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The innocence of sinners

They picked up my trail easily enough. The blood was seeping from between my legs, its pungent smell smearing off onto my surroundings every time I stumbled and was sent sprawling to the ground. How long had I been running? Hours? Days? Between the shrieks and growls coming from the pack behind me all I could hear was the increasingly painful throbbing of my own anemic heart. I could hear their panting and and the excited whines of the younger cubs, mixed with the occasional cold piercing cry of the alpha male. Our alpha male. The one closest to me in kin and sex and the one who had first spotted the blood, who had licked it from my trembling fingers and with a roar declared me an outlaw. The pain of the memory overwhelmed me and I stumbled and sank to my knees dry heaving and clutching the irrepressibly pounding heart in my chest and I cried out, calling out to my pack, to anyone who could hear me, calling out that I had stopped running and would be an easy prey to their judgement. Let them come for me. Just let it end.

Before I started bleeding I had been an alpha myself. That was back when we didn’t know the difference between our sexes and weren’t so easily distracted by the scent of each other. There was me, another female, our alpha male and roughly seven more young males in our pack. Me and the alpha male were strong and remained unchallenged, leading our pack with equally divided responsibility, sheltering them from adults such as their parents, teachers, the principal and any other grownups who could possibly pose a threat to our childhood and our games. We were happy. We were alive and living each day together, caring for each other, fighting one another. The occasional fight would end in bloodshed and scarring because we were all so young, so unaware of the strength of our fists as well as the frailty of our bodies. We were the strongest pack in the entire playground.

Then my body started revolting against me. My chest started swelling and hurting as if some alien was trying to burst through, to force my flesh to align into the curves of a woman, a grownup. The pain was unbearable at times and I would growl and snap at anyone who came close to me, particularly the other female in the pack who, while being a full year older than me, still remained smooth and unbroken. When I first noticed the blood it had leaked through my clothing and there was nothing else to do for me but run. Our alpha male who had grown to fear my temper over the last few days chased after me and when he caught the difference in my scent he immediately grew stiff, his hackles raised, and he started furiously tearing at my clothing, trying to free me from the blood and the stench, in his own childlike mind trying to save me. I clawed him, scratched him, openly challenged his authority over me and at the sound of our fight the rest of the pack came running. Soon they were gathered around me, towering over me, the female hissing and snarling, the males drooling and panting. I knew then that I was lost to them. The child they had known had grown into an unrecognizable being whom they could no longer read, no longer relate to, and all that was left was the infuriating scent of my blood and their lust, their need to kill me and to bury their muzzles in my flesh and drink my blood. So I ran.

And now I lie waiting, alone in this cold and strange world known as adolescence. There are others like me here. I cannot see them but I hear them screaming, hear the thundering of their packs gaining on them, as mine will soon gain on me. I know they’re only following their alpha, following the only thing that’s real in this place where their childish instincts are unable to discern the difference between enemy and pack, where only the smell of blood is strong enough. I wait for them in this foreign place. When they finally catch me I will bear my throat to our alpha and let him drink the life from this being that is no longer me.


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