SNAP…thud. Henry falls in a pile of muck and leaves. Quickly standing he tries to calm himself so he can listen to see if the villagers are still following him. He takes a few quick breaths, but he can still only hear the sound of his heart pounding in his chest.
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Better to be safe than sorry, he breaks into a full run hopping and jumping over logs and low lying brush to make his escape. It’s cold out and Henry is glad that the clouds that threatened snow last night had departed without dropping more than a dusting. A rare thing for this time of year, but he is still grateful. He figures it will be harder for them to track him without the snow. As he climbs on top of a fallen tree he hears a dog bark in the distance. Still on his haunches he turns and growls menacingly back at the sound. He shakes the instinct to fight, hopping down off of the tree trunk and once again running full tilt into the ever-deepening forest.
Soon the forest floor gives way to rocky outcroppings and steeper grades. He begins to climb with the same urgency that he was running with. Two hours later he is far above the tree line and sees that night is falling rapidly. He knows that he must find a safe place to hide soon. Another twenty minutes of climbing and he finds it; a small cave hidden among a couple of larger outcroppings. He peers carefully into the cave searching out anything that might have made a lair out of it. He sees nothing save for a few bats that are nervously eyeing him and sniffing the air he brought with him.
Crawling inside he finds that there is some room to stand in, although he still has to stoop slightly at the cave’s highest point. Looking back outside he sees the sky turning a bruised purple. Carefully he begins to undress. Once naked he folds his clothing in a corner and places some rocks on them as if to hide them. When he is done he just stands there in the middle of the cave naked and shivering as moonrise approaches.
Hopping from one foot to another to keep warm Henry keeps chanting “Remember the cave, Remember the cave, like a mantra. He hopes that the wolf’s mind will somehow cling to this idea and find it’s way back to the cave before sunrise when it, no he, will change back. He once awoke to find himself some fifty miles away from his then home. Henry doesn’t relish the thought of having to traipse fifty miles in the woods naked in the dead of winter with an angry village out for his blood. Still he repeats, “Remember the cave, Remember the ca…UGH!!” The first spasm knocks him to the ground. Pain runs through his leg as he pulls a shard of sharp rock from his knee. He throws the shard aside and watches the wound close over itself and heal almost instantly.
“Uff.” The next spasm knocks him forward. He can taste the copper of blood as it spreads across his tongue. He had bitten his lip again fighting the pain of the change. Now the pain come more urgently. Bones begin to shift and move, muscles thicken and swell. The pounding in Henry’s head is outmatched by the sickening cracking of his skull and jaw. Every pore of his body hurts and with the hurt comes the anger and rage of the beast. What begins as a yell of pain ends as a deep growl in the back of the throat of the animal. Soon Henry is in a dark tunnel and all is blackness.