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In the Land of Coyote



 
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Malek

The motorcycle and its rider appear to most as nothing more than a speck on the long, open highway in the middle of the Navajo territories through Northern Arizona. If one is standing by the road, they will see a light in the distance in the desert night. That light will approach rapidly along with the tell-tale throaty-whine of the powerful 140 cubic inch Triumph engine echoing over the empty desert. As it approaches, it will gain in pitch and volume until, suddenly, it passes by, leaving behind silence by comparison as the Doppler Shift takes effect and the soundwaves travel at lower speeds back the listener. They might note the 75mph speed limit sign with its tell-tale indicator flashing two simple words almost frantically as though the words themselves are trying to slow the speeding biker: TOO FAST!

The desert air is cool in the middle of December somewhere near the time colloquially referred to as “The Witching Hour” by some. It is cool and dry, threatening to suck the very moisture from the body by simply assaulting it with molecule after molecule of low humidity atmosphere. Especially when one is sitting atop a raging beast that screams down Old Highway 160 at somewhere in the neighborhood of 130mph.

Maybe THAT’S why the sign deigned to flash its warning so desperately as though the man in the saddle really has the time or inclination to notice such trivial details as speed limits.

The rider himself is a sight to behold, if one can actually capture the image in the dark past the incredible rate of speed. The fact that he is riding a beautiful piece of British machinery at such a phenomenal speed wearing nothing but a pair of jeans, steel toed boots, and a sleeveless black shirt depicting a white skeleton with extremely long hair throwing up the classic “Devil Horns” symbol of heavy metal with the bold-font text beneath reading ”STAY HEAVY” might draw one’s attention initially. If they can take in this detail, of course.
If an observer is able to take in this detail, though, they will likely be distracted by the other details. Large arms jut out from the sleeve-holes of the shirt and gnarled hands hold the handlegrips of the motorcycle, leaving large arms of natural muscle exposed to the air. They aren’t the sculpted, carefully defined arms of a gym rat who works out strategically and constantly to develop each muscle in perfect proportion to create a model’s showpiece. Nay, they are the arms of one who uses them.

To lift.

To fight.

To drag.

To run…

Above all of this, crowned by dark brown, nearly black hair that flies and flaps in the high wind, resides a face that, for the most part, is handsome. The features are well proportioned with a broad jaw, an oft-broken but distinguished nose, a heavy brow with broad, dark eyebrows that give the yellow-green eyes a brooding covering, and broad, almost femininely proportioned lips. This would be the case if the entire look weren’t vandalized so violently. Furrowed lines stretch from the top left of the brow in four parallel strips to end at the bottom right of the jaw just below the male’s mandibular joint. Any medical expert woud say that he is lucky to be alive, given the deep cuts that bisect perfectly the line of the external jugular vein.

He should have bled out, whenever this wound was made.

He should not be alive.

He should not be riding a motorcycle down old Highway 160 in Northern Arizona through the Navajo Territory around the Witching Hour on a Winter Evening in the desert.

Malek.

A man as infamous as he is notorious for his tempestuous temper, terrible tyrades, and aggressive actions.

A man controlled by raw emotion, animal cunning, and shrewd intelligence.

A man back from the dead.

The motorcycle begins to slow, the engine screaming as the brakes are applied and the rider deftly cycles downward through the gears.

The Beast within his head snuffs the air as they come to a complete stop. In the distance, the musical yips of Coyote himself laugh incessantly at the stranger who sits straddling the artificial beast that ticks and clicks its heated metal frustration at now being shut down to bear the brunt of the cool desert air.

Malek drops the kick stand and swings his leg over the saddle of the bike.

Without ceremony, he begins to strip out of his clothes.

Already Malek can feel his muscles tensing in telltale spots, preparing to break and mold bone into new configurations. He holds the Beast back through willpower and careful coaxing.

The Beast wants to run free.

The Beast wants to taste the Desert in its own form, not confined within this weak, two-legged body with underdeveloped senses and jaws.

The Beast wants to bark with Coyote as a guest in his desert abode. Or maybe the Beast wants to challenge the Trickster.

The Beast wants to hunt.
December 13, 2018 12:48 pm

Malek

The darkness, in all its insidious might, caresses the scar-pocked skin of the broad shouldered young man as he stands nude beside his still clicking and popping motorcycle. The mechanical beast has served its purpose up until now, allowing Malek the freedom to ride far away from civilized lands and into the wild desert in the North of Arizona. He feels his body tensing, every muscle standing rigid and tight against taut skin, threatening to rip violently outward and expose what lies beneath. The male’s breath has become violent, ragged. The muscles of his jaw stand out as iron cords against the scarred skin of his cheeks as teeth clinch to the point of creaking, sounding as though they will break at any moment.

The Beast screams in joy as it begins to rip its way toward freedom.

The first bone to break is Malek’s left fibula. The CRACK echoes in the darkness. Malek, loses his balance and starts to stumble downward, the trip being hastened by the fibula of his other leg snapping violently as well. The growl is low, raw, and feral as he hits the ground, knees and elbows keeping his face from slamming into the dirt. The bones in Malek’s feet SNAP. His shoulders separate, dropping his upper body downward into the abrasive earth.

Breathing more violently than before, Malek grits his teeth until they begin to break and shatter one by one. His mandibular joint stretches and snaps. The jaw bones break… and begin to push forward. Malek’s skin stretches and rips as the pressure drives through the skin. White bone shows first, and then blood. Sharp canines force their way through the Beast’s gums even as its skull cracks and reshapes itself. Ears push bloody lumps upward and outward, coming to points as they fill out into their proper shape.

Feet.

Feet crack and break.

Feet stretch and toes force their way longer and longer. Sharp nails push through the dermal tissue followed by white bone. Flesh and muscle begins to form over the exposed bone. A similar action follows with the hands. Ankles break and thin and stretch. Flesh begins to push outward against the creature’s back. Its shoulders flex and shift outward. Skin rips. Blood splatters outward to soak into the dry, desert earth, pretending to feed it with its crimson life force as if it might force some macabre plants of blood and flesh to grow.

The Change.

The Change is never pleasant. It is always painful. So many bones breaking and reshaping so quickly. So much skin ripping apart to allow for a differently proportioned body.

Fur.

All of that mottled grey fur growing from head to toe on the prehistoric Beast that resembles a true wolf in the same way that a housecat resembles the vicious saber-toothed tiger. The Beast pushes itself to all four paws and shakes violently as if it is drying itself after a relaxing swim. Or a dreaded bath.

Hunching its shoulders, the Beast arches its back and throws its head back toward the clear, night sky. A long, mournful howl rips its way from its vocal cords, starting low and long to crescendo high and piercing like some hellish air raid siren shattering the relatively still desert air. As the last notes of the howl trail off, every creature within miles goes absolutely silent and still.

Flight reflexes.

Everything realizes that the ultimate predator has come into their midst and screamed its challenge for all to hear.

A hunt.

A promise.

A….

Coyote’s high, shrill barking giggle pierces the night with its staccato yips.

This is the Land of Coyote.

And the Trixter has accepted the Beast.

The Beast sniffs the air once before digging its hind paws into the desert ground for traction. Moments later, the Beast is bounding through the desert.

Malek smirks behind the Beast’s eyes.

The Beast screams another howl as it runs.

This is the Land of the Beast.
December 16, 2018 04:45 pm

Malek

The Trickster never stops yipping and laughing for long. He knows his territory well and makes a raucous series of staccato barks from one area before going silent for a scant few seconds. From an entirely new area comes the taunting laughter as he goads the Beast, challenges the Beast to a new kind of game that is beyond its limited understanding.

The Beast howls again, long and mournful over the twilight desert, its keening cry keeping the nocturnal creatures silent save for the ever insistent Coyote. The rogue deity becomes ever more emboldened, disappearing for long moments from sight and scent and sound from the confused Lycan, only to show up directly behind the Beast. Or directly in front of it. Perhaps just a few meters off to one side or the other. The Beast reacts instantly to each sound, changing direction with a graceful turn perfected in long years of chasing elusive prey in hostile environments.

The night is eerily quiet save the occasional keening cry of the Beast and the sporadic, teasing laughter of Coyote.

The elusive Tricker screams a high-pitched giggle a few meters to the Beast’s right. Without hesitation, it turns in that direction, powerful legs churning and paws kicking up loose earth to send it flying in the opposite direction of his snout…. Which subsequently smashes straight through a Teddy Bear Cholla. The Beast’s growl turns to a yip of surprise more than pain as the long spines ***** themselves in his soft, black nose and over his ears and face. It snarls and stops long enough to begin slapping its face with its forepaws, jabbing spines through the thick pads of its paws and into the tender flesh beneath. Anger grows and it begins to roll and kick upon the ground, dislodging a hunk of cactus from one area only to stick it to another in seeming perpetuity. That is, until the fat pods begin to break beneath his assault and his weight, popping and leaving small chunks attached to him still by barbed spines.

The Beast clears the worst of the mess from its face and paws, anger rising as the game turns from one of play to one in earnest. The Trickster is clever. Coyote knows his land better than anything else that lives. He understands, also, the way to goad a monster on. He has been fighting monsters since he was first dreamed up by a medicine man before history had record in this land of the Dineh.

The Beast digs its paws into the ground and gives chase again. It charges with all speed toward where it last heard the Voice of Coyote. As it approaches the spot, colorless vision clear in the moonlit expanse of the nighttime desert, a strange thing happens: Coyote splits itself.

It begins to call from many directions at once. The Beast shakes its head in confusion, pausing briefly as animal instinct and cognitive reason attempt to analyze the information simultaneously only to come up blank.

Nothing.

Coyote laughs at the Beast from the left.

It laughs from the right.

It laughs behind.

It laughs and it laughs and it laughs.

The Beast howls its frustration and picks one aspect of Coyote, an ethereal shape in the distance to the Beast’s left.

It will take them one at a time.

It will kill them all.

The desert wildlife sits in rapt attention watching the drama between the foreign Beast and the Trickster Coyote as it unfolds.
December 23, 2018 11:12 pm

Malek

The Beast’s run has never become desperate. The hunt is frantic, yes, but its purpose is not the same as most might think if viewed from the outside. It is the purpose of play, in a manner of speaking. The Trickster enjoys its play with the Beast. Coyote enjoys forcing the comparatively large and lumbering thing to chase and dodge through cacti and gorge. On the same token, the Beast enjoys the hunt. It is a challenge that it has not met in quite some time, chasing an unafraid quarry who simply wishes to push the challenge as far as possible. It is the proverbial deathmatch. Priscus versus Verus in the Persistence of Memory made effigy among saguaro and cholla. The Colosseum rimmed by the eyes of javelina and prairie dog, by gila monster and rattlesnake. The eyes of a jaguar might even be seen flashing in the night from its veil of solitude, hidden from the sight of man and beast alike in the decades of urban intrusion and long-range hunting rifles used to garner the pelt of the majestic beast.

Coyote laughs and cackles atop a ridge, and the Beast charges it, leaping up only to land smoothly and find the elevated piece of land unoccupied. He leaps again and again, each time a bit too slow for the Trickster. Or maybe the Trickster is never where he is landing, projecting illusion of himself throughout his home to torment the Beast. Another leap and frustration leaves the Beast scrambling at the edge of a large depression. The fall would not kill him, sure, but a sharp drop with a sudden stop at the end is never a pleasant encounter. It is especially unpleasant when pride is on the line and Coyote is continuing to harry the Beast. It is the group of blackbirds, tiny and weak but quick and agile on wing, banding together to mob the gracefully flying and swooping hawk who cannot hope to make the direction or acceleration changes that the smaller avians are using to their advantage. The birds are at a severe disadvantage in this case, though.

The Beast possesses intelligence.
The Beast can learn and adapt.
And this hawk can destroy the blackbird with a single snap of its beak… er… jaws.


The Beast begins running again in the direction of the yipping Coyote, its focus directly on the Trickster. Focus this time, though, is more tempered. It is not tempered through perception, but rather disregarding the very concept of perception. One can be tricked by perception. It is much harder to trick the combined minds of the Beast and Malek when intelligence and animal cunning combine with instinct and determination.

As a team, the two are unstoppable.

The Beast continues its pursuit, long, powerful limbs working as it gives chase through the desert that is Coyote’s home. Through the desert that is now firmly within the territory of the Beast. The first Cholla is leapt smoothly. The second neatly dodged with a quick direction change that sends the quick and burly lycan around the next saguaro.

Coyote stops yipping so loudly and enthusiastically when the Beast’s first strike for its waving tail misses by centimeters. The next misses by millimeters. A leap over another meandering gorge allows Coyote to pull ahead by the length of its own body. This is a short lived victory, though, when the Beast’s heavy forelimb topped with something in between an elongated paw and a prehensile, long fingered primate hand with deadly claws, comes down upon its back and turns its forward impetus into tumbling sideways momentum.

The Beast pins the smaller Coyote between hunched forelimbs and places its deadly teeth with precision on the back of Coyote’s neck.
January 03, 2019 10:50 pm
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Actives (11) Fresh Blood (3) View All The Fallen (1) Graveyard
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