A Big Damned Hero

Genre: Horror

Teaser: 

I grab my mimosa and return the gesture. “Here’s to the crazies.”

The glasses clink just as the front door is forced in.

Warnings: graphic gore, death, serial killer short story

A big, damned hero

Once upon a time, there were these serial killers. They dominated the news. They dominated people’s dreams. Affectionately, by the caffeine crazed, sensation hazed media, the group—for no one alone could do all this, no one alone could leave such a long trail of bodies—was called the Bodysnatchers.

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Shifter: The First Time I Was Me

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 was me

I lived another two years stealing and thieving and living like a bloody king before Dan’s partner found me. He cornered me in Vegas, in a huge suite I had paid for out of some foreign businessman’s pocket. He leveled the gun at my head and shouted in my face: “You said you wouldn’t fucking kill anyone!”

I gave him a sharp smile, “I lied.”

His finger fumbled on the trigger and I knew—I knew from how unprepared Dan had been that his friend, Peter, would be unprepared too. I knew that was just a bullet, not a silver bullet that could kill me, loaded in the gun. I knew he was only going to make me moan and groan until I tore his throat out. I guess, then, knowing what I knew it was silly to stand there, but there was something liberating about being shot at six times.

The silence after the gun’s roar was deafening. I had sunk to my knees at some point, my hands clawing at the carpet as blood flowed from my head, stomach, and chest. I looked up to see Peter walking closer, slightly unsteady for a seasoned hunter. “I suppose you don’t run into many shape shifters,” I said around a mouthful of blood. But then I ate my words as he slid a long, silver knife from his boot.

“You could say that,” he agreed but continued in a deeper, revenge laced voice; “but I knew a guy who does. This is pure silver bitch.”

And I also knew he had that knife—I had gotten stronger in two years and it was easy to know everything he knew when we were within ten feet of each other. He was also so scatter-brained from the idea of this—of killing me—that waltzing in his head and sifting around hadn’t been hard. I knew it would come to this from the minute he rolled into town. I just hadn’t bothered to put a stop to it, decided to play it like a game.

The survivor in me grimaced as the point of the blade tapped just below my shoulder blade and is withdrawn to allow for a heavier, stronger downward stroke. Yet the other part of me, the scrap that’s humane rather than human (because there’s no human in a monster) thought this is justice and the taste of blood, my blood, had never been sweeter. “Die shifter!” he states before sending the blade down and through.

And in that space between dying and death, I remember Bridget and she’s standing at the edge of my subconscious with auburn hair and bright eyes and she’s proud; she’s proud he avenged her, too.

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

I shifted. I wasn’t me. I was someone else. I met a hunter. I killed a man. I went home. I was me.

Shifter: The First Time I Went Home

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 killed a man

The taller hunter came back.

I killed him.

The First Time I went home

The gravity of killing a man with my hands never came. I had dreams about it, still do, and the twisted smile on his lips would haunt me for eternity. He had jauntily walked into my apartment and just prompted: “give me a reason not to kill you.”

And it was instinct that drove me forward to rip into his eager flesh like it was pining for me. It wrapped around my fists like my own did when I shifted; the bones cracked in my adamantine grip like mine did when I shifted. I punched his teeth from his mouth after opening up his chest. I pushed his eyes back into his head after ruining his mouth. He wanted a reason for him not to kill me and the reason I gave him was “you’re dead.”

I stayed up for the next three nights. I had dumped him in the river on the second. I stayed up the night after, huddled in the corner, and crying like a kid. Bridget was screaming that I was a monster and the survivor in me was screaming for me to just get the fuck over it. I kill people, it’s part of the system; I kill people and that’s who I am.

On the fourth night, I left town. I didn’t pack anything, I just drained my accounts and hightailed it back to the east. I changed skins often, trying not to sap any one particularly dry. I slept in the backseat of my car a lot and I ate at places that looked like the rats ate better than the customers. I took showers with a water bottle because it was only out of old habits that I thought I needed one. Technically I was clean after every time I shifted; I always felt dirty.

Nonetheless, I didn’t know where I was going until I got there. I was standing outside my old home in a female librarian skin clothed in an outfit I just picked up at the local department store. Nothing fit quite right, but I thought I looked respectable. Of course, it wasn’t respectable I needed, it was Bridget I had to look like and I was forgetting her more and more as the days went on. She wasn’t quiet—no—but her voice had lost a lot of its tonalities and I could only recall that her hair might have been red.

It was hard to look on the house with its old paint and tilted shutters and to know I had once known it. Now it was something I knew in a round-about way, through hearsay and stray memories that bubble through like gas in tar. It hurt to know that I didn’t know enough to prove that I had once been Bridget. But I once was, right? Or had she just been a skin I walked around in too long and I killed her off, too—I just took her place up like a changeling.

I pandered around a bit until the night was so thick the world had suffocated. I broke into my own house like I used to when I stayed out too late. I looked at my sleeping parents and little brother, never daring further than the doorway. I looked at my old room and only saw a room. I looked at our dog, Sparky, and only saw a dog—a nice dog but just a dog. I began crying when I found the photo albums and it was just faces of people staring back at me, even the one with the auburn hair and the name ‘Bridget’ scrawled under her school photo was nothing more than another face.

In the end, I absconded with a few photos, stuffing them in my pockets, and took some food and cash for the travel ahead. On a whim, I wrote my parents a note that Bridget was okay and just eloped—then I realized that was silly because why would some creep break into the house to leave a note like that? So I threw it out and left with some pop tarts and photos.

When I made it to the state border, I killed a person and borrowed her skin. I took her ID and cards; I dumped her in the Metedeconk. I secured the photos from home to the visor with some bobby pins the lady—Hyacinth—had been wearing. When the glare got too sharp while I was driving the next day, I was facing a picture of Bridget over the unending highway. I smiled at her conspiratorially. She was another kill, just like Hyacinth, just like Dan, just like John, and just like Ryan.

After that day, it was only me in my head—who ever me was at this point, anyway.

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

Shifter: The First Time I was a Man

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 was a man

I nearly vomited, shuddering and falling back against the guard rail. The thoughts were still colliding like comets behind me eyes, bursting with supernova brightness in my brain. His emotions were so strong, surging up and into me with a ravenous hunger. It was so much easier, a few moments ago, when I borrowed his thoughts like tools to use against him. Like his stinking up my head now, I had been in his and dragging him to his knees.

He was probably still in the gas station bathroom—gripping his head because I can feel it pounding in mine, as his, I don’t even know. He was probably still in that stupid bathroom where he tried to feel me up before I shut him down. The opportunity just landed in my lap and I went with it, crashing into his head until I was buried waist deep. Then I left him, on the floor, his nose bleeding a little, and locked myself up in the bathroom next door. The transforming into him hurt like hell. The skin was harder to pull off this time and my bones had to break so much more. At one point I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t because, God, I was half in and half out of him. It was weird, fucking weird and it fucking hurt. It was also a whole hell of a lot worse due to Ryan’s wretched whimpering that filtered through the wall between us.

When I finished shifting, I wasted no time sliding into his car and taking it out to the highway. The distance felt good, real good, but that ended shortly. I had just pulled over, a few seconds ago, because Ryan had to have finally gone into a full-blown panic. I could hardly place any of my thoughts among his and I was lucky enough to get the car off the road. A huge part of me wanted to kill him—to go back there and rip his fucking brain out so it’d stop screaming in mine. I couldn’t, though; I just needed to get to the airport, jump a new skin, and leave.

I took a few deep breaths, trying to steady everything out. I pushed Ryan away and to the edges until he was just a numb panic finely threaded through my thoughts. With substantially more peace of mind, I keyed the airport into the GPS and discovered the terminal wasn’t too far away. Nevertheless, a huge part of me feared the cops would catch me, that Ryan had already reported his car stolen, but I looked at my face in the rear view mirror and was surprised at the ease with which I smiled. “No, I’m Ryan Hertega, what do you mean I reported the car stolen? That’s silly.” And I touched his wallet, his phone, and everything else in his pockets, sans twenty bucks, on the seat next to me. “I’m sorry for the trouble officer,” I said to myself, biting back a laugh as some of Ryan’s hysteria washed over me too strongly. “But I’m pretty sure I’m driving my car.”

From then on, the drive became easier and easier as distance was put between us. I definitely would make a habit of grabbing people I didn’t know because, even if distance makes the heart grow fonder, it makes the thoughts go a lot quieter, too. It, of course, didn’t stop me from seeing into Ryan’s thoughts, residual lumps I unconsciously harvested from among his neurons. He was a bit of a creep, which made my skin crawl, and he got ahead in the world by kicking ass and exploiting interns. Luckily, the skeletons in his closet were long since denitrified and the only bits of rotting flesh on the bones stank of dubious consent. He was a mean man with an insatiable lust and, despite the wretched character, his disposition was making it easier, too. As I became Ryan and me; as we joined into a formless, shapeless lump of pride and greed and need; I could breathe without my breath hitching: I was finally a little more okay with the shape-shifter thing.

The voice, the voice that said I was Bridget and screamed for me to call mom; it was getting dimmer and dimmer. Sure, my old thoughts were there and my old life sat like a shadow cast on Ryan’s memories, but something else was being borne. It was malicious and malignant; it was the monster in me that knew how to shed its skin. It wasn’t a voice or a thought but rather a lifestyle that was slowly sinking in.

By the time I made it to the airport, Ryan’s easy confidence was contagious and I easily skated into the terminal. At the late hour of eleven, it was pretty vacant, but a few business travelers were buzzing around between the food, luggage-carousel, and waiting areas. I saw one man, crossing the polished floor to the men’s restroom- he immediately had my attention. He was dressed smartly in a well-fitted suit and looked a little harried but amiable. A slow smile crossed my face as I followed him, the man being chivalrous enough to hold the door to the men’s restroom open for me.

Overall, the third time I shifted was a lot easier. I took my time, first of all: I let the man go about his business and sidled up to him by the sinks. I asked him about the weather, calling on Ryan’s interpersonal skills. In a friendly gesture, I had touched his shoulder, which sent a jolt through my body I had hardly expected. It was good, though—what I needed. Something in me warmed to a hundred degrees and spread like wildfire.

Before he left –before John left—I threw a question after him, my voice friendly to a fault: “When is your flight?”

He dutifully checked his watch, shifting his blazer out of the way with a twist of his arm. “In another twenty minutes.” I smiled, showcasing a toothy smile.

“Mine leaves in an hour, you lucky devil.”

He responded with a chuckle, leaving the bathroom in a flare of black suit. I wondered, briefly, if letting him get away was for the best. If I had locked him up, I could have taken his flight; it would have expedited things. Then again, glancing around the acoustically-inclined bathroom, I quickly realized what a heinous mistake that would have been. I would not have made it far and how could I prove I was the real John Tamus? I didn’t have his ID, which I was beginning to realize was the all important clincher.

I had Ryan’s ID, though, and his credit cards. If I just; if I got on the plane as Ryan and left as John Tamus, then this could work. With my new course of action set, I left the men’s washroom, intent on the ticket window. The emotions that rose like floodwaters in me—a cacophony of crashing ‘wrong’ and ‘monster’ and ‘fucked up’ and ‘we can’t live like this’—were only a minor part in the tsunami of vicious glee.

I was becoming what I was meant to become; a creature without a name and without a home. So far I had not broken any moral codes (except for the Ryan-panicking thing, which was only a grey area at most), thus I considered myself safely humane, not really a monster. But, it was clear, I was no longer human; I was inexorably caught in the slow process of shedding my humanity.

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

Shifter: The First Time I was someone else

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 was someone else

I didn’t make much progress. Dusk rolled around on the heels of fleeting, golden air. I had sat in the park all day, by a tree, and tried sorting through everything. All I managed was that I was not a monster; monsters kill and I would never kill anyone. I also managed to get a better handle on my thoughts, but that was a hard point to sell. If I kept my eyes closed too long, I’d slip into Kailtin’s heart and see things I never intentioned to see. Somehow, I knew if I took a stranger’s skin, it should be easier to separate. I wouldn’t have all the connections that bind me to Kaitlin. It’d be a harder, more painful transformation, but to be able to master my own thoughts will be worth it. I was sick and tired of craving Cheetos every fucking hour.

I had also come to another conclusion, which came last and just as the Sun was a thin wafer above the horizon. I would find someone who had money; probably some suit who was traveling. I planned to head to the nearest airport, truss the poor bloke up, and leave with his skin and luggage on his flight. Then I’d drain a bit of his bank account and slew my skin. And if I got that far, then I’d pick a new one, skip town, and start over somewhere else.

My breath was ragged again, harsh in my ears. I could feel panic slip-sliding along my insides like vomit. It was acidic, burning, and noxious; it was of my own design and disease. I swallowed hard, drilling into my head again that this was my life now and no amount of wallowing under a fucking tree in a fucking park could change it.

The plan, though, sounded insane—ludicrous even— because where could I fucking slew my skin without someone noticing? I would need to hide from cameras and I had no experience with that. If I planned on borrowing a guy, which I really was considering because they’d be less trouble, I couldn’t use the treasured bathroom-stall method. Unless I went into the airport a guy, which I decided was my best bet.

After a bit more pandering, I ducked into a coffee shop near campus and bought a latte. The crowd was heavy even if it was evening. I watched as customers came and went over the edge of my cup, keeping a stronger eye on one of the baristas. His name was Daniel Caprisi. I met him before and he was nice albeit a bit dim. He was also once an interest of my friend so that he could recognize me and would talk to me if prompted—a worthy consideration in a crowded location. I considered maybe borrowing his skin, but then just the right guy walked in. He was a young professional who obviously just got freed from some office and needed a caffeine buzz to cap his day off. I could also see his car parked outside, a nice blue Honda, and I sure as hell would bet he had a GPS.

“A Venti Mocha.” The guy ordered, swiping a hand through medium length, tawny locks. When his blue eyes swept the room, I made sure to meet his and offer a smile. Suddenly I was very glad it was Kaitlin I was wearing because she offered the nice mix of charm and coy that I could use to my advantage. A bit of me roiled at that thought, the little voice that was the old me screaming ‘I shouldn’t do this’, but what choice did I have? Lose a few morals for a few hours and then have the rest of my life to live virtuous. It’s a conclusion I had come to, although a bit unconsciously. It was a conclusion I swallowed bitterly as I followed the young professional out the door.

I suppose luck was on my side because he saw me walking after him. He didn’t look annoyed, a bit perplexed perhaps, but he smiled regardless as I got closer. “Hello,” he offered, hand hovering over the driver door.

“I know this is going to sound weird,” I started out and then nearly bit my tongue because saying something sounded weird generally meant it was. Maybe a few years ago a guy would buy this crap, but with the stranger danger anthem of popular media, I doubt he’ll buy my spiel. Even as his brows knitted together, face turning guarded, I continued sweetly and nervously. “I was just hoping to get a lift. I—god it’s silly really—I got a ticket and they took my car to the impound.” He nodded his head curtly, hand easing off the door handle but his body didn’t move away from the car. Well, it was a start. “You see, I go to the college so none of my other friends have a car and the bus doesn’t run that way. I know I could get a cab, but I can’t afford that and the impound fee.”

A smile cracked his features, and I mentally sighed in relief. There was dirt on the edges of his personality, I could feel it, and that meant he wouldn’t have all the moral drama Kaitlin was currently shoveling onto my buzzing brain. He could make the meantime bearable. “So you just sat in the coffee shop, cruising people for a ride?”

Okay, that did make me sound like a freak but he didn’t look put off, merely intrigued. I smiled, calling upon the flirtatious gods: “No, I just saw you and you looked nice,” his eyes prompted me on with a smiling lilt, “real nice and I thought—hey why not.”

He nodded, approving, and then twitched his head towards his car. “Get in, I’ll give you a ride—my name’s Ryan by the way.”

I beamed as I crossed the distance, slipping my hand into his. He shook it firmly and his fingers brushed my wrist in the ghost of a touch. “Name’s Kaitlin,” I returned and took up my place in the passenger seat.

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

Shifter: The First Time I wasn’t me

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 wasn’t me

Being a shifter is a lot like being a schizophrenic, except the real you is the voice in your head. It was touch-and-go, standing in Kaitlin’s skin and trying to understand the part of me screaming “your name is Bridget!”

“No, I’m Kaitlin,” I taunted the mirror, goading the other part of me into frenzy. My lungs were pulling too strongly for air, panic was settling just under each rib, and my skin was itching anew. I wanted to just rip out of the skin—again and again and again. I gripped the sink’s edge, letting the alien dark locks fall over my face. No Kaitlin’s face—I was wearing Kaitlin’s face just like I was wearing her skin.

My spit turned dry and gritty in my mouth—a mouth smaller than my old one. It was uncomfortable and new and familiar all at once. I met green eyes in the mirror: at some point mine had been brown right? I used to have auburn hair. I used to be two inches taller. I used to have a chip in my left, lower canine. Now I was Kaitlin, though, and she was leering at me unsteadily in the mirror. She was watching me like one watches a skittish animal, about to run in case I reared up again and burst through my skin.

I didn’t. I settled deeply into Kaitlin’s persona, shifting through memories and thoughts and tiny flashes of what she was seeing. Even miles apart, I could see the psychology text book in front of her, open but unread. She was worrying about her mother again and if she really went to Hell like the priest had said.

Soon her thoughts stopped blaring siren loud in my skull. I could gather my own in small bunches and my voice didn’t sound quite so irrational. It was as if I finally found some middle ground that was still heaving but less tumultuous. I found footing in my head on the heels of the conclusion that I am a shape shifter and this is what I do. I shed my skin to wear someone else’s face. Okay, yep, totally normal.

I gingerly outlined the ridge of my cheekbone, or new cheekbone or Kaitlin’s cheekbone. I experimentally pressed my fingers to my palms, feeling the different strength in the flex. Kaitlin was more fine boned than I was and the whole body had a different, more airy feel to it. Her mind also ran on a different language—not language as in Spanish or English, but just how she thought. I was mastering it slowly, sinking into the regular rhythm of disordered tension that constituted her pattern.

Then, snapping my eyes open, I felt my voice—my old voice—tell me I couldn’t stay like this. I wondered why, it was comfortable now; I was used to this new feeling of two in one. It berated me, though, sending grains into Kaitlin’s thoughts until mine settled within hers. A headache flared for both of us and I wobbled unsteadily. “I’m still in college,” I said out loud.

Then, the weight of the situation bore down on me. I was still in college. This meant that I had an ID—a picture ID—that got me in everywhere. Right now I wasn’t Bridget Jones, I was Kaitlin Fuller. There was no way in Hell I could function on campus in a new skin. I needed my old one, which looked revolting as it decayed in heaving sighs on the floor.

Instead of pulling my skin back on like an old shirt I decided that shifting might be the better method. I tried to remember myself and my thoughts—I tried to connect like I had done with Kaitlin. But there was no one there. It was like hearing dial tone when the other line is disconnected. It was disorienting, horrifying, because the voice that was me was screaming ‘I’m gone, gone gone!’

Stumbling, I made it to my desk and pulled out an old photo album my mom made me take to school. It was silly, a trifle, but it made her so god damned happy to know I’d have memories from home right by my Calculus textbook. I quickly flipped through the pages, seeing familiar faces but in the sense that they were familiar to Kaitlin. It took me a full five minutes of pushing Kaitlin’s thoughts out of my head to finally recognize the people as my family and not Bridget’s mom and dad. I also found myself in a few pictures—I looked alien, unreal. I didn’t look myself because, under my skin, I didn’t look like much of anything.

I wasn’t anything. Bridget Jones was no more.

I pulled out every photo that held the old me in it. A picture of me at my fourteenth birthday party; a picture of me with our new dog, Hermes; a picture of me holding a trophy I won in second grade: I lined every picture around me and tried so hard to connect to that image. I imagined pulling it on like a coat, sliding into the finer threads of myself until I was knotted tightly. But it failed, it failed so miserably I was crying because ‘I’m Kaitlin’ kept hitting every attempt, solidly, at each turn. The little voice that was the old me was still screaming ‘I can’t keep this shit up, I need to get out of here. Because I can’t live here because I don’t exist—only real people live here and not me.’

I was nothing more than the echoes of Kaitlin. It was frightening and too real. I had no idea where to go, I had no idea who to tell, if I should tell anyone, but I knew I couldn’t stay. It was the only clear thought among the muddle in my head: I couldn’t stay. There would always be another me—another Kaitlin—and we couldn’t exist in the same country. Maybe not even in the same world—regardless I had to go. To where? I didn’t know. The best plan I could come up with was to leave.

And I did. I cleaned up the mess first, which was not as revolting as one would think; or maybe just knowing it had to be done made my stomach tougher. Then I packed up Bridget’s bags with Bridget’s clothes and left Bridget’s dorm. I stumbled outside into the large town, the life buzzing and making me disoriented. So much of me—the monster in me because I was a monster—wanted a new skin. One I didn’t know well so my thoughts could be more centered, more controlled. “But I won’t shift until tonight,” I had promised myself as I limped my way through crowded streets. I wouldn’t change again until tonight and, by then, I should have a better handle on what to do.

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