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~ Previous Chapter ~
Sorry for the delay. Here’s Willym and the Creepy twins. As
threatened promised. Don’t worry, it’s only a short update.
5th Winter Rains
IT WAS RAINING. This stunning realisation woke Willym from his trance and he stumbled in the street, staring at the water running amongst the cobbles. He lifted his hand to catch some of the sleet and raindrops, marvelling that it had finally stopped snowing. Then he saw it.
Normally his newly-heightened senses would have alerted him to the tantalising scent long ago, but as he stared at the crimson stains washing from his skin, he found he wasn’t hungry. For almost the first time since he woke in his altered and hideous state, Monster was quiet.
Monster was full. And the blood on his hands was red.
“Sweet gods have mercy on me,” he whispered, looking down at himself in numb dread.
Gore splatter covered him, the red a deep saturation that was almost black. He licked his lips and tasted it in his mouth: rich, sweet, delicate.
A vision flashed through his mind: a woman, young, barely at adulthood. He could still hear her screams when she first saw him, when he caught her. When he feasted.
The revulsion was so hot, so fast and powerful that Willym fell to his knees, doubled over as his stomach heaved and heaved.
So hot, so rich, so red. It splattered in the street and slithered away like the diluted snow.
“What have I done?” he whispered to the fading night. “Gods, what have I done?”
Ripping his filth-caked clothes from his body, he ran into the dark, needing to get as far away from the town as possible. Nor did he want to return to the citadel, where such monstrousness was applauded and encouraged.
Naked and heedless, driven by his demons, Willym scrambled up onto the mountainside to take his chances in the melting snow.
8th Winter Rains
“TEDIOUS AND FOOLISH beyond permission.” Yullik stared at the half-frozen figure curled up in a scrape of a cave. The pale skin of the creature was smeared with blood and filth. Yullik wrinkled his nose at the stench. Hibernating bears – whatever next?
“At least he’s survived.” Showing a lot less concern for the mess, and a lot more interest in the idiot boy, Rion and his twin sister were huddled over Willym’s lifeless form, checking him over with more attention than care.
“Looks like one of his prey raked him,” Riame said, pointing to a long, vicious scratch that ran down and over Willym’s ribcage. Another lovely scar to add to the welter of others.
“Understandable,” her brother murmured, sorting through a pile of bones, fur and discarded meat. “She had cubs.”
“Fool, he should have killed her first,” was his sister’s callous reply. Tilting Willym’s blood smeared face towards the pallid light from the mouth of the cave, she frowned and turned to Yullik. “Will he live?”
Accepting that he would have to touch the idiot boy sometime, Yullik sighed and touched two fingers to the sole of Willym’s foot – the only place not encrusted with gore. A pulse of golden light flowed from him into the fool, shooting through his body and cataloguing his numerous ills and woes.
Pulling back, Yullik rubbed the fingers of his left hand together reflexively and shrugged. “He is not so delicate as he once was,” he admitted. “For which he should be grateful. Frostbite should have taken all his fingers and toes by now, if the hypothermia hadn’t already killed him.”
Rion poked a blackened foot experimentally. “Looks pretty frostbitten to me.”
“His blood is black now,” Yullik reminded them. “Not to mention mildly imbued with a regenerating gift. His limbs will feel like shit when he wakes, but he’ll still be able to feel them.”
The twins exchanged a glance, then shrugged as one. “And the hypothermia?” Riame asked.
“Could gain no hold,” Yullik told her. “He’s not entirely warm-blooded anymore. His body can afford to drop his core temperature. He’s lucky he found something to eat, else he would have died. I believe we have Monster to thank for that.”
As though answering to his name, Willym’s eyes opened the merest crack. A glimmer glowed between his dark eyelashes. “Hungry,” he snarled.
“Then you’d best finish your bears,” Yullik said repressively, smiling when Monster’s gaze turned to each of the twins in turn. “You won’t find a better meal here. I believe we are all a little too rich for you.”
The twins smiled and Monster hunched away, whining low in his throat.
“Eat.” Yullik picked up the nearest chunk of bear and threw it at his pitiful creature. “You made this kill. The least you can do is finish it.”
Monster struck with crude desperation, burying his face in the fetid meat and shaking his head to tear off chunks with his teeth.
A revolting display. Yullik stepped away from the flying blood and sighed. “No taste and even less finesse. He makes my kaz-naghkt look cultured.”
The twins joined him, still smiling. “But a fine monster, nonetheless,” Rion murmured.
Yullik eyed him contemptuously. “If you like that sort of thing.”
Riame laughed, a low, satisfied sound. “Oh, we like,” she purred. “We like very much indeed.”
~ Next Chapter ~
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