Bureau of Monster Capture and Rehabilitation
Volume 1: Boot Camp
By Wulfric Van Howlietzer
Chapter 2: Spring-Heeled Jack
Henry Gaines unzipped his tent and crawled out. It was early still, in the thick forests of Kodiak Island, and the smell of spruce and pine wafted to the Henry’s unshaven face. If grandpa could see him now… He’d be pissed that his face wasn’t clean shaved and presentable for bible study… Henry shook the memory loose and went about his morning routine.
He stretched his arms to the sun, cracking several vertebrae, a sweet sound to Henry and an even sweeter feeling as his bones adjusted and corrected their position. He hopped down into the pushup position. He did 100 pushups. Then he turned onto his back and did 100 crunches. He put on his running shoes, worn with holes, and tied them as best as his frayed laces could manage.
He looked at a tree that was close to his tent. Wiping the sweat from his face, he carved another notch into it. He’d almost been there for six months. Six months of nothing but surviving and not going on a warpath… A new record. He needed to stay low, not to be noticed by anyone, least they show up again.
He stretched his legs and focused his gaze down a path preparing his mind for the day’s run. He lept down the path and with a thud his feet exploded with force, pushing him onward through the trees. He leapt over briar patched and spun on his heels, avoiding all obstacles. He was like rushing water, never slowing down, just threading and weaving through nature.
“Discipline of mind… discipline of body… discipline of spirit…” he muttered as he rocketed down the trail. It wasn’t long, however until he smelled them.
He flinched as it reached his nose, and to stop himself, he jumped forward 6 feet into the air, and careening into a giant spruce. He smashed right through and skidded to the earth, tilling the soil with his fingers. He stopped and took a deep breath in. Brut aftershave… but something more. He smelled… bears.
He did his best to avoid the Kodiak bears on the island, but it was their island after all. He’d killed and eaten a couple and they more or less avoided him. Something about Henry made all the wild animals scarce. It made it hard to hunt, but he’d ate pretty well otherwise.
The next thing that crossed his mind, however, was if he could smell his pursuers, so could the bears. And though it would be a great burden taken off his shoulders, he didn’t like the feeling of leaving a task force, sent there to capture him, to be eaten by those mammoth beasts.
He crouched and duck walked slowly, following the scent. There were two visible to his nose. Only two? He’d been pursued by groups as large as 40. Two platoons of 20. Something was wrong. Maybe he was misjudging the situation?
‘I don’t like this,’ he thought. He could smell a woman. And he knew that that was going to be nothing but trouble. And then he heard her: a high pitched scream coming in the direction he was stalking. ‘Here goes nothing…’
He sprang to his feet and sprinted until he came to a clearing. He stopped and assessed the situation: a large Kodiak bear pinned a man down with a huge paw on his chest, growling ferociously while the man wept; nearby, a young woman pinned herself against a tree, her heels digging into the dirt as if she wanted to merge with it in order to avoid the outcome of her companion. Henry charged forward and sprung head first into the bear.
The bear flew backwards and crashed into several trees. After its initial shock, it stood up on its hind legs and roared. Henry glared at it. “Come at me, bro!”
The bear fell for his taunt, barreling down at Henry on all fours. Henry stood his ground and waited for the bear to reach him. It lounged, its big clawed paws reaching for his shoulders to pin him to the ground, but as it pushed, it felt the mighty force of a brick wall.
Henry smiled as he grabbed the bear’s paws and twisted them outwards with such speed and force that the bones snapped. The bear, in obvious pain, fell to the ground, bleeding and moaning. Henry finished it off with a kick, caving in its face. The moans stopped.
The blood spilled and it traveled to Henry’s nose. A crooked smile crossed his lips, its familiar scent sent a pleasant rapture to his brain. Synapes firing off endorphins that made Henry feel really good. He was slipping. His monstrous form was arroused. He had to control it before he ripped apart these people himself.
Then he smelled it again. Brut aftershave… and with it more bears. This was a setup!
Sure enough, three more huge Kodiak bears came charging at him. It was so odd since animals couldn’t stand him, especially when he lost control, which he was very close to considering.
All three bears circled him. It was as if they didn’t want to get closer, as if they knew was lied inside him. They were being force to fight him against their will. His inner darkness laughed.
“Get out of here!” Henry shouted to the man and woman, but they were in shock and couldn’t move. His body shifted. Horns grew up out of his forehead and curled around his now pointed ears. His shaggy blond hair whitened and grew longer and his skin turned red. His arms doubled in size and his shirt ripped in half as his muscles bulged out. His legs elongated and his toes merged and hardened into cloven hooves. It was as if the devil himself had shown up.
The bears cowered at his visage but goaded to attack, the one behind him made the first move, raking its large claws into Henry’s back. Henry turned and grabbed the creature’s face and crushed it like a grape. The next bear lunged and tried to sink its teeth into Henry’s neck. Henry turned and kicked the beast in the chest, his hoof penetrating, snapping its sternum, ribs, and vertebrae. It crumpled to the ground and Henry stomped on its head, crushing its skull.
The final bear cowered, growling and backing away, it was doing its best to disobey its hidden master. Henry pursued. He reached out and grabbed it by the neck, and with a swift yank, he pulled the bear’s head off along with its spinal cord.
He threw the head on the ground and turned to face the woman who was still leaning against the tree, paralyzed and shaking as he approached her, his mouth stretched into a grotesque toothy smile. She was silent, but not from a lack of trying, her vocal cords didn’t work anymore she was so scared. Henry placed one hand on the tree, tilting it backwards, and then he reached down to her chin, lifting her up, her feet dangling. Her vocal cords started to work again.
Henry came back. Lightly, he put her down, but her legs collapsed underneath her and she fell on her butt. He fell to his knees, shivering and convulsing as his body reverted back to his normal. His horns fell off, his skin turned white, and his hair changed back to blond. He covered his nose and shut his eyes, demanding his brain return to calm, but there was still that damn brut scent.
Henry opened his eyes, into the clearing came out a gentleman, nicely dressed in a suit and tie, with forty troops behind him. All carried tranquillizer rifles, each one aimed at Henry’s chest. If he wanted to escape he was going to have to change again.
As if knowing what Henry was thinking, the man put up his hand to stop him. Henry quenched the bloodlust with a deep breath and collapsed into a seated position. Two of the riflemen reached the man and woman and escorted them out of the area.
“You’re very predictable, Mr. Gaines.” said Siftlove, “You may be a monster, but you have a noble heart inside. We’ve come to an impass, I think. I have you surrounded and you’re exhausted.”
“Four of your controlled Kodiak bears isn’t enough to exhaust me, Shitlove.”
Henry tried to stand up, but his legs wouldn’t move.
“I know that, Mr. Gaines,” said Siftlove, smiling. “That’s why we coated the bear’s claws with a paralytic tranquilizer. After being scratched in the back like that, you won’t be moving. Even with your healing ability.”
The man knelt down in front of Henry. “Listen, Mr. Gaines, if you finally come with us, I assure you we can help you adjust. You could actually live a normal life, instead of here in the wild.”
“My grandpa always told me all the government is good for is breaking your legs while they ass-fuck you… But I doubt my compliance is a factor any more.”
“It surely is not.”
Every last troop fired their rifles and fired. Forty darts penetrated Henry’s chest and he lost consciousness.