Darkness filled Zaire’s vision as she felt something inside her mind fracture even further. She let out a choked scream, falling to her knees on the forest floor. Rip. Tear. DESTROY. She heard a voice within her, one she had never heard before. And it terrified her.
She looked around, her dull yellow eyes scanning the forest. What could she do? Certainly she could find something to quell the urges inside. There. In a tree. A small, grayish colored squirrel. She could do that. She could kill an animal. Maybe it would help with her hunger.
The sound of bones cracking and rearranging could be heard as she fell to her hands and knees. Her skin became black fur, her face elongated into a powerful snout, and her eyes shifted to a bright red. Where the Yuki once sat, now stood a massive black dog. The beast lifted its nose and sniffed the air. Oh.
There was something in the area more tantalizing than a tiny little squirrel. And she felt her paws moving towards it. Over the ground, silent and deadly, claws ripped into the snow to push her faster. Up on a ridge, she stopped. There, just below her was an elk. Massive antlers twitched as it pawed at the ground and snapped up what vegitation it could find there in the snow.
She crouched low to the ground and waited, feeling for the wind. It was blowing from her flank, meaning that the elk wouldn’t be able to catch her scent until it was too late. Slowly the beast crept forward, lips pulled back in a silent snarl. What images rushed through its mind were unclear. The only thing in its eyes was hunger for the elk below it.
Once it was well-hidden within the brush, it paused and waited for the elk to turn back to its meal in the snow. As soon as the massive head lowered, the dog launched itself forth and leapt to the animal’s back with a snarl. The elk thrashed about, letting out pitiful cries of a creature in its last moments on this planet. Sharp canines sank into the flesh of the elk’s neck, the dog thrashing its head from side to side as it waited for that satisfying CRACK of a snapped neck.
Finally, it came, and the dog let the animal fall with a heavy “thud” to the ground. The Barghest, for that’s what it was, nudged the creature with its nose to ensure that it had expired. It sensed no breath, heard no heartbeat. And with a satisfied huff, it sat back on its haunches to let out a loud howl of triumph.
After the head was lowered, the beast moved close to the elk and began to tear into the corpse. Flesh tore, bones cracked, meat was ripped out and swallowed as the beast voraciously devoured the creature. The beast growled as it ate the corpse, feeling the Yuki’s consciousness pushing its way back out.
<NO!> The beast let out a snarl and turned back to its meal. <This is MINE! I earned it! I killed it! Stay QUIET!> Another snarl and it used its massive paws to rip into the flank of the elk more.
<Please,> Zaire fought the beast the whole time. <Just stop! There’s food at the inn! There’s food back at Darkmoon Keep! And Ash. He’s there! He needs me!>
<SHUT UP!> Another snarl and the beast shook its head as it tore a chunk of meat from the flank. At that point, the beast began to ignore the pleas of the Yuki, focusing solely on its meal. Here it was alone, here it was safe. No prying eyes, no one telling it that it was wrong. Just silence and darkness.
Hours later, Zaire woke up in the forest. Her hands were stained with the blood of the elk, the remainder of the corpse laying near her in the snow. She shivered, pulling the leather coat tighter around her. Snow clung to the leather and to her black stockings. She stood shakily, moving slowly a few feet away before she violently expelled the contents of her stomach. While the Yuki was a carnivore at heart, she still preferred her meat cooked.
But it wasn’t that knowledge that had made her sick. It was the knowledge that she had done it. That she had enjoyed the feeling of bones crunching beneath her powerful jaws. That she enjoyed the way the flesh ripped apart so easily. She leaned against a tree, rubbing at her arms to try warming herself. “B-bloody hell,” she muttered. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, running the free one through her matted, black hair. The Yuki shuddered once more, her hand leaving a trail of blood through her hair. Her face was stained as well, and her yellow eyes closed briefly.
Slowly, she slipped her hand in her pocket, pulling a portal coin from it. She couldn’t stop the shivering coursing through her body. The Yuki, born of the Sun as she often liked to remember, couldn’t warm herself. She couldn’t force the warmth back into her limbs, force the brightness that filled her eyes back either. Even as she gripped her portal coin, she fell back to her knees.
With a toss of the coin, she opened the portal and stood to her feet. She shivered again, heading for the Red Sun Inn. She couldn’t show herself at Darkmoon Keep. Not like this. She didn’t want the men there, namely Ash, thinking that the blood staining her was human. No. It was an elk. But at least at Red Sun, no one would question it. No one would even bother asking if the blood was human or not.
Oh, she planned to return to Ash. Soon. But she knew that she needed a shower and some coffee to warm herself first. Even in her madness, she knew that she needed to be warm and kind just like she used to be before seeing him. Even if he only made her that way when she was with him. Another push of her hand through dull, matted hair. She sighed. It was now or never, she thought as she stepped through the portal.