Warning: This chapter contains some graphic scenes against people under the age of 18. It had been softened from the original verison but I wanted to leave this as a warning to be safe.
The crack of wood snapping and splintering open was all that could be heard that night. From the second floor, Conan and his two sisters jolted awake. Conan peered into the darkness, listening for a clue. He heard their elderly guardians come from their room across the hall. First was Joseph, who came out with his rifle in hand; followed by his wife Gertrude. She stopped and stood in the door frame while Joseph continued downstairs, gun at the ready.
“Stay up here, children,” Gertrude instructed as she turned back to look down the dark staircase where her husband disappeared. She moved to join him, but just then, a commotion broke out downstairs.
There was a scream that echoed off the walls. It was Joseph’s; followed by the sound of his rifle firing, a low groan, and something large being thrown against a wall, and crumpling to the ground.
Then— it went silent. All they could hear was the children’s whimpers and Gertrude gasping in disbelief.
“J-Joseph?” she called down the stairs, but there was nothing for a few moments. No one answered... but then, the sound of creaks as someone approached, the thump of a foot on the first step below. Gertrude moved to the edge of the stairs and peered down. Her eyes went wide and she began to shake. The children could only see the terror in her eyes... not what had brought her to such a state. More creaks— Gertrude took a step back, never turning away from what was coming up the stairs.
It was Bridget who jumped to action and ran to the bedroom door. She motioned to Gertrude. “Get in here! I’m gonna lock the door.” Gertrude glanced at Bridget for a moment, but didn’t seem to hear or understand her. “I have my siblings to protect. If you don’t move now, I’m gonna have to lock you out!”
The threat had no effect and the woman stared back down the stairs. Bridget quickly shut and locked the door, leaving Gertrude in the hallway. “Dear Lord, please forgive me,” Bridget cried. She turned back to look at her siblings who seemed confused. She then ran to the bed and forcibly grabbed her siblings by the arms and pulled them to their feet. Bridget hurried over to the window, held onto its frame, and looked down.
“Get out!” she ordered “Climb down and run as fast as you can.”
They were still frozen with fear, standing by the bed. Even as they heard the stairs creak closer and heard Gertrude let out a scream. Bridget flew to her siblings’ side, grabbing Conan and Sarah by the arms and pulling them forward. She lifted Sarah through the window first and helped ease her down the ivy lattice. Then, she did the same for Conan, lifting him through the window and helping him begin his descent towards the ground.
Conan nearly lost his grip and fell when he heard a loud, sharp scream. Something was being thrown against the bedroom door— another thump. Bridget went pale and she turned to her siblings who were trying to climb down. She gave Conan a long, serious stare. “Take Sarah and you run. Keep running until you think you’re safe, and then keep running.”
There was the sound of the door being hit once more, and the wood cracked. Conan let out a little squeak. Sarah let go and stumbled to the ground, falling only a few inches; she scrambled to her feet. Bridget grabbed the poker from the fireplace in the bedroom. She held it up and readied herself to fight whatever was on the other side of that door.
Conan wanted to climb back up and help his sister, but he knew she’d want him to do as she said. So he hurried down the lattice, meeting his sister at the bottom. Conan looked at Sarah for a moment then took her hand. “She said to run and to keep running. We need to go.”
“B-But Bridget!” she cried.
“I know,” he said “I don’t want to leave her either, but we can’t. We have to run!”
He tugged on her arm and she followed. They started off jogging, but that quickly turned into a full-on run. They ended up separating, letting go of their joint hands, but they continued to run. Conan heard the door break from inside, and Bridget let out a battle cry as she went against whatever it was. He distanced himself until he couldn’t hear any more. He wanted to know if his sister was alright, but he couldn’t dare check.
He ran in the direction of the main dirt road where he could at least make it to the town. Surely they’d be able to get to the local police department or maybe even some soldiers who weren’t deployed, drinking at the local pub. Just someone! Anyone!
His sister Sarah was right behind him, he could hear her breathing hard and knew she wouldn’t be able to run for much longer, but he didn’t stop for her to catch her breath. He slowed for a moment to try and reach for her. To take her hand again so he could drag her along if it would help. As he turned back however, he saw a black mass directly behind her, gaining with incredible speed. He gasped and tried to grab for her again… to warn her, but their pursuer was too fast and got to her first.
Its hand snagged her nightgown and pulled her back, gripping tightly. Conan halted and tried to reach Sarah, but it was too late. The large form had a speed and viciousness Conan had only read about in books on animals and he was forced to watch in horror as it sunk its fangs into Sarah’s neck. She tried to let out a scream, but a gargle came out instead, and Sarah began to choke on her own blood.
She was then released and tossed aside. Conan’s mouth hung open aghast at the form, making it out somewhat in the dark. It looked almost like a tall woman with wild hair. But there was something not quite right about the skin... It didn’t look like skin. It was… hair? Even as he stared it was hard to make out what he was seeing. It didn’t make sense or seem possible. The woman’s face looked like a mix between a wolf and a human. The nose was more pronounced and looked like a dog’s nose, and the jaw and teeth were more pointed and canine. The eyes looked human, but they were still terrifying. A dark brown— they seemed to stare into him and see on a higher level than any human could. No one had ever looked at Conan like that before... and he didn’t like it.
He could hear Sarah choking which snapped him back. He tried to step towards his sister to help her, but when he moved, the woman grabbed him. He let out a startled cry as she did. She pulled Conan to her and pressed his body to hers. She grabbed Conan’s face with her hand and held his face close to hers with her wet hands. Why were her hands so wet and sticky? He drew in a sharp breath through his nose and smelt something metallic, somewhat like rust. He tried to get away, but she wouldn’t let go. Her grip tightened around him. “Now, now,” she said “There’s no need to run.”
He knew that voice instantly. It was the voice of the woman he had met that morning in the woods. But how could that be? She looked like a humanoid hellhound now and nothing like the wild woman he saw earlier. He gasped when she brushed her face against him and he felt her fangs run across his cheek. He tried to push away harder. “Get away from me!”
The shoving wasn’t enough and he still couldn’t get away. She didn’t even flinch; he felt useless in that moment. His sister was probably dying and he had no idea what had happened to Bridget. He fought and struggled and tried to add some kicking, but it did nothing. Instead, she toppled him down to the grass and pinned him beneath her. She ripped at his nightshirt, tearing it away from his shoulder. “N-No!” He screamed. He tried to kick her off, realizing that she was going to do the same to him as she did to Sarah. Seath ignored his fighting and was licking the soft spot on his shoulder.
“I don’t want to die!” he cried.
She chuckled and drew back to look down at him. “You are not going to die little one,” she giggled “You are going to become like me and be a part of something wonderful. You are so much stronger than you think, and with my gift, you will become something to be feared and worshipped. You will rule by my side. You were destined for this.”
“I don’t want this!” Conan screamed.
“Shhhh,” she tried to soothe as she returned to his shoulder. “Relax, or this will hurt more than it should.”
Conan did not relax and kept fighting, even as Seath bit into his shoulder. He let out a scream— or he tried. It was more like a muffled moan as she pressed her hand to his throat to silence him. It only lasted for a moment before she drew away enough to begin to lap up the blood. Conan felt a shiver up his spine, and after a few seconds, the pain seemed to ease. How was that possible?
When Seath pulled back he was surprised to see her smiling with such glee. Even though there was so much blood dripping off of her face. He felt so sick to his stomach. “You belong to me now,” she whispered.
Conan felt a rage inside him that he didn’t know was humanly possible. His hands were on her collarbone from when he tried to push her off, but now his fists were balled up into fists. His eyes narrowed and he clenched his teeth. “I don’t belong to you,” he hissed. He pounded her on the chest and to his surprise, she actually moved, and not just a little, she fell back off of him completely.
She seemed stunned for a moment, but didn’t become angry. Instead, she began to laugh out loud, “Wow! You’re already changing! So much strength! Even after just a tiny bite!”
The sound of a car coming nearby drew both of their attention. The headlights hit them just as the car came through the trees and around the corner. Seath jumped to her feet and let out a howl, her face scrunched up in anger. The truck screeched to a stop and several men piled out from the back.
“What in God’s name is that?!” one of the men pointed at Seath.
The men were all dressed in soldier’s uniforms and came from the direction of town. At this time of night, they were probably coming back from the pub. Conan stumbled away from Seath and closer to the soldiers. “Help me!” he called.
The men drew their pistols and held them on her, but the driver went back to his truck and pulled out a rifle from beside the driver's seat. He cocked it, also pointing it at the she-beast in front of them.
“Kid, get over here,” another called, and it was all the notice that Conan needed.
“He’s mine,” she hissed, stepping forward. One soldier grabbed Conan and pulled him behind them.
“It fucking talks,” the driver gasped in disgust. He pulled his trigger and shot at Seath, hitting her in the arm. Another soldier fired; this time, hitting her in the stomach. Seath fell to her knees and lifted her face up to sneer at the soldiers.
“I will kill you all!” Seath cursed. She tried to get to her feet but another shot got her, this time hitting her in the leg. Their aim was far from perfect, as they had likely been drinking. Even so, Seath took a step back after nearly collapsing from the pain. Her eyes fell on Conan and narrowed, “You are mine and mine alone. I will find you no matter how far you run. From this day forward little wolf, you will be like me, and one day you will see just how wonderful the gift is that I have given you.”
More shots rang out in the cold night air, but hit nothing. Seath had disappeared into the darkness. The men continued to fire blindly after her and didn’t stop until their clips were empty. It was only then that Conan began to shake and tears started to fall down his face. It was all catching up with him, terror flooded him as he saw his sister in the light of the truck. Her body unmoving and still.