Alexandra sat next to a wooden post, hammered three feet away from the fence, her head pressed close to her knees. Much of the tall barrier was metal, with a roof on top of it, and when she pressed a grass blade against the steel, it burned. Kurt stood on a balcony, leaning against the stone railing before he adjusted his hat.
Around her, a few gangsters lingered, watching her as though she had two heads instead of one. A couple of them carried mean-looking machine guns on slings, their fingers off the trigger but ready to fire at a moment’s notice. One grumbled to himself, setting up a camera aimed at her, recording her, with the blue sky above without a cloud overhead.
“So, that’s the bitch herself? Looks small to me.”
“Ah, why did the big boss choose her instead of another? She’ll be a shrimpy werewolf!”
“You idiots! She was the one who smashed through a store and a party!”
“I thought that was a bear attack?”
“I overheard the meeting with her and the other prisoner. Apparently, the other guy somehow tampered with the footage on short notice.”
“That’s impossible. The footage was found moments after that store attack. He couldn’t have doctored the video in seconds.”
The chatting droned on with no end in sight, and Kurt reached into his coat, pulling out a cigar and lighting it up. A troubled look came to his eyes for a moment, and he pulled out a phone and pressed buttons. He held it against his ear and chatted before ending the call and starting another. Despite it, he remained bothered, sucking into his cigar with each puff of smoke forced out with reluctance.
Below, Alexandra felt a steamy breath rolling down her neck. A long claw reached her forehead, rubbing it with force, but its shadowy form couldn’t pierce through the skin. She squeezed herself in closer, with her becoming much paler, dread filling up within her. Then, growls echoed within her head.
“I’m sure that you’re very proud of yourself,” the werewolf side of her said, with anger dripping in every word. “This is what you wanted, right? Right?” Alexandra remained silent, her orange eyes losing the light within. “If it isn’t, why did you let this happen? You could’ve stopped all of this, you know. But instead of taking a stand for yourself, you decided to accept this fate.”
“Anger never solves anything,” Alexandra whispered to herself. “Anger never solves anything.”
“If it never solves anything, then why are we prisoners?”
Daren and the ‘guards’ Dirk and Ford stepped before an open door, and they shoved him in. He stumbled, careful not to let the tiny blade puncture his skin, before he stood up straight, the room glaring white with white bookshelves and desks, with a flowery smell hovering in the air. He twisted around, rubbing the blade up and down at the zip tie. He glanced around the L-shape room, and he felt his instincts screaming at him. A man sat behind one of the desks, having a notebook out and writing into it while adjusting his glasses and white lab coat. He glanced up at Daren and smiled, putting down his pen and rubbing his fingers together.
“My, my, a new test subject,” the man in the lab coat said, standing up and extending a hand to him. “I hope you last a few minutes longer than the last one.”
Daren tilted his head before the man spun around, going to the other side of the room. Dirk and Ford chuckled before they grabbed his shoulders and pushed him further in, with Daren grunting. As he stepped over, he glanced around, with the walls barren of any rewards or doctorates.
“Aww, are you scared?” Dirk asked with a laugh. “You should be. Dr. Richter has been our torture expert for the past ten years.”
“He is even writing a book about his findings,” Ford said, shining his stained yellow teeth. “And hopes to get it published someday.”
“Precisely,” Dr. Richter said, rolling in a hospital bed with a man on it. “This subject went by the name Conrad Jackson, weighing two hundred and thirty pounds at six foot three.” Conrad stared out with empty green eyes as Dr. Richter rubbed his long black hair. “He has certainly lasted a fair amount of time.” He pointed at the metal rods sticking out above his elbows, above his knees, and two parts on his chest. “But the electricity coursing through his body eventually destroyed the nervous system in his arms and legs. And that is when dear Reiner asked me to fry his brain. Such a pity.”
Daren winced, with Conrad laying there unmoving and brain dead, before he glared at Dr. Richter. He ignored the glares and smiled back before pointing at the height measurements and weight scales, with Dirk and Ford shoving him over there. Dr. Richter picked up a clipboard before striding over, writing down the measurements.
“Let’s see here. About a hundred and eighty-five pounds in mass and six foot one for height.” Dr. Richter shook his head in disappointment, writing them down. “Light for someone your height. Very light, which is such a shame. I was hoping to get someone much heavier to see the reactions.”
“I bet you were,” Daren said, not hiding the venom in his voice.
Dr. Richter laughed before snapping his fingers, and soon two more gangsters came in, rolling in a steel bed with metal castings around a gelatin dummy at the wrists and ankles. He walked over behind the figure, pulling out metal rods before stabbing them near the knees, elbows, and two on the chest. Then, applying metal clamps attached to wires onto the rods, he pulled up a remote control and turned the knob. With each turn, more sparks flew out from the dummy before it burst into flames.
“You see,” Dr. Richter said with a proud grin, “an electrical current in the joints will do incredible damage to the human body. The longest I had seen anyone survive the highest charge was five minutes and fifty-three seconds. It was a beautiful sight, seeing them struggle until their hearts gave out while giving me plenty of notes.”
Daren felt his heart beat much faster, and he rubbed the blade against the zip tie much harder. “I’m sorry to disappoint you since I know my body well enough that it won’t survive a quarter that long.”
“Oh?” Dr. Richter said, raising an eyebrow. “You doubt my ability to apply electric currents without killing you?” He clicked his tongue, shaking his head. “I have spent many years refining my skills on electricity, starting with my mother,” He sighed, shrugging his shoulders while shaking his head. “Of course, I never meant to kill her. She just angered me one last time, and I lost control. I even have the tombstone inscribed with me, asking for forgiveness. But at least it taught me a valuable lesson on how long the human body will last.”
“You insane sicko,” Daren said in a growl, and Dr. Richter laughed.
“Insane?” He readjusted his glasses. “I have heard such phrases before when I try to push my research forward. If it wasn’t for me, people would still be ignorant of the human body’s various limits while undergoing electrical torture. This man here?” He patted Conrad’s shoulders. “He lasted hundreds of hours from careful applications of electrical shocks, and look at him. Still alive in the body if not in the mind. Working for Reiner is the only place I can continue refining my research.”
“About that,” Daren said, sweat forming on the back of his head. “My body’s structure is fragile to electricity. Even if you set this machine to low, you’ll still kill me in no time.”
“Nonsense!” Dr. Richter reached over and rubbed Daren’s elbow up and down. “Why, your bone and cartilage structure showed me that, despite your flail looks, you have a powerful body. In fact, I bet that you’ll turn into a good werewolf if you join us.”
Daren glared at Dr. Richter, and he said through gritted teeth, “Never suggest that I turn into a wolf again.”
“Why not?” Dr. Richter chuckled before patting Daren’s shoulders. “If it’s true, why shouldn’t I say it? But you must be willing to work for Reiner first.”
Daren twitched his eyebrows but said nothing, with both Dirk and Ford laughing from behind. The other two gangsters unlocked the clamps before pulling out the melting and smoking dummy, the clamps sliding out. Then, as they dragged it out from the room, Dr. Richter examined some fresh metal rods, checking the points for sharpness.
Time passed by outside, with Alexandra still curled up in the cage. A few more gangsters went out and observed her, but Kurt above waved them inside the mansion before making some more calls, a sense of doubt in his eyes. Then, finally, a cloud passed over, blocking the sun with a glow around the edges, and she felt her heart sink deeper within, feeling emptier.
“Let me say this,” the werewolf said, booming behind Alexandra. “What’s going to happen is inevitable. We’ll transform, and I’ll take over once and for all. It doesn’t matter when it’ll happen because, by the time tomorrow comes, you’ll be put into the back of my mind, just as you did to me.”
“No,” Alexandra said, tears forming in her eyes.
“Why are you protecting these assholes?” the werewolf asked, her voice growling. “They are looking at us like some kind of freakshow. And they caused all of this. They have done nothing to deserve our mercy.”
“But you’ll go after him.” Alexandra shook her head. “As long as I have the will, I’ll protect him from you.”
“Daren?” The werewolf laughed, echoing in her head. “He’s probably dead at this point. And good riddance.” It snarled. “It has always been your mistake. Because of your cowardness, you let other people walk us over, caged us up, and even shot us. And you keep letting it happen, you weak little girl.”
“You could’ve fought against your bosses, stand up to them even if it results in us getting fired. But instead, in your attempt to be the ‘perfect’ tranquil person, you let them screw us over until they fired us anyways!” The werewolf roared out, making her jump as Kurt raised an eyebrow, leaning against the balcony. “You waffled in place like the coward you are! And because of that, we didn’t have the money to pay off the landlord, who walked all over us! You may take pride in being a hard worker, but these people don’t give a damn if they see you as weak and spineless!”
“—never solves anything? When has avoiding being angry solved you anything?!” the werewolf waited, but Alexandra remained silent. “You see? I’m not your enemy. I am you. I will always be the part of you that wants to fight for us. You know that I’m needed. So, let me out, and I’ll solve this issue.”
Alexandra kept silent, with the gangsters keeping an eye on her. It became darker, with the clouds still passive over in the sky above, though it was as dark as night to her. Her eyes became red, her heart continued to sink further down, and she swallowed. Finally, she nodded to herself, regret swelling up.
“Forgive me. Do it.”
The werewolf laughed with glee upon those words, and she groaned, standing up. The birds chirping became audible as her ears became pointy and moved up her head, gray fur growing on them. Her fingernails became bulkier and thicker, turning yellow as her teeth became sharp and long, her fangs expanding. Finally, when she lifted her head, the iris and sclera became yellow, and she growled.
“W-what’s going on?” one of the gangsters asked, and they murmured to themselves, with one cocking their machine gun.
But Alexandra pressed her palms, which had become thick and leather-like, against her face, with gray fur growing on the back as her short brown hair grew long and silvery. The fur spread up her arm as her toenails ripped through her blue sneakers, becoming as long, thick, and yellow as her finger-claws. Her feet stretched and expanded, tearing apart the sneakers as though they were wet tissue, taking a digitigrade stance as a bulge formed at her rear, with a long gray furry tail ripping through her sweatpants.
When she lowered her hand-paws, her muzzle was already formed, furrowed, and with the nose black. Her loose shirt and sweatpants became tight, with muscles swelling all over her body, calves pumping out, and biceps bursting up. Soon, her growing form ripped through her clothes, with the shredded remains falling on the grassy ground. Her chest became broad, jetting out farther than her muzzle, drool dripping between her teeth. Soon, she extended up her muzzle and howled into the sky, the werewolf Alexandra causing the glass to wiggle in windows with a few cracking.
“B-but it’s still daytime!”
“This is impossible!”
Kurt grunted, pulling out his revolver and pulling the hammer on it. “Remember, no silver. Reiner wants her alive.”
The werewolf Alexandra twisted around, her abs in a thick six-pack as she glared out, splaying her hand-paws. She touched the fence with her claw, and sparks flew out, the fence bursting into pieces. She growled, her claw regrowing as the gangsters stepped back, aiming their guns at her.
“Yeah, you’re trapped in there, you bitch!” A gangster raised a shotgun and aimed it at her. “And stay in there!”
Alexandra shifted her eyes, her tail still before she took a couple of steps, each giving a light rumble. Soon, she balled her hand-paw into a fist before punching the ground. It shook within a hundred feet, with the surrounding area wiggling in response and with the gangsters stumbling.
“It-it can’t get out, can it?”
“Idiot! That fence has enough electricity to fry up multiple elephants at once!”
Alexandra snarled before lifting the wooden fence post from the ground, almost like a wooden sword. She jabbed it into the fence, with it pushed back before it burst into flames, with her feeling a light jolt. She tossed it away, the post landing on some grass with it burning up as the gangsters chuckled, though it was hollower than before.
“You see? Not even that bitch would dare—”
But Alexandra gripped the fence, a massive shock coursing throughout her body and her palms burning it. She growled, clenching her hand-paws tights with the thick steel fencing snapping as though they were rubber bands stretched too thin. Soon, she pulled, a hole forming before her, and she pounced through, with parts of her fur on fire. But her burnt marks healed, with new fur and padding regrowing as the fire on her died out.
The two who held machine guns fired upon Alexandra, the bullets crumbling or shattering against her hide. However, the few that pierced through got forced out, the wounds regenerating, and she stomped forward to one of the gangsters with the machine gun, who stared up at her in horror. She then smacked her arm against him, with him flying to the other and they both collapsed on top of each other, their guns knocked away.
The remaining gangsters fled, with the one holding the shotgun firing at her, as Kurt frowned. He held onto the revolver’s hammer as he pulled the trigger, letting the hammer fall without discharging a round. Kurt then popped open the cylinder and frowned, the rounds within having brass covering. His burner phone rang, and he reached for it, answering the call as he pressed it against his ear.
Through an alarm ringing in the background, Reiner said, “What was that quake just then?!”
“That was our test subject. So, it seems that this Daren is correct after all,” Kurt answered as Alexandra grabbed the shotgun’s barrel and crushed it between her fingers. “Damn it. We should’ve brought silvers.”
“Not yet,” Reiner said as Alexandra punched the gangster, with him flying ten feet before crashing against the ground, laying there while groaning. “I still want her.”
At that point, Alexandra lowered onto all fours, snarling as the remaining gangsters fled, each one screaming. She remained still, torn between two sides, and time slowed, the hulking werewolf Alexandra becoming a silhouette and the sky red. Beside her, the small human Alexandra sat there, with golden chains around her and keeping her still.
“You… we… got out and escaped,” the human said, her face paled.
“You see?” the werewolf said while laughing. “I’m unstoppable!”
“Y-yes, but you now have no reason to fight them,” the human said, and the werewolf twisted around to her. “Y-you can go anywh—”
“No reason?” The werewolf chuckled. “Little girl, they made us like this, humiliated us, and wounded us. That’s all I need for a reason.”
“Listen, I am in control.” The werewolf’s shadow seemed to expand larger. “And I’ll show them how much they screwed up!”
Time moved forward at once, with the sky blue and the werewolf Alexandra filled with colors. She leaned up and howled once more, with more glass shattering, before she turned to Kurt, who hesitated before sprinting in. She snarled, wanting to lunge at him before deciding that wasn’t interesting enough. Instead, she prowled up to the wall and, extending her claws, slashed into it. Chunks of concrete flew out, and she got up on all two before punching it, with a massive hole forming.
Massive shards crashed through the room, with some smashing through coffee tables and couches, with cotton flown out. Cracks spread up and around the wall, reaching up to thirty feet, and as she stepped in, chunks fell behind her. A couple of gangsters rushed in, with one holding a machine gun, and they paused at the doorway. She roared out, and the gun-wielding one fired at her as the other fled.
Alexandra snarled before she reached for the couch and slid it at him, with his legs cracking as he fell on top of it. He yelled, struggling to get up as he dropped the gun, and she grabbed the side before flinging it at the other side of the room. He fell off, spinning a few times before stopping, and he sobbed through tears, trying to reach for his legs but couldn’t. At that point, she howled once more, the entire mansion vibrating.
“What was that?” Dr. Richter asked, a piercing howl echoing throughout the room.
Daren paled, his thoughts on Alexandra before he yanked his wrists against the zip ties’ restraint. It snapped off, and before anyone could react, he dove over to Dr. Richter, with him dropping the metal rods. He twisted him around, his small blade against the doctor’s throat while his other arm wrapped around his chest.
“H-hey!” Dr. Richter said, wiggling against Daren’s hold as the four gangsters pulled their guns out, with Dirk holding his revolver sideways. “Where did you—”
But Daren pushed him at the other gangsters, with them lowering their guns to catch him, and he leaped behind one of the two desks. He reached to his side, a Colt M1911 materializing along with its hoister, and he grabbed it, checking for rounds within the chamber. A second later, three of the gangsters fired out, with wood chunks, concrete, and papers flying around. Dr. Richter gave a horrified cry as Ford sprinted to the side, pulling a switch, and an alarm blared out throughout the mansion.
“Shucks,” Daren said before he turned to the side and, spotting another desk, got up with both hands on the pistol grip. He strode to the other desk, firing in the meantime, and with Dirk and another gangster falling down, Dirk rubbing against his bloody side. The remaining gangster and Ford pushed the bookcase to the side over Dr. Richter’s protests, and Daren crouched behind the desk.
He grunted, with more gunshots firing at him and more papers flying all over. One report landed in front of him and, upon glancing at it, glared at it before crumbling it against his hand. Dirk moaned, struggling to get up, but slipped when the ground shook. He pulled his leg back, but one of the two gangsters aimed low and shot at his knee, blood splattering around as Dirk screamed, his hat falling off and showing his balding head.
“Y-you idiots shot me!”
“Like I give a fuck!” Ford crouched behind a bookcase, holding onto two pistols at once, and fired them. The rounds went to every place besides the desk Daren hid behind, and he gritted his teeth. “You coward! Come out and fight!”
Daren rolled his eyes as the door slammed open, with a few more gangsters rushing in, each holding a Beretta 1301 shotgun. “Holy—”
“No! Not my precious notes, you useless idiots!”
But the others ignored Dr. Richter and fired, with chunks of wood, paper, and concrete flying around Daren as he grunted, replacing the pistol’s magazine. He then snuck out and fired out a return volley, with one round hitting Dirk’s other knee, who screamed in pain louder and another ripping a shotgun-wielding gangster through the head, with blood splattered from behind.
He went halfway back when Ford rushed forward, firing both of his H&K USP pistols simultaneously, and he fired at him. The low shot pierced through Ford’s knee, and he collapsed, landing on top of Dirk, who squealed out. The remaining gangsters fired, with Daren crouching behind the desk once more as he gritted his teeth. Part of him wondered if he should cheat at this point, but he shook that thought out of his mind.
“No! You’re ruining everything!” Dr. Richter grabbed one of the mobsters by the arm, who shook him off as Daren glanced around, the medical bed by the middle. An idea formed in his head, and he rushed there, spinning the bed around and pushing it at the attackers, who stared in confusion. “Wha—”
But Daren raised his M1911 and fired out in rapid succession, each shot to a chest followed by the head, with two mobsters falling down. The medical bed slammed against Ford’s head, who yelped from the bump as Dirk attempted to push him off, and the remaining gangsters recovered as they raised their weapons. Daren grunted, rolling to the first desk he hid behind, and they fired upon it.
“My life’s work! Stop it!”
But one of the gangsters pulled out a radio, ignoring him. “Listen! We need backup here! The prisoner—”
Another howl came from outside, with the gangsters looking up as fear crept along, and even Dr. Richter paled. Then, sensing his chance, Daren sprinted from behind and fired out, killing the remaining mobsters with a chest and headshot. Sweat drenched his face as he unloaded his pistol, with him catching the round in the barrel. He soon replaced it with a red bullet, loading it up as he approached Dr. Richter, whose cheeks were covered in tears.
“Anyone who considers torturing an ‘art’ doesn’t deserve mercy,” Daren said, glaring at Dr. Richter, who turned pale. “But I might make an exception in this case.”
Dr. Richter smiled, though it was uncertain, and Daren fired, the bullet leaving behind a sparkly trail. The ground shook, with the walls shaking, as Dr. Richter stumbled back, clenching against his chest. He shrunk at once, with white fur growing on his face and his nose shrinking while turning pink. His ears stretched long as his shirt and coat engulfed his head, slipping out from his shoes. He landed on his back, a lump within the shirt with fuzzy white ears poking out. Daren reached in, pulling him out by the scruff, having turned into a feral white rabbit.
“I never said that it’ll be a kind mercy,” Daren said in a low voice, with Dr. Richter folding his ears back. “Now, I suggest you run or hide, especially since wolves love rabbits.”
Another howl came, echoing through the room, and Dr. Richter widened his eyes. Daren placed him down, and he sprung out to behind the bullet-ridden desk, crouching behind it. Ford groaned, reaching for his pistols, but Daren kicked him away and pushed him onto his back. Daren crouched low before Dirk and Ford, who stared at him in horror.
“T-the big boss was right. Y-you aren’t human,” Ford said, pointing at Daren’s ears, long and ending in a point, and he grunted, pushing his wet hair over and covering them. “W-what are you?”
“Someone you should’ve left alone,” Daren replied, reaching behind and pulling out Bás, a black kunai with its edge shining cold and with white wrappings around the handle. He stabbed it through Ford’s other knee and yelled out, reaching for the wound as Daren pulled it out. He then stabbed it through Dirk’s right palm and screamed, wiggling in pain. When he pulled it out, the blood on it had already dissolved, and he placed it behind his back. “Try to kill me within twenty-four hours.”
Daren got up and walked away even as Dirk and Ford rubbed the stab wounds, screaming and with sweat forming all over.
“It-it’s so cold!”
“What did you do, you asshole!?”
But Daren ignored them, loading up his Colt M1911 before holstering it, picking up one of the fallen Beretta 1301 shotguns, and loading it up with more rounds. More footsteps came from behind, and Daren cocked it, aiming it at the door. Two mobsters came in, each with an HK416 rifle, and he fired at them. They collapsed, with pellets ripping through their body, and he rushed forward, picking up one of the rifles before heading into the hallway.
Alexandra stomped through the hallway, with plenty of gangsters crouched behind defensive walls while firing various guns. However, the bullets bounced off her, and she glared. Finally, she picked up a potted plant and tossed it at one of the mobsters in the chest, with him collapsing onto the ground.
Another mobster came charging at her, holding a long knife, but she swung her arm at him, with him crashing against the wall. Anger swelled up within her, with an urge to kill her enemies instead of letting them live. But when she ripped up a chunk of the wall, with its concrete between her swollen hand-paws, she let it slip between her fingers.
“Even within the back of my mind, you fight back?” The werewolf side of Alexandra said in her head. “Why? They’ve been shooting at us!”
“Th-they just see a monster,” the human side of Alexandra said, struggling against the chains.
“A monster of their own creation,” the werewolf said, growling. “I don’t understand how such humans do everything they can to provoke us and act surprised whenever we respond in anger. Do you?”
The human shook her head before she said, “But this anger isn’t solving anything!”
With that, Alexandra roared before she leaped into the air, smashing through to the next floor. She landed on the shattered floor before jumping again, with lumber, insulation, and concrete falling onto the bottoms. Soon, she ran forward, her feet-paws causing large prints to form on the floor. More gunshots came, but she ignored them, stomping along while ripping through the walls.
Soon, she stood before the staircase, where multiple gangsters still huddled behind defensive lines. But when they looked up, she roared out before kicking down a chunk of the railing, letting it fall upon three of them. The others aimed their guns up at her and fired, but she sprinted away, her tail swishing behind her.
When she got to the hallway entrance, one gangster on the same floor threw a glass bottle with a burning rag at her. It shattered upon impact, the alcohol within bursting into flames; she roared out, with fur falling off as the guy who threw it kept still, frozen in anticipation. He grinned a bit, but the flames died off, with the fur already regrowing and with little harm to her.
Alexandra glared at him, getting on all fours as she prowled closer to him, his grin replaced with horror. Several gangsters on the stairs fired up at her, but she ignored them, the bullets bouncing off her. Steam rolled out from her mouth, her teeth exposed, and her jaws lowered, with the mobster in view of every tooth. She inched closer, raising a claw and rubbing under his neck, his face pale as death.
She shook her head a bit before she roared at his face, her fangs over and under his head, and she ran over to the hallway, the floor scorched up. He laughed before fainting, with the baffled mobsters climbing up the stairs, still aiming at her. But she ran into the hallway, glaring out and with her eyes glowing a bit.
Alexandra went up on two, the floor shattering with every step, before she paused, with gunshots coming from the side. She turned, and five or so gangsters crouched behind a desk and a bookcase, aiming their guns away, firing out. One of them turned, spotting her and screaming in horror, and she kicked a small table at them. Three got knocked back, collapsing from the impact, and she went ahead.
Seconds later, she kicked down the double doors, where Reiner sat behind a desk, unperturbed. The two guards beside him paled, aiming their guns at her before he motioned to them to lower their weapons. They blinked in bafflement before doing so, and Alexandra stomped forward, with Reiner tut-tutting while shaking his head.
“You know how expensive it is to fix all the damages you have done?” Reiner asked, pulling out his revolver. “Not to mention all of the injuries you caused? That’ll set me back for months.”
Alexandra snarled, drool dripping onto the floor, still stepping forward. Reiner remained cool, slightly smirking as he pulled on the revolver’s hammer. Then, when she took one more step, he fired, the silver bullet piercing through.
She yelped, falling on her knees as blood flowed out, and he fired again. She flexed, but the bullets remained lodged in, and the wounds refused to closed. Instead, her body tensed up, shaking from head to tail, her eyes wide. Reiner winked at her, lowering his revolver.
“Do you honestly think I wouldn’t program a weakness to silver when I edited your genes?” Reiner asked, as Alexandra panted heavy breaths. “You have proven how much of a success this project has been, and I couldn’t be prouder of you. Finally, creating werewolves out of my most loyal enforcers is within grasp, thanks to you.”
Alexandra shook some more, pressing against her bullet wounds in a feeble attempt to stop the bleeding. Reiner got up and, ignoring his guards’ objected expression, went around the desk and rubbed her chin. She glared at him even as he grinned, his reflection visible on her eyes.
“Let me repeat my offer for you: join me,” Reiner said. “If you do, I’ll bring in some of my finest doctors to remove the silver bullets. I’ll remove your weakness to it as soon as you give me an offering in blood.” He let some of her blood dripped on his fingers before dabbling it on her cheeks. “Anything you wish for, I will grant to the best of my abilities. Money? Power? Love? Your worldly desires, I can grant.”
But Alexandra snarled, her muzzle furrowed, before she clenched her bullet wounds, digging into them with more blood flowing out. Reiner sighed in disappointment, turning around while shaking his head. He soon turned back, the revolver aimed at her head, and he pulled the hammer back.
Reiner raised an eyebrow as Alexandra twisted around, Daren standing beside the shattered doors with a shotgun in hand and a rifle on his back. He kept his gaze away from her, aiming the gun down as he stepped around, soon pointing it at Reiner. Alexandra growled, digging deeper until she felt burning metal, and she yanked it out. But even as the bloody silver bullet landed on the ground, ringing, Daren refused to look away from Reiner, who smirked.
“You see?” the werewolf side of Alexandra within her mind said. “Even after we got shot twice, he refused to look at us. He never cared about us. If he did, he would’ve gone to us first!”
The human side of Alexandra kept silent.
Daren grunted, adding new shotgun shells, 12-gauge, while crouched behind a bookcase. Various gunshots zoomed toward his direction, with some lodging at the books, exposing the concrete interiors within the covers. Once he loaded up all seven shells, he cocked it and waited until the shooting slowed.
At that point, he sprinted around, firing at a group of six thirty feet away. Two fell while the rest ducked underneath a desk. But Daren charged, keeping his finger off the trigger until he got close. Then, he got on his knee, aimed, and fired three more times when they peeked out. They fell back, crying, and Daren reached into his pocket, pulling out more shotgun shells from within.
He sighed only for a pained roar echoing throughout the entire mansion. His left forearm twitched, a shock of pain coming from it and almost dropping one shell. Daren grunted, rushing forward while loading more shots into the Beretta 1301 before approaching a branching path. He motioned to turn left, only for a group of five mobsters sprinting out a door at the forward branch. They spotted him and, aiming their Beretta 1301 or Beretta ARX160 at him, fired.
Daren stopped and flipped over a table, huddling behind it as shots were fired, ripping at a foot above his head. He grunted, waiting for a pause as he swapped the shotgun for the HK416 rifle, but they kept firing, with some ripping through the desk with concrete flying out with the wood. He twisted around, about to poke his head out, before he paused.
The floor shook beneath him, and his left forearm tightened in pain. A gangster gave a horrified cry before a crashing sound came from in front, and the shooting paused. He poked his head out; with three of the gangsters fallen on the ground, a small table shattered next to them.
“Oh, no,” Daren said, his face white before the remaining gangsters fired at him. He crouched back down, gritting his teeth before he checked the rifle chamber. Once done, he went up from cover and fired, piercing the two gangsters through their chest and head, and they fell. “I’m afraid that I might be too late.”
He ran down the hallway, swapping the rifle for the shotgun, and spotted massive pawprints on the floor. His left forearm shot up in pain, and one shot, followed by another, came from one end of the hallway. He frowned before he sprinted forward, ignoring his left forearm, increasing in pain with a looming shadow in front of a desk.
Despite the smell of blood, the dripping of blood, and flesh ripping up, Daren kept his gaze away from Alexandra, only noticing her by the corner of his eye. He stepped around her, Reiner standing before her with a revolver aimed at her forehead, and he raised the shotgun at him.
Reiner chuckled, having a smirk. “Impressive that you managed to get here at all, Mr. Crevan.”
Daren rolled his eyes as a metal bullet knocked against the floor, covered in blood. “It’s over.”
“Over?” Reiner waved at his guards, who pulled out their pistols and aimed them at Daren. “You kill me, I’ll kill you back.”
“I see no problem with that,” Daren said as he reached back under his aloha shirt, keeping the shotgun aimed at him.
“Huh. Not afraid to die?” For a moment, Reiner glanced at Alexandra, still digging into her other wound. “But aren’t you afraid that she’ll—”
In a flash, Daren pulled out Bás and threw it at the left guard, its black blade digging into his neck and blood flowing out as he reached for it. Reiner blinked, and Daren fired the shotgun at the right guard. The pellets ripped through his face, bursting into a bloody mess, and he fell, followed by the left guard. Daren cocked the shotgun, the empty cartridge flying out, before aiming it at Reiner.
“Very impressive.” Reiner’s voice remained steady. “However, I still have her in my mercy.”
“Didn’t you want her to work for you?” Daren asked, squeezing the trigger just enough to not fire it.
“She has chosen to decline my offer, though I confess that I’m disappointed. Nevertheless, she showcases a fire that I love.” He aimed at her forehead, which growled as she ripped deeper into her wound. “Do you want to risk her life like this?”
Daren kept silent, deep in thought, before he said, “No. Let us go in peace, and I’ll spare your life. That I’ll promise.”
Reiner smirked. “I don’t make promises with those who threaten me, especially since I still have all the cards.” Daren tilted his head and felt a slight vibration below him, like multiple footsteps beneath him. “You two have proven to be dangerous. You could’ve used it for me, but instead, you have chosen death. And even if I die, I know Kurt is more than worthy of taking over. My legacy will last beyond my life.”
Daren glanced at Bás at the word ‘death,’ and he nodded to himself. But before he could say anything, the second silver bullet fell from Alexandra’s wound, tapping against the floor, and both of her wounds regenerated. Alexandra stopped shaking, her eyes emitting a slight glow as she glared at Reiner, and he took a step back. But she grabbed the shotgun Daren held, squeezing the muzzle tight. Daren blinked, letting go of the gun as his left forearm screamed.
Alexandra grabbed Daren by the throat with a thumb and a couple of her fingers, squeezing it bit by bit. He tugged against her hold, but her grip held, his face changing color as he grasped for breath. For a moment, Daren wondered why she chose him for the kill and so slowly until he sneaked a peek at her face, despite the left forearm feeling like electricity flowed through it, going down to his fingers and up his arm.
So, with a bit of breath, he said a single sentence.
The werewolf side of Alexandra chuckled in her head. “Yes. Make it slow. Make him suffer.”
The human side of Alexandra turned pale but not struggling against the golden chains around her, and she lowered her head. Guilt flowed through her as the werewolf side exhaled, with steam flowing out, just as shadowy as her body. She kept her sight on Daren, whose cheek turned purple, while a sense of powerlessness hovered over her, the chains too strong.
Then Daren wheezed, “Accept your shadow as a part of you.”
The human Alexandra blinked, with time freezing within the mind, between tick and tock. Beside her, the werewolf side loomed over, chuckling as the words echoed throughout the mindscape. The human felt confusion and panic, and the werewolf leaned over her, the silhouette rubbing her hair.
“That’s going to be his last words?” The werewolf side laughed even as the human side shifted around. “Not even a ‘sorry’? What useless words.” She shook her head before turning to the human side. “It’ll be over soon, my dear.”
At the final two words, the human Alexandra felt something falling into place, and she nodded to herself despite how nervous she felt. Soon, she turned to the werewolf side, steeling herself while constantly gazing at her yellow eyes. The werewolf side tilted her head, with one of her ears folding back.
“I was wrong.”
The werewolf blinked. “What?”
Cracks formed in the golden chains, enough that the human side stuck her hand out, flipping it over. “Anger never solves anything? Suppressing my anger didn’t work at all. Instead, I got pushed over by people who took advantage of my niceness. And because of that, I kept to myself, isolated as everyone else screwed me over.”
“It seems that you’re finally listening.” The werewolf side grinned, with white showing within the darkness.
“But let me ask you something,” the human side asked, and the werewolf side nodded. “Did destroying our former workplace get us a new job?”
The werewolf side bristled her fur, more cracks forming in the chains, and she answered, “No.”
“Did attacking our former landlord at her party get us a place to live?”
“And did attacking the gangsters instead of getting away help us free ourselves from them?”
The werewolf side shook her head, with chunks of the chains falling off before she glared. “What’s your point?”
“My point?” The human side reached up, rubbing the werewolf side’s cheek. “You weren’t any more correct than I was. We’re both wrong.”
The werewolf growled, more chains falling apart from the human side. “You’re saying that the answer is somewhere in the middle? Why are you caring now?”
“Because you are me,” the human side answered, with all the chains falling off before disappearing. “And I am you.”
The werewolf side took a couple of steps back, her shadow diminishing. “No! This is a trick! A lie to suppress me once more! You justified it with nonsense before! So why are you acting like you care now?!”
The human side kept eye contact with the werewolf side of her. “Because I realize now that it was wrong. I’ve always felt that anger, ego, and resentment, but I suppressed it all, believing it was wrong to feel. But now? I realize they are just as much a part of me and that I should’ve channeled it better. Anger? That included any righteous rage at getting screwed over by work and landlords. Ego? That included any confidence in my skills, downplaying them. Resentment? That included any drive to fight for improvement and learning from others.”
At each point, the werewolf side shrank, the silhouette fading away. “You liar! You’re trying to trick me!” She fell down as the human side approached. “You’re doing it to save that asshole, Daren! Have you forgotten that he shot us?!”
“Have you forgotten that, when he shot us on two occasions, we attacked a store and our landlord with multiple people around? And that you started it first?” The human side asked, and the werewolf side lowered her head. “In fact, your anger has betrayed you even now since you chose the one who wasn’t aiming at us over the one that was and has the one weapon that could kill us. The fact that he chose to help us, despite everything, shows more about his character. Besides, I doubt he expected those shots to kill us.”
The werewolf side slimmed down, almost human-like. “I’m just so angry with everything.”
The werewolf side turned away, her tail tucked between her legs. “Do you think Dana has forgiven us?”
“If I was to wager a bet, the only one that couldn’t forgive us was ourselves.” The human extended a hand over to the werewolf side, who took it, and she helped her up. “But it’s in the past now. We need to move forward again.”
The werewolf side, visible with her gray fur and silvery hair, nodded while wiping away her tears, the two sides of Alexandra equal in height. “Thank you.”
The human side nodded, and they both smiled at each other. They remained standing there, frozen in place, for a long time, though it remained a point between tick and tock. Then, at once, the two sides approached the other and hugged tight, with a light engulfing them. But their shadows showed them fusing as one, whole.
“Accept your shadow as a part of you.”
Daren felt his fingers numbed at that moment, along with his toes, losing the strength to pull Alexandra’s grip away from his throat. His voice died, his knees shook, and he felt his eyes moments from bulging out despite doing his best to shut them. Darkness crawled from all sides.
Then the grip slackened.
Daren fell, taking a huge gasp of air as he rubbed his neck, his chest heaving in and out. His left forearm still screamed out in pain, but he opened his right eye just enough to spot Reiner and his confused expression. There came a whine from Alexandra, who bent down and nuzzled against his cheek, and he patted her head with his left hand.
“I’m OK. I’ve had worse.” Daren got up, cracking his neck before he opened his eyes at Reiner, glaring at him.
“All of this is unprecedented,” Reiner said, lowering his revolver slightly. “But how? How did one sentence tame her? I never ordered such a thing to happen when I had her genes edited.”
“He didn’t tame me,” Alexandra answered, her voice gruff as Reiner blinked. “He helped me understand how to control and channel myself.”
“W-what?” Reiner raised his revolver up. “That’s impossible!”
“When you’ve lived as long as me,” Daren said, chuckling as he wiggled his fingers at Bás, “impossible is just another day.”
When Reiner pressed his finger against the trigger, Bás removed itself from the fallen guard’s neck, with wings as black as darkness spreading out. Its beak opened as it cawed out, its talons spread out as it flew toward the revolver. Bás, a raven, grabbed its muzzle and yanked it out from his grip, discharging it inches above Alexandra’s head.
Reiner opened his mouth in surprise, the revolver tossed to the other side of the room as the raven landed on Daren’s open palm, compressing itself into a kunai. Daren spun it between his fingers before stuffing it under his blue aloha shirt. Reiner tilted his head at Daren, both confused and intrigued.
“I thought of you as an alien when we spoke,” Reiner said, rubbing his chin. “But are you a mage instead? Though I never thought that magic could exist until now.”
“Why not both?” Daren replied, having a cheeky grin. “Still, that wasn’t all me. That is both a gift and a curse, though,” he turned serious, “I’m not interested in sharing the details with you.”
“A pity. You and Alexandra have proven yourselves to be much more than I expected.” Reiner turned his head to behind them, the vibrations growing stronger. “But I’m afraid that your end will happen now.”
At that point, multiple gangsters stormed into the room, with Kurt in the lead, and they pointed their guns at Alexandra. Reiner smirked, leaping over his desk before taking cover from it and opening a compartment. Daren grunted, but Alexandra stomped her foot-paw against the floor, with it collapsing beneath her before they fired at her. Daren ducked behind a bookcase, reaching for the rifle as Kurt chuckled.
“It’s over,” Kurt said, approaching Daren while avoiding the hole. “We’ll even make your death a merciful one if you surrender. Or we can torture you to death.”
“Already avoided that today,” Daren said, his back against the wall. “And how about I make a counteroffer. You let me and Alexandra walk away, and I’ll let all of you live.”
“Really?” Reiner poked out from the desk, holding a Korth Combat revolver and pointing it at Daren. “And what makes you think you can make such an offer?”
Before Daren could answer, the floor rumbled, and a chunk of the floor fell underneath in the hallway. The gangsters within fell, screaming, while those within the room twisted around, confused. Alexandra howled, jumping up while carrying a couch and shoving it against those within the hallway, pushing them back while blocking any shots with it. Daren grinned before he sprinted out from the bookcase, firing the rifle.
Kurt blinked, his revolver knocked out even as a bullet lodged against his shoulder. The other gangsters fired at Daren, but he kept a steady aim, firing out shot after shot, with the other gangsters falling down with bullets in their chest and head. But it clicked empty, and Daren grunted, with Reiner stepping out and pressing his revolver’s muzzle against his head.
“Fancy, but you’re dry,” Reiner said, but Daren swung the rifle’s butt against his chest. He snagged the revolver away from his grip, aiming it at Kurt, who had already picked up a replacement gun. Daren spun around, grabbing Reiner’s throat while aiming it at him. “Damn. Should’ve seen that one coming.” He turned to Kurt. “Don’t just stand there. Fire!”
“Sorry,” Kurt said. He fired two shots, impacting Reiner’s chest. Daren blinked, noting that Kurt did not try to aim at his head. Reiner wheezed before falling back against Daren. Unfortunately, the revolver got trapped underneath Reiner’s body, and Daren pushed him off of himself. Kurt fired some more, with Daren crawling back before taking cover behind a desk. “I hope you’ll forgive me for that.”
Daren grunted, glancing at Reiner with a half squint before reaching for the side, a katana with a green hilt and a crane head pommel forming on his left hip. “Your boss is dead. It’s over.”
“It’ll be over when you’re dead.” Kurt raised the revolver when Daren jumped out, pulling out his katana with its edge shining cold before it glowed green. He fired as Daren swung Kakaru in a circle, having a confident smirk. The bullet zoomed at him before impacting an invisible force, collapsing in on itself before falling to the floor. Kurt raised an eyebrow at him. “Oh? What’s this?”
“Kakaru,” Daren answered, raising the sword, so it was level with his eyes. “Its steel can generate a shield blocking ranged attacks.”
“Interesting.” Kurt dropped his revolver before pulling out two long knives from his coat. “But does it block hand-to-hand attacks?”
“The usual way,” Daren replied, glaring at Kurt.
At that point, the two charged at each other, swinging their bladed weapons at each other as they ranged with each contact. Kurt grunted, jabbing at Daren, who responded with block after block. Finally, he sliced with his katana, but Kurt ducked under with his hat knocked out instead. He frowned and made several quick jabs and slashes at Daren, with a couple gashing on his arms.
Daren sweated, gritting his teeth as the katana grew heavier, pushing Kurt toward the hole at the center of the room. Kurt twisted around and, noticing it, pressed one of his knives against his katana while swinging the other back. But Daren twisted his wrist, and Kurt blinked, the katana heading to his neck. So, he raised the other blade and blocked it, forcing it back.
Kurt pushed his knife toward Daren’s head, but he ducked underneath it before stabbing him through his stomach. Kurt blinked, the stab doing no visible damage, as though it phased through his body with the blade not even having some blood on it. He laughed before he swung his left knife at Daren’s neck. But he stopped halfway, and both knives slipped from his fingers.
“W-what? I-I feel so drained.” Kurt stumbled back.
“I forgot to mention,” Daren said as an M1911 formed on his right hip, and he pulled it out with his left hand. “Kakaru also absorbs anyone’s energy and feeds it to me, bypassing your physical body. Which is fortunate since it’s been feeding on me as well.”
With that, Daren pointed the pistol at Kurt’s neck and fired, blood spilling out as he grasped for air. He kicked Kurt at the waist, pulling Kakaru out as well, and he fell into the hole, the lights in his eyes disappearing. His body thudded with a crunch and, with a swing that knocked out what little blood was on his katana, he sheathed it.
His left forearm screamed in pain, and Alexandra leaped out from another hole, the floor shaking. She draped a curtain over her body, and she closed her eyes. At once, she shrank in size, her muscles shrinking in size. The floor shook less as she approached Daren, soon becoming his size without becoming a human. Her feminine form, despite the curtains, was visible, and her cheek fur bristled.
“I-I feel like I can control how strong I can be,” Alexandra said, having a grin on her toothy muzzle, her voice more like her human self. “And I feel so fast in this form.”
“Fantastic,” Daren said, stepping to the desk and picking up his TF Scriúire. “And the remaining gangsters?”
“All knocked out. I doubt they’ll be awake anytime soon.” Alexandra turned to Reiner, with bullet holes in his chest. “So, is it over?”
“Not quite.” Daren approached Reiner and kicked his side, who grunted in response. “I thought you were playing dead. But, unfortunately for you, Kurt shot you too quickly to get to me and didn’t act as though he was forced to shoot his friend, enough that I guess you must be wearing a bullet-proof vest underneath that suit.”
“Very clever,” Reiner said, coughing before pointing the Korth Combat at him. “I hoped that Kurt would kill you, but I underestimated you. You cost me my closest friend, and for that, you cannot live anymore.”
Daren rolled his eyes before pointing the TF Scriúire at the revolver, with its light glowing green as it buzzed. At once, the steel on it turned into gold as Reiner pulled on the trigger. He widened his eyes in horror, but the hammer swung forward, discharging the bullet. At once, the revolver exploded, and shards lodged against his palm, with him dropping what remained of his gun as he held his bloody hand.
Reiner grunted, with sweat forming on his brow. “What are you going to do? Kill me?” He smirked. “I’m afraid that’s your best option here.”
Alexandra turned to Daren. “What does he mean?”
“He means that if we take him alive, his connections with the police and the criminal underworld will help protect him, even in jail.” Daren frowned at him. “As such, I cannot let you live as a human since you’ll likely do something like this again. Yet, I am in a forgiving mood.” Alexandra raised an eyebrow at Daren. “I’ll grant you as much mercy as I gave to Dr. Richter.”
At the final word, Daren pointed the TF Scriúire at Reiner again and pressed its button, buzzing as the light glowed green. At first, nothing happened, but Reiner felt his clothing growing loose, his head shrinking into his suit. His feet slipped through his shoes and socks, his nose shrinking as his ears moved up and stretched long. Black fur grew on what visible skin was there until his clothes engulfed him, with Alexandra blinking.
A lump wiggled within the clothes, and a black rabbit poked his head out from it. Daren grabbed him by the scruff, lifting him up while grinning, the Reiner rabbit opening his mouth wide. He handed him to Alexandra, who panicked as she giggled.
“So, you also turned this Dr. Richter into a rabbit?” Alexandra asked as she petted the black rabbit, who still struggled against her.
“Yes,” Daren answered with a shrug, pocketing his TF Scriúire. “Though we should collect him as well.”
Alexandra nodded, her tail wagging behind her. “You know, I always wanted a rabbit as a pet. So I’ll keep them both!”
“Sounds good to me.” Daren rubbed his chin, pulled out a smartphone, and dialed 911 before dropping it on the floor. “And we should get as far as possible. The police should be able to track that call, and once they get here, we’ll be long gone.”
“Yeah.” Alexandra followed Daren, with him dropping into a hole. “And perhaps I should get some clothes as well. Nice ones instead of the lame ones I usually wear.”
Daren laughed despite the pain in his left forearm. “It’s amazing how a moment changes a person. When I met you, you were a sheep. But now, you’re a wolf.”
“Yeah.” Alexandra blushed, though she smiled, wagging her tail. She jumped down, though she twisted to the side, with one door opened a bit. She went over there and opened it, the room full of clothing. Her eyes sparkled and, in half a second, went in and out, wearing clothes instead of a drape. “What do you think?”
Daren paused and turned around just a bit, just enough to notice her new clothing set. An orange tank top hung tight around her waist, her arms bare of any sleeves, and her stomach exposed. A plastic flower lay against her left ear, with yellow petals, and blue shorts that went halfway up her thighs. Black leggings hung from her knees to her ankles, with one rubbing the other, and she rubbed the back of her head.
Daren smiled. “You look beautiful.”
Here is part six of The Werewolf Connection. Enjoy!