Once Upon a Nightmare
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Was she odd for leaving behind everything she knew for something that perhaps wouldn’t even be possible? Perhaps, but the determination in her body probably would surprise any normal person. However what was normal nowadays? Jack pressed a hand to her forehead as her head tilted, looking for anything that pointed her in the correct direction. She had been travelling for only a few days, but she was surprised by the lack of travellers.
”We’re lost,” Jack’s hand reached out to smack her brother, catching him directly in the chest as her light blue eyes focused on the horizon.
”We’re not lost.”
~*~*~*Not even twenty minutes later~*~*~*
Jack couldn’t help but laugh as she ducked under a carpet salesman as her brother yelled at her something about not getting into trouble. Trouble? Please, that could have been Jack’s middle name. It probably should have been. She was a trouble magnet, even at 14 years old and quite the fire cracker. She danced out of the way as someone nearly hit her in the head with a wooden board, ducking into a nearby alley as she began her walk. She was stiff from the days she had spend on horseback, but she felt relaxed since leaving her family’s homestead.
She heard yelling and the growl of animals, her head tilting as she walked towards the noise. As she walked out of the alley, Jack froze, her body going rigid as she spotted a massive ring in the middle of the street. It wasn’t really the ring that gained her attention, but the two lions who were ripping each other apart.
Her hands covered her mouth as she watched the two creatures tear into each other’s flesh and the shouts were horrible. These people were happy enjoying such an act… Jack wanted to feel sick to her stomach. This wasn’t right. She began walking towards the ring, her eyes catching sight of the cages. She took in the sight of those animals, these gorgeous creatures being killed for entertainment.
She snuck into the tented place, her eyes studying all of the malnourished creatures and god, it made her stomach twist and her blood boil with rage. She had nearly forgotten that she had her wolf skin draped over her back, not enough to cause her to shift, but if needed, she could certainly shift without a problem… She swallowed as her eyes focused on the beautiful creatures all stuck in cages.
She needed to free them… but how….
Her captor’s name was Brutus, the Butcher, which was fitting considering his size, and the fact he put his fist into anything, or anyone that didn’t give him what he wanted. He often carried a direct, dark glare about him, but his eyes were practically narrow slits against his plump, pockmarked cheeks. That didn’t stop them from filling with a kind of vulgar rage when he lost fights, giving no doubt to his combative intents to pummel something close by. He was a nightmare of a man, and even the thought of him sent a cold wave of adrenaline flooding through her veins. Erestel disfigured part of his face at one point, but she’d paid dearly for it afterwards. It made her muscles tighten.
Erestel rammed her heavy, shadowed shape against the side of her cage in protest with a growl of effort. She was strong, but not strong enough to break free. He made sure of it, but it never stopped her from resentfully continuing her objections when she had the spare time or energy. The muscles in her jaw flexed, and she tugged violently at the bars with her teeth as if would help. It exposed wickedly sharp canines, savagely intent on escape. The Butcher funneled her into a narrow space with no option of moving away from the touch of cruelty, no option to turn around as she pleased. Unlike the other animals here, she was given no quarter because she readily used her teeth to defend against those who endeavored to harm and subjugate her. Her wrists and ankles were cuffed, making it arduous to do more than shuffle her paws, and to further the humiliation, she was tightly collared like some pet. She grumbled her objections over it, and turned her eyes to a figure that entered the tent, causing her hackles to lift. A guttural growl started to rise deep in her throat, and yellow eyes like twin lanterns in the dim light glared ahead with a calm intensity.
Erestel opened her mouth part way, and wedged her nose between two bars to gain a better scent. Her lithe form froze in concentration, and she curled one lip a little in a show of teeth, unsure whether the sight or scent was something she didn’t like. It was a reminder that she could, and would open her yielding throat if necessary. Her round, ebony-tipped ears pricked forward, and golden eyes were set in an uneasy mix of disquiet and a kind of empathy, with predatory undertones. In that moment, there was a clear, revealing depth of something more. Not a beast, but a woman.
Erestel relented and greeted her indifferently, chuffing with recognition, but content to keep her distrust. With a twitch of her brow, pain ghosted across her face as she lay down. Erestel hurt enough she was unsure if she’d have the strength to stand again anytime soon. Her bones ached deep in the marrow. Yet the pain was than physical, it was a misery that seeped through her soul and touched every aspect of her existence to the point she almost forgot she was still human. Her ears pressed against her head listlessly, and her stomach protested and churned with hunger. It only made her salivate more they consistently kept prey stacked on top of her small prison, though it really didn’t matter what it was at this point, because she was hungry enough to eat the first opportune thing to cross her path---which was usually the loser in a fight. Her stomach eagerly awaited its next meal.
Erestel paid no attention to the other animals in the tent, but kept her golden eyes locked on Jack warily. Lacerations raked her back, legs, and even the edges of her face. The scars made her look ragged and wild, but she hardly seemed to notice their existence. After all these years, she was a weapon—a killer, and unsure if she could go back to a normal semblance of a life. One could use a spear as a walking stick, but it didn’t change its nature. The beast in her had nearly taken over, and she snorted quietly, uncaring the figure remained in the tent. As long as it didn’t bother her, she had no objections.
...sorry it's not the greatest.
Jack knew all men were not the same as her father, but the men here were more like animals honestly and that was saying something for a skin walker. She couldn’t help but shake her head at the caged creatures. She was horrified, blood boiling in her veins. The horror of this settled deep in her veins and she could not believe this was true. This idea of them being used in such a cruel way, was causing more then enough snarling from the tiny blonde. She saw no one else as she wandered amongst the cages, not even flinching as the animals snarled at her, growling out their fear towards the woman.
Jack’s head tilted as she watched a jaguar glare at her from her cage. A growl of annoyance slipped from the lips of the blonde before she shook her head. ”I can not believe this…” Her head looked to the animals, barely flinching as the lion lunged forward, his giant paw nearly catching Jack in the chest as it stuck through. She took a breath, her light blue eyes watching the creature with sorrow.
She took a step forward, probably looking quite stupid as she did before she held out a hand to the lion,”You do not deserve a fate… I swear by the Huntress herself, I will free you…” The lion merely growled at the mention of the Goddess, growing quiet before he turned from her. Jack couldn’t help but quirk her lips into a smirk, before she stepped towards his cage. She tugged on the lock, before shaking her head,”Keys, Jack… Keys are a thing…”[color]
She looked to the jaguar beside the lion, giving the other creature a half smile,[color=Skyblue]”Don’t suppose you got one?”
She looked to the jaguar beside the lion, giving the other creature a half smile,[color=Skyblue]”Don’t suppose you got one?”Jack chuckled at the creature, before she tensed as the roar of the crowd could be heard. She was a daughter of a man who never took no for an answer. Some may have taken that as stupidity, others perhaps bravery. That merely depended on the human.
She heard the grunts of the men as they attempted to wrangle the beast into his crate. Had she gotten her fossa form it would have been easy to shift into that and disappear, but she had strapped her wolf skin to her back and that would only make her a bigger target. She looked to the chained jaguar before whispering a small prayer, hoping the creature would not eat her. She scrambled onto the cage, huffing as she pressed low to the cage to avoid anyone seeing her.
She was thankfully tiny for one so tall. She watched as the men dragged the dead lion corpse into the tent, before leaving it there, where the rest of the creatures growled and slammed against the bars eagerly. She looked away from the sight, taking a breath as she waited for the men to drag out the next combatants.
Climbing down from the cage, she moved towards the corpse, her eyes unable to tear from it’s body. She knelt down beside the creature, her eyes with tears and damn, she was getting emotional over something like this, but this was something she could not believe that happened. She was a skin walker, someone who honoured these creatures. She moved to close it’s brown eyes, taking a shuddering breath before she whispered a small prayer to the fallen creature. She had to free these creatures before more died.
She released a soft sigh as she tried to think how to get the keys without anyone noticing. She tugged her wolf cloak closer to her, sitting on the ground as she attempted to figure out a way to free these creatures. She was half tempted to bring her brother into this, but knowing him, he’d refuse and force them to leave, but Jack couldn’t leave. Not with the promise she had made. She needed to get them out.
This was to end…
Mine isn't that great either, but it's a start lol
Erestel stared out through the bars she hid behind, head lowered in uncertainty, and eyes wide at Jack as she refused to leave. She squinted her eyes, and blinked several times, frowning as she looked down at her own body. She clenched a fist, and then unclenched it. It felt like years since she in this form, and it trembled like a leaf. Was it from the cold? This body provided no warmth.
A scowl grew on her face as she failed to force it to stop quivering, and her brows knotted together. Erestel remembered something about keys, but the words were still far away in her mind. A hand cupped her throat, remembering she had a voice, though she couldn’t remember the last time she’d heard it. She opened her mouth, but it hung there, agape and unsure. It felt like she was waking from the daze of some long nightmare.
Amber eyes flecked with cinnamon peered up at Jack, lost. There was a desperation, an ache to her gaze that could have swallowed the stars whole. She wanted to speak to the stubborn skin walker and urge her it was foolish to stay, and to get out before they captured her too. She wanted to explain the futility of resistance against these monsters, but couldnt find the right words. Most of all, she was confused by the sudden pangs of concern, the surge of emotions because she had been numb for ages. Humanity was uncomfortable, and so was the hunger churning her stomach, but she stripped away all her layers for this one conversation. If not for herself, to save someone else from the pain of her current existence.
Erestel pulled her knees to her chest, hugging her skin protectively with it. The spiked metal collar still hung loosely around her neck, and she felt like a shadow of herself in this form. A wisp designed to take up as little space as possible, because then maybe no one would hurt it.
After another moment she spoke, her voice scarcely a hoarse whisper. “Run,” it urged, almost pleaded. Erestel scanned every inch of the stranger in front of her, a burning hopelessness, and fear in her glimpse.
Her words came too late.
This was a game, and she was a pawn.
A burly man stood in the doorway of the tent, his frame nearly taking up the entire entrance. He was a tall with a huge build that had probably been well-muscled in years prior. Age touched his black hair and beard with streaks of grey, and the years creased the tanned skin around his mouth and dark eyes. It hadn’t dulled the fierce power in his stare though; they burned with a promise of pain and agony. There was a bite to his voice as it sounded harshly in protest. “Hey, kid! Don’t touch the goods!”
Erestel shrunk to the back of the cage, words suddenly failing her again. A lump rose in her throat and choked them off. Panic rose and twisted her stomach suddenly, like it always did, and her fingers curled tighter around her skin. She made her body deliberately unthreatening, submissive, but guarded and ready to lash out if provoked.
Brutus stepped further into the tent to eye the skin around Jack’s shoulders curiously, but frowned in brief confusion as he saw the cage, and the figure residing in it. He cocked his head to the side in sudden interest, a thick brow raised, and his attention seemed to pin Erestel to the spot. He no longer seemed to care about the small intruder in his tent. A small smile began to flicker up on the corner of his lips, and his eyes flared wickedly. “Well, no wonder you’re always so full of fire. This is glorious. I’ve always wanted one of you alive,” he murmured. “And such a lovely one too.” He laughed in a greedy, grating sound. The edge of a key glistened from the collar of his shirt.
The fear in her eyes was suddenly smoked out, and murder rose in them. The calm intensity in her stare that said she was ready to tear him apart in rage the first opportunity she got, and anyone who stood in her way. As the spark of anger continued to swell, faint rosettes tattooed her arms, reawakening her power. A wave of heat washed through her, and fine ochre hairs prickled along her skin.
...sorry it's not the greatest.
RATED M FOR LANGUAGE, BECAUSE EVEN LITTLE JACK HAS A MOUTH ON HER LIKE HOLY SHIT KID.
Jack hadn’t noticed the changed jaguar. She was still struggled over her own demons to help them. She knew it was no easy feat to help these animals escape, but damn anyone who may try to start her.
She was still kneeling by the fallen lion, her hand stroking the creature’s blood soaked fur and trying so hard to avoid just screaming at the top of her lungs. These animals did not deserve such a fate.
The words came too late as Jack’s eyes spotted the now woman that sat in the cage that once housed the leopard. That unfortunately only enraged the skin walker further. The yell of the man caused Jack’s body to immediately tense, before she went into full defence mode.
Jack immediately decided this man was going to die, whether by her hand or those of the gods. Her fists fell to her side before she spoke, her voice calm as she snapped at the man,”You murdering son of a whore! This is no way to keep these creatures! I swear by the Death herself, you will meet a painful end!” Jack gave the man no time to really reply, before her wolf skin was pulled tight across her body and the gorgeous red wolf went for his throat.
The man barely had time to lift his arm, which Jack expected. Her paws scrambled at his neck as the man howled in pain at Jack’s jaws clamping down on his forearm. She was tempted to rip it clean off, her jaw clamping tighter and tighter, but no… Not what she was there to do. Her jaw loosened as she allowed him to throw her from his arm. She landed on her feet, her teeth glittering red with blood and that key kept around his neck.
The transformation from wolf to human was almost seamless as Jack took to her feet, laughing as she held up the key to the burly man,”Missing something?” She could almost feel the anger that swept off the animals in torrents and Jack was never one to deny someone their freedom. Jack leapt upon the top of a cage, not really caring what it was as she unlatched the cage.
”Be free, my friends…” She looked to the man who was bellowing at her like some upset bull who had just lost a fight. She leapt to the next cage, immediately releasing the next animal. She could hear him screaming for guards, but Jack knew the animals were as determined to be free as Jack was to free them. The lion she freed, snarled as he pounced at the man, growling as he stood between him and Jack.
Erestel waited at the back of her small prison, large eyes watching the scene unfold. The idea of what lay beyond her cage, beyond this tent, and the concept of freedom was an overwhelming thought. However, she couldn’t deny the desire of the bloodlust most of the animals in the tent were now experiencing thanks to the skinwalker. Her nostrils flared, but her serious expression was etched in stone, and there was clear confliction between the murderous anger in her eyes.
As two armed guards barreled into the tent, her apprehension fled. The fear and flight in her eyes vanished and her human form with it. A jaguar charged out, and planted widely in front of Jack, hackles raised on end as if to dare them to try to get past. The large cat pulled back her lips and bared her teeth, a feral growl rising in her throat before snapping her jaws in their direction. Both men steeled themselves for a fight, but made the fatal mistake of taking a step back in hesitation. Erestel took their weakness as an invitation, and leapt at one with a wild roar, claws extended in welcome. His bones crunched like twigs beneath the power of her bites, and she worked in a furious blur to immobilize her prey. The second guard rushed her while she was busy with her first victim, and barreled her over, but left his neck exposed in the fray. Erestel growled in agitation but embraced him in her claws and tore at his throat like it was meat off a bone. He stumbled back in sudden panic and clutched his throat with both hands, not considering he should brace himself against another assault. Erestel charged in again and locked her jaws around his leg at the knee, shattering the joint. The man gurgled in more pain, and collapsed, putting his weight into his better knee as he fell and bracing one hand against his throat, and another against the ground.
A third, fourth, and even fifth man barreled into one another as they stood in the entryway of the tent. The third man tightened a chain on the end of a pole around her neck, pulling it hard enough to choke. The fourth man tried to wrangle some of the smaller animals back into their cages, and the fifth shouted for further back up, following the fourth man in his damage control efforts. Erestel tried to roar in a short burst of protest, but found her voice stolen. The harder he pulled it, the more she writhed like a fish on the end of a line. The more he treated her like a wild animal, the more she acted like one. Erestel smacked her weight into the side of a cage and barely managed to stay on her feet as the darkness started to swarm her vision. Even teeth fully clenched and bared, the air in her lungs was being cut off. Murder rose in her eyes, and her fur stood on end. If she got free, they would do well to run.
....this took literally forever, I'm sorry.