The Unabridged Story of how Jack Clawtooth gets back his family. Published.
|At the top of a hill rests three men. It is 1870, a few years after the Civil War, and these men are on the outskirts of a small town in what is reminiscent of the Arizona Territories. They are wearing the traditional garb of cowpunchers, or cowboys. However, unlike most stories that people read, this one is about what makes the difference between a man, and a monster.
"Com'on Jay," says a long-horned minotaur, in a Western accent. "Ain't you gonna eat somethin'? It wasn't easy to get this buffalo meat from them injins."
"Calla him by his real name Lahorn," said a centaur, with a Southern accent. "Ya know how that thar man don't like it when ya'll don't call him Jack."
"You know I don't like usin his name Lefleet," the minotaur said. "It's a human one."
"And what's wrong with that?" said the third man, in a Northern accent, who turned to look at him. He looked human, but if one looked deep into his eyes, they could see that he was a werewolf.
"Nuthin," said Lahorn. "Except for the fact that you are a werewolf, and in the whole six months that we've been together, you've never turned into your wolf form, and nevar even ate a human, not even them bandits we's killed last week when they tried to rape that injin squaw that you just had to save."
"It twer good he did that," Lefleet said. "That were Red Horn's daughter. Him savin her granted us safe passage through that buffalo minotaur's tribe's land. If he'n not do that, wes be dead for sure."
"And you know full well that I won't eat humans," Jack said, as he snatched some buffalo meat from the fire, put it on a plate, and started to cut it up with his knife and a fork, like a human would, instead of his claws. "After all, I made a promise three years ago after I killed my brother in-law's murderer and my wife left me, taking the kids, that I'd become as human as I could, and see things from their point of view."
"There's no sense in arguing with him Lahorn," Lefleet said, in a whisper. "I met up with him after the war between the States, and when he makes up his mind on somethin, he doesn't change it."
"Hows yous met up anyways?" Lahorn asked.
"I saved his one black human friend from a lynch mob," Jack said. "My unit was nearby, and I'd gone for a stroll when I saw them trying to hang him for kissing a plantation owner's daughter. As for Lefleet, he was trying to rescue his friend, as he was something like a pet to him, right?"
"Yeah," the Southern centaur said, as he looked away from the minotaur. "That's what he was, nothin more, nothin less."
"Nice try Lefleet," Jack said, with a chuckle. "He was more than that, and I know that. He was more than a friend as well to."
"Okay, he was my best friend," Lefleet said. "Are you happy now?"
At this, Lefleet stood up and started to trot away from the fire that they had been sitting around.
"That wasn't all that that niggar was to him," Jack said. "Our four-legged friend there has a thing for those of the two-legged variety, especially humans, and, especially, males."
"Ain't that sort a thing a sin?" Lahorn asked. "After all, it should be a male and a female at any rate."
"Well, if that's the case, then everyone is going to go to Hell when they die," Jack said. "After all, rape and murder are also sins, yet everyone does it, especially to humans."
"Well look whose talkin?" Lahorn said. "I betcha yous killed plenty in the war."
At this, Jack punched the man in the face.
"What the hell was that for?" the minotaur asked, as he held his hand to his nose, which was bleeding. "All I said was that you'd killed people in the war, so what are you hittin me fer?"
"Because," Jack said, as he checked his hand. "I lost something in that war. I lost friends, a brother, a cousin, and, most importantly, I lost myself. I became a monster, and I killed hundreds of young men who were trying to protect their home from invaders."
"That's still no reason to hit me," Lahorn said. "I've killed plenty of people, and that's not counting injins, Mexicans, Chinamen, and those I've eaten."
"And yet, in all the time you've been with me, you've never seen me or Lefleet just eat a human, and every time you try to, I end up getting into a fight with you, and winning as well," Jack said. "Do you know why?"
"No," Lahorn said. "Though I've always wondered."
"It's like this," Jack said. "When Lefleet's father found out that that niggar and him were sexual partners, he forced Lefleet to eat the poor young man, alive. As a result, he hasn't had a good night's sleep for the last four years. With me, fifteen years ago, I slept with a young woman and got her pregnant. Her daddy, a dragon, told me to either marry her, or he'd roast me. Now his daughter, you should know, was a human, and that baby she had, was a female human. Then, seven years ago, before I got drafted into the Union Army, we had a son, who is a werewolf like me. However, by that time, I had made a promise to Jane, my wife, with whom that I had fallen in love with by then, that I'd never eat another person, and that we were not to teach our son to eat humans or anyone else, unless he had to. However, I broke my word when I avenged her brother's death, as I had ate that man alive. She left me because of it. As for me beating you, all one has to do is take out your legs and put a blade or claw to your throat, and you become as docile as a calf that is being given its mother's milk."
"So, thems your reasons?" Lahorn asked.
"Yeah," Jack said. "After that, I made a promise to myself, that I'd never use my wolf form again, not even if it meant the difference between life or death for me. When I die, it will be in my human form."
"Then, how yo gonna kill someone if they come for your scalp?" Lahorn asked. "I knows you's a good shot with that Henry rifle, as well as your Colt revolver, but what if you don't have them?"
"Then I'd use my knife, and failing that, I still have my hands and feet," Jack said. "As it is, I've been taking it easy with you in our fights. If I'd wanted to kill you when we first met in that jail in Austin, I'd of torn your head off, and tossed it through the brick wall, instead of using my spurs to open up the lock and set us free. Then again, you's the one who robbed that bank, and I got caught up in the confusion, as I'd been near the place trying to see about making a deposit. As it is, you owe me your life, otherwise those people would of hung you for sure, especially since you killed that deputy who'd been there."
"That man killed my brother," Lahorn said. "It was justifiable."
"Maybe," Jack said. "But, as you told me, that happened five years ago when that happened. If you had killed him then, people would of understood. But what you did was just murder, and you are lucky that you are young, and could learn, because if you'd been thirty instead of twenty, I'd of killed you myself. I knew that man. I knew that he was a killer underneath the badge, but you just don't kill a lawman, not even one as bad as him. Trust me on that."
"What do you mean?" Lahorn asked.
"The man who killed my brother in-law," Jack said. "Was a New York City policeman. I found out what he was after I'd killed him. Well, when I told Jane what had happened, after I'd eaten his body to hide the evidence, and crushed his little copper star thing, she got on the first stage she could, and left. As for me, I fled south, met up with Lefleet, who was still grieving over his friend's death, again, and the two of us headed west, and we've been punching cows ever since."
"Then, what are we doing here?" Lahorn asked. "I mean, there was another town five miles back we could of stopped at."
"True," Jack said. "But I need to check something out here. If what I heard was true, then my family might be here."
"Jay, you're chasing a ghost," Lahorn said. "Like you said, it's been three years. If she hasn't remarried, she's either a whore or someone's personal slave."
At this, Jack punched him again.
"Talk about my wife like that again Lahorn," Jack said, as he grabbed his knife, and put it at the minotaur's throat. "And I won't hesitate to cut a long strip of leather out of your hide and whip you with it. I can deal with you making fun about me, and maybe even Lefleet, but when it comes to my family, you'd better talk about them with respect. Jane's father is wealthy beyond your wildest dreams. The man owns the biggest railroad company this side of the Rockies. Also, his brother runs the largest lumber company in the Northwest Territories. As for his cousin, the largest oil company in Texas. I was lucky to have married her. All of that would of been mine and Jake's, had he still been alive. As it is, some third cousin will get everything when those three die, unless I can find Jane, and bring her back East."
"Are you serious about that?" Lahorn asked, speaking carefully because of the knife. "How much would it be worth?"
"Well over a hundred million dollars," Jack said, as he removed the knife and sheathed it. "Half would of been for me, and half for Jake. Now, just for you to know, he was a small dragon, maybe eight feet tall at least, and he was missing an arm and a leg due to some gang fight we'd been in when we was fifteen. However, he had a knack for numbers and words. As for me, I couldn't count past ten, and I could just write my name. However, he helped me out with that, and when I met his sister, oh she was drop dead gorgeous, especially her golden hair and blue eyes. Well, I fell for her, and well, you know the rest."
"So, what are you going to do if you do find her?" Lahorn asked. "Are you just going to walk up to her and ask her to come back to you?"
"No," Jack said. "She doesn't know my human form, and if she is truly happy, I won't take that away and take her back East. If anything, I'll say that I was a friend of her late husband, and that, before he died from something that had been killing him, he asked me to find her, and to tell her that he loved her, and still loved her, even as he died."
"Well, what if she isn't happy? Are you going to take her then?"
"No Lahorn," Jack said. "Jane's not some placid cow who is happy to graze at any patch of grass she is lead to. She's like a wild mustang who will buck you off every time you try to saddle her, unless you are gentle with how you do it. And even then, she will not be tamed."
At this, Jack smiled.
"And I was the only one she ever let ride her," he said. "Had any other man even tried to sleep with her, she never bothered to let her daddy roast the guy, as she'd kill him herself, and let her daddy roast and eat the guy then. With me though, a slow courtship, a few dances, and eventually, she let me take off her petticoat, and take off my pants, and well, we had sex that night and well, you know the rest."
"Nice story," Lefleet said, as he trotted back to them. "Of course, that was nothing like me and Ja-, I mean, my friend. Now those were some wild nights we had along the river, and all of that. My friend cared about me, and vice-versa. You have no idea how happy I was with my friend, and all of the good times we had. But when my friend was killed, I-"
"Lefleet, I get the picture," Jack said. "You and him were lovers, and the two of you did everything that lovers did. His death was hard on you, especially since your father told you to do what you did to him. You also know how I care about you kid. After all, you are twenty-five, and I'm sure that, wherever he is, James still loves you."
"How do you know his name?" Lefleet asked. "And that we were lovers?"
"You talk in your sleep," Jack said. "Even with Lahorn here snoring and mooing loud enough to wake the dead, I can hear you talking to him in your sleep. I also hear you say at times, 'No daddy, don't make me eat James. Please, don't make me do it.' That's how I know about his death."
"Well, at least I don't have to worry about having a price on my head like you two," Lefleet said. "I mean, I could of stayed in Texas. After all, I wasn't the one who escaped from jail."
"Lefleet, I suggest that you and Lahorn get some sleep," Jack said. "Even if Jane isn't in town, we still need to pick up some supplies before we get back to the Double D by the end of the week."
"Fine," Lefleet said, as he pulled his legs under his horse half, and covered his upper human half with a wool blanket. "You going to keep watch for the first part of the night?"
"Yeah," Jack said. "Lahorn, you get second watch, and as for you Lefleet, you get the third watch. You get to watch the sun rise."
"Thanks Jack," the young centaur said, as he closed his eyes. "You know how much I love sunrises."
"Don't we all?" Jack thought to himself.
In the morning, as the trio walked into town, well, Lefleet and Lahorn walked into town, Jack road on a horse that he had bought, as he didn't want to ride on Lefleet's back unless he had to, and he wasn't going to travel in his wolf form to keep up with his friends, they were stopped by a deputy.
"Hold it right there," the man, a harpy, said. "We have a rule; humans cannot carry weapons of any sort, unless they know magic."
"I think he's talking to you Jack," Lefleet said.
"Well, I certainly don't want to break the rules," Jack said, as he looked the deputy in the eyes. "You can try to take them, but before you do, I need to warn you, they won't stay with you. My uncle, before I came out here, enchanted me, so that, any weapon that I use, will not stay with someone that I didn't give them to willingly. Also, any weapon that I've used in the past can't be turned against me."
With that, Jack got off of his horse, and put his revolver and rifle next to a post.
"Don't forget the knife," the harpy said. "That Bowie is defiantly a weapon."
"Oh, this thing," Jack said, as he pulled the foot long blade from his sheath. "Not a problem."
With that, he stabbed it into the post, embedding it up to its hilt.
At this, the Deputy's eyes widened.
"No human can do that," he said.
"You have that right," Jack said, as he removed the knife, which was intact, and put it back in its sheath, and took his revolver and rifle from the post and put the rifle and revolver back in their holsters. "I'm a werewolf."
"Then why aren't you in your wolf form?" the harpy asked, nervously, as no self-respecting werewolf would just walk around in their human form, not with out a very good reason.
"Easy," Jack said, with a growl in his voice. "I made a promise, and I intend to keep it."
"Why?" the harpy asked, as he carefully stepped back, as it wasn't wise to anger a werewolf, even when they were in their human form.
"Someone like you wouldn't understand," Jack said, as he got back on his horse. "Now, unless you have another reason for holding us up, Git."
At this, the harpy flew up to the roof that he'd come from.
"Yous sure knows hows to makes friends," Lahorn said, as the three went to the saloon. "He's gonna tell the Sheriff you know, and we'll be run outa town."
"Not until I'm sure that Jane isn't here he won't," Jack said, as he got off of his horse and tied it to the hitching post. "No one runs me out of town; I just leave with a crowd of people following me for some reason."
Suddenly, Jack heard something, which caused his ear to twitch, and started to walk towards the sound, which came from an alleyway.
"Uh oh," Lefleet said, as he looked at Lahorn. "He just heard someone who's going to get himself hurt."
"How do you know that?" Lahorn said. "I haven't been able to figure him out."
"Same here," Lefleet said. "But when his ear twitches, someone gets hurt."
Then, as if on cue, a rakshasa, a tiger-like creature, came flying out of the alleyway, landing in the middle of the street.
"I told you to leave the woman alone," Jack said, as he walked out of the alleyway, with a young human woman following him. "Now I suggest that you just go back home, and leave her alone from now on."
"She's mine Dog," the man said, as he pulled his pistol out and started firing at him.
At this, Jack's ears stood on end, and became wolf-like. To call a werewolf a dog was the biggest insult that one could say, and one was very lucky to get away with it. At this, Jack pulled out his pistol, and as the bullets whizzed by his head, he aimed, and fired a single shot.
"AHHH!!! MY ARM!!!!!!" the rakshasa shouted, as he clutched his arm, which had the pistol, which fell from his hand. With that, Jack fired four shots in rapid succession, each of them hitting the pistol, and ruining it beyond use.
"I have one bullet left," Jack said, as he pointed the revolver at the man's head, and cocked the hammer back. "Don't make me use it, as I never miss a shot."
At this, the man said, "I'll leave the woman alone."
"No, not just her," Jack said. "All of them. If I find out that you raped, or ate, another woman, I will come after you, and not only will I kill you; I'll kill you very, very, slowly. I'll skin you inch by painful inch, and I'll carve you into strips of jerky, and give them to the Indians as Medicine. When they ask where it comes from, I'll tell them that it came from some cat that tried to eat the daughter of a great and powerful, Chieftain, and I had caught it and killed it, and that the Chieftain had made me his son as a result. As it is, I'm Chief Red Horn's Blood-brother, as I had saved his daughter, Snow Calf, from some bandits last week, and as a reward, me and him became kin, when we had our blood mingle after we each cut our hands and clasped the other's, in brotherhood."
With that, Jack lifted his left hand, revealing a fresh scar that had healed over recently. At the sight of the scar, the man gulped nervously, and started running away from him.
"Why'd you save me?" the woman asked, as Jack's ears shifted back to human ones. "I mean, I appreciate you saving me, but why did you do it? And why didn't you kill him?"
"Because I made a promise," Jack said, as he reloaded his pistol with fresh cartridges, and put the hammer on an empty chamber, so that he wouldn't blow his toe off by accident. "I promised that I wouldn't let a monster harm someone if I could do something to stop it. I also promised that I wouldn't kill unless there was no choice. That man won't bother you, or another woman, again"
"Well, is there a way that I can repay you?" the woman asked.
"Yah," Jack said. "Do you know of a human woman named Jane Greenscales or Clawtooth, who has a human daughter who's about fifteen, with the same name, and a seven year old werewolf boy named Jack?"
"Well, there was a schoolmarm named Jane, who did have a human daughter and a werewolf son." the woman said. "But she got married, and her husband, a dridder, sold the daughter to be the saloonkeeper's personal sex-slave, and the boy is now the Sheriff's pet, and Jane, well, she has a dridder daughter."
"Who's her husband?" Jack asked, some anger creeping into his voice.
"The Mayor and he is very powerful," the woman said. "He controls everything in town."
"How's Jane doing with him?" the man asked, as he turned around.
"I wouldn't know sir," the woman said. "However, from what I've heard, she isn't doing too good, especially after she gave birth to the man's daughter."
"When did this happen?" Jack asked, as his eyes became dangerous-looking.
"Within the year sir," the woman said, nervously. "That's all that I know mister."
At this, Jack sighed and said, "Figures, I just hope that she's still alive, so that I can tell her the message."
"What message is that?" the woman asked. "I have a friend in the household. They might be able to pass on the message."
"Alright," Jack said, as he pulled out a small silver coin. "The message is this, 'Jake says "Lambchops."' That is the message that is to be given to her."
"What does that mean?" the woman asked, as Jack gave the coin to her.
"Her brother used to call her that," Jack said. "I made a promise to him that I'd take care of her, before he died."
With that, Jack turned back to the saloon, and, putting his revolver in his holster, started to walk towards it, with a sense of purpose.
"Whatcha find out?" Lefleet asked. "You look ornery enough to tangle with a gatar, that has a snappen turtle on its tail, that or Sherman's Army."
"I'll say that he looks like he's going take on the whole Sioux, Comanche, and Apache nations," Lahorn said.
"All of that won't be enough to stop me," Jack said. "I just found out that my family is here, and they are in a bad way."
"How bad is it Jack?" Lefleet asked.
"I'll tell you about it over a drink of whiskey," Jack said. "Or blood-whiskey if you prefer Lahorn. I'm buying."
"Sounds good to me," Lahorn said, as the two young ones followed behind the werewolf, whose spurs made a clinking sound that caused everyone inside to look at all three of them. "Oh, this won't be good."
As the three got to the counter, the barkeeper, a mountain lion-like creature, said, "Can't you read human? You's not allowed here, unless you are a pet or a slave to one of these two."
"Oh, I'm just here to see your boss," Jack said, in a friendly manner. "I heard that he had a job opening from one of the whores across the street. Besides, I'm just paying for my friends' drinks."
At this, he put several silver coins on the counter, more than enough for several drinks.
"No problem," the man said, as he pocketed about half of them. "He's over there, enjoying his human sex slave. Nice looking one to. She'd go great with a certain Cajun recipe that I-"
At this, Jack grabbed the man by his fur, put his knife to the man's throat, and whispered, with a growl in his voice, "Talk like that again, and I'll show you a recipe that I know, Stewed Cat and Clam Chowder, New York City-style. Been a while since I made it, though I'm sure that it would come back to me in a hurry."
"I see your point," the man said, speaking with difficulty. "Mr. Werewolf sir."
"Good," Jack said, as he sheathed his knife, and walked over to the saloonkeeper, a dragon, who was playing a game of poker, with a dridder, a creature that had the upper body of a human, with the lower half being that of a tarantula, and a naga, one that looked like it was of the rattlesnake variety. Also, Jack could see a young woman under the table, on with blond hair, and she had her head right between the man's legs. Also, standing by the naga, with a collar around his neck, was a scruffy-looking werewolf child, one that looked like Jack when he was in his wolf form. They were HIS kids. However, as much as he wanted to fill all three of them full of lead, Jack knew that it would be no good if he got killed in the process, so he decided to introduce himself in a friendly manner.
"Hello gentlemen," he said. "Care to deal in a fourth hand."
At this, the three looked at him, slightly annoyed, until he dropped a few silver coins on the table.
"I see no problem in dealing you in stranger," the dragon said. "Do you Mayor?"
"Not at all," the dridder said. "What about you Sheriff?"
"I have no troubles with him playing," the naga said. "Might be fun to have someone else at the table for a change. I just might win some money for a change."
"Thank you kindly gents," Jack said. "Jacob Bloodclaw's the name, and running cattle is the game."
"What ranch you run?" the dridder asked, as the dragon shuffled the deck and passed out the cards.
"Oh, I'm working over at the Double D at the moment," Jack said. "Currently I'm the Forman there, meaning that I do the hiring and the firing of who's working, and who is a meal for the rest. Of course, back East, my family is well known, as they own a nice sized railroad company, a small lumber company, and, of course, an oil company. Of course, that's nothing compared to the Greenscales. Now they own some very large companies, which are worth more than a hundred million dollars."
At this, the mayor looked at him, with an interested look.
"What an interesting coincidence," he said. "Before I married her, my wife's name was Greenscales, and she told me that her family was quite wealthy."
"Oh," Jack said. "Care to tell me about her?"
"Of course Jacob," the mayor said. "She came here a few years back, with a couple of kids she'd had with some worthless werewolf that had taken her as a mate, but she left the fleabag for some stupid reason, and well, it was love at first sight, for me anyways. Of course, she's playing hard to get, and won't admit that the man she left won't be coming for her, even after I got her pregnant with MY daughter, and sold that bastard's kids to my brother in-laws here. Want to get a look at them?"
"Sure," Jack said.
With that, the dragon reached under the table, and pulled out, and stood the young girl who'd been under the table up. Her eyes had a vacant look, and she was naked, with some white stuff smeared across her mouth and chin. Then, as the dragon shoved the girl back under the table, the naga grabbed the collar that was on the werewolf boy's neck, and pulled him to the other side, and had him face Jack. Like the girl, his eyes were also vacant, and he was naked of clothing.
"Nice looking things," the mayor said. "Of course, that's nothing compared to my daughter Jennifer."
At this, the man moved something from his abdomen, something that looked like it had the upper body of a five year old human girl, with the lower part of a tarantula. However, there was no mistaking those blue eyes and blond hair, she was Jane's child. But, as Jack looked into those eyes, he saw a certain level of sadness.
"I heard that dridder kids grew fast," he said, with a fake chuckle, as the mayor put the girl back on his abdomen.
"Yeah, that they do," the mayor said. "Now, let's get to the game."
"Yeah," Jack said, speaking softly. "Let's get to the game." Then he thought, "Because when this game is over, I'm going to kill you for what you've done to my family."