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The keys were the most bothersome part. He could leave his clothes in the truck, of course, but, even on a cool November night such as this, there was always that chance that some random person would wander into the woods and see his mud-splattered ‘84 F150 and think it was worth messing with.  He obviously wasn’t going to be able to hang onto them himself, so his last ditch solution was to drop them into a Ziploc bag and bury them at the base of a nearby tree. He covered the site with a scattering of leaves and then marked the tree with urine. Satisfied that he would be able to locate them when he returned, he gave in to his yearning and let the night take him.

            The shift from man into wolf was not as dramatic or even as noticeable physically as it had been in the early months of the condition. He had been doing it for so long now that his two personas had formed a symbiosis. He had always been somewhat beastly, even when he was fully human, and he had come to enjoy the freedom of ferality now that there was no longer pain involved in the transition. He liked being a monster and, so far, he had been cunning enough in both forms to not get caught.

            Hunting deer, as he did this night, was fine but it was not his first choice. Deer were meat and nothing more. They only took care of the most basic cravings of the wolf. The hungers of his human side were more dangerous than those of his beast. Nothing compared to stalking humans.  He loved tracking them in secret before they became aware of his presence. The smell of their fear when they finally realized the danger was exquisite and lingered later into the taste of their flesh.  Enough of the man remained in him at all times to recognize their pleadings for mercy and to get a thrill from it.  Deer never gave him that kind of excitement, never aroused him, but they were safe prey. No one would come tracking after him over the remnants of a deer carcass, should it be discovered. A savaged person was entirely different.

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