Chapter One: Beast

The night was cold. So cold that my breath came out in small white clouds. Although the air should have chilled me to the bone, I barely felt it graze against my skin. In fact, I felt hot. Like my skin was on fire. I was tempted to take off my hoodie, but resisted. I still had a ways to go. While the isolation of the shack was usually a good thing, the distance this time only gave him more anxiety.

Although the night caused everything to appear in shades of gray, I could see every color in high contrast. It was as if the saturation in my sight had been turned up all the way. It made my eyes hurt and I began to feel nauseous. I did my best not to stumble on the broken branches that were tangled along the forest floor.

I needed to quicken my pace. I was cutting it close this time. If my mother hadn't of called so late to see how I was doing, I could of left the apartment 5 minutes earlier. If I hadn't of lost my left shoe, which I found in the closet, I wold of left 10 minutes earlier and missed my mother's phone call.

If only. If only.

Finally, the shack came into view. A tiny building made of wood and severely chipped red paint. I didn't know how long it had been around, but it definitely had a lot of wear and tear from over the years of hard weather conditions. It was also slightly slanted from settling in the soft earth beneath it.

By this point, I was starting to wonder if I actually was on fire. I stripped off my hoodie and rushed into the shack. The door groaned in pain from the years of rust on the hinges. I stepped inside and slammed the door shut behind me. As usual, it was eerily silent and the stale air only made my nausea worse. I had made it, though. A sigh of relief escaped my lips.

It was then that the first wave of pain hit. Yelping, I dropped my hoodie onto the dusty floorboards and doubled over. I clutched my stomach tightly as if trying to hold the pain back. It felt like my stomach was being twisted and pulled. I dry heaved, hoping to god that I wouldn't throw up this time.

Meat never tasted good coming up.

The pain passed after a long minute. Gasping, I stumbled over to a small table in the corner. I ripped my shirt off and looked down. My skin had become discolored. I could see the muscles in my torso twitching oddly. Dark veins had started to crawl across my skin. The Change had begun. My body was beginning to reconstruct itself. It was horrifying and yet oddly fascinating to watch as the muscles shifted.

"Damn..." I cursed, remembering I was wearing my favorite jeans. I fumbled to unbutton them, my hands badly shaking. The zipper caused me even more of a problem as my fingers kept slipping on the tab. I was almost out of my jeans when the second wave of pain hit. I screamed this time, the pain twice as intense as before. I fell face first into the wooden planks of the floor.

I laid on the floor, awkwardly tangled in my pants, writhing in pain. I could feel my bones shifting this time, taking on their new form. Stretching and shrinking. Rebuilding. Muscles were tearing and healing to form new and stronger muscles. My five senses suddenly exploded. I could smell every single sent, hear every little noise, feel every nerve ending. I managed to somehow kick my jeans off in my desperate struggle to keep what little humanity I had left.

The beast was taking over.

The pain receded, leaving my whole body quivering. My limbs had become awkward and stiff. A tightness in my chest had me gasping for air. Everything ached and burned. I laid there, too weak to move. I just wanted it to be over with. No more pain.

Just wanted the bliss of a finished rebirth.

The third and last wave of pain hit. An inhuman scream fell from my lips. Fur spread like wildfire across my body. My spine bulged, shifted, and formed into a new curve. Claws extended themselves from my once human nails. Hands forming into massive paws. Legs snapping into new shapes. Then the worse part came: my skull splitting and stretching to become the face of the beast. Teeth extending into sharp canines, cutting my lips and cheeks. This part was almost unbearable.

At least it was almost over. Soon, there would only be the bliss of darkness.