(A friend of mine has threatened to run a Werewolf: the Apocalypse game sometime in the indefinite future, and he’s been kind enough to offer me the chance to play a Gurahl, or werebear. If you’re not familiar with the game, it’s sort of a repositioning of werewolves as modern-day eco-warriors. They’re servants of the Wyld, one of the three aspects of Creation that govern everything that’s created, structured and then discarded. It’s very much a product of its time and has a few issues, but as a child of the 90s I have a great deal of fondness for it. There are more than just werewolves, of course; each species has its own job within the structure of Gaia’s servants. The werebears are healers, even though they’re a great deal larger and more terrifying than the Garou. 😉 Anyway, I have an idea for my character that I’m really excited about, and I wanted the chance to write about him for a little bit.
Thus, this exercise. The prompt is “it takes all kinds,” which didn’t actually make it into the story. It kind of takes a turn too fast, and I didn’t really get his personality down, but that’s all right.)
“My name is…my….name….is….” The man looked around the back seat of the squad car, as if looking for something that would remind him or something. “Arthur!” He shouted the answer, making Severin’s ears ring. “My name is Arthur.” He sat back, looking supremely satisfied with himself.
“Well, Arthur, would you care to tell me what you were doing inside the General Store with no clothes on?” Severin resisted the urge to look in his rear-view mirror. There was something mildly disconcerting about the huge, naked man behind him, and it wasn’t entirely to do with his nudity.
“I’m…I’m sorry. I had no idea it was necessary to wear clothes. People come into the forests and run naked all the time.” The man spoke with an accent Severin couldn’t place. Some cross between the odd inflection of Russian and the forceful syllables of German. He had the naked man pegged as some kind of foreigner, but he couldn’t imagine a place where people had no idea you had to wear clothes. Chances are the guy was being some kind of smartass, coasting on his foreigner status to get a break. Severin was not inclined to give him one.
“Yeah, well, if we catch them out there we arrest them, too.” He looked in the rear view this time. Arthur looked supremely unashamed.
“Arrest.” The big man tasted the word for a moment, then caught Severin’s eye. “Is that where you make someone get into your car and drive them someplace else?”
Severin rolled his eyes. Was this guy serious? If he was going to pull this kind of shtick, maybe it’d be best for both of them if he just played along. “Yeah, something like that. We’re going back to the ranger station, and you’re going to be in a holding cell. Listen, Arthur, you got somebody you can call?”
“Call?” Arthur shrugged, leaning forward to shift himself. The handcuffs barely fit his massive wrists. “I don’t know. Everyone I know is far away. Chances are good they won’t hear me.”
“Well, just call who you can. Something tells me you’re going to need some help with the paperwork.” They were coming close to the station now. Severin saw a pair of eyes flashing in the parking lot. It looked like the raccoons were back.
Arthur was silent for a moment. Severin looked in the rear-view again, and caught his eye. There was something about the man’s look that made him shudder. For a moment, he looked like he had nothing of civilization in him. “Do you smell that, man?”
“Smell what? I…listen, man, I don’t know what your deal is, but you’re going to have to knock it off. Just…keep quiet until we get in, and don’t speak until I ask you a question.” Severin didn’t like this situation. Insane folks were always attracted to the wilderness, but they usually didn’t last very long. They either couldn’t keep it together to gather enough food, or they were taken down by wildlife. There was something about this guy, though. If he was as nutty as he looked, there’s no way he should have lasted this long.
“There’s something wrong.” Arthur said, his voice a growl that sounded oddly natural. Severin turned into the parking lot of the ranger station. There were a number of creatures there, with flashing eyes and shadowy figures, and the ranger knew immediately that those weren’t raccoons.
“What the hell?” He tried to take a closer look at…whatever those were. The little creatures looked like moving shadows, even in the light of the open door. Their bodies looked to be made of liquid smoke, wisping and shifting in the air. He could hear an odd chittering, clicking sound even with the windows rolled up.
“I know these things.” Arthur’s voice was deeper, gruffer, wilder. It barely sounded human. Severin didn’t want to look back at him. He was afraid of what he might see.
“What the hell are they? Are they dangerous? Jenkins is in there.” He stopped in the middle of the lot, and fumbled with his seat belt. For some reason, his heart was racing and he couldn’t catch his breath. He shouldn’t be seeing this. He couldn’t be seeing this.
“Jenkins is dead.” The giant man growled from the back seat, his voice booming and far too close. “You will be too unless you stay in the car.”
Severin stopped, his head swimming. “What…what the hell is going on?”
He heard shifting and groaning in the back seat, the creak of metal. Whatever was in the back seat now had its arms free. “They are corruption incarnate. They are a sign of a diseased wilderness here. And they’re the reason I am here.”
Severin felt the car rock as the man in the back seat became a monster. He filled the space back there, and he squirmed to plant his feet on the car door. A quick push, and the door flew outwards, releasing the monster’s clawed feet out into the darkness. Severin looked behind him, and immediately wish he hadn’t. Whatever was back there was some unholy cross between a man and a bear. Claws and teeth and eyes flashed in the light as he made an opening large enough for him to fit through. He stood up outside of the car, towering over it, then turned to see the little man cowering inside.
“I am sorry about your car. It was very nice. Stay here, and you can continue to arrest me when I’m done. But first, I must heal this place.”
The shadows swarmed the bear, then. When asked what happened hours later, when the ranger was found on the side of the road, Severin would not be able to remember a thing.