learned something from this,” said Abigail, as she walked back to the inn, the snow whipping about her thin skirts.
Not able to do anything about her departure Greg fell on his hands unable to move as the strangest feeling began to accompany the extreme pain he felt, an itch he couldn’t describe as anything but almost as if something was trying to scratch his skin off. Writhing on the ground he felt a change come over him, his bones breaking and reforming to a new an unfamiliar shape as the world around him faded of color into a black and white nightmare that seemed so much bigger than it ever had before.
After what seemed an eternity the pain started to slow before finally stopping. Greg tried to get up but found that he couldn’t and fell on his face, but it felt different. And looking down in a glassy sheet of ice he saw the reason why.
It was no longer the reflection of a man he saw but that of a massive dog.
He fumbled forwards on large clumsy paws, very unused to walking on all fours he slid forwards on the slippery ice trying to see himself better, despair growing inside him.
What he saw instead of the face that had always looked back at him he saw the furry snout of a black creature with bits of brown mottled around.
She’d changed him to what she felt he looked like in his heart, a dog.
It was then for a reason other than pain he let out a desolate howl that mixed into the now screaming wind of the dark void of the night’s sky. He was cursed and deep-down Greg knew this fate was entirely his fault.
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