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Showing posts with label #hunt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #hunt. Show all posts

Sunday, October 17, 2021

E-Journal of Nathaniel Eoghan Steward - October 23rd, 2019 "Red Fang" - Part III

 Otto raised one bushy eyebrow and asked, “Nathan, what did you do? Come clean, now.”

“I got hurt during a hunt,” I replied distractedly, as I pulled up a new tab on the computer and began searching for the nearest flight to Alaska. There was one leaving that evening from Columbus, Ohio. I could easily make it if I started getting ready right away. Booking a seat on the plane, I got up and began making for the door only to find both Otto and Isabella blocking me.

“You do know I can easily mist past the two of you,” I pointed out.

“Are you so sure?” asked Otto, pulling out an oversized fireplace bellow. It took me a moment to realize the bellow he was holding was the one I kept next to the fireplace. As usual, I never heard or saw him grab it. He’s a sly one, let me tell you.

Knowing the clock was ticking for me to get to Ohio I told them, “Fine, follow me upstairs and I’ll explain while I pack.”

That got them to let me pass, and the three of us headed upstairs. I told them all about my visit with my friends in Fairbanks and how I’d headed for the Boreal Forest after leaving them.

As we reached my bedroom Isabella headed straight for my closet and pulled out a couple of suitcases, one of which was almost as big as her. Not that she had any trouble handling it. Since I accidentally infected her my Sangui-Sapio (a story for another day), she has the same strength, speed, and weaknesses I possess. And although she has the body of a child, unlike me she has been growing at the normal rate of any 12-year-old girl. Though I suspect, that like me, this will slow down considerably once she reaches adulthood.

In the meantime, Otto urged me to continue my tale and I complied.

Since they already know about my tendency to ‘go native’ when I’m up in Alaska, I was able to gloss over that part quickly. Finally, I got to the part about meeting up with the pack of wolves, and how I’d won their confidence with my mist trick.

“Since the hours of night are so long at that time of the year, I wound up staying with them almost a week,” I explained. “Since we were making kills pretty regularly, there was plenty of blood to keep me sated. Plus, it was pretty cloudy at the time, and we were keeping under the tree canopy a lot, which made things even easier for me to stay in wolf form.”

“Sounds like you were having a lovely time,” Otto nodded pleasantly, as he sat on my smiling. “So, when are we going to get to the ‘Oops’ part of your story?”

I stood there holding a stack of underwear in my hands, and just stared at him. “What makes you think there’s an ‘Oops’ part coming?”

“Because it’s clear from your reaction to the article that you suspect you accidentally infected one of those wolves with your Sangui-Sapio companion,” he answered calmly.

“Psychology?” I asked.

Otto shook his head. “No, I simply recognized that look you get whenever you’ve goofed something up,” he teased, then his expression became serious. “So how did it happen? You’re usually very careful about not ‘sharing’ your gifts.” His eyes darted to Isabella ever-so-briefly before looking at me again.

As I mentioned before, infecting my sister had been an accident. It had happened back in 1863, shortly after the Sangui-Sapio and I had formed our bond. I hadn’t learned about the mistake until decades later, mistaking her for a ghost at first.


Anyway, I resumed my packing and my tale. “It was the last night I was with the pack. We were hunting bison. Shortly before I met the pack they had lost both their alpha and beta leaders. With me appearing on the scene, they’d had more successes with their hunts and were beginning to eye me as a new leader. Too many failed hunts and they’d be in trouble. Luckily there was one young male who was showing a lot of promise and I was trying to support him, so to speak. Follow his lead and all, kind of thing.”

“And how did he take it?” Otto inquired.

“He wasn’t exactly thrilled about me, but he knew I was effective in helping bring down prey so he tolerated my presence. But during that last hunt, errors were made. He wanted us to go after one of the younger bison. Unfortunately, I could tell already that the herd was keeping a very good defensive ring around their young. No matter how much the pack harried them, they wouldn’t break rank. That is, except for one older bull who at that point was wide open.”

As usual Otto was already ahead of me, saying, “Let me guess, our young alpha saw this as an opportunity to firmly establish himself as leader. Am I correct?”

I nodded. “Oh yeah. Mind you he was a good hunter, but I could see he was going to be seriously outmatched.”

“So, you jumped in to try and help him?” my sister asked.


“That had been the plan,” I winced, “I didn’t want to make him look bad, but I knew he couldn’t take that bison alone. So, I zipped ahead and challenged the big bull myself, giving the alpha a clean shot at the throat. Unfortunately, the bull was faster than either of us expected and he gored me something fierce, got my blood all over his face and neck. A second or two later, the alpha nailed him in the throat and the three of us went at it. The pack arrived moments later, attacking the bull’s rear and sides. And that was it for the bull, we brought him down. But looking back, I suspect that some of my blood was on the bison’s throat where the alpha struck. Which means it didn’t return to me when we called my blood back.”

“You called your blood back?” Isabella repeated with a frown.

“Whenever I bleed, either me or Sangui-Sapio can call the blood I spilled back into me through the skin. Unless something prevents it from reaching me, like being ingested for instance,” I explained.

“Like the Cannibal Killer you fought three years ago?” Isabella continued.

I nodded. That guy had lived up to his name and had taken a bite out of me, along with a chunk of the Sangui-Sapio. He’d been injured in our fight before he bit me. And since the Sangui-Sapio’s first instinct is to preserve life, it went to work pretty quickly on him, making the guy nearly as strong and hard to stop as me.

As if reading my thoughts Otto spoke again. “If this is indeed the case with the wolf, why is the creature taking a humanoid shape? From what you’ve told me in the past, the Sangui-Sapio normally just adapts to its new host’s form. It only tries to shapeshift the body briefly, in or to protect or help the new host. Otherwise, the host appears to be normal. Yet, according to the article, the creature seems to have taken on a humanoid shape and was having rough time of it. Now, why would a wolf do that?”

Once more I thought back to the dream. In it, I was having trouble keeping my wolf form. “I don’t know,” I replied, finishing up my packing. “Which is why I have to get up there as quickly as possible, before that poor creature accidentally winds up infecting another animal or even a person.”

TO BE CONTINUED...


Friday, October 1, 2021

E-Journal of Nathaniel Eoghan Steward - October 23rd, 2019 "Red Fang" - Part I

 


Woke up this afternoon in my bed… yes, I do sleep in a real bed, believe or not. In fact I do it quite often. I only sleep in the ground when my body needs certain nutrients that can only be found in the soil.

I’ll sometimes wake up to find my little sister Isabella curled up next to me. She has her own room and bed of course. When mom and dad were still alive (back in the 1860s) she used to sleep with them on cold nights or when she was feeling poorly (which was fairly often after her bout with Scarlet Fever) in their room, which is now mine. And of course, since we’re the only actual family each other has these days, I don’t mind having her with me on those nights when she’s missing them. I can’t blame her. Even after one hundred and sixty years wandering this Earth, I still miss them myself. So having her share my bed once in a while can be a great comfort for both of us.

Anyway, from the looks of my sheets and blankets, it’s a good thing she hadn't joined me. Oh, they weren’t torn or anything, they were just all over the place, as if I’d had a very restless sleep. Mind you, I felt well rested. Which is surprising since I did have some rather active dreams. I was back in Alaska, out on the tundra with the stars and the northern lights above, and a pack of wolves all around me.

This is nothing unusual. Whenever I go up there, I usually head for the woods and take one of my animal forms and roam the land. It’s one of the few times I can just let loose with my powers and experience nature in ways no human being can really appreciate. I enjoy the enhanced senses of my nature forms and experiencing the world as they do.

And one of those forms I take is that of a wolf. Whenever I take this form, I like to seek out a pack to run with. When I find one, I’ll use of the greenish mist I can exude and allow them to ‘breathe me in’ so to speak. Once they do, I have access to their minds to a degree and can ease any misgivings they have of my presence and can even get them to let me join them for a few nights. We’ll huddle together, roam, and even hunt.



I rather enjoy those hunts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a cold-blooded killer or anything like that. It’s just that my Sangui-Sapio half (the slime mold-like creature that fused with me in the Para-Earth I landed up in so many years ago) had bonded with a number of other life forms in that reality long before it found me.

Now, in addition to giving me my vampire-like abilities and needs, it also gave me incredible recall of all the things I’ve ever experienced in my life. People, places, events, you name it. I have perfect recall of all of it. Even little things I glimpsed ever-so-briefly, or heard in passing, I can remember as clear as day. But I don’t just have access to my own memories, I also have access to the Sangui-Sapio’s memories which includes those of the other creatures it had fused with before we met.

While this might sound as if my head should be pretty crowded, or that I might have a hard time holding onto my identity with all those memories, I don’t. I’m the most complex being the Sangui-Sapio has ever bonded with before, and I have such a sense of self that it isn’t a problem. Furthermore, my other half makes sure it doesn’t let itself or those other memories try to ‘take over’. Our relationship is very equitable.

However, I do sometimes get cravings to explore my… I guess you would call it, more primal side. Which is part of the reason why I head to places like Alaska, Norway, the Black Forest of Germany or any other place remote with woods and open spaces.

Last night I dreamed about being on a hunt with a pack of wolves I met earlier this year. I’d spent New Year’s Eve up in Fairbanks Alaska to welcome the new year with some old friends. On New Year’s Day I bid them goodbye and headed into the Boreal Forest where I could cut loose a bit. As I hoped, I eventually encountered a pack of wolves. After the usual sizing each other up and exuding my mist, we became quite close and I wound up spending an entire week with them. I was almost sorry to leave. Maybe that’s why I dreamed about them.


Anyway, in my dream we were on the hunt once more, but for some reason there was a nervous tension in the pack. And as much I hate to say it, this feeling seemed to be directed at me. There was no outright hostility, but I was noticing how some of the pack kept eyeing me or moving slightly away as we ran. Sadly, I couldn’t blame them. Even I could tell something was off about me, but before I could really figure out what it was, the scene changed. I found myself alone and on the outskirts of a town and being shot at by some of the townsfolk. I was still in wolf form at the time, which in and of itself was weird because I never go where there’s people when I’m shapeshifted. Yet it felt like I was having trouble keeping my form. I could feel my limbs stretching at times, throwing my balance off as I ran.

I kept calling out to the pack as I ran. I could sense they were nearby, yet none of them answered. Eventually, I finally spotted them way off in the distance, but I could tell they were not happy to see me. They weren’t exactly hostile, but they weren’t welcoming either. If anything, they seemed frightened and confused… then I woke up.

It’s weird. I’ve dreamt of the pack a few times in the last couple of months, which is something I’ve never done before.


After dismissing the dream, I fixed my bed, changed clothes, and left my bedroom. I noticed the clock in the hallway and saw it was mid-afternoon. Risking a quick peek out one of the windows near the stairwell, I saw it looked like rain was coming. That made me smile. I wouldn’t have to contend with the sun or load up on extra blood. I might even be able to head outside for a while. The estate, which is just over a thousand acres, contains swaths of virgin woods that have never known the blade of an axe. Maybe the dream was simply my brain’s way of telling me I needed to get out a bit and enjoy the ‘nice’ weather.

With that thought in mind, I headed down the stairs with a little bounce in my step.

TO BE CONTINUED...