The Wolf in the Woods
by Nicole McCormick
A witch has cursed Malachi into a wolf form until he can form a bond with another human. Seamus walks through the woods every day to visit his grandmother. Malachi has fallen for Seamus and believes Seamus to be the man he is supposed to bond with.
When an incident pushes them together, Malachi realizes that Seamus has more of an interest in Malachi than he knew, but is it enough for Malachi to return to his human form?
This story is also available in the Torqued Tales M/M Anthology.
Available at Torquere Press: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=96&products_id=4176
Malachi stumbled out of the house and into the woods, clutching his chest at his labored breathing. He finally collapsed out of sight from the house, but it didn’t matter. She could find him if she wanted to. She could see him now if she wanted to. She probably was watching him. She would want to see him transform into a beast, the beast she had cursed him to be.
This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. The witch was supposed to be his friend, and yet, she had cursed him.
The pain was excruciating. It was what he deserved, she had told him. The transition back to human would be easier, she had said. He would have earned it then, she had added.
Malachi howled in pain, an irony considering what he was about to become. He spat and cursed, and heard laughter on the wind. He knew she was watching him. She laughed at his pain, his suffering, though she had been the one to cause it.
He could feel his bones breaking and reforming, his organs shifting. He was becoming a beast.
According to the witch, he would remain a beast until he could form a bond with another human. He wasn’t sure what that meant. How was he supposed to form a bond with a human if he was a beast? This wasn’t a fairy tale.
He pulled off his clothes before they could be shredded by his transformation. Black fur was beginning to sprout along his body. The shifting was becoming more painful. The pain was too much to take, and rather than keeping him awake, he was beginning to lose consciousness.
Malachi let out one last long, pitiful howl. Before the blackness took him, he noticed how the howl had already sounded more wolf than human.
Awareness came back to him slowly. The world sounded different with his new ears. The world smelled different with his new nose. He pushed himself up unsteadily - four legs instead of two.
The witch had done it. She had turned him into a wolf. He was doomed to live a lonely life until he could find that one person who would befriend him despite the fact that he was a beast. Which meant he was doomed to stay this way forever.
He wanted to kill the witch. He wished that he could. It would be a wasted effort. If she had the power to turn him into a wolf, then she certainly had the power to prevent him from attacking her.
He howled, a low, mournful howl - the howl of a lonely wolf instead of a human in pain. It sounded more pitiful to his ears. Even worse, no other wolf answered his call. He truly was alone.
Malachi set off into the woods, wanting to put as much distance between him and the witch as possible. It was time to start his long, lonely life as a wolf.