On a hunting trip a senator discovers a hunter of legend.
|It was his sixth hour chasing this one bull elk. So many times he could have taken the magnificent animal down if he had only turned to a wolf, but all the challenge would have been lost. He liked hunting in his human form and running naked through the forest. The hunter felt alive and free, yet he also felt bound to the forest and the creatures.
The bull elk jumped to the left off the trail and bounded down the hill side. He slid to a stop at the edge of the trail and watched the elk zigzag back and forth down the slope. The man could see a creek swollen from the winter melt off at the bottom. He knew if the elk made it to the water he would lose the scent.
The man took a step back and launched himself over the edge of the trail. He landed crouching on his legs. Leaning forward he took off down the hill in a loping motion on all fours. It was time to bring down the elk. The creek was perfect. He will have a place to clean himself after the kill.
The bull made it to the water and was cantering through the water to the far edge. It climbed and lunged up the far side. The hunter landed in the creek on all fours. Growling in anticipation, he looked up at his prey. Exploding out of the water, body stretched out, he let the turn take him.
His jaw stretched out in front of him as his forehead sloped back to his ears that were stretching to points. His hands spread out and curled up. He could feel his tail bone extending. His bones twisted and popped. His muscles surged and lengthened. His ligaments and sinews stretched. All of it felt so good. It was as if bindings all over his body had burst loose.
The hunter reached out with mouth wide and claws tense. There was a thunder clap and his prey bolted from sight. A sharp hammer slammed into his chest. In mid-air he stopped lunging forward and dropped back into the creek. His rounded back slammed into the rocky bottom of the creek. Water crashed back into him.
The man tried desperately to keep his muzzle above the water as he paddled to shallow water. Breathing was almost impossible, but it was not the cold water. He could taste warm blood in his mouth. His front paws could barely move. He kicked and shoved with his hind quarters till he was lying mostly out of the water.
The blood ran freely from his mouth and he could breathe a little easier. The hunter lifted his head to look down the length of his body. There was a hole off to the right side of his chest. Bright red blood bubbled from the hole. He looked further down and realized he was not a wolf, but he was not a man either.
There were patches of hair sporadically around his body. His tail was not at full length. His hind quarters were developed, but he still had feet. His chest was more barrel like, but his stomach was still human and hung down below the ribs. He flopped a paw like hand onto his face. He could feel his muzzle and then he felt his stretched, but still rounded ears.
The man strained his body to push his turning. He feared some humans would find him like this. Breathing became difficult again as his lungs tried to suck in air. The wounded hunter could not feel any air, just solid mass filling his lungs. He pushed harder. His body shook violently. His heart raced. Desperation set in. He was about to die. He could not let humans find him like this. He could not return to the Mother Spirit and the Father Spirit as a half human half wolf. He strained harder against his body. His heart froze. Spears of pain shot through his chest. He tried, he thought. His last thoughts were forgiveness from his tribe and hope of acceptance by the Mother Spirit and Father Spirit.
A short flabby man plodded through the knee high grass and weeds, towards the drop off to the creek where he just saw the elk dash away from. He wore forest style camouflage that was too tight around his body. He slowed to a walk and slung a military issue AR-15 over his shoulder. He was red in the face and panted loudly.
He stopped suddenly and dropped his hands to his knees, “That damn thing’s over here somewhere by the creek!” He yelled back over his shoulder. The rifle slid off his shoulder and clattered into the dirt.
A skinny balding man came running to the out of breath man. He put a hand on the bent over man’s back. “Are you alright, Senator Liddell?”
The Senator stood up and shrugged off the hand, “Of course I am.”
The skinny man picked up the AR-15 and handed it to the Senator.
Taking the weapon he said to his assistant, “Go look for the thing that scared off my elk. It looked like a wolf, but I’m not sure.”
“Sir, I don’t have a weapon.”
The senator kept his eyes trained on the edge of the creek and shoved his rifle at his assistant, “Here, Herman. Take mine.”
Herman accepted the rifle, with both hands. He looked at the grass sticking out of the muzzle. The rest of the barrel and stock was covered in dirt and dust. “Sir, I don’t think this rifle is operational anymore.”
“What do you mean?” Senator Liddell looked over and realized the trouble. “Oh.”
Two large men in matching sunglasses and black long sleeved t-shirts and jeans appeared behind the Senator. They were carrying similar rifles to the Senator’s. They also had handguns strapped to their thighs.
Liddell took his AR-15 from Herman and handed it to one of the hulking men. “Clean this.” He looked up at both men and how well prepared they were for surprises, “You’re my bodyguards. You’ll know what to do. Go find that wolf that scared off my elk.”
The bodyguard with the Senator’s rifle looked down at the flabby man. Just as he opened his mouth, his partner slapped him in the stomach and ran off towards the creek. The bodyguard slung the dirty rifle over his shoulder, with his own rifle, “Yes, sir.” He then took off after his partner at a jog.
Senator Liddell and Herman stood in the field, watching the two bodyguards. Both guards had un-holstered their handguns. They weaved back and forth through the grass and weeds.
“Do you have any more of those powerbars?” asked, Senator Liddell.
With eyes glued on the large men searching through the grass, Herman reached into his fanny pack and handed a bar to his boss, “Here you go. Would you like a juice?”
“Don’t suppose you have any whiskey?” requested the Senator.
“Sir,” replied Herman. “You’ve been warned about having liquor when you hunt.”
“Oh very well. I’ll take your juice.”
Herman handed him a liquid pouch, with a straw glued to the side of it.
The bodyguards made their way to the creek about three hundred feet from each other. The two swerved back toward each other, while looking at the running water. The guard with the Senator’s rifle stopped suddenly. He waved to his partner and knelt down on the edge of the creek. The partner jogged over to the spot. He stumbled when he saw what the first guard was looking at.
The first guard put both rifles down and took his partner’s handgun. With both guns he slid down into the creek. The partner unslung his rifle and trained it at the creek to protect the first guard. After a minute the partner waved and called to the Senator.
Senator Liddell had been watching the entire time and was very curious at what they had found. When the bodyguard had waved them over he dropped his juice pouch and mostly eaten powerbar in the tall grass. Both men quickly walked to the creek and peered down.
Down in the creek was the bodyguard standing over a dead creature. “What in the world is that thing?” called the Senator.
“I don’t know, sir.” The bodyguard replied shrugging his shoulders.
“It’s dead, right?”
“Yes, sir. Clean shot through the chest.”
“Is it a wolf?”
“Sir, I’ve never seen anything like this. Parts of it look like a wolf…” The bodyguard hesitated. His training and career had always been built on being able to identify and assess people, objects, and environments. This is the first thing he ever encountered that he could not identify or assess.
“Well son, what is it?”
“Well…Parts of it look like a wolf…Parts of it look human.”
Senator Liddell jerked his shoulders back, “That’s impossible!” He bent down to hold onto the edge and took baby steps down the side of the creek. A couple of steps down, he lost his footing and slid the rest of the way on his backside. He picked himself up and waddled through the waist high water.
Liddell bent over the dead creature. He thought to himself this is how all those horror movies start. The smart powerful guy is always the first to get killed and one of these muscle bound half-wits will survive to save the world.
He took a deep breath and exhaled as he stood up. Clearing his mind he thought there could be an opportunity here. He’s the only one who knows about this. This could be huge. Senator Liddell turned and looked up at his assistant, “Herman! Get me a secure line on that Sat-Phone!” Liddell turned back to the bodyguard. With steel in his eyes the Senator jabbed a finger into the guard’s chest, “Do as you’re told and your pay grade will double. That goes for your partner as well.” He shoved a thumb over his shoulder at the other bodyguard.
Appox. 1700 words