At the other end of Royal Bay a different agony had begun under the bright full moon’s light. Over the tracks there stood a different house. A pair of willow trees at either side of the yard. One by one the staggered Willow trees masked a rundown one-story, one bedroom, and tan vinyl sided home. Where this home sat moans welled up and out into the night sky.
The Fever had returned again. Nathan flashed back to his encounter with the beast that had so seriously wounded him. He writhed in pain as his muscles constricted again, tight and stretching beyond his control. Sweat broke out over his reddened face.
He seemed to have shrunken to half his size and his skin stretched so tightly across his bones that it was almost transparent. He couldn’t keep food down, feeling his blood pulsing through his veins, his heartbeat like a bass drum in his head. Tonight when the moon rose the fever dreams would begin. Vivid dreams that quickly turned to nightmares.
Nathan rolled over in the bed unable to open his eyes; even the streetlights that filtered through his eyelids already impaired him. He felt the shooting pain travel up the nerves in his arms, his shoulders and back was sore despite the fact he had been in bed for over 12 hours. The fever hadn’t faded and sweat still beaded over his reddened back. He had his girlfriend Tammy turn the thermostat down as she left for work until it felt like the Antarctic but it still seemed too hot.
He cried to himself. Even as a child he never remembered feeling this sick, he kicked off the blankets from the bed and rolled restlessly. In spite of the pain he wriggled from his confining clothing.
His dreams were filled full of visions, the attack... swirling colors of shocking pain. A floating sensation came over him in his feverish state and he could actually see his body stretch violently the skin tearing and bones breaking. His arms and legs and jaw shattered all at once. He could not move, his eyes felt like they were on fire, he rubbed them relentlessly and tried to open them but they still failed to open. A dull, throbbing pain began to build and spread through his bones. His pineal gland began to flood the fatigued and battered body with awakened amoeba and parasites. His failing heart began fluttering like a butterfly with a broken wing, blue faced and struggling for breath about to pass out never to draw a breath again, producing Dimethyltryptamine. Massive amounts of adrenaline started it up again, spine marrow producing stem cells going to work making new genes.
Tammy, Nathan Bordeaux’s childhood girlfriend of ten years, couldn’t help but worry about Nathan. She was obsessing over his drastically declining health yet again this month. So distracted by him she felt that she had made simple, silly little mistakes, but in a nursing profession silly mistakes could cost lives. So when the head nurse came to her and said she could go early she jumped at the chance. She grabbed her purse and wasted no time heading out the door. Now one by one, the deadbolts unlocked and an exhausted Nurse Tammy headed toward the ailing Nathan’s bedroom.
“Oh Nathan!” She exclaimed the gumbo and sandwich that she had gotten for him as a surprise spilling all over the floor.
Tammy stared in horror; He looked minutes from death. She clutched her vanity, blush, mascara and eyeliner spilling all over the bedroom.
Tears moistened her eyes he looked worse today than she had ever seen him before. He was paler in spots, but then at the joints he had purplish black bruises and looked hot to the touch. His ears seemed odd somehow pointed and laid-back on his head. His gums were receded, his fine eyebrows seemed to meet over the bridge of his nose and oddly his index fingers were the same length as the middle one. In fact all his fingers seemed somehow longer than usual.
“Oh Nathan are you sure there isn’t anything I can do for you? I love you.” She said, her bottom lip trembling as she took in his disfigurement.
Nathan stared at her through sunken eyes, he was calm and quiet. The sound of his own voice scared him so he talked little. It seemed hoarse and deeper than normal. Summing up the courage Tammy held his hand his nails were longer and sharp piercing her delicate skin.
“I love you,” he grumbled in a non-human voice.
Nathan’s eyes widened, a rush of fire branded his innards his blood boiling and coursing quicker than his pains. His body twitched, muscles seemed to pull free from his bones. He cried out a low growl of rage more animal than man. His eyes bled as the rims darkened and pupils widened, light reflecting from them they seemed to glow.
“I love you,” frightened and trembling Tammy whispered under her breath again.
Then Tammy screamed, placing her hands to her mouth falling to her knees before the bed. His hands lengthened and contorted grasping the covers at the foot of the bed to pull himself up onto his knees. Course short brown fur pierced his body like needles emerging from his flesh, his face no longer recognizable; Tammy looked up at him from the floor she screamed but unable to move as he transformed into something nightmarish that until then she had only seen in the horror movies.
“Let me call you an ambulance!” Tammy hysterically screamed and searched around her cluttered purse to find her cell phone.
A sense of relief came over her when she found the cold plastic of her phone in the chaos inside of her bag. Unsteady thumbs dialed 9…1…
“No!!!” Nathan instinctively snatched the cell phone from her hand and smashed it into the wall, the cell phone shattering into pieces.
He was no longer in control of his emotions the beast inside of him taking over his body. He felt strange; his body burned up on the outside but was now cool on the inside. He couldn’t take his eyes off Tammy she had a red glow about her, like heat waves ebbing and flowing from her heart out to her fingertips. Nathan zoned in on her fast beating heart.
The unbelievable events began to get a hold of Tammy and her mind began to splinter and crack. What did he whisper to her? Hungry? Looking at Nathan’s eyes full of anguish and pain made her heart sink. She would do anything for him to make him feel better.
“Okay, okay, what should I do for you?” Tammy hysterically cried eyeshade and eyeliner running down her face. “I would die to get you better!”
She meant every word of it too! He had rescued her from her painful family life. He protected her until she was able to move out. Then he shielded her from the hospital authorities when she got hooked on OxyContin. Nathan had stayed by her side through the withdrawals taking care of her when she lost her mind until she got back on her feet. Tammy would give her life to make him better.
His hands began to twist and contort. Beads of sweat ran down his face, and utter agony played across his features. The brown hair on the back of his hand rippled and thickened into fur, the sinews shifting. There were little popping noises of cracking bones. The hand gnarled, the knuckles swelled, the flesh turning mottled and thick, the brown fur beginning to spread over his shifting body. His face began to bubble and distort.
He felt his teeth move in his jaws, grinding together in raw, bleeding sockets. He felt broken at the joints, a living rag doll pierced with needles. His pulse was a drummer on crystal meth and Nathan tried to open his mouth to scream but his jaw muscles tensed and scraped like barbed wire. He closed his mouth again as it locked up, he would’ve thought that the final stages of Tetanus had come upon him but the blinding pain made it hard to rationalize or think straight. He struggled to open his mouth. He felt and heard a pop, the jaw shattering into one million pieces inside of his mouth and chin. A gelatinous mass oozing out and stretching his skin until reforming, twining and attaching to muscle and tendon until it made an extended furry muzzle.
Agony building, ebbing, building again to a new crescendo. He was one moment a furnace and then he was made of ice. He was aware of his body jerking, contorting and bending itself into a new shape. His bones arched and twisted, as if they were the consistency of sugar sticks. He had no control over these contortions; his body had become a strange machine, seemingly intent on self-destruction. Blind, unable to speak or scream as the throat engorged changing orders from new genetic instructions. He could hardly draw a breath for the anguish in his lungs and his pounding heart.
Lupine muscles burrowed under his flesh his whole body sprouting fur. The human muscle began to undulate and untwine. His skin began to itch as bundles of lupine muscles formed on what used to be a humanoid structure. Shoulder bones dislocating as new ligaments began to stitch back together again. The shoulder and hip bones locating ball socket to form a suitable, more human-like arm. The end of another lycanthropic shifting this month! The new and improved beast stood up on human like legs, hip bone expanded and contorted to the biped’s requirements. The ankle to the heel functioning as a reverse knee giving him extraordinary jumping power, his head still a lupine visage with long muzzle and curved fangs.
“Oh Nathan!” Tammy cried her heart about to jump out of her chest.
“So hungry, starving, need to feed please!”
She should have run. She should’ve fought back, but she froze. This is madness she told herself even when the beast pounced on her. “I love you Nathan, anything to get you well!”
The animal Nathan overpowered her knocking her on the ground. Tammy instinctively put her hands up to block the beast’s advances but she relented. In her shattered mind she would do anything to save him, even if it cost her life. She closed her eyes and turned her head as Nathan began eviscerating her.
“I love you too!” the beast growled between gulps.
He fed on his beloved until the obsession to feed left him. The animal Nathan collapsed on the floor huddled up to Tammy’s corpse. He heard a crash coming from the living room, broken glass falling onto the hard wood floor.
His new lupine ears perked up his blood boiling in rage, “My house!”
“My house!” He roared again, his new lupine construct tensing, drool spilling from his new mouth and teeth. Breathing heavy in a quickly increasing frenzy, preparing to rip the intruder to shreds he tensed ready to strike.
A warning growl issued forth as a figure emerged from the shadowy hallway. Nathan’s calves tensed up tight as compressed springs ready to pounce. He heard the click clack of claws on the laminate floor and he instinctively sniffed the air around him.
Glowing yellow eyes pierced the dark hallway. David appeared on all fours, tail wagging behind him, followed by his wild eyed son, Jack, foaming at the mouth. His calves loosened and Nathan’s bipedal form arched back his huge lupine head and let out a lovely Aria.
“Arrooo, hoow, arroo…” Nathan paused for a response. David picked up where Nathan left off. Then Jack began to sing along with his blood brothers until they were singing in unison.