On heading to Therry’s cabin one day, Kendryck heard a noise beyond a row of trees. The panther up to its usual tricks, no doubt. Almost not worth investigating, already knowing if he did, the malevolent feline would trump him with the flick of the tail or something more ludicrous. Still, neither he nor any other team member had made any progress in the last month or so. So a quick peek wouldn’t hurt.

Carefully threading his way, the hunter crept closer, hiding behind a tree. Then he saw it, at last. In the clearing beyond, a black panther feasted on a slaughtered sheep, which the predator must’ve carried up from the fields. Apparently unaware of him, its hungry fangs ripped through the soft flesh, rupturing meaty tissues and cracking bones with a sinister sound that would’ve made a lesser man run for cover. Kendryck, instead, stood rooted to the ground, unable to tear his gaze away from the bloody pulp immobilized by giant paws. Nor did he fear the gleaming while teeth, sharp enough to lacerate hefty chunks of meat, which sprayed blood everywhere except for what dripped and pooled under the carcass.

Kendryck watched a while longer before raising his bow and arrow. He’d serve justice in honor of all the dead, finally. Yes, while aiming, he could only think of redeeming the spilled blood once and for all. Lucky for him, the black beast was a direct hit, perfectly centered as it was right in front of him. He was about to shoot, when Therry came out from behind the large carnivore and walked straight at it.

Kendryck blinked. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Had Therry gone mad? Or maybe he hadn’t seen it? The confident way he strode forward seemed to indicate he hadn’t. But how could he possibly miss it? As he got closer to the predator, Kendryck had the urge to jump out and steer him back. But something held him back.

Without any fear or hesitation, Therry walked as though he were alone in the forest. The black feline seemed equally unimpressed. Hardly acknowledging his presence, it kept eating as if no one was about. On reaching it, Therry crouched next to it and bit in the carcass.

What the fuck? No, it couldn’t be. Setting down the bow, Kendryck rubbed his eyes, then checked again. The scene hadn’t changed. Unreal now as it had been five seconds before—a man acting like a beast, really feeding off the panther’s same plate. And, even more incredible, the predator didn’t seem to mind until it spun to its side. Kendryck’s blood ran icy cold as he realized it had become aware of the man. In a fraction of a second, he calculated his chances to bust from behind the trees and try to rescue Therry. He was too late for heroics. In the split second it took Kendryck to come up with some sort of plan, the feline’s huge tongue had lashed out and licked Therry on his neck, practically covering half his head.

“Stop it.” The young man swung to the beast. “You’re tickling me,” he joked playfully.

The predator insisted. This time, a paw, claws retracted, joined in with the tongue. The result was Therry laughing, before he rolled over just as the feline came almost on top of him. Together, they tumbled, the predator always careful not to crush Therry under its weight.

At that point, Kendryck saw it. The incredible transformation happened under his very eyes. The elegant beast first shrank. Its long length shortened to a human size. Away went the tail and the pointed ears. Arms and legs replaced the paws. The muzzle lost its animal traits, adapting to the new body. In a matter of seconds, the panther was gone. In a matter of seconds, it became a slender woman with long dark hair, her naked body twisted under Therry’s firm grasp.

When the transformation was complete, the youth laid her on her stomach, then covered her. As he bit her deeply between neck and shoulder, she raised her ass. Glued against him, blood seeped from her tender flesh to stain her creamy skin, trickling to her buttocks, too. An enthralling picture from where Kendryck stood, one Therry couldn’t appreciate. But her increased slides sideways were evidently all he required to make his move. Cock hard and ready—with a swift move, the man shoved into her, then pumped frantically.

Bow and arrows forgotten at his side, Kendryck stared on, the craving to get between them mounting by the minute. Were he to attempt it, they probably would’ve let him, or so he told himself. They were too busy in their own celebration anyway, calling for life’s renewal and for the reassurance blood hadn’t spilled in vain. For sure, this awareness made Therry bang her faster and push for a quick release. Yes, just like cats making love. When she screamed and thrashed, Kendryck knew it was over.

Shaken more than he cared to admit, weak on his knees, Kendryck stumbled backward, unsure of what to do for the first time in his life. Dazed, scared, confused—the jumbled mix didn’t quite cover half of the turmoil raging and knotting his stomach with a fierce clamp. Apparently, there was no end to what he really felt, had never felt before in his whole existence. With trembling legs, he took the first tentative steps to return to the village, even if a part of him didn’t want to leave. A part of him wanted desperately to stay and talk to Therry, to receive some sort of plausible explanation. Another part couldn’t wait to get the fuck out of there, or to vanish off the face of the earth whichever came first. Something about what he had seen scored so damn close to home…too close for comfort.