You Must Have the Words in That Head of Yours

Rockridge Lake & Marina 

He'd realized something just a few days ago, when the moon had swept him up in its merciless sway.

He remembered.

It wasn't a perfect recollection, some parts of the experience of running with the pack were still spotty and hazy. Half a dream, but very real. But the fact was, it had somewhere, at some point, stopped being a complete black out. No longer did he have to rely on the testimony of others to know exactly what he was and what he was capable of.

Was it foolish? Coming out there to shift on purpose? It wasn't the first time he'd done such a thing, of course. Sometimes the wolf was just too much, and succumbing safely away from people was much preferred to having a fit and shifting under duress. But this soon after the full moon, he didn't feel the drive to shift.

And yet he had, anyway. Intrigued by his own own existence, he had set off into the trees around the marina, having parked his truck there. Left his clothes folded up between a rock and a tree he hoped to be able to find again later without to much fuss. The sun was high overhead, a brilliantly cloudless afternoon. Now it dappled across fur as he wove through the pine trees, mindful of the lake yards off to his left. Boats out there. People. Too far for now to worry him, but...

Dakila was a wolf, and the wolf was watching the shimmer of the lake as he padded around the circumference, marveling at his own clarity of mind, finding the wolf compliant in simply enjoying being out and about right now. Food, a hunt, would be on the agenda before long, but he carried a pine cone in his mouth for the time being. Partly because he could, mostly because Dakila was trying to come to terms with how not odd it felt.

He'd not been truly human for a while now, but he was only just beginning to figure out what that really meant.

Outfit plus jeans and boots.

It was such a pretty day.

The temperature was mild with nary a cloud overhead. September was in the air, offering solace from the heat of summer before winter seized the world in its icy grasp. Although much of North Glenn was dominated by conifers, there were also groves of deciduous trees boasting their autumn plumage, leaves of red and gold still clinging to their branches. On days like today, Casey treated himself to leaving the house for the afternoon so he might enjoy the changing of seasons.

Of course, he wasn't naive; he knew that he was out of his element. Thus, Casey elected to stay in a more populated area by local standards, walking along the shores of Rockridge Lake. Tourists and locals alike took to the water, but there fortunately wasn't too much activity. Too many people proved just as nerve-wracking as too few for those like Casey who weren't overly fond of crowds.

And what was he doing during this little adventure?

He was scribbling away in his notebook, as always.

While his writings usually pertained to something of supernatural distinction, be it real or imagined, today was simply an exercise in observing one's surroundings. Be it the anthropologist in him, Casey enjoyed chronicling even the most minute of details, often in a chaotic and nearly illegible fashion.

For all his immersion in writing down everything that came to mind about the lake and surrounding woods, he was experienced enough with multitasking to navigate the pebbly shore without much difficulty. The last thing he wanted was his precious notebook plunging into the drink.

There was a scent of human on the wind, but that wasn't anything new. It wasn't like he was in the deep woods. Still, that didn't stop the wolf from casting a look around, but nothing in particular seemed to catch his eye.

He was... alone, for all intents. He preferred to run with the pack, to match strides with his King and tussle with the others. Hunting was better in numbers. Growing bored with the pine cone in his mouth, he bit down, feeling it press harshly into the hard palate of his mouth, while other bits crunched between his teeth. The taste it released was less than pleasing, and with a slow open of his jaws, he let it fall out in pieces to the forested floor.

Lowering his head, he snuffled at it. The smells were truly amazing. Pine was a lot more complex a scent than he'd ever really realized before.

Then, huffing with a low growl, he swiped his broad paw across the mess of pine cone and then moved towards the shoreline itself, intent on a drink from the lake. Just a quick one, then perhaps back into the deeper trees to go hunt.

Among all there was to see and hear, Casey found it especially interesting to write about the birds that caught his eye. Not that he was a bird watcher or knew anything about these birds, it was fun to record his observations about them. In the back of his mind, though, he couldn't help but wonder if what he was doing leaned more toward some form of ecology rather than his native field of anthropology.

At least birds were more tolerant of being watched and written about than people were.

Then, Casey found himself looking up from his notebook just in time to notice something was was neither a person nor a bird.

A wolf—a rather large, white wolf—silently had emerged from the forest farther down the shoreline.

Casey stopped in his tracks, hands trembling as he watched the animal drink from the lake's waters. Neither a zoo nor a city park, North Glenn was in fact home to wild animals, but Casey had never expected to come across any in broad daylight so close to the marina. He remembered seeing things on the Internet and the news about wild animals who became accustomed to living near humans, which more often than not ended to disaster.

Still, he couldn't wrap his mind around just how big the wolf was, even at this distance.

Of course, there was the possibility that this wasn't just any wolf, or even a wolf at all.

If Mountainside, Colorado was known for anything, it was its animals that weren't really animals. Hell, Casey had moved out here for a front view seat to all the weird stories that came out of this area.

Stay calm.

With a shuddering breath, Casey took a step backward, then another. Wolf or not, he didn't think that giving it something to chase was a good idea.

Lapping up water, his ear cocked when he heard the faint noise of movement, the rustle of clothing and the grind of shoreline rocks beneath the heel of a shoe. Listening a little harder, he heard the breathing, and the very faintest hum of a heartbeat. The scent, human. Taking two more seconds for drinking he then stood his ground, but slowly rotated his head around to look.

See, there.

He felt his lupine instincts coil, ready to investigate harshly. But so soon after the moon and freshly aware of his... awareness... the wolf instead held his ground, not even growling.

Just watching, light green eyes fixated on the boy who had spotted him first, his tail still and low between his hocks.

When the wolf picked its head up and turned its gaze toward Casey, the boy hesitated for a moment.

Immediately, he lowered his gaze, unsure whether meeting the wolf's own would provoke it somehow. With nary a word, he slowly kept walking backwards, careful not to trip or stumble. The wolf was as beautiful as it was frightening, and Casey was doubtful whether wolves really got this big.

If he shouted, would that scare the wolf off? Would someone else hear him if he cried out for help?

Casey wasn't exactly brave enough to find out.

However, he was brave enough to slip to a new page in his notebook and scribble down that stood out about the lupine.

White fur, winter coat? Green eyes. Very big.

The kid didn't seem to want trouble. He was backing slowly away, and Dakila was inclined to let him. The wolf wasn't incredibly interested in hunting a human--it wasn't natural, and without reason or threat there wasn't much purpose in chasing him down. Benign reports of a wolf in the forest wasn't precisely a threat.

But his ears perked forward and his nose tested the air as if he would pick up on something new when the boy started writing. Human brain curiosity mingled with more animal decisions. What was being written? He started towards the human at a brisk trot.

Oh dear. Oooh dear.

Casey stopped writing when the wolf began trotting towards him faster than he could walk backwards. Closing his notebook with his pen inside, Casey did what he thought was appropriate given the circumstances and shooed the approaching animal.

"Go away!" He spoke loudly, but not aggressively, even raising his arms over his head to make himself look bigger.

Or was that what you were supposed to do with bears?

What little secret was on that paper?

But then the boy shouted and the wolf stopped. Didn't turn around, didn't go anywhere, but stood his ground with an intense look on his long face. Didn't much care for the loud voice, and the way the demand struck him as one for an animal, when he knew he... wasn't one.

Peeling his lips back, the wolf didn't growl, but he did flash his teeth at the ridiculous human.

The wolf showed its teeth, which Casey decidedly didn't like.

From that point, his options seemed to include running, playing dead, or screaming bloody murder. Then there was the fourth option; although Casey had never attempted to use his second ability on an animal, there was a first time for everything. A sterling blue consumed his gaze as he extended his hand, like Darth Vader attempting to Force choke someone.

While Casey had effectively riled his powers, nothing happened.



If a wolf could raise his eyebrow...

Instead, one ear cocked back and his lips fell closed. But now he growled, low and curious as to what the boy was even doing Was this a threat? The wolf's tail rose a few inches, and he took a few more cautious steps forward. If this was a threat, well... He knew how to protect himself as much as he knew how to protect those who were important to him.

An alarming thought in some ways to the man partially in charge of a shared mind right now, but it was so firm from the wolf that there wasn't any shaking it off.

The growl was more frightening than Casey anticipated.

Unsurprisingly, the wolf was hardly moved by his awkward, geeky posturing and continued to come closer. If Casey thought the wolf looked big at a distance, then the animal looked even bigger the closer he came. Worst of all, Casey had no idea if his ability was malfunctioning or simply didn't affect animals.

Once more, he tried to will his powers into being, more desperate this time.

Nothing happened. Again.

So, Casey made an executive decision and bolted in the opposite direction, shouting at the top of his lungs.



Just don't kill him.

As the wolf surged to some more aggressive form of control, that was the one truly human thought. Preferably not hurting him at all, and as the strange threat seemed to offer nothing of substance and the boy began to run, it began to seem like that would be entirely easy.

Until the kid yelled. The wolf didn't like that one bit, and with a soft snarl he took off like a shot, mouth closed and head low as he sought to run into the back of the young human's legs. Either knock him off his feet or encourage him to keep running until he was well away and no longer making foolish decisions.



There was something almost surreal about being chased by a wolf, fantastic even.

Casey much preferred narrating chase scenes to experiencing them firsthand.

A distinct sound of heavy footfalls filled Casey's ears alongside a menacing growl, and his first thought was how he wouldn't make it twelve feet before the wolf got him. It was going to eat him, and all anyone might find would be the parts of him the wolf didn't like. Maybe they would even find his notebook.

Someone like him might even find Casey's ghost one day.

Casey didn't like that.

Desperate beyond what words could easily express, the boy did the first thing that came to mind in hopes that it would make his fault powers finally work. He could almost feel the wolf's presence behind him, not unlike a spirit or another psychic, but actually tapping into that whilst panicking as heavily as he was proved difficult to say the least.

While he ran, Casey waved a fist over his shoulder and started shouting all manner of nonsense.

"Reducto! Brisingr! Dracarys!"


There was something absurd here. The child was shouting. Words that felt... as if they were meant to be familiar to a somewhat distant human recognition, but ultimately were gibberish all around. Just sounds. Demands, really, even though the tone was desperate and gasping for running. The wolf did not care for the continued efforts, however nonsensical, and so even as he missed entirely his chance to try and bowl the boy over the first time, he fixated his light green eyes on his target and with a gnash of his teeth to trip him up, he bowled into him again.

This time, he hit him square and hard, and then just broke through the sturdiness of the human's legs, hoping to flip him as he rushed straight under him.

What would come next... depended. But there was a chance of just thundering off into the woods to hunt something that wasn't so absurd.



There really was something absurd here.

Alas, Casey knew in his heart of hearts that his magic, with which he was sorely out of practice, wouldn't save him from the hound on his heels. When the white wolf crashed into Casey's legs, he was sent tumbling over the back of the animal like a failed matador before his backside quickly met the ground that awaited him. The landing was far from graceful, knocking the air from Casey's lungs with a wheeze and a whoosh.

Or a whoosh and a wheeze.

Then a wheeze followed by a whimper.

It was at that moment Casey realized that he was about to experience the scene from The Revenant that everyone knew of, even those who had never seen the movie. As quickly as he could manage in his dazed, breathless panic, the boy tucked his head into his arms and curled into a misshapen, whimpering ball.

He hoped that God was real and could hear his silent prayers.

The sound of the human hitting the ground was really actually quite satisfying. The wolf wheeled away and then back around and stood there a moment, watching the frail creature cower. Ears alert, eyes intense, the wolf considered for a brief moment going to terrorize the boy. But then he felt certain that he'd end up with reason to turn or kill him, and there was still that small voice in the distance of his mind that insisted that was... wrong.

So instead, now he ran at the child again, and instead of into him, he leapt clean over the top of him with a huffing bark, then darted off into the forest at something that pushed past the limits of normal wolf speed.

With any luck, by time the human looked up, the wolf would be well vanished.

Even from within his cocoon of false security, he could hear the white wolf bounding towards him.

Casey braced himself for the inevitable, knowing that he was at the mercy of an animal to which mercy was a foreign concept. He awaited teeth and claws, but was met only with a little rush of air as the wolf jumped over him like a circus lion. Landing with a thud that Casey could feel through the damp earth, the animal made no move to devour or otherwise harm him.

Still as death and silent as the grave, Casey didn't dare move.

And he wouldn't for quite a few seconds until he finally picked his head up, only to find that the white wolf had up and vanished.

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