I'll Huff and I'll Puff
Hunger. It was the first thought he remembered having. It was the only thought he remembered having. The hunger wasn’t for food, not entirely. It was unlike anything he’d ever felt before. It was all consuming, overpowering. He loved it.
He’d grown used to feeling the other presence in his head at this point. Lurking in the far recesses of his mind. It felt like someone sitting in the next room, he knew it was there but he couldn’t quite see who it was. He didn’t mind the sensation entirely, however. It was that presence that had given him the abilities he now had. His speed, his strength, all thanks to that intruder in his mind.
Part of him regretted Emily’s loss. It wasn’t a casualty he was completely comfortable with. He’d lost control of himself while following Ellie’s scent and had barely managed to get himself out of there in time. Emily should have known better than to invite his whore of an ex-wife over to her home, though. So really, it was her own fault, what happened.
He contemplated this as he reached his home. He’d managed to regain a more normal appearance in the hours that had elapsed since his disastrous attempt to murder Ellie. He’d never been a man to let emotion get in the way of duty and he wasn’t sure why tonight had been any different. His only idea was that it had been the other presence. Why it had been so angry at a woman Eric himself had little feeling for either way was beyond him, but there it was. As he reached the door handle his intruder turned their thoughts back to the first few hours after what he liked to think of as their awakening.
* * *
Cold. He was so cold. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been this cold. His entire body felt like it was freezing, like he could open his eyes and see the blackened nature of frostbite on his limbs. The only thing he had to distract himself from such thoughts was the only other feeling he had. He was hungry.
He scented the air and a delicious aroma filled his nostrils. Saliva rolled through his mouth, even leaking down his chin before he could swallow it. Whatever that was, he wanted it. Opening his eyes, he took in his surroundings. He wasn’t anywhere that could explain the chill still leaching into his bones. In fact, he wasn’t anywhere that he could explain at all. The last thing he remembered was her. The woman from the council meeting. He’d followed her after a come-hither stare lingered between them. Then, nothing. Until the cold, and now the hunger. With little effort he regained his footing and examined his surroundings once again. A forest, that much was clear. Where escaped him, but his mind couldn’t get past the smell still permeating the air around him. His mouth watered again and he heard his stomach growl.
No, not his stomach. The growl was in his head. He froze, aware for the first time of a presence lingering just out of his conscious reach. Whatever it was, it hadn’t been there before he’d found himself unconscious, of that much he was sure.
Food. He wasn’t sure whose thought it was, his or his intruder’s, but he agreed with it none-the-less. Mouth still watering, he ventured forward, in the direction his nose told him to go.
* * *
“Eric!” His mother’s shrill voice brought him out of his reverie and he flinched at the harshness of the sound. He glanced down with some surprise at the cell phone in his hand, the source of his mother’s screech. He really didn’t remember picking it up, or even remember it ringing. He glanced behind him to find his door still half open and moved to close it, his motions jerky. “Can you hear me?” His mother was still speaking and, apparently, was continuing some conversation they’d been having. “Emily! She’s-.” At this she broke off into sobs that grated against his ear drums. He moved the phone back to his side but it did nothing to dull the drone as his mother continued her dramatic hysterics on the other side of the line. He didn’t need her to finish the thought, he knew what had become of his younger sister, but if she’d just quit crying.
“I…have to go.” He responded dully. That shut her right up. She sputtered a few things about needing his support and how could he leave her during this time but he ended the call before he could say something he’d no doubt regret later simply due to the complications that would arise because of it. He dropped the phone where he stood, walking toward his bedroom with heavy footsteps. If he could have just finished Ellie, then the woman from the meeting promised she’d come and get him and make all of his haziness clear once again. His footsteps slowed as his Intruder turned their thoughts yet again toward the past, and the mistakes he’d need to correct for next time.
* * *
He followed the scent of his ex-wife through the house they’d shared. He didn’t remember how he’d gotten here or even when he’d decided to track Ellie but he didn’t care. Each time he crossed her faint trail, because it had been three years since she’d actually set foot in the house, his lips pulled back in a snarl and his Intruder growled, pushing at the confines of his mind. He hadn’t heard the Intruder speak at all aside from what could have been his thought of food.
His mouth watered again as he remembered his first realization that the scent he’d followed through the forest and back into town had been that of a child following his mother home from school. Just before he could act on the hunger pains, however, the police cruiser had come speeding by, the sirens causing his ears to ring and his vision to blur from the pain of it. By the time he’d regained his composure, the child and his mother were gone, safe. It was then, he supposed though he couldn’t actually remember, that he’d headed for home.
His phone buzzed on the couch where he’d apparently flung it aside. He glanced at it and noticed he had several missed calls and texts, all from his mother and sister. He needed to figure out what he’d missed in the several hours that had elapsed since he’d opened his eyes in the forest. By his count it had been several and he was surprised his mother had gotten along without him for so long, though judging by his phone history maybe she hadn’t.
He decided he’d head to Emily’s first and then formulate a plan to take on his mother after that. As he exited his house, however, his plans changed rapidly. Had he not spent the last however long wondering the halls memorizing the lingering trails of her scent he may not have picked up on it. However, as the wind shifted, he caught the unmistakable scent of Ellie along with it.
The Intruder took over. It was all he could come up with for how he suddenly found himself standing outside of his sister’s building. By the appearance of the sky, another several minutes had passed so he hadn’t just appeared here out of nowhere. He felt something protruding out of his mouth and felt his face cautiously.
My what big teeth I have. He chuckled darkly as the thought crossed his mind but it didn’t bring any alarm with it. Maybe it was the Intruder he could still feel in the recesses of his consciousness or maybe it was the fact that Ellie’s scent was coating his sister’s front lawn, distracting him, but his new dental situation was of little concern to him in that moment. He took his hands away from his face and turned his attention back to the house in front of him and the unsuspecting family inside. Ellie had been here, recently, and he now knew what he had to do to get her off his mind. He just needed to find her first, and his younger sister would help with that. He stepped forward, out of the shadows and into the light of the porch, and knocked.
* * *
His phone buzzed again; he could hear the sound echo down the hall as it grated against the tile floor of the entryway where he’d left it. He snarled silently, feeling his snout elongate for a few seconds before he regained control from the Intruder again. He rolled over on the bed, pulling the pillow over his head, and continued to lose himself in memory.
* * *
They were being followed. The Intruder new it as well as he did. He stopped walking shaking his hands at his sides to fling most of the blood from them. If this was a police officer he didn’t want to spend the night in jail…..or waste more time by putting the cop in the morgue. He inhaled slowly but it was a familiar scent that graced his senses. As he turned, he was unsurprised to find the woman from the meeting standing behind him.
“That was unnecessary.” She sounded almost bored. He glanced at her, his thoughts congealing. She huffed impatiently. “You’ve wasted valuable time and managed to get the Diamond Edge Alpha on your trail.” When he shook his head, she huffed again and actually stomped her high heal on the asphalt. “You didn’t seem this stupid when we met before, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered turning you.”
“Turning me?” His voice sounded more guttural than he remembered but she seemed to have understood him none-the-less.
“Making you a Rogue.” She rolled her eyes. “Well, mostly rogue. You’re connected to me, otherwise you’d be dead by now.” The Intruder didn’t like the way she smelled. Eric didn’t care how she smelled because he was enjoying how she looked. Legs a mile long bared to mid-thigh in a pencil skirt and matching jacket. Just the right amount of cleavage peaking out from the top of a red blouse that matched her spiked heals and the glittering ring on her right hand. Right, not left. He felt his lips curl into a feral smile that had little to do with the Intruder.
“Tell me what it is I’m supposed to do.” The woman smiled, her expression a mirror to his.
* * *
The pounding at the front door broke his train of thought this time. He snarled again, this time the sound audible. “Eric Daniel Stogen I know you’re in there, your car is in the driveway.” He was about to become an orphan. The thought was crystal clear as his mother pounded on the door again. So, enough time had passed this time for her to make the twenty or so minute drive from her house to his. The Intruder didn’t much care how much time had passed, he just wanted to make the noise stop. He needed to get to Ellie. If he could get to Ellie, he could regain control of his mind when the woman did as she’d promised and gave him the answers he needed. He rolled out of the bed and stalked into the hallway just as his mother rang the doorbell before pounding on the door again. He was halfway to the entryway before he caught himself, thinking better of the carnage he’d been planning. Ellie. Get to Ellie. End her life, end my suffering. With a final glower at his front door, he turned and headed out the back. His mother would never know how lucky she’d gotten. The Intruder agreed.