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Fwoosh Flash Fiction – BEASTS

The motorcycle sped up the old logging road, the roar of its powerful engine echoing through the hills. It would be dark soon, and Logan realized he’d be playing the game on his opponent’s terms now. He looked down at the speedometer — the bike was doing 90, much too fast for rough terrain like this. He forced himself to slow, to prepare his mind for the coming confrontation. When he’d been asked to go on the assignment he’d accepted it gladly; after all, it was a chance to work alone again. Without backup he had to be cautious, but that was a trade-off he was willing to make. He’d made too many friends recently, had hunted in a pack for too long. They said it would change him. Whether that was a bad thing or good remained to be seen.


The bike crested the hill and slowed to a stop. Logan breathed deeply. The cool, moist air was thick with the scents of autumn: rich black earth, rotting leaves… and death. Slipping from the seat, he leaned his bike against a nearby tree and stepped off of the road. The forest was quiet, still. He made himself a part of it, instinctively avoiding the broken branches and fallen foliage that would betray him. He didn’t have to walk far. The deer was only a few hundred feet from the road. It had been running for it’s life when something had brought it down. Kneeing, Logan pushed the carcass over. The animal had been gutted, violently. In the dim orange light of dusk he noted the savage tears in its flesh. The deer had been rent by claw, not fang.

Logan noted the spray pattern of the creature’s blood, the deep furrows in the earth where it had fallen, the terror frozen in it’s eyes. Stepping away, he quickly returned to his bike. This was the sign he’d been looking for.


Jack woke. He brushed the gathered leaves from his naked body and rose from his temporary den. He noted the dried blood and the raw, gamy taste in his mouth; he’d eaten deer for dinner again. He found himself wishing for a cheeseburger, but put the thought from his mind. The conveniences of civilization were far behind him; he’d depend on the forest and himself for sustenance from now on. Not so long ago he regretted leaving the world. Now, he’d begun to feel at peace.

“You’ve got to go back, Jack.”

Jack whipped his head around. Twenty feet from him, a solitary figure stood silhouetted on the hillside.

“Go away, Wolverine. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that. I’m pretty tough to hurt.”

Jack knew it was true. He also knew what was rising in the night sky behind him.

“We’ll see.”

Logan was too late; he transformation had already begun. He could smell the changes occurring in his prey, could feel the air around them grow hot and dense.

“Last chance, Jack.”

The blades sprung from the back of the Logan’s hands, catching the reflection of the full moon in their polished metal. He watched wordlessly as the naked man below him cried out, throwing his body sideways into the shadow. Why did they always have to do it the hard way?


The wolf was up and over the fallen tree before Logan could react. Its talons slashed sideways, raking his left side. Logan felt the shock of the autumn air on his innards and did his best to hold them in place as he turned. Fast. The bastard was…

The talons struck again, sinking into the protective padding on Logan’s shoulder. Seeing his opening, Logan slashed sideways with his own claws, finding only air. The wolf growled, a low rumble Logan felt in his bones. Instinct alone saved him from the next savage swipe, the beast’s talons flashing through the air where Logan’s head had just been.

Focus, damn it!” an inner voice shouted. He’d wanted to test himself, but now that the time had come, Logan found himself flailing. It was the beast, he realized. Logan had spent the last decade trying to tame his ferocity, whereas the wolf had fully embraced his. The hunter simply could not compete with his prey on that level. It was a jarring thought.

The thing that had been Jack Russel dove, knocking his foe backwards into a tree. Fireworks exploded in front of Logan’s eyes; reflexively he threw his hands up to defend himself. An agonized howl filled his ears and Logan realized he’d managed to hit his foe. He blinked the stars away, ready for anything… except retreat. The wolf was already bounding up the steep grade, leaving him alone in the silence.

“Lucky,” Logan chastised himself. Then everything went black.



“Well, that could have gone better.”

Logan forced his eyes open at the sound of the stranger’s voice.

“Langkowski? What the hell are you doin’ here?”

The red-headed giant smiled.

“The same thing as you. Only it appears you beat me to it.”

Logan sniffed the air suspiciously and the larger man laughed.

“Don’t worry, we’re alone. No Alphas.”

Logan looked down at his stomach. He’d been expertly bandaged, taut cotton strips binding his wounds together. He shifted, felt fresh pain bloom in his side. Logan looked up at the other man with confusion.

“Why aren’t I healing?”

Langowski rubbed his hairy chin.

“Are you familiar with the kimono dragon?  It’s mouth contains an especially septic brew of pathogenic bacteria. It helps to weaken it’s prey. Mister Russel’s wolf form seems to posses a similar defense mechanism. Looks like it’s slowing down your healing factor.”

Logan knew Langkowski was right. He could feel the bacteria coursing through his body, poisoning his blood, and preventing his wounds from closing. He took the offered water, drinking deeply and willing his system to heal. Langowski rubbed his chin.

“My question is, how did what is essentially a wild animal manage to tag the legendary Wolverine?’

Only silence spoke, the sound of the forest Logan’s reply. Langkowski seemed to understand this, turning away to consult a small, hand-held device.

“Russel is seven miles from here. He hasn’t moved in 98 minutes, so odds are he’s asleep. If we want to catch up with him we’re going to need to hustle.”

“How are you trackin’ him?” Logan asked, rising. Langkowski tapped the digital display.

“Four months ago, Russel was tagged by SCEPTRE agents along the Canadian border. We’ve been watching him ever since.”


Langkowski looked down at Logan. For a moment nothing seemed to happen, then, in the blink of an eye, the giant reverted into a his human form.

“I put in the request. Lycanthropy is not… dissimilar to my condition. I convinced certain higher-ups in the Canadian government such native forms of wildlife need protection. They sent me here to find Russel and bring him home.”

Logan whistled low, his ribs aching with the effort.

“Werewolves as a protected species. Now I’ve heard everything.”



The sun was setting by the time they reached the coordinates. Langkowski consulted the tracker, then gestured into a dense thicket.

“He’s in there. Somewhere.”

Logan said nothing. His wounds were bleeding again in spite of being freshly bandaged. Hot and cold sweat soaked his uniform, burned in his tired eyes. His sickness had slowed them, stealing critical time to plan.

“You look like Hell, Logan.”

“It ain’t a beauty contest, bub.”

Even speech was painful. The war between the bacteria and his healing factor raged on, driving Logan’s temperature past the 105 degree mark. Wordlessly, the two men cautiously worked their way through the tangled overgrowth, eventually coming upon a small deadfall. Recently broken tree branches had been laid thatch-like across the top, creating a temporary shelter.

“That’s it,” Langkowski whispered grimly. “Let’s see if Jack is home.”

Logan caught his arm.

“Shouldn’t you turn into the Sasquatch first? This guy is dangerous.”

Langkowski smiled, starlight reflecting on his lenses.

“That’s a last resort. I think I can talk to him.”

Before Logan could protest the lanky scientist stepped forward and shifted the branches. The trap sprung then, the bent-back sapling snapping forward. The sharpened spike struck Langkowski square in the chest, driving him backwards before lifting his limp body into the air.


Just then Jack Russel stepped from the shadows. He was covered in thick mud and decomposed leaves, no doubt to mask his scent. From the fresh wound in his shoulder it was clear he’d found and removed the tracking tag. Logan shook his head angrily. They’d been so focused on the beast they had underestimated the man.

“I told you I didn’t want to hurt you.”

“But you did. I take that personal.”

“Not my problem.”

“I guess not. But tonight’s the last full moon for a month. Then what, Jack?”

Russel gestured towards Langkowski.

“I think I’ve proven I don’t need to be the werewolf to take care of myself.”

“By killin’ a man that only wanted to help you? All you proved is they we’re right — there’s no difference between you an’ that wolf.”

Russel smiled at the smaller man.

“Maybe. But I’m not the only beast in these woods, Logan.”

Logan popped his claws. The time for talking was over. Russel knew it, too — but instead of standing his ground he ran back into the shadows. Logan ran after him, desperate. He hadn’t transformed yet. There was still time to…


The world fell away then, Logan’s body dropping into darkness. The force of his fall drove the punji sticks deep into his knees and he howled in agony. Through a red haze he slashed at the stakes, hacking himself free. Russel stood over him, a triumphant look on his face. He was already changing, growing lupine in the wan light of the autumn moon. The he snarled, drove the crude wooden spear through Logan’s neck, pinning him to the inside of the ditch.

“Sayonara, Wolverine.”

Sasquatch stepped from the darkness. With a single swipe of its massive arm the wolf was sent sprawling. Sasquatch’s red eyes flashed as he reached for the wolf, but it was racing away. Wordlessly the giant pursued its prey up the hillside.

“You’re tougher than I remember, Langkowski,” Logan thought as he pulled the stake from his neck. It had been years since he’d seen the Sasquatch in action and was again awed by the creature’s raw power. He willed himself to stand and staggered after them. The hillside grew steep, slick with dew and his blood. Logan grabbed a nearby tree for support and forced himself forward.


The monsters clashed by moonlight. With blind savagery the wolf leaped for the giant’s throat, but Sasquatch battered it back. Undeterred, it sprang again, was knocked sideways by an unexpected right cross. Logan had to laugh; Langkowski was boxing with a werewolf. An uppercut cracked its jaw and the wolf landed awkwardly, losing its footing. Sasquatch stepped forward, raining blow after blow down upon the creature’s skull. Panicking, the wolf struck out wildly, catching one giant arm in its jaws.


Sasquatch swung his arm wildly but the wolf held fast. Gore sprayed as its teeth effortlessly shredded leather-dense muscles. Logan dove at the frenzied creature and tagged it clean in the side. His claws sank into the wolf’s fur and it brayed in surprise, opening its mouth in the process. Reflexively, Sasquatch knocked them both away before crumpling to the forest floor.

Logan looked up. The wolf was bounding up the hillside. He gave chase, each step tearing his wounds open more. The woods were painted with their blood, Logan realized, a trail of savagery and violence with only one possible end. Ahead the wolf had slowed, stopped. The rising hillside abruptly dropped away into darkness.


“Russel, stop! It ends here!”

The wolf looked over its shoulder at the cliff, then back at Logan. It attempted to leap past him on the left but adamantium blades drove it backwards. It struck right and the gleaming blades parted its flesh again. In the distance the full moon shone mockingly, the only light left in the world.

“Give up, Jack. Come home.”

The wolf looked at Logan with a mixture of sadness and pity. It dove over the cliff then, its remarkable body arcing into the darkness. Logan gritted his teeth, fighting the urge to follow. Instead he returned to help his fallen friend. It was true — he had changed. Whether that was a good thing or bad still remained to be seen.


by Jason R  Mink.