This story carries 232 extra words. I apologize for exceeding the 1000 words limit.
Teeth and claws part 1
My chains were heavy and I struggled putting one leg in front of the other, though I think the thought of being hanged contributed to the heaviness. I was nine years old, a little bastard that smuggled food and on occasion’s small objects from the “kind” gentleman on the streets of London, but by the merciless law I was far from innocent and deserved the rope around my neck. We all stood equal before God, young and old, beggars and wretched poors.
I couldn’t see the executioner from the man walking before me. The King’s Royal Guards were lined along the chained gang that we formed, urging us onwards as if impatient to see us drop and suffocate, but all they did was listen to the wooden trap door flung open; they lacked the gut to watch the bodies shake vigorously before becoming motionless.
I came upon the stage last, the mighty hand of the executioner grabbing me by the neck and dragging me to the marked spot. We were not granted with the black hood preventing us from seeing the faces of men and women no better than us standing at our feet cheering for grotesque amusement.
The rope scratched my naked flesh; it stank of mold and blood from the previous victims it had bitten into. With the death halo around my fragile neck I tried to remember a prayer or a story, something that would allow my pass into the outer world be guided by light and not clouded by my wrongs for the short period of my existence on Earth. I closed my eyes and listened to the drum, no prayers, no fairytales to murmur.
I’m afraid I remember only vague pictures of what happened next. Faces and words chaotically composed not forming much sense.
What I remember is the fear and helplessness I felt, and the screaming wish to not die. Then came the pain my transformation caused; the gut churning, skin pealing, bone crushing anguish which erased my humanity and made way for a ravishing monster that tore its chains and threw its bounds, then made his escape by mutilating more than a dozen people. Later on I gathered vivid information overhearing a talk. I was repulsed by the facts given and realized I would be hunted if I let my fear overtake me and expose my secret again.
Upon my escape I ran through the city spreading havoc and I kept on until there were no screams following me. I don’t think my transformation was fully complete, because I had reason enough to run and hide and stay hidden until night falls. I shivered, naked and frightened. I lurked for a few hours until I found shelter and slept between the unloaded cargo of a ship coasting at the end of the docks. My night was restless and accompanied by the distant rumbles of Thames’s waters crushing into the arcs of London Bridge. In the morning I was in open sea.
The captain of “False Liberty” explained to me that no creature degraded as I should wander alone, not especially a youth he could use for scrubbing the deck and filling the bows. His eyes then glimmered yellow and his grin became sharp. I had mixed feelings about this voyage, but having the protection of my kind, as I later learned these men were, was greatly appreciated. I spent six years with captain Martell and his howling crew. From him I learned no honest man is born in the slums, and he as one was not to bend before the law and the crown to live as honest man do – starving and dying in misery. I watched them ravish trading ships, take the stock, burn the vessel and sent the passengers in one boat back to England. I fancied them, but still none could answer why we were like this. What curse made us hungry for raw flesh? They took it as a blessing, a gift granting them strength and superiority over their victims. I spent feverish nights wondering if some rich London folks hadn’t been my family, but on seeing my illuminating eyes hadn’t thrown me away.
I saw numerous places with my time on “False Liberty”, and decided that one day I will own a ship of my own with which I would travel and explore. But soon I learned that the young wolf doesn’t spend a lifelong with an old pack. In 1842 I set foot on American soil and arrived in Houma, Louisiana not a year later. I became a fisherman there and built a home. I also learned to starve myself with small animals and developed what you may call a diet.
I lived in solitary. Life had been kind and no one knew me as neither the monster nor the thief. Until the day my face appeared on the message board in town with a price tag on my head.
Dead Or Alive
wanted for murder
What ticked me first was the usage of my original name, not the one I went with in my new life – Benjamin Hayes. Someone from the past had come to gather his debts. I owed nothing but my life and it was to a crew of dangerous people, scavengers of the seas who were God knew where. I had walked alone and I had known no one. Who wanted my peril?
I tipped my hat low and walked through town back to my cottage. I prepared myself for an assault; I knew they’d come soon. The reward was juicy. Problem was I hadn’t killed anyone.
My transformations were as painful as always, but I confined myself within the outskirts of town, hunting animals and then burying them in the morning. I was sure of my innocence.
But a man hunted is a man vengeful. And so is a man seeking justice.
“I ask you Mr. Jacobson, having heard this much of my story, are you frightened?”
The man standing across the room shook his head.
“I gather your employer Mr. Pinkerton supplied you well with information regarding my history. I admit I am surprised though. Who would think a private detective agency actually acknowledges the supernatural world and deals with it.” Charles Emmett took a sip from his scotch.
“Mr. Pinkerton did directly approach me with this case, but it is his anonymous client who has delivered all the needed information. We truly never sleep Mr. Emmett; our eyes are watchful even of the unnatural events. That is why we are the best you can hire. We need to be on our way now; I am to deliver you in New York by tomorrow morning.”
“Ah, but you haven’t heard the rest of my story. I’m sure that the file you possess lacks the facts I owe as part of my untold tale. I have my suspicions as to who has ordered my death and made me an outlaw and who has summoned me in New York for an outcome not much different. But… I make you a deal – if by the end of this story I convince you of my innocence, you will tell me their names and whereabouts, and I will deal with them myself. If not…I will let you bound me and take me to my execution.”
Mr. Jacobson pulled a chair and sat.