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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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Chapter Comments



On 06/24/2016 06:24 AM, Reader1810 said:

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:

Thanks, Reader. I put a lot of thought into how a person who had the life young Kellar had, would react to such a momentous change. I wanted us to be inside his head. I was nervous about it, but it seems to have worked well... I'm glad you thought so. I also wanted to show how one would take over for a while, because I couldn't see instant integration being plausible, and then slowly have them meshing more and more. I don't know if you remember my angst at the time, but this process is what made me let the story take me over, and make the drawn out decision to go with it instead of what I originally planned as my next story. It intrigued me, so I'm very pleased you like how it has begun to unfold. I appreciate your thoughts and the review, my friend... cheers... Gary...

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There is no going back from this experience, and Kellar's shock at it must leave him viscerally uncertain of himself. What kind if psychological torque and torture could it cause? And how can Kellar fit it all into his life experience? You are doing a great job of trying to put us into Kellar's shoes. Or paws.

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On 09/07/2016 05:44 AM, Parker Owens said:

There is no going back from this experience, and Kellar's shock at it must leave him viscerally uncertain of himself. What kind if psychological torque and torture could it cause? And how can Kellar fit it all into his life experience? You are doing a great job of trying to put us into Kellar's shoes. Or paws.

Thank you, Parker. I put a tremendous amount of thought into this and there are nuances all through the story. In this chapter, I believe we start to see the balance the wolf gives Kellar, which allows him to adapt and handle what is happening. Like you said, there is no going back. Thanks for reviewing... cheers... Gary...

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Have you a wolf inside you somewhere? The thinking going along inside Kellar's head as he experiences all of this crazy new stuff is fascinating. The elements of the plot you are laying down - Kellar's mysterious origins, parents with no backgrounds, his possible exposure far too early in his learning process in regards to his new self - all look to be leading towards a whopping good tale. Perhaps not to be unexpected from a whopping good writer. You certainly do not disappoint!

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On 10/20/2016 02:29 AM, Geron Kees said:

Have you a wolf inside you somewhere? The thinking going along inside Kellar's head as he experiences all of this crazy new stuff is fascinating. The elements of the plot you are laying down - Kellar's mysterious origins, parents with no backgrounds, his possible exposure far too early in his learning process in regards to his new self - all look to be leading towards a whopping good tale. Perhaps not to be unexpected from a whopping good writer. You certainly do not disappoint!

LOL. I didn't before, but maybe there's a wolf inside me now. I have to say it was fun putting myself in Kellar's mind while he went through this. There is so much information to impart, I tried to be careful not to overload the reader. I'm very pleased you liked this. Your praise is too kind, but don't stop hehe. Thanks for the wonderful review, and the support, my friend... cheers... Gary....

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He wished now he never seen “Deliverance.” :P
Very impressive story-telling, Gary. You made a fantasy scenario feel real, and that's pretty outstanding in my opinion. You wrote Kellar's thoughts and reactions from the perspective of a teenager, which makes his character authentic. I found it most interesting how his wolf side seemed a little more natural to him than one would think possible at this point; as though, even though he doesn't yet understand his transformation, he's somehow accepting of it (albeit still freaked out). I also found it interesting that he felt much more vulnerable (naked and scared) after he'd returned to his human form. That demonstrates his insecurity as a human but perhaps some boldness as a wolf - even though he has no understanding of it yet. Really great.

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On 02/15/2017 02:50 PM, MacGreg said:

He wished now he never seen “Deliverance.” :P

Very impressive story-telling, Gary. You made a fantasy scenario feel real, and that's pretty outstanding in my opinion. You wrote Kellar's thoughts and reactions from the perspective of a teenager, which makes his character authentic. I found it most interesting how his wolf side seemed a little more natural to him than one would think possible at this point; as though, even though he doesn't yet understand his transformation, he's somehow accepting of it (albeit still freaked out). I also found it interesting that he felt much more vulnerable (naked and scared) after he'd returned to his human form. That demonstrates his insecurity as a human but perhaps some boldness as a wolf - even though he has no understanding of it yet. Really great.

Thanks, Mac. I think the reason this story was able to take over my brain and thwart my originally planned story was because I was able to get inside Kellar's head. It was fascinating to imagine how he felt about such a monumental change, physically and mentally. The fact he embraced his wolf they way he did had, in small part, to do with his physiology, but also the kind of life he had led to this point. Shifting back to human opened his eyes to his vulnerability... the power of feeling safe is seductive for him. The power of feeling powerful is seductive as well. His journey begins. Thanks for your kind words, buddy. I'm so glad you've taken this on... cheers... Gary....

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Coming back to this chapter after having read the whole story, it's interesting to see the important details which none of us commented on when you first posted the chapter.

Spoiler

Mainly the part about plants having colors when he looks at them a certain way

 

This is why it's so great to read a complex and well-planned story like this more than once. :yes: 

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10 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

Coming back to this chapter after having read the whole story, it's interesting to see the important details which none of us commented on when you first posted the chapter.

  Reveal hidden contents

Mainly the part about plants having colors when he looks at them a certain way

 

This is why it's so great to read a complex and well-planned story like this more than once. :yes: 

Yeah, that was probably the most fun part of writing this. There are breadcrumbs everywhere. :D  There's another one in this chapter, but I won't write it here, not even in a spoiler. :)  I will tell you in a PM, though, and you'll understand why. Actually, there is another one that isn't as important, but still part of the layering. Cheers, my friend... Gary :hug: 

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This is so well written and totally covey's what has come to pass in a very real way. If it were me I would be freaking out and most likely running in 
circles. And I love the way you show what has come to pass and not tell us about it. The second sight with plants will surely come in handy as time

goes by.

This is truly a great story thus far.

:thankyou::worship:

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50 minutes ago, Albert1434 said:

This is so well written and totally covey's what has come to pass in a very real way. If it were me I would be freaking out and most likely running in 
circles. And I love the way you show what has come to pass and not tell us about it. The second sight with plants will surely come in handy as time

goes by.

This is truly a great story thus far.

:thankyou::worship:

It was hard to handle the narration for the first few chapters because there is very little dialogue, but I'm pleased with the results. I worked hard at not overloading the reader with information, imparting only what I thought necessary. I'm pleased you felt the way you did about it, Albert... thank you so  much. Yes, the colors could be important. Cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

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2 minutes ago, Rogeric said:

Wow; justo came across this story and al already hooked; i like it so far

Hey, Rogeric! I'm glad you're giving this story a chance. I'm really proud of it, and I really appreciate your comment. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. :D Please let me know what you think as you read along. Thanks and cheers... Gary....

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I love how Kellar is so rational, as someone else said, while in wolf form. And the whole thing with the auras.  Can't wait for that to unfold. I have to slow down and not read the story too damn quickly again, but its difficult, cuz I'm loving it!

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10 minutes ago, danield said:

I love how Kellar is so rational, as someone else said, while in wolf form. And the whole thing with the auras.  Can't wait for that to unfold. I have to slow down and not read the story too damn quickly again, but its difficult, cuz I'm loving it!

I'm glad you're going to try to savor it, danield... that's wonderful to hear. :)  In my mind, Kellar was always exceptional, so I wanted to show him right from the beginning as a thinker, not prone to panic. Yes, he had his moments, but he adapted quickly in this chapter. Yes... the auras... :X  ... hehe glad you liked that aspect, buddy. Thanks for keeping me posted... I'm rereading it with you. :D Thanks and cheers... Gary....

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You're, dare I say, "blood, sweat, and tears."  The hard work you put into getting into your character's head and the planning and execution have provided the lubrication that makes it such a smooth and addictive read!  No wonder I devoured it last time.  ~chuckle~ 

 

So many seeds scattered into this chapter, so carefully worded, and yet letting us work for it.  It draws us in, and we want to click quickly to the next chapter to find out more and see if our suppositions are accurate. You are a beautiful example of how planning and layout can make a good story great.  It's going to be a challenge to stay steady and intentional in such an addictive and "slick" read. :gikkle:

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2 minutes ago, Y0rite said:

You're, dare I say, "blood, sweat, and tears."  The hard work you put into getting into your character's head and the planning and execution have provided the lubrication that makes it such a smooth and addictive read!  No wonder I devoured it last time.  ~chuckle~ 

 

So many seeds scattered into this chapter, so carefully worded, and yet letting us work for it.  It draws us in, and we want to click quickly to the next chapter to find out more and see if our suppositions are accurate. You are a beautiful example of how planning and layout can make a good story great.  It's going to be a challenge to stay steady and intentional in such an addictive and "slick" read. :gikkle:

Aww... this is wonderful to read... Thank you! I fretted over getting everything right, and not screwing it up... it is a mystery after all... so I did a lot of planning and double checking... "blood, sweat, and tears"... yeah, there is all that in this. :)  I truly appreciate the kind and beautiful words, Ms. V, and the fact you are enjoying this once again. Happy reading... cheers... Gary... :hug: 

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