By: Irkus Darkstone
Standing on the patio in the back yard, I stared at the forest not a football field away. Moving away from the big city was a great choice on my part. Now I can sit out here, enjoying the beautiful view while writing my stories. After all of these years of working my ass off to earn a little money, Id finally hit it big with my award-winning novel, The True Adventure. It did come at a price, though. People who saw my fantasy world as evil would throw things at me during signing sessions. Ive been hit with things ranging from slices of pizza to dictionaries, and even a Bible or two.
That didnt discourage me, though. I was happy with my life. I had a nice house, with a nice view. I had friends and family who cares. And I had the peace and quiet Ive always wanted.
Brushing away a strand of black hair, I sat down in a wooden chair, thinking about how beautiful the evening was. Suddenly I saw a flash of reddish-orange among the trees. I had no idea foxes lived in the forest, I thought to myself. Maybe I should stay away
However, that wasnt the case. The fox came bounding towards the house, its eyes set on me. It leaped up onto the patio, then sat down, as if waiting for something. Still sitting, I leaned forward, offering a hand out to let it smell me.
Its ok. Im not gonna do anything, I said, not really understanding why I did.
I literally fell out of my chair. Did it...he just talk??
The fox stood up, on two legs, and started to shift slightly. He grew taller, his limbs rearranging into a more human form. His legs stayed digi-grade, but he stood as if it was the most natural thing in the world. The one change that really scared me the most was his eyes. They went from the feral auburn of before, to a striking blue color. After he finished changing, he knelt down and extended his hand-paw to me.
Sorry for scaring you. I had no idea that people lived in this house, he said.
I took his hand-paw, still a little traumatized by the situation. He lifted me up like I was a child, then smiled. His teeth were still sharp canine-like teeth, but I had a feeling he wasnt going to use them on me.
Who...who are you? was the first thing I could ask. I should have fainted right then and there, but I was worried that I might never wake up if I did.
We dont have names...human ones at least. You can call me Al though.
Nice to meet you...Al. Mines Brian. I extended my hand out, hoping he would shake it. Luckily he did.
So, Brian. Care to invite me inside?
Uh...sure. But may I ask a question first?
You just did, but yes.
How did you...you know...change like that.
He looked at me like I just asked him how to build a spaceship meant to go all the way to Jupiter. He started to laugh though, which kinda confused me.
Whats so funny?
You are! This forest is what allows us to do it. Havent you gone for a walk in the woods before?
No...I just moved here. I replied. Please, come in. I guess theres some stuff I need to learn first, eh?
After sitting down in the Lazy-Boy, glass of water in hand, we started to talk about different things. Some of the questions included Whats happening in the world today?, Can you change into a full human?, and What other animals live in the forest?.
Well, all of the animals you could think of really. Foxes, wolves, bears, you name it! he said, smiling big. As for the human thing, no we can not. This is about as far as we can go.
I see. And as for the world today, you wouldnt want to know. Too many things happening all at once anyway.
He laughed at that. He knew that I wasnt going to say anything. Ive been too self-centered anyway.
I guess its time for me to get going. Cant leave the missus alone for too long. Shes going into heat soon.
Wait...youre...mate, wife, whatever, can go into heat?
Yeah. Just like all animals, he replied with a grin. And it is wife. We have our own ceremonies. Not as big as some of you humans, but good enough for us.
Thats cool...Hey, maybe you can come down with her sometime. Id like to meet her too.
Sure thing. Well, he said as he started to stand up, Ill see you later then. Im gonna tell everyone that the new neighbor is cool.
Thanks, but what would they think of having a...well, a human neighbor?
Dont worry about it. Nothings gonna happen. Just make sure you dont get caught up with a girl in heat when the mate isnt around. They can get a little...crazy. With that, he changed back into his fox-like state. Oh, almost forgot. The woods are a cool place to go. You should check it out sometime.
Will do. Thanks. I replied. Opening the door for the fox, I smiled as he ran full-speed back to the forest.
My neighbors are talking animal-people...great. I thought to myself. Maybe stories do come true.
By the time I looked at the clock again, it was already past midnight. Sighing heavily to myself, I undressed and took a quick shower, before hoping into bed. The moment I hit the pillow, I was asleep.
The next morning, I woke up to the sound of something pawing at my door. I dont have a pet...oh boy. Its probably that fox, I thought to myself. Quickly throwing on a robe, I ran downstairs to meet whatever was at my door. Of course, it was a fox, but with him was a beautiful silver wolf-girl, with beautiful green eyes.
Oh, its you again. Sorry, was still asleep, I said, trying hard not t show my arousal towards the foxs wife.
Its ok. This, the fox said, pointing to the wolf, is my wife, who I guess you can call Silvia.
I grinned at the silver wolf named Silvia, my face blushing slightly as my manhood betrayed my intentions. Nice to meet you, I said. Please, come in. Ill make breakfast...if youd like.
They entered the house, sitting on the black sofa, which faced the TV. I ran into the kitchen to see what I had.
This is going to be a weird day, I can tell.
I walked back into the living room and couldnt help but laugh. The couple were staring at the large plasma TV that hung on my wall. Just staring at it for no real reason.
What is that? Silvia finally asked, blushing slightly as I continued to laugh.
Sorry. The looks on your guys faces was what made me laugh. Thats a TV. Ill show you how it works later, I said, setting down two plates of raw meat. I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for myself, even though it was still early morning. They took their plates, sniffing the meat, then finally devouring it quickly.
Guess I should have gotten more meat at the store, eh? I asked sarcastically.
No. This is perfect. I had no idea you humans had such great taste, Al replied. Silvia grinned as she finished licking up stray drops of blood on her beautiful fur.
Well, I guess its time to show you how the TV works, like I promised. I said finally, having finished my quickly thrown together sandwich. I spent the next few hours explaining every little image that popped up onto the screen, from the flashy letters of ads to the reason for my laughter when some guy got dunked on in a basketball game. However, the explaining ended when I reached Animal Planet. We watched silently as the narrator talked about wolves and other canines.
Wow... I said, really interested in what was happening. I had never really knew that until now.
Im shocked that you humans know so much about animals. Yet you still dont get the full picture...interesting, was Als reply. Apparently he knew a lot more about animal nature then the so-called expert on the screen.
Well, we dont have the ability to talk to animals, so Id think its kinda hard to get information on that kind of thing.
They both laughed at that. Apparently I went from crazy guy who thought he was dreaming to the comedian of tomorrow.
Then Silvia asked a question.
Wanna take a walk around the forest with us?
I said yes, and got up to get dressed.
Walking outside told me that it was going to be a nice day. Not too hot, not too cold. I wore my favorite black shirt, along with a pair of wrinkly blue jeans. I grabbed a bottle of water and my blue hate just in case. The couple were waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.
You humans take forever to choose something to wear... Al said with a slight grin.
You should see how long it took my mom to get dressed, was my reply. We all set?
Yep! Silvia said, her tail wagging quickly.
Silvia must be loving the prospect of going home, eh?
She blushed slightly, and quickly walked out of the room. I didnt press the issue, though. The last thing I wanted to do was say something stupid.
Did I say something wrong? I asked Al
Oh no, Brian. Dont worry about it. Remember when I told you about the heat thing? he asked.
I nodded, wondering if thats what the whole deal was.
Yeah..she can get a little depressed when shes away from home. Of course, thats just because of the scent in the den...but enough of that, we should get going before it gets hot out.
Several minutes later we were passing by the trees, green and some even bearing fruit. Of course, that was not what I was paying attention to. I was staring at the couple in front of me, watching as they walked and played together, not caring that I was only a few steps away. These two were definitely in love. Watching Silvia, the beautiful silver wolf leap on top of the rust-colored fox brought a smile to my face, if not a few laughs as well.
Hey, you two. No rough-housing while giving your guest the grand tour, I said jokingly, not meaning anything by my words. They stopped and growled at me, apparently not happy about my dialogue. Sorry. Just wanted to...break the silence, thats all.
Al rolled his eyes, knowing that I wasnt serious. Suddenly they stopped, and I almost tripped over the couple. They immediately leaped to the sides of the slightly worn path we were traveling along, taking cover in the trees. I jumped into the same direction as Silvia before another creature went flying by, towards the spot that I was standing at just seconds before. It was another large wolf, this one was light-brown fur, and eyes the typical feral yellowish-green.
Stay still, Silvia whispered into my ear. Al and I will take care of him. Just STAY HERE.
I did just that. I wasnt going to get involved in the affairs of shape-shifting canines.
Silvia rolled out of the trees, towards the worn pathway where the light-brown wolf now stood (on two legs now). Al and Silvia both appeared on either side of him, also shifted into their more human-like forms.
Ah...if it isnt Silvia and Al, the little lovebirds, the wolf said, not concerned that he was surrounded. Sorry, I just thought I saw a human not but a few seconds ago. Do you know anything about it?
What human? Silvia replied, hiding her emotions a lot better then anyone Id ever seen. You know we wouldnt bring any of them here. Its against...
The laws? Yes, yes I know. Thats why... he suddenly grabbed my ankle, yanking me out of my hiding spot, lifting me up into the air like I was a little kid, Im wondering where this came from.
Al and Silvia both flinched slightly, knowing that they had be caught. I, of course, was in the worst spot, being held upside-down by a large wolf that could have easily killed me the moment I leaped into the trees.
Let him go, Roc. Hes special, Al tried to explain, making me rather confused by his choice of words.
Why should I, Al? You know that no humans are special. They are just big bags of meat and blood, whod kill us in a second.
If I may say... I started to say, but this IS rather uncomfortable. And besides, its not like Im here to hunt. I live just outside of the forest. I was bound to come here sooner or later. Could you please just put me down?!?
The one they called Roc dropped me head first onto the ground, laughing as I crawled a few yards away to collect myself. Thanks, Roc. That was really, REALLY kind of you.
Dont mention it, human. You, however, have no rights here. You stay put while I go get the others.
Wait! Silvia cried out. Dont get them! We were going to take him to the Lake, to see if Als guess was right. I put the capital L in my head, because it sounded important, very important.
Fine. But, if we go there...and nothing happens, we take him straight to the Judges. Again, I put the capital letter in my head, but this time knowing that it would probably mean something bad in my future.
Thank you, Roc. Al said, but Roc was already in his full wolf form, walking down the path, towards what I believe would be my future.
About an hour of walking and several stops later, we arrived at the Lake. It was a crystal clear surface, with rocks sprouting here and there. The river we had been walking next to for the last few miles of the trip actually came from the Lake itself. What amazed me the most was the sand around the Lake. It was the whitest sand I had ever seen in my life...except for the dark markings...
In the shape of animal faces.
Woah...thats amazing! I said, really impressed with the markings. Who drew those?
No one. They have been there for years, Al explained.
Yeah, yeah, enough chit-chat, Roc interrupted. We need to make this quick. Besides, I doubt it will work for this guy. I mean, look at him! Hes a wimp!
HEY! I yelled. If I didnt have a liking of wolves, I swear Id walk over there and kick your..
Stop it you two! Silvia screamed. The last thing we need is to fight over nothing! Roc, go wait over by the edge of the forest. Al and I will take care of this.
He let out a short, soft growl, but did as asked. I walked with the couple towards the water, arms and legs shaky after what could have been a very deadly situation. After finally calming down a little, I noticed we were standing next to one of the marks. It was shaped like a foxes head. Al stood on top of the markings, looking towards the lake. Silvia went to stand on another mark, shaped like a wolf. I just stood back, not sure what to do.
Suddenly, all went dark. No pain, no sudden dizziness. Just darkness. Oh god...whats going on? I thought to myself. Am I blind? Did someone turn off the sun? Did I...
Silvia looked over to Brian, noticing him curled up in a ball. This is how it always began. She couldnt, however, leave the mark to help the poor man. He had to deal with the changes himself. No one would be able to help him...
Silvia! Al yelled out. Stay focused! We have to make sure he doesnt wake up. If he does...
I know, she replied. I know too well, Al.
They both focused their attention of making sure Brian stayed asleep during the change. They thought it would be for the best, seeing as it would be a very unpleasant experience. It is not all that painful, the changes, but that doesnt mean it would be easy for a person to take.
They saw the beginnings of the change, and started to give Brian the dreams he would need to help him adjust to his new life.
Suddenly I was standing in a field, alone. The grass was tall, but not too tall, or wild. Just like my back yard...before I moved in, I thought to myself. Suddenly I felt something brush against my leg. It felt soft, and almost furry. I turned around to see what had walked by...and saw the cutest little creature I had ever seen.
Its fur was black, and its eyes a blazing blue color that looked almost white. The odd thing was its shape. It looked like a mixture of fox and wolf, the size being more wolf-ish, while its head and tail being more fox-ish. I leaned down to let the fox sniff my hand, hoping it was as friendly as the strange new friends that I had been meeting.
Hey there...its ok, I said, wondering what it would do.
It pounced me.
I yelped slightly, surprised at its sudden action. Falling on my back, hard, I was quickly met by licks and nips from this strange creature. I laughed, not caring at all that I was being semi-mauled by a creature that could only be described as a wolf-fox hybrid.
You sure are playful for a figment of my own imagination, arent you... I quickly glanced down at the creature, noticing that it was in fact a she, girl.
What makes you think Im a figment of your imagination, silly? she replied back, almost child-like. I stopped smiling and almost stopped breathing for a few seconds. Did she just talk? I thought to myself, before screaming at sudden pain that appeared centered around my chest and belly.
The same chest and belly that the creature was laying on.
Oh god, it hurts! I screamed, fearing for my life. I tried pushing her off, but realized to my horror that she was actually sinking into my body. She did however look up at me, grinning slightly.
It wont hurt for long, silly, she replied. I hope you like black, silly!
Wait...what are you... I started to say before her head, and the rest of her, was completely sucked into my body.
Oh shit...whats going on?!?