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The Beast in Me (completed)
I gasped when I heard his words reach my ears. Was that the “favor” Frank was supposed to do: kill my father? For crying out loud, Jack Mansdale was his father, not mine! But I bet that Horace never told Frank about that detail and that it was all part of his evil plan as Zeus. I hoped that Sheena would intervene. But as I glanced up to the sky I saw that the clouds were dense again and no moonlight was available for her to transform. I needed to get up there. Now! Easier said than done, as the passage across the bridge was still blocked by the pack. I saw the werewolves' glowering yellow eyes, all focused on me. Zany was done talking and they were ready to attack at any point now. Everything fell silent on the bridge, except for the soft sound that the eternal flow of water underneath the bridge was making. Then I cocked my ears again,
“No, Frank, don't shoot, he's your...” I heard the voice of Sheena shouting to him before it was smothered by a hand of Jack Mansdale. He pulled her close to him, using her as a human shield. Then I picked up another familiar voice,
“Frank Sawatzky? What are you... my god, you have a gun!” It was my mother's voice. She had reached the presidential suite where Jack Mansdale had planned to spend the night with Sheena.
Then things happened in rapid succession. I saw a flash of light out of the corner of my eyes, then the crack of a gun shot and Sheena's piercing scream that tore right through my own innards, and finally an incredibly intense and thunderous boom as from a giant explosion. The fur on my body stood up straight as I felt the growling rumble reverberate in my chest. Just like the other beasts on the bridge, I turned my head and saw that it had come from where I had seen the flash: up at the site of the dam. A second later, all the street lights, Christmas decorations, facade illumination - in fact, everything electrically lit by the power grid - went out! Suddenly, the world had become one pitch black cave. I heard the werewolves howl in confusion and scramble around. Without thinking twice, I sped forward, going on intuition. I grazed a couple of furry bodies on my way but they were much to slow to react. I heard the snapping of their fangs behind me. When the emergency lighting at the hotel and the hospital kicked in, I had almost reached the other end of the bridge. I didn't turn my head until I got to the height of the town square. When I looked back, I wondered why they weren't closing in on me. Then I saw the enormous figure of Atlas among the beasts. They had run into him and were attacking him from all sides. I slowed down for half a stride, contemplating to turn around and help him. But I thought better of it and kept running toward the hotel. Our best chance was to have Sheena transform into a veela. And I was worried to find out the reason for her scream.
I smashed open the entrance door of the hotel and didn't bother to look out for the hotel clerk who was thrown to the ground, sending the flashlight he had been holding bouncing across the room. I found and chased up the staircase. The dim emergency lighting was enough to find my way. My ears guided me to find the suite. I charged in.
First I saw Frank who was still standing close to the entrance door. He was holding the gun limply in his hand. I smelled the scent of burnt gun powder. He was in shock, whimpering. He didn't even turn to look at me.
“I didn't... mean to... I thought he was attacking the girl. He's a werewolf.”
I gasped when I saw the body of Jack Mansdale sprawled over the king-sized bed and Sheena lying next to him. My mother was holding up his head,
“No, Jack! Don't leave me like this! You can't be dying!”
I ran over into the bedroom to check for Sheena. Her hand was holding the side of her chest. Blood was running from between her fingers. Her face was contorted with pain.
“No!” I howled. My mother turned and let out a shriek of horror at my sight and jumped to the side.
“It's just Ron, Mrs. Mansdale! Your son!” Sheena said, reaching out with her hands, trying to calm my mother down. My mom looked at me wide-eyed and confused. I saw the awful extent of Sheena's wound that she had uncovered. The bullet had hit the side of her chest, going right through her body between the ribs, tearing her dress and creating a nasty wound. The bullet had obviously continued, hitting Jack Mansdale squarely in his heart. He was still breathing but he had only seconds to live. He cracked open his eyes once more.
“Forgive me...” was the last thing he’d ever say. I don't know whom he was addressing.
“No! Forgive me! I let your son die! I was a bad mother! I was devasted! Jack! Believe me! I never cheated on you!” my mom fell sobbing onto his chest. I looked at her confused. Sheena sat up, pressing her hand hard against her wound. She looked up at me. I gave a sigh of partial relief at this, knowing that she was still strong enough to get up on her own. Still gritting her teeth in pain, she said,
“Ron! Help me out on the balcony! There is a sliver of moonlight that I can use.”
Quickly, I maneuvered her over to the other side of the room and immersed her into the light. Almost instantly she transformed into her ghostlike appearance of a veela. She gently lifted off and hovered a few inches above the ground. I could see that the blood stains on the dress were gone. Her wound seemed to have healed by the transformation.
“How do you feel, Sheena?” I was going to ask but I realized that I still was a werewolf, making me all but incommunicable. Suddenly, I felt how I started shrinking and shriveling up into my human form. Sheena had apparently understood my wish.
“Witches, beasts! You're nothing but freaks!” Frank cried out, raising his gun against us.
“No, Frank! We're the... the good guys!” I said and then wondered whether that would stop someone like him. At least it made him hesitate. He looked at the dead body of Jack Mansdale.
“He was their leader, right? It was right to kill him, wasn't it?”
Up to a few minutes ago, I had answered “yes” but now I was dumbstruck.
“Answer me! Who was Jack Mansdale in reality?! He was a werewolf! Tell me he was the head of your pack! I saved the town from disaster, didn't I? Horace told me...”
“He lied! He knew you'd want to take revenge, and tricked you into killing your own father, Frank!” it slipped out of me before I could stop myself.
“You're crazy, Ron! That's not my father. My father is...”
“...Gene Sawatzky, alias Atlas, the werewolf! You are no werewolf, that's why he couldn't be your biological father, Frank! Instead, he's my father!”
My mother gave another shriek,
“No! That's not true! We never...”
“Mom! I heard the truth about that party! Dad... I mean he...” I pointed to the dead body of Jack Mansdale, “...asked you to distract Gene Sawatzky to be able to hit on his wife and when Sawatzky found out, he raped you in revenge. Face the truth mom!”
“No, no, no!” she squirmed and sobbed. She held her abdomen in pain. But I wasn't pitying her. She had pitied herself for too long. It was time for her to come clean. For her own sake.
“No, please, Ron... Gene was a gentleman, he would never even think of...” she stopped as if remembering something. “Yes, he was angry about something that night. There was some kind of business affair with the dam and the power plant that Jack tried to interfer with, I dunno. Anyway, he attacked Jack and threw him out from the party. Now I remember again.”
“But Jack was happy, we celebrated at home... and I got pregnant and gave birth to a little boy. My poor little baby.” She looked at Ron.
I wondered why she looked that way but it became clear when she continued,
“But he became seriously ill when he was only a month old. They told me, he was going to die. I was hysterical. Jack was gone on a trip. I couldn't do this to Jack. Deprive him of his pride. Myrtha Hensley was midwife back then but she was with this strange young mother, almost still a child...” She looked at Sheena and shuddered at her appearance. As if she recalled her bad memories. “You suddenly got better and her one of her own small children died. She wanted to switch them, take you away from me! I screamed and the doctor made her switch them back. I think. I mean, that's the way it must have been. You're my child, aren't you?”
“So why did Zeus lie about my father?”
“I didn't lie,” the voice of Horace suddenly struck our ears. Sheena and I whirled around. He had quietly entered the room. It was starting to get crowded a bit, even for a presidential suite. Frank turned around to him and looked like he was relieved to see him,
“Mr. Dragovi'c! I did as you asked me to. He was a werewolf, right? I mean, it was right to...”
“He was a bad man, Frank. You did good.” He said calmly and patted his shoulder.
“Bu... but it's not like he was my father or anything... like they are saying, was he?”
“I'm afraid Ron was right about that point, Frank.” Horace said with a tinge of pity for him in his voice. Frank's jaw dropped. “And as for Ron's father. Well, Gene was bent on getting even with Jack that night but he got sidelined. He was in fact seduced by a half-veela who selflessly wanted to protect an innocent girl from being raped by a werewolf-human. But as a result she conceived herself.”
“You mean, my mother was... raped by Gene Sawatzky, which means I am...”
“I'm not finished yet!” He cut Sheena off, “About eight months later, a son and a daughter were born and brought to my hospital, yes, twins.”
Sheena and I gasped. Frank looked at us.
“Myrtha Hensley, the midwife, had brought them in to me since I was the children's doctor back then. The twins were tiny, prematurely born, and they needed medical attention. Especially, the boy was weak. The young mother wouldn't tell me her name but I smelled rat when she told me that he was refusing to have her milk. The boy was a thorn in her flesh and she wanted to give him away. Terrible though it sounds, I had the feeling she half wished him dead but that wasn't an option because she was a veela. She wouldn't hear about adoption procedures from me and instead was consulting with Mrs. Hensley. Although I had found that her boy had been healthy, if underfed, he suddenly died whereas there occurred a miracle recuperation of the death-doomed child of hers...”
He pointed at Priscilla who had sunken down onto the bed and was moaning.
“Overworked as I was, I was tricked by the switch and unwittingly signed the death certificate in the name of the wrong child."
“It's not true! My baby recovered! Mine!”
"After this, the mysterious woman looked relieved. She left the hospital with a beautiful and healthy little daughter. By now you all have guessed what all this means, right?” Horace looked at us.
I felt empty inside. If what he just had told us was true, it meant that Sheena and I were siblings. Offspring of a werewolf and and veela. That's why my father had found out that our blood groups didn't match up. Sheena and I looked at each other, pain searing through our hearts. How cruel that fate would let us fall in love like this. Impossible love. The beauty and the beast were twins. I don't know what hurt more, that or that my real mother had given me away,
“No!” I cried frustrated, “You're lying!”
Horace, the one that I had almost come to know as the protector of my sister, looked calmly at me and shook his head,
“I, myself only found out the full truth tonight. That's another reason why I wanted access to the hospital. Mrs. Hensley was quite informative in the end.”
“You!” I started to charge toward him. “What do you want, anyway? You changed back! Does this mean...”
“Only temporarily. Finally, I have found to my true self. I no longer want to restrain what I feel inside. Baskerville is only the beginning of our takeover.” He looked from me to Sheena, pointing his finger, “And you will not interfere!”
“You wish! She is stronger than all of you, already now! As a full veela, she will destroy you all!”
“No, son. She won't want to transform...”
“Ron!” She looked pleadingly at me, “You know there is no turning back once I do!”
What did it matter, if we couldn't be together.
“I would turn on all werewolves! I would even try to kill you!” There was horror in her expression. She was so beautiful. I couldn't stop my feelings, sister or not.
“And you would risk the lives of Sue and Mrs. Hensley if you try to stop us.” Horace added quietly.
He is holding them for ransom, it went through my mind.
“If that isn't already enough, consider this. Their lives also hold the key to the fate of your love. As siblings you will never be able to unite. But in contrast to the human world, there are ways of changing things in our world. But not if I have them killed. So keep clear and you may be rewarded.”
Without warning, he transformed into a werewolf at will and almost at the blink of an eye, turning him into Zeus again. He opened his snout and slashed across Frank's throat before he even could lift his arms in protection. After lapping up a few tongue-fulls of his blood, Zeus gave us a last look, as if for a final warning, and then he dashed out of the room.
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