Jamie ran naked and terrified through the cold Colorado mountain forest, trying desperately to keep up with the five others running ahead of him. The others were much faster than he was and didn’t seem concerned about leaving him behind. They were too busy laughing amongst themselves, arguing over who got the most kills, to pay attention to him.
“Hey guys, please wait up,” Jamie shouted through the trees, barely able to see his so - called friends in the distance.
“Keep up, New Blood; learn to use your Wolf stamina.” The oldest member of the gang, Dalton, called back.
A low growl escaped Jamie’s throat; he hated being called New Blood. He figured that after his first transformation during a full moon the others would finally give him respect, instead they seem to be treating him just the same, worse as far as Shawn, the gang’s largest member, was concerned.
Derek, the friendliest guy in the gang, stopped and raised his hand to the others. “Come on guys, slow down, Jamie still hasn’t gotten used to being one of us yet. He hasn’t adjusted to his strength yet.”
Aaron, the gang leader, slid to a halt, making the rest of the gang stop. “Derek’s right, guys, we’re a pack; we don’t leave each other behind.”
The others, especially Shawn, groaned and protested as they stopped in a small clearing, waiting for Jamie to catch up. All were naked and out of breath; the transformations always took a lot out of them, particularly the change back to human. None of them say a word, besides a bunch of groaning, as Jamie ran into the clearing and nearly collapsed in front of them, gasping for breath.
“Thanks for . . . waiting guys.” Jamie panted as he rose to his knees.
Derek patted Jamie on the back. “Take your time, Jamie, the first transformation is always the hardest and most intense, the pain will go away eventually.”
“Oh, please, Derek, can you not coddle the New Blood, you’ll make him weak.” Brian, the gang’s tattoo artist, shouted.
“Shut up Brian, you were worse during your first transformation.”
Jamie’s panting droned out the arguing of the other gang members; his only thoughts were on how he got himself mixed in with the mad group of monsters surrounding him. He regretted heading alone into the forest that day nearly a month ago. That day, he ran into the forest to escape his abusive father, having finally had enough of the beatings. Jamie ran until he came to a building he thought was abandoned, till he went inside and found the gang inside, drinking and partying. At first, Jamie thought they were just squatters, but was jealous of the tight bond they had. They invited Jamie to become one of them, if he had known what it entailed he would’ve said no. Next thing Jamie knew, Aaron was biting his neck, spreading a dark power into his body. It wasn’t till Jamie woke up a day later that Dalton explained what had really happened; he had become a Werewolf and was part of their pack.
“To bad the ranchers had such a small gathering, I was expecting at least double what there was.” Aaron said as he paced back and forth in front of the gang.
“Me too, at least they had cattle nearby, ripe for the slaughter,” Dalton replied, cracking his knuckles, “Had to work out my aggression, a month’s a long time to build up frustration.”
“But it feels SOOOOO good to let out that built up animal rage and instinct after so long,” Derek added, “It makes the kill so much sweeter.”
“Amen to that, Derek,” Shawn cheered, “What do you say, Jamie, you savor the kill?”
Jamie looked down at the ground, unsure how to answer such a dark question. After watching the gang attack a rancher’s home, murder his family and livestock, and laugh about it, Jamie was traumatized beyond what he thought possible. The gang used the rancher’s family reunion as a way to quench their blood lust and initiate Jamie as one of their own. Jamie couldn’t bring himself to end a human’s life, while the others did so while laughing. To avoid suspicion, Jamie slaughtered a few of the ranchers’ cattle. Brian saw it as weakness while the others could care less; they saw it as a step in the right direction. The experience scared Jamie, making him believe that if he kept it up he’d become just like them, a murderous psychopath with a predator drive that’ll ruin his mind. Jamie wanted desperately to run before the same animal instincts took over his mind and made him just like them, but he knew they’d hunt him down and kill him before he got away. He thought his best option at the moment was to wait for the right moment to get away, but that would involve playing the role of a psychotic murder till the opportunity arose.
“Oh yes, I did, the kill quenched my hunger for blood.” Jamie shouted, giving the best answer he could that he thought would satisfy the gang and ease their suspicion of him.
“I don’t buy it, Jamie,” Shawn said, getting the attention of the others. “All you did was slay a couple cattle.”
“Oh please, Shawn, it’s his first transformation, and he just became a Werewolf. Give him time, he’ll become one of us eventually.” Aaron said.
“Thanks, Aaron, can we please get back home now, this cold is killing me,” Jamie replied, hugging his naked body.
“Of course, it’s just up ahead, I think we’d all like to get out of the cold.”
The others nodded in agreement, none of them wanted to be outside naked in the Rocky Mountain cold. Jamie was glad the others held back, allowing him to keep up with them. In a few minutes, the gang made it back to their home, little more than a large, abandoned barn. As soon as they arrived, the gang set about getting dressed again quickly, ready to relax after a long murder spree. Despite being tired, Jamie knew he wouldn’t sleep, not with the images of his gang slaughtering innocent people fresh on his mind.
“Hold on guys,” Aaron said, raising his hand and sniffing the air, “I smell an intruder.”
Derek sniffed the air. “Yes, whoever it is, they’re not human.”
Dalton nodded in agreement. “Who or what it is, smells like one of us.”
“Another Werewolf?” Shawn asked.
“I don’t think so, the smell is very similar to ours but there’s something different about it, I can’t tell what it is,” Dalton replied.
Jamie sniffed the air with the others, at first smelling nothing, and then the smell hit his nostrils out of nowhere. Dalton was right, it certainly smelled like Werewolf, but there was indeed something different to it. The scent was powerful, more so than any Werewolf he’s sensed before. To Jamie, the scent was so strange that Jamie didn’t even think it was a Werewolf. Jamie didn’t know what to think; only fear clouded his mind. Watching the rest of the gang wander around unsure and cautious wasn’t helping.
“I was wondering when you mutts would get back.” A deep voiced called out to them from the darkness, the suddenness and authoritative power behind it sent shivers down Jamie’s spine.
Sitting at a table in the rec room, drinking a cup of coffee, was a lone figure. Despite the darkness, Jamie could make out small details about the man. He could see that the man was wearing an old, back, leather motorcycle jacket with no gang symbols on it, a dark, brown shirt under the jacket, black motorcycle gloves, black cargo pants, and very old Marine combat boots. A black cowboy-like hat rested on his long, snow - colored hair that was tied in a ponytail. Jamie could barely make out the man’s face in the darkness, but, from what he could see the man appeared to be in his mid to late thirties with a thick, white beard covering his face. A long, curved scar covered his left cheek, below his eyes, which were bright green. As Jamie squinted in the dark, he could see that the man’s eyes were slits, just like theirs, but unlike them, who all had bright red; his eyes were almost glowing green.
Looking closer, Jamie could make out a revolver under the man’s jacket on his right side; he didn’t appear to be even trying to hide it. Beside the revolver, from what little Jamie could see of it, was a small, axe hanging loosely from his belt, making it easy for him to pull out if he needed to. On the man’s left side was a long sword, resting in an elegant sheath with etchings of wolves, and a wolf design on the hilt with emeralds for eyes. From what Jamie could see the sword appeared to be straight, possibly double - sided, and around a yard long. Right beside the sword was a long, curved dagger in a similar sheath.
Aaron growled loudly as he approached the strange man. “Well, well, well, look what we got here, boys, a future chew toy.”
“Hm, like I haven’t heard that one before,” the strange man said, taking a sip of his coffee, “Clearly you guys don’t know who I am. If you did, well, you’d be running.”
Aaron laughed loudly, echoing throughout the building. “Really, what can one man do against us? You can’t hurt us.”
The strange man sighed as he set down his coffee cup. “If I had a dollar for every time a Werewolf told me that I’d be a millionaire by now.”
“You know what we are?” Derek shouted.
“It doesn’t matter that he knows what we are,” Dalton growled, “What matters is his stupidity is what got him killed.”
“Yeah, only a fool goes hunting werewolves.” Shawn added, almost roaring at the strange man.
Aaron held up his hands to silence the others. “Guys, as much as I’d like to devour this moron I think we should at least know the poor sap’s name.”
“Huh, honor amongst werewolves, I guess there’s a first time for everything,” The strange man laughed, “My name is Marcus; you may know me as the White Wolf of the Black Forest.”
“Can’t say we’ve heard of you,” Aaron replied, looking around at the others, then started walking in front of arrogantly, picking up a sharp, broken piece of metal and waving it around like a knife, “It doesn’t matter anyway mister White Wolf, we’ll cut you down before you can get up from your chair. Your weapons won’t save you, nothing can save you from us. Like everyone else, you will fall to our . . .”
Suddenly, the back of Aaron’s head exploded, spraying blood and brains all over the wall and the gang. Jamie, blood and brains covering his face, could see the wall through the back of Aaron’s head. Aaron collapsed like a sack of potatoes before the gang and Jamie, dead before he hit the ground. Jamie, shocked by Aaron’s sudden death, could barely raise his head towards Marcus to see his revolver drawn and the barrel smoking. Marcus had drawn his revolver and fired so fast that Jamie and the others didn’t even see it. The shock of seeing their leader killed so suddenly froze them, making them easy targets for Marcus, who only sat there emotionless.
“Why do they always go on an annoying rant?” Marcus sighed as he holstered his revolver, “Just so you know, the answer is silver, that’s what I bullets are made out and the edges of my weapons. But, I don’t need the revolver for this.”
Marcus stood up and did something that shocked the gang almost as much as watching Aaron’s suddenly death. Jamie let out a soft gasp when Marcus stood up, seeing how tall he was. He was taller than Shawn, at least 6′6", and, despite wearing a motorcycle jacket, appeared to be nothing but muscle. To Jamie, Marcus looked even scarier standing up, like a real warrior.
In a defiant act, Marcus laid his revolver on the table and walked away from it. Marcus walked toward the gang with such confidence that, despite laying down his best weapon against them, Jamie and Derek backed away. Jamie couldn’t believe what he was seeing; somehow the strange man, knowing he was surrounded by werewolves, found the confidence, or was just arrogant, to stand and fight in what appeared to be a no - win situation for him. Either Marcus was an egomaniac, or his skills were up to par with his confidence.
“So, are you just going to stand there and be slaughtered, or are you going to fight back?” Marcus shouted.
Dalton roared in anger, the sound of it echoing throughout the steel walls, grabbed a nearby piece of broken rebar as a weapon, and rushed Marcus. He lowered the rebar, aiming for the center of Marcus’ chest. Before the sharp end of the rebar could reach him, Marcus twisted his body, reaching across with his right hand and pushing the rebar to the side, making it miss his body. As he pushed the rebar aside, Marcus reached for his dagger with the same hand and drew it with blinding speed. Dalton was unable to stop, leaving himself defenseless, as Marcus brought his dagger up and the tip, with expert precision, sliced his jugular. Blood sprayed from Dalton’s neck as he collapsed to the ground, his hands frantically covering the cut to stop the bleeding, though everyone knew it was pointless. In the blink of an eye, Marcus had ended another Werewolf’s life, scaring the others except for Derek.
“YOU MONSTER,” Derek shouted.
“Look who’s talking,” Marcus snapped back.
Derek rushed towards Marcus in a blind rage. Marcus, seeing Derek rush him from behind, ducked at the instance, avoiding Derek’s wild swing as his head. Taking advantage of his low position, Marcus swung his dagger into Derek’s knee. Derek screamed in agony as he collapsed, making him easy prey. Marcus rose up and buried his dagger into Derek’s temple. The dagger went so deep that the tip protruded through the other side of Derek’s head. Marcus pulled the dagger out of Derek’s head, who collapsed in a heap besides Dalton.
“This . . . this is impossible,” Jamie stuttered, frozen in place.
Brian stepped forward, growling at Marcus. “Why don’t you put down that dagger and fight fairly?”
Jamie looked at Brian, stunned that he would say something so demanding to the man that just killed three of their gang members as it was nothing. Suddenly, in a flash of silver, Marcus’ dagger hit Brian in the center of his chest. It was so sudden that Jamie didn’t even realize what happened. It wasn’t till Brian fell backwards on the ground in a thud that Jamie realized Marcus had thrown his dagger into his chest.
“Only fools fight fair,” Marcus said, then turned towards Shawn, completely ignoring Jamie, “Are you just going to stand there or are you just going to stand there like a coward?”
Shawn starred at Marcus, unsure what to do. Marcus, appearing to be getting bored, draws his sword and axe and does the unthinkable. He dropped the axe, the tip burying itself deep into the concrete floor, and tossed the axe to Shawn who caught it.
“The blade of that axe is coated in silver, not even I can heal from that.”
“So, you are a Werewolf?” Dalton asked.
Marcus shook his head. “You’re close but no, I’m a Lycan.”
“Ok, I don’t know what a Lycan is so that answer means nothing to me,” Dalton looked at the axe very confused, “Why would you give your enemy your own weapon that could kill you?”
“Because, I’m bored and while this doesn’t come even close to evening the fight it’s at least interesting to me.”
“We’ll see about that.”
Shawn let out a bloodthirsty scream and rushed at Marcus. He raised the axe over his head, aiming for Marcus’s head. When Shawn was close enough he swung the axe down at Marcus’ head as fast and hard as he could, expecting to split his skull open. Marcus stepped to the side, avoiding the blow with ease. Shawn had overextended his swing, putting himself off balance and out of control. Marcus, moving so fast that Jamie’s eyes could barely keep up, stepped behind Shawn and wrapped his arms around his head. Jamie heard a loud snap, making him guess that it was the sound of Marcus breaking Shawn’s neck. He could only watch as Shawn collapsed lifelessly to the ground, Marcus grabbing his axe before he hit the ground.
Jamie jumped back as Marcus turned towards him, starring him down. He didn’t know what scared him more; seeing Marcus kill his fellow gang members so easily or that fact that the same man was currently standing him down. Marcus slowly approached Jamie, placing his axe back in its place and pulling his sword out of the concrete.
Jamie took a deep breath and readied himself for the inevitable. “If you’re going to kill me just do it. I deserve it for going along with these monsters. Kill me before I become like them.”
Marcus sheathed his sword and placed a strong hand on Jamie’s shoulder. “No, I’m not going to kill someone who just turned and has showed no sign of blood lust.”
“Blood lust, what do you mean?”
“Surely you noticed it among your gang, how they acted and killed, as if to fill some kind of void?”
Jamie looked down at the ground, afraid to answer, that Marcus will break his neck at any moment. “I thought that they were just messed up for a while, but it did eventually dawn on me that there was something else.”
“That’s the blood lust, the reason why I hunt your kind. It’s caused too many incidents like the ranch throughout the last couple millennia. It drives almost all Werewolves to madness, killing anything or anything to satisfy it.”
Jamie sighed as he looked up at Marcus. He couldn’t believe that the same man that slaughtered his gang with ease was currently talking to him like a father to his son, it made no sense to him. As much as Jamie wanted to relax his fear wouldn’t let him, though he knew there was nothing he could do to stop Marcus. All Jamie could do was listen and try to understand.
“So, you’re saying that I could become like them?”
Marcus nodded, “Or worse, some become so mad with a blood lust that their minds are more animal than man.”
“Then, why are sparing me? Why not just kill me and spare me the fate of becoming like them?”
“Because you’re not an animal, not yet. I could see it from the moment you walked into the building. You were mortified by what you saw, it scares you that you may become like the, doesn’t it?”
Jamie reluctantly nodded. “What they did to that ranch family scared me just a little more than watching you slaughter my so - called friends, I can’t say I feel sorry for them. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that you killed them so easily and haven’t killed me yet. How do you know I’m not like them?”
“Because, I’ve been hunting Werewolves for much longer than you realize. I know how to tell if one has given into the bloodlust or not. I can sense that it hasn’t developed in you yet, otherwise, you’d be dead right now.”
Jamie gulped loudly, taking a step back from Marcus. His fear of Marcus was going up and down frantically every time Marcus spoke. He still felt that at any moment Marcus was going to snap his neck. But, despite his fear, Jamie couldn’t help but feel drawn to Marcus, he wanted help before the so - called bloodlust made him like the gang.
“Ok Marcus, as much as I want to turn and run, I want to know, is there a way to prevent the bloodlust from happening to me?”
“Yes, there is, but it’s not easy. Werewolves that overcome the bloodlust are an extreme rarity. Fortunately for you, I caught it after his first transformation, so you have a chance.”
“Is it the same way you overcame it?” Jamie asked.
“I’ve never had the bloodlust.”
“I thought you were a Werewolf?”
Marcus glared daggers at Jamie, a slight growl escaping his throat, making Jamie wet his pants a little. “I’m a Lycan, not a Werewolf, there’s a big difference between the two as you’re about to find out.”
“Sorry, I didn’t know. I don’t even know what a Lycan is.”
Marcus shook his head in frustration. “Let’s just move on. I have to ask, are you for certain you want my help?”
Jamie lowered his head, pondering if he really wanted Marcus’ help. Receiving Marcus’ help would mean not only trusting a big, scary man he just met., but also the man he just watched mercilessly slaughter the gang. Trusting Marcus seemed like a major stretch, for all Jamie knew, Marcus could’ve been setting him up. But, despite all that, Jamie couldn’t help but feel drawn to Marcus, that he really wanted to help. Jamie didn’t know if it was Marcus’ power, his confidence, or something else, he felt like he should trust him; at least see what Marcus had to teach him.
What do I got to lose anyway? I got nothing left, no friends or family, might as well trust him.
Jamie smiled slightly as he looked up at Marcus. “Yes, I’m certain, I want to get prevent the bloodlust from turning me into them.”
“Good, it won’t be easy, that I can assure you,” Marcus reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a note, “Be at this location in two weeks from today.”
“What, you’re just leaving me?”
“For now, I got other business to take of first. You’re better off not knowing what it is.”
“But, how am I supposed to get to Arkansas in two weeks with no money?” Jamie shouted.
Marcus smirked as he turned around, reached into his pocket to pull out an envelope, and tossed it to Jamie. “That should help you get there. Take care young one.”
Jamie opened the envelope and gasped when he saw a wade of hundred dollar bills inside. His hands shook as he tried to count the money. Jamie looked up to thank Marcus only to find himself alone. Looking around and sniffing the air, Marcus was nowhere to be found. It was as if he had vanished into thin air.
What in the world have I gotten myself into.