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You try, you bleed, then finally, you breathe.


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Lloyd R Darrow

There was nothing quite so satisfying to Lloyd as the sensation of warm blood dripping from his maw. The large intestines of his victim hang between the teeth of his muzzle, fur matted down by the mist of the early morning. It didn’t matter to him who this man had been, ever. It didn’t matter to Lloyd that his children had watched him being torn limb from limb before they too, were hunted down like vermin. Lloyd Darrow no longer felt remorse for his uncharacteristically violent actions.

Except Jane had disappeared, and Freddie would not delve to Lloyd’s level of cruelty. Instead, he chose to invite a friend; someone whose limits he wished to test.

Since learning of Caitlyn’s pregnancy, Lloyd’s quiet desperation had evolved into a silent rampage, so distressed at the prospect of his own progeny that his attacks had grown more regular. All of this, of course, kept private from her knowledge. In no way did Lloyd wish to trouble her, and it was not as if he could have been more emotionally distant. It was in his nature to remain reserved.

When it came time for him to board the plane to New York City, he manufactured a sad smile, giving his wife and step-sons each a kiss on the forehead. “Be back soon.” He promised, on the premise the trip was purely for business.

There was no mystery that Lloyd was more comfortable in New York, far from the scrutiny of his family and past acquaintances.

Backing up from the slaughtered remains of his victims, four legs padded back in the direction of his rented vehicle, ready to return to the city, and inevitably meet with Soleil Whitaker. He desired, more than anything, to share this sort of naked animosity with her. To find kinship in his sadistic hunting techniques. He could groom her, over time, he was sure of it. He could shape her to be what he was missing in his life – Jane. Only in such a state of mental disrepair would he ever admit to desiring her company.

For so long Jane had been a fixture of his angst, for having abandoned her husband and child, for devolving into the drug-addled mess Lloyd had once been. The agony of their shared inhumanity tortured her like it had him, but with different results. Lloyd’s past dependency on opioids and alcohol had left him the shelf of a man, no true happiness or personality left to him. In Jane, it triggered a bi-polar, manic-depressive. She couldn’t be bothered to care for the family she’d made, and care of her daughter, Margaret.

Lloyd had formed an attachment with his niece, one that surpassed even the bond he had with Caitlyn. However, he was incapable of protecting her from herself, and he would be just as helpless in saving his own child from itself. The very thought of bringing the burden of his curse upon a helpless child tortured him. And watching Margaret already developing in the way Jane did only strikes fear in his heart.

So he needed the killing. The outlet, to allow his beast to ravage. To remove himself from all of the emotions he’d spent years escaping from. Suicide would have been an easy and safe option, but at the thought of abandoning Caitlyn and the boys, he once again parted with the choice. However, the longer he lamented in silence, the worse his condition became.

The next day, Lloyd found himself at the front door of the Whitaker’s brownstone, a sharp knock on the door announcing his presence before he stepped inside, happy to oblige the ‘No Shoes’ sign above an awaiting shoe rack. In one of the new times he’d be seen in such a way publicly, Lloyd was not dressed in his standard business professional attire. Instead, he wore a thick, green fleece-lined flannel, blue jeans and a pair of brown hiking boots. The same pair that would be unlaced and tucked into place. In stocking feet, he would only make it two week down the hallway before a child’s voice poised a question.

“Are you my papa?” The impertinent question came from none over than Wilson, the infamous son adopted by the Whitaker women. Lloyd choked, verdant eyes wide as he didn’t seem to know how to truly answer the question.

What? Where is your mother?” He inquired, brow knitting together in frustration.

“You talk funny.” Wilson noted, a finger pointed soundly at Lloyd’s mouth. A soft chuckle rippled through Lloyd’s throat, assuming then that the boy had never heard a British accent. “Do you know how to make pancakes?”

Yes, I do. Where is your mother?” Lloyd followed up with the same question, about to brush past Wilson before the boy simply grabbed hold of his hand and dragged him further into the house. Still, his question went unanswered.

“My name’s Wilson. What’s your name?” He quipped amiably, guiding Lloyd into a large, immaculate kitchen.

I’m.. Lloyd. Wilson, where is your mother?” Lloyd asked a third time, only to have a spatula thrust into his hand.

“I want pancakes. My mommy makes the bestest pancakes, but you can try. I like chocolate chips and blueberries in mine. Can you do that Papa Lloyd?” Wilson batted blond lashes up in Lloyd’s direction, causing the man to give in to his demands, altogether giving up on finding Soleil at that point in time.

Not your father..” He muttered under his breath before turning the skillet on. “Go get the mix then, Wilson. Let’s do this right.

January 10, 2018 08:30 pm

Soleil Whitaker

It’s been quite a number of weeks since Soleil has corresponded with anyone affiliated with her former sanctuary. Not that she can complain, anyways - despite the rather significant sentimental value the city held, Moscow, like most other metropolitan areas over time, had become toxic and suffocating. And The Order, well... Soleil had come to discover that the sanctuary upheld very few of the values they preached. There had been no honor or integrity in working for a scientist who kept secrets from his “family.” Respect and honesty had been scarce in the final legs of the Order’s existence. Elouise, who’d inherited the organization from her presumably dead husband, had exploited Soleil’s loyalty. And that, alone, was something the young woman would never be capable of reconciling with. When the sanctuary disbanded, its members scattered across the globe. Soleil settled in New York, content with making it her primary residence. She was grateful to have escaped the harsh Russian environment, but often finds herself missing a particular friend. She’d intended to reconnect with the Orlav’s former lawyer once everything was settled and finalized, but Wilson’s adoption had taken precedence. And then the holidays rolled around.

So, she’s pleasantly surprised, and perhaps, a little concerned when a message notification from Lloyd Darrow pops up on her phone screen.

Would you like to go hunting?

She’s never been hunting before - neither with a gun, nor with her... teeth. But, the mix of excitement and anxiety building in her chest is undeniable. She can’t even recall the last time she shifted - the Whitaker women had decided to keep the whole lycan thing on the DL since Wilson’s adoption, giving the young woman no opportunity to utilize her ‘gifts.’ Lloyd had offered an outlet: hunting. And even though she has no idea as to what his version of the sport entails, Soleil’s beyond eager to just let loose.

“We don’t use mix in this household, Lloyd,” Soleil scolds as she appears in the kitchen doorframe, “We make pancakes from scratch.” Her arms are crossed over her chest, a small, teasing grin tug at her lips to let the man know that it’s all in good humor.

“Rhiannon will be down in a moment. She’s just getting dressed.”

She offers Lloyd a wide grin, happy to be back in his presence. Politely, she directs him to take a seat at the kitchen island. Next to Wilson, who, now given the opportunity, curiously and cautiously regards the newcomer.

“How do you know Mama?”

“Are you my dad?”

“Have you ever tried her pancakes?”

“Do you like chocolate chips?”

“What about strawberries? And bananas?”

A constant onslaught of inquiries from the toddler with the hyperactive brain. Soleil can sense Lloyd’s discomfort, even if he does a relatively sufficient job of concealing it. It’s not until Rhiannon comes trotting into the room that he breathes an audible sigh of relief. They greet eachother cordially; Rhiannon quickly scoops up the curious toddler, and retreats into the living room after giving her wife an affectionate, lingering kiss on the lips.

“I love you.”

With the distractions (although only the best kind) gone, Soleil asks about Caitlyn, about their boys, about London; she’d heard rumors that the Darrows’ had opened a sanctuary of their own, and inquires eagerly about the legitimacy of those claims. She avoids the topic of the Orlavs, figuring that he’d bring it up if he so desired. And when the small talk conversations have been exhausted, Soleil asks the all-important question:

“So, uh, where and what are we hunting?”
January 10, 2018 10:32 pm

Lloyd R Darrow

Settled into the stool, Lloyd did not even have time to process the barrage of questions and respond before he was whisked away by Rhiannon. Leaving just Lloyd and Soleil in the kitchen, he managed a very awkward smile, cheeks red. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.. I texted you, didn’t I?” He knew he had, but that wasn’t the point.

Instead, he settled in, answering with some detail her many questions regarding his own family, Soleil being one of the few people he’d offer any sort of information to. He’d yet to tell a soul of his impending fatherhood, finding the topic too difficult to breach. It was impossible to be happy over something that filled him with such dread – yet he still managed to tread the line. Perhaps Soleil would sympathize, but this was not the time nor place.

 They bantered back and forth, all topics of family finally exhausted. And then, she cut to the point. With a vague, almost sadistic smile, green eyes met hers. “Nothing that isn’t appropriate prey, Soleil, that I can assure you.” He wasn’t certain how his vagueness would affect her, but he was not about to go into the details of hunting human beings in a family home. “But, as I said.. I prefer to hunt with more.. Primal methods. It allows a sense of freedom I believe we lose touch of, living day to day only in these forms. You will learn more about yourself in the wilderness when you are truly wild, then still trapped by the bindings of humanity.

His tone is matter-of-fact, filled with a charming honesty. When Lloyd wished to be convincing, he was really quite good at it. “If you’re not the sort to eat your kill, I’ve packed plenty of food as well. Camping gear as well. All you need are the clothes on your back.” Lloyd began to stand from the stool, a hand scratching the scruff of his beard. “I do think you’ll find this quite liberating. I used to do this all of the time when we lived in Moscow. Having forests to roam free in.. Nothing quite compares.

Why don’t you go and say your goodbyes, mm? I’ll be in the car.” He then began to walk back towards the hallway to grab his boots and slip them back on. Once finished, he projected his voice towards the living room. “Goodbye, Wilson!” He called, hearing the beginnings of a response as the door closed behind him.

The Brit sidled over to the 1990 Jeep Wagoneer parked at the curb, taking pride in the immaculate blue paint and enameled sidings. It was the only car he owned that was in any way impractical. Verdant eyes traced the contents of the trunk, going over his mental checklist. Everything was inventoried, that he was sure of. He couldn’t feel guilty for what he was about to throw Soleil head-first into. He knew, in a sick way, they had more in common than they lacked.

He was taking on the impossible endeavor of replacing Jane – or at least replacing what his sister had served for him. A companion, a confidante, someone who shared in his sin and therefore would always be a pillar of support. It was what Lloyd desired most.

For many people, that person would, and should be their spouse. But for Lloyd, Caitlyn was perfect, and that she should even know he took pleasure in killing devastated him. He had been, in a brief moment, honest with her- only to defend accusations of infidelity. Lloyd was many things, but disloyal was not one of them.

Still waiting for Soleil, he produced his phone, quickly dialing for Caitlyn. “Hey, Cait.” He greets, a renewed warmth to his inflection. “I just wanted to let you know I’ll be heading into mediations, and my phone will be off for the next several hours.” He listened as she rambled for a minute or two, allowing her to fill him in on the antics of their two sons. “I’ll call you as soon as I get back to my hotel, okay? I love you.

And, with seemingly perfect timing, just as he hung up the phone, Soleil appeared. “Do you get to leave the house anything less than molested?” He inquired, almost amused by how disheveled she appeared.

January 11, 2018 04:51 pm

Soleil Whitaker

Soleil’s interest piques at the mention of primal methods, and the possibility of submitting to her animalistic tendencies, even temporarily. She has always been aware of the lycan within her; her special abilities are used sparingly throughout daily life - a little extra muscle here, a touch of heightened hearing there. She’s shown a great deal of restraint over the past years, almost losing the only part of herself that keeps her tied to her ancestors. But, the idea of truly letting loose, of shedding the shackles of normality and societal standards, is beyond enthralling simply for the fact that she’d never before been presented with the opportunity.

When growing up, in the short years of witnessing her brothers’ transitions, Soleil had been encouraged - commanded, rather - to disregard her supernatural abilities entirely. The Whitaker family had been relieved upon learning that she hadn’t succumbed to the ‘symptoms’ after her 16th birthday; they were hopeful that the curse had ended with Jacob and Jacy. Even after their deaths, Soleil was even more hard-pressed to find an outlet for her increasingly overwhelming urges. She hadn’t the luxury of just satiating her ever growing desires; instead, she fought to suppress them, to extinguish said animalistic instincts altogether. There are very few things Soleil doesn’t dare talk about with her wife. In their marriage, there is no room for secrets. But, her struggle to gain self-control - in regards to her addiction, and her abilities, both - is a topic they have yet to discuss.

Now, she could be herself. With him, she could be her true self. She could and would, willingly so, give in to all the years of suppressed aggression; she could explore, utilize, and improve all the skills she’d been gifted.

And Lloyd could be her teacher. Her guide. Her confidante.

If he was willing, of course.

The gentleman exits, the sound of his boots against the wood panel floor the only indication of his direction. Rhiannon appears suddenly, and Soleil mirrors her expression of sadness. “I miss you already,” the angel whispers, moving around the countertop to embrace her wife.

“I’ll be gone for one night, darling.”

“That’s a long time.”

“I know. But, I’ll be thinking of you.”

At that, Rhiannon pulls Soleil into a fervent kiss, fingers tangling themselves into short, brunette locks. The younger woman inhales deeply, utterly intoxicated by the way her wife always smells of lavender. When Rhiannon leans away finally, they’re both breathless, and instantaneously miss the softness of eachother’s lips.

“Be safe.”

“Of course. I love you.”


Outside, Lloyd pokes fun at Soleil’s disheveled appearance, and all she can offer in response is an awkward, half-hearted chuckle. Lesbians. True, the couple can’t stand being apart, and yes, it’s perhaps a little pathetic. But, there’s no denying the love Soleil and Rhiannon share.

The car ride is silent for a short stretch of time. But, curiosity soon gets the better of Soleil. “Lloyd? What kind of music do you listen to?” she inquires, genuinely curious as to what the Englishman is into. He only shakes his head.

“I take it you’ve never been to a rave, then.”

Lloyd scoffs. Always a man of few words. The young woman connects to the Jeep’s bluetooth, and soon, the melody of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony fills the silence. There’s a sense of calm that washes over Soleil as the car slips seamlessly down the winding road, evergreen trees a blur outside the frosted window. She’s not quite sure how long they’ve been driving, but she’s jolted out of a reverie when Lloyd turns onto a dirt road.

“Are we here?”
January 12, 2018 10:20 am

Lloyd R Darrow

Lloyd wasn’t a man for simple pleasures. The finer things in life were wasted upon him, as he could find no reason to ‘stop and smell the roses’. However, the choice of classical music was soothing, and he couldn’t find reason to complain as they progressed further and further from the cityscape and deep into upstate territory. Not a conversational man by any means, most of her questions are answered by way of a grunt or nod.

Soleil, however, understood that his mild manner is by no means a reflection of his opinion of her. In fact, that he would pursue her company at all could have been considered flattering. Just as her latest question was posed – the Jeep careens onto a dirt path, dust kicking up behind them as they ventured further from decent civilization. “Yes.” He replied in his normal, almost curt manner.

He pulled the car off the road, pushing the transmission into park once the car was shielded by ample, snow-covered foliage. His car door swung open, boots imprinting on the dusting of snow as he moved around to the trunk. “We can come back for most of this later.” He looked over at Soleil as she made her way around to the back of the car. “You should know something about me, Soleil.” His breath was steamy in the brisk air, every inhale and exhale calculated. “The way that I hunt, the manner in which I do it, and my prey… It is how we were intended to act. It is in our nature. Something primal, that is not to be denied. It does not make us foul or ungodly to do perform to our intended purpose. Do you not agree?

He was increasingly cryptic, this he knew. But in the way same a man with a Messiah-complex would indoctrinate a cult, Lloyd Darrow sought to convert her to his point of view. Corrupted, perhaps, by the wolf within him, but even when sobered from the kill he could not find fault in his argument.

I’ll go fix the bait.” His tone was easy-going, and in a matter-of-fact way, he produced a ripped shred of what once appeared to be t-shirt. “So you can find your way.” He flashed a disarming grin before taking off headlong into the forest, shifting sometime thereafter.

It would only occur to Soleil then how isolated they were from the world if she stopped to think on it. And then, in the middle of that serene silence, in the magnificence of unadulterated nature, a blood-curdling scream pierced the air.  For the heightened senses of a lycanthrope, she might be able to then hear the frantic snapping of twigs and the stomping of snow as the man from whom the scream originated fled frantically.

She would then sense too, Lloyd following intently. He had no idea how she might react, but he felt, quite confidently, she would follow suit. He had tempted her with the idea of freedom, this he knew. That she could be both woman and wolf, and not sacrifice her dignity in doing so. It was a powerful prospect, and he knew the very thought must have been intoxicating.

A howl broke through next, a cry for kinship, beckoning Soleil to join him.

And so he waited, wondering if she would take the bait (literally).

January 14, 2018 10:19 pm

Soleil Whitaker

Soleil pauses at the sound of a scream. It’s unmistakably human.

Her gaze lifts as a flock of birds scatter from the treetops. Lloyd’s movements are deliberate; she can hear his steadied breath, and calm heartbeat. It’s a stark contrast to how his prey feverishly barrels through the thick brush in attempt to gain some distance. Soleil already knows, however, that the effort will be futile – wolves are born to hunt, their instincts and sensory capacity unparalleled by any human. Despite the shock, she is not compelled to run away. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Intrigue. Curiosity. Sick fascination. Or perhaps the wolf within.

Something calls out to the young woman, drawing her toward the tree line. Lloyd had been painfully cryptic in talking of his hunting tactics. In fact, he’d never explicitly stated what it was they’d be hunting. But, with every breath, Soleil is becoming increasingly more aware of what it is she’s now involved in. She’s tempted to call out, but knows that it’d entirely negate the sense of stealth necessary to the hunt. The thrill of a chase pulls Soleil deeper into the forest, driven entirely by instinct alone.

In a small clearing, she reaches into her pocket to retrieve the fragment of material Lloyd had given her. It’s soft in between her fingers, and just enough to help her lock onto a scent trail. It’s quiet again, the forest almost seems still. To her right, a squirrel skitters up a tree trunk, and to her left, she picks up on the sound of labored breath. She’s close; she moves silently, if only to catch a glimpse of the poor, sh*t-out-of-luck b*stard who got roped into this predatory game.

“Holy fu—“

A large hand clasps over her mouth, a huge startle in such a tense moment.

“Paul Courtney,” Lloyd whispers, pulling his hand away from her face, “You might’ve seen him on the news.”

The child molester. Courtney had recently been charged with a multitude of offenses, all of which heinous in their own nature. Soleil can feel the rage beginning to amass in her chest cavity – in her mind, child abuse, in any form, had to be one of the worst offenses against humanity. Not that crimes against adults were any more excusable, but to find pleasure in deliberately doing damage to a child’s psyche? That takes a certain kind of monster. Courtney’s fate had already been sealed.

“Figured someone guilty of such atrocities against the most innocent of humankind would make it… easier for you to join me.”

In these woods, Paul Courtney will die, and perhaps with brazen haste, Soleil decides that she’ll see to it. The young woman is consciously, willingly, and eagerly giving into her animalistic desires. She nods at Lloyd once, a silent transmission of loyalty and accord. His eyebrows quirk ever so slightly, surprised not by Soleil’s decision, but rather by how little convincing had been required. Soleil had needed an outlet like this, although she hadn’t known it until this moment.

When Lloyd intentionally steps on a branch to notify their target of their presence, Paul Courtney begins flee once more, shielding his tear stained face from low-hanging branches. But, he’s no match for the two wolves. Soon, Soleil is within arm’s reach, and with minimal effort, she sends him hurtling to the cold forest floor. Lloyd circles around, subsequently blocking any path to escape. Courtney begins to beg, panicked pheromones leaking from every pore.

“He’s yours,” Lloyd says evenly, sensing the slight hesitation in Soleil’s resolve.

“What? No. Please.

“He’ll be your first.”

Courtney cries out when Soleil lunges. There’s blood on her tongue - the warm, viscous liquid and its unpleasantly metallic taste seeping through her teeth and spilling over onto her chin. If there’s any kind of silver lining in the act of hunting, it’s the satisfaction of knowing that she’s the catalyst in ridding the world of evil.
January 17, 2018 11:12 pm
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