A Chance Encounter
A preview to a future short story
The feline’s fluffy half-tail tickled the lycan’s nose as he chased his prey. Snapping his jaws, the beast whined with disappointment as he caught only air. This was the most fun he’d had in ages. It was by chance he found the little grey devil in the woods chasing a rat. Now though, the feline didn’t seem thrilled to have the tables turned on him.
Regardless, the little feline led him on a merry chase, so much that he forgot to pay attention.
The cat darted under a fence, and he crashed face first into the solid wood, breaking through the fence then stumbling. Huffing, the beast shook his head, trying to figure out where the fence had come from.
The lycan’s nose flared, focusing in on his prey’s scent once more, and the hunt resumed.
A cottage came into view, but his attention was purely on the grey cat sitting in front of the porch.
The fun had merely begun!
The wolf yelped with surprise as the earth exploded to his right, the reverberating retort of a firearm ringing through his ears as he came to a sudden stop.
Blinking, the werewolf took a moment to break free of his confusion, tearing his gaze from the smug grey tom to focus on the woman with a rifle.
“Move, you die.”
The lycan’s ears twitched, trying to figure out if he heard that correctly. His green gaze darted from the woman, to the cat. Was this real?
Was he being threatened… over… a cat?!
His tail thwumped softly, a confused whine emitting from his muzzle.
“I mean it, you come closer, and we will both regret it.” The woman continued to rant, “Go. Shoo. Back home. This may not be silver, but I think you’ll feel pain.”
The wolf huffed, shaking his head as he just stared at the woman. It was a cat. It was nothing. He looked down to the cat and the cat’s little half-tail twitched across the earth. The beast had the audacity to stand up and stretch now that his mad guardian was there.
“Last chance, mutt,”
His lips curled up in a snarl as his ears went down, but he noticed she never took her eye from the sights on that rifle. Crazy cat lady and her smug cat…s?
His green gaze settled on a silver shape by her legs… then to another… and another. There were cats everywhere it seemed, in the cottage, on top the roof, in the garden nearby. How the hell had he not seen all those cats before? The scents of other animals became obvious as his shock faded. What was this place?
Shaking his head, the beast took another step back.
“Good boy,” the woman spoke again, before finally lowering her rifle, “Smart mutt, aren’t ya? Now run along, and I see you by one of my babies again, there won’t be a warning shot. Plenty of rude folk up the way into the village you can snack on. Go find them.”
The beast blinked once more… had she just encouraged him to eat people? Her own kind? What a strange woman…
“And you! I told you not to run away, but nooo… you wanted to run, to go chase the stupid rat, now look! You brought a damn stray home!” the woman turned her attention to the grey cat sauntering on up to her, mewling and rubbing against her legs for forgiveness. “Lucky it didn’t eat you.”
The beast looked up at waning moon, and shook his head, turning to walk back into the moonlit night. This place was odd.
As he made his way back towards the forest, the lycan found himself looking over his shoulder at the strange little cottage. There was an old barn next to the mad witch’s small cabin. Both wooden structures were ancient, but the roof seemed strong and the foundation sturdy. A tiny fenced garden made it obvious that the woman was self-sustaining, and had no need to seek aid from nearby Serene. Even from here, it looked like a nice, cozy little home.
Watching from a distance, he observed the crazy woman lift up the smug grey, half-tail tom and snuggle the little beast. Turning and walking back inside, the woman held open the door, calling softly as her army of felines slowly made their way into the cottage. There was a warm, inviting glow from within and the lycan imagined how homey it must be in there, even with the multitude of felines.
Sighing deeply, the lycan turned and plodded back into the trees, tail hanging limply behind him. A life of luxury and companionship was all but a distant memory now. Since he’d turned, he was on the run, fearful of his old village and even his own family. He barely remembered their faces, even his own name was lost to the lonesome moonlit nights.
Making his way through the trees, the lone wolf eventually found his way back to the old, dilapidated barn he used as his den. The rotten supports had caused the roof to cave in long ago.
Inside, the lycan spun thrice before flopping down on the old, musty hay. His tail curled around his tense form, resting across his muzzle as he closed his eyes. The sun began to rise and as dawn’s rays shattered the horizon, the lycan drifted off to sleep, his mind focused on the warm glow within the mad woman’s cottage.
Hours passed before the wolf’s restless sleep was shattered by a bird’s cheeky tune. Standing up and stretching, the wolf headed outside, determined to end the unwanted alarm.
Following the annoying sound, the lycan stopped by a familiar wooden fence. His forehead throbbed faintly at the memory.
The witch’s cottage came into view and his nostrils filled with the scent of her many pets.
The chirping got shriller and he looked up, realizing he was not the only one plagued by the bird’s morning song. The grey cat he had chased previously was hunting, but the bird announced his every move
Deciding to try and help, the lycan stood up onto his muscular hindlegs, reaching up to grab the tree trunk then shake it. The bird shrieked shrilly, fluttering out of the branches and flying away.
A curious meow escaped the cat as the tom turned towards him. There wasn’t an ounce of fear in the tom now, the mighty hunter strutting ahead.
Shaking his head with amusement, the lycan plodded after the feline. Quickly, the cat found a new target, huddling down to the earth. Creeping along with silent steps, the feline moved with natural grace, his rear end wiggling with anticipation.
As soon as the wiggling began, the feline launched forward with shocking accuracy, catching a vole and tossing it into the air. Catching the rodent, the feline immediately bit down, killing his prey.
The feline purred happily, walking off with his kill and heading straight for his guardian’s cottage. Following him, the lycan crouched down, not wanting to get shot. He expected the cat to sit down and eat, but instead the beast walked to the door and began wailing.
“What is it?” the door opened and the mad woman took a step out, only to pause and look down. “Oh… for me?” the cat meowed in response, before pushing the dead rodent towards the woman. “Thank you… so… kind.” The woman shook her head, before bending down to pick up the dead animal. “Just what I wanted, Leo.”
Hmm… she didn’t seem frightened of the offering. Was it some sort of bribe? He had to wonder.
With that thought in mind, the lycan watched the woman and her pet enter the cottage before he turned and walked off. Heading back into the trees, he felt the familiar pang of hunger. Sniffing the air a few times, he noticed a promising scent and followed it.
The doe he found didn’t stand a chance and even after the light faded from the animal’s eyes, he found himself standing with the doe’s neck in his jaws. Turning, he looked towards his own pathetic dwelling, then back towards the cottage. The woman had all sorts of animals there. She was aware of his condition too. If he offered her this gift, would she allow him to stay? Surely, she had room for one more stray?
Huffing, the lycan chewed a moment more on the doe’s neck, grinding his teeth against bone and shaking fine hairs loose onto his tongue. Snorting, he turned and walked back towards the woman’s cottage.
He found himself sinking closer to the ground with each step, nearly tripping over the dead deer as he reached the garden. There was nothing but cats in sight, the other animals nestled in the barn. The felines paid him little attention as he approached, realizing he was not threat.
Taking a breath, the lycan walked around the garden and dared to set the dead deer on the porch in front of the woman’s door. His tail wagged briefly, anxiety making him fidget as he backed up.
Sitting back on his hunches, he threw his head back and howled. It was a monstrous sound that shook the cottage.
The door opened moments later, the woman standing there with her gun in hand, only to freeze and look down.
“The hell- where… did you…” she trailed off, looking from the dead deer on her porch and then back up to him. His ears folded back almost immediately, his teeth lifting up into an awkward grin as his tail thwunked gently, and nervously, against the ground.
“Why did,” the woman looked down as the grey tom mewled, rubbing against her legs before the beast leapt over the deer carcass gracefully. The tom’s half tail was raised as he walked over, coming to a stop in front of the lycan. “Ughh… no. I know what you’re thinking. The answer is no. I can’t… there’s no room… you…”
The lycan’s ears pulled back even further, trying to make his eyes as big possible as he hunkered down, his tail gently hitting the ground in sad, slow thunks. His submissive stature seemed to please the tom and the cat meowed, taking a step forward and rubbing his head against the wolf’s muzzle.
“Ugghhh…” the woman huffed, crossing her arms in annoyance, “You hurt my cats or other animals, I will feed your flesh to them while you still draw breath.”
The lycan’s eyes widened at the threat, before he nodded enthusiastically.
“Come on, you mongrel. Come meet the rest of the unwanted misfits. Leo, leave the mutt alone. God, you’re gonna get eaten one day…” the woman shook her head, before looking down to the deer once more. “At least we don’t have to worry about dinner…”
The lycan woofed in agreement, before daring to stand up at last.
“Make yourself useful. Bring this. I’ll clean it behind the barn,” the woman motioned to the old structure.
Nodding slowly, the wolf approached the cottage. Relief spread across his face as the woman set her gun down against the wall.
“Come on, mongrel. We don’t have all day.”
Picking up the deer in his jaws, the wolf followed after his new landlord. The homestead reeked of various animals and as they neared the barn, the scents only strengthened. The old barn was sturdy and strong with a solid roof overhead. The scent of fear was nowhere to be found on this tiny homestead, instead the resident beasts were all at peace. The sense of calm was contagious and for the first time in a long time, the lycan felt safe. His posture relaxed immediately, his tail swishing happily as the woman opened the barn door.
The lycan’s lips lifted up into a faint, toothy smile around the mangled neck of his prey. This was a good place to call home.
About the author
Writing, gaming and creating art are my passions. Along with cats. All hail the mighty felilne overlords! Fantasy- traditional and urban- are my forte, but I dabble with romance, sci-fi and occasionally horror. Let me know what you think!