Blood stained the stone floor of the passage. A creature whined in agony as he nudged the pale limp body of the young girl with his nose. Its contorted limbs covered in her blood . A horror stricken man stood not twenty feet away.
“What have you done?” he shouted as loud as his voice would let him. In that moment it was only a whisper. “What have you done you stupid, stupid girl?” He repeated himself growing more and more bold as he found himself walking towards her body. He collapsed at her side, “Why?”
Were he able to cry tears, they would have fallen only for her. The wolf growled at the close proximity of the monster. Their eyes met in a flash of fury. He moved to attack the wolf
“Adrien,” She called out to him stopping him in his tracks.
“Francesca. Do not speak. You will be alright. Relax. Allow me to...” Adrien’s words dropped. He didn’t know what he’d do. Her wounds were deep and he didn’t know how much longer he could refrain from feeding from her already blood derived body.
His hands caressed her wounds, her breathing and heart beat slowing rhythmically. She was dying. She knew it. How did one comfort the dying?
Francesca was sixteen. Well passed marriage age, old enough to have at least one child. Yet so far as anyone knew Francesca didn’t have any children. She didn’t have any family, save for her sister Sophia and their young brother Gilbert. And now she never would get the chance.
“Damn it!” he thought,” This isn’t fair.” He stroked her long brown hair. Its wet blood-soaked ringlets sticking to his dry fingers. Almost begging him, don’t leave. Please.
“Rohan,” She addressed the misshaped creature that stood not far away, “This is my fault. Do not.. blame...” Her slurred words were ceased by her last breath. The creature took one loud ragged breath in with the realization. Francesca,the only woman whom he’d ever loved, was gone. A howl of pain ripped through his body; the shout screamed of mourning and loss and guilt. The emotions pounded at the beasts very being. Adrien took ragged breaths of anger. The last person his beloved Francesca had ever spoken to was Rohan London, her murderer. How dare he sound pained? He had killed her!
“You dare mourn her loss, Rohan London?” Adrien asked angrily,” You have taken her from me and you dare howl to Her as if you did not take my beloved from me?”
The wolf stared back at the man,” Do not sit there as a dog who does not understand his master’s words. Stand and speak to me! Or never claim yourself to be a man again!” Adrien demanded, his fists still clenched tightly around Francesca’s still body, which grew ever colder.
Within two agonizing minutes Rohan London stood, in all his Six foot eight inches, naked, chiseled glory. His eyes bored holes into Adrien’s face,“You question my manhood, Adrien Le Boursier?”
“You killed her. What did she do? She was just a girl” Adrien demanded.
Silence held the room for a moment “It should’ve been you.” Rohan replied in agony,” You were going to take her from me. I’d laid my claim! You were supposed to respect that. You were supposed to be my friend.”
“She asked me to! What would you have me do, Rohan? I loved her.I loved her as you loved her” Adrien’s voice broke speaking of her in past tense, ” Is this you’re way of revenge? To have us both miserable? If you can’t have her no one will? Is this your demented idea of getting even!?”
“It was an accident!” Rohan claimed,” I would never have hurt her! Not on purpose! She jumped in the way. You know damn well she jumped in the way!”
Adrien placed Francesca’s body down slowly, gently as if she was merely asleep,” So you wanted to kill me then? Over her? You couldn’t just let us be happy? A broken bond between you and her and you go an shatter years of friendship, of brotherhood?”
“So you admit to breaking our bond? At least you are man enough to do that.” Rohan spat venomously toward the other man.
“So it is you questioning my manhood now? To think, I once called you brother.” Adrien said ruefully standing to face the other man at full height. The way they’d intended for this night to go to begin with.
“Only through the divine are we called brothers.” Rohan declared.
“This,” Adrien gestured to Francesca’s body,” may never be forgiven. You must pay retribution!”
“And will you be the one to give it to me?” Rohan asked with false gusto and choked back tears.“Are you any cleaner than I?”
“May our mother forgive my sin. And accept you into her arms.” Adrien whispered as a prayer. His eyes closed in a brief moment of mourning for their friendship that had died with Francesca.
“And may she forgive me of my sin as well.” Rohan added kneeling slowly before the moon’s gaze and shifting to the beast he’d been once more. He bared his sharp teeth and spared a glance to Francesca’s slightly mangled corpse once more. He howled to the sky apologizing to his divine mother for having to see this. The moon’s glow shone through small holes in the ceiling. Rohan stepped forward to the man awaiting his opponent’s transformation.
Adrien finished his prayer and removed his long coat placing it softly over Francesca’s cold body. He felt the smooth fabric of his shirt fall to shreds as the soft skin of his arms became a leathery hide of bat-like wings. His skin stretching and morphing into something nonhuman. Sharp canines and incisors filled Adrien’s mouth. He realized that in this moment, he had become the monster he tried so hard never to be.
“For what it is worth,” The leathery beast screeched,” I wish you a quick death.” The feral wolfish animal let out a growl and then a loud bark. The two prepared themselves for a moment. The animal crouching low, it prepared for its initial attack. The winged creature flailed its arms until it levitated in a uneven medium between the ground and the ceiling.
The monsters gave each other one last full glance before the battle began.