the water of False River
No human voices around just the sounds of the crickets chirping and bullfrogs croaking relaxing her as she lay on the deck, the full Moon’s light reflecting on the water of False River. The motel seemed a quiet, peaceful sanctuary; stark contrast from just miles away in Royal Bay, where insanity ensued.
Royal Bay was an area of serene surroundings and a mere speck on the map that even the GPS could not locate. Royal Bay, blink and you’ll miss it, home to just 67 residents. It consisted of only the railroad track and sparsely dotted houses and miles and miles of farmland. A freight train roared past sounding like an F5 tornado whirling by.
David lay in his bed rolled up in the fetal position… restless, turning side to side from a fever that had progressively and steadily gotten worse. He had a skeletal façade, blackened sunken orbs for eyes, and skeletal frame where just yesterday he had a plump, healthy waistline. He was just a shadow of the man that he used to be. He flashed back to that wretched beast that bit him and the first seven days before the full Moon had come upon him.
Side tracking his recollection, he vomited for the fifth time, the nausea growing worse as the moon began to glow brighter in the sky. The sheets were soaked with his sweat and he felt like his head had gotten stuck in a vice and turned until his eyes felt like they were going to burst.
“I knew it was going to be big trouble when I agreed to go out with them!” David cursed, looking at the original wound site, now tender pink and healed; the strange wound from when he got mauled had healed quite rapidly and though severe had no visible infection.
“Every time I go out with those LeBeau boys it leads to nothing but trouble!” David muttered.
Childhood friends for years, the LeBeau brothers consisted of Lennox LeBeau and his little brother Lou LeBeau. Tagging along with the brothers was a group of guys, all workers at Booker A-line: Nathan Bordeaux, and a new person to the group, Alex Seller. Mischief abound when the LeBeau brothers got together. One night the group got wasted and thought that it would be a good idea to move the buoy markers at the end of the Mississippi River’s bend. In the morning they awoke to several barges aground and several more in a traffic jam of sorts running into the stranded barges.
David laughed at the memory of this then he remembered Katrina’s aftermath. The inebriated brothers and their tag-alongs found an abandoned church. The basement filled up like a swimming pool the group decided to swim the night away, later that week the group all got dysentery. He shuddered at this thought.
Two people were dead, including Lennox, and he hadn’t heard from the group since the attack over three months ago. After the initial onset and blacking out he had gotten better and had been back to work, but three times for twenty eight days like clockwork he called in sick, practically at death’s door. Now it’s happening to him again.
David couldn’t help but to think about his ailing body when another round of sharp spastic pains ran through him again. The doctors had given him a round of rabies shots, even an update on his tetanus shot, but it felt like lockjaw had set in anyway. His body felt like it was on fire, the joints hurt everywhere, and if he moved it felt like his bones were going to snap. The fever was getting so bad he couldn’t help but imagine taking his hunting rifle and ending it all with one shot to the head. He could get some much needed rest he reasoned if not for the fact of his wife to be and their little kid, Jack. A smile broke out from his pale face and quickly disappeared. Just a week ago he was playing ball with his son now he was an invalid. He looked at the digital clock on his nightstand. Dread came over him, Jill, his wife to be would be getting off soon from work and picking up their son.
“Awwwwwwhwww,” He yowled out from a surprising and excruciating pain that centered on his stomach like he had been hit with a sledgehammer in the gut.
The tone of his own voice surprised him the expression of pain sounded almost animal like, canine in nature, “what is happening to me?”
When first bitten he had felt he was at death’s door. Apparently sleepwalking, he had arisen outside unclothed and in a daze. His whole body ached from the muscles on down to the nerves, his skeletal system on fire. However, he had refused medical attention once he started to feel better and he would be damned if he sought medical attention again when every medical professional running tests had found no ailment.
Then he started to feel better like he had been strapped into a roller coaster riding out highs and lows every month. When the fog of illness lifted for another month his hearing and eyesight had heightened, was stronger than before. He felt quick, strong, and full of energy as if he had been given a shot of testosterone and adrenaline directly into his bloodstream. He kicked himself for looking on the Internet to see what was wrong with him: apparently he had male menstruation or IMS. Three months had gone by when his doctor’s appointment finally arrived. Surprisingly, the doctor agreed with the internet’s prognosis much to David’s dismay and embarrassment.
Every time his body began to feel recovered again he felt improved, enhanced in some way. In fact he started the habit of jogging every night. Actually, it had become a compulsion. If he wasn’t running out in the night sky breathing the fresh air he became antsy and anxiety ridden. But now he had been reduced to an invalid.
David’s shaky hands covered his sweating body with a warm blanket as cold chills ran through him again. By the time the sickness overwhelmed him again he had almost forgotten the illness that threatened to end his life in a monthly cycle!
His abdomen clenched rigid, he felt woozy from white-hot pain, making white knuckle fists to take some of the pain away but it didn’t help. As soon as the pain subsided and he could take a whole breath again the bones in his forearms snapped like twigs underneath his skin. He looked at his forearms in disbelief then he began to shake uncontrollably.
His eyes rolled back into his head. He started bleeding from his ears his body in the grips of a full blown grand mal seizure. His back violently arched so hard his spine broke. His head swung back and forth blood and froth pooling in his mouth from where he bit his tongue. His whole body thickened, bruises developing on his neck, arms, torso, and legs. As quickly as the seizure started it ended.
His breathing was rapid and shallow, raspy from the blood in his throat. David regained consciousness though foggy and struggling to think right he was re-gaining his senses. He gulped and held his hands to his throat, he was struggling to breathe still and it hurt to touch his neck. Then he noticed his forearms.
“Oh dear God, What is this horror??” He cried out.
Before his seizure he felt the bones shatter in his arms but feeling them now there were only huge ugly purple bruises. That’s weird, he thought, his fever had broken. Except for the bite on his tongue and a dull, throbbing in his head he felt a little bit better now. He was feeling so much better that he decided to go to the bathroom, a pilgrimage he dreaded to take when his fever had come upon him.
David staggered into the bathroom and turned the cold water on splashing his face repeatedly. A chill immediately came over him, so he splashed more cold water onto his burning face, enjoying the relief. The water brought him back to his senses and he felt better than ever before.
He turned to the bathroom mirror and what he saw tested the limits of his sanity and filled him with fright. He stumbled backwards towards the wall a monster staring back at him. A horrific image; pointed ears set far apart, a Neanderthal like face, vengeful eyes, and an extended, almost muzzle like nose over a mouth full of canine like fangs.
“What the…?” He quickly closed and rubbed his eyes, sure he was hallucinating. “Is this what I’m becoming?” He desperately tried to remember the beast that assaulted him.
He stumbled to his knees gripping toilet and the tub for stability as he was rocked by a wave of pain the likes of which he hadn’t felt before. He tried to get up from the bathroom floor bracing himself on the tub, but was disoriented, his vision cloudy.
For yet another month the parasites tried to fuse wolf and man. With the Moon high up in the night sky his mind exhausted but his body tolerating a conversion to a semi-lupine mutate. He had survived another night’s forced transformation. The parasites in his bloodstream were like so many tiny phantoms, invisible shades of the first dire Wolf, trying to invade molecule after molecule finding weak defenses of the white blood cells and delving ever deeper into his system.
He would not remember the pain and agony of the change when he woke up or the lunacy that came upon him with the transformation. Down on all fours now David writhed about, a hybrid-Wolf in every form save for the fact he had sparse short fine hairs on his back instead of thick fur, and a humanoid head. He had a wide black prolonged and mushed snout with thin extended lips. He looked like an ape with wolf’s ears.
He heard his family arriving in the driveway. His new skeletal tail a hairless stretch of skin wagged about excitedly.
“We’re home, honey!” Jill yelled as the front screen door slammed shut, “the boy actually became a brown belt!”
Jill’s brown eyes looked exhausted, the lines on her 32-year-old face more pronounced as she threw Jack’s backpack and the night’s groceries onto the couch. She adjusted her blue scrunchy to tighten up her blonde ponytail.
“Are you home, honey?” Jill inquired; looking back only once to ensure Jack had gotten out of the car.
“Your son is still outside practicing his stance and footwork, kid’s coming off this still high from overloading on ice cream and caffeinated soda.” Jill reported loudly, “where are you, baby?”
“I am in the bedroom, come and get me, ha, ha, ha.” David answered in a low, hoarse growl.
“Oh, David!” Jill’s eyes lit up and her cheeks reddened imagining the prospect of all the lewd things David might do to her, “you know your son is going to be in the house any minute, don’t you?”
The screen door opened and closed again. Jill could hear wheels from Jack’s skateboard squeaking through the living room toward the kitchen. “I am finally a brown belt, Dad, aren’t you proud of me? Man, I am starving!”
She didn’t wait for David to answer, it had been months since any close physical contact and she would be damned if she missed an opportunity. While he would always be her little boy she knew Jack was growing up, almost 14 years old now. Jill called out that dinner was “make your own” tonight and rationalized that there were plenty of leftovers in the refrigerator if he got hungry. She was relieved when she heard the refrigerator open and the microwave beeping; he could fend for himself tonight.
Entering her bedroom and shutting the door behind her so they would not be interrupted the darkness overwhelmed her. By habit she flipped the light switch to illuminate the ceiling but the light did not respond. Flipping the on and off switch on the wall several times before she gave up. She paused for a moment to let her eyes adjust to the dark. She knew their bedroom by heart. She could close her eyes and virtually see the bedroom. To the extreme right sat the door. Turning left with her back to the wall and squinting she could see the outline in the middle of the room of her bed. The antique wood headboard against the almond colored wall with plain black nightstands on either side and on the left, a table lamp, but no David visible in the gloom.
“David?” Jill whispered.
Putting her left palm to the back wall she cautiously headed toward the nightstand by the bed to try the table lamp, “David?”
“Don’t worry I’m here, come and find me,” David growled, his voice coming somewhere in the left corner of the room concealed by the bed.
Before she could find the other lamp she heard evil laughter coming from the corner by the bed. She shook off the unsettled feeling and felt around for the lamp. It wasn’t there though; it was smashed and lay on the floor in a heap.
Reaching out carefully she followed the cord and pieces of the lamp until she found David’s pajama bottoms, excitement stirring in her loins, over taking her uneasiness. Jill kicked herself for not shaving her legs today. A second wind sprang forth, her exhaustion turning into exhilaration and vigor.
“Oh honey, do you have a surprise for me, baby?” She exclaimed her voice giddy with excitement.
The bed frame shook and moved. “Are you hiding from me? Are you on the floor waiting to pounce, you animal?”
Jill climbed onto the bed. She saw the outline of David’s pajama shirt torn and tangled up in the sheets. She crawled on her knees until she came to the other side of the mattress. She saw movement on the floor, but could not make out the figure at the side of the bed.
“David?” She said playfully while she took off her silk shirt exposing her numerous faint stretch marks on her hips a proud reminder of the day she gave birth to Jack.
Jill unhooked her bra to reveal her pale breasts. Smiling she licked her lips and touched the figure that lay on the floor. “What the…hell?” For a moment reality was suspended, when did we get a dog? She wondered. She rubbed the dogs back feeling short soft hairs the length of its body. The tail began to wag excitedly.
“Did we get a dog?” She was slightly annoyed and curious.
Suddenly the animal jumped up onto the bed. All of the “dogs” weight smashing down on Jill’s chest. Her equilibrium shaken she fell on the bed the animal lying on top of her. The animal sat up on his haunches four huge lupine legs and paws pressing against her breasts and hips. The animal had small fine hair all over his body, but basically his body felt furless.
She came to her senses and nervously muttered, “We do not have a dog.”
He looked down into Jill’s hysterical eyes until there was a spark of recognition in her tearful eyes the dog thing managed to mutter, “I love you, honey.”
All of David’s body except for his head a huge canine form but furless, the face still humanoid but something out of Jill’s nightmares. He had the ears of a canine wide and setback an extended forehead bulbous yet oddly compressed nose and wide nostrils. His head almost ape like, but the eyes were wide. His mutated head sniffed Jill’s sweet perspiration. Jill stared at the monstrous image. She recognized some of his more striking features as well as her husband’s eyes. So in pain were her husband’s eyes.
“Honey I am so hungry, starving, can you help me?” The voice of the beast garbled a mouth full of teeth and fangs.
Frozen in with some combination of blind loyalty, fear and disbelief, she muttered just one shaky word, “David?”
His paws tore through her belly, spewing warm lifeblood. They sliced four long strips of flesh making it easy for David’s mutated mouth, with its oversized fangs and incisors to bear down and attach to the torn flesh. Jill moaned and gasped as David’s altered face buried itself deep into her stomach. After the initial pain and shock only a sharp pressure as David teeth bore down and dug further into her entrails. Jack sat at the kitchen table eating his leftovers trying to ignore his mom’s moaning, groaning, and muffled wailing, and sighed.
It wasn’t often that his parents were affectionate and he wanted to give them their privacy but he could not contain his excitement staring at his well-deserved Brown belt. He put his skateboard on the kitchen table. The microwave beeped, the rest of his dinner was done. Good, I’m still hungry he thought as he headed toward the microwave ignoring the growls and moans, he grimaced and shut out the sounds, obviously sex sounds.
His belly was full of leftover chicken and reheated stuffing from two nights ago. The moaning had stopped about half an hour ago. He got up and crossed the room putting the dirty plate in the sink. He swore he heard the bedroom door open. He opened the door to the refrigerator to get the pitcher of tea when he heard a rustling and he stopped to listen to an unusual sound coming from the end of the hallway.
A voice sounding not unlike his father could be heard from the hallway, “Come here my son.”
He took a mouthful of tea and sputtered “D…da…dad?”
“Come to your father.” Jack shrugged, closing the refrigerator.
A form emerged from the hallway on all fours shoulders drooped back as he struggled to talk with his still human voice box, “come here son, come to me, don’t be afraid.”
Jack’s worn-out body stood rigid partly from curiosity and pure exhaustion. The kitchen table shook as the lupine-thing crawled on all fours toward him.
“Don’t you recognize your father?” He growled, as he tried to inhale Jack’s entire frightened aroma.
David jumped up against Jack’s athletic frame. His paws hugging Jack’s neck as he fell towards the floor from the sheer weight pressing upon him. His thin long lips and chin dripped with congealing blood, and Jack cringed when he smelled hot putrid breath, the smell of decay on his father’s misshapen face.
David’s long tongue soaked up the sweat from Jack’s neck, as Jack’s sanity shattered; such are the things that test humanity’s superiority on the planet, the wildly supernatural and paranormal. His mind raced back in time to fairytales and nursery rhymes. His dad reminded him of the Sphinx in Egypt, a man’s head with an animal’s body and that distracted him until he looked at his father’s fangs.
“Please, Dad, don’t hurt me!” Jack pleaded squeezing his eyes shut tight as he felt the slobbery scratchy tongue licking his neck.
“Don’t worry, I would never hurt you,” the man thing said to Jack.
All of a sudden the licking stopped and his fangs bit into Jack’s chest breaking the cloth and skin.
“Ouch!” Jack yelled out in shock, wincing in pain and retreating from the thing that used to be his father until the table leg stopped his retreat.
“Don’t worry my son,” the thing soothed his son instantly licking Jack’s wounds; “the pain will subside. I only do this so we can be together.”
The beast stopped licking the wounds after it was assured that the wounds had closed up. Jack looked at his wounds that were already healing. Jack looked up at his father his eyes already beginning to glow. The beast could not contain his excitement fangs bared as he smiled from ear to pointed ear.