Tales of a Night Walker
By Bert McKenzie
Copyright 2010

Chapter 23

I had been living in the forests of Idaho for some time.  I had a small
berm house built into the side of a hill.  It was more of a cave than a
house, only the door and one window opened to the outside.  I covered the
inside of the window with bookcases, so no light could come in during the
day.  But there were many trees surrounding the place so even the sunny
daylight hours were modified by the shade of the forest.  There was a road
coming up to the house, and at one time there had been a separate garage,
but that had disappeared some years back when a windstorm knocked trees
down on it.  The real estate agent that found the house sent pictures back
to the people who were managing my affairs, and I instantly took a liking
to it, so I bought the place sight unseen.  I wasn't disappointed.

Where better for a vampire to spend his days than buried in the earth.
Sure, it wasn't a cemetery or a coffin, but it seemed to give me a sense of
security while being an ironic twist to a grave.  My refrigerator was
stocked with a quantity of blood shipped in from a supplier in the south.
It was fresh, human blood, better than what I used to get from butcher
shops, but the company was on the up and up, assuring me and other vampires
who were their clients, that the blood was donated or purchased
legitimately.

Even so, I enjoyed going out occasionally to hunt.  My speed made me a
match for just about any wild game, and I found it an incredible rush to
run down a deer or elk, sinking my teeth into the kill out in the wild.  I
became a wild predator and enjoyed it.  I lost contact with humanity,
although I still sent Christmas cards to Sarah and Kelly.  They were my
only connections to the human world other than the occasional financial
statements or paperwork I received from my office in New York where a
number of skilled attorneys and accountants kept watch over my assets.

It was on one of my hunting excursions that I ran into Beorn.  I scented
deer and began to track them slowly through the wood.  I had been on the
trail for about twenty minutes when I realized I was not alone.  There was
another scent that I caught, but I couldn't identify it.  There was
something about it that made me think of a dog, yet different.  This other
creature was also tracking my deer.  I put on a burst of speed to try and
gain an advantage, but the scent grew stronger.  The quarry was in sight.
Just up ahead, a beautiful buck stood his nose straining the air.  And then
I saw my rival.  At first I thought it was a large grey dog, but then I
realized it was a wolf.  About the same time I saw it, the deer also caught
the scent, either of the wolf or of me.  It bolted into the woods and the
two of us were after it in a flash.

I caught up with it first, jumping onto its back and with a sharp twist
snapping its neck.  The deer plunged headfirst into the dense underbrush,
pitching me into the air and causing me to tumble into the bushes and
shrubs surrounding the base of the trees.  I jumped back up and found the
wolf already on the deer, but he just stood there staring at me with those
steel grey eyes.  I thought that I could easily dispatch him as well, but
that would be a shame.  He was only doing what was natural for his kind, as
was I.  I thought he must have sensed that I made the kill, because he took
a step back from the carcass and stood, looking at me warily.  I slowly
stepped forward and he backed up, spreading his legs and taking a firm
stance as if preparing to either fight or flee.  "There's plenty here for
both of us," I said in a soothing tone, aware that the wolf wouldn't
understand me, but hoping my tone of voice would calm him.  "I only need
the blood.  You can have the meat."  The wolf bowed his head and then sat
on his haunches.  I slowly approached the deer and bent down, sinking my
teeth into its neck.  The warm blood gushed out and I drank, sucking it
from the beast.  It had a wild taste to it, not as good as the human blood
in my fridge back home, but it was more about the thrill of the chase than
just the taste of dinner.  The entire time the wolf sat calmly watching me
feed.  When I had taken all I could, I sat back and looked at the wolf.  It
slowly stood and approached the deer.  I got up and took several steps back
to give it room.  The wolf sank his teeth into the hind quarters and
wrenched his head, pulling at the meat and eating from the steaming flesh
of the dead animal.  I sat calmly and watched him, curious as to the way
the predator ate.

After he had devoured a good sized portion of the animal he stepped back
from the carcass and wiped his muzzle on the leaves.  I stood and began to
slowly walk back along the path we had come.  I was aware that I had a
shadow.  Looking back I saw the wolf slowly following me.  He wasn't
hungry, so he surely wasn't hunting me, and I obviously posed no threat to
him.  I wondered why he accompanied me.  I stopped and turned.  He stopped
as well, and then sat down, looking up at me expectantly.  I nodded and
said, "Do you just want company?"  I had remembered that wolves were pack
animals.  It was odd to find one lone wolf out here.  Maybe he was lonely.
I suddenly realized that I too was lonely.  Maybe we could keep each other
company.  "You're welcome to come home with me," I said.  "I can offer you
a warm place to sleep at night, shelter, but you'll have to find your own
food."  The animal cocked his head and whined as if listening to me, unsure
of what I was offering.  I turned and began the trek back home, the wolf
following along sometimes behind me, sometimes beside me.

When we came in site of my house the animal stopped and growled, baring his
teeth.  "It's okay," I said.  "This is where I live."  I walked up to the
door and opened it.  I turned to look and the wolf slowly came out of the
woods and sniffed the air.  Looking about, he crossed the open glade and
walked the path up to my door.  I stepped inside and asked if he wanted to
come in.  It was almost as if he understood what I said, and looking about
cautiously, he stepped into the house.  I was astounded.  I couldn't
believe a wild wolf would actually come into a house used by humans.
Perhaps it was the fact that it resembled a cave.  In truth, it wasn't much
of a house.

I found a large bowl and filled it with water, placing it on the floor.
The wolf quickly came over and began to lap the water.  He was obviously
very thirsty after his big meal.  I sat down in a chair and leaned back,
relaxing.  The wolf came over to where I sat and curled up on the rug that
was lying before the wood stove in the corner.  I thought to close the
door, but I wasn't sure I wanted to trap a wild animal in my home, so I
just shrugged and left it open.  I turned on a light and began to read,
while the wolf slept.  About dawn I began to grow sleepy and I knew I
couldn't leave the door open, but the wolf was sound asleep, so I got up
quietly and walked over, softly shutting the door, then I went to my
bedroom, closed that door as well, and took a nap.

Around noon I woke and heard sounds in the house.  It sounded like someone
was going through my cupboards.  I slowly cracked the door and saw a tall
naked man in my kitchen.  He had short cropped hair and pale skin.  He was
looking in all the cabinets.  I leaped out of the bedroom and used my
vampire speed to quickly come upon him from behind, grabbing him and
pulling his arms behind his back, immobilizing him.

"Who are you and what are you doing here?" I hissed.

"Hey, relax Barnabas Collins, you're hurting my arms."

"I'll rip them off in another minute unless you tell me why you're here.
And who's Barnabas Collins?"

"You invited me in, remember."

"I didn't invite..."  Suddenly I had an odd feeling in the pit of my
stomach.  There was something familiar about the way the man smelled, a
little like the woods and a little like a dog.  I let him go and took a
step back.  "You're...you're the wolf?"

"Yep," he said turning and looking at me.  "And you're a vampire so don't
be so damned surprised."  My eyes dropped down.  "Sorry about the clothes.
When you change from a wolf to a person, the fur just kind of disappears.
It would look a little odd to be running around as a wolf and wearing
pants."

"So you're a werewolf?"

"Shapeshifter.  The term werewolf has such negative connotations.  And I
wasn't bitten by another wolf to create this condition.  I was born this
way."  He noticed where I was staring.  "See something you like?" he asked
with a leer.

I jerked my eyes back up to his face.  "No, I mean yes but, I mean..." I
stammered.

"It's okay, buddy.  I don't mind showing off."

"I'll find you something to wear."  I went back into my room and found a
robe for him to put on while I looked for something more appropriate.

I handed him the robe and he pulled it on.  "I'd rather have something to
eat," he said as he looped the belt.  "Don't you have any food here besides
the red stuff in the fridge?"

"No, sorry," I replied.

"Well I guess I can go into town and get something.  It's a bit of a run.
I left my human clothes stashed not far into the woods.  I'll run there,
get dressed and walk into town, to pick up some things.  Is that car parked
out there on the road yours?"

I was kind of surprised by the question.  "Yes, do you want me to drive you
somewhere?"

"No, I'll run through the woods to get my clothes.  I just thought you
could meet me in town and we could come back here with the groceries."

"Here?"

"Well, I gotta stay somewhere for the winter.  It's getting colder out
there.  I don't have anyplace else and I don't really want to spend the
whole winter as a wolf.  It might be easier if I'm livin' in the woods, but
it's still cold as hell."

I realized that this werewolf or shapeshifter as he preferred to be called
had just decided to move in with me.  I wasn't sure I liked that idea.  I
did crave some company, but I hardly knew the guy.  Still, what did I have
that he could steal, and I was pretty sure I could take care of myself.  On
top of that, he knew what I was.  It could be a problem if he decided to
try and tell others, something he probably wouldn't do if he was living
here.  "I can't meet you in town in the daylight."

"Oh, I figured that was another myth.  You know, kind of like the one about
us only turning into wolves during the full moon."

"No, I can't go out in the sun."  I felt uncomfortable revealing my one
weakness.

"I guess that's why you have the window covered.  Okay, I'll wait till
later, and then when I'm done shopping, it should be after sunset."

"Fine," I agreed, still feeling like I had been railroaded into accepting a
new roommate.

"Meanwhile, we've got the better part of the day to kill.  You got any
ideas?"

"No," I replied.

"Well I do."  He shrugged out of the robe and walked up to me naked,
reaching out and grabbing me, pulling me into a tight clinch.  Before I
realized what he had planned he was kissing me, his tongue probing my
mouth.  I felt it running along my teeth.  He pulled back and smiled.
"There's another myth that isn't true.  No fangs, unless they're
retractable."

"No, I don't need fangs," I replied.  I wasn't sure I liked his boldness.
He seemed to come on so strong.  This wasn't something I was used to.  I
guess being from another time, I was a bit more hesitant, but this was the
80's and I guess I should go with the flow.  My body was responding and as
he was naked I could certainly tell his body was more than interested.  He
began undressing me and before I knew it we were making love on the living
room floor.  It had been a number of years since I had sex with anyone, not
since Frank died.  We both had amazing orgasms.

We then moved to the bedroom and continued our love making.  After the
second climax, he rolled onto his back and stretched lazily, obviously very
contented with himself.  I leaned up on my elbow and looked at him.  He was
about my height with a long, lean body, well muscled and covered in light
brown hair.  I reached out to run my fingers through the mat of hair on his
chest.  It came up from his pubes in a thin line across his belly and then
spread out across his ribs.  I enjoyed the feel of it, the contrast to my
own fairly smooth chest.  He turned his head and gazed into my eyes.  His
eyes were a soft grey set in a lean face with high cheekbones.  A thin line
of beard traced his jawbone, and a dark mustache covered his upper lip.  I
had never kissed anyone with a mustache before.  I leaned over and kissed
him again.  It was a different but certainly not unpleasant feeling.  "Keep
that up and we'll have to go for a third time," he said as he pushed me
over onto my back, then climbed on top of me.

"I don't even know your name," I said as he straddled my body.

"Beorn," he said, positioning his ass over my penis and sliding down onto
me, beginning to make love again.

"First or last name?" I asked as he grunted and rocked above me.

"Only one I got, you know, like Cher or Sting."

"I know who Cher is, but who is Sting?"

"From the Police.  Don't you listen to music?"  He picked up the pace a
bit.  "You want to talk or fuck?"

After our third climax we both fell apart and drifted off to sleep.

I woke quickly as I felt him getting up from the bed.  "Hey, Barnabas, I
didn't mean to wake you.  I gotta run.  I'll see you in town in about two
hours."

"It's Jeff.  My name is Jeff," I said as I got out of bed and followed him
to the bedroom door.

"Okay, babe," he said as he kissed me again.  "Now I'm going outside so
shut this door.  We wouldn't want any sunlight to come in here."  He
slipped out the door naked.  I leaned against it until I heard the front
door open and then close.  I stepped out into my living room and looked
about.  The robe I loaned him early in the day was still lying in the
middle of the floor where he dropped it several hours earlier.  I picked it
up and took it back to the bedroom, hanging it up on a hook behind the
door.

What was I doing?  I was getting involved with a werewolf.  I had no idea
such creatures really existed.  But I guess if vampires, witches and
fairies existed, then why not?  But to allow him to move in with me over
the winter?  I did enjoy the sex.  It had been a long time and it felt very
good.  But was this right?  Was I betraying my memory of Frank?  Well was
that relationship a betrayal of my memory of David?

I opened my closet and found some clothes to put on.  I guess when the sun
set in another hour I would find my car outside and drive to the town.  It
was about 30 minutes away.  He must be able to run very fast.  But then
again, he was supernatural.  His speed shouldn't surprise me.

My Chevy Impala was sitting on the roadway, waiting for me.  I slipped
behind the wheel and started it up.  I could run to town as fast as Beorn,
but it would be difficult for us to carry home any groceries, especially if
he was running on all fours.  I drove into Endicott and pulled up in front
of the local Krogers.  As I turned off the motor and climbed out of the car
I heard a sharp whistle.  Looking up, I saw Beorn coming across the parking
lot, pushing a cart full of food.  "This ought to last a good part of the
winter if you don't eat any of it," he said as I opened the trunk and began
to put the brown paper sacks in.  "That was also the last of my money.
Guess I'll have to find a job come spring."

We climbed back in my car and headed for my place.  "I won't eat any of
your food," I said.  "I stick to my liquid diet.  But that still doesn't
look like enough to last all winter."

"Oh I plan on supplementing it with what I find when hunting, like last
night.  But I do like a good human breakfast or meal now and then.  Hey
have you got some cash?"

"Yes."

"Then stop by the liquor store here and let's put in a stock of liquid
refreshment to go along with our food."

I pulled over in front of the liquor store, the last shop at the edge of
town.  We went in and Beorn picked out a couple of cases of beer, several
bottles of Jack Daniels and a bottle of vodka.  I paid the tab and we
carried everything out to the car.  We had barely got out of the town and
into the country when Beorn asked me to pull over.  I did and he climbed
out of the car and began taking his clothes off.  "What are you doing?" I
asked, shocked that he would be stripping here in public on the side of the
road.

"I'm going for a run in the moonlight.  Why don't you take all this stuff
home and then come join me.  We can meet up in the glade where we took down
that deer last night.  He tossed his shirt and jeans back into the car.
Then he tugged off his boots and socks.  Last of all came his under shorts.
He took a couple of steps toward the woods and turned to look back at me.
As I watched his body seemed to hunch forward.  His arms and legs shrank
and his torso convulsed.  His face took on a different shape and hair
seemed to sprout all over him.  A long bushy tail sprouted from his
backside.  In less than thirty seconds the man was gone and the wolf stood
there, looking at me.  He gave a short bark and then turned to run off into
the trees.  I started up the car and drove on down the road.  Once home I
stored the food and the booze, then took Beorn's clothes and put them in
the bedroom.  Then I walked back out into the cool night air and decided to
join him, running out into the woods.

* * *

The winter passed slowly.  We spent the nights hunting or just running
together through the forest, and the days making love.  When it started
snowing we spent more time at home in front of the wood burning stove.
Beorn said he liked the sound of my voice, so we spent many long days and
nights with me reading to him.  I read several classics from the small
library I had collected.  He seemed to really like Shakespeare.

One January night we were sitting at home and I was reading a book to him
when we heard baying outside.  He instantly transformed and ran to the door
whining.  I got up and opened it for him and he dashed out, howling at the
top of his lungs.  I guess the pack animal in him longed for a similar
companionship.  I stood in the doorway and listened to the sound of the
other wolves and wondered what it must be like to be so at home in your
skin that you wanted to join others of your kind.  I had no desire to seek
out other vampires.  Beorn returned the next morning, tired and sore.  He
came into the bedroom and collapsed beside me.  "Enjoy yourself?" I asked.

"Yeah, I guess so.  I just want to sleep now."  In seconds he was out and
snoring.  I got up and cleaned house and did some other small chores.

About three in the afternoon he came stumbling out of the bedroom, still
naked.  He had kind of a wild look in his eyes.  "Are you okay?" I asked.

"No," he said.  "I want two things.  First, I want your ass.  Then I want
some whiskey."  He walked over and grabbed me, pulling me tightly against
him and kissing me firmly.  We walked back to the bedroom and had wild sex,
lasting a couple of hours.  Then he got up and came back to bed with one of
the bottles of Jack Daniels.  He sat heavily in the bed and took a long
pull on the bottle.

"What's with you?" I asked.  He was always a little rough around the edges,
but I had never seen him quite like this.

"The animals," he said as if that explained it all.  He took another couple
of sips of the whiskey.  "The females were in heat.  That gets all those
hormones stirred up, but I couldn't do anything about it.  So when I got
home to you, I had to get it out of my system."

"Well, although I did enjoy it, it was different from the way you normally
are."

"Yeah, it's the wolf inside me.  I'm glad you're a vamp.  You can take it.
The last time I had sex with a guy after running with a pack...well it
wasn't pretty."

I could see being a pack animal had its effect on Beorn.  I wondered about
our relationship.  Would he ever make a commitment to me?  Was he able to
make a commitment to one person when he was bound to a pack of wolves?  Or
was this encounter with the pack just a passing thing?  But once he
discovered the other real wolves, he wanted to go out running with them
every night.  One time I thought to come with him, but he discouraged it.
He explained that he was used to me, but that the other wolves might not be
so willing to associate with a vampire.  Animals had a natural distrust of
my kind.  So I sat at home.  It was an odd feeling, almost as if I had been
abandoned.

Spring was coming and we had just about run out of alcohol.  Beorn was the
only one drinking the beer and Jack Daniels, although he had laced some of
my blood with vodka, which I found quick interesting.  I drank sparingly of
that.  I wasn't sure a drunken vampire was a wise idea.  Who knows what I
might bite, or who?  Anyway, one evening Beorn asked me if I could drive
into town and pick up some more booze for him.  I grumbled all the way,
feeling used.  He was out running with his wolf pack and I was driving to
town to buy booze that I didn't even drink.  But I did it.  When I got to
the little store on the outskirts of town I parked and went inside.  I
picked up another case of beer and another bottle of Jack Daniels and
walked up to the counter.  There, taped to the back of the cash register
was a flier.  It was a pink sheet of paper with the picture of a wolf on
it.  There was an announcement below it of a bounty for any wolf brought in
by hunters.  Apparently the pack in the area was thought to be a menace and
the government had authorized the bounty.  I guess liquor stores were good
places for hunters to meet.  Or maybe the owner just wanted to get the word
out.  Nevertheless, the thought of a bunch of liquored up men wandering the
woods with guns looking to shoot wolves left me cold.  Beorn was out there,
running in a form that would draw their attention.  I quickly paid for my
purchases and ran back to the car.  I drove home as fast as possible,
stashed the alcohol and then took off into the forest.  The scent was
strong and easy to follow.  I knew the real wolves would not be pleased,
nor would Beorn, but I had to warn him.  In the distance I heard gunshots
and doubled my speed to try and catch up with the pack.

I came upon him at the same time two hunters did.  In the clearing was my
current lover.  He was in human form, naked, kneeling in the snow beside
the body of a dead wolf.  I stepped from one side of the trees at the same
time two men dressed in red flannel jackets and carrying rifles stepped
from the other side.  "What the hell is going on here?" one of the men
asked as they saw Beorn, kneeling by the body of the animal one of them had
just shot.

With an animalistic growl he jumped to his feet and charged the men.  One
of them aimed and fired at him.  My lover staggered back and fell to the
ground.  Something inside me snapped.  I jumped into action, running faster
than either of the two men could see or follow.  I had my teeth in the
throat of the man who had just shot Beorn, ripping his jugular.  The hot
blood splashed in my mouth, the taste intoxicating.  "Oh my God!" the other
man shouted and aimed his rifle at me, I dropped the body of his companion
and turned to him when I heard the gun shot and felt the impact of the
bullet.  It struck me in the chest, knocking me back.  I fell to the
ground, the pain intense, making it hard for me to breathe, not that I
really needed to.  I turned my head as I lay there and saw the man drop
down to check is friend.  I knew his friend was dead.  He would bleed out
in seconds with the damage I had done.  The man got up and walked over to
me, pointing his gun in my face.  "What are you?" he asked in shock.  But
his hesitation was his downfall.  I reached up and grabbed the rifle,
pulling it from his surprised hands and bending the barrel.  Then I climbed
to my feet, glaring at him in the dim light of the full moon.  He turned to
leave and began to run, but I was faster.  The pain was already vanishing
as I closed my arms around my second victim.  He started to scream, but I
choked the sound off.  I felt badly about what I had done, and about what I
knew I was about to do, but it didn't stop me.  I bit and I drank, draining
the man and then dropping his body there by the tree line.  I hoped anyone
who came on them would think they had been attacked by wild animals.

Beorn was lying in a pool of blood.  I ran to him and dropped down beside
him.  He was breathing shallowly, but he was alive and conscious, his eyes
open and staring at the sky.  "Hang on," I said.  "I'll get you to a
hospital."

"No," he said, "Just take me home."

"You need a doctor."

"No, I don't," he gasped.  "Just get me home, please."  I gently picked up
his body and ran back to our house.  When I got there, I took him inside
and put him on the bed.  I then examined his wound.  It didn't look nearly
as severe as I had expected.  I was sure the bullet must have punctured a
lung or hit other vital organs, but the bleeding had mostly stopped.  I
made him as comfortable as possible, and then went back to the living room
to sit and think.  Stopping in the bathroom, I removed my shirt and checked
my own wound which had apparently closed.  The bullet must have passed
completely through me but the only evidence was a perfectly circular,
bright red mark on my chest below my left nipple.  I turned and saw a
similar mark on my back, the exit wound.  It still hurt, but the pain was
easing.  By morning I would be back to normal.  As I sat in the living
room, I wondered if Beorn would have the same healing powers as I did.
Just because he was a supernatural creature didn't mean he could withstand
bullets, but the wound didn't appear that severe when I looked at him.
Still, he had lost a lot of blood.  There was quite a stain on the snow
where he had fallen.

Shortly after morning, Beorn stumbled out of the bedroom.  "Thanks for
rescuing me, buddy," he said.  He was still naked and I could see a bright
red mark on his stomach, but like mine, it was healing at an incredible
rate.  "A gunshot to the gut is not fun," he said, rubbing the mark, a few
inches above and to the right of his navel.

"I guess you have the same gift of healing as I do," I remarked indicating
the smaller red blemish on my chest.

"Shit, they shot you too?  Those fuckers, where did they go?"

"Nowhere.  Unfortunately, I killed them."

"Not so unfortunate," he said as he sat on the couch.  "They killed the
alpha male's mate.  She was carrying a litter of pups.  They never hurt any
humans.  It was just so senseless."

"I came looking for you," I said.  "There was a sign in the liquor store
about a bounty on wolves.  The woods will be full of hunters like that."

"What did you do with the bodies of those two?" Beorn asked.

"I left them there."

"That will just make matters worse.  People will say the wolves killed
them."  He seemed angry with me.

"I'm sorry, I didn't think."

"Humans never do!"

"Hey, remember, I'm not human."

Beorn got up, came over and grabbed my hand, pulling me up.  "Come on," he
said, dragging me back to the bedroom.  He threw me onto the bed then
started to unfasten my trousers.  Soon we were making love, having wild and
passionate sex.  When he had finished he pulled me close to him and kissed
me roughly on the lips.  "Jeff, I love you," you said.  It was the first
time he had actually called me by name, not just babe or vampire boy or
even Barnabas whoever that was.  And it was the first time he said he loved
me.  It was the first and last time he said those words.  He then got up
and walked out of the room, still naked.  I heard the front door open and
close.  It was still midmorning and the sun was no doubt shining brightly.
I couldn't follow him.  Since he went outside without any clothes I assumed
he was transforming back to a wolf.  I wondered where he had gone and when
he would be back.

When evening came, I opened the door and went out.  The scent had gone cold
and was difficult to follow, but I did my best.  The trail went on and on,
until it merged with a number of other scents, those that were definitely
wolf and not the confused sent of a shapeshifter.  I followed them until I
could sense the dawn coming.  I had no choice but to turn back and run as
fast as I could to make it home before sunrise.  I thought Beorn would
return when he got tired of his real wolf friends.  I stayed and waited for
him.  I waited for three years but he never returned.

 

 

 

 

 

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