Please Bring Your Pets Inside

Two Moons National Park 

 Winter in Colorado was a goddamn nightmare unless you had the good fortune of being a bear or almost anything better equipped to handle the below freezing temperatures and the constant threat of snow. She was neither. So instead the urge to go out and prowl came with it a whole laundry list of to-do's and stipulations, things learned from previous acquaintances and past misfortunes.

 So perhaps to an outsider she would look peculiar, tucking the keys to the car on the top of the front driver's side tire before she pulled the tote back from the driver's seat and slammed the door shut behind her. Inside were the usual necessities, some nonperishable snacks, a large trash bag to stuff her clothes into, two sets of HotHands (she usually tucked the second pair into her boots once she was properly dressed), and a insulted pouch for her phone after one too many replacement orders.

 Warm by nature or not, she touched the bow of her upper lip to the tip of her nose and frowned to herself at the chill. It was nearly January, but there were a solid two months left of this at least. It did nothing for her mood as she glanced both ways out of habit alone before she crossed the dirt path of the makeshift road and headed for dense greenery to find somewhere quiet and concealed before she went chasing after rabbits and moles and whatever else was on the menu in these unholy conditions.

Asher was here, but not particularly planning to be on anyone’s menu. Scratch that; the raccoon was here. Asher was somewhere in the brain jail that the nasty fat varmit forced him into when shifts happened. This one was planned. There were clothes in a trash bag some miles away, forgotten by the grey lump as it waddled aimlessly through the underbrush nearby a road.

Food was in the air; he’d caught it when the sound of a car has scared him into shoving his fat ass into a dead log. When he wiggles free, there was a faint trace of good food smell, and the closer he scampered toward the source of the noise, the closer it was getting. That was about all that was on the creature’s mind.

 It seemed something else had had the itch to go nosing about nature - something small and rodent-like, masked and - she narrowed her eyes for a moment, a sudden realization that it was a raccoon that was infringing on her radar. Great, easy enough to deal with should the need arise. She raked her hand through her hair, glanced back one more time to make sure the coast was still clear and sandwiched her bag between her knees as she took off her scarf and her heavy winter jacket - the wind resistant material loud as she balled it up and set it down under a tree. Hat, shirt, bra, shoes - the ground was frozen underfoot and the blades of grass prickled.

 It felt like it was closer, and she wondered if anything really could be that stupid, said nothing as she hooked her thumbs in the elastic band of her leggings and started to pull down even as she grunted through the whole arduous process. Some Were's, she'd seen, shifted like they were being pulled like saltwater taffy. Lengthening and distorting like an image stretched too big. She was a soda can, bones pulverized and crushed to nothing before they formed smaller and lighter.

 It was quicker these days, easier except for the teeth which she always found herself silently screaming through - the simultaneous lengthening of canines and narrowing of the rest. It was all miserable at this time of night though, all a terrible until the fur started to sprout and took the brunt of that burden. Without knees of course, she'd dropped the bag into the dirt and writhed alongside it, the small chest of the cat rising and falling even when her shift started to putter out with the unique and hellish discomfort of claws and a tail.

There were many noises to accompany the food smell. The raccoon focused mostly on making it through the underbrush as quickly as he could whilst remaining somewhat cautious, but he did hear the sounds of rustling. When he finally reached the source of the noises and the smells, it was at the naked body of a strange animal was beginning to compress and crack. The masked creature let out a surprised trill to itself, and would retreat up a nearby tree as the body snapped and shrunk and grew fur. The raccoon gawked curiously, the vaguest sense of familiarity in it's feral mind.

When it was over, there was a creature left behind. It was smaller than him, but furry and had claws. The raccoon watched as it panted and twitched in the final stages of stealing the body from the naked animal. His fingered paws flexed idly against the bark of the tree as he extended his head downward some to sniff at the air, eyes an unsettling shade of red fixed sternly on the little cat. Would it defend the food smells?

 It took effort to roll over and properly onto her paws, time to right herself and stretch so that the barrel of her chest nearly touched the litter of leaves coating the dirt What didn't take nearly as long was orienting herself to the smell, on edge and still adjusting - irritable as she looked from one tree to the next.

 "Don't fucking think about it." Comical and jarring perhaps to any outside, distorted and raspy for what perhaps seemed like a strangely overgrown house cat at a brief glance.

There was a voice, and it startled the creature enough for him to chatter as he pulled his head back away some. The small cat was just that; small. There was food available, and a creature much smaller than himself in the way. It spoke, or something spoke, but it was just noise to the raccoon. Words didn't make sense in this form. And so a decision had to be made. Food, or leave the tiny creature to make strange noises by itself. Like always, food won the popular vote.

So with another chatter, then raccoon leaped down from it's perch. It kept it's round body low as it moved one, two steps forward. Nostrils flaring, red eyes on the creature, but occasional glanced toward the source of the food smells. A low growl found its way from his chest, and his ringed tail puffed some. Scram, tiny foe.

 She assumed by the chittering and the subsequent silence where anything meaningful was concerned, he was more new than not. A danger in the sense that it made him harder to predict outside of motive. Small paws crunched on leaves underfoot as she took a mindful shuffle backward and closer to her pack. "Get!" The word muddied by a hiss as she rolled her weight forward, a low growl as she reached out at once, moved to swipe at the raccoon's face as a far less subtle warning.



The small cat moved, slunk toward the food smells, and made another noise he did not understand. But it did do something he understood completely. A paw swipe, though it did not make contact. It was enough to flip a switch that didn't need much effort to flip. With his lips peeling back, the plump creature barreled forward. His head ducked so that his chin all but dissolved into his chest, his hair standing on end as he sought to drive the crown of his head into the small cat's chest. His back arched, and his hand legs flailed stiffly as she rammed forward.



 She yowled, twisted out of the way when he came lumbering at her and found it easy enough to meet him head-on, refusing to shrink back and back down from her own things quite so quickly. Her whole body twisted, a hard to imagine angle in human terms as she spun around and tried to dig into the raccoon's back, bit down on his shoulders or the back of his neck.



The cat was fast, and its teeth and claws sunk easily into flesh. The raccoon let out a shriek high pitched and alarmed as it tucked its head to the side and grabbed as much of the underbelly of the little cat as he could, yanking back with a snarl. His hind legs splayed as he dug his paws into the earth in attempt to keep himself from behind rolled onto his back.



 She supposed in a different mindset she would argue that none of this was worth a couple of granola bars, a to-go cup of peanut butter, and some Sunchips. But the time for that sort of selfless reflection was long gone with the high wail of the creature under her teeth, growling as she held on tight until the big dumb asshole had the good fortune of getting those legs of his under her. Letting go sharply and curling in to protect the soft skin and fur of her underside even as tiny little claws snagged on her skin and matted fur to flesh.

 Once her feet found purchase she moved to latch onto the narrow bones of one of his hind legs, bit down with as much force as she could muster and tried to snap it clean as she shook her head and pulled back.



It was a great deal of pain, despite the small win. The cat yowled and tucked, and his grip loosened on her underbelly as she dove to latch onto his hind leg. Even for a feral mind, the fight was looking to be not worth it. It was was beginning to change from an attempt to scare her away from the food, and a grapple to preserve himself. With another high pitched cry, the raccoon shoved forward into the cat's torso, head tucked, to try and ram her loose. It would be ineffective. She was latched, and her teeth cut deep into the skin of his hind leg.

he weak :c


 She whipped her body towards his tale, did what she could to avoid the blowback from his flailing and held on as if her own life depended on it. Each ragged breath, only exasperating the sting along her stomach - even as he jerked enough to break her hold. She snapped at the air, just missed his foot and danced to the side to go back to her original post in front of her things.

"Fuck off." The primitive grunt of it taking a lot more work than she was proud of, a lot of effort with how eager a huge part of her was to just launch herself at his throat and bring an end to it.



Her grip loosened, and she moved again. The raccoon took his chance to bounce backward with teeth-baring shriek. His hind legs played stiffly as he bounced backward, staggering some as he pulled his head inward and made some distance between them. More weird noise, but he got the message. Leave. The raccoon considered her a moment, considered the sting of his wounds, then made his decision. With a chatter, he turned and bounded away, into the brush to find somewhere to huddle and lick his bleeding wounds.

Chase him.

 Like an itch that desperately needed to be scratched, she worried at the idea but did not move so much as a paw. Stood her ground and ignored his chittering as she slowly turned away and twisted, licked at the fairly deep cuts he'd left along her underbelly. Whole lot of bullshit for a bunch of cashews.

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