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February 8th, 2020

12:30pm

Thyrsus

 

Irritated. This was the best mood that anyone could hope from Tom today. Tonight, the beast came out and the next and the next. During this time, most knew to stay out of his way. He had seen to some last-minute preparations for the weekend and was going over a final checklist with Roderick before he departed Upstate.

 

“Shipment arrives this afternoon. I’ll return Tuesday.” Tom spat the words out angrily…like it was offensive for him to have to say these things. He wasn’t trying to be rude, and Roderick knew it. Tom was so grateful to have someone like Roderick to run things while he was gone. He was unable to demonstrate his gratitude properly now, but Roderick understood.

 

Without another word, Tom stepped into his car and started driving north. He was driving toward a cabin in the woods he had that was about 4 hours or so due-north of New York City. A few of the Bakkhos knew that Tom had a place, but none knew where it was precisely. They were content with letting Tom do his monthly thing and come back to business. Any time that he was required to stay in the city rarely went well. Stepping into the cell was a very hard thing for him to do…and it was getting more and more difficult to do so each time. He avoided it whenever possible.

 

Tom pulled up to the cabin. It was a non-descript plain cabin in the woods. It was slightly more modern with drywall and some other typical house-appropriate furnishings. Other than that, it was a bare-minimum shelter. There was no running water. The electricity was provided by a generator that was only ran to keep the refrigerator running. There were two cots set up in opposite corners of the single room. One looked barely used…this was his, as he only slept here a few nights a month. The other cot was much more worn. This cot belonged to his father, Frank Gallo.

 

The Nevus event awakened the dormant lycanthrope virus in both Frank and Tom…to much different results. While the virus manifested in Tom in extreme potency in all respects…the physical strengths, weaknesses, rage…in Frank it manifested a bit differently. He was a wolf as well, however his mind was ill-equipped to cope with the change. It sent him to the edge of insanity and left him there. Frank is lucid and relatively normal…so long as he doesn’t interact with anyone other than Tom. Anytime he encounters another human, his fight-or-flight response is triggered and he panics and runs away…or panics and attacks with a feral-ferocity. Tom created this residence for Frank to be able to stay remote and hidden, but close enough to keep an eye on. Frank tried to visit him one other time a month besides the change, however his duties often precluded him from doing so. This cabin was Frank’s prison and refuge. He could never return to the city. His anthropophobia prevented even the most casual of human interaction with those that weren’t Tom.

 

“Good to see you, son.” Frank had walked in the back door, with an arm load of wood. He looked grizzled and barely sane. He set the wood down and walked over to hug Tom. Tom could feel the anguish in this hug. His poor father was lonely…but he was alive. And the next three nights he would be the most alive he’d be for the next month. Hunting together as wolves, ironically enough, was just enough to keep him on this side of sane. For now, at least.

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As the sun began to recede behind the trees, the chill of night began to set in. Tom and Frank nodded to each other and began removing their clothes. The turn would come soon, and best they be ready for it. Father and son, strode naked, deeper into the woods towards a clearing that become their “spot.” They said not a word to each other as they stepped into the clearing. With one more nod, they turned their backs to each other and stepped to opposite sides of the clearing.

 

Pain. Tom roared as liquid pain coursed through his veins. Bones elongated, and muscles swelled. Skin stretched to accommodate Tom’s new, larger mass. Every bit of his body was wracked with unimaginable pain and torment…and it was just beginning. His body continued to stretch, grow, and swell. Talons pierced through is fingertips, fangs grew long and sharp. All the while, a thick coat of greyish-black fur covered his body.

 

Tom had long-since given up trying to fight the transformation. Enduring the pain was something he tried to fight through in the early years, but he had learned to just surrender to it. There was no reversing or stopping this. It was going to happen. It needed to happen. As his snout elongated to complete the transformation, the last bit of Tom’s mind blacked out. Now it was only the beast.

 

Rage. Tom’s Beast howled in fury at the sky, sounding a warning to his quarry. He sniffed the air and saw the other beast. It was smaller, with more grey than black in its fur. It was familiar…family. With a snarl, the Beast leapt into the wilderness. Rampaging through the trees as fast as possible, it was seeking any scent larger than a rabbit. Pausing, it caught a scent. Several in fact. One was the desired prey. Deer. Snarling deeply, he tore off in the direction of the deer scent.

 

Thundering through the forest, the Beast was making no attempt at stealth. Only death and fury were to come. He caught sight of the deer…a young buck running as fast as its legs could carry it. The chase lasted mere moments before Tom’s Beast pounced on the young stag. Blood and flesh sprayed from the animal in an explosion of carnage. In mere seconds, the healthy deer had become debris on the forest floor and surrounding trees. Bellowing out a howl of triumph, the Beast continued in search of more prey.

 

Slowing down somewhat, Tom’s Beast had found a different prey. Something that he had not yet encountered…and seemed the most appealing of all. This wasn’t like the deer, cows, or occasional bear he had come across before. This was sweet smelling, enticing, enthralling. The Beast followed the scent to the exclusion of anything else. He stalked and ignored the scents of other creatures as he followed this trail. He caught the faint whiff of smoke as he continued after this trail. As he continued, the smell got stronger and stronger. Finally, he found his quarry.

 

Two humans sat around a camp fire. A man and woman sat, holding one another and chatting softly to each other with a small tent behind them. The Beast leapt at the two in a snarling fury…not quite like what had happened to the stag, but in a controlled, trapping way. He circled the two terrified humans not unlike a shark would in the water. The two humans were paralyzed…unable to even raise a yell in panic…the Beast’s massive frame circling them. Finally, he pounced. He grabbed the woman by the arm with his snout, sinking his teeth into her arm and flung her into a nearby tree, knocking the woman unconscious. The Beast’s gaze turned to the man and he managed to summon enough wits to run. He stood no chance.

 

The Beast gave chase and caught him within twenty feet of the fire. When he pounced, the enormous weight of his massive frame came down on the small of the man’s back, crushing his spine. He held the man with his massive claws, sniffing, sensing he was dead, and discarded him like a useless piece of trash. He sniffed the woman, knowing she was alive. The Beast bellowed out a loud howl, and tore off into the night, attempting to sate this hunger and rage that could not be quenched.

 

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