Fur Lining – Greg Cole

 

Simon was turning into something.

He hadn’t quite figured out what it was but he had a feeling that it was a Yeti.

The mountain village that he lived in had plenty of stories regarding people just upping sticks and moving out to cabins deep in the woods that ringed the snow-capped peaks when they turned.

He had been told by his grandmother that his great grandfather had started to turn and moved out onto an ice-flow and was never seen again.  He was told later that he had decorated the walls of his woodshed with the contents of his head using a shotgun as a paintbrush.

But he was defiantly turning.  It must run in the family.

His mother had told him that his father had run away with a traveling shoe saleswoman to another town and didn’t want anything to do with his old life.  He had worked out that this was a lie.

Somewhere out there his father was living wild, washing in streams, hunting his food and shitting in the woods.

He could see in the shaving mirror that his teeth were getting bigger; thicker.

Simon was to clear his head with a little ice fishing on the frozen lake and try to come to terms with the hard fact that it was his time to turn.

The morning was cold and it had snowed overnight and was deep around his singled floor house.  It was the kind of cold that made your bones scream.  His snow mobile took a little starting but was soon roaring over the blanket of white that covered all on the way to the lake.

The weeks of deep chill had set a thick layer of winter ice over the lake.  Simon trudged through the fresh snow to a good spot in the middle of the frozen waste and set up his shelter.

He was startled by the size his hands had gotten overnight as he drilled into the white crust down to the water below.  The drilling didn’t somehow seem all that physically demanding as it usually did.

He put these things down to the change.

Simon cast his line down into the hole and sat on a folding chair and sunk his head into his oversized hands.  What was he to do?

On the one hand he would have to face the change whatever and carry on the family line to become part of local folklore.  On the other he didn’t want to live wild in the forests at the foot of the mountain eating raw rodents and birds.

He lit a cigarette and waited for his line to twitch.

It didn’t.

A cold wind crossed the lake and the thick hairs on the back of his neck tingled from the icy blast.  He could feel the layer of downy fur that had appeared overnight thicken inside his thermal under clothes.  The sensation was curious yet mildly amusing.

The more he thought about the swelling of his legs the more he realised that the rest of his body was gaining size.  Slowly at first but then with such acceleration he didn’t know if he would return home human.

Simon felt his back arch and squeeze inside his goose feather lined jacket.  He could feel his collar start to choke his ever expanding neck and he tugged at it with his now massive fingers ripping it slightly.  Just how big dose a Yeti get?

He would to make a decision soon, stay out in the wild or return home to face his friends and loved ones as a giant hairy beast.

How would his girlfriend react when she came over to find a shaggy white haired monster in the bed at Simon’s place?

What would her reaction be if she found him raiding the fridge when she walked through the door; do Yetis’ even like baloney and cheese sandwiches?

Simon started to think about pickles and a deep hunger stirred in his belly.  It made the sound of a growling bear with an itchy back.

With uncanny timing his fishing line twitched and with lightning speed Simon had pulled up a large sliver fish which wriggled on the ground for a moment then as good as froze solid on the crust on the frozen lake.

A moment later Simon’s face was buried in the chilled flesh of the fish swallowing great lumps of it; the blood of it covering his face in a mess of red and silver scales.

This was definitely not normal behaviour for him. Normally the fish was taken home and served steamed on a bed of salad with a lemon wedge not stuffed into his face in bloody fistfuls.  His girlfriend would bring a bottle of wine and then after dinner… well, we all know what happens then, right.

The thought of his girlfriend’s soft body stirred something else within him, something other than hunger and his blood pulsed in his oversized phallus.  He had to head home immediately.

With the clothes splitting across his back and a belly full of raw fish he started too bound across the ice towards home.  His giant member bobbing between his legs like a baseball bat swinging with every huge stride.

Simon was horny and he had made his decision.

Meanwhile back in Simon’s sleepy hometown things were starting to wind down as the faint traces of dusk started to bruise the sky.  Shops were shutting and people started to head home for their dinners and hot baths.

Children were called in from their snowball fights and sledges to settle down for the night with homework or a good film or ghost story from grandpa; all washed down with some hot chocolate.

A few men swaggered into the local bar straight from the logging mill way out in the woods; parking up their trucks for the night out under the neon pink sign that flashed ‘kald øl’.  They laughed and joked away the ache of a hard day slaving at the saws and chippers.

An old gent chopped wood out front of his house and stopped for a glass of beer from his young blond bombshell of a neighbour in exchange for a bundle of the pre-split fuel.  Everything was as it always was; quiet and peaceful.

Not one of them had any idea what was streaking through the trees towards the town.

 

Madeline had finished work a little earlier than usual but was ready for her time off over the weekend.  The last week at the hospital had been very demanding and she was also concerned with the wellbeing of her boyfriend.

He had seemed detached and distant for some time now and he would always go on ice fishing trips when a little down.  He just needed time to think whatever it was over.

She had decided to prepare for whatever catch Simon would bring home; he always brought something back; hoping for one of those big silver fish he had landed last time.

The kitchen was empty and cold and after unpacking the supplies from the store she turned the heating on and started to run a bath.  The warmth from real flame effect gas fire flooded the lounge and put on some light music as the scent of the expensive bath salts filled the house.

 

Old man Lee was packing away his old chopping axe in the old wood shed around back of his old house when Simon came bounding out from the forest at the end of the lane.

At first old lee couldn’t see who or what had broken the tree line, his eyesight wasn’t the best anymore but he could see that it was big, and quick.

From a distance it looked like one of the local woodsmen had been covered in thick snow from an overhanging branch; a common occurrence around here to be sure, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on what was wrong with the man’s movement.

Lumbering, powerful, huge.

Before poor old man Lee could pull up his trusty chopping axe that he had had since he was a lad to defend himself the beast was on him.  He could see what it was now.  But only up until the monster eat a large portion of his face and forehead with a single bite of oversized fangs.

The massive white beast held up the partially devoured Lee and ripped him down the middle like a paper doll spraying him with warm red and turning his white fur a bright pink.

The two halves of the old man steamed in the snow as if his life was escaping and the town shuddered with a bellowing howl and the beast slipped back into the trees and circled the town once more.

 

The water was hot and Madeline made the sound of a chimp as she sat into the tub; the aroma of salts filling her with deep relaxation.  It had been a long week and she looked forward to the weekend.  Only two days but without the hassle of work and other people.

Just her and her man with nothing to do but relax.  She kicked up some water and it splashed onto the sheep’s skin bath mat that covered part of the faux marble floor.

Madeline slipped her head under the water and rubbed her fingered through her auburn hair; she couldn’t wash the smell of the hospital from her body fast enough.

Yet she still couldn’t shake the concern for her boyfriend.  He had been quiet like this before but not for this long.

There was only one thing that could make a man cure up into his shell like that; one thing that could send a man out into the frozen wastes to contemplate life… family.

 

Jim was locking his truck outside of the town bar with Steve; they had a long day at the mill and wanted a beer and a steak.  They both smiled at the thought of that frosty glass and a hand full of pretzels sat at the bar while some folk played pool out back.

The faint sound of Bad Company floated out from behind the stained glass and polished wood along with the smell of stale booze and cooking meat.  All the aches of a long day seemed to ebb away.

It was Steve that saw it first.  He couldn’t believe his eyes at the huge white behemoth fell onto Jim and lifted him into the air by his groin.  The monster ripped him apart like a bread roll and stuffed its giant mouth of razor like fangs into the chasm of gore that used to be Jims chest.

Steve fumbled for anything to fight the thing in the back of the truck but too late as his hand landed on a set of cutting sheers and his head landed across the road after a huge handed slap from the beast.

The people playing pool in the back didn’t see the massive shadow approach the green and red window in the now failing light around back in the car park but they all heard the blood chilling howl.

 

Towel drying her hair she walked back through the living room to the kitchen; her carpet slippers squeaked over the polished hardwood.

She opened a bottle of wine and poured a glass out and sat over on a small sofa.  Madeline started to apply moisturiser onto her long pale skinned legs.  Soon Simon would be home and she couldn’t wait to see his face.

 

Sheriff Donavan stood poised at the double doors of the town bar; the commotion inside had died down.  At least the screaming had stopped.  His .38 trembled slightly in both hands as he looked through the blood splattered round window.

He couldn’t really make out what was going on from the glimpse he took through the bar doors; they would have to go in.

He looked back at his two deputies who looked back in dismay, ‘what the fucks going on in there’ over both of the young men’s faces; he would have to lead the charge.

But no even the hardened stomach of the sheriff was ready for what they saw when they burst through the panelled double doors.

Not one of the bars patrons were left alive or in one piece.

Over by the bar the shaggy, white haired beast was pulling apart the remains of a barmaid like she was made of wet clay spilling her innards across the floor.

The place resembled more of a butcher’s window than the lively drinking establishment that it once was.

One of the young deputies was sick into his hands.  The Beasts head snapped around to face them.  Blood poured from its black teeth and down its chest as it chewed on the last mouthful of the barmaid.

The thing flew over the wrecked debris of tables and chairs at the men.  The deputy with the handfuls of sick fell back through the doors; the second deputy was swept aside like a sheet on a washing line.  He landed awkwardly, smashing his skull by the temple on a table corner.

The sheriff was dead way before a single shot rang out and the bullet tore through the monsters shoulder.  It let out an unholy wail and bounced out into the cold night through a broken window.

In the dark out by the cars the deputy fumbled for his gun; his hands still slick with his own vomit.  He had to get to the sheriff’s patrol car and get on the radio.  Everything would be okay as soon as he got to the…

Something grabbed the young deputy from behind and pulled him into the bushes.  Two shots from the poor deputy’s pistol sounded in the darkness of the shrubs then a crunching pop like a giant biting into a massive apple; then silence, save for the sound of something getting dragged deep into the woods.

 

The sound of gun fire so close to town made Madeline flinch.  She put it down to drunks hunting squirrels out in the back woods near the bar.

She was starting to become more concerned for the wellbeing of her boyfriend; just what was taking Simon.  He knew it would become dangerous to be out on the ice after dark, the temperature drop would be huge out there and there was a good chance of hyperthermia if he stayed any longer.

Madeline poured another glass of wine and decided to wait another half hour before calling the sheriff.  He would have to know that Simon was out there on the lake, on his own.

 

Simons yellow eyes scanned the street from the dark safety of the forest.  All was quiet and still.  No cars passed, no one walked their dog or threw snow balls now, not at this time of night.

He had circled the town several times and all the people that he had come across were dead.  He knew that he shouldn’t kill them but he didn’t care that he did it was just his way now; he knew that it was another thing he had come to terms with.

He had dragged most of the ‘meat’ out into the deep woods and buried them under fallen tree, no bear or wolf would be able to sniff it out there.  Besides, he had marked his territory to be sure; the scent would ward off the keenest of scavengers.

He sprayed out again against a large tree by cocking his leg.  The bright green piss hissed like acid on the thick trunks bark.  The smell was rancid but unmistakably his in his nostrils.

Simon had smelt many animals’ scents against trees recently and when he closed his eyes could see the exact animal the excretion had come from.  Every whisker, every inch of fur and every difference in feature like he was studying a photo.  He wondered if animals could see in the same way.

A squirrel ran down the side of a tree almost silently, almost.  It became a red paste in a blink of an eye with a swipe of Simon’s furred claw.  Simon sniffed at the red goo between his huge fingers and the rage of a thousand years of monstrous lineage descended upon him once again as he sprang into the open street towards home.

For a split second he thought of Madeline and how she would react; he could only picture her in a state of total terror, cowering from him in shock.  But as quickly as the image had come, it was gone.  He had fed now he must mate before his deep winter hibernation, his line would have to continue.

 

Madeline hadn’t seen the yellow eyes at the window.  She had shuddered as she lifted the phone like someone was watching her.  ‘Someone is walking over your grave dear’, as her old grandmother would have said.

She dialled the number on the board by the wall phone for the local sheriff’s office but it did nothing but ring and ring.  She figured they were at the local bar cleaning up after a drunken brawl or just sinking a few on a quiet night.

She rang again.  Still nobody picked up.

Madeline was becoming ever more worried about Simon being out on the ice for so long, it was getting so cold outside the corners of the kitchen window had started to frost over and…

Her heart jumped in her chest.  Did something move outside?

She could have sworn she saw something edge away from the window into the dark, something white, something big.

Madeline tried the sheriff’s number once more.  Not only was she concerned for her boyfriend she was now very much aware that she was alone and frightened.

Something bumped against the side of the house; the sound of something scraping at the wooden siding along the ally that led to the back garden towards the front porch.

The phone kept ringing as she grabbed for a knife from the sink.  Was it a bear?  A bread knife wouldn’t be much good but at least it wouldn’t try and get through the door, could it?

Whatever the thing might be it was heavy as the boards on the porch creaked and groaned under its weight.  It must be a bear.  The thought was revolving around her head, trying to convince her that it wasn’t some kind of monster out there.

Something was at the window by the front room, something big and hairy.  It was just close enough to catch the condensation from its wide nostrils on the frozen glass.  From where Madeline was in the kitchen she could make it out, just and she was sure of one thing… it was no bear.

 

He wasn’t seeing his girlfriend, someone he had been with for the last six years.  He wasn’t seeing the love of his life that he had lived with for the last four years, he just saw a mate.  He needed to reproduce and soon, he was in season and ready to go.

 

The living room window burst as the great white beast lunged through it landing in the middle of the room; its fur stained and matted with blood.  It turned its head towards the kitchen door where Madeline stood frozen to the spot clinging to a phone that wouldn’t stop ringing and a bread knife that wouldn’t make a scratch on her attacker.  A line of urine ran down her leg as it hissed at her; then she saw what was hanging between the monsters legs.

 

The smell of her musk was in Simons nostrils from the little pool of piss at her feet and it got his blood up; it was almost as if he could feel her heartbeat in the air like they were linked spiritually.

Simon lumbered forward with an outstretched hand his own pulse forcing every vein in his body to the surface and his member thumped in its rhythm.

 

Madeline turned to run dropping the phone and the knife as she headed towards the backdoor of the house; she was in auto pilot, flee or fight and her mind had chosen flee.  Even though she was half naked and it was dropping to 20 degrees below outside her mind had chosen to take its chances in the snow and freezing cold.

She scrambled at the back door key and with her terrified fingers managed to turn it halfway when she felt the vile breath of the beast on her neck.

 

He was bearing down on her, the scent of her skin had thrown a switch in his head and he was no longer Simon, he was only the monster now.  But something inside still had a tender spot for the woman and he reached out to touch her shivering shoulder and he spoke her name.

 

Madeline’s blood froze as the beast brushed her hair from her shoulder and said her name; but she suddenly felt totally relaxed and turned to look into the yellow eyes of the monster.  Through all the fur and the veins she saw the face of her lost boyfriend Simon and she fell into his arms.

His member pulsed once again and he let out a roaring howl that shook the snow from the pines outside.  Simon had made his choice, he was home.

 

End.

 

 

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