Of Men and Beasts Part 1

A little piece I had begun a while ago.  Hope you enjoy.

Just enough to smell the wood of the kitchen hearths.  That was as close as he would allow himself to be near people, even then only when in human form and the moon was waning.  He didn’t trust himself not to shift.  Granted the only times he shifted anymore were on the night of the full moon, when he had to hunt for food, or when he needed to defend himself.  Not that there was much that he needed to worry about, granted that one rabid bear was something, but other than that there wasn’t really anything around that could or would challenge him in his other form.

He sat on the bolder near the stream where he would always go when he needed to remember that he was still human, well, at least some of the time anyway.  It was a quite little place, the woods on the mountain having a reputation for not allowing trespassers to leave kept the normal humans away, but still close enough to people, to the smells of human habitation that it was perfect for his purpose.  He would come sit there during the waning moon sometimes and try to remember what it was like to be human.  Sometimes he would even wear the shirt and pants that he had when he had originally fled to the woods.  As old as the clothes were, they were still of good quality.  They had been new when he fled and he only started wearing them again in the last two years, when he could control the shifting to some degree and only when the moon was on the wane.  His clothes, a sturdy leather satchel, and the good knife his father had given him when he came of age were the only things that he still had from his old life.  The only things he still had from when he had been completely and totally human.

Sitting on the boulder daydreaming about how he was just on a hunting trip in the woods, and would return home to a wife in a few days, he was startled to realize that the scent he thought he was imagining as belonging to his fictional wife was real.  That startled him back to reality fast enough to realize the voice singing also belonged to a real woman and she was close and heading straight for him!  He jumped up intending to flee, but she pushed through the foliage before he could escape the clearing.

They both stood there in silent shock for a moment, just staring at each other. Her shock quickly began to turn to fear, as she realized he might bring her back to the village and her family.  As he began to smell the scent of her fear, his brain quickly woke up before other instincts could and started to turn to run off.

A quite voice stopped him with a small, “hello?”

It froze him, he couldn’t think for a moment.  Just hearing another person’s voice speaking to him created such a feeling of longing and stirred the loneliness that had shoved down after being alone for so long he could not deny it.  It took him, a moment to find his voice, disused as it was.  “Hello,” he croaked cutting off her quite question that had gone unheard through his internal conflict.

His rough croak startled a small squeal from the already frightened woman after his silence.  He ran, her fear was too much and he did not trust himself in her presence with the scent of her fear ever-increasing.

“Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!  Thank the gods she did not run!  I don’t think I would have had any chance to stop myself from hunting her down as prey,” he thought to himself as he took off in the woods.  Once he felt he was far enough away, he stripped down, packed his clothes and knife in his satchel, and melted into his other form.  Grabbing his satchel in his jaw, he ran back to the cave he had made his den, loosing himself in the sheer joy of the run.

When he arrived instead of melting back as had become his custom, he chose to remain in his beast form, to remind himself why he can never be among humans again as he continued to berate himself over the incident.

“What was I thinking, I could have killed her!  I am too dangerous to be that near humans.  I will never go that close again,” he thought as he found a comfortable spot in the moss he used as a bed on the cave floor, ignoring the tear that spilled down his face.

***

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