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What is past is prologue


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Josephine Collins

November 2019

“Joe?” Her voice was weak and cracked under the pressure of all that had happened in the last few minutes of her life. This had to be a nightmare. His hand twitched and it renewed hope in her as she slid her small body across the floor of the cabin they shared together in New Orleans. Beau had given it to them and Josie had done her best to make it like a home. It was hard to think of it that way as her knees slid through the red viscous that clung to the pine boards. Her hands were stained with it, in more ways than just the obvious. She had been crying long before this moment but it was like her eyes had dried up just so they could witness the horror of what lay in front of her.

Her husband was half formed between the body of a man and the body of a wolf. It was the wolf that hated her and sought to hurt her every time Joseph lost control of himself. The very thought of hurting him tore at her when these things happened. In her stupidity she’d tried to reason with the wolf as best she could, but it was bent completely on hating her and destroying her.

The problem was that it was never the same trigger twice. There had been times when they had been arguing. There were times when they had been making love. It didn’t seem to matter to the thing that lived inside of Joseph, as long as it got the chance to try to hurt or kill her.

Tonight had been no different. Things had started off fun, and had moved to being heated in the way that a husband and wife were heated. Then it was like a switch had gone off in his head and those lustful bites and nibbles had turned into something so much more dangerous. The last words that she would ever hear from him would be “Run, Josie!” They should have been used to this old song and dance but every single time there was that sharp spike of adrenal fear that made the magic in her blood sing loud and hard.

Josie hadn’t even made it to the bedroom door before it slammed shut and forced her to stay in with him. Though his body was still partly human, it wasn’t Joseph in the driver’s seat anymore. His eyes were the windows and she could see right through them. Joe would never look at her like that. He only had adoration for the young woman. That look of murder was not her sweet Joseph and the monster was blocking the only way out for her. When she ran for the window, bent on pushing herself through it naked or not, he was there first.

His teeth sank into the flesh of her arm, pulling with them a large portion of skin, meat, and muscle. Bone could be seen somewhere beneath the gore of what he’d done. Her screams echoed in the small room as she tried to put a hand over the gaping wound. Her words were more sobs and cries than syllables as she tried to get his attention. She didn’t want the beast’s, but the man that she knew was still in there. “Please, Joseph. Stop! I don’t want to hurt you.” His large claw raked across her upper thigh and sank her to her knees in front of him.

Even after this, that’s what she was concerned about. She could hurt him, too. Josie knew that she was stronger than he was, despite how it may have looked right now to any outsider. When he lunged at her again, something inside of Josie snapped. There was that part of her, that very dark part deep down inside of her brain, that couldn’t take being ripped to shreds. Josie was the keeper and the knowledge she carried in her mind couldn’t be lost to something as simple as death. Though, as she would come to find out, death wasn’t simple in the slightest.

Joseph’s half formed body stopped as if a wall had been erected between the two of them. She just needed to get him to stop, or at least she needed to get past him and get to the bar for help from Beau. The power inside of her wouldn’t listen, though. They craved so much more than what this Joseph could give them. They wanted to create chaos and death and stop anyone that dared to stand in their way. Right now, the wolf was the one doing that.

It was no longer Josie that stood shakily in front of the wolf. It was the thing that liked to be called Josephine. Inside of her own mind, Josie screamed and clawed, trying to find a way to take control again. Last time it had taken Joseph and Elowynn together to pull her back to herself the night of the Halloween party. Josie was alone now, though. The only person she could count on was herself. Herself that was failing miserably.

She was a voyeur in her own sick movie and her body was playing the leading role. All she could do was try not to fall into the black abyss and lose herself completely to Josephine. That meant that she had to watch, though.

So, Josie watched. As the creature that now used her body and her magic put more and more pressure on the skull of the half formed Were. She would never be able to forget that popping sound. The vision of half of her lover’s head exploding outwards was one that would never be scrubbed from her mind.

Then, just like that, Josephine let Josie back in control of her own body. It was Josie that was crawling across the floor in the plasma that coated her skin like tar, sticky and warm, as she cradled her husband’s head in her lap. She scooped and pulled the bits of brain matter and fragments of skull, futile in efforts to put them back together. Now her tears could fall and blur the vision of the eyes that had been so bright with love earlier that evening. Instead, they were now blurred with disgust, fear, and loss.

This was how she was found the next morning by Beau. The pieces of his brain and bones still held in hands, though she was near death as well from the loss of blood thanks to the wounds Joseph had inflicted on her. Everything after that was a blur.
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