I must have woken up shortly after blacking out, but the pain was all gone. Actually, now that I mention it, I couldn’t feel anything at all. I had a spectator’s seat on my life, and the game I was watching was gruesome. My body was shaking and shuddering, and I realized after some time that hair was sprouting on my arms and legs. Some people at school used to jokingly call me a beast because I could be aggressive, but compared to what I was turning into, I had been a bunny. There was a foggy wall between me and whatever was controlling my body, but I could feel its rage and lust for blood. I saw claws sprouting from my fingers, tearing through my hands. Call me crazy, but then I started freaking out.
I fought hard against the instincts controlling me, trying to run back home, as if I could escape what had happened. For a while nothing happened, and I watched myself contort and roar. I panicked, and there was a mental ‘click’. For a moment, I was back in control of my body. Then, the pain started up again and I lost my grip. My body was convulsing again, sprouting more hair. I picked up the scent of nearby animal and began charging. It was all I could do it hope that it wasn’t another human.
After trying to reconquer my mind again and again to no avail, I receded into a state of semi consciousness. Time seemed to blur, and I lost count of all the animals I attacked. I’d like to say that I didn’t kill any humans, but to be honest, I’m not sure. I hope, but I’m not losing any sleep over it. But, I knew that by dawn there would be walkers in the park. It must’ve have been afternoon by the time I got to grips with reality again. I had come across a girl walking in the woods. She looked familiar, but so does Scarlett Johansson, so… You know the story. Boy meets girl in woods. Boy kills girl in a lycanthropic metamorphosis. Boy gets chased down by an incredibly violent superhero team and killed. That is the story, right? Something like that, anyway. It’s certainly what went through my mind at the time.
The moment she saw me her eyes widened and she started murmuring rapidly in Latin.
/Run, you moron, some dead language won’t save you…/
As it turns out, it did.
Whatever form of black sorcery she was using it stopped me in my tracks. I could feel the fur on my arms rising and I began growl.
/Growling?! Since when did I do that?/
I was recovering from her first spell quickly, and I leapt at her again. The vicious, walking carpet that I was had no chance against her spells. I was met by a solid wall of flames. The way I yelled was almost human. She must have been better with faces than I am because she seemed to recognize me through the fur and blood.
“Holy shit…. Pierce, is that you?!”
Her susurrus of Latin started again before I could launch another attack. I lost my ravenous hunger for murder, and I was regaining control over my body. Some of the pain was still there but it was eased by whatever spell she had just used. The hair on my arms and face began to recede. In a matter of seconds, I was human again.
“Well, that’s a relief. Deus ex Magica saves the day once again. I suppose I won’t be able to growl anymore, but sometimes sacrifice is necessary. Onto more serious topics, you look familiar. Have we met?” She sighed, and face palmed.
“At least you’re not trying to kill me anymore. And, for the fifth time, it’s Sarah. Sarah West?” I shook my head, furrowing my brow as she continued, “Jason and Cyner introduced us? Twice? Same history class?”
“Nope. Doesn’t ring a bell.” She glared at me.
“I don’t even know why I bother. You always forget.”
“Everyone has their faults…”
“So out of curiosity, why the homicidal rampage? Your ki-” She flushed all of a sudden.
“What?” I said, rubbing my forehead, “My kind is usually killed or in quarantine? It doesn’t bother me; I got turned last night.”
“I’d heard rumors of wild werewolves in Europe, but none in the US so far.”
“Yeah? Check again. Maybe one swam the Atlantic Ocean just to bite me. That would be my luck.”
“Pierce, no more stalling this, you can’t go back home. If you lose control again, people will die. You need to be monitored, or else we could have a lycanthropy epidemic on our hands. Admittedly, your case is special, since I think I may have stopped the infection early enough in the transformation. If you want, they may let you join the SVRA. Lycanthropy could be useful once you get control of it.”
“I’m no hero, Sarah.”
“Exile,” she said, “While I’m in costume,” she gestured at her red robes, “Think about it. We’ll send a couple agents to your house. You have until then to make up your mind about what you want to do. Just know that if its not the SVRA, it could be an asylum. You might be too dangerous to leave alone.”
I had to admit, being in captivity wasn’t my thing. I needed to be able to go outside and go for a run to clear my head. I needed freedom to explore and have fun. I needed action or I’d tear my hair out from boredom. Maybe the SVRA wouldn’t be that bad.
I trudged home in my torn and bloodied clothes, ignoring the screams of the walkers who passed by me. It was like any other day in the park. Toward the end of my walk, I realized that I had spent over 30 hours awake. By the time I rounded the hill near my house I was ready to collapse.
There was a jogger approaching me, wearing a sweatshirt with his hood up. I thought this was pretty odd, since it was a hot day, and running would only make it worse. He stopped right in front of me and pulled down his hood. I recognized him immediately. He was a leader of some sort of new super-powered cult. He had been all over the news and his group was growing exponentially in followers. His name was Alexander Regio, but he was most often known as “The Guru”.
He was reasonably tall, with a face that resembled that guy. You know what I mean, right? The homeless man on the street, the guy running the cash register, the business man walking through the street? He wasn’t like them, though. His eyes gave him away. They seemed larger than they actually were, colored a bright orange-yellow, seeming to glow like mellow flames.
After talking to Sarah, I guessed that the Lycan who had attacked me had been brought here for a reason. Now, it seemed like I found my reason. Accusing him wouldn’t make me any friends, so I waited for whatever lie he wanted to tell me.
“Well, if it isn’t my young, recently cured friend. I have a job offer.”
“And what job is that?” I asked, trying to keep the contempt from my voice.
“To serve with me, of course. You are one of my more interesting experiments, and I’m curious to see how you will turn out. Your intuition already told you that I set you up with that Lycan and I see no reason not to be open with you. Because of what I’ve done, you will have unique powers.”
“How did you know that I would be cured? You can’t honestly expect me to believe anything you say.”
“I know, because I sent the report about the attack in these woods. I left the spell to heal a werewolf inside Exile’s room last week. I knew she would cure you, so I let her think that she has served her own, twisted sense of justice. You may not trust me, but I trust you. I know that you will go with me. You see just about as much of a future in the SVRA as in the asylum. I am your best choice.”
He was right. I hated the idea of joining the SVRA. They were all just a bunch of posers who dealt more with the press than they did with any of the super-villians. That magic girl was nice enough, but I had a feeling I wouldn’t be able to make friends with them, and was far more likely to end up hating them, or being utterly bored by them. There are few people unpredictable enough, strong enough, or psychotic enough to interest me.
“Why the hell do you trust me?”
“At its most basic level, trust is thinking that someone will act in a predictable way. You are drawn to the power that I can give you, and so you will come with me. Because of this I trust you. Whether you trust me or not is entirely up to you.”
“I don’t trust you, but you’re right. I’d rather join you. For now.”
A second hooded jogger appeared suddenly next to us, placing a hand on each of our shoulders.
/I guess sweatshirts and running shorts were part of the whole “path of mankind” uniform./
I could feel the weight of gravity disappearing, and the start of the teleportation.
I looked over my shoulder at my house, a mere hundred yards away. That was my last look at my old home. I had no regrets.