Chapter 31: I Can Do What?
It comes crashing at me, pulling my full attention back to its enormous face, eyes raging, yellow teeth,
baring in all their massive, pointy, terrifying glory, and I know there’s no way out of this. It’s four times
the size of me, easily, three times as wide, as black as the sky on a moonless night, and completely
deranged. I yank the pant legs off, discarding them with my other off casts, leaving me in my
underwear as I run out of time. It lurches at me, and I instinctively turn to counteract the attack,
shredding the only good lingerie I ever owned in my life. Black lace Meadow gave me, and it pisses me
off on a whole other level.
It happens so fast, like something inside of me snaps and takes over, and I move in a flash, somehow
ending up wrapped around the upper front of that smelly, panting beast, rolling across the basin floor
and crashing into fallen logs and rocks. It’s claws, and paws, bashing down on me, except it doesn’t
feel of anything much because of my surge of adrenaline and I latch onto its neck with my teeth, biting
hard until I taste salty, metallic blood running into the back of my throat. Digging my claws in where I
can get them. My mind is on one thing only, and that’s to maim, and hold my own until I come out of the
other side of this, no matter how long it takes. Strangely focused, completely in control, and yet fighting
back with a fierce I never knew I had in me.
It hollers, manages to dislodge me with a well-placed swipe across my head and side with its massive
paw, claws digging into my skin and ripping as blood sprays across the landscape, sending me rolling
across the debris. The pain is like a distant dream and heals almost instantly, soothing into nothing, like
a mild far away throbbing while blood rushes through my head and my own pulse bashes inside my
thundering thoughts, pushing me on. I’m quick to my feet, finding energy I’ve been lacking for eleven
days, running straight back at it, and flying hard into its mid-section, with front paws and claws
extended fully, ready to psychotically start ripping as I collide. Determined to leave my mark on it more
permanently than the way it just did to me.
There’s an inner fire in me that knows no bounds, as fear dries up and shrivels away and this need to
fight for my own things, my own safety, becomes all consuming. Nothing else passes through my train
of thought and all I can smell, and taste, is this sudden need for blood. Like a hunger coming from deep
within that tells me I won’ relent until I take it down. It fills me with a complete disregard for anything
else. I feel it surge through me like a force I can’t explain. A shot from an energy drink or being zapped
with a power outlet that springs you across a room.
The bear counteracts my aggressive maneuver, and even though I gash it’s front ruthlessly with one
paw, ripping flesh once more and almost blinding myself with a face full of splatter, it body slams me
with the other, crunching my internal bones, and sends my flying through the air like a limp rag. That
winds me and renders me temporarily dazed.
I’m still not anywhere near its size, which is its biggest advantage in this, but I won’t let it beat me. I
have speed, strength, and ability to heal, as long as it doesn’t kill me with an instant puncture to my
heart, or brain, or rip my god damn head off. As long as I have a few seconds of not imminent death,
then my body will bounce back quickly. Although each time is beginning to throb more than the last,
and I guess my initial adrenaline surge is waning as bones readjust, and crackle under my skin to be
reformed. It hurts like a bitch, and this time I elicit a howl and yelp as it does so.
My anger grows with this new pain, disabled only momentarily as I scramble to right myself, finding my
balance and quick reflexes. An inner rage building up so intensely that I can taste it, becoming almost
like a solid mass that I can feel and touch around me.
The bear lunges at me again, and this time I’m swift, see it coming and sidestep, jump out of reach,
and pounce from ground to an overhanging rock that levers me up enough to take a jump right onto the
bears head and side. I jump high and get it at an angle, right at the side of its face, clinging on
devilishly by puncturing its shoulder and neck with gripping talons, and sink my teeth in the top of its
skull in an attempt to crush it with sheer will power. I realise too late, my jaw doesn’t have the ability to
stretch that far, and without a good amount in my teeth, I just rip off a clump of scalp and dirty foul-
tasting fur which makes me gag.
The bear is as furious as I am, yowling in agony at the removal of a sizable chunk of its own skin,
reaches up, catching my hind leg with its claws, digging in brutally, and throws me clean across the
forest floor so I body slap a fallen log side on with the force and velocity of a cannon ball. Ribs cracking
under the assault of collision, spiking, and stabbing into my lung, crushing, crunching, and holy hell
balls, I gasp out with a moment of agony that renders me unable to make an actual sound. Air leaking
out and failing me, because that time it hurt worse than turning for the first time, stunned with the
brutality, and I’m going to rip that mother fucker’s god damn throat out.
Somehow, I manage to inhale a breath so my lungs inflate, and push my shattered fractured bones
back together enough to heal again, but that internal energy I could feel building, suddenly encases me
fully with every step it takes towards me. My anger knows no bounds anymore, and I focus a rage
comparable to the fiery depths of hell right at that monstrous asshat. It’s around me, shrouding me, like
a veil I can almost see, translucent, yet it’s tingling my skin, urging me to wrap it up and haul it in. Feed
on it and use it. I can’t explain it, but it’s like the air becomes a thin fabric of real touchable something
that I want to grab and take in my hands.
The bear moves in at me, growling, and wailing high into the sky with a blood curling anger that
probably translates to ‘die bitch’, and I struggle to get up, still recovering , still dazed, with this milky, not
quite clear, air invading my space. Without understanding the why, not questioning where the idea
comes from, but really having a second of panic action as he makes a final death lunge at me, I grab it
from midair, surprised to get a physical handful, like a hard hot bowling ball in my palm, and throw it at
the bear impulsively.
I don’t know what I thought I would achieve and honestly, I didn’t have time to ponder either the science
or the stupidity, but I throw air at a bear in a bid to save my own hide. Then groan as logic slaps me in
the head for being an idiot.
Like something out of a Hollywood movie though, I watch in wide eyed disbelief, as the bear is hit with
an almost invisible force that ripples the air around it, sending the milky veil into shimmering, flowing
movement, like mesmerizing water after a rock is thrown in. It makes its body indent crazily, like I just
rammed it with a truck at crazy speed, and for a milli-second, time slows down as I take this all in. It’s
thrown back more than three times the distance it threw me, flying high in an arc through the clearing
and lands with a shuddering thud on the floor below the tree line spectacularly. I swear, the ground
quakes with the force and reverberates through my healing body dully, bringing a calm to the forest that
was not there before. Complete silence as everything stops, and all of nature pauses to say, ‘what in
the hell was that?’.
The air pulsates around it silently, the veil moving over and away like I blew a candle and the smoke
disperses in the waves of breath into nothingness. Disappearing like it never was, and I’m as shocked
as the damn bear at what I just did, sitting stupefied, watching in complete disbelief. Panting, with an
erratic heartbeat, hunched up in my poised pose but dumbstruck and blinking at it.
It seems stunned for a moment, rolls, and crawls to its trembling legs, blinking my way, and then turns
and takes off at a ridiculously slow speed, no longer willing to combat whatever I just did. It’s not
recovered though, it’s clumsy, and swaying, and crashing into the undergrowth.
It doesn’t get very far, as I watch from my perched semi kneeling position. It’s staggering sideways,
then slowing to a bumbling uncoordinated mess of a stop, falls over its own feet and slumps face down
on the ground. It’s like it’s drunk and as it lets out a long noisy groaning exhale, I pull myself to my feet,
and watch as it falls completely silent.
I can hear a heartbeat in the air around us, so suddenly it makes me jump; slow, labored, one, two
more, and stop. I’m shocked that it was so pitch clear while so far away. It couldn’t have been its
heartbeat, surely? It had to be mine, but I can’t hear it anymore, and I check my pulse to be sure I’m
not actually dead and already crossed over to the other side. Nope, still beating as I press my clawed
paw to my breast and snort out a thankful half growl.
I blow out my lungful of air and give myself a few seconds to fully heal every single tiny injury it inflicted,
stretching out my ribs to be sure. I stay in wolf form and slowly edge forward to see if it’s still alive,
trying to recover my wits, and focus for a second attack. Surprised to see my fire, and food, was free
from our thrashing around and still smoking away gently, untouched. It smells pretty good too, and my
mouth waters with how hungry this has suddenly made me. Weird.
My bag is kicked to one side, but nothing looks ripped, and I catch sight of the t-shirt still sticking out,
bringing a sense of calm to my internal rage, which had still been simmering away all on its own. I pass
it and come up at the bear from the side, veering left cautiously, and keeping my distance in case this is
a ploy to get me close.
The bear has its eyes wide open, glassy, its tongue hanging from an open mouth, framed with teeth,
eliciting no breath, and blood streams from both nostrils. It’s vacant, staring at nothing, and I realise
whatever I did, it messed the bear up inside, and it’s dead. I can tell without touching it that it’s life force
and aura is completely gone. My senses tuning in and finding nothing.
I did that. With whatever I threw that I couldn’t see, I killed the bear.
I don’t know whether to feel relieved, proud, or devastated by the fact I did that, alone. That I managed
to pull some weird power out of my gut and take down a bear, with nothing more than air. My heart
constricts, my gut twists, and I suddenly have the overwhelming urge to throw up as human emotion
kicks in and slight shock takes over. I begin to tremble, heart bouncing against my chest wall, mind
racing, over the fact I literally just had my second ever, real full on battle, with something capable of
killing me and this time, I didn’t almost die at his hands. Umm paws. I didn’t need Colton to save me
either. He’d be proud, not that it matters, or that I care of what he thinks anyway.
I push my paws out in front of me, moving to stand on my hind legs and stare at them, unsure how to
feel about it. Really just gawping at these strange clawed, fur covered, rather blood-soaked weapons of
destruction I never knew I possessed. I mean, of course, I knew I had paws, but these ones, they did
something weirdly special that I can’t explain. They also look… whiter?!?! Under the mess, and grime,
and red stains, but maybe I never really paid attention to how pale they were before. I was sure they
were greyer when I first turned.
I try to muster that sensation again, that physical veil thing that I could touch, and hold, and see, but
nothing happens, no matter how many weird grunts and noises and odd faces I pull, and I shake my
hands away, feeling stupid for not knowing how to control something I can clearly do. My legs begin to
shake, and I can already feel my energy waning and signaling I’ll return to human form soon if I don’t
hurry up. I don’t know if I would be able to do this as a person, and I’m not ready to forget it already.
I forget the bear, forget the battle, the shock, the pride, and walk back to the clearing, extending my
hands and try to grasp at air again, with no avail. So focused on this now that nothing else registers in
my brain about what just went down.
Whatever that was, I have to figure out how to do it at will. I have to understand how to conjure it and
make it appear like that, so I know how to use it again, or hone it. Like the day I shattered everything in
the house… it just happened when I got mad and…. I got mad!
The thought hits me like a slap in the face, as my brain clicks into place, and I recall just how crazy
angry with Colton I was right before I managed to do that. Just like I was a mass of seething fire, sweat,
and despise, with this idiot grizzly. That has to be the key between what I did at the house, and now
I don’t think it was the same as this though, and he proved it was some sort of absorption gift,
especially when he tested himself against it. I definitely did not have Colton’s strength, speed, and
power this time, or else the bear would have been toast in seconds. I saw what he did to the vampire
that night. So I did absorb and deflect his own gifts. This isn’t that this is something else, unless that
bear had weird powers and was some sort of shapeshifter and not a regular black bear at all.
I glance back at its lifeless form, a hint of apprehension and circling questions and shake my head,
removing that doubt completely. Shifters would revert to person after death, and it’s still a pretty
sizeable black fur rug over there. Creating a dark mass against the trees.
I felt anger, and rage, and instead of fear, I wanted to exert my dominance. I instinctively protected
myself with something I conjured up, and I haven’t come in contact with anything like this that I can
ever recall. Not recent enough to absorb anyway, and I know it wouldn’t have stayed with me.
Absorption doesn’t last, like it hasn’t with Colton’s gifts.
I look down at my hands once more, weighing it up in my mind and realize that it’s exactly how I did it.
Raging with Colton, like I was with the bear, so it must be the source to harnessing it. I need to learn to
use my rage to control my gift. Not that it will be hard to find a reason to be mad, I just need to
remember the pain of four days after leaving, and bingo, I could fuel rage for an eternity while cursing
his ‘puta skanky ass’ name.
If I leave the self-pity aside and remind myself that on the full moon a few days after that, I felt no new
agony… so no new betrayal, then I know the answer. He must have marked her before the turning
ceremony, once he was sure I was long gone. Out of sight, out of mind. He didn’t even wait.
I sat up that whole night waiting and watching the moon and felt nothing. Slimy dog.
It ignites rage all right, but I don’t know what to do with it. I stare at my limp hands, slowly turning back
to human, failing to conjure the milky mist and give up. I guess without something to direct the rage, or
have something threatening me in some way, then I have no idea how to conjure it up properly. Maybe
if Colton was standing in front of me ….
My head falls back as I sigh up at the sky and exhale heavily. Nakedly standing in the wood, and brain
jumps back to reality. I have an opportunity presenting itself if I put gifts and rage aside. I just killed a
bear, a big one, and his fur shouldn’t be wasted when I’m trying to make rural survival more bearable. I
was aching for some home comforts, and a soft bed… that fat chunky ass has a perfectly thick piece of
warmth going to waste now. I need to remember what my father told me about off grid survival. that it’s
essential to utilize everything you can at any given opportunity.
I turn my attention back to the beast, a sliver of guilt finally cutting into my heart a tad painfully,
reminding me I am in fact human, as I watch its now still, pathetic, pose and try not to fall back into
weak girl with too much empathy. I’ve had to do this a lot these past days when hunting my own food
and I need to accept that life can be cruel, and in nature, it’s eat or be eaten. I ignore the growing knot
in my heart and chest, push away the thoughts, and find that inner grit.
I pull out my pocketknife from my backpack and flip out the knife section, gleaming in the sun hitting the
clearing and shining back at me. I’ve been using this to skin rabbits and such for days, but its small and
not the sharpest, even though I have tried to use flint rocks to keep it so. It will take a month to skin that
I extend my hand, stretch it out, and turn it alone to my wolf paw. Lycanthrope can use their paws like
hands, or feet, and I extend my claws fully, measuring up mentally the size and sharpness, knowing
really, I have the only tools I need right here. I don’t bother dressing, as I’m filthy after that little battle
and about to be more so. Dried blood from my own now healed body, and the bears wounds, covers
my skin in disgusting patterns and smear marks. I probably look as feral as this makes me feel. I’ll need
to bathe before dressing, and this is going to get messy.
I cover the ground between us and close the gap with the bear, extending my claws fully, with my mind
set on a stomach-churning task. Leaning in to salvage what fur I can and maybe a trophy claw, as a
reminder that I just earned my first warrior stripe. I push down the urge to vomit, suck up the sudden
surge of emotion that makes me feel slightly vulnerable, as I stand over my kill and survey what I’m
about to do. I don’t even know if bear meat tastes good, it might when cooked, and I guess I’m about to
It’s the first day in the last eleven, that the sadness and hopelessness abates, and I feel like I might just
learn how to get through this in one piece with a little more resolve than the last two weeks. I might
learn how to grow, how to be strong if I give myself more time and some faith. If I can take on a bear,
maybe, I can take on something paler, faster, deadlier, with a blood lust should I happen upon one.
I need to figure out how to unleash my potential, and for the first time, I wonder if Colton saw it before I
did. That he could see through what everyone else did and caught a hint of a spark when he got closer
to me. Maybe I am special.
Wolves can’t throw air.