Moose Hunter Moon
|Dramatis Personae|| |
27 October, 2015
The full moon's call will not be denied. Roman seeks peace from the perils of the city in Maine's woodlands, but finds a feverish rage-cow instead.
Roman, Chiara as ST
- Kezar Lake -- Northern Woods
Kezar Lake almost straddles the New Hampshire state line, a pristine wilderness lake carved out from the rumpled foothills of the White Mountains. Pine forests spill along the western flanks, interspersed by limited stands of hemlock and colourful maples mostly reduced to barren branches this late into the season. Several small gravel roads encircle the ragged coastline, providing access points for a small marina and several private docks scattered around the strait called The Narrows, which connects Kezar Lake to the much smaller and heavily developed Kezar Pond. Reeds sway above flat marshes, offering refuge for abundant wildlife. Bald eagles and ospreys are common sights, while wild turkey and rabbit run through the undergrowth. Moose are not unknown. Several small creeks and a fairly sizeable river all support the warmwater fishery that draw Mainers to cast their lines. Where the marshlands are thickest, floating mats of peat are practically impassable except by hovercraft.
Sometimes a man has to get away from the pressures of the job. Ringing phones, taxes, and scheduling all wear away at a dwindled reserve of patience. When the insistent blink of a voicemail message becomes a source of teeth-grinding irritation, that's a sign. The fresh autumn day promises to be breezy if a bit overcast, awash in the season's last gasps of warmth. Activity just outside Roman Quinn's vet clinic adds another element to upset the animals and possibly him. Road construction crews have set up at the crack of dawn and plastered business and house alike in bright orange notices hung from door handles. Something about a water main break requiring them to flush the pipe and shut off water for the next eight to twelve hours. Another crew enthuses about mixing cement and pouring a new block on a section of the curb, but before they can do that, huge whirling blades start cutting into the asphalt at exactly 7:03 AM. What a delightful serenade to rouse a man is, expectedly, shrill, high pitched, and relentless.
Click. It's the noise. There is too much of it going around. The construction and even the dogs and the other's working at the center and the vet next door and the clients. Hell the meows of the cats, what he wouldn't give to just eat it. He stops mid pour of his coffee with that thought as he turns to stare at the cat meowing at him. He's never had that particular thought before. He's never wanted to hurt an animal before let alone eat one. He puts the coffee pot down and places the food on the floor for the cats to start eating. He puts his coffee into a to go cup and grunts to his assistant that he's taking a day off because his heads not in the game. His walk back the room is strange. He was feeling better from the fever but his hands are shaking. He packs a quick wilderness backpack before taking off. He needs out of the city. Now.
Machines roar away. The endless traffic never ceases, even when diverted. Cars idle and pull out in parking lots, redirected by a work crew that shouts and chatters with one another in a ruckus of noise. Dogs bark and chain fences rattle. Some kid decides to play basketball against the wall of an adjacent building, and the slap-slap-thump becomes a torturous monotony in the background. This is the city, its heartbeat and the pumping energy through arterial routes and intravenous backroads: the squeal and the stench, the urgent panic and the malignant rush. Nothing quite adds up right for Roman at this rate. Coffee's too bitter, car keys lost, the cats whining at him in pleading yowls for more food even though the bowl is full. In short, it's hell that comes with too much thought in too small a space. With the spark of anger at the slightest provocation, of a man working too hard, stretched too thin.
All roads lead to Fallcoast in these parts, but most lead out in various ways. The seashore's all noisy too with the last visitors. Leaf peepers clog the rural routes, and say nothing of the lone Interstate through town headed to Portland: that's a mess of construction barrels and cones. There's a few US and state routes winding out, though, and they make easy penetration into the forest. State parks aplenty might serve, but Kezar Lake is a large outpost of wilderness right on the line. Old Abenaki territory, sometimes visited by cabins and plenty of trailheads.
Click. It's frustrating the more he's outside and the more noise that hits his ears. The hairs on his arms even move in other ways. Each little noise a ripple along his skin as it penetrates right into his spirit to a place he's never felt before. It's a hum that's been building since his wife died and it's becoming a cascade of sound that he cannot explain. Each little pin prick of motion and visual stimulates the choir inside. His coffee is shoved into his pack as he makes his way into the forest and towards the place he remembers from a hazed, fevered dream. His hands push against the pines and his hulking form slinks through the undergrowth. He needs to head there. He remembers that it was quiet.
His boots carry him towards the Lake. He needs to be surrounded by the hemlock and maples. The season will have the lake being dead so he knows it will be quiet out there. His eyes catch each little bit of movement and he snarls out. This is his place and he doesn't want movement here. His eyes glance around as he scans the area, making sure no one shoots him thinking he's a moose as it is moose season.
Roman is their voodoo doll. A pin pressed in through the flesh here, an alarming twitch there. The sounds are acute and sharpened, in the way someone might feel in a totally dark campsite late at night. Darkness boasts a specific quality, and descending in a hush, there are moments when even insects fall still and the breeze refuses to chatter. Though these woods of the White Mountains are hardly wild like that, if still remote. Man touches them, whether through the motorboats taking fishers from dock to dock, or the logging trucks trundling down an unpaved road. Still, Kezar Lake is unusual: an hourglass-shaped water body with a smaller, more residential pond at its southern end. The northern reaches feed into creeks and spill at the feet of rugged country. Not high elevation but steep, spots where memory of highways and bills and bitchy clients can recede long enough to give him a little space. To let the fraying inner self breathe. The path ahead is winding and rather damp, the swampiness heavy on his feet. Ferns give off a crushed smell where he treads on them. All around is rot and a rank, heavy scent.
No one has gone through recently. The trail he picks has too many fresh leaves and smears of dirt for that. Game isn't readily apparent; his search for a moose is, however, rewarded. Somewhere off in the distance is not a hunter but a humped shape.
Click. His eyes adjust to the darkness and his body tingles at each new sensation. The moments of silence are a blessing to him because it's just enough for him to breath. He walks silently through the sinking ground, his boots were not made for this type of hiking. He bites his bottom lip when he sniffs the air and lifts his eyes up. The humped over shape is seen and he could yip happily. He was so hungry. His eyes light up with bliss his thought process goes to tearing it apart. Suddenly he stops and thinks over that. Humans don't tear things apart with their teeth. He slowly slides to the ground and hugs the tree, pressing his forehead against it. "What's happening to me..."
A grown moose stands five feet at the shoulder and easily weighs around 800 pounds, unless it's an adult male. This one? He's not a regular old specimen but something out of a primeval nightmare. A huge rack of splayed horns rise above the ungainly creature's head, and the bull is closer to seven feet of sheer iron mass capable of charging at thirty-five miles an hour. He lurks in the bog some distance off, hard to see except for the magnificent set of antlers. Brackish plants mire him, but he doesn't care, staring at things with red, unfriendly eyes. Its bloodshot glare slides through the crepuscular woodland at a sign of motion, an ear twitching at the interruption to the usual chorus. A low, unfriendly grunt echoes out of its snout, rippling over the water.
<OOC> ChiaraST says, "It sounds something like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--PyKhohVcY"
Click. The man who knows a lot about animals peeks out from behind the tree and stares at the large moose. Red eyes and big pain inducing antlers and...His heart starts to pump and his toes dig into the shoes he's wearing. He wants to eat it or destroy it. He's not sure which one. He takes his pack off and unbuttons his shirt, removing it leaving himself in just a dark t-shirt. The large Aussie pulls out his hunting knife but stops to stare at it as if this thing doesn't feel right in this moment. He shakes his head and the thought out of his mind. He starts to stalk his way towards the large creature. He's at least going to bite it.
Moose meat is awfully tasty. A lot of meat on that bull, succulent slabs waiting to be ripped apart by claw and tooth. Imagine the blood spilling down his throat, wetting his face. The joy of sinking a bite into the yielding skin, gulping mouthfuls of fat. Its grunting call is a warning, growing into a bellow. A challenge. Matted weeds hang on its fur in hanks, covering the light bullet wound taken earlier in the season, an infection set in around the puncture mark. Heat and pain madden the otherwise virile, dangerous beast. It lowers its head and shuffles through the swampy muck, water lapping at its long spindly legs. Moose are deceptively ungainly, but watch one run or charge with dead aim, and that illusion breaks. This one is starting to plod, horns pointed.
The Aussie licks his lips as he leans forward, moving from hand to hand and then foot to foot. Crawling in a most awkward fashion towards the beast that's warning him. He growls back at the bellow, a return challenge to the beast. He's prepared probably to get his ass kicked but he wants that meat and when he sees that bullet wound his eyes lift up. "Respect be to you, mate but you won't make it through the chill of winter. Let me end it." He bows his head and moves a little more close to the creature baring his very human teeth with a gentle growl to the creature, trying to calm it. "It will be quick."
Do not go gentle into that good night. Clouds slide across the crepuscular sky and unleash the brilliant sky in all its tattered shades, the promise of battle heralded in streaming cirrus painted copper and bloody red by the implicit onset of night. It may be some time off, but at this northerly latitude, day's forces are in full retreat. And there it is on the rise, the hard white eye of Mother Luna peering through black, bottle brush evergreens. The moose cares nothing for celestial or meteorological phenomena, no horror of plagues descending on the streets as rush hour teems in motion. It sees an aggressive figure smelling wrong in its territory. It tastes a threat on the breeze. Snorting and bellowing, it's a frightening fast brown bolt launched in the dark confines of a woodland. And unless Roman moves, he's going to meet that seven foot span head on.
Click. Roman slides to standing and he takes a deep breath. He's feeling his own heart beat over his skin and his whole body is a light with the very need to end this. "This will end for one of us." He bows his head as he turns the knife in his hand. "Judging from your size... I don't have much confidence in myself right now." The large man grumbles to himself. Though there is something in him that is saying he'll be eating well tonight. He glances up at the sky and sees the beauty of it. His eyes return to the creature and he moves behind a rather large tree for cover.
Click. Roman moves towards the creature as it charges. That's not his worst idea to date but it ranks in the top five. He grips the knife in his hand and dodge massive antlers of doom to leap onto it's back. His pathetic man hands don't get a good enough grip and thus he's left with little more than a slip and slide as a surface to land on. "Crap!" He grits his teeth. "Why won't you let me eat you?"
The moose charges through the marshy forest surrounding the lake. It has no trouble smelling Roman, its rolling bloodshot eyes seeking out movement. Already enraged, it's a short step for moose -- or one big leap for mankind -- to go over the edge. It gallops up on its splayed hooves to attack the tree when Roman leaps out at it. Missing it in a jump is like failing to hit the broad side of a barn, if that barn is galloping and wields a big rack of mossy horns. Its gurgling bellow and honks fill the air as the man falls on it, the slick and matted hide hard to get a grip on. The bull turns its head and snaps big yellow teeth at Roman's flank, attempting to knock him off its humped back.
The moose cannot quite get its horns into place to gore a man. Kicking is hard with him falling to the ground. The great overgrown deer, poisoned in its blood and mad with rage, hops in an ungainly arc and takes another bite. This time, great teeth bruise through the cloth. That has to hurt; they're -teeth-. Not fanged like a predator, but the prey animal devouring the man sets off something mad, a sick crack against the mind. For all the times he's been abducted, nearly poisoned, driven mad, surely using a bull moose takes the cake of offenses.
Click. Click. He feels how close the moose gets to biting his legs as he growls and then he is flicked off the mooses back. He is flung off the mooses back and he lands on his chest and rolls to a stand only in time to see a moose at his face. His eyes look up quickly and he stares into the rather large face.
The moose makes another bleating noise, sidling back and focusing to charge again. Its head is low and those great antlers in the way, turned towards a relatively easy target. At full bore, the hoary beast can stop a pickup truck cold. Unable to lope, it seems to have trouble noticing the hit to its wounded side and instead sweeps Roman aside with its horny rack, the points biting into his flesh in a half-dozen places. Force delivered like a sledgehammer has to hurt, and cracks deep into bruised skin.
Click. The biting of the moose towards him tips something into his subconscious. He growls deep in his throat and the knife drops from his hand and he lifts his fist and swings.
Click. The swing misses the giant moose head and the muscles on his body twitch at each little breeze that flows over his body. Each little chirp in the air. His body is mostly turned to the creature when it flies towards him, horns and all.
Boom. The antlers dig into him and gouge into his flesh carving out and digging deep. He howls out as his bones start to snap and break into new forms. His pained cry, half human, half something more primal.
Head lifted, ears flicked forward, the moose looks almost comical. Blood stains its rack of splayed antlers and its body shudders in the throes of fever and infamous ill temper. The bull snorts and leaps backwards, moving almost a metric ton of fat, muscle, and meat with surprising ease. The joints pop as it sidles away from the man bent in two by the agony of popping joints and tearing skin. Muscles erupt and bulge, the tension of the human frame unable to contain the monster inside Roman. He tears at the seams, a sight worthy to send any prey animal into flight. Except the moose is territorial and enraged by pain of its own, afflicted by an infected wound, and an animal that would naturally stand down a wolf when fully grown, in its prime. A werewolf, on the other hand...
The spirits shriek their condemnations from the other side of the Gauntlet, flitting in clusters and knots, while the pooling blood and hot stink of the man betray his origins among and separate from them. Something a simple animal can't hear. Its instincts say charge and scare off; or flee. Fight wins over flight, as the reconfigured ghost wolf is inoculated by the devastating rage of Mother Luna on high in the scarlet clouds, marking the transition of day into bloody night.
The pain is overwhelming and all encompassing. His body ripples as skin fractures for the first time over his form and reveals a monster that even a moose would be afraid of. The bones breaking from the change can even be hear in a distance, a grind against the breeze and his body starts to get stronger pumping primal power from Luna into his body as his eyes turn amber and he snaps his jaws in a test. The pain that hits him from the antlers and tosses him is enough to make him howl in pain. He can't speak but if he could it would be a rather explicit line of cusses.
The buckling figure howling at the sky sends a long vibration of noise through a forest. Birds take to flight, insects go silent. The moose grunts, hooves scratching the leaf litter and dirt. Its thick soiled hide spills with lake weed as it takes advantage of Roman's weakness, biting at the bleeding flesh, trying to force this man thing on. Away from his territory, to move, to be gone. Not so the case as it will find out, but the ornery nature of a moose is legendary; they're known to stalk cars for miles.
Well now you have two stubborn bastards squaring off with each other. One stupid the other rage filled. The massive beast that was Roman howls out in something out of a nightmare as his amber eyes focus on the thing that pissed him off right well. He scratches his claws towards the creature and when it connects the blood makes him want more. Yes, he got it. His claws curls and he bares his massive fangs from his maw. If he could he'd yell fuck you anger-cow.
Few creatures, wolves included, will stand before a moose in full charge. Semi trucks are about their only natural predator. The beast recoils from the claws slashing into its hide, sending blood in a gout through its heavy coat. Rage fills one primordial monster and the other out of primeval memory, and that horror of the deer family trots around and charges at Roman in a display of ferocity and dominance. Horns down, it looks like the nascent Gauru is about to be hurled through the air, a feat even for a creature as big as the bull. But it stops short, dirt flung into the air, and shuffles back. Not fast enough to avoid another blow, but close.
The anger-roman stares down the Moose and watches it with all it's horny glory as it flails around and charges. He slides his feet back to brace and when the hit doesn't come he snarls and lifts his claw and slaps an angry-cow right in the face. If you are going to poster don't do it to a rage beast who can't control his emotions and right now he's just feeling the need to slap a bitch and rawr and so he howls out into the creatures face. Sure he's bleeding from the gash in his body and he's in pain all over from the change but damn if he not enjoying this.
That shameless moose is suffering now, getting close to the point where instinct overrules rage. It lashes out with a spindly leg as strong as a tire iron, connecting with a pointy hoof that can puncture flesh and fur equally well. The last ditch defense of a creature snorting, sides heaving, awash in blood.
Another slash and that stupid rage-cow has not dropped. Nor has it backed off. Bleeding from its flanks, it snaps a bite at Roman without care for the awful taste of the blood and flesh, or the rags of his clothes. Those teeth are blunt and hard, snapping through the barriers. Rar.
The kick comes out of no where but when it hits him in the chest he groans in pain and lands hard on his back. He scrambles to his feet and then there is a bite and it. Amber eyes flair up even more and he leaps forward, teeth sinking into the meet of the creature, taking a small chunk off. This rage-cow is mad now. Bite me and I bite you right back, pistachio!
Roman-beast rushes at the creature and snarls in rage one last time. He bares the teeth in his massive maw before he digs those teeth into the creatures neck, tearing out the creatures throat and pushing it over as claws start to dig into it and tear it apart. It's less about eating right now and more about just wanting to decimate the thing that hurt him. Though the rage is dying now with the creature that's blood is all over him. Slowly the fur falls from him and mostly hairless...at least compared to the beast, flesh is exposed. Standing bloody and naked over a dead moose, Roman looks at himself and the creature. His eyes lift up to the moon and then slowly move down to the moose. He slowly sits down and closes his eyes. He imagines his body as that of the direwolf and then after a moment of pain, his eyes open and he glances down. Paws. He gasps and he comes out strange. He's a wolf! He lifts his eyes. Meat! He leaps into the dead animal and starts to nom away.
So the monster is born, raised from the flesh of the White Mountains and feasting upon the flesh of a wild-eyed moose who kicks and struggles to rise as he brings it to ground. Eventually oxygen deprivation, blood loss, and mortal wounds will claim its price. The newborn Rahu feasts and feasts well upon far more meat than it could ever need; there is enough for the pack, not simply one. Does a chord of loneliness rage? So it may.