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Morningstar: The Malaise - 2. Chapter 2 Learning Wolf

Wolf pants and man plans.

The Malaise

 

 

Chapter 2

 

 

Kellar ran and ran and ran. Jesus. He was a fucking wolf. How could this be happening? What did it mean, and what the hell was he going to do? He dodged trees and brush at breakneck speed, fueled by a disbelief that threatened to swamp him. Twisting and turning with no regard for safety, while traveling totally on unfamiliar instinct, he came upon a stream. The wolf didn’t or couldn’t slow, and with tremendous effort, hurtled over it. Unfortunately this new form somehow managed to land nose first, burying its most tender spot in soft sand before the rest tumbled and rolled. It was humiliating verification that Kellar didn’t know this body or how it worked, and it took a sneezing fit to blow his nostrils clear of the offensive grit. He was entirely out of his element, and that was almost as frightening as the excruciating change had been.

Lying there, trying to regroup from both the unexpected spill and residual shock, panting in sunlight, he soon felt vulnerable… extremely so. He was pretty sure wolves weren’t safe being in such an exposed setting in the middle of the day; actually he didn’t know all that much about them, period, but it was a safe bet he was right about this. He rose, wincing at newly-acquired rib pain, and crept off to the cover of a stand of red-twig dogwood mixed with small trees. Kellar needed a cool, safe place to hide while he tried to wrap his brain around this new reality.

Resting his massive head on still-unnerving front paws, he attempted to calm down. As weird as this shit was, the panic was beginning to retreat. With no thought involved, he scented the morning air. He could identify a myriad of odors… ones he’d never experienced before. How was such a thing possible? Really, how was any of this possible?

Curiosity made him rise as his nose picked up something metallic. It was a strange, new smell, yet the wolf caught it instantly, sparking an alarming sense of unease. Cautiously moving forward and pinpointing where it came from, Kellar heard a whine escape he wasn’t the conscious author of, and he pulled his leading paw back and away from a vicious-looking, steel trap. It was cruelly hidden in shadowy growth beside a fallen log, and a hated word filled his wolf-tuned mind. Hunters!

He was hammered with further reality, and it was almost too much. How many times had he heard gunshots in these woods over the five and a half years he lived with the Apsleys? It'd never registered with him before, but in hindsight, too fucking many. All those times, they’d seemed far away, but wasn’t he now in that distant territory? Fear crawled across his body, and he felt his thick neck ruff stand up as he slunk back to the stand of brush, mindful of each and every step taken. Looking around nervously, it became clear too that this forest was much thicker and could hide more things than the woods behind the house.

Back in the thicket, Kellar started to question whether he was camouflaged adequately. Great; he was a wolf with the same paranoia he’d suffered as a puny human. Sniffing the air again while using his phenomenally enhanced wolf vision and hearing, he began to relax, allowing himself to have confidence in these new natural defenses. His breathing deepened, and his ears flicked at the insects who constantly visited them. Before too long, his exhaustion caught up with him, and he napped, still able to hear the surrounding sounds.

Eventually, a slight rustle to the left caught his attention and brought him immediately awake. In a heartbeat, he was pouncing on a small brown rabbit who’d approached oblivious to any danger. Pure wolf took over and the ravenous part of Kellar made short work of the meal the little animal had gifted him with. It was only when he finished that it hit him… what he’d just done. He wanted to feel guilty… horrified, but his wolf was too pleased and satiated to let him. With a full belly, he went right back to contented dozing. This wolf business, while life-altering, wasn’t all that bad.

As the lupine part of him lightly slept, Kellar came to the fore. He was getting way too comfortable with all this. Shouldn’t he be freaking out? Sitting up on his haunches, he focused. What was the most important aspect of this fucked-up situation? Was he a werewolf? The evil one of legends? Was he destined to go on killing rampages? His mind rebelled in no uncertain terms at the thought. Not a fucking chance. He was still Kellar Haylan, little orphan boy. Shit, he was, wasn’t he? Oh God. Was he stuck like this forever? Rising, he paced in a tight circle, careful to stay under cover of the thick copse.

He had to know. Could his human form be reclaimed? He went inside himself and tried ordering his body to revert to its original state. Nothing. He tried pleading to the wolf, but that didn’t work either. Praying, too, brought no results. Maybe there needed to be a full moon? No, that didn’t make sense… this had happened during the day, and the full moon was not for weeks yet. Anger had seemed to be the trigger to becoming wolf in the first place, so maybe anger would change him back? He had no trouble getting angry, but the only effect was a low steady growl rumbling out of him.

Frustrated, he took a furtive trip to the stream and lapped up some water to quench his thirst. Returning to his little patch of refuge, he settled back down, eventually laying on his side to absorb the coolness beneath. A few minutes later the wolf decided it was a good time to meticulously clean his paws, so his long tongue went to work while Kellar watched from a place of detachment.

It was still disconcerting to be looking at a furry paw with sharp claws on toes rather than the arms and hands he’d always known. He pictured them clearly, with the new, dark hair on his muscular forearms and above his knuckles, the fingernails with their rounded cuticles at the end of long fingers, the prominent veins on the back of his hands… and just like that, fluid as an unstoppable wave of water, he became that guy again.

It happened so quickly he became disoriented. He was now a naked person lying on the dirt beneath the undergrowth? Christ, was he going crazy? Was this all some growing-pain induced dream? No. His clarity returned, and as much as he might wish otherwise, this shit was real. The ground beneath him was very real, and uncomfortable as hell. It was then it dawned on him there had been no real pain in the shift.

Crazy laughter bubbled up as relief washed over him. Kellar was still himself. Yup… that was his dick… not some weird wolf dong he’d refused to acknowledge earlier. All he’d done was picture his human form, and the transition back had occurred.

Sitting up after the slightly maniacal laughter had died down, Kellar got down to the business of sorting out what he needed to do. First off, Warren had seen him change, and that was not good. He didn’t know much right now, but people finding out he could change into an animal had to be dangerous. Slapping at mosquitoes who could now enjoy him as a feast, he realized maybe even more important was the fact he was naked in the woods. That had to be rectified, and quickly, before he got eaten alive by insects, or worse, discovered by some hikers or hunters. He wished now he'd never seen “Deliverance.”

It was of uppermost importance he get back to the house. His foster parents were eight hours away at Karen’s older sister’s little farm, so the only one he need be concerned with was Warren. What would the asshole do? There was only one way to find out, and that was to scope the house out from the treeline.

He vaguely remembered the scratches he’d inflicted on his brother… it had all happened in a blur, and he shut down the memory when he recalled the horrible feeling of being trapped. One thing for certain; Warren was such a wimp he’d head for the hospital thinking he was dying. It gave him a satisfying feeling, one he did allow himself to savor briefly. He’d be able to tell if the jerk’s car was gone by climbing a tree and peering down the side of the house. He shuddered at the thought of doing such a thing with no clothing to protect his skin… or his junk… and felt his balls pull upward in fear for their safety. Unfortunately, try as they might, they were too big to hide themselves away.

Logistically, he was a long way from Turtle Dove Lane. He wasn’t sure how far he’d run, but he’d never heard of a stream in these woods in all the time he’d spent exploring the section behind the Apsley house. Over the years, he had ranged pretty far… much farther than his foster-parents had ever suspected. If they’d known, Karen for sure would have put a stop to it.

He’d always had a strange affinity for plants, and had spent a lot of hours searching out new ones to identify and research on the internet. As Kellar looked at the different types of vegetation throughout this section of forest, he saw them in a new way. If he focused, he could see patterns belonging to each of them. They were literally made up of colors, similar to what he saw in the mirror earlier, and around Warren in the hallway. He wondered what that was about. Maybe a remnant of his wolf vision… or was it something permanent? As soon as he stopped paying attention, those auras disappeared, and the plants appeared as they always had. That’s interesting.

The amount of ground he’d covered in his mad dash could have been substantial… he was running full out for a time… at least ten minutes, and it could possibly be double that and more. There was nothing to base it on, but it seemed to him as well that he was a bloody fast wolf. He’d been out of his mind with panic at the strangeness of it all, and had let the animal decide their path. Now, he needed to go home one more time.

Kellar knew what the best course of action was, but was reluctant to consider it. Maybe his feet would hold up, and maybe no one would spot him walking naked as he made his way back to where he started. Regaining human form had not cancelled out his enhanced senses at least.

Who was he kidding? He didn’t know if it was possible, but becoming wolf again would give him the best chance of returning undetected and unmolested, by insects or anything else. The pain had been excruciating the first time, though, and Kellar didn’t think he could let go enough to chance handling it once more. Still, switching to human form had been a breeze.

Kellar lay back down on the hard ground, now able to focus on the fact he could become a wolf in the first place. Were there more out there like him, or was he a complete freak of nature? All the questions he’d had about his deceased mother and father over the years, had just quadrupled.

What in God’s name had his mysterious parents been? Was this a hereditary thing? The automobile crash he’d survived at the age of four, had incinerated them completely, and the only way they were identified was through the vehicle registration. There wasn’t any other car involved, and police concluded they’d hit a moose, but there was no moose either. It was a miracle, the police said, he was thrown clear. No one understood at the time how he could be quietly sitting in the tall grass, strapped into a car-seat, sixty feet from the burned shell of the Jeep Cherokee. Other than a few tear-streaks on his cheeks, he was perfectly fine. Fortunately, his name was sewn inside his jacket, and that led the authorities to his birth certificate.

Kellar Haylan, born in Northumberland County, New Brunswick, in a doctor’s office, to Roland and Gisla Haylan. And that was all he knew. His parents had apparently lived off the grid, and no relatives could be tracked down. They had driver’s licenses with inaccurate addresses, but impossibly, there were no birth certificates for his parents… not ones that could be found in any database, and not under those names. No proof of their marriage was ever located either.

Delaying was getting him nowhere. Sitting back up and wiping the sweat from his brow, he brought a hand to the front of his face, and allowed a memory of the paw to superimpose over it. It was surprisingly easy to picture it in perfect detail. One semi-painful spasm, and the same walloping wave took effect, shifting him much more easily to the physically familiar form. The initial change must be the worst, he thought, as he raised a hind leg to scratch behind his ear, automatically using his tail for balance.

The knowledge reverting to either form proved to be almost effortless now, certainly helped his state of mind. Slowly but surely, Kellar was coming to grips with who and what he was. His life had never been a bed of roses anyway, even though he’d always played by others’ stringent rules.

He had no clue what it looked like on this new face, but he could feel the smile as he accepted playing and living within those confines was a thing of the past. It was terrifying, but there was a sense of freedom too. Yes, his life was in an upheaval of the worst proportions, but Kellar was determined to be a survivor. He was, after all, a wolf.

Thanks to my editor, Timothy M., and thanks to those who read this. Please 'like' and review, if you can. Any discussion of the story can take place in the COTT thread of the promising author forum:

www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/39932-cards-on-the-table-by-headstall/

Copyright © 2017 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.
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Really liking this so far.

 

Lots of mysteries to unravel and new things to learn.

 

Will look forward to the next chapter

 

:hug:

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What an exciting first two chapters. I hope that you have a long tale planned because you have given yourself a great starting point. Thank you for sharing your story and I am eagerly awaiting the ensuing installments. Very well done.

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I love that Kellar is being rational and thinking things through once the first natural panic is over. All of his reactions, worries and decisions are completely believable, including him accepting his wolf side and focusing on making the best of his newfound abilities. Learning Wolf is one of your usual apt titles, but I was a bit puzzled about the wolf needing clothes (pants). :huh: It was only when I had finished the chapter I realized my mistake. :facepalm::lol:

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On 04/29/2016 06:43 AM, Caz Pedroso said:

Really liking this so far.

 

Lots of mysteries to unravel and new things to learn.

 

Will look forward to the next chapter

 

:hug:

Thank you, sweet Caz! I'm glad you're liking it so far. I will try to keep you engaged, my friend :) . There are definitely mysteries... cheers... Gary...

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On 04/29/2016 06:50 AM, Dathi said:

What an exciting first two chapters. I hope that you have a long tale planned because you have given yourself a great starting point. Thank you for sharing your story and I am eagerly awaiting the ensuing installments. Very well done.

Thanks, Dathi! It's great to hear from you again. I'm glad you've come on board... we'll see how it goes, but I'm working on chapter 13 now, and there's a lot more to tell... cheers, my friend... Gary...

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On 04/29/2016 06:58 AM, Timothy M. said:

I love that Kellar is being rational and thinking things through once the first natural panic is over. All of his reactions, worries and decisions are completely believable, including him accepting his wolf side and focusing on making the best of his newfound abilities. Learning Wolf is one of your usual apt titles, but I was a bit puzzled about the wolf needing clothes (pants). :huh: It was only when I had finished the chapter I realized my mistake. :facepalm::lol:

I tried to show the awkward meshing of Kellar and his wolf side... wanted it to be just a little erratic, so I'm pleased it came across believable... there were a few times we're not sure how much is Kellar and how much is wolf as he slowly learns and accepts they are one and the same... tricky but fun... I actually wondered if someone would draw the wrong conclusion about pants lol... I'm glad you did, but more glad you clued in eventually :) ... cheers, Tim... thanks for the great review...Gary...

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Gary, I really appreciate you showing us that Kellar is facing his newly found wolfy side without falling into a panic. That is admirable. He has a clear head and he is processing this all logically and making decisions rationally. This tells me a lot of the boy before his shift. He had to rely on himself most likely, judging solely by the foster brother. That kind of independence and sure thinking will do him well. BUT.... Its also kind of a tease. There are so many questions and so much I want to know that it's impossible to wait for the next chapter.. You're setting this up so very well....

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I agree with Tim, it's pretty neat to see Kellar think over his "wolf side" rationally and clearly after the shock wears off. :)

 

And we learned a whole lot more about his background. I suspect that, other than learning more on being a shifter, he'll learn about his origins, family, and so on. This will, in effect, be a journey of self-discovery. And Gary, I am looking forward to it all! :D

 

Thanks for the chapter Gary! :hug:

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On 04/29/2016 11:52 AM, Defiance19 said:

Gary, I really appreciate you showing us that Kellar is facing his newly found wolfy side without falling into a panic. That is admirable. He has a clear head and he is processing this all logically and making decisions rationally. This tells me a lot of the boy before his shift. He had to rely on himself most likely, judging solely by the foster brother. That kind of independence and sure thinking will do him well. BUT.... Its also kind of a tease. There are so many questions and so much I want to know that it's impossible to wait for the next chapter.. You're setting this up so very well....

Very astute, Def. Kellar had to roll with the punches his whole life. Physically, he had no size or strength until the start of his body's change six months ago, so he had to put up with a lot. The wolf gives him something else... something more, and a different world is opening up. I loved writing the back and forth between his two sides, and the times when they seemed to integrate. There were times when the wolf kept him from freaking out... like with the bunny for example. As always, a great review, my friend, and I thank you for it...cheers... Gary...

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On 04/29/2016 11:55 AM, Drew Espinosa said:

I agree with Tim, it's pretty neat to see Kellar think over his "wolf side" rationally and clearly after the shock wears off. :)

 

And we learned a whole lot more about his background. I suspect that, other than learning more on being a shifter, he'll learn about his origins, family, and so on. This will, in effect, be a journey of self-discovery. And Gary, I am looking forward to it all! :D

 

Thanks for the chapter Gary! :hug:

Thanks, Drew. He really didn't have a choice at the beginning, and I tried to show the wolf helping him, and vice versa. There's a lot more to Kellar than meets the eye... and yes, he's effectively on a new journey. I liked his attitude and acceptance by the end of the chapter. Thank you. my friend, for a great and appreciated review... cheers... Gary....

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Interesting and insightful. Guess his parents weren't totally human either. Let see where this goes ...

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Mysterious parents, I'm guessing they will appear later.
Switching seems like it will be a breeze with a bit of practice.
And his foster brother will be treating him with a bit more respect :)

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I'm very impressed. You've managed to take a very popular story subject, shifters, and put a unique spin on it. Kellar is an orphan and doesn't remember his parents, who apparently died very mysteriously, he's figured out how to shift from wolf to human and back again, all on his own... and like a typical teenager the 'how cool is that?' factor tempers some of his fear of the unknown. I also enjoyed reading about how he processed his new sight, hearing and sense of smell. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens when Kelllar meets another shifter. He's going to have a lot of questions.
One question.. is Kellar's wolf separate from him? I get the impression they are two distinct personalities inside of one body... when Kellar is a wolf is his human personality in the background, like a passenger in a car?
Great job on this chapter, Gary!

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Oh wow! What a discovery! I think if I turned into a wolf and back again, I'd be a messed up wreck for days... Kellar is already prepared to meet the world. But then again his life has taught him nothing is certain or to be taken for granted. Just what will he do with his foster brother...?

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Always a new slant on things with your chapters, my friend! Kellar landing nose first after jumping the stream was a hoot! At least the rest of his wolf senses seem to be good.
I think there's a mystery involved in the death of his parents, it doesn't seem likely that he'd be thrown clear like that....I can't wait to find out what's going on.
As for Warren, a few good threats will keep him in line and quiet...it's just lucky that his foster parents were away at the time, so they don't need to find out just yet. I do feel sorry for him since he has no one to help him figure out his nature.
More please G-Man!

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On 04/29/2016 07:55 PM, Mikiesboy said:

Interesting and insightful. Guess his parents weren't totally human either. Let see where this goes ...

Thanks, tim. No, they couldn't have been. Thanks for the review, buddy... cheers... Gary...

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On 04/29/2016 08:12 PM, Bucket1 said:

Mysterious parents, I'm guessing they will appear later.

Switching seems like it will be a breeze with a bit of practice.

And his foster brother will be treating him with a bit more respect :)

Hey, B. Yes, the switching is very fluid after the first one. The body has been trained. I think Warren had his own rude awakening, and it looked good on the bastard. Thanks for the review, and for sticking around... cheers, my friend... Gary....

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On 04/29/2016 10:37 PM, LitLover said:

I'm very impressed. You've managed to take a very popular story subject, shifters, and put a unique spin on it. Kellar is an orphan and doesn't remember his parents, who apparently died very mysteriously, he's figured out how to shift from wolf to human and back again, all on his own... and like a typical teenager the 'how cool is that?' factor tempers some of his fear of the unknown. I also enjoyed reading about how he processed his new sight, hearing and sense of smell. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens when Kelllar meets another shifter. He's going to have a lot of questions.

One question.. is Kellar's wolf separate from him? I get the impression they are two distinct personalities inside of one body... when Kellar is a wolf is his human personality in the background, like a passenger in a car?

Great job on this chapter, Gary!

Thanks, Lit. Good question. Right now, it's too much to handle for one of them. Kellar relies on the wolf to get htem through some stuff. He's learning slowly he has a whole new set of instincts, but in the end, they are one. I thought long and hard about what Kellar's reaction would be. The bottom line is he had to be resilient and adaptable his whole life. He's also bright enough to know this is his new reality... he is really a student of life, and he just learned something new... and maybe even cool for a kid who felt the opposite of special. Thanks for the thoughtful review, my friend... cheers... Gary...

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On 04/30/2016 04:42 AM, Puppilull said:

Oh wow! What a discovery! I think if I turned into a wolf and back again, I'd be a messed up wreck for days... Kellar is already prepared to meet the world. But then again his life has taught him nothing is certain or to be taken for granted. Just what will he do with his foster brother...?

Exactly. He's been this insignificant boy, a project for his foster parents, and he's adapted his whole life. I wonder if he doesn't welcome this new power a little bit. He just became a somebody... or a something... thanks for the review... you'll get your answer to that question in the next chapter... cheers... Gary...

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On 04/30/2016 09:00 AM, ColumbusGuy said:

Always a new slant on things with your chapters, my friend! Kellar landing nose first after jumping the stream was a hoot! At least the rest of his wolf senses seem to be good.

I think there's a mystery involved in the death of his parents, it doesn't seem likely that he'd be thrown clear like that....I can't wait to find out what's going on.

As for Warren, a few good threats will keep him in line and quiet...it's just lucky that his foster parents were away at the time, so they don't need to find out just yet. I do feel sorry for him since he has no one to help him figure out his nature.

More please G-Man!

LOL. Some things take time to work out. I'm glad you were amused, buddy. I tried to put a little humor throughout the chapter. It had to be frightening in the worst way to face such a thing alone, but this kid has been alone for his whole life... even with his foster parents, he feels he's on the outside looking in. More is coming, my friend... thanks for the great review... cheers... Gary...

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Hmmm, had I as a teen one day turned four-legged and furry what would I do? Well, after the panic of course. Mostly likely discover that running, jumping and landing with grace require practice. That things smell, more than I'd ever realized. Imperfect as it might be I rather liked that old body of mine and I want it back ... NOW! But most disturbing, perhaps even frightening, is that you know exactly what's going on in my head and put it to words.

 

My apologies, my head hurts, I hope my words have amply conveyed my sense wonder at this tale.

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On 05/01/2016 04:37 AM, dughlas said:

Hmmm, had I as a teen one day turned four-legged and furry what would I do? Well, after the panic of course. Mostly likely discover that running, jumping and landing with grace require practice. That things smell, more than I'd ever realized. Imperfect as it might be I rather liked that old body of mine and I want it back ... NOW! But most disturbing, perhaps even frightening, is that you know exactly what's going on in my head and put it to words.

 

My apologies, my head hurts, I hope my words have amply conveyed my sense wonder at this tale.

Your words are awesome, and yes you conveyed wonder, and that makes me happy. I fiddled a fair bit with this, so I'm really pleased it seems to have worked. I like how you saw the chapter, and I have to say I'm enjoying this new venture. Thanks for a wonderfully stated review, buddy. I hope you like where it's heading...cheers... Gary...

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I love this so far! it is so descriptive, it is like being transported into the story!

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On 05/31/2016 11:31 AM, FlowersBite said:

I love this so far! it is so descriptive, it is like being transported into the story!

Thank you, FlowersBite... I'm so glad you're enjoying it. I love what you say here... being transported into the story... I hope you stick with it, and keep me posted on what you think. Thanks for the awesome review... cheers... Gary...

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Wow! Where to start?
Kellar's transformation and reaction to it seem like a good place. I've read a lot of shifter stories with the majority having the shift not be a surprise to the shiftee. The few that were a surprise - similar scenarios to Kellar with the now in puberty orphan shifting without warning - but I have to say, I haven't read one with such detail regarding the shiftee's reaction to the shift - a good thing in my book as I think it enhanced this chapter.
Kellar's reaction to the shift felt real and believable. The emotions he experienced as a wolf made sense and allowed the reader to really understand what it would be like if this were to happen to them.
I loved the part when he jumped over the stream in wolf form - he was like an ungainly puppy just figuring out how his legs work. When you think about it, he is a puppy in this new unfamiliar world - he needs to "grow" into his wolf form.
It was good that he could gather his wits and start to think how best to manage his situation. I'm thinking that apart from retrieving some clothes and essentials/keepsakes, I don't think he can go home again, so what is he going to do? Don't know, but I look forward to finding out. :)
As always, nicely done Gary :hug:

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