There were odd memories, some of which were not even his own, nowadays. Like a person who lived multiple lifetimes and had memories of each one, he could remember things that he knew had never happened to him. But more often than not they were only in bits and pieces, for his mind wasn?t the same as it once was. He was quite sure of that. And the other memories that had started to surface were most definitely not his own, though he had a good idea of what was going on.
Indeed he did have a small suspicion of what was going on, and it became clearer each time he peered into a looking glass, a passing window, or even a pool of water still and clear. No, he would not allow his mind to venture those paths at this time of the night. It was as if he could deny the truth he already knew thus somehow keep it from actually coming to completion. Oh how he tried to deny those memories each and every time they took over his mind's eye, but they were as entangling as the high grasses of a faraway plateau.
The memories, each and every time they came, took a peace of that which he was before away, placing something quite foreign in its stead. Even now, on this darkened night, he could feel one of the episodes coming to cover his already confused mind.
Where moments ago his feet had been on the cobbled road of the town he was travelling through, he was now within a tall patch of grass, feeling that he was now hunched over. And where the group of people that he had been watching idly where, now stood a pack of gazelles. Also, he noticed a strange presence within the space of his mind that had come once or twice before during rather strong episodes. It shared the occupancy of his mind, and try as he might and did many times; he could not seem to force the presence away.
"What is going on?" He pondered with a slight whisper, hoping that the other would answer. Not that it ever did, but he always hoped it would be different. Already he could feel the memories start to come again, and he could usually make them disappear back into his mind by speaking to himself or moving about the real world. Yet, as his voice faded with the light wind of the evening, the memories came on even stronger, refusing to be pushed away this time. The scene of the plateau covered in tall grasses was all too clear, as if he was actually standing on location himself, but he knew that not to be true.
Moving in a way he knew was not possible for a humanoid being the memory?s point of view darted forth towards the pack of gazelles. It was as if he were the one who had experienced the original event that spawned the memory, as if he were reliving it himself, taking over the shoes of the one in his mind. With the sudden movement, the pack of gazelle were frightened and started scatter to safety. One of the elder animals, though, was not as quick as the others and was soon in the sights of the charging beast whose memory this was.
No longer did he have a sense of control over anything, even his own body, for this all felt real. As the memory's point of view moved, it felt as if he actually did as well. He didn't know quite what to do, and so he resigned himself to reliving the memories of the one that was sharing his mind with him. His focus was raptly on the scene played out before him, because he could not help it, and because it felt so intensely real.
The ground beneath his feet, the wind rushing through his hair and the sight of the area around him that was moving as he bolted through the grass in the memory. Yet, as he thought to himself, the smell of the wind that was rushing through his hair didn't quite smell like he expected it to. Rather, the smells were like those of the town in which he had been standing before the memory seized his mind.
He could also taste the blood as it gushed from where his teeth had clasped onto and into the body of the gazelle as he finally pounced onto it successfully. So sweet it tasted upon his lips, with the flavor passing from memory into his actual body, he thought. While he was somewhat revolted at the sweet taste he thought the blood had, he was also sensing confusion from the other that was within his head. Never before, he could tell, did it encounter such thoughts. To actually know that something tasted good, or to relish over a fine meal. For not only did the man feel the beast who shared his mind?s memories, but also obviously it worked going the other way as well. They shared the current memories as if both were experiencing them.
The blood that flowed through the shared mouth was luscious on the tongue, and the feeling of needing to vomit returned once more to the part of the man?s mind that was experiencing this. It was as if the blood were a fine wine of an exquisite vintage, yet also he knew it to truly be blood and that gave his mouth the taste of death at the same time. This was all too real to him, and he knew he?d have to have a good rest after this episode.
And as that thought of reality entered into his wandering mind, all was interrupted by a sudden shock of pain. The memories of the hunt faded from his mind like the last layer of fog as the sun rose above the world and burned away the excess moisture. As the world came into focus slightly, the pain grew tenfold. Yet the smell of blood didn?t fade with the memories, nor did the coppery sweet taste that was within his mouth still. With a wild look upon his face and within his eyes, the man looked about as he still worked to regain all of his senses.
Where did all of this blood come from, and why did it cover him so much? came the thoughts unbidden to his mind. The answer was all too clear, but he still hoped to deny any such truth as he worked to focus his eyes more so that he could see the world. He wanted to find out exactly what was going on, and soon.
With his eyes slowly focusing, he found out indeed what had happened, and this caused him to vomit up. What came from his mouth made him even sicker, as it was chunks of flesh and nearly all blood and bile besides. He closed his eyes as any shred of denial fled from his tortured mind. While he was reliving the memories of the beast within, the beast was living through his own body. He closed his eyes, and the memories of the past few moments came into his mind. He saw the people standing there before the tavern once more, and saw him charge at them suddenly, as the beast had in the memories. He was forced to watch as he pounced mercilessly on one of the slower citizens that couldn?t flee in time, bearing them down under his weight. There, upon the ground, he tore them and ripped flesh from bones, gulping it down as the beast had of the gazelle. The deceased native of this town was now just a crumbled corpse, covered in blood and had a few spots where the flesh was rent from the bones. Also, it was desecrated from the man having vomited upon the corpse.
The very thought of what he had done made the bile start to ride within his throat, and he started to gag for he did not wish to see what else might come from it's way to his stomach. But both the gagging and that thought were cut off by another stab of pain, causing him to nearly topple over. Catching himself, not wishing to fall into the corpse even though he was nearly covered in blood anyway, he struggled to stand. He looked around to where he felt the pain, he saw two arrows sticking from his body; one in the shoulder and the other from his thigh. Blinking in surprise, for he wasn't feeling much of the pain any more, he moved his gaze around wildly to see who was attacking. Not that he could explain any of this, but if he knew where the arrows came from he might be able to shelter himself and get away to safety.
"Stop and desist, you foul man, lest we be forced to pepper you further with arrows," came a shout which drew the mans eye that way. Up along the street stood a handful of local guards, maybe even mercenaries, some standing with swords drawn and two holding their bows out with arrows held at the ready.
The pain of the arrows sticking from his body hit him like a troll's hammer, and he nearly fell to the ground in pain. Yet he stayed standing, albeit somewhat unsteadily, and let out a screech of pain as it continued to work into his staggering mind. The screech soon turned into a roar of anguish as the thoughts of what he did fully sank into his mind, and he had a small hope that one of the guards would put an arrow through his heart to end his ruined life. The anguish then moved to anger as thoughts of the past and why he was suffering this sneaked into his weakened mind, and he continued to roar. In a blind rage, his hands moved to each arrow and yanked them from his body, arrowheads and all.
The pain grew then as his flesh was torn anew, and it consumed his entire body. It was as if he were a man made of wood and a fire was spreading throughout his entire body all at the same time, burning him through and through. With the pain came an odd series of noises, like that of someone breaking a thousand immense pieces of glass all at once.
"Hold your ground, men! This is nothing but evil trickery! Swords and arrows at the ready, they?ll kill him just the same now!" But even as the lead mercenary called out again, his companions were already fleeing from the odd sight that was taking place before the tavern. Growling to himself, the mercenary sheathed his own sword and took a last look to the man in the street, by the corpse.
"May the Gods have mercy on that poor soul," he whispered to himself, unsure if he meant the ravaged corpse or the one who had done it. Muttering to himself, he turned and took off after his companions.
The odd man who had killed the native heard the screams and words of the mercenaries even from this distance, but he made no sense of them. His mind was far beyond understanding much at the moment, for ample things were happening at once. The world, as seen through the man?s eyes, appeared to be changing once more, but not to any simple memory. This was much different, it was as if he were changing, not the world. His perception of the buildings around him changed to where they looked much taller, and at an odd angle. The pains grew once more, causing him to let out a terrified yowl of pain.
He fell to his knees, clenching his mouth closed against the pain, unbearable and torturous as it was. Hadn?t he suffered so much already, to now be dealing with this? What a world it was. Though he had a feeling, after tonight, things would definitely never be the same again. It reminding him oddly of a night many years ago, though that only brought pains of a different kind.
His eyes bulged open and he wailed in pain once more. Before his very eyes the shapes of his hands were changing, his muscles and bones remolding into something else entirely. Where his hands were moments ago were large furry paws, and his arms moved oddly, much unlike he remembered them to. It was as if, nearly, he were learning to move again for the first time. With another tremor of pain, he clenched his eyes closed.
There were people gathered within the tavern window now, having heard the cries of wretchedness, and they wished to gawk. What they didn?t expect though, was the man on the street and what was happening to him. Before their eyes his body twisted and bent at odd ways, until he stood on all four legs naturally. Gasps of empathetic pain and curses of manbeast demons invading the town, chaos ensued within the Inn.
Without, the man within the beast?s body looked up abruptly at the window as the noises came from within. He knew himself to be in danger somehow, and thus ran like the wind to get out of town.
That night, many a people told a story of an albino lion that had invaded the city to steal children. The legend would last for years, fueling the stories of mothers all about to scare their children into being good.
::December 22, 2002 10:11 AM