Shifter: The First Time I Met a Hunter

This is a new story about a SHAPESHIFTER

The lore is mostly pulled from the show Supernatural with influences from Norse mythology. I claim no higher or better knowledge on shifters; I just liked this particular brand of lore. And if you ever want to discuss lore, PM me because I know nobody who likes it D:

Warnings: cursing

Shifter

The First Time I met a hunter

Before I enacted the flight plan, I had enough presence of mind to drain a good deal of Ryan’s bank account at the ATMs. When I got on the plane, a stewardess gave me an odd look for my lack of carry-on. I made a vague comment about checking all of mine, but her forehead only furrowed deeper. In response I cracked a joke about how her face might freeze that way, which she didn’t take kindly. Neither did Ryan—I suppose all his life he had always thought it a poor joke.

Then, when I enacted the flight plan, it went considerably well. I hadn’t considered my seat mates, but I also hadn’t fully considered the idea of the red-eye flight. My seat mate was asleep immediately before and after the change; when he had woken up and I gave him a smile, he looked thoroughly confused. He noticed the change, but if his sleep-drugged mumblings were anything to go by, I’d say he had written it off as a dream.

I didn’t bother to care—or care as much as I could have—because damn did this new skin feel good. I could hardly hear John, he was miles away in Chicago and I was headed to Atlanta. Sure I could taste all his memories like a layer of ash on my tongue and the skeletons in his closet were far grosser than Ryan’s. I shivered as I saw his corrupted dreams, carefully wrapped in “don’t ever fucking think about this” ribbon. His daughter was named Savannah. She was eight. And, god, was she beautiful.

After three hours and one round of vomiting in the bathroom—due to John and his eclectic tastes—we touched down in Atlanta. From there I stole a suitcase off the carousel that looked manly enough (and upon inspecting the contents I nearly whooped when it did, indeed, belong to a man). Then I took a bus out to Lawrence Kansas on Ryan’s coffer; Ryan also paid for my down payment on a crappy, leaking apartment.

By my third week, I had a job in an office—Pelgram’s Financials Ltd.—and my name was Eric Clapton (I suppose a little Bridget still showed through). I worked from nine to five and went to the bar for drinks on Thursday. I had a closely maintained account at the local credit union. I was already a regular at the bakery by my apartment, the cute daughter of the owner always anticipating my emergency jelly-roll runs.

In this time, John still kind of fed into my thoughts some; a lot actually when I was stuck between a rock and a hard place at work. Sometimes I liked to lie awake at night, sifting through his life. I felt dirty and voyeuristic the first few nights, but then the novelty of it wore off. It was through John I picked up guitar. It was through John I could make a killer Chicken Parmesan. It was also through John I had to avoid the playground because this guy was, indeed, a bit messed up.

By my third month, I was Eric Clapton who was eerily like a certain John Tamus in Chicago. I was beginning to fret about not having a social security number or any other identification. This worry had come to a head when I was late on a rent payment and my landlord immediately threatened to phone the police. Sure it was a day late and was because I had thought all yesterday was Wednesday when it was Thursday. But still, it was a wakeup call and the old voice that I had thought died so long ago was screaming: “you’re gone gone gone!” And I guess it was right: I didn’t technically exist.

That week, I started asking around for any help and I found some. The idiot who made a comment about my name the first time around was the one who pulled through. He got me some papers for a huge ass price, but they were quality. I made arrangements to personally meet the forger, some momma-boy-basement-hack, so that I could hopefully glean some tricks of the trade.

A touch ought to do it, right?

It took an added month for me to meet the hack who was actually a girl named Carla. Honestly, though, the month flew by because I was too invested in my own life. It was like four months was the deadline or time limit for being attached to someone so far away because one morning I just woke up and John wasn’t there. It was just me in my head; sure I was a bit fractured, but it was all me. I made up lists of my likes and dislikes—in case I shifted again so that I could remember and not wonder, the whole time, if I ever really liked Jelly rolls (truth was I do—I fucking love them).

It was also nice to enjoy things John used to hate. Like I watched the latest horror film and ate chocolate covered peanuts, both things John detested. I went swimming at the public pool—something John didn’t know how to do but I guess Bridget must have. It had taken me awhile to get my limbs to work in tandem, but swimming was just like riding a bike only a hell of a lot more refreshing in the July heat.

I could still play guitar, though; none of the talents I had gleaned from John had gone away. It was just his personality and memories were all out of reach. Everything I had taken, though, was there. It was just they were there as ‘remembered’ and not as ‘known’.

By my fourth month, I had to say I was pretty happy with being a shapeshifter.

It died, though, by the fifth month. Sure, giving Carla a good bye hug gave me the ability to counterfeit nearly any document I wanted, but it didn’t outweigh what happened a few weeks later. Some burly dudes showed up in Lawrence and they got the town talking. They went to the bar I went to, talking to some of my coworkers and other locals. I saw them hanging outside my work. I saw them parked across the street from my apartment. When I caught them sitting on my couch, flipping through the channels, I couldn’t say I was surprised.

Surprised or not, I still screamed like a fucking girl.

The larger of the two arched an eyebrow at me and, quickly, I realized there was no ‘of the two’. After seeing them side by side for the past week, it was hard to realize the larger one was alone. Granted, he had to be over six foot, solid muscle, and armed to the teeth so he was intimidating, but he was alone. But not in the alone as in the only one here, but just as in the only one in that small portion of space; his partner could be anywhere. “Who are you?” I asked hesitantly, trying to take a few steps closer to the door.

That’s when the ropes quickly fell around me—fuck I hadn’t even heard the other guy get there. It might have had something to do with the blood pounding at jet-engine-decibels in my ears. “We’re hunters,” the larger one said, smiling as the ropes cinched tighter so I couldn’t move. My breath caught hard and sticky in my throat. “And we’re going to put you down like the monster you are.”

The tears started falling from my eyes at that point, big and fat and hot. I knew I was in a guy’s skin, but Bridget was peeking through and devastated at what she saw. She was curling up inside and pushing out at the same time. I could almost grasp her, but something else was telling me to hold strong, stay strong. Instinct told me not to fight but not to bare my throat for their teeth. “I’m not a monster,” I whispered in a tone caught between Bridget’s and John’s.

Immediately the man behind me stiffened, the ropes pulling tighter with the movement. “Dan,” he said strongly, the vibrations making my knees weaker. I could feel the huge strength in them and it was terrifying. I knew John wasn’t that strong—John couldn’t take them. “I don’t think he—she–,” he leans in, “Sweetheart, do you know what you did?”

“No!” I keen, falling forward a little, trying to pull away. “No don’t kill me. I didn’t kill anyone! Sure I—sure I took their money but I had to. Because I—what could I do? I had nothing—I didn’t exist. I didn’t kill them though—I just borrowed their faces.”

It sounded strange, but the hunters exchanged a very familiar grunt of agreement. Slowly I was being led to the couch where Dan had been sitting, the smaller one pushing me down. Dan spat something harsh, but I couldn’t hear it over my incoherent mumbling of ‘I’m not a monster, I’m not a monster’. Because the dam broke somewhere and all the fear that what I was, was wrong just kept flowing up and out. John had glossed it over. Ryan had made it palatable. But Bridget was back, like a fucking hallucination that was only skin deep; oh my god, what have I done? Was the only coherent thought she could manage in the din of self-loathing.

Suddenly, the two hunters wheeled around from their little pow-wow. I hadn’t even been aware they looked away. The smaller one fixed me with a sympathetic gaze while the other set his jaw in a firm line. “Do you know what you are?” the smaller one asked kindly, bending over to negate some of his height. The taller one only drew himself up further.

“I’ma…imma….I shift. I….shapeshifter.” I spat the last word because it hurt. It hurt to finally say it out loud, to say it to someone, and to know I couldn’t take it back. I could no longer go ‘I’m just Eric Clapton, I work at Pelgram Financial, you’re an idiot for thinking otherwise’. I could no longer hide as a human anymore. Suddenly, the accusation of being a monster seemed all too real. It made me wonder if I should let them kill me. But for what? A crime I didn’t commit—I didn’t do anything wrong, not yet.

Dan fidgeted, whining deep in his throat. The smaller one looked at him harshly before looking back to me. “You know you guys also psychically attach, right?” I nodded and he began looking worried. He was about to say something before Dan said acidly:

“You drained two fucking guys Bridget.”

It hit like a slap to the face and I started sobbing again. Bridget was hard to define—a nebulous memory—and she didn’t do this. But I did—whoever I was. I killed two people, drained them dry. “I didn’t know,” I said instinctually in a sopping wet voice. “I didn’t know I could even do that.”

“Dan,” the smaller one pursued but Dan cut him off.

“No! No! That is no reason to let a monster keep on living.”

“Dammit man, she didn’t know!” The smaller one defended, arms wheeling in circles. My breath turned ragged and jumpy in my chest. “She just has to put a fucking stop on it—“

“I can do that!” I resolved quickly, standing up abruptly. I looked at both of them in turn, realizing it was now or never to prove I should live. “I—I realize now what I did to drain them. Look—it’s not a necessary thing, like I can go on without doing that. I don’t think I’ll shift, though.” I defend, pulling on my shirt. “I like Eric, I have a good life—I know, God I know nothing will replace the lives I took away. But I didn’t know and I never wanted to and now I never will, again.”

I was breathless and the two were speechless. Then Dan grumped something else to his partner and they left my apartment in lockstep. They left town the next day.

 

part 1– –part 2– –part 3– -part 4– -part 5- –part 6- –part 7

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