There was a dog, resting it’s head on the cool grass, snoring softly in the dim light of early, early morning. Well, something like a dog, maybe a little too big, a little too rangy. Some of the locals muttered about a coyote getting a little too bold recently.
There was a huff, and a snort, and then a great, toothy yawn. The coyote raised it’s head, sniffing the air, lazily tilting one ear as it looked around. Ah. Dawn soon. Oh! The ears perked up and it stretched, rising to it’s feet with another yawn, a scratch behind the ear. She overslept. Might still have time yet, though.
Another stretch, then an easy, silent lope towards the outskirts of the town, nose to the ground, then to the air, snuffling. Hmmmm. The baker was barely up yet, so no good crusts there… but…hrmf. She hated to do it, but hunting had been poor lately. Damn Horde had scared off much of the local wildlife. She angled away from the town a bit, coming around… there. Her ears lowered a bit. The forge. She’d need to hurry before he woke up.
She scurried to the nearby chicken coop. Just one. Just out of need. She’d drop off some skins later in payment. Snuff. Snuff. Creeping along the edge of the fence, head low, belly skirting the dirt. Heading towards the gate, nose nudging the latch sloooooowly up. Creep in. Her tongue hung out, licked her jowls, and she moved further forward, noting the smell of chicken and ignoring the less favourable scents of shit and barnyard. Pausing at the entrance of the coop. Looking suspiciously over her shoulder.
*What was she doing. She was…she was…human. Yes. Somewhere deep down, still. Even as a kid she wouldn’t steal chickens like this. She was acting like a damn street dog, one of those wiry, sneaking furballs that would kill rats and snap at passersby. There was a pause, and a brief, sad doggy grin. Well that’s what she’d been as a kid regardless. But now… she knew she was human, but she felt more and more dogish, or wolfish, or whatever, every day. Still human. Remember that.*
She looked back behind her again, shaking herself out of the reverie. How long she had been in that headspace, who knew. Oh well. And then froze, noting the crest of light over the horizon. Shit. Even so… It was worth it. She didn’t mind the sneaking and the fur and the occasional stolen chicken. She needed to make sure he was ok.
And then, naked, shaking a little as she left the lupine form behind, Issy changed, sneaking forward just enough to get her head and body into the coop,checking…quick, before they woke up, look for the hen who wasn’t laying, it’d be less of a loss…there… a quick fist and a snap and the bird never made a sound, and the dozy hens around her never did either. Slip out, wolf form. Hurry now…
“HEY! HEY! You damn beast!”
She yelped as the stone stung her rear end, holding the chicken between her jaws, yelping again as another stone landed. Spinning around frantically, feet slipping and scampering over the barnyard. Who…shit!
He’d woken up early. Earlier then she thought he would. This was out of his normal routine, she hoped nothing was bothering hi….OW! A third stone landed and now he was advancing, scowling and raising a hammer. SHIT. “Drop that damn chicken and get out of here! Hey!”
Nope. Nope nope nope, run, *RUN*, before he got too close,before he remembered…
She spun on her furry heels, scrabbling in the dirt, and bolted for the fence, clearing it in one easy leap, and moving at speed and increasing it for the hills outside of town. Ears flat, tail down. Sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…
*Once clear, she stopped, changed, hid behind a tree. Chicken in one hand, naked but for a few pine needles, staring and peering around the rough bark. Watching him. He stood in the middle of a flurry of furious hens and rooster, hammer in one hand, hands on his hips. And odd look crossing his face, as he bent to pick up a tuft of fur that had gotten caught on the fence oh no… She looked away, pained, and shifted back*
She grabbed the chicken again and loped further into the woods to eat it. I’m sorry, Halo. I hope you don’t remember. Not if you don’t want to.