Enemy

Posted May 18, 2022, 2:27:34 AM UTC

TW: Fear/minor violence/potentially upsetting

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A nightmare?

 

It has to be...

 

Why else would the wolf who attacked me as a child be standing here, on this path, in my way?

 

There's no possible way. They can't really be here, I must be dreaming haha...I  never saw them as anything but a wolf anyways, my mind has got to be playing tricks on me! That's got to be it! But... they look real enough... they smell real enough and I don't ever recall falling asleep... I can still feel the ground under my boots and hear the wind as it disturbs the forest around me... 

 

I'm starting to feel sick.

 

They're far enough away, I'll just go back the way I came, I'll be fine. Try to pretend this never happened, trying to pretend this isn't happening. Uh oh, they've turned around. I need to get out of here. I'll just put my hood on, and keep my head down. Yes, great idea! If they can't see my ears they'll have no reason to bother me. Heh heh...hopefully...


So far so good... It's hard to tell if they're following me, the wind changed direction and is buffeting my hood. Stupid ears, you're no good being significantly better if you don't work. I even have to hold onto it to keep it in place. Stupid wind, stupid-er ears.


I guess it's partly my fault for traveling at night, but the fewer people questioning my appearance the better. It's also a lot easier to wear these heavy clothes when the sun isn't cooking me alive. Yeah, this is better... Hm, the winds stopped. I don't hear anything. Phew, no one is on the path behind me, as far as I can see anyway. I'll take my hood off and listen for any footsteps. Hm, nothing. Not even an animal in the trees. I must really have been imagining things. Must have scratched my eye, ate bad food, something, how else could I have poss-


THUMP


Behind me! I whipped around and there they were. I can't move. I can hardly breathe. It's all I can muster to keep myself from shaking. How can someone be this tall? No regular person- Right. They're definitely irregular. They look me up and down, clearly unimpressed. My hand shoots up to the fang around my neck but it's too late. They saw. They glare down at me and speak, cutting into the silence surrounding us.


"I think... I think you have something that belongs to me"


Crap.


How did they know? Why on earth would they want it back? What’s one missing tooth? Do… Do they know why I have it? It’s not like some trophy to be proud of and I never bragged about taking down any lycans. It's in poor taste for a monster to claim the title of a monster killer, and frankly, I would probably just out myself and get myself killed. They can’t possibly know a spell has been placed upon it... So why?


“I’ve been missing that tooth for quite a while you see. Just right here-” They pulled their lips back with their hand and pointed to a gap in his smile. Even as a person he had sharp teeth throughout and unsettling pointed fingernails. Wha- are they black? If I take the fang talisman off, would I start to look like that? Some disgusting freak? I could never face my family again, especially when they had to spend so much to have it blessed. Could I face myself? He must have been waiting for a response but continued on when I offered nothing.


“I’m not sure how it ended up in your possesion, I lost it some time ago. I wasn’t quite myself then... The details are a bit fuzzy you see so I’m not exactly sure how it happened. I had been bashed in the face and- Hmm, do I know you?”


“Nope! Don’t think so! I've never seen anyone like you in my life!” I squeaked out. He stalked closer studying me more intently. Each time he began to step closer I would edge backward. The steps quickening each time.


“No, I really think I must’ve seen you somewhere… Lycans are pretty uncommon, but we all end up crossing paths eventually. In this world or others. Oh.” He stopped abruptly and it was all I could do not to fall over as I halted as well. He lowered his head so it was level with mine.


“Unless… Unless I saw you when you were human. You must’ve looked pretty different without those pointed ears and amber eyes.” He lost whatever modicum of charm he had as his expression turned malicious. 


“The same smell of fear… you were a child then, no? So brave to travel the roads alone, with a chicken in hand no less. Never listened to the stories? Eh, no matter. I was hungry. But I didn’t want the chicken. Livestock, game, they lose their taste over time. It works in a pinch sure, but I wasn't staving. After you’ve tasted the flesh of man its hard to go back.


A child should have been easy prey, but something went wrong. You must have seen or heard me, and you screamed. I lunged of course, but your arm reached out to intercept me. Before I could tear it off someone must have come running and pummeled me right on the side of my head. It dazed me, and when I regained my vision my skull was pounding incessantly. A tasteful retreat was in order, a small meal isn't worth dying over. It wasn't until I ate next that I realized my tooth was gone, but by then, well, there wasn't much I could do. Even if I went back there was little chance it could be found. Buried in the earth or swept away by the elements. A big waste of time really.


I’ve tried replacements over the years of course. They never fit quite properly though. Metals, stone, wood and bone. I’ve met mages who boasted replacements. But I could always tell. I would tear each one out, disappointment after disappointment… I’m pretty proud of my smile you see. Missing teeth lose you points on the intimidation factor I’m afraid. Or not because I’m missing a tooth haha.” 


He shot me a stony look. 


“Well? I’ve told you my story. Aren’t you going to hand it over now?” He outstretched his twisted hand. I don't think it was a question. Time to go-

THUNK


Crap, crap, CRAP. That's what I get for walking backward. My boot must have caught on something. No time to waste. I need to get up. I need to get the hell away from here an-


“Hrrk-!” Something caught on my hair and is pulling me back. And up?! My head feels like it's on fire! I try to kick out but nothing lands.


“Let go of me!” 


“Not until I get what I want-” I feel a rough hand at the back of my neck… He’s reaching for the cord! 


“NO!” I unsheathed my dagger and swung backward and up. It definitely connected as I dropped hard onto the ground.


“You stupid b*tch,” he growled, cradling his arm. Damn it. The cut doesn't look very deep. I hope it slows him down. 


I’m already running. An angry yell, he must have realized I didn’t stick around. He’s chasing me now. My ears swivel back. On two feet, good. I doubt the arrogant bastard is used to running much like this. 


How long has it been, hours? My legs burn but I can’t stop, I won’t stop until I’m safe. Safety in numbers seems like the best bet. Is that? Yes! A town just over this hill. I can smell food cooking as those early to rise get ready for their day. I pull up my hood, put on an extra burst of speed and before I know it I’m at the gates, heaving in front of two confused-looking sentries.


“Are- are you quite all right miss?” The young one asks.


I look up and nod. After regaining my composure and catch my breath I answer.


“I was being, huff, chased by a monster, hyoo-”


The elder looks out, but I doubt he sees much with his human eyes. 


“Well, we’ll keep a lookout. Its best to travel at noon if you want to avoid them. You look to be in a sorry state. The innkeeper wakes pretty early. I’ll see to it that you get something warm to eat and have a soft bed to sleep on. Come along.” 


As we make our way through I turn back one last time. There he is, just on the horizon. But he doesn’t approach, I think he might be walking away. Creep. Must not be welcome here. After what I just went through I wouldn't fault the people here for trying to keep someone like that away.


The guardsman brings me to the inn and introduces me to the innkeeper. A older, bright and jovial lady. After making the introduction the guard leaves to return to his post. The woman hands me the key to an available room as she begins preparing breakfast for the tenants. I wait awhile in, not in silence as she hums a tune while she works. She passes me my plate with a smile, greeting guests as they wake and stream about the bar and tables. There's a little bit of everything on the plate, bacon, eggs, potatoes, and a slice of warm buttered bread.


It must have been my nerves. The food didn't taste quite the way I remembered. I couldn’t taste it much at all.

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