Wild And Free: Chapter 2

I'm sorry that I hadn't posted anything new for this for almost two months. To be honest, I've been lucky, in that time frame, if I could focus enough to write anything, largely due to ongoing problems with pollen from grasses (seasonal allergies) and the insane humidity that started about four weeks ago. I hope to post more often, but weed season starts in a few days, and I'm moderately allergic to ragweed pollen.

Note: The various bits of violence mentioned in this chapter are all parts of the history of the relevant characters.

This story is set in the same "world" as LadyDragon623's stories about werefolk, vampires, fae and other supernatural creatures.

I have her express permission to use the "world" and characters she has mentioned in her stories if I feel they would fit into this story.

**********

That meeting in the bar had taken place just over a week earlier. Soon, they would be able to go to their new home.

Callista and Ed were relaxing in their motel room, having demolished two pizzas earlier, with a little help from Paul Fielding.

Paul was still helping them with sorting out there situation in the city, specifically that abandoned warehouse and the shabby hut on the docks. He'd made some progress, with Ed alongside, in getting the groups cleaned up somewhat and in slightly more suitable clothing. What some of the folks had been wearing could be described as falling apart if one were being polite, it was surprising the clothes were still together at all.

Some folks had grumbled, including that big jaguar guy, but when told that once they were cleaned up, they could be transferred to rooms in the same motel Callista and Ed were using, most of the grumbling ended. Having a steady roof and regular food was a rare thing for them.

**********

Ed actually spent some time with the big jaguar guy, whose name turned out to be Carlos Vengas. Carlos had been a dock worker down in Santiago, Chile, before he ran into the girl that bolted over him running out of a club, then half changed and bit him when he sassed her.

That event quite literally scared the hell out of Carlos, leaving him with a ragged bite on one arm and very messy pants. He had spent the next five or six days hiding, having come down with what he thought was a cold or the flu, then the first change to his were form happened.

That night, he had slipped out of the old shed on the back section of the communal housing for transient dock workers and gone hunting. He wandered the hills around the housing area for most of the night, finally brought down a fairly young white tailed deer and savaged it.

He woke up, in human form again, lying on the hillside next to the semi-shredded body of the young deer and promptly spewed what he'd eaten. Well, to be more accurate, what remained in his stomach of what he had eaten. Just looking at the carcass had him throwing up again.

That was when he first noticed that he was as naked as the day he was born. Just then, the sun crested the hilltop above him.

Carlos had decided, while he snuck back to the communal housing buildings, to leave and stowed away a few nights later on a ship bound for Vancouver, Canada. From there, he had made his way out of the city, then used his new form and its augmented senses to head south.

He told Ed he couldn't understand why he had to go south, just that something in him said that it was necessary.

He had wandered in a generally southerly direction, eventually reached Seattle, then found the group by the hut and became their leader.

And now here he was, talking with a guy even bigger than he was, being told that they would be going to their new home soon.

Ed heard quite a few stories of how they had arrived here. One, Saniyya, was an Arabic girl whose family had moved to Hawaii when she was still a baby. She was the one that had been kidnapped and used as a sex slave for several years somewhere in southern Asia.

Another, Chance Carter, was the girl who had watched her whole family die at the hands of a crazy idiot armed with several guns.

Saniyya and Chance had told their stories to Ed the first time they had met, but now both looked like rather pretty young women.

It took a bit of time, and the fourth visit, before the last two would tell Ed their stories. Ed sat and listened patiently, he had time to listen.

The first, Paulo Cerriano, had been dating a girl who was oh so alluring and sensual. Then, one night, she shifted and bit him as they had sex. Two nights later, he had undergone his first shift, all too suddenly finding himself in the body of a colocolo and licking her belly.

It had taken him a while to adjust to shifting between forms, but after two months had passed and the relationship had waned, he left the area.

He had, like Carlos, managed to stow away on a ship, this one was headed for LA, San Francisco, and Seattle before returning home.

He had stayed on the ship until it reached Seattle, raiding the stores when he became hungry while trying to not make his presence known. He was lucky, the quartermaster on the ship didn't find out some of the food was missing until several hours after Paulo had left the ship.

The last one of that group to tell his story was a young male, somewhere in his late teens would be Ed's best guess. His name was Robert Schillingham, and he had been out riding his high end bicycle on a forest and mountain trail when he wiped out and broke his left leg.

That had happened when he lost control on a sharp turn, then the front wheel hit a big stone, twisted the wheel and the bike went over the edge of a thirty-five foot cliff. The bike and the boy twisted in the air as they fell, then his right leg smashed into another large stone at the bottom.

He had the even more rotten luck that the pedal on that side slammed into the same leg just above the knee, leaving a nasty looking wound.

Robert had passed out from the impact with the second large stone and the pedal, and was unconscious for close to two hours.

While he lay there, still bleeding, a large cat found him, and thinking he was dead or dying, bit him, which brought Robert up screaming like a banshee. The cat had been surprised by the sudden movement and the scream, and had bounded off into the forest nearby immediately.

It wasn't until several days later, when he shifted and the remainder of the wound and his broken leg healed, that he learned he was a were.

He had been at home, dozing on his bed, watching a movie on the TV in his room, when he shifted. He growled as his new form took hold, loud enough that his younger sister heard it and came to find out what was making that noise. She was armed with a colt. 45 magnum.

When she saw the transformed young man, she screamed several times, startling the hell out of him, then fired off the whole clip.

When the first scream left her mouth, Robert noticed what had happened and let out another loud growl, then jumped off the bed, twisting as he fell toward the floor, landing on all four feet, then barrelled into his sister as he fled the room and the house. He would never return.

In the sudden shock and the fast movement of his cat form, he had avoided, by sheer luck, all but two of the bullets from his sister's gun. As he fled into the nearby woods behind their farm outside of Snoqualmie, Washington, he was shocked to feel something odd happening.

He had just entered the woods, and slunk behind a tree, then waited as whatever was happening continued.

Perhaps a minute or two later, he felt the wounds in his left side opening just a bit, and twisting his head, watched the bullets hit the ground.

That made it all too clear that he wasn't normal any more. Over the next few days, he made his way to Seattle, then down to the docks.

**********

Ed did much the same thing when Paul took him to the abandoned warehouse where the stowaways from the trucks had been living.

Paul actually led Ed around to the rear of the abandoned warehouse, where a set of steps led to a door that was propped open.

Paul entered first, followed by Ed, then the two walked down a short hall. Paul stopped by a door and knocked on it loudly three times.

A male voice could be heard yelling, "Come in! We don't bite! Well, unless you want it!" followed by girls giggling and boys laughing.

Paul shook his head, then opened the door, muttering, "Young people, what the hell do ya do with them?" as he and Ed entered the room.

Ed chuckled, slowly moving to stand beside Paul as the young folks came closer to the two men.

It soon became clear that there were eight people; five men, well, three were young enough to still be called boys, and three women, one of those being in her mid teens at the most. The largest of the males nodded to Paul, then asked rather bluntly, "Who is that?"

Now it was Paul's turn to chuckle. "You remember you kids telling me that you had all had your first shift to were form before you ran away?"

The largest one spoke again, "Yeah, we remember that. I'm not going to ask again, who is this guy? I'm not jeopardizing our damn safety!"

Ed sighed, took one step forward, then a second, placing him just in front of the five males. He sniffed the air in an exaggerated manner, then grinned and looked over at Paul as he answered the young man, "My name is Ed, I'm a were like all of you are, specifically a mountain lion. From what I can tell just by scent alone, you," he pointed at the biggest male, "are a lynx of some sort, I'm not sure if Eurasian or Canadian.

"You," he pointed at one of the three girls, "Are a caracal in full were form. You," he pointed at the next girl, "Cheetah. You and you," he pointed at the two mid-size boys, "Bobcats. You," he pointed at the last girl, "Leopard. And you," he pointed to the second last male, "Snow leopard." Ed stopped for a moment, looking at the last male, the final member of the group, then said as he pointed at the boy, "You are a serval."

All eight of them stared at him, shocked. One of the boys muttered, "How the hell did he know all that?"

Ed laughed, having heard the comment and answered him, "Different types of cats have a different smell to them. Part of it may be their environment, part of it is likely their diet. I've been all around the world, kids, plus I did three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq."

"Holy shit," another boy muttered.

One of the girls said, talking in what she thought was a sufficiently low tone to the girl beside her, "Gods, he's a hunk!" and giggled.

The second girl smirked, shook her head, then giggled as well.

Those giggles seemed to say that there wasn't any danger here to any of them, and everyone began to relax.

The young folks led the way to the back of the room, where several mattresses had been laid on the floor side by side by side.

The kids just plopped down, most of them crossing their legs as they sat there. Ed and Paul joined them, facing the whole group.

***********

Ed and Paul ended up spending most of the day and a good bit of the evening with the eight young folks in the abandoned warehouse.

Over that time period, Ed heard their stories. Some were like the ones told by the folks in the hut down at the docks, some weren't.

The first to open up was the youngest of the three girls, who informed Ed that her name was Patty Kensington. Ed vaguely remembered a news piece he had seen about a month earlier of a girl from Oklahoma City who had been thrown out for being a "demon".

Patty told her story, of how she had been having fun with a couple of girls when a male had joined them and some fun had ensued. Like Paulo from the docks, she was bitten by the guy as he briefly shifted. This happened when the two other girls were in the kitchen area.

She didn't shift for a little over a week, long after the boy had wandered out of her life and the girls had returned to their homes.

When she did, it surprised her quite a bit, but she was also fascinated by it. Well, that ended when her father found her in her were form.

Within the next few minutes, she had been thrown ut of the house and disowned by her family.

She had made her way north and west, hitching rides, until she reached Seattle a few days later.

As Ed had done, she had sniffed the air, scented there were other werecats nearby and headed off to find them, thus finding the warehouse.

The next one was the largest boy, James, he'd been hunting in the northern Yukon and had run into a Canadian lynx during the hunt. It seems he and the lynx had been after the same hare, and the lynx wasn't happy about it. It bit the boy, stole the hare, and ran off through the snow.

He changed a few days later, while still out hunting, and prowled the snow until he found a snowshoe hare or two of his own to kill and eat.

He had moved out from the family's small home about a year earlier, taking a shack on the edge of the community where they lived. Since he had been living on his own, he had spent much of his time hunting, and thus was rarely home. He decided to leave and headed south.

He'd eventually reached Seattle and had, like the others, found the small group of weres hiding in the warehouse and joined them.

The rest of the young folks had stories similar to Patty's. They had been bitten while with others and had been discovered while at home when in their were form. One or two had been accepted by their families, but had since left home, needing to be able to roam as they wished.

That was mostly true, except for the last one, which happened to be the boy Ed had stated was a snow leopard in were form.

His name was Harry Arnette, and he had lived in a three bedroom house in Bellevue just outside of Seattle with his parents and sister. He and his sister had been out at one of the teen clubs in Seattle, and while there, he spent most of the night dancing with a beautiful girl.

At some point during the dancing, the girl had leaned forward and nipped his shoulder, then grinned at him and continued dancing.

He had his first shift four days later, while his parents were out having dinner somewhere and his sister was visiting a friend.

He was startled by the change, but like Patty, rather fascinated by it as well. He shifted back before everyone returned home.

Things went on like that for nearly three months, then his father returned one evening shortly after he and his wife had left for another dinner. His father was a big name lawyer in a major Seattle firm, and regularly attended publicity making events around Seattle and Bellevue.

Apparently, dad had left his wallet behind and was stepping out of his bedroom with it when he heard an odd growling sound.

It took him a moment to figure out that it was coming from Harry's room. He opened Harry's bedroom door and received the shock of his life! His son was a rather large example of a snow leopard, a cat he had seen in some video presentation somewhere within the last few months.

He freaked out and started yelling, which in turn startled Harry, who came charging out, slashing at his father with one paw as he went by.

That proved to be a disaster, as the flashing paw connected with the unprotected flesh of his father's belly, ripping it wide open.

At that point, Harry realized what he had done, and with one last thought of what he was losing, smashed through the front door at a full run. His mother was sitting in the front passenger seat of the Mercedes Benz C Class and saw him as he ran away from the house.

He had wandered around Seattle for several days before he spotted another large cat heading into that warehouse.

As with the folks at the docks, Ed informed them that they could be transferred to the motel where he and Callista were staying.

**********

Paul and Ed left the warehouse with the young folks all saying they would think about the offer and let them know soon.

Ed headed back to the motel, where he met Callista, then they went downtown to have dinner at a nice restaurant. I guess it would go without saying that both of them asked for their meat to be served very rare, just slightly heated, then settled down to a nice meal.

**********

Paul returned to his small house in Bothell a bit north of Seattle, then made up a quick meal of two hamburgers and a baked potato.

As he relaxed and enjoyed his food, he thought about the people he had met recently, Ed, Callista, Hamish, and several others. It was weird, he thought to himself, that he found himself wanting to be a member of that group. What was it that Callista had called it? Ahhh, a pride.

He wanted to be a part of something, a feeling he hadn't had since he finished his service in Iraq and returned home seven years ago.



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