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The Human Animal
My name is Rolf. It is the name that I took when I came to live among humanity. It happened when I was but a year old. I was playing with my pack mates, when I experienced a sharp pain. I watched as my paws changed. The claws retracted and long protrusions grew outward. I learned later that they were called fingers. My precious fur was drawn back into my skin as I watched and I shivered with the cold. My legs changed, becoming longer and changing shape. My nose went dead and I saw colors for the first time ever.
My pack mates growled at me and ran from me as my scent changed. I shivered again, not so much from the cold as from the sight of my now hairless, pink skin. I stood upright for the first time in my short life and it somehow felt right for me now. I stumbled after my fellows, but I could no longer run very fast and I couldn't scent them either. I felt as though I was blind. So much information given to me by my nose was gone now. Not knowing what to do, I stumbled out to the edge of one of the hard places where the smelly things barreled past and sat there with my head held in sorrow for what I had lost.
It was not long before one of the smelly things came down the hard ground and stopped near me. Humans got out and made soothing noises over me. I was so cold and shivering, that I let them take me in their thing. They wrapped me in a blanket and for the first time since the change, I was warm. They took me to the place where they lived and others came over to see me. I couldn't understand the noises that they were making, but they seemed to mean me no harm and they offered food. I liked them from the beginning. I stayed with them for quite a while and the female patiently taught me the meaning of the sounds they made.
I learned rather quickly and realized that they wanted to know about me. I could not tell them where I had come from. Somehow I knew that that was wrong. As I learned language, I told them that I just didn't remember. They explained that the others that had come over had tried to find out where I had come from, but were not successful. There seemed to be no record of me. It was decided that I would live with them unless someone else could be found.
Time passed quickly and I found that once I had learned to read I couldn't ever get enough. I was put into school with the others my age, but quickly excelled beyond them. It was as though I was thirsty, except for the learning that books brought. I was driven to learn everything I could. My favorite subjects had to be history and wildlife. The people who I stayed with were overjoyed with me. They had always wanted a son and I became that for them. I was happy with them, until the dreams came.
I always remembered where it was that I had come from. I remembered the days, when I ran with my pack. The days were almost happy except for something that intruded upon me. I didn't know what to call it at the time, but later realized that I had something that the others did not. Once I was human, I would lie in bed at night and cried. It was a purely human reaction at a loss, but I couldn't help it. I dreamed of running in the woods and making a kill, but I could no longer realize it or so I thought.
I was reading late one night. It was a story called White Fang. I identified with the wolf in the story. As I read, I felt something long hidden rise to the surface of my being and with but a moment of dizziness and pain was once more in the form that I had been born with. I stayed that way for the rest of the night and near morning, I yearned for my human form back and as I wished, I changed once more. This night was one of the greatest in my short life. Now I no longer felt as lost as I had before. It was as though I had found something I had been looking for. I became a much happier person.
I finished High school in record time and went on to college. I was only about 15 human years old, but I looked much older that that. If I had to judge, I would say about 18 or 19. No one noticed anything unusual when I got to college. My roommate was named Kenny and he was 18 years old. I was dark featured with black hair, while he was lighter with a light brown hair. We became instant friends and this helped me get used to going to this school. I was enthralled with the library and came home every night with more books. Kenny on the other hand, was never seen with a book of any kind.
Don't get me wrong though, he was a really smart person. He was just kind of lazy and would rather play than work. He kind of reminded me of a fox that lived a ways from our den. He was always giving me a hard time, but left me to my studies. I had a sense of urgency when I thought of trying to help my people. My people, was how I thought of the wolves. Humans were now my adopted family, but wolves were my brothers and sisters.
The only thing I found was that I was lonely. I had a secret that I could tell to no one. My foster parents didn't even know what I was and I wanted to tell someone. I thought of Kenny. How would he take it? Would he even believe that I was what I said I was? It normally wasn't in the nature of the wolf to be trusting, but I was no longer completely wolf. I had to take the chance. Tomorrow, we were going to stay home all day and study. Then was when I would tell him. I still doubted myself, but I had made my decision.
"Well, what do you have to tell me, that's so important that it couldn't wait," Kenny asked? He sat there on our old couch and I knew of no way to do this except to go ahead and blurt it out.
"I am a wolf, Kenny," I said.
He just sat there with a dumb struck look on his face, almost as if I had said I was an alien from outer space. I was faced with the obvious; I had to show him. I started taking off my clothes, even as I initiated the ch ange once more.
"I guess I'll have to show you then," I told him.
The change was starting and I looked over to where Kenny sat. He looked even more stunned that before and didn't speak. Fur grew and my bones began to shift. The sounds this made were usual to me now, but I feared that Kenny wasn't taking it so well. My face began to push out and my teeth grew. My ears shifted up my head and became pointed and rapidly furred over. Fingers shrank and claws appeared. With a final snap, the change completed itself.
I stood across the room and watched Kenny. I smelled fear coming from him. Then before he could do anything, I started the change to human once more. I was pretty fast with this now, but Kenny had managed to get enough of a grip on himself, that he started scrambling for the door. I couldn't change any faster, but I had to stop him. He had his hand on the door and was trying to get it open. He had forgotten that the deadbolt was locked, so wasn't having much luck. Finally, I had changed back enough to growl," Please, Kenny, don't go. I won't hurt you!"
He gave up trying to get out and stumbled over to the couch and fell heavily on it. He was still wary and I tool care to stay on my side of the room. The change finish and I carefully put my clothes back on once more. I looked over to Kenny and said," I need to explain this to you."
"Explain what, that you're some kind of werewolf monster," He yelled?
"I'm not a werewolf," I said quietly. "I was born a wolf, not a human that can turn into a wolf."
"Wolves are killers," Kenny spat!
Now he had made me mad. I wanted understanding from him and he threw this accusation into my face. Before I knew it I spat an answer back to him," So we are killers are we?" "You sit there and listen to what I have to say and keep quiet till I am finished and we'll see then who is the killer."
"We wolves are a proud race. We have never killed for fun! Humans are one of the few animals on earth that have that distinction. There have been documented cases through out history of humans that enjoyed killing. Not only animals, but others of their own kind also. We kill to protect our young. We kill to eat and occasionally we have killed to protect our territory, but never for fun.
We wolves have also never warred on others of our kind. Human history is a trail of one bloody war after another. There were atrocities committed by the Germans during World War 2. Vlad the Impaler put thousands to death on poles stuck on the ground. These are just a couple examples of many, where humans have preyed on each other. You people have killed my people almost to extinction also. Wolves have rarely harmed humans through out history, yet humans have killed them in great numbers. In one year period in Montana, 18,000 wolves were murdered just for a bounty posted by the government and cattle associations."
"And another example of human brutality comes to mind. Never would a wolf pack desert one of its young. Every year more and more human children are left with one parent or completely alone. It's the whole pack's job to protect and nurture our young. Humans don't seem to care what happens to their own, much less those of others. I admit that there have been rogues with in our ranks that liked to kill or hunt humans, but most of us want nothing more than to be left alone to live out lives. Now, Kenny, I ask you, who's the killer? Who's the real animal of this world?"
I was out of breath. I never wanted to bring all of this up, but when he accused my people of these things, I had to make him see. I watched his face during my tirade and I saw the change there that I had hoped for.
"I have never had it put to me like that before," Kenny said.
He hung his head in a shame that I knew to be real. I had lived with this man for over a year and I recognized the mood he was in now.
"Rolf, I am sorry that I said your people were killers. I was looking at it selfishly as most humans do. They think that it's their God given right to take and use anything that they please. I don't think that this is true, myself. For all that most think we are sophisticated and smart, I no longer think so. I watch those documentaries on wildlife and they look excessively brutal, but the truth is that that was a part of the struggle for survival. Humans are far more brutal. We don't use fang and nails, but that's not the only way to kill or maim."
I saw Kenny there and I was sad at what I had done. I liked this human. One thing that I had learned from being among them, was that all humans were not this way either. Kenny was one of the good ones. He was not the best student, nor was he the best person around, but I knew from living with him that he was a good person at heart. This gave me the hope for humanity as well. Someday, maybe these people will take a stand and call the others to task for the evil they have wrought upon us and upon each other.
Now was the time for me to return to the wolves. Maybe I now had the knowledge to help our people survive. I had to tell Kenny of my decision. I wanted to know that we parted as friends. I wanted someone to know about me. I realized that no matter what; I would always be alone among my own kind. I had been given this gift for a reason, but it was also a burden.
"Kenny, I had to tell you this now. It is time for me to return to the wolves and help them try to survive. You have been my only friend and I wanted you to know before I left."
"Take me with you," Kenny pleaded.
"I can't Kenny," I said with sadness. "You are human and I am a wolf."
"You can change, well, change me too," He said. "I have no family and I'm working my way through college. No one will miss me anyway."
"Oh Kenny, if it was only that simple. Don't you think that I would love to have company and help in my task, but I can't," I said. "I don't know how."
Kenny looked more despondent than before. I wanted to do this, but I had no idea how I could. I wanted him to be the one to take me back tomorrow though.
"Kenny, would you drive me to the forest tomorrow," I asked?
"I guess so," he replied.
With that final word, we both went to bed. I lay there for a long time thinking of the events of the evening. I wished I had been able to do things differently, but didn't know how. I knew Kenny was in the other room and I wanted to go and tell him that I could do as he asked. The sincerity in his voice brought tears to my eye. This was a relatively new experience for me. Only once before since I had taken human form, had this happened. I finally drifted off into an uneasy dream ridden sleep.
The next morning when I awoke, Kenny was already ready for the drive. I left everything that I had acquired as a human there, as I would no longer have a need for them. We drove there in silence. There were things that I wanted to say, but I found that the words wouldn't come, so we sat there throughout the ride neither speaking nor looking at each other. We reached the end of the service road and it was time for me to go. I got out of the car and started to remove my clothes.
Once I was naked, I started the change. In a few moments, I was once more in my natural form. I reveled in the senses that I now possessed. I never ceased to be amazed at how very dull human senses were. I looked back at Kenny once more.
"I guess this is goodbye," he said.
I felt a longing inside that I had never had before. I let out a short whine of sorrow. Then, I remembered the dream that had troubled my sleep last night and knew what I had to do. I ran over to Kenny and jumped up and placed my paws on his shoulders. I let the thing inside me, the thing that made me what I was, loose. Kenny stared into my eyes and that thing leapt from me into him. He fell from me to land on the ground. He started thrashing and was tearing his clothes off. His screams tormented me. What had I done?
Then he began to change. I could see it in his eyes. He looked down to watch his fingers shorten, while claws grew from them. His now exposed chest sprouted fur. A tail shot outward from his lower back. Even as I watched, a muzzle was pushing outward, bringing his nose with it. Gleaming white canines burst from now longer jaws. Kenny lost his balance and fell to his feet. I saw his chest contract and his hips narrow. Then it was over and Kenny had gotten his wish.
I was overjoyed to say the least. I had a brother to share my experiences and help in the task before me. Kenny was stuck in his new form. Only I could change back and forth. This never seemed to bother him though. I was surprised at how quickly he integrated himself into the pack and I was proud of him. I went back several more times for things that would help my people, but he showed no inclination to leave. Maybe, between the two of us, the wolves would yet survive.
The Human Animal copyright 1998 by Tekwolf.
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