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Feral

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There is a monster in the Musutafu city forest.

This, the locals know.

Enter the forest and you will never return.

This, they claim. 

 

The growth of trees stands tall, dark, and menacing.

Passing nearby sends shivers down your spine and the hairs on your neck spring up as an overwhelming feeling of being watched surrounds you. It puts the person on edge and holding in their breath as they hurry along, eager for the forest to get its sights off them. Eager to get away from the shadows that shift and moves on the edge of your vision, eager to shy away from the flashes of green narrow eyes judging you, eager to block out the tittering sounds that travel through the branches.


One year a group of teenagers enters the forest in a test of courage, unafraid and challenging.


Out of the five teenagers that entered the Musutafu forest, only three returned a few hours later terrified and weeping. 


A few days later the fourth stumbles out of the forest injured, bleeding, and nearly incomprehensible as he blithers and blabbers on about the green eyes that pierce through your soul as he ran and ran. The sharp claws that would slam down in the spot he was just moments before, snapping small trees and branches as though they were nothing more than twigs in its path. The feral grin with its dozens of needle-sharp teeth that twists its face in crackling laughter as he stumbles about on his injured leg, hobbling, as if this was nothing more than a game to the creature.


The fifth, and final of the group was never found. The search parties finding nothing, other than the uncomfortable feeling of being watched, judged.


The locals in Musutafu soon avoid the woodland altogether, in fear of being snatched away by whatever sort of monster resides in its depths.

 



Oh, it’s a beautiful, absolute wonderful day, the green haired boy decides.

He simply loves this time of the season! Where he can comfortably run and jump and play without worry of overheating.

The air has a slight chill to it letting him puff out his fur in a pleased manner. Soon the leaves on the tree will be turning all sorts of colors, falling from their owners and onto the ground where he can jump and nip at them from the air.

He likes to play a game where he tries to catch as many leaves in his mouth in one fell swoop – he can catch four, so far! His highest record that he is rather proud of, but! He is determined to beat it this leaf-fall! This season he will catch five! Or perhaps even six! He has gotten bigger since the last leaf-fall season, with longer legs that will allow him to jump even higher into the air, that will allow him even more time to swipe at his colorful leafy prey.


But, that won’t be for a while yet. The leaves are still very much green, just beginning to be touched by color. Still firm in staying right where they are for yet another few weeks.


The furred creature sighed.


What to do today, he wonders.


It’s a beautiful, wonderful day, yes, this is true. But it doesn’t stop him from being bored, running around loses its luster after a while, of course.


He wonders if he should go to the edge of his territory to see if that two-leg left more snacks about.

But no, he was just there yesterday, wasn’t he?

The two-leg only stops by to drop off tasty cream and small treats every few days. The green haired boy is aware the delicious goodies are meant for the cats that roam around in the forest and city- but he simply cannot help himself! They are too good to pass up! Especially the cream! There is nothing he can hunt or find in his forest that tastes even close to the richness, smoothness, delectable, creamy liquid. He’ll usually greedily guzzle down half the bowl, in his two-legged form, and leave the rest for the forest cats milling about. The substance is intended for them, and they usually get snippy if he leaves them none to drink.


The treats left out are not as tasty as the cream, usually bits of stale meat and small, dry, hard pellets that make his nose scrunch in displeasure. The cats, however, seem to enjoy them nonetheless, so he leaves them be.


The creature shakes his furred head, long ears flapping as he does so. Oh, just thinking about that makes his stomach growl in hunger – perhaps he could hunt? He remembers scenting deer to the north of his territory just this morning, it’s been quite some weeks since he last had a taste of the animal. And they can usually feed him for a few days!

Yes, that sounds oh so very nice, he decides.


He jumps forward on his long slender legs, and dashes past his bushes, trees, and undergrowth, scenting the air for the hints of the hooved animals. With how big his beast form is you would think the boy would be loud, crashing through the forest. But no, he is fast and quiet. Sneaky and swift as his green fur blends him into the background of the forest around him. He runs on silent paws and claws towards the bend of the upcoming river and slows down once he gets closer and the scent of deer, stronger.

There is not many bushes to hide his bulky form near the river, so, he shrinks down into his much smaller form and crouches low to the ground.


His two-legged form is so much weaker than his bigger, stronger, beast form. At its default he doesn’t have his claws, doesn’t have his long ears shooting above his head to pick up the slightest of sounds, doesn’t have his long tail that swishes behind him, doesn’t even have his fur! Other than the shaggy, messy bit on top of his head. Where his creature form is all sorts of shades of green, his smaller form is pink and squishy, and so much colder! He feels vulnerable without the mess of fur that has a constant presence on his bigger form, wrapping around him in a layer of comfort.


But this form does come in handy in the hot season of green-leaf, where so much fur leaves him to feel overheated and exhausted.

Well even so, it’s not like he can’t… alter this form.

He discovered a few seasons back that he can take aspects of his beast form and apply it to his two-leg one. His blunt nails can become sharp and furred, his short pointy ears spring out farther until they trail after his head, his tail sprouts forward from his spine and curls around his leg, his bare chest and back and be covered in the comforting weight of his fur.


His fangs poke at his bottom lip as he grins and inches forward towards the brown animals. His eyes dart around, taking in the group, looking for – there! A single deer near the edge of the hoard, away from the others as it nibbles on some leafy ferns growing near the river edge. The boy silently creeps towards it, avoiding small twigs, and brushing against the long grass, green eyes never straying from its target. The deer completely oblivious to the danger it is currently in.


The small boy is about to pounce forward to slash at the brown-furred animal, when there is a commotion that crashes and echoes throughout the woodland. The heads to the deer shoot up and take off into the opposite direction of the loud disturbance. The green-eyed boy looks on in shock at where the deer had been just moments before. He could easily catch up to them in his beast form, he knows, and even have fun with a chase!


But.


He swallows down his rising outrage and glances in the direction of the still loud noises.


He was bored, was he not?


The boy shifts into his beast form and grins a feral filled to the brim of sharp needle teeth.


Oh, he could make a game out of this, he bets.