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Old 03-06-2009, 11:00 PM   #1
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The Howling Wind - Chapter 12 (7/3/09)

Time for another one...

Readers are warned that there is a possibly-disturbing scene below, although I'm willing to bet that of the three people reading this, one already knows it, and another will laugh at the idea of calling it "disturbing", because she can disturb circles around Hannibal Lecter with her eyes closed and hands tied.
And as usual, this completely ficticious and not to be taken seriously in any way, shape or form.


-------

14 October, 1987 – New York, USA

Larry and Aislinn were both avoiding Edge as much as possible, to his sorrow. Unfortunately for Aislinn, sharing a house and a family with him forced a certain amount of contact.

She had calmed down, but she treated her husband like a stranger, and an unwelcome one at that. He tried to ignore the hostility, but it was wearing him down, and it hurt. He tried to believe she wasn't hurting him on purpose. And the children were confused, frightened by this sudden change between their parents.

"Hollie's still not sounding any better," Edge said, returning to the lounge room from their daughter's room. Her coughs echoed down the hall. "Poor mite. Maybe we should take her to a doctor."

"I've already made an appointment for tomorrow," Aislinn said, reluctantly forced into conversation. "I suppose this Dr Miller will prescribe something."

Edge froze. Then forced himself to breathe. There must be dozens of Dr Millers in the New York City area. Although they were uncomfortably near the neighbourhood where he'd been before...

"Whereabouts is his surgery?" Edge asked, falsely nonchalant.

Aislinn told him, and confirmed his fears.

"Cancel the appointment, take Hollie somewhere else. Anywhere else." Edge was shaking.

"What? Why? All the other doctors around here were booked up for weeks. And I'm not taking her for miles to some fancy expensive doctor in the city."

Dr Miller's practice wasn't exactly on the budget end of the scale, but still. "What does that tell you; no one else trusts him either! I've met him, he's... he's sick. He does sick things, to children!"

Aislinn stared at Edge flatly. "And how would you know?"

Edge knew how it would sound, but his daughter's safety was at stake. "I smelled it on him. I could smell the wrongness, the kids' terror lingering. Please, Aislinn, take her somewhere else. Don't trust him!"

His wife remained unmoved. "You smelled it, did you? Were you a wolf at the time? Is he a vet, then? I shouldn't take my child to a vet, you're quite right."

Edge forced himself to stay calm, despite his memories of nearly choking the doctor. A vicious thought surfaced, that he almost wished he'd done it properly.

"That was before I changed. I told you the other night. Maybe I forgot to mention his name, but I went to see Dr Miller. He's a fucking paedophile! You can't take Hollie there. You can't."

Aislinn seemed to be wavering. As little as she trusted Edge now, as sure as she was that he had lost his mind and was living in some delusional fantasy world, and as afraid of him as she was now, accusations like this were not to be taken lightly.

"Maybe you're right. I'll call them in the morning and cancel the appointment."

They eyed one another.

Edge was still gripped by the fear that she didn't believe him. Should he believe her?

--

The atmosphere in the house deteriorated after that exchange, to the point where Edge just had to get out of there and clear his head. He was walking through the dark streets, striding quickly, thinking about anything except where he was going and when he was coming back.

He didn't know how to fix things with Aislinn. He didn't know if he COULD fix things, or even if he wanted to... that thought stung, but he wasn't sure that she wanted to fix things either. It would take both of them. And he couldn't leave his children...

It was all too complicated. Wife, family, band, tour, wolf. They should all have been simple enough, but even individually they each were a morass of contradictions and tangled feelings. All together... was it too much? Was he cracking?

The wolf was a constant temptation. That freedom, both physical and emotional, was deeply intoxicating... an escape from his human headaches, even temporarily.

Edge looked around. The street was dark and deserted, one street light flickering fitfully. Just for a little while, just to give himself a break from the chaos in his head and heart. He would make sure he remembered to come back – his family was nearby, he couldn't leave them to worry. Even the wolf understood responsibility to family, to the den.

Seeking more privacy, Edge ducked into an alleyway, hidden from windows and the risk of passing traffic. A few minutes later, a wolf trotted out, leaving behind a neat pile of clothes, along with most of his cares and concerns. He sniffed the area thoroughly, remembering that he would have to return here to change back.

Must be back before dawn, he reminded himself. Family.



It wasn't like running in a forest. The ground was hard and unyielding, trees were few and far between, and the big blocky building things were painfully unnatural. And everything smelled bad; the only living scents were those of humans, a few dogs, birds and rodents. None of them smelled remotely appetising, but Edge had eaten dinner and didn't need to hunt.

The unnatural surroundings helped to keep the human part of Edge's mind aware of where he was, and to remember to stay off the roads and avoid people and cars. If he got any curious looks, he would have to trust that he was mistaken for a husky in the dark. Maybe he should go back now...

Wait.

The wolf froze, hackles suddenly bristling. He circled, sniffing the ground. Among the other bad smells, among all the human smells, was a fresh scent both familiar and wrong.

Dr. Miller.

Wrong.

Kill.

The beast had stirred, woken by the scent and the remembered rage. The wolf followed the scent, which led further into a rough neighbourhood. The wolf didn't notice the broken windows and peeling paint and graffiti. Its single-minded attention was now focussed on the trail of wrongness.

Edge had become a passenger. The shock of recognition had been followed by the knowledge that Dr Miller was a threat to his loved ones, his family. To the den.

The wolf understood this. Threats to the den must be killed.

The beast wanted this.

Edge was afraid. Not just of what might happen if he found the end of this trail, but more of what might happen to his children if he didn't. And dwelling as he was now in the mind of a wolf, logic and reason had diminished in the face of instinct.

There was a threat, a danger. His family was nearby.

The scent grew stronger, and a coated figure ahead was easily visible to the wolf's eyes. His lips peeled back in a silent snarl, his gait lengthening into a run.

Remove the threat. Protect the den.

The prey turned, hearing his claws on the hard ground. Edge smelled surprise, then fear, and the snarl found voice. The man ran blindly, panicking. Into an alley.

Man, wolf and beast were of one accord.

Kill!

The beast tore loose, the wolf's snarl becoming a bestial roar of pain, rage and bloodlust.


***

Something slammed into him as he crouched over the red ruin that had been Dr Miller. Furious, he spun about, only to see another beast, coming for him again. They grappled, claws digging, jaws snapping. The melee rolled across the alley, fur and blood flying. They broke apart, eyeing one another, a growl rumbling low in Edge's throat.

Rival.

Kill it!

No!

The other monster blurred, shrank to a scrawny, smelly human. Edge bared his fangs, but didn't move.

"Enough!" Timothy called, staring fearlessly up at the beast before him. "What'd Ah tell ya 'bout eatin' folks?"

A protest formed in Edge's brain, the words pushing back the inarticulate rage of the beast. He shook his head, and without quite knowing how, he was in his human skin again. He slumped to the ground, abruptly sickened.

Once he'd thrown up, Timothy came over. Edge was shaking, pale, still making motions of denial.

"I didn't... I didn't eat him..." He couldn't look at the mess at the end of the alley.

"Ya done enough," Timothy replied. "Ya killed him." The vagrant's voice was neutral.

Edge wiped his mouth on the back of his arm, but it was covered in blood. He had no idea how far away his house was.

"Have you been following me all week? Do you watch me to make sure I don't eat anyone?"

"Ah got better things t'do than foller ya round all day. But yer lucky I did tonight."

"Why didn't you stop me then? Why tell me not to eat people and then let me..." He couldn't say it.

"Why let you kill 'im? Ah ain't the damn police, boy. 'Sides, Ah smelled 'im too. Sick bastard, that one. You gotta make yer own decisions."

"Why not eat people then?" Edge was nearly hysterical. "If you don't care about killing, what's a snack afterwards? Waste of meat, don't you think??"

"Settle, boy. Ya think ya feel sick now, after jus' killin' him? An' it ain't healthy. Humans ain't healthy."

Edge bit his tongue to stop from laughing. The taste of human blood, again. Then he thought about how it would look if two naked men walked out of a dark alley, and the hysterics took over.

Timothy slapped him after a minute. The sobbing laughter subsided in shaky hiccups.

"Y'awright, boy? Yer not gonna come loose on me?"

"I don't see... why I shouldn't."

"Ya wouldn't be the first. We ain't many, and most don't live long. Some go vigilante, like with you an' this guy. They got shorter lives than than most."

Edge said nothing.

"Ya killed a man. Ain't no hidin' from that. But cops an' soldiers live with it, an' you gotta, too."

"He was a threat," Edge whispered. "I didn't trust that she'd cancel the appointment. But I wasn't thinking when I... when I killed him." He swallowed convulsively. The air was thick with the stench of blood and bile. "It was the beast..."

"Enough o' that, too. It was you. The wolf is you, the beast is you, the man is you. Yer all of 'em. Ya can't split yerself in three an' pretend they're none of 'em connected. Now, you gotta clean up an' get home."


Two wolves left the alley where one man, one wolf, and another man had gone in a short time before. They took a circuitous route to another alley, via an open storm-water drain where the strong current washed away the worst of the blood. Then two men left that alley, and went their separate ways.


--------

15 October, 1987 – New York, USA

Aislinn woke up to the sound of running water in the bathroom. Frowning, she checked the time – 6:23am. Edge wasn't usually up so early... She pulled a bathrobe on, and went as far as the bathroom door.

They hadn't slept in the same room since he'd shown her the wolf, had barely spoken a word that wasn't necessary. She still didn't know how to react to him.

Now, Aislinn saw her husband sitting under a cold shower, shivering, almost blue; his head was buried in his arms, which were folded over his knees. A pile of sodden clothing was shoved into a corner of the shower recess. The sour smell of vomit hung faintly in the air.

A ragged sob shook the figure.

Her first instinct was to go to him, ask him what was wrong, help him somehow. But he wasn't who she'd always thought he was, or even what. Everything she thought she'd known about him was a lie. She just didn't know what was real any more.

She hovered, uncertain. He'd shown no sign of noticing she was there.


Through the water and the vomit and that lingering trace of blood that he might have been imagining, Edge could smell his wife, watching him. He didn't move, unwilling and unable to stop another racking sob. Half of him longed for her to try to comfort him, the other half wanted her to leave and never come near him again.

Long moments stretched, and she didn't move, either.

She knows, his mind whispered. She knows what you are, she knows what you've done. She is disgusted and terrified, and she has every right to be. You have no right to expect anything but fear and revulsion. You are the beast. A monster.

Footsteps approached, hesitant and slow. Still he didn't react, made no sign. They stopped just short of the shower, and then one of the taps was turned off. Still the water flowed, and he imagined her realising that he'd used all the hot water. The shower had run cold at least an hour ago. The other tap was turned, and the water finally stopped. His back tingled, the air warm in the absence of the pelting cold.

Footsteps retreated, paused, then returned. A dry towel was draped over his shoulders. A hand lingered, but then was snatched away. The footsteps retreated again, quickly; this time dwindling to silence.

Edge's heart broke.

More sobs rose up from a place he hadn't known was in him.



---------
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:19 PM   #2
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I just read that last part and listened to Wonderwall by Ryan Adams at the same time.

This was sad, touching and I kept wanting him to rip that doctors throat out.

and that description of Reggo is dead on....
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Alisaura View Post
another will laugh at the idea of calling it "disturbing", because she can disturb circles around Hannibal Lecter with her eyes closed and hands tied.
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and that description of Reggo is dead on....
Who? me?

Epic job again, Ali! Poor Edge. Glad he killed the paedo-doc, but Poor Edgie.
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:03 AM   #4
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can't wait for the next one keep em coming
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:51 AM   #5
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Who? me?

Epic job again, Ali! Poor Edge. Glad he killed the paedo-doc, but Poor Edgie.
Yes you!


And I agree, I'm glad he did it. He's a big wolfie now!

Damn, now I'm craving red meat again.
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Old 03-07-2009, 11:15 PM   #6
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keep 'em coming.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:32 PM   #7
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i like it.
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