Midnight. They always came at midnight. The chimes from the old grandfather clock in the den jolted Daniel out of his restless dreams. It wasn't the chimes that woke him so much as the knowledge that They were coming. It was the same horrifying ritual, every single night.
The room was illuminated by an eerie pale green glow. Three figures in haz-mat suits stood around his bed. One of them held a large briefcase, another held a gun, and the third--the apparent leader, from the way he acted--was making entries into a large handheld computer. Daniel tried to escape, to run, to even move, but some unseen force held him in place, as immobile as the bed itself. The leader looked up from his computer and signaled to the one holding the briefcase, who set the case down and began to open it. Daniel strained to see its contents, but couldn't from his position. If only he could move...
The leader reached forward, grabbed the bedcovers and--
The shrill blast of Daniel's alarm clock filled the room. He'd had that dream again, the same one he'd been having every night for nearly a month. Except that it didn't feel like a normal dream. It felt more like a memory, but one that had been partially forgotten. Anyway, Dan had more important things to worry about, so he pushed whatever it was aside for the moment. Today was the last day of school, finally. All he had to do was survive his last few final exams, and he'd be home free. He wasn't about to let a creepy dream get him down.
Dr. DiCaoz glanced over his biology classroom. "Is anybody still working on the final?" he asked tiredly. He paused for a moment, then said, "If everybody is finished, you may talk quietly amongst yourselves for the remainder of the period." As the class erupted in chatter, he went back to nursing his hangover.
Daniel loved his biology class. It wasn't just that he was good at it, or that it was the last class of the day. By some bit of luck or fate, he happened to be in the same class as his four closest friends, Gassan, David, Pammy, and Jake. Gassan, David, and Pammy had become absurdly popular since coming to high school. Gassan was Lebanese and therefore "exotic," David was a star swimmer, and Pammy was a cheerleader. In retrospect, popularity was an inevitability. To the other popular kids, Jake an avid follower of the Furry subculture (he called it a craze, but nobody else did) and Daniel, the introspective writer, were social liabilities. Still, Gassan, David, and Pam never let their newfound "friends" keep them away from Jake and Dan. Privately, Daniel was grateful that he had managed to befriend the four people who appeared to be immune to high school drama.
"So, what'd you guys think?" Pammy whispered.
"I'm pretty sure Dr. Di is a nutcase," Gassan answered quickly. He was met with a chorus of approval from his companions.
"Anyway," Pam continued, "are we having our annual Thank-God-The-Schoolyear's-Over party tonight?"
"I can't go," Jake said, "I've got a convention."
"I can't go either," said David, "My dad's taking me camping. He's on a back-to-nature kick."
"I'm visiting my grandma," Gassan said. Pammy rolled her eyes.
"Alright," she sighed, "when do you guys get back?"
"Sunday, but it'll be late."
"So," Pammy continued, "is Monday night alright with everyone?"
The days passed quickly. By the time Monday arrived, he had gone an entire weekend without his mysterious dreams. He was mostly relieved, but part of him wished the visitors would come back so he could find out what they were up to.
The streets were charged with an eerie calm. A summer storm was coming. As Daniel reached Pam's door, he couldn't help but feel a strange foreboding. Something was decidedly wrong. He rang the bell.
"Come in," called Pammy. Dan opened the door and found friend sitting on the floor in a tidy circle. They were all staring at him, an unsettling hunger in their eyes. "We are playing Truth or Dare," Pammy intoned mechanically. "Please, join us. Truth or Dare?"
"Please choose Dare," Gassan said, in the same unearthly voice.
"The Truth is never any fun," agreed David, still in the same tone. Throughout the exchange, none of the four took their eyes off of Daniel.
"Is everything alright?" he asked. "You all seem...different."
Pammy answered in the same monotone as before: "We are collectively unnerved at a series of recurring dreams we have been having. Perhaps you too are experiencing these visions?"
"Yeah," Dan said, "but I'm not acting that weird about it."
"Perhaps," Pammy said, "All will be made more clear if you answer this simple question: Truth...or Dare?"
Written by Zodiac on 31 May 2008
Rain began to fall, thunder echoed above, lightning weaved itself through the thick storm clouds. But it wasn't the rain that had woken the young man up, no. It was something else, another strange sound. Daniel had blinked his eyes a few times, he was trying to get adjusted to the darkness around him.
His room lit up with lightning, a silver flare followed by a roar of thunder. The wind racked a branch against the window, it caused him to startle a bit. He groaned softly and got himself up from his bed, removing bed sheets. The flat surface of his feet met cold floorboards, which creaked loudly upon impact.
He looked around the room, wondering what was going on. That strange feeling was still about, he couldn't shake it off. Was he possibly dreaming maybe? Something felt weird, the atmosphere and all. "Who's there?" Daniel would call out. He had to find out who was stalking him, who was there with him.
Suddenly two golden orbs peered through the darkest part of the room. The young man went tense. He scratched his head a bit and gulped. "If you don't show yourself, I'll be forced to call the police!" He warned. The figure in the darkness didn't move. Expect those eyes, they blinked slightly.
Written by Dalkr Moonfire Wolf on 05 December 2017
Daniel continued to gawk at the sight of the golden eyes peering back at him in dead silence. The only noises he could hear were the pattering of rain rapidly falling upon the roof of his house, the wind outside, and his own racing heartbeat. He wasn’t sure if this was some sort of dream or not, yet the coldness of the floor and the fact he was fully awake by this point told him, no, it wasn’t a dream.
“Who are you?” Daniel asked, his voice quaking.
He tried to make out the figure that the eyes belonged to, yet all he saw was pitch black. It was almost like the eyes were floating there, attached to the darkness in his room, a darkness not even a flash of lightning outside seemed to illuminate.
Daniel’s heart was pounding at the inner walls of his chest. He tried to keep calm, to not freak out, but it was growing difficult because the eyes just kept gazing at him, blinking every moment or so. If there was something in his room, something alive, with eyes like that, it meant he would likely not be alive himself for very long. And there was nowhere to run or to hide.
Daniel balled his hands into fists and stood as straight as he could. He wasn’t a fighter. In fact, he wasn’t exactly the tallest or fittest person, but, like hell was he not going to go down without a fight. He wouldn’t stand there helplessly and be murdered by whatever the hell this thing was.
“I don’t know who you are, but I’m warning you…”
They eyes shifted to the side a little, as if the black mass staring Daniel down was turning its head. There was an eerie, human look of amusement in them, or at least that’s how it looked to Daniel, though he was panicking and chocked it off to him being too full of fear to think otherwise. A deep, almost guttural, noise filled the room - but it sounded like laughter, or something close to laughter.
A shiver rippled up Daniel’s spine. He nearly fell from the surprise at the noise, but somehow managed to steady himself.
“What the hell…”
“You can relax, my friend.” A voice came from the shadow, from the golden, gleaming eyes, a very low, raspy voice that sounded distinctly feminine despite the growl beneath the tone. “If you were in danger, you wouldn’t be standing right now. Take a breath, and calm yourself.”
Daniel gawked. He was stunned, first by the voice and the fact it was coming from the darkness, and then, by the fact this wasn’t a dream. Was he going insane? He was starting to worry he might be, and that didn’t sit well in his stomach.
“Who are you?” Daniel asked. “WHAT are you? And what do you want?”
Written by Hollowpages on 14 April 2019
Thunder rumbled outside. There was a flash of lightning. Daniel’s eyes were fixated on the black mass as it seemed to swirl around rather abruptly, taking on an actual physical shape. He watched, his heart thudding heavily, as it took on a body - a body on four legs, it looked, with a mass the size of a bear or something just as big.
Daniel stepped back, his legs hitting the edge of his bed.
The mass remained on all fours, while the golden eyes continued to stare at him. The way the head was shaped wasn’t shaped like a bear, however, or even remotely close to humanoid. Daniel had to rub his eyes, because the mass looked almost… wolf-like. Then, the mass stepped forward, its eyes boring right through Daniel.
“You don’t listen very well, do you, pup?” the voice asked. It sounded thoroughly amused. “It must be human nature, I suppose.”
“What are you?” Daniel asked again, trying to make his voice less frightened-sounding - and failing at that.
Another deep, guttural chuckle. “This isn’t going to go anywhere without an answer, is it? Another human trait. Typical.”
The mass suddenly shot up, standing on two legs. It shifted around, the features slimming, and when Daniel blinked, he was suddenly looking at a humanoid shape instead of a big animal one - though the eyes stayed the same, and the head remained rather wolf-like in shape.
That was when Daniel saw something else: teeth. Pointed, gleaming teeth, currently bared in a toothy smile. Daniel’s throat went dry at the sight; he swallowed the nervous lump that formed in his throat, yet remained standing, remained as firm as he humanly could.
“To give you a complete answer would be very difficult,” the mass said, tilting its head to the side once more. “I’m not like anything you’ve seen before - your reaction is proof of that, and for good reason.”
Daniel’s mind was spinning, the gears turning at superhuman speed. He was trying to wrap his head around all of this, as difficult as it was. His lips twitched, and he wracked his brain for some sort of answer that would make sense. Nothing was coming to him - this thing sure as hell wasn’t a human, and it didn’t register as anything he could fathom. It was just some weirdly shaped, shadowy mass with golden eyes.
“A-are… Are you an alien?” Daniel asked. That was the first, most obvious thing that popped into his head.
Written by Hollowpages on 15 April 2019
Another chuckle. “In the sense you’re thinking, no.”
“Th-then… what are you?” Daniel asked. He was still freaking the hell out and wondered if he could make a run for it before the mass could… whatever it planned on doing to him.
Now, the mass sighed and shook its head. “I am not a living, breathing being such as yourself. Not truly. Rather, I live in a different way, as a sort of…” There was a pause and the eyes squinted, as if it was thinking. “…essence.”
Daniel furrowed his brow. “An essence?” His head throbbed, and he struggled to make sense of that term. His brain couldn’t come up with anything other than… “Like, a spirit?”
“Of a sort,” the mass said. It didn’t sound very convincing.
Daniel just stared at it with wide eyes. His heartbeat wasn’t any calmer, and if anything, he was even more confused now than anything - oh, he was certainly still freaked out, but the confusion was currently overriding the fear he felt.
The mass stared at him before letting out a very long sigh. “This will not get me anywhere, I see. Allow me to try and ease your concerns, so that we may speak properly, without you having the risk of a heart attack.”
At once, the shadowy humanoid mass began to smooth over; the darkness slipped away, and skin formed instead. Daniel blinked several times, watching in astonishment as the features became a mix of human and animal - soft gray fur formed from the head to toe of the mass, with white splotches at the hands, the feet, and the middle of the belly. The features remained feminine, however, including an obvious bust, and shapely hips.
Daniel watched the face shift the most, forming an almost anthropomorphic wolf face, still clearly feminine, however. And then, as if by magic, the shadowed mass was a half-woman, half-wolf being standing before him, naked, though the fur covered the breasts and the crotch areas, almost like underwear made out of fur. It even had a navel, settled at the center of shapely abdominal muscles.
His eyes shot up and down her form several times, a mix of shock and… perhaps a little more throbbing in his head. He shoved those away, and fixed his stare onto her eyes. They gleamed at him.
“Does this form suit you more?” it asked; its voice was a tiny bit less guttural, though still held a good amount of raspiness. It… or rather, she? - smiled again, showing off its pointed teeth. “You seem a little less nervous. In fact, you seem a bit intrigued?”
Written by Hollowpages on 17 April 2019
Daniel was staring at her, slack-jawed, but shook his head. He rubbed his eyes, then pinched himself, and each time, the image before him didn’t change. He was standing, awake in his room at night, while a storm was going on, and this weird wolf woman was standing before him.
“What… the hell is going on?” Daniel asked.
“Is that all you can say?” the woman asked, snickering. “Ah, how simple human minds can be when their notions of reality are challenged.”
Daniel swallowed roughly, trying to ease himself. “Okay, let me rephrase that, then. What do you want with me… whatever you are.”
“Ah, that’s the question, isn’t it?” she asked. She appeared thoughtful, those golden eyes glimmering. “What I want, my dear boy, is to offer you something, the likes of which you will probably never be offered for the rest of your mortal existence. This is no joke, nor is it a game, it is a literal once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Daniel furrowed his brow. “What…?”
She closed the gap between them rather briskly, so fast Daniel almost fell backwards. He managed to steady himself, and was surprised when she stopped in front of him; she was tall, taller than him, in fact, and he only then saw a tail swishing side to side.
“Do you ever grow tired of the limits you possess as a human?” she asked.
Her toothy smile widened. “Let me try and explain myself, rather than speaking in vague terms, shall I? That tends to make this sort of exchange much simpler.”
Daniel’s lips twitched. “It’d be nice, yeah.”
She chortled. “You see, my kind exist in your world, in a way you wouldn’t normally be able to understands. We live everywhere, invisible to the naked eye unless we will ourselves to be seen. We are… You called me a ‘spirit,’ and this is close enough. We are not the dead, however, nor are we ‘magic’ by any means. We simply are, and that is the best I can explain to you.”
Her tail flicked over and brushed against his arm. He was surprised at the softness, though he registered what was going on - a wolf woman was touching him with her tail, for God’s sake - and he recoiled somewhat.
“Every so often,” the strange woman said, “we will manifest before someone like you. A normal human, living a normal life, with normal hopes and dreams and woes and so on.” She waved a hand. “And when we do, we offer them a choice: a chance to receive our gifts for themselves.”
Daniel stared, absorbing all this. “A… chance to receive your gifts?” He placed one hand onto his chest, as if he could will his heart to relax. “What kind of gifts? And why?”
“The gifts we are blessed with by our natures,” the woman said. “Often, we take the forms of creatures - we borrow their essence, and in doing so, we are given their traits. It’s a bond that goes deeper than blood, deeper than the very soul, and it exemplifies all that we are. I, for example, am bound to the wolf. The hunter, the pack leader, the paws hitting the ground as blood rushes through the body.” Her grin stretched even wider. “And I am offering to give you this gift.”
Written by Hollowpages on 18 April 2019