The Change

I sped through the forest, the scent of my prey filling my nostrils, guiding me. I spotted an anxious movement ahead in the undergrowth and slowed a little, giving the deer a false hope of escape. The hunt is the thrill, the feeding just an afterthought… a way to build energy for the next hunt.

It had stopped in a clearing, looking nervously around it, trying to locate the source of the threat. I circled round the outskirts of the clearing, deliberately snapping the occasional twig or letting the odd growl escape my throat. The deer whirled in a panic at every noise, and the thrill made every hair along my spine stand up.

Eventually, my empty stomach complained. I leaped from the scrub and wrapped my fangs around the fawn’s neck, killing it instantly. I like to inflict emotional pain, not physical. Within seconds, I had my snout buried in the intestines of the young deer. The warmth flooded me, the scents intoxicating.

Once sated, I sat back on my haunches and howled. After the sound finished reverberating throughout the forest, I howled again… this time in despair. The pain had struck. The change had begun.

It started with my claws. They retracted. Then I felt my fangs retract, my snout shorten. Large swathes of skin and fur started to slough off, exposing pink, hairless skin underneath. Bones broke and reset themselves. The pain was intense, unrelenting.

I tried to howl again, but all my reconfigured throat could achieve was a soft, embarrassing whimper. I fell on my side, not used to the awkward engineering of my shifting limbs. I felt somewhat relieved as the pain subsided, yet mourned the loss of my fur, my fangs, my entire being. I squirmed in the mess of my blood and discarded flesh.

The soft, pink being inside me had almost taken over. I felt my mind lose its final hold on this shared body, currently weak and hairless. Finally, I felt my eyes lose their yellow glow. Now is the time for the human.

Author: Brett Holzhauser

Speculative fiction to die for

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