HALLOWEEN SHAPE-SHIFTER EXCERPT
I looked at Rory and
knew the time had come. “Relax, buck,” I said, going to a dark corner.
“We’ve invited you to join us for a very special ritual.”
Newlyn relaxed altogether. “Something to fight off the demons?” he
asked, relieved I’d finally do something to assuage his fear.
“Exactly,” I confirmed, grabbing my wolf skin and putting it on, the
head coming down on my hair partly covering my face. With a sweeping
gesture, I made the fire go cold altogether and our camp plunged into
darkness. More wolf howls rose in the night and I smelled the buck’s
fear, its sour scent penetrating my nostrils at the same instant I
began changing into my new shape.
First, I felt my face push out, my nose growing rapidly as if it wanted
to break free. The rest of my head was also mutating, every feature
becoming longer until a nozzle replaced my human features. My teeth
sharpened as they grew longer, their pointed tips grating on my tongue.
All at once, I felt unable to stand, my legs too weak to hold the now
excessive weight. I stretched out my arms to cushion the fall, but
instead of hands, silvery hairy paws touched the ground. Gone were my
legs, too, replaced by straight shiny furry animal feet, which
sustained a long wolf’s body, complete of tail and pointed ears.
Newlyn screamed and backed away from the embers, trying to reach
safety, stopping only when his back hit a tree. I had trouble seeing
him properly, my vision now a bluish blur. Things suddenly lost their
sharp details, even if I still perceived the separation between
objects, helped mostly by their intense smell. And sound came in a
different way, the rustle of a leaf reverberating like a drum in my
head. Overall, I simply needed to adjust to these new sensual
perceptions that made my world strikingly different from what I’d grown
used to in my human form. But the change only made it easier to target
the shape that stood out among everything else for it gave off a bright
reddish hue, which proved his demon-like essence. I lurched forward,
wanting to demand the truth from his lips, but the only sound that came
out was an angry snarl. Cornering him to the tree, I raised my head and
howled deeply, following a primordial instinct I had no idea I even
possessed, then poised to jump at the buck’s throat.
“Help me,” Newlyn screamed, raising terrorized eyes to the hunter. As
his hands covered his throat, I heard his heart beating wildly and his
blood pump faster, which only increased my excitement. Reeling back on
my hind legs, I shortened my body for the jump, determined not to fail
my aim and rip the throbbing pulse driving me crazy with desire to—
“Stop, lover.” The deep voice sounded very familiar in my head so I
obeyed, turning to look at the powerful frame coming my way. Without
fear or hesitation, the hunter rubbed my head and I pushed up to feel
more of his warmth.
“Please, Hunter, take that…beast away,” Newlyn implored, looking
wide-eyed at me.
“Only if you tell the truth, puppy,” Rory contended softly.
“The truth about what?”
“About the killings.”
Newlyn’s head shook violently. “I don’t know anything about them,
Hunter. I swear.”
I growled my disagreement at the obvious lie and lurched forward.
Again, the stubborn human yelped in fear while Rory had simply to
whisper in my direction to stop my jump.
“I know nothing of them, Hunter,” Newlyn repeated. “Please, believe me!”
“Oh, I could, puppy,” the hunter said softly, his voice unnaturally
even, “but the wolf here is having a hard time believing you.”
“He just wants to kill me,” Newlyn spat, his body not displaying the
same defiance he tried to put in his words.
“If you tell the truth, puppy, I promise you, he won’t hurt you.