The Weretiger Assassin’s Chronicles: Chapter Five
2009 by Lootah Akecheta

Warning! This story contains physical violence, strong language, and bloodshed. It is not intended for the faint of heart. Read at your own risk.

Disclaimer: This is a story of adult sexual content between consenting adults. If you are offended by this type of material then please do not read further. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), then do not read this. It is strictly intended for mature audiences who enjoy reading material of this content. This is a purely fictional story and any resemblance to any persons is strictly coincidental. It is not my intention in the writing of this material to shed an unsavory light on any person by the use of any names in this material. This material is copyrighted by me and may not be used in part or in whole for group entertainment or education, including class rooms, without first obtaining written permission from me. I would appreciate any constructive criticism, complements, or suggestions my readers may have to share with me, however I will flatly ignore flaming out at my material. You may write to me via: akecheta@live.com.


Chapter Five

A Good Hunt

 

Darkness rules in the river swamps just north of Pensacola. I had to drive here and park my car in a primitive campsite on the banks of the Escambia River. The area is bordered by the International Paper Company and they may own it too for all I know. Much to my surprise there were no campers stoking fires, night fishing the river, setting trotlines, or smashing beer cans on their foreheads to the whoops and hollers from their drunken friends. For this I was thankful. I needed privacy tonight with no witnesses. A sonic war waged between the cicadas and crickets as they competed to see who was the loudest. I think the cicadas were winning. I smiled at the insect’s chatter. It was a song I grew up with. These parts are not far from where I lived as a human before Rakish mauled me. I was not turned here in the States but in India while on a safari tour of the country. We were hunting tigers and so I guess I had it coming to me. However my folks called the swamps that skirt the Pearl River northeast of Slidell, Louisiana home. The place is called Pearl River, Louisiana – go figure. To say that I’m at home in swamps is an understatement. The Honey Island Swamp, my birthplace, is a really nice one, or at least it was in the late 1800’s. I haven’t returned to there since my folks died. Too many memories, too many heartaches even a century later.

I eased into the river and made short work of swimming across to the other side where the swamp is a bit thicker and promised better hunting grounds. A nice adult boar would be right up my tree stump but a good stag would do too. Hell at the moment a fawn would work, but I really wanted a boar. I felt like a good fight tonight. When I got to the other side I smelled another species of cat. It was faint on the air but a panther had most certainly prowled these parts not too long ago. It made me nervous but not too worried. A lone natural Florida panther was of no real concern to me. I can handle myself quite well thank you. Yesterday, that’s when she was here. I knew it was a female because the scent of estrogen was much too strong. I kept moving deeper into the swamp and then sat down on an old fallen Cypress tree trunk covered with moss so thick it resembled a very nicely cushioned bench. I’d taken my clothes off at the river’s edge before splashing in so yes; I was naked sitting out here. The mosquitoes didn’t really bother me much because they like their blood a bit cooler than mine. I was rather comfortable actually. I glanced up at the moon and took in all the beauty of the area. Summertime in Florida is hot and muggy even at night, but the water which surrounded me on all sides kept the temperature a bit cooler and being naked and wet helped even more. I could hear all sorts of night sounds – little things that a human would miss: the scuttling of a millipedes legs in the leaves at my feet; the slithering of a water moccasin several feet from me as it made its escape into a small stream feeding the Escambia; a bird rustled uneasily on her nights perch disturbed by my presence. I took another deep breath and concentrated on the change.

After 100+ years changing is easy for me. It doesn’t take much concentration anymore. I simply think what I want and it happens automatically. Like a breeze rippling a serene lake I shifted into full tiger. One moment I was Galin Moondeath the man and the next Galin Moondeath the tiger. I hunched back on my hind legs atop the fallen trunk and looked around me again – my tail twitching back and forth above the ground behind the log. Now everything in the forest had a soft glow of moonlight dancing and shimmering all over their surfaces. It was almost iridescent. The smells of the swamp became much stronger and richer. I realized the female panther was still in the area. She was about four or five miles upwind from where I am right now. I decided I’d give her a wide birth and hunt downstream and downwind of her tonight. The problem of doing so is telling what prey is available for me there. Chances are they’d already smelled my presence the moment I changed and scattered or switched to being much more alert. This was going to complicate the hunt, but it might make it a lot more interesting too. 

I leapt off the log and glided between the trees making no sound as I moved through shadow and light. Moonlight dappled the forest floor making an almost dizzying pattern. There is no real hurry, not yet. The night is young still and I have most of what is left of it to find the kill I need. My black and blood-red colors blend in with the night making me much more difficult to see than what the other creatures are to me. An opossum scratching under a rotten branch looking for grubs; finding none he moved on to the next rotten branch. A dove cooed above me high in the branches of an old pine tree. A snake rattled its warning to me as I draw too close and since I’m not afraid of his poison I ignore him.

I turn east when I come upon the banks of another tributary to the Escambia. It’s a small stream, but larger than the one the moccasin slithered into. Maybe east would prove to be better hunting grounds since my scent hasn’t contaminated it yet. Sure enough I smelled a deer not long after I changed directions. It was north of me and would take me far too close to the panther’s vicinity for comfort so I continued on my easterly track following up the stream until I scented what I’d come here to find – a nice adult male boar. It too was north of me and would take me a lot closer to the Lady Panther than I wanted to go, but I was not giving up this pig. I hungered for the chase, the fight, and the kill. Making my way towards the unsuspecting swine at a slow leisurely gate, I sniffed the air to make sure I stayed downwind of the beast. I didn’t want to spook him too soon. There was no hurries, no need to be impatient. The boar was busy rutting in the ground looking for truffles or whatever else it could find to eat and making way too much noise to detect my presence.

I leapt up onto another fallen tree that hung at an angle against several of its living cousins and made my way up the moss covered wood to gain a better view of the surrounding area. Thank god for claws, this one was slippery. I could see the hog from up here. He was maybe a quarter of a mile away and making so much racket a bulldozer could sneak up on him. Off to the west the faint sounds off river water swirling around tree roots and branches sang to me. It made a soft gurgling sound. Spanish moss hanging from the trees like veils of silken lace glimmered in the moon glow creating three dimensional prisms of shining silver light. A twig snapped behind me and I spun my head around to see who or what it was I’d not noticed earlier – I nearly lost my balance and that would suck. A doe eased through the trees downwind of me bobbing her head cautiously and sniffed the air. My scent would alert here in just a few moments as she passed into the downwind current carrying it. I jumped down from my perch startling her and she made a mad dash back away from me. I glanced toward her briefly before forging a path for the boar.

As I drew closer I crouched down and cat walked on my belly until I got close enough to charge. I’d wait until the boar turned his ass towards me and then I’d pounce. There are few wild animals who really give me much of a challenge and the ones that do I really don’t care to eat. Bears are too large and make way too much wasted meat when I’m done. I don’t like wasting things. Other cats like the Lady Panther are far too close to cannibalism for my taste, so I don’t even go there. Wolves, well let’s just say I have way too many werewolf friends to feel comfortable killing and eating their natural cousins. That leaves wild boar, deer, turkey, pheasants: you get the picture. I crept a little closer. The tip of my tail jerked back and forth in a nervous twitch. I bunched my hind legs up behind me one at a time until they were just right shifting my weight from one to the other getting ready to spring. Finally the damned pig turned his ass to me and I leaped out of my hiding place and onto his back. Damn you should have heard him squeal. My claws dug in and I tried to reposition myself to give the killing bite to his neck but the little bastard kept twisting and turning as he ran around one tree after another. I lost my grip and went flying landing hard on my side in the roots of an ancient Magnolia tree. OK, it’s on now!

I steadied myself waiting for the boar to charge. He would, they’re far too predictable creatures. They always charge. You scare them and they squeal like one of their stuck domesticated cousins, but once the fear wears off? Watch out! Man do they get pissed. Sure enough here he came barreling through the underbrush like a demon on the rampage swinging his head from side to side letting his tusk cut through anything in their path. His tail, curly when I first saw him, stuck straight up in the air like a battle flag. God this is going to be good. I shifted my weight trying to decide the perfect moment to spring and as quick as lightning I was airborne with one paw stretched out to seize the beast’s shoulder. My claws snagged into his tough hide swinging my body around so I landed on his back again. This time I dug my claws into his shoulder and chest while I clamped my jaws over the back of his neck breaking his spine in one swift bite. This style of killing may or may not work for a natural tiger, I don’t know, but I’m nearly two and a half times larger than any tiger on record except for the Saber Tooth, now that was one big cat. I might have been able to bite the boars head off if I’d tried. His legs collapsed under him sprawling us both on the leafy mat of the forest floor skidding to a halt. A plum of moldy dust billowed up around me and I sneezed. Damn, I love a good kill.

I licked the blood from the wounds I’d cut into his hide. It tasted good but as a human might say ‘gamy’. Wild animals have a strong almost acrid taste to their blood but it is one I’ve grown to really like. Domesticated animals have a similar taste, but not quite as strong as their wild counterparts. Humans however have the sweetest blood of all. I’m not sure how wild predators feel about human prey, but to a wereanimal it is almost irresistible once the hunt takes us. That’s why I had such a hard time keeping from killing Alex tonight. His blood tasted so sweet and good. The memory almost made me gag on my boar’s poor blood but I bit deeply into his upper foreleg pulling up while I gripped his hide with my claws. The leg came off rather easily and I tossed it down so I could get at the choice shoulder meat.

Just as I was about to swallow a large chunk I heard a growl nearby. It startled me and I glanced up quickly ready to protect my kill. Before me was the largest Florida Panther I’d ever seen. She was beautiful in her tawny fur with the darker umber markings around her muzzle. She growled again and stepped closer. I flattened my ears and hissed at her ending in a solid growl deep in my throat: batting the air with my paw. This made her pause, but she didn’t back down. She returned my challenge with a nice hissing growl of her own and began to pace back and forth around my kill. I followed her movements making sure I never presented my back to her. I didn’t want to make myself an easy target. She eased closer still growling and hissing, showing enormous fangs – are mine that large? They should be larger, but this cat easily matched my size. She moved up a little closer and I froze. A new smell reached through my senses and tickled my brain. Feline Lycanthrope! This is one of America’s only native species of wereanimals. She was a werecougar; were-mountain lion; werepanther; doesn’t matter what you call them, they are the same species. I realized for the first time that I’d been hunting in a rival clan’s territory without knowing it. I backed down immediately and offered her the kill. It was the only way out of this. If she chose to accept I might live, if not, I’d have to fight my way out of it or die trying. She was a dominant cat the same as I am, but I was in her territory and I bet she had backup.

She hissed at me again and moved in closer to my kill keeping her keen eyes trained on me the whole while. I sat back on my hindquarters curling my tail around my front paws watching as she moved nearer to my boar. I was pissed. I didn’t want to share and I have no doubt it showed in my eyes, it most certainly showed in my lips as I pulled one up in a snarl again showing fang. She snarled back at me batting her paw, claws extended, in the air in front of my face. Her muscles bunched and coiled in her body as she demonstrated her power. I didn’t flinch – mucho marks for me there. I’m no coward but I wasn’t sure I could take her. She lowered her muzzle to sniff the beast that lay between us and gently licked the open wound I’d made in its shoulder. Relaxing only a little, she tore meat from the carcass and swallowed it in one large gulp. I licked my lips tasting the boar’s blood on my muzzle and made to move towards my kill ever so slowly. She instantly growled loud in her throat and hissed over the boar showing her fangs, ears flattened back. She may have forgiven me for hunting in her territory, but she was not willing to share a meal with me – not yet at any rate. I watched in dismay as she devoured both rumps and part of one shoulder before sitting up licking her chops. She gazed me over and then moved to stand directly in front of me. I held my place and watched, tense, ready to spring into action should I need to either fight or make a quick escape. Leaning in towards me she slowly pressed her nose up to mine and sniffed my breath. She then marked my cheek with hers purring loudly. I returned the sniffs and purrs rubbing my cheek against her too.

She strode over and fell heavily onto her side and watched as I slowly approached my boar. She’d taken all the best parts, the rumps and part of one shoulder as a show of her dominance, but she’d left the second best for me. I tore into the beast’s shoulder and pulled strips of flesh off swallowing them whole. It felt good to feed. While I tore the carcass apart eating she sat up and flowed effortlessly into her half human/beast form but said nothing until I’d finished. When there was little left and I’d had my fill I eased off from the remains and shifted to match her new form.

We stared at each other for a while. She was beautiful. I’d only thought her Panther was a wonderful specimen of her breed, but her half beast form was stunning. She had green eyes the color of the water on the Emerald Coast so deep they made you feel as though you’d fall into them forever. Her pelt was the same color as her full beast and it covered her ample breast and shapely form like a tight fitting dress. I’m not much into women, but I’d have to consider it for this one. I waited for her to speak first because as a trespasser I had little rights at all, or at least that’s how it works in Tiger Country. She finely asked: “Who are you?” Her voice was deep and had a trace of growl in it. This didn’t mean she was angry because we all have that sound to our voice in this form. It is not easy to make human words come out of a cat’s mouth no matter how human the body looks.

“I am Galin Moondeath of the Moondeath Clan of Black Tigers in America.” I waited for her to make the next move before I said anything else.

“Well Galin Moondeath of the Moondeath Clan of Black Tigers in America, do you know you are trespassing on the hunting territory of the Swampbane Tribe of American Panther?” She didn’t seem to be upset about my trespass, but that could change in less time than it takes a shooting star to fall.

“I didn’t know I was trespassing until I met you here just now. I would not have hunted here had I known of your ‘Tribe’s’ claim on this territory.” I paused… “Why didn’t I smell you as a wereanimal as soon as I caught your scent? I should have smelled it all over this place.”

“I like you Galin Moondeath of the Moondeath Clan of Black Tigers in America.” This is how we talk to one another if we are strangers meeting in difficult situations like this. It gives you time to think. “You are polite and you know you place considering you’re in our territory. If I’d wanted to I could have called our whole Tribe here tonight and you would have made a nice play toy until we tired of you.” Like I had earlier, she paused before continuing. “To answer your question, I don’t really know why you should smell us as a wereanimal. Werepanthers are a slightly different species of Lycanthrope then others around the world.” I hadn’t known this. I guess it is like the difference between a horse and a zebra.

I bowed my head. It was clear she was at least as dominant as me and I was not going to take the risk of pissing her off. “I meant no harm my lady, only the need to satiate the hunger that grips us all from time to time.” She paused before answering so I continued. “I would like to ask you and your ‘tribe’s’ permission to hunt in this area while I’m here. I should not be here but a few more days before duty will call me away.”

“Why this area, there are other places around where you can hunt.” She was becoming defensive. Most of us cats are very territorial.

“Because I have already met you and I don’t know what other clan’s live around here or where your territory ends and the other wilds begin.”

“Spoken like a very wise little kitty.” She smiled at her own humor and I had to agree it was funny. “Very well, I will relay your request to our Council of Elders and ask they grant you permission. I sense there is another reason you have asked for this consent. What have you not told me?”

Oh she was good. I don’t give away secrets and my facial expressions were blank the whole time I spoke with her. “I’m afraid I was with a friend this evening when the hunger struck. We were mating and I bit him while in this form. He is now one of us and I cannot leave him to his own devices. I must teach him to hunt and the full moon is upon us.”

She eyed me suspiciously as I sat there not moving. I took a chance telling her this. She liked me and that meant in more ways than just one. Also, most people who become wereanimals bring their bias with them. If she was homophobic as a human, chances were she still was. “I see. It takes a lot of control when one mates not to change in the middle of it, but you are not young my prince. You should have the control necessary to have prevented this.”

“I chose not to prevent it. I wanted to infect him with this gift but I could have chosen better timing. I’d forgotten in the heat of passion that the full moon is so close.”

“Very well, I’ll pass on your request and vote in favor to allow you this privilege, and it will be a privilege indeed if the council votes in favor of it. Most likely they will refuse you. Is there a place where we may contact you so I can give you our judgment?”

I gave her the hotel and room number where I was staying. I also gave her my cell number in case she couldn’t reach me at the hotel. She has a photographic memory – I asked. “So you will not confuse the poor desk clerks, they know me as Simon Throneoak. I seldom give outsiders my clan name.”

She nodded and walked off into the swamp. From a distance she called back to me, “I like you Galin and I hope to see you again soon, I’m Shea.” Then she was gone, just like that, too fast to see in the night. As I turned to leave I felt eyes on me. I looked around but saw no one. A shudder ran up my spine like a cold wind full of ice. I shivered and slipped into the night and back to civilization.
 

*          *          *

I climbed the stairs to my suite – I was still full of energy from the hunt and the encounter so I felt the need for physical activity. I had to face Isaac and the others here soon and I wasn’t looking forward to it, so taking the stairs also wasted more time. I hoped Alex hadn’t awakened in my absence. I slipped my keycard into the slot and opened the door. No one was in the living area of the hotel room so I made my way to the bathroom to clean up. The river washed all the blood and other bits from the hunt off me, but I still had river water and a bit of sand to wash off.

It was around 3:40 when I emerged from the shower and stepped naked into my bedroom. Isaac sat in an overstuffed chair in the corner of the room across from its twin in the other corner. Snoring loudly on the bed were Jacob and Alex in a nice little kitten pile. “Did Alex wake at all tonight?”

“No, but he is no longer passed out. He came around about an hour ago. Never woke up really, but he started moving around and mumbling. He’s had a couple of bad dreams and I was forced to nudge him awake just enough to break the dream, but other than that it has been very peaceful after Jacob passed out.”

“Did you put Jacob in bed with him?”

“No, Jacob did that himself. He argued that if you were not coming home tonight then he was going to crash on your bed. He was out as soon as his head hit the pillow. This was around…” Isaac looked at his watch, “midnight or so. How did the hunt go?”

“Oh it was great!” I walked over to the empty chair and pulled it closer to Isaac’s so we could talk with quieter voices. I met someone while out there. She’s a werepanther by the name of Shea. Beautiful panther and woman.”

“I thought you did not like women?”

“Not for the most part, no. I’d make an exception for this one though. Mina would be pissed about it if I started dating or seeing someone outside of my species though – of course it would be tempered by her delight about me finding a woman who can move me too.” I sat down and let a long deep breath ease out of me.

“Mina?”

“Oh yea, you don’t know everything about me, do you?” I smiled at the fact that Isaac wasn’t as informed about me as he liked to think. “Mina’s my queen. She’s the matriarch of my clan.” I paused… “She and an entourage of my people are coming here tomorrow, uh… today. They’ll be here around 11:00. First on the agenda will be to meet Alex and then we’ll be going out to grab some lunch. I’d like you and Jacob to join us until after lunch if you would. It will make them behave themselves about Alex until they have a moment to be around him a little bit. It might help them accept him better.”

“I take it they are not very happy with you about turning him, are they?” He uncrossed his legs and re-crossed them in the other direction. Isaac was one of those men who can truly cross his legs like a woman can, bent over at the knee so the claves lay across each other. I’m all male when it comes to crossing my legs. I can’t do it that way to save my life. Nope, I put my ankle on top of my knee when I cross mine.

I laughed at the thought of it. “No they aren’t pleased about it at all. In fact Mina and Rōk are flying down here personally. Mina never leaves our homeland at all for any reason.”

I must have looked nervous because Isaac chuckled. “OK, I’ll play chaperone for you all. Maybe with me around they won’t bite your head off too badly. I grimaced at the idea of Mina or Rōk biting my head off mainly because either of them could do it. “Bad choice of words I take it?”

When I looked up Isaac had a little mischievous smile just barely tugging the corners of his lips up. “Yea, you could say that.” I retorted and relaxed my shoulders.

“We still need to discuss our plans and the circumstances of your employment.” He sat there silently for a little while waiting for me to answer I guess.

“Yea we do but I need to get a few hours sleep before Mina gets here. May this wait until tomorrow evening after my family go home?” My cell rang just as I stood up to move to the bed. It was Mina’s cell, the one she never uses except on trips – that is to say, she never uses it. I flipped it open and held it to my ear. “Hi mother. Are you in the air yet?”

“Nope Klaus and I are still on the ground getting the jet fueled and ready.” It was Rōk. “It’s been a while since we’ve needed to use it. We’ll be leaving around 9 this morning. That’s about the earliest Mina could get all her packing done.”

“Packing, I thought you were only coming here for the day and then going home?”

“That was the plan, but you know Mina. Like most women I know she can’t go anyplace without packing about a gazillion things. If you ever do decide to mate with a female, I hope she is more like a man or you’ll never get along.” There was a bit of sheepishness in his voice. He accepted my orientation, but like Mina he always hoped I’d find a good woman and settle down, typical father.

“So that means you’ll be here around 10:30 to 11:30 then?” I sat heavily on the side of the bed. “Rōk, Alex is still sleeping off the infection. He may not be awake before you get here. Can you delay your departure a couple of hours?”

The phone connection was silent for a while before Rōk spoke again. “Why do you insist on calling it an infection Galin? You know it’s a gift.” He paused a moment. “I don’t know, I guess I still expect you to accept the gift you were given even if my brother meant to kill you. You know you’re his favorite son?” I actually have two fathers in the clan. Rōk is my Clan Father as he is the Clan Father of all the clan members, but his brother Rakish is my blood-father since he’s the one who infected… OK, ‘gave me the gift’. “Mina is still pretty pissed with you, but if I know her she’ll delay our departure all on her own without any help from me. She may be pissed, but she is psyched about the trip. Do you realize it’s been over 80 years since she’s left these mountains? The more she thought about going to Pensacola it has become all she can talk about. I swear it Galin, she’s packing for a month.” There was a lot of humor in his voice and a bit of bewilderment too I think. I couldn’t help but smile at the mental image of Mina running around the house grabbing everything in sight that she’d be certain they’d need for their day trip. Of course she may stay a month for all I knew. The last time she traveled was back before aircraft were invented. They’d taken an Ocean Liner to Europe and back and she stayed sea sick most of the trip, swearing she’d never travel again. Until now she’s kept that vow. I guess it takes a wayward child to make a parent break promises.

“Well regardless if she’s pissed with me or not, I’m looking forward to seeing you all. It’s been far too long since we’ve spent any amount of time together.”

“Us too son, it will be good to see you. Do you really like this Alex?”

I could hear the apprehension in his voice. “Yes I really do like him dad. He’s a punk, he’s trouble, he’s cute as a button and sexy as hell, but I think once he accepts his new life he and I will have lots of fun together.” I paused again. “Dad, I also met the local Werepanthers this evening while hunting, or rather I met one. I didn’t realize I was in their territory and a female named Shea confronted me.”

There was silence on the phone so long I thought he’d gone mute or the connection had broken. “I’m glad to hear you’re still alive. Are you in trouble with them?”

“I don’t think so. She liked me a lot and she said she’d talk with her council about allowing me to hunt for the few more days I’ll be here. I have a feeling I’ll be seeing her tomorrow sometime. Too bad she’s not a weretiger, I think she may be one of the few females I could enjoy being with.”

This brought on another long silence. “Don’t tell Mina unless this Shea comes around. I don’t think she can handle you taking any sort of a shine to anyone outside our species. I mean it Galin. Don’t tell her.”

“OK dad. I’ll keep it to myself.”

“Well, we’ll see you later this morning. Get some sleep and keep your son on a tight leash once he wakes up. I think Mina plans on making you keep him with you for his training.”

“What? Dad, I can’t take him with me. I’m on a job and a very complicated one at that.”

“You should have thought of that before you turned him. Mina meant what she told you the last time you did this. It will be your responsibility provided she allows him to live.”

I swallowed hard. “Dad please, she can’t kill him outright can she? I mean… she wouldn’t would she?”

“I don’t think so, but you never know about her Galin. She is the most fickle woman I’ve ever met when it comes to things like this. If she weren’t so powerful, I doubt she’d still be the Clan Queen. You didn’t hear me say that though. God forbid she found out.”

“Oh come on Rōk, you know Mina is the best queen we’ve had in centuries. Everyone says so anyway. I’ve never known any queen other than Mina. She’s a good leader.” Rōk knows I’m very defensive of my mother. She’s the closest thing I’ve had to a mom since my birth mother died. Certainly she could be harsh or even sadistic when it served her purpose, but I’ve never know a woman who wasn’t that way among weretigers.

“I know Galin. I was just thinking that’s all. Please don’t tell Mina what I said. She’d have my head on a platter if you do.”

“Your secret is safe with me dad. Please tell everyone hi for me and I’ll be looking for you.”

“Ok son, bye.”

“Bye.” But the phone had already gone dead in my hand. Dad wasn’t happy about something and I had a feeling it had to do with his mate. I wonder what Mina did to piss him off, but then what doesn’t she do?

Isaac looked at me a long time. “Do you really think she’ll kill him?”

“No, but Mina is unpredictable about this sort of thing. I’ll only know for sure once she gets here and meets him. I hope he’ll take me seriously when I tell him he has to be on his best behavior.” I looked at the sleeping men in my bed. They were both handsome. Jacob had dark hair cut short and a goatee that was more like a Van Dike nicely trimmed. He was a large man as far as my taste go. I prefer my men to be thin or built tight and firm. Jacob was a little overweight, but not much. His body was hairy with dark curls covering his chest. He snored though and that has always bothered me. Alex on the other hand is as I’ve described him: rail thin at the moment but the change will take care of that. His dyed hair looked like a faint darkness around his head on the white pillow with a hint of red. He was tall, about four inches taller than my 5’8” and covered in tight defined muscles. The two of them were a study in contrast.

“He really is a nice looking boy Simon. I do not know what the others you have turned were like, but I think you certainly could have done worse than this one.”

I looked at Isaac. “I didn’t know you were into men Isaac. You surprise me.”

“I’m not, but I can see beauty when I look at it and I do not mind saying so. Well, since you have returned I guess we can finally go on to bed. What time do you want us up in the morning?”

“Mina and the rest will be here between 10:30 and 11:30. I’ve got to get Alex up early enough to get some presentable clothes for him to wear. What do you say to 8 o’clock?”

“I think it is going to come damned early; that is what I think about it. It will be a miracle if either of us can get these boys up before 1 in the afternoon. But if 8 is when you need us up, then 8 it is. Good night Simon. I will see you in the morning.” With that Isaac walked over and pulled a sleepy and complaining Jacob out of bed and carried him to the spare bedroom. I said goodnight again as I closed the door behind them and turned to look at Alex.

He lay there sound asleep lying halfway on his side and his back. The sheet slipped off him when Isaac pulled Jacob out of the bed and his entire upper body was exposed including his thick flaccid cock. I stared at him a long time before I joined him in the bed. Where he looked gaunt before, his skin smoothed out and the underlying muscles already began filling out making him look much younger. Where I’d figured his age to be around 28 or 30 in the sun yesterday, he now looks closer to his real age of 20 if not younger. It always amazes me how quickly the change takes place. Within a week he’ll look like he’s been working the last six months or so in a gym building definition as opposed to bulk. If he lets his hair grow out he’ll see it’s no longer his medium brown but a black-red hue like mine and by later today his eyes will already begin transforming to pale chartreuse like mine. He is my blood-son. He will take on my tiger traits as I took on the traits of my blood-father Rakish. It is the way of the weretigers. I sat there looking at my son, my son – god what a trip! This is the first son I’ve created that is younger than I am; then I was when I was turned. I’m 110 years old now, but I still look like the 27 year old man I was when Rakish mauled me. I prayed to the gods that Alex will not hate me for this. I did ask if he wanted the change, if he wanted the cure I could give him and he’d said yes, but will he remember saying it? Will he think I tricked him? After all, I guess I did. I’d planned to change him even before we met yesterday. All I required of him was to answer my questions the way I wanted him too. Learning the circumstances of his illness answered the rest of my doubts. Had he not been infected at a time and age where he had little or no choice in the matter I’d have walked off and left him to die. Had he proven to be an infectious bastard spreading the disease to everyone he could, I'd have killed him outright, but he was neither of these. He was, for all intense and purpose, innocent.

I crawled onto the bed and slipped down beside Alex. It felt good to lie down and stretch out especially beside this sleeping sexy young man. Of course he may not be so sexy tomorrow when he wakes up and sees me. The last time he saw me I was in my half tiger form. It is not a comforting sight to see a black furry face with fangs looking at you when you’re in the throes of passionate sex. He’ll probably think it was all a dream at first, but that will change as soon as he looks into the mirror. I relaxed next to my new son and thought about tomorrow. Yes I am nervous about Mina meeting Alex, or rather about Alex meeting her. After all, Alex is the wild card here. I know little of him. Mina I know and I can pretty much guess how she’ll react to him, but I have no idea how he’ll react to her. Is he a chauvinist? Is he a heterophobe? I simply did not have the answers. In his sleep he curled up against me and snuggled in close murmuring about black cat monsters and teeth. I felt his hands grip me tight like a frightened little child. Shit! He’s having nightmares about it. What did I expect though? It would have frightened the B-Jesus out of me to be fucking someone and look up into the face of certain death in the form of a black tiger’s maw full of fangs dripping with saliva. Yea, he had a right to be frightened. I am a monster – sometimes. 

*          *          *

The next morning came way too early. Isaac woke me up since I forgot to set my alarm clock. “God, what time is it?”

“It is eight o’clock in the fucking morning and if I have to get up at this ungodly hour after staying up all night, so do you.” He had a stern look on his face, but a twinkle in his eyes.

“Ugh! I don’t want to get up.” I complained.

“Neither did me. Now get up.”

I pulled my ass out of bed and stumbled for the bathroom. As I closed the door I heard the radio click on in the living area. It was actually my laptop connected to iTunes Radio and I heard the sweet voice of Etta James fill the suite. I smiled and couldn’t help wonder if Isaac really did like the same sort of music I do.

The shower felt great and when I emerged I smelled the inviting aroma of hot coffee. “I like this blend of coffee you have Simon. Where did you get it?”

“In Columbia, I got it while I was down there last month. It’s my favorite – roasted just right.”

“I see why. Would you like me to pour you a cup?”

I smiled as I looked at the man, I mean really looked at him for the first time that morning. I realized that for once he was not wearing his stupid trench coat and fedora. “Damn Isaac, you need to stop wearing all those clothes. You’re down right sexy.”

“Close your mouth Simon and stop drooling, you cannot have this. Do you want coffee?”

“Yes please.” He grinned at me as I scratched my balls and sat naked on the barstool; receiving my blessed cup of Joe.

“When are you going to wake up Alice in there?”

“Alice? What…” His grin grew wider. “Why you call him Alice?”

“Alice in Wonderland?” He shook his head and his wavy black curls wafted around his face. “What you did to him is going to mind fuck him as much as it did Alice falling down the rabbit hole, or the tornado landing Dorothy in the Land of Oz.  ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.’ Imagine what he’s going to do when he takes his shower and looks in the mirror. His eyes have already turned Simon. You’ve got to think of what to say to him when he wakes up. You cannot just let him walk into the Water Closet to that shock.”

“Shit, what do you mean his eyes have already changed? That won’t happen for another four or five hours Isaac. There’s no way he’ll notice any difference this early.”

“Obviously you have not looked at his eyes, have you? Go in there and raise his eyelids, then tell me what reaction he’s going to have.”

I stood up abruptly and bolted for my room. Alex was still sound asleep as I approached his bedside. Leaning over him I gently lifted an eyelid and nearly shit myself. No one has ever changed this completely this early. Holy shit! What was I going to say? How was I going to prepare him? I turned and paced the floor. After a little while I heard a sound behind me and turning I saw Alex half sitting up staring at me.

“Why am I here?” He asked.

I stared at him dumbfounded. Now that both his eyes were open and looking at me there was no denying what I was seeing. Not only were his eyes different but week's worth of developments in his body had also occurred. This was impossible. He looked like a totally different person. “Hi Alex,” I smiled at him, “sleep well?”

“Yea, but I had a horrible dream. I thought you were some sort of monster, black fur and full of teeth. Why am I here?”

“We came here last night. You were pretty drunk man.”

“He looked skeptical. “I don’t remember coming here. What happened?”

“We were fucking in the park and you passed out. I brought you here, cleaned you up and put you to bed.” God damn! What was I going to tell him? The truth, that’s what. “Alex, what do you remember from yesterday?”

“Wait a minute. How do you know my real name?”

“Your billfold, it fell out of your pants last night while I was cleaning you up and I saw your license.” There, how’s that for truth? He took it all out of hand as though my looking in his billfold to find his license was perfectly normal. I’d have been pissed if someone did that to me. Hmmm, makes me wonder who is more mature here.

“I don’t remember much. We were at the park talking and drinking beers. Once it got dark we slipped off to the bushes and started fucking around and you asked me to let you fuck me. I said no, but I really did want you to, so I changed my mind and said yes. You started fucking me and it felt great, but hurt pretty badly too.” He looked up at me. “Then it gets weird. I remember you asking me if I wanted you to cure me of HIV. I couldn’t understand what you were asking but I said yes, but how can you cure me of HIV? It’s impossible, especially once it gets to the stage mine is. Then you asked…” He paused and seemed to get scared. He pulled the covers up around his chest and sat there looking at me. “You told me to look at you, but it wasn’t you. It was some sort of monster – all black fur and yellow eyes and teeth, oh my god those teeth. They were so large and sharp. I thought you were going to kill and eat me or something. I started to scream and you kissed me. God man, this has to be a dream, please tell me it was all a dream.”

“Alex, I’m afraid none of it was a dream.” He looked at me horrified. “Please listen to me before you start freaking out.” He just sat there looking at me as though I’d punched his gut.

“OK.” His voice was small.

“What do you know of wereanimals?”

“What? Shit man, what the fuck are you talking about? You mean like werewolves or some shit like that?”

“That’s exactly what I’m talking about.” He opened his mouth to say something and then closed it back looking startled as someone will look at a boy who just said he saw a flying saucer in church. “Only I’m not a werewolf but a weretiger.” His eyes grew as big around as plates and it was eerie looking into them. It was like looking into my own eyes. “I did ask you if you wanted me to cure you of HIV last night, you did say yes, I did tell you to look at me, and you saw exactly what you think you saw.”

After a moment of stunned silence he lashed out at me. “Bullshit, you fucking freak!” yelling in my face, yep I was freaking him out. “Man you are so fucking fucked up! Where are my clothes? I’m out of here.” When I didn’t move to get his clothes or tell him where they were he shouted his question at me. “Where are my fucking clothes?”

I raised my voice so Isaac would hear me. “Isaac, will you bring the hand mirror from the bathroom for me please?” Alex was not waiting for me to get his clothes. He was already out of the bed and looking around the room when Isaac appeared in the door carrying a large hand mirror and handed it to me.

“What the fuck is this shit!” Alex’s eyes were getting bloodshot from his fear fueled anger.

I took the mirror and looked at the young man. “Look in this mirror and tell me what you see.”

“I don’t want to look in your fucking mirror. I want to get the fucking hell out of here. Shit! Where are my God Damned clothes?” I held the mirror up in front of him so he had to look and before he could glance away he saw his eyes. They looked a fright too to say the least with the chartreuse irises and the bloodshot whites around them. He stood there quietly shaking as he gazed into my eyes reflected from his own face in the mirror. “This is impossible.” He mumbled. “You’ve fucking put contacts in my eyes while I was sleeping. What kind of game is this you fucking bastard?” Trembles rolled through is body as anger flushed his face.

“If you think they are contacts then go to the bathroom and try to remove them.” He stared at me for a moment and then shot out the door. Following him I saw he was indeed going to the bathroom. He got the door locked before I could go in behind him. “Alex, open the door.” He wouldn’t answer me. “Alex, don’t make me do this, open the door please.” He still didn’t answer, but I heard him crying on the other side. I pounded on the door. “Alex, please open the door!”

“No!” Sobs.

“You leave me no choice Alex.” I concentrated on the young man on the other side of the door. I felt his energies and I felt his fears, his anger, and his pain. I gathered my own weretiger energies and pushed them through the door and into Alex. I heard him gasp and then cry out. “Open the door Alex, now.”A strained “No!” came through the door. I pushed my energy into him a little harder and I thought soothing thoughts towards the frightened man. His breathing started to clam and his sobs quieted to just normal crying. “Alex, open the door.” I hear the knob rattle and the lock release. Opening the door I looked at him leaning against the sink staring into the mirror.

“What have you done to me?” His eyes were very accusing as he glared at me through the mirror. “I can’t get them out. I can’t refuse you. You made me open that door, didn’t you? I didn’t have a choice, did I?” His voice was strained.

“Yes.” I didn’t say anything else. That one word said it all.

“Why?” He was clutching at the edge of the sink and I realized his eyes and his general appearances were not the only thing that had changed. His strength was also building much faster than it should. I’ve never seen this and I wondered how long it would be before he was more dominant than me.

“Because once I met you and started talking with you, I didn’t want to let you die. Not when I knew I could stop it.”

“What the fuck? What’s that supposed to mean? I’m going to die Simon. It’s the nature of this damned disease. It’s going to happen.”

“No, no it’s not. You are like me now Alex. You are a weretiger and no disease will ever infect you again.”

“You really believe this shit, don’t you?”

“I believe it because it’s the truth. Your eyes have already changed – something that should not happen for another 4 or 5 hours. Your muscles have filled out way more than they should and that is something that should not happen for another 4 to 5 weeks. The changes are real. You will turn furry once a month and there is nothing you can do about it, not yet at any rate. I will help you deal with all these changes, but your life will never be the same again and you have an eternity of adventures ahead of you. Do you realize what I’ve done for you?”

“What you’ve done for me?” The contempt was solid in his voice. “What you’ve fucking done is the same as raping me. You’ve violated me Simon, or is that your real name? Was that a lie too? Obviously you don’t have a flight to Beijing this morning.”

I looked at him and sighed. “No, my real name is Galin Moondeath and I’m a member of the Moondeath Clan of Weretigers. We are Moondeaths Alex, you and me.” I looked at him and tried to place as much compassion in my eyes as I could muster. “As soon as I bit you, you became a member of my clan, a place where you will always be welcome, always be home, and always fit in. You also became immortal, and immune to all diseases, not just HIV.” He stepped backward until his back hit the wall and then slowly slid down it to sit naked on the cold tiled flooring. I knelt beside him and started to touch his shoulder but he flinched away from me. “Honestly Alex, I’ve given you a great gift. One you will grow to love. You will have strengths you could only imagine before: physical strength, psychic strength, incredibly sensitive hearing, increased sense of smell, and very keen eyesight. You can already see the changes Alex. You saw your eyes, but did you really look at them? I mean look at them for the wonder they are?”

He shook his head and his eyes started to fill with tears again. I handed him the mirror. “I don’t want to look.” He hiccupped and I still held the mirror out.

“Please, just look, look at them real close and tell me what you see.”

He took the mirror shooting me a glance of defiance but he looked in the mirror and studied his eyes. A long time passed before his manner changed. “Oh my god!”

“See?” I tentatively touched his shoulder and he didn’t flinch from me this time. “See what I’m talking about?”

“Yes, but I don’t understand it. What…?”

“Describe what you see Alex. Tell me what you see in your own eyes?”

“I see every little detail. I mean I can even see the blood capillaries inside my eyes and the pulse of blood. I… I see… I never knew the eyes were that detailed, that they have that much depth to them.”

“Now look at your hands Alex and tell me what you see.”

He did as I said. He looked really close at his hands as he had his eyes. “These are not my hands.” He looked at me and his expression asked all the questions he couldn’t form with his mouth. “My hands have not looked like this in years. How… How is this possible?”

“How are your eyes possible if I’m not telling you the truth?” He simply shook his head in bewilderment. “Alex, it really is a gift that I’ve given you. I didn’t harm you. Yes I bit you, but that was necessary. You were dying Alex. I mean you were really dying. Another week, two at the most and you would not be here anymore. Now you will live forever unless someone physically kills you.” Again I pushed my energy over him and this time he didn’t fight it. It slid over and into him soothing every muscle that had tightened from fear and anger. I felt him relax against the wall and slide toward me until he leaned his head against my shoulder. I wrapped him into my arms and held him there on the bathroom floor and let him cry until he was through.

“I didn’t want to die. I’m scared of it.” He admitted with his voice muffled against my chest.

“Well, now you don’t have too.” I held him until his body relaxed completely. “How about we get up off this cold, hard floor?”

He laughed, “OK.” I stood taking him with me letting him feel the strength in my body as I picked him up and carried him back to the bedroom. After laying him on the bed I retrieved his shorts and shirt, his jewelry and his shoes from the closet and gave them to him. He looked at me almost panicking. “What, you tell me all this shit and do this to me and then you want me to get dressed and get the hell out of here, is that it?” Anger rode his fear.

“No,” I sat down behind him and wrapped my arms tightly around his waist and held him to me, “I want you to get dressed so we can go out and get some clothes for you that will fit and look nice for later today.” He looked confused. “Our queen is coming to meet you Alex. You have to be presentable for her. I don’t want to give her any reason at all for not liking you.”

“Our queen?” He sounded suspicious again. “We have a queen?”

I smiled at him as I explained a little of the stuff he’ll be learning over the next two years. “Yes we have a queen and we all call her mother although she isn’t really any older than you, at least in her looks. She is in truth over 400 years old. Her name is Mina Moondeath and she will be coming with a group of our people who will decide your fate.” He started to look panicky again at the words ‘deciding your fate’. “They are not going to kill you Alex, but they will decide where you go for the next two years and they will give you a clan name. I cannot stress how important it is that you be on your best behavior and do what I tell you. Mina can have you killed if she wants, so please don’t give her a reason. For that matter she could have me killed too if it served her purpose, but she is kind and gentle and I have no doubt she will like you.” He visibly relaxed. “Now get dressed while I go pour coffee for you. You look like you could use some.”

“OK, thanks.” He said, his voice sounded small again but he was beginning to be more himself.

“How do you like it?”

“What?”

“Your coffee… How do you like it?” I said.

“Oh, black thanks.” I nodded my head and walked into the living area and kitchenette but I left the bedroom door open. After about five minutes he came out of the room wearing his clothes except for the jewelry. “I figured it would be better for me not to wear my chains: might make the wrong impression.” I gave him a smile as I handed him the coffee which he received graciously. As he took the proffered cup of Joe my cell rang.

“Hello?”

“Galin dear, how are you and your new son doing this morning?”

“Hi mother, we’re fine. I’m about to take Alex out to find some presentable clothes for him. You said upscale casual?”

“Yes that would work. Does he know yet?”

“I just told him.”

“He took it badly I expect.”

“Yes mam, pretty badly, but he seems to be calming down now though. Have you all left yet?”

“Yes, we just took off. I’m calling you from the jet. I have to say this is certainly different from going by ship. I think I might like traveling again now.” She seemed to be enjoying herself. “It is such a sight from up here. I never knew the country was so divided.”

“Divided, you mean the way it is all parceled out to different types of use?”

“Yes dear, that’s exactly what I mean. It looks like a green and brown patchwork quilt. Anyway, I called to let you know that we’ll be there around noon. We’re running a little late, your father said he was having trouble with the jet. I think he was just stalling for time, don’t you?” God I hated it when she asked this kind of question.

“I asked him to delay your journey mom and don’t get mad at us. I wasn’t sure if I could wake Alex early enough to get him ready for your arrival. As it is, I think I’ll have just the right amount of time.”

“Well, then it worked out for the best I guess. I promise I’ll not get mad at you two. I swear you have no faith in me at all.”

“I love you mom.” I rarely call her mom and it felt weird on my tongue. “I’ve got to go mother if I’m going to have Alex ready for you when you get here.”

“OK honey. We’ll be there right at noon local time. I’ll see you then.”

“OK mother. Goodbye.

“Goodbye Galin and I love you too.” She hung up and so did I pocketing my phone.

I glanced at Alex. “Did you catch all of that?”

“Yea, I even heard what she said to you. That must be one loud phone.”

“Nope, it’s no louder than any phone. It was your improved hearing that allowed you to hear all of it.” A look of amazement washed over his face.

“You mean I can hear all phone conversations like that?” He asked.

“Yep, that’s what I mean.” He gave me a grin and I had to return it to him. His whole face lit up like the sun shining a spotlight just on him. I walked over and pulled him into a hug. He resisted a little but then relaxed into it. “I’ll take care of you Alex; you are not in this alone.” I kissed his head. “We’ll teach you want you need to know.”As I hugged him to me I felt a liknk form between us nad immediately begin strengthening. It felt good and scared me all at the same time. I've heard of this before, but I'd never experienced it even though I've created five other blood-children because I was neeveer around them long enough for it to form. It felt good and I relished in thecloseness it brought between Alex and me.

A loud fart ripped out behind us and I looked around to see Jacob stumble into the room looking much worse for wear. “God damned! What the fuck time is it anyway? All that yelling woke me up.” He said grumpily.

“It is nice to see you too this morning Jacob.” Isaac said in a sarcastic voice. “I woke you nearly an hour ago. Why are you only now dragging your arse out of bed?”

“I don’t like waking up. Is that coffee I smell?”

“Yes,” I said, “want some?”

“Damn right I want some? Who are you?”

“I’m your host Jacob.” I poured him a cup of coffee and handed it to over. He took it without as much as a thank you, but he seemed to relish the taste of the coffee.

“I warned you Simon, Jacob is not much of a morning person.” Turning to Jacob he added. “Jacob, I’d like you to meet Simon and Alex. They are helping me with your situation. Say hello Jacob.”

Jacob scowled as he glanced at us all. “Hello Jacob,” he growled. So what if he stole the line from Gracie of the George and Gracie Show. It was funny and we all seemed to laugh a little and shake our heads.
 

*          *          *

This concludes Chapter Five. Please feel free to write to me to share what you think about this story so far. I'm not sure how long I'll make it, but I will continue as people express interest in the story. Again constructive criticism, comments or complements are welcome, but if you just want to flame the story, then I respectfully ask you to keep your opinions to yourself. I may be reached at:  akecheta@live.com