Chapter Four

"In the beginning, man lived in peace with the animals. Well not really peace, because man still-hunted animals. But it was a better peace than we have now. Back then people of the ancient world often worshiped animals. The best hunting animals were often looked up to such as wolves."

"What about sharks like in "Jaws"? Said Red.

"Jaws" wasn’t out then," sighed Gram- Gram. I could tell by her expression that Red interrupted a lot.

"Anyway," she continued. "Hunters would try to mimic these animals so they could be good hunters too. So they would often dress like the animal, wearing it’s skin and walking on all fours. After a while Shaman priests figured out how to literally change themselves into that animal at will. Not just wolves but lots of animals."

"What’s a Shaman?" I blurted out, then immediately put my hand to my mouth. Like that was going to help.

"It’s a person that acts as a medium between the spirit worlds," answered Gram- Gram. She didn’t sound as annoyed as when Red interrupted.

"It took them a while to perfect it. They even learned how to make a person clothes turn into their fur, so they wouldn’t need to undress first. Nudity wasn’t that big a deal back then, but it was important for a hunter to keep up with their stuff. If a hunter left any trace of them selves, another enemy tribe could use it to find them. Plus clothes didn’t come from "The Gap," They took time to make. So not having to worry about getting your clothes ripped was very effective.

"Plus they didn’t have to worry about making their mom Mad." added Red."

"I once left my coat on the bus, boy did I get a tongue lashing";

"That’s because that coat cost 50 dollars," said Gram-Gram.

"I said was sorry", answered Red.

"Forget it." Gram- Gram sighed and continued.

"Soon lots of other people in the tribes wanted to learn this power, so they could be good hunters. The Shamans agreed to teach others, but only if they used the power wisely, such as for hunting and protecting other members of the tribe".

"What about traveling salesmen?" asked Red?

"What?" said Gram -Gram confused?

"They could use it to hide from them. Would that count as protection?" Red asked.

"There were no traveling salesmen back then," groaned Gram-Gram.

"What about Jehovah’s Witnesses?" Red asked.

"No," she said.

"Mormons?" asked LB laughing.

"That’s not a nice thing to call people," said Red.

"Not morons ... Mormons.... It’s a religion," LB explained.

By now Gram-Gram was rubbing her temple with her hand. She looked like she was getting a migraine. I’d seen that look before on nun Moe’s faces a dozen times.

"How about Girl Scouts?" asked Red.

"Why would you want to hide from them? You love cookies, " said Silver Ear.

"To scare them, so they’d drop the cookies and we could eat them," explained Red like that was obvious.

"Will you let me finish!" shouted Gram-Gram.

Red scrunched into a ball looking hurt, Gram-Gram sighed. If I could see her pupils, I would have seen her roll them.

"I’m sorry Red, but you know it’s traditional for our people to listen quietly when being told a story. Interrupting is very rude, in Native American culture."

"I know," said Red looking down at his lap still sounding sad. Yet when he stood up he looked ready for her to continue.

"Anyway," said Gram-Gram. "Pretty soon Shamans were teaching shape shifting to lots of people in the tribe. Soon those people started teaching each other, and they didn’t need the Shaman’s help anymore. At least that’s what they thought, but without the Shaman’s help they wouldn’t be able to learn the proper way to shape shift. They started getting greedy. Instead of just turning into one animal they wanted to change into lots of animals and that was very dangerous. It is only safe for a skin walker to turn into one animal as turning into two complicates things. Soon there were terrible incidents. I gulped at the word incidents. I heard that word before whenever I did something wrong. The incident with the washing machine. The wall coloring incident. So I knew when Gram- Gram said incident it wasn’t good.

"Some people started changing when they didn’t want to, or they started becoming too much like the animal and less human. They would change into an animal and couldn’t change back, or talk, or even remember being human. Some didn’t even change fully into an animal; they started (She paused) changing half way, part animal part human. That scared people in the tribe the most because they were the most powerful. The skin walkers would run into the woods away from their family thinking they were animals, and their families had to run in and get them. If they couldn’t find them they were afraid to hunt, because they might accidentally kill and eat someone they knew.

The Shamans decided to put a stop to this. They used their magic to take away everyone’s ability for shape shifting. The tribe was just so relieved they didn’t complain... at first. Yet when the tribe started their new families their children still had the shape shifting power they got from their parents. Since they were born with it, it couldn’t be taken away.

So the Shamans agreed to teach these children how to use their power wisely and many did."

She paused. "And many didn’t.

Over time skin walkers now called werewolves started evolving into several different ways. They were the normal animal shapes like us, but they were the half human half animals. They were bigger and stronger, but that didn’t mean they were smarter."

Everyone was silent after hearing that. I got the feeling they were doing a vow of silence for someone. But I didn’t ask whom.

**********

Meanwhile in another town, in another house, someone else is inside getting comfortable. This visitor was not welcomed, in warmly, and the resident was not happy to see this visitor. Few people have seen this particular visitor and lived. This visitor never stays long enough to tell others its name. If the visitor did it would be The Beast, as it often calls itself.

"Damn stupid news!" I said to myself while flipping the channels on the old TV. Why can’t they just play something good? I don’t care what else is going on in the world. How does an earthquake in New Jersey affect me? This guy was too damn cheap to pay for any good stations, so it was the only one that was coming in now. I left it on as I searched the house for anything useful. Maybe something better would come on later.

"In other news a foster child has gone missing," blared the TV newsman in his bland voice. "He was last seen at the SPCA and he goes by the name Trooper.

"Like I care", I snorted going threw a box of junk looking for anything useful.

There are half a million kids in this world why should the world stop to look for one? I thought to myself. I turn to look at the screen to see if the reporter even looks concerned, they usually don’t. The whole world could be ending and they would have a straight face. A picture of the foster child shows up on screen. The picture stops me. It looks like... . No it can’t be. But it must be, look at those eyes. Even on a crappy TV, I still recognize those eyes.

"Anyone with information on his whereabouts should contact the police," the TV announcer said.

I ripped the TV out of the wall and bring it to my face for a closer look. This didn’t help because when I did that I pulled the cable out so I only got a good look for a split second, but I still knew it was him. Yes it’s him. No question about it. I throw the TV against the wall; the resident won’t be watching TV anymore anyway. I sat down in the chair and rubbed my head. I was young and stupid back then. I should have made sure I finished him off when I had the chance. I growled, how I could have been so stupid. I sighed and looked over at what was left of the former owner‘s house, and the owner. "Better keep your doors locked you little omega" I muttered under my breath. This guy already learned the hard way.

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