Cruel and Unusual - serialised novel EXCLUSIVE to Steemit Part 83

in story •  2 months ago

Here are the links to catch-up, read again or start from the beginning

Episode List From 1 – 52
Then: 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80
81 82

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Please read the start of the story using the link above. I promise, it’s well-worth the time to check it all out. At least then, this excerpt will make more sense

“It is true, the one known to my tribe as ‘Pahana’ which means ‘Lost White Brother’ told me of his plans and he wanted to show that my grandfather’s spirit lived on in great warriors such as these.” The man stood as he spoke and he gestured about the room, smiling as he looked about him.

Red saw the great resemblance that the old man bore to her once-pupil Keme. Her eyes prickled and she was amazed that after all these decades, Keme lived on in his own grandson.

Anton gestured that Red come forward to meet the old man and she went, not wiping her eyes because she did not want to show those behind her that she was affected and she did not want to show disrespect to Keme’s memory by hiding the tears from his grandson.

Anton said, “Mingan, this is ‘Misko’ – Red - but your grandfather knew her as Hazel.”

Anton waited whilst Red showed her respect by bowing to the old man and he smiled.

“Hazel, ‘Mingan’s father was known as ‘Ma’iingan’. Before you ask it, Keme was married and his wife was pregnant at the time of his change.”

“He left his home and family and even his wife and unborn son and he knew that he may never see them again?” Red was incredulous.

“He did leave them, but for the safety of the tribe. He could not have taken them with him and he could not have stayed. They mourned his loss when Pahana came to tell of his death at the hands of that one.” Mingan pointed to the back of the room where a cell was swathed in darkness.

As Mingan pointed, he snorted and huffed in derision. Hazel remembered the same gestures as Keme had used and she again saw the strong resemblance.

“I think that you are not telling me the whole story, Anton. I think you have an ulterior motive. What are you up to now?”

“You are right, of course. I have brought Mingan here to not only witness the punishment, but to partake in it. With your leave, I shall ask him when he deems the Throwback to have suffered enough. It shall be his decision. Do you agree to that, Sentinel Exemplar?”

Red nodded her agreement. She could think of nothing more fitting than Keme’s grandson partaking in the revenge for his ancestor’s death.

The atmosphere was tense and hushed as the gurney was wheeled from the cell, its occupant covered from head to foot by a sheet.

The body was breathing but not moving otherwise.

The once-Throwback, known as Jack, had been prepared either before the meeting had started upstairs, a number of hours earlier, or other Wolves had been working as they were listening to the story.

“I will tell you now, Mingan, the pelt from this creature will not be given to your tribe. It will be burned, for I will not allow any tragedy to come about from this night.” Anton worked as he spoke; he prepared his tools and washed his hands.

He donned a gown and an apron to prevent his clothes from being bloodied.

Mingan said nothing; he watched and waited – as did the rest of the audience. Most had waited more than a century to witness this and all were grim as they watched the preparations and listened for Anton’s explanations.

“It has never made a kill nor fed upon human flesh. That is the only experiment that I did not perform upon it. If you would like me to allow it to make its first kill, then I shall, and then it shall have its one desire, to become Full Wolf before it dies. I know that it is its heart’s desire because it has told me on numerous occasions.”

Anton faced Red as he spoke because he knew that she and Keme had both had the experience of not being allowed to make a kill and were therefore trapped in Wolf form.

“Does that mean it is as wolf that you have been experimenting on all these years, it is still in the form of a wolf?”

“No, it is human. One of the questions that I have been trying to find the answer to is why it has never changed to Wolf. I thought that I should never find that answer and that I would be experimenting upon it for decades to come.”

“I take it then, that you have found the answer?”

“Yes, I studied the notebooks until I could quote vast passages of them, verbatim and yet I had missed the one spark of knowledge and I had to ask for the answer, for it was not written down.”

Anton continued to busy himself in his preparations. He was so used to having an audience for his experiments that he was able to ignore the crowd even though they were close enough to almost assist in the operation he was about to perform.

Red was not the most patient of Wolves and she could wait no longer. As she began to form her question, Anton smiled to himself, his back was facing her so that she could not see his smile begin and therefore would not get angry with him for teasing her that way.

“Are you going to tell us what you discovered? Is it something that we should be wary of for the future? Is it something that could affect others? Anton, you are teasing me, I can tell!”

“Yes I am. Please forgive me. The information took so long for me to discover that I wanted to keep it to myself for a little while longer. You see, when it went across to Europe to make a great study of Werewolves, it encountered a witch.”

Anton paused to await Red’s reaction. She frowned at him and thought for a moment.

“I don’t believe in witches,” she said, but her tone was not confident because she could see by Anton’s expression that he was expecting her to say that exact phrase.

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