Two moons over, p.4
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       Two Moons Over, p.4

           Levi Shipley
 
unhinged like a goliath door. Behind stood a female werewolf with light red fur and chestnut brown eyes. She clasped Hodge's shoulders and drew him in. Her glee in their embrace was illuminating. She whispered a tender utterance into Hodge's ear that even Cecil could not distinguish.

  Cecil watched a swath of blue flare on his palm. It crept up his arm and resonated with the black. He examined his fellow lycanthropes, none of which had such a distinguished coat. He was guided deeper into the cavern by Hodge and the red female. Natural became synthetic, as stalagmites were replaced by beams and loose rock by machinery. Cecil felt foreign, his blood heating in nervous tension.

  They passed through a sliding steel door, entering a hollow cave chamber with a rounded stone table in the center. Two werewolves stood from the table and took their seat. One was a lanky dark maroon male werewolf who glared at Cecil. The other was a light gray female. She sat next to the male and patted his head, diverting his attention from Cecil.

  Hodge transformed into a liquid black werewolf and took his seat beside the red female that welcomed them in. Salina reclined next to Hodge's presumed mate, shifting into her silver form. Cecil took the stone chair to her other side. Three empty spaces were between him and the strong-eyed lycanthrope. Ha, where's King Arthur and his trusty Knights of the Round Table?

  The stringy male rose up, bearing his teeth. He opened his muzzle and began shouting with a British accent, "This is premature! We are too few in numbers to deal with this now!" He aimed a claw toward Cecil. "And how did he come to this ruinous state?" His gaze shifted to Salina. "It was you! You bitch, do you know what you've done? Now all Hell will be pouring down on us! If it were up to me—”

  "Arthur! That's enough!" Hodge cut the British werewolf's tirade short. As the Englishman sank down, Hodge hammered the table with both fists. "It doesn't matter how or when Cecil became one of us. This day has long been coming, and I say that if it was ordained to happen now, then we must be prepared enough."

  His name is Arthur, but he's no king. "Will you at least briefly explain what's going on?" A dead silence followed. "Well? Please, I cannot stand being in the dark about myself."

  Hodge sighed and leaned back. His eyes faced forward in a blank coldness. "Because of you, the world will be plunged into fire from the dimension of Destursha. Legions of the evil horde will arrive soon . . . we are the only ones capable of stopping them, but it won't be easy." He bowed his head. "It was foretold that your advent would signify the end of our time here. Apocalypse, you see." Hodge chuckled with jovial, almost sarcastic huffs. "That is why we are told to stop the Desturshan menace. Welcome Cecil, to the Order of the Wolf."

  "Who told you this? I've never heard anything even remotely similar to that." Cecil looked down at his padded hands with razor blades at the tips.

  "Doesn't matter." Hodge forced his skull upward. "I'll explain that another time."

  You don't know, huh? That's because I don't know. This is the most vivid dream I've had yet. But if I start to believe that this is real, I'll wake up in a shattered mindset. The ground shook, knocking debris on the table and collapsing it.

  "Everyone out!" Hodge’s voice boomed above the quake's thunder. "If we stick around, we'll be trapped." He pushed the fiery female werewolf up the exit steps and motioned for the rest. Hodge followed second to last behind Cecil, leaving his headquarters to crumble. "Looks like we'll be forced to make plans as we go." He stopped as the sunlight struck his ears.

  The sky was torn. Red aura wisps spouted from nothingness. The wind was dead and clouds had receded. Lightning flared from above them and covered the sky's expanse. Their shockwaves were deafening. At the sky's epicenter was a streak of black, a void. The rift between worlds had given way, allowing a tremendous power imbalance. If the portal remained open for too long, everything would be destroyed.

  Cecil waited for whatever demon that would soon spew from another realm, but that was not necessary. An updraft formed and rapidly turned violent. Dirt and debris soon fell upward as the gale increased. Salina, the lightest werewolf, lost footing. Cecil took her hand to keep her grounded, but he too was pulled skyward. They each did as he until only Hodge stood on land. However, their chain acted as a kite and unearthed Hodge. The winds grew more; there no longer was a chance of coming down.

  The vortex swallowed them. Time faded away, perhaps its very concept ceased to exist. The nexus was devoid of light and sound. Utter emptiness. Was this what astronauts felt in space? They had no option of turning back; all signs of earth were lost in darkness. Cecil couldn't even see the hands he held, but he could at least feel them.

  Then came a surge of energy. Immense power passed through Cecil and robbed him of consciousness. It would be the last time he ever slept.

  New World

  One

  Was I knocked out? Cecil picked himself from the ground. His mouth was filled with dirt and shards of glass. Spitting out the filth, he realized that he remained in a state of lycanthropy. His hearing suddenly revived to a pandemonium of drunken debauchery. However, these were no ordinary drunks. In fact, they were not even human.

  Ogres and goblins, reptilian humanoids, and what he could describe as a troll all leaned against the outer wall of a tavern. All too incoherent to stand without it. A short pair of humans walked from the bar and saw Cecil dazed in the street, but they did not panic at his sight. A haggard old man walked in the opposite direction to them. This particular man sported a tail and canine head like that of a Doberman. Maybe someone in that bar can tell me where I am. He looked left and right. And also where the others have gone to.

  "Pale Saloon" was engraved in its weathered wooden doors. The inside was somewhat American Western. Not an inch of the building was metal or plastic. Instead, hardwood filled every possible space. It smelled of sweat and beer with a bitter cigar fume. The patrons were mostly behaved, as they'd yet to reach a point of banishment for their thinned blood. The dwarven barkeep waved Cecil to the counter.

  "If yer gonna be in here, ya oughta buy somethin'."

  "Actually, I'm here looking for my friends. Have you seen them? They look similar to me."

  "If yer friends were here, then they'd know a good time. That's for sure." He said. “Can't say I've seen any dogmen like you before. That head of yers is too wolf like. I only ever seen dog headed ones, and I seen plenty o' folk in my time. Though I did hear a tale or two of rich folk like that. Can’t say they’d ever come this way."

  "Can you at least tell me where I am?"

  "Ho boy, ya ain't even drunk yet and ya act so dumbfounded. I didn't think ya was from 'round here." The old dwarf stepped down from a ladder and served a reptile female a pitcher of alcohol, before continuing his exchange with Cecil. "Aye where was I? Ya was asking 'bout location. This little town o' drunks is Ectoplas."

  Disregarding how foolish he would sound, Cecil asked another question. "What country is this?"

  "Boy, I'm gonna have ta ask ya to leave after I answer. Folks will think your blood alcohol is severe if ya talk like that." His voice lost its jolly air. "This is Destursha. Be sure of that. There hasn't been other countries in over a thousand years. It covers the world, I think. Old King Trothos is the power behind it too, ya know. Now ya must be off."

  Abruptly as Cecil had entered and been sent away, he was still targeted. A reptilian woman with a plumed hat and a few too many scales exposed confronted him at the door. "Well now, where have you gotten yourself off to in such a hurry? Stick around a while. We'll have a lot of fun." She swirled her tail around and caressed Cecil's chest with it.

  She's hideous. "Uhh, no thanks. I'm need to be somewhere else."

  As Cecil planted his feet on the wooden sidewalk, a fur covered hand rested on his left shoulder. He turned to face a Dalmatian dogman in a flamboyant orange suit. Each finger had a different jeweled ring to bear, and both ears were laced with s
ilver hoops.

  "The lady requested that you stay . . . and I suggest you be courteous to her."

  Cecil had never confronted a pimp face to face. "Sorry, but I really must go."

  "Where do you have to go, purebreed?" The man pushed Cecil. "Going about your business like you're better than us! Well, you're not, you weak snob!" He pushed Cecil again. Now they were in the middle of the street. "I don't know what you're doing in a place like this, but you obviously can't handle it. Staying inside your whole life with parents that are cousins . . . and what do you get? Everything!” This time the pimp struck Cecil across his nose.

  Cecil wanted to laugh at the dogman's pathetic attack, but he also hated being touched in a harmful manner. Cecil retaliated by lifting the pimp off the ground by the neck with his left hand and slugging him with his right, a thing he had always wanted to do. The dogman sailed back to the saloon's doorstep. Every bone in his face was broken, but he was fortunate and lived. Bystanders removed themselves in a hurry, so as to not make eye contact with Cecil. Cecil himself made his way for town's end.

  He would've asked the townsfolk if they had seen his fellow Order members, but those who hadn't fled were too numbed to give an answer. Along with that, Cecil began taking advantage of his canine
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