JOSHUA BAILEY



“Enemy of My Enemy”

 


            Being an EMT was not exactly what Donald Rushner would have considered as a career choice when he was younger.  His father was a plumber and his mother was a stay-at-home mom.  His aptitude test showed a protective instinct, but he would not become a police officer.  He had seen enough bloodshed during his tour, and he hoped that he could still make a difference without having to carry a gun.

            After a stint as an Army Medic, Donald chose to use his skills helping the civilian population.  Post discharge, he applied with the Houston Fire Department and was hired immediately.  Ten years later, he still loved the job as much as he had in the beginning.  Plus, chicks loved a man in uniform, and he filled his out quite well.  5’10 with blonde hair and green eyes, the EMT had the chiseled features of men twice his age but still maintained an innocence about him that was endearing to almost everyone.  

            Taking his last bite of the best damn burritos this side of the border, Donald received a call from dispatch.  In the past hour, the city had been overwhelmed with odd calls ranging from little green men to huge gray monsters.  The news said there was going to be a solar flare, but they never mentioned that people would go insane.  This must be another of those calls.  He was only one block away, and he’d been to the apartment complex on several occasions.  Most of the trouble stemmed from underprivileged people trying to escape life’s inadequacies one drug at a time.  He hoped it was something he could handle, but according to the scanner, he was preparing for the worst.

            “Ten to one that it’s blunt trauma,” snickered Jolly.

            “You’re on,” smirked Donald.  Although it was not well known, these two had been exchanging the same fifty bucks on this type of bet for the past three years.  It wasn’t that professional, but it helped them deal with the ugliness of it all.

The call came from the third floor, and much to Jolly’s discomfort, the elevator had stopped working.  Donald felt something wrong.  There was heaviness to the air that he hadn’t felt since his first tour in Iraq.  Death was definitely making itself present here tonight.  Even though the two had not made it to the floor yet, he could smell the irony tang of blood.  

            As they entered the hallway, the pair could hear a baby screaming.  Jolly took off running and rushed in.  Before Donald could radio the call, something flew out of the room and smacked against the wall opposite the door.  Full understanding didn’t hit him until he rounded the corner of the doorframe and saw his best friend’s lifeless body lying in the entrance hallway.  A slight sob escaped Donald’s lips as he saw his partner’s head lying against the wall, intestines spilling out of three fresh slashes.

            The paramedic heard the screams of a baby again, and quietly walked into the same apartment that had just spit out his friend.  He first saw that the man of the house had been ripped open from the waistline to the sternum.  A little girl approximately eight or nine years old was in a prone position.  She looked as if she could be praying, save for the fact that her legs were now on the other side of the room.  There were two living things in the room besides Donald, and one of them was an infant in hysterics. 

            Standing seven feet tall with gray and mottled skin, a creature stood in the room that reminded Donald of a lizard that had procreated with a grasshopper. Its legs were long and muscular; the rest of its thin body looked lithe and tense.  The paramedic had seen enough as the creature turned from its advancement to the baby to take out its newest, and larger, “threat”.

            It rushed toward Donald faster than anything he had seen before.  With luck and the training he learned in the army, he was able to sidestep the oncoming attack.  A razor sharp talon found its mark however, and Donald flew up against the wall.  With a weird, almost beautiful jerkiness, his attacker did a back-flip and landed in front of him.  

            A furious backhand sent Donald flying into the crib, toppling the baby and the paramedic into a heap on the floor. He jumped to his feet with a grace and athleticism that the creature did not know that humans possessed.  Honestly, the monster had studied these pathetic creatures for a long time, and knew that one on one, humans didn’t stand a chance against her kind.

            Little did she know, this human was not a human at all.  Witnessing a transformation much like her own, she was confused and a little dismayed.  Donald Rushner wasn’t human, he was a werewolf.

Shifting has always been painful.  It isn’t necessarily a kind of pain that can be designated to one specific area.  It is more a ripping and tearing, not just of the sinews and tissues of the body, but more so in the destruction of a Lycan’s humanity.  Donald’s conscious self remains intact, but the wolf takes the helm. 

            Donald’s hands and arms stretched and became taut.  A popping sound reverberated throughout his body causing a whimper of pain and frustration.  His mouth protruded while the head enlarged.  Sharp, honed fangs crashed through the human teeth and elongated to an almost comical length.  His human legs were nothing to balk at, but as they changed, the muscle tone and size gave the impression that his wolf was more powerful than anything yet seen by the alien.  His hands and feet elongated, becoming larger and enhanced with razor sharp claws.  After the transformation, Donald was now eight feet, 300 pounds of growling, angry and volatile aggression.

            Donald crouched low and stood over the fallen baby.  The rumble was still deep in his throat, but concern about frightening the child made him control the beast.  Stretching his hands and adjusting to the change, the wolf did what all great predators do before an attack.  He bore his very prominent and saliva dripping teeth.

The wolf was limited in his ability to maneuver.  If he stepped too far from the baby, he would not be able to save her.  This also subdued his attack, leaving him on the defense.  A quick slash cut across his forehead.  Donald dodged and tried to grab the creature’s arm.  It was too fast for him and the reach left him extended for a side kick that landed directly into his midsection.  The Lycan was not familiar with this kind of power being delivered while in wolf form, and he involuntarily had to take a step back. 

            Donald almost lost his composure, but the squeals of the baby reminded him of his focus.  He crouched low and decided to push the alien back.  A flurry of teeth and claws were unleashed by both opponents.  Keeping the wolf in check made the fight more one sided, because Donald could assess his moves and coordinate to benefit the situation.  He grabbed the creature’s arm, wrapped his legs around her shoulder and commenced to pull as hard as he could.  A loud pop and ear piercing screech alerted the wolf that the shoulder had been pulled out of the socket.  

            Noticing that the wolf was keeping himself between herself and the baby, the alien feinted toward the infant.  She sprinted towards the right, causing the animal to face away from the opposite wall.  She jumped into the air and used her powerful legs to propel off of the wall.  Donald failed in his attempt at grabbing her, and the creature soared over his head and landed near the window. 

            Donald’s first instinct was to chase his prey.  Before leaping out of the new hole in the wall, he stopped to check on the baby.  She was still upset, but the absence of the creature seemed to lessen the scream into more of a frightened sob.  The wolf’s adrenaline was still racing through his body.  He was unsure if it would be safe to leave her there, yet he still wanted to go after whatever had slain this whole family. 

            His conundrum was solved when he heard several police officers yelling for everyone in the hallway to return into their apartments.  With the sound of cavalry approaching, Donald leapt out of the impromptu exit.  Humans were unaware of the Lycan, and he was not in a position to change that just yet.

 

Copyright  ©  2014 Joshua Bailey

Joshua Bailey has been an elementary school teacher for 13 years. He earned his B.A. at University of Houston Clearlake and is currently earning his Master's degree at The University of Southern New Hampshire. He is the proud father of 4 children, a beautiful wife, and a very spoiled Rottweiler who sits on his recliner as if she's a lap dog. His love of literature has encouraged his writing, and this is his first publication. Within the next year Josh is looking forward to publishing his first full length novel.