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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Morningstar: The Malaise - 3. Chapter 3 Shifting Gears

Change is gonna come.

Morningstar: The Malaise



Chapter 3



Kellar had run further than he’d thought. Even with wolf speed, it had taken some time to retrace his mad dash. Standing just inside the treeline, he looked down on the prim and proper house, watching for movement. There was none to be seen, but he sniffed the air, searching for anything that might signal danger. Children could be heard playing three houses down. It was hot, and their splashes and squeals in the above-ground pool sounded like they were right in front of him. He could also make out snippets of conversation from the elderly neighbors to the left, even over the whir of their central air-conditioning. There was only silence from the house to the right because the Davis family had embarked on their annual summer vacation. All was as it should be, and there were no smells or noises to indicate potential trouble behind the line of tall, wood fences.

He had begun to consider the daunting task of nude tree-climbing in order to get a view down the side of the driveway when he realized his superb vision was allowing him to see through the back patio doors and right out the front windows. Warren’s parking spot was empty. There was no need to risk his junk after all. This wolf thing did have its own perks.

Cautiously, he moved out from the cover of the large trees and paused with his body and head low to the ground, watching and listening for any kind of sound or reaction signifying he’d been seen, but there was none. Before Kellar could overthink, he surged forward and leapt the same fence for the second time that day, this time rubbing his hind legs slightly. Landing in the yard, he froze. Nothing happened. He took a tentative step forward, and with nothing more than a thought, slid back into human form. Naked human form.

Quickly but quietly, he entered the house, and immediately sensed the emptiness of it. Only Warren’s hated stench was present… he was not. Kellar went into high gear, running upstairs to pack his stuff. He was pleased to see the keys to his nine-year-old Honda Civic still where he’d left them. He never knew what to expect from his brother, but it appeared nothing in his room had been disturbed. With determined speed, after pulling on cargo shorts and a tee-shirt, he began packing. Being in this house was necessary, but it would not be smart to linger.

A lot of the items in his closet no longer fit, so the clothes part of it went fast. Hand-me-down duffel bags from his older sibling were soon filled as he emptied his lone dresser. Needing something else to put his treasured books and scribblings in, he hastened to Warren’s bedroom to look for something suitable.

At the same time he saw the new Adidas bag, he noticed the drops of blood on the carpet. Shit. It all came back and this time he didn’t even try to push it away. He had sliced Warren’s leg pretty good when the prick had kicked him, but that in itself didn’t bother him. He shuddered at remembrance of the rage he’d felt at the time, uncertain if he had been truly capable of killing in that red-hazed moment. Facing that question, he decided the point was he didn’t attack the hateful bane of his existence, and that was a good enough answer. Grabbing the new sports bag, still with the tags on it, he left the room harboring no guilt whatsoever, for either action.

A few hurried minutes later, he was done. He’d grabbed all his important papers, his laptop, and his wallet, which contained his spanking-new license, insurance, ownership, bank card, S.I.N. card, and birth certificate. He stared at the family picture on his dresser for a few seconds, wondering if he should take it, but seeing it for the sham it was, he turned away. Only as he was walking out did he remember his phone, and went back to grab it from the floor beside the bed, along with the charger still plugged into the wall. With a quick glance around, Kellar was satisfied he had everything he wanted… his entire life in three bags… and headed down the stairs.

As an afterthought, he grabbed the camping equipment this family had never used, from the storage closet. It was already neatly contained in its own canvas bag. His requests for Don to take him camping had fallen on deaf ears, and he’d given up after a few empty promises. The outdoor gear was only meant for show, like most of what his pretend-parents did.

Kellar stopped at the front door, hesitated, and turned back around. He went into his foster-father’s den, grinning as he saw the busted window screen. That would freak them out. Keeping in mind the passage of time, he scribbled a succinct message saying he was leaving home.

At sixteen, his social worker had told him she was required to inform him of that legal option, although she strongly advised against it. Kellar had never thought at the time he would be taking it; the idea of being on his own had been too damn scary. Now, the choice of staying had become impossible to consider.

Realizing the note required more, he explained how he appreciated what they’d done for him, but he couldn’t deal with the tension between him and Warren any longer, and wanted to strike out on his own… maybe join the army when he was old enough. Don would like that, and be less inclined to try and search him out. He signed his name, but there was no mention of love because he’d never felt it, for or from them. The only reason he left an explanation for leaving was to deter them from calling the police about his disappearance. It had nothing to do with putting their minds at ease. Hopefully, it would suffice; he placed the folded page in Don’s top desk drawer, leaving it open a few inches so the meticulous man would notice.

His foster parents knew he couldn’t be forced to stay with them, and besides, he’d served his purpose. It wasn’t hard to comprehend the poorly-concealed fact they weren’t pleased with his suddenly older, more robust appearance. They could no longer parade the rescued, frail, young boy as their good deed at church, but he didn’t give a rat’s ass about their self-serving posing or a potential dip in social stature. Maybe they would replace him with a scrawny, new kid as proof of their charitable nature. He deluded himself no longer that he was ever a part of their family.

All he had left to do was notify his employer of his resignation. Kellar wouldn’t be sticking around this area, and he could stock shelves anywhere. He’d saved every cent he’d made since he was fourteen, but with the car purchase, and the insurance, he was down to about twelve hundred dollars in his account. It would have to do until he obtained a new job.

Opening the front door, he found himself staring into the eyes of a startled Warren. Weirdly, his first thought was the prick wasn’t so big after all. In fact, he now saw him as weak… puny even. Was it only his imagination or was he bigger after his shifting episodes? While his so-called brother stuttered, he took note of the gauze bandage wrapped around his leg. “Something happen to your leg, asshole?” Kellar snarled the question like a challenge.

“You know damn well what happened to me. You did this, and you’re going to pay when Mom and Dad get back.” The bravado wasn’t matched by the almost noxious smell of fear that accompanied it, and Kellar grinned.

“I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.”

“Yes, you do. You turned into a hairy fucking beast, and you tried to kill me.” The smell of fear intensified.

“Can you hear yourself? You sound insane, man, like you’re on drugs or something. But I’ll make you a deal. I’ll stay out of your life completely if you agree not to spread any nasty rumors about poor little me… or just maybe that hairy beast will come back here and rip your fucking throat out.” His words were said with an edge that promised violence, and Warren visibly quailed. “Of course, that’s if he really exists, and wasn’t just a figment of some drug addict’s imagination.”

“I’m not a drug addict,” Warren protested weakly.

“Aren’t you though? I wonder what Karen and Don would think if I emailed them the pictures I took of you in that patch of marijuana you and your spaced-out friends are growing in the back. I’m pretty sure you can go to jail for cultivating the stuff. There’s even a couple of shots of you laughing and smoking a joint. I have a great zoom on my phone.” He leaned closer, still grinning. “You know what they think of the evils of weed.” Man, had the wolf ever changed him he thought while observing the machinations on the detested face. He’d held that information in reserve, and judging by the reaction, it had been a smart move.

“You son-of-a-bitch….” That was all he got out before Kellar grabbed him by the throat and lifted, forcing Warren to stand on his tip-toes, bandaged leg and all.

“You want to be very careful what you say from now on. Do you get me?” He flexed his fingers and Warren’s panicked eyes bulged. “Just nod… do not speak unless I tell you to.”

He managed to nod despite the position he was in. When Kellar let him go, he was trembling, and the sharp smell of urine invaded the air around them.

“Did someone pee their pants?” Kellar looked down and back up with an eyebrow raised.

Warren opened his mouth, but only nodded, and his already red face flushed a darker shade.

He was tempted to ridicule the pathetic fuck, but that was Warren’s way, not his. “Help me carry this stuff out to my car,” he ordered, “and don’t get any piss on it.” The limping man complied, and said nothing when handed what had previously been his brand-new and coveted Adidas bag. Once everything was packed in the trunk, a thoughtful Kellar spoke again. “Go get me the comforter and pillow off my bed. I might need them.”

Again, Warren did as he was told, returning quickly with the bedding.

“So, do we have a deal, big brother?”

Warren opened his mouth to speak, but caught himself. He repeated the allowed gesture, and put his head down.

“Good… and remember. I’ll be watching you.”

His brother bobbed his head up and down again, but didn’t make any eye contact. The smell of urine had gotten stronger, and Kellar felt a modicum of sympathy for the guy who’d made his life a living hell on a regular basis.

Just how terrifying had he appeared when he’d shifted the first time? He believed he was roughly double the size of wolves he’d seen on TV, and with the added strength present in his human form, Kellar was positive he was much stronger than he’d been upon awakening that morning. He could have lifted Warren completely off the ground with one hand if he’d wanted to, but as much as he hated the jerk, he had no desire to snap anyone’s neck.

Warren didn’t move. He stood beside the car as if waiting to be dismissed. Kellar squeezed his big body into the front seat that had once felt roomy, and backed out of the driveway. Leaving the subdivision, he watched in the rear-view mirror to see his no-longer brother sink to the pavement in the driveway.

Kellar felt no remorse at leaving his old life behind. He didn’t know what to expect, but he was done jumping through hoops for other people. That had been his life up until today, but no more. It was time to leave it, and the east coast of Canada behind. A new destination and a new start was what was needed, and the province of Ontario seemed as good a place as any.

Turning on the car radio, he began to sing in a deep, rumbling voice. It too had changed. When Kellar got to a high part, he powered down all four windows and celebrated his freedom with a howl that had to have been heard throughout the entire neighborhood.

Thank you to my editor, Timothy M., and all those reading this story. Likes and reviews would be appreciated. Join us in the COTT thread of the promising author forum for discussion of the story:


Copyright © 2017 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

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Chapter Comments

Nice Gary. I'm still liking this. Not sure we need him in Ontario! Lol. Warren may learn something but I doubt it! He'll revert once he knows Kellar is gone. So waiting for the next chapter!

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I'm very happy for Kellar in this chapter. He's leaving on his own terms and not with his tail tucked between his legs (so to speak). I think the fact that he as able to confront his previous tormentor and come out on top... even having some sympathy for the prick.. would be a real boost of confidence for Kellar. He learned that he is strong and he can survive on his own.. away from people who only pretended to care about it.
Great chapter, Gary! I can't wait to see where Kellar's travels take him.

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On 05/06/2016 08:27 PM, Bucket1 said:

I think young tim is right, Warren will revert to form and make up stories to explain the injuries. Hopefully the note will help Kellar's cause.

And he needs to watch True Blood closely, they don't seem to have a problem putting clothes back on.

i am looking forward to reading more, bring it on :)

Thanks, Bucket. Warren is an unknown, but I'm not sure such a tale would be believed. I think he was humiliated pretty badly, but I also think that fear will haunt the guy. I know it would me. LOL to True Blood. Thanks for the continued support for my weird little story, and for the great review... cheers... Gary...

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On 05/07/2016 04:12 AM, Jade1988 said:

I'm really liking this so far. I look forward to future chapters!!!! :worship::*)

Thanks, Jade! Your review means a lot. I'm so pleased you let me know you are liking this... it's a completely new genre for me... there are lots of future chapters to come... cheers... Gary...

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So the stage is set for Kellar's new life. I would think he might need to find another shifter. There might be some things he needs to know about himself. He seems to have mastered the shifting, but there could be more.

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On 05/07/2016 08:18 AM, Puppilull said:

So the stage is set for Kellar's new life. I would think he might need to find another shifter. There might be some things he needs to know about himself. He seems to have mastered the shifting, but there could be more.

Hey, Puppilull. This is where his journey really begins, and there is much more for him to figure out. He certainly didn't have the best start, but he managed. I hope you like what's coming. Thanks for the review... cheers... Gary...

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I really like Kellar's development. He's trusting this new change and trusting his wolf. Instead of acting out in confusion and anger, and leaning into his newfound strength and power, he's managing to think things through. He's making common sense plans while remaining aware of the dangers around him; people and predator alike. Whenever he meets or forms his pack he will be a very formidable wolf I bet!
I'm curious as to how Warren will proceed and if the foster family knew any of this. Waiting for more......

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On 09/07/2016 05:48 AM, Parker Owens said:

So Kellar leaves his final foster home with a quid pro quo...He won't destroy Warren, and Warren won't call in men with guns. That's not necessarily a good bargain. But he gains his freedom, and mobility. The howl of freedom at the end is absolutely priceless!

Deal with the devil? Maybe, but he shook Warren up pretty good. Ah, the smell of urine in the afternoon :) . I'm glad you liked the howl. After all, what is Kellar losing? Really, not a damn thing. I think I would have howled too... thanls for another great review, my friend... cheers... Gary....

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Quite a strong start to this story. Good to see that Kellar did not make use of his newfound strength to take revenge on his bullying foster brother. I like a character that can think, and reason out what he wants to do, and do it sensibly. This looks like a really fascinating idea you've come up with here, and I know I will be drawn back to see how it progresses. Thanks so much for the very good read.

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On 10/20/2016 12:54 PM, Geron Kees said:

Quite a strong start to this story. Good to see that Kellar did not make use of his newfound strength to take revenge on his bullying foster brother. I like a character that can think, and reason out what he wants to do, and do it sensibly. This looks like a really fascinating idea you've come up with here, and I know I will be drawn back to see how it progresses. Thanks so much for the very good read.

Thanks, Geron! It's in the next chapter that the story REALLY starts. You'll find Kellar is one of those characters that is intrinsically genuine. He's been tested by fate, and he didn't become jaded or damaged... and we slowly see the reasons for that as the story unfolds. I'm right chuffed you like it so far :) . Cheers, my friend... Gary....

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On 02/15/2017 03:10 PM, MacGreg said:

It's great to see the once-bullied Kellar become fierce and take control of his situation. He's thinking very clearly, and very intelligently, through all of this, considering not much time has passed since his initial transformation. His heightened senses and strength must be helping with his clarity of thought. He's taking charge of his life, and not putting up with anymore bullshit - especially from Warren.

I'm looking forward to see how this progresses. Thanks for another great chapter. Cheers - Mac

I think the key is as you say, Mac. He's taking charge of his life... finally... and he's ready. He's a beast with great strength and superb senses, but he doesn't resort to being the ass Warren was to him. That is very telling as to his character... thanks for your support, my friend... cheers... Gary....

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