The Aliens They Summoned
He panted as he ran through the cave. His steps echoed from the walls, a clear indicator of his position. His pursuers would hear him breathe in here.
There was no escape.
It was unfair.
The nobles had everything, what did they care if he shot a boar in their private forests? It's not like one would make a difference!
The moon was up, but as he went further from the entrance, his vision gave in.
He hadn't had the time to light a torch, and the guards had dogs, so they'd find him anyway. He didn't stand a chance-
His pained cry bounced from the walls, an ear-shattering sound which caused the dogs behind him to bark even louder.
"Calm down, you stupid animal!" he heard one of the noble's guards yell.
"Did he do that on purpose?" another, definitively more gruff-sounding guard cursed, presumably kicking a dog as a sharp wincing reached his ears shortly after.
He held his breath.
There was one chance...
One little chance.
The man reached for his belt, desperately searching for his knife. Thank God, he thought. I didn't lose it!
Mumbling the incantation under his breath, he slit the symbol of a wolf in his palm, hoping that this half-assed incantation would work.
A sharp light made him close his eyes. Did it work?
His silent question was answered when his hand rose all alone... but he wasn't feeling fur, but skin... human skin.
Did he... summon a human?
He couldn't believe it, but neither did he have the time to consider his options.
"Where... am I?" the summoned person said. It was definitely a human. "Where-"
"There he is!" The guards had caught up with him. He clicked his tongue, attempting to run away, but stumbled over the person. "He isn't alone!" the guard warned, holding him down.
Another walked up to him, raising his hand, lighting it up with his torch.
"He tried to summon something!"
"Didn't work out, did it?" the gruff-sounding guard mocked, smirking down at him. He glared back. "He's a feisty one. Did your partner give in?" Even while asking this, the guard scowled. He was the most well-dressed guard of them all, probably the leader of this group. "Hey," he called back, "you didn't tell us that there were two!"
"There weren't when I saw him," a shivering youth stammered, walking forward. He wore a leather jacket and a short sword. He was an apprentice guard. "I swear on our lord and on God!"
He was bowing low, pleading with the leader.
"Hmm..." The gruff guard considered his pleading. When he continued, he sounded kinder. "Don't worry. You did well in spotting him at all. It's his fault for haunting in our lord's forest, anyway... and coming too close to the wall."
His tone gave off 'What an idiot!' vibes.
"What shall we do with the second one?" the guard who held him pinned to the ground asked. It was starting to hurt. "Take him with us. Maybe we'll get something useful out of him."
"But-" the summoned man started.
"We don't want to hear it!" the leader commanded, silencing the man. "Bring them to the castle. A few nights in the dungeons never hurt anybody," he jested, and uneasy chuckles broke out among his squad. "Let's go!"
The way back was painful.
His hands were tied together tightly with a rope, and he was being pulled along by a guard who enjoyed it when he stumbled over roots and stones.
At least he knew to keep quiet.
The man he summoned tried to speak up multiple times, but he received severe whip-lashing as an answer.
After a while, he fell silent, too.
The dungeons were dirty, wet, and dark.
An hour could pass in a day, or a year could pass in a week. Time seemed to flow differently, or at least it felt like that.
The man cursed his bad luck.
"Dumb boar!" he cursed later. "What can I do when it runs too close to the castle!"
The man he summoned only winced, hiding his head.
It wasn't his first day in the dungeons.
He had a family to feed, and no money to do so. He had to hunt and scavenge, but the commoners' woods were dry and few animals lived there.
It wouldn't have been enough...
This was the final time, he suspected.
He had never been caught stealing from a noble before.
They would starve him for a few days, if not longer... what a pitiful way to die.
Only a small window close to the ceiling told them how late it was. It was too small for even a mouse to walk through, but they didn't want prisoners to lose their sense of time completely... The man knew that they loved to cover it up during the daytime, though, so it wasn't a reliable way to tell the time.
For the guards, it was a joke.
The summoned man was in the same cell as he was, wincing at every sound. It took a few nights for him to calm down.
His gaze was locked on the small window above for some reason as if the small glimpse of freedom he got from there was all he needed.
He had so many questions, but he held them all back.
He knew how terrifying the first stay in a dungeon could be.
Contrary to his expectations, they were being fed. They got food and water, and the room was lit brighter and brighter every day.
We must be approaching the full moon, he thought absentmindedly, chewing on a hard slice of bread.
He heard his fellow inmate swallow hard before turning to him.
The man's eyes widened.
This would be the first time his summon spoke voluntarily.
"Where am I?"
"Where... in Nosra, in the dungeons of noble Viktor."
For now, he decided to answer all of his questions.
"And..." the other man stammered, still glancing at the window. Judging by the current state of the darkness, the only illumination being a torch some ways down the corridor of their cell, he couldn't see the sky today. As predicted, they covered daytime up with a stone. He could tell from the way the summoned man spoke that this wasn't actually what he was worried about. "Who are you?"
"Carl, a hunter."
"Ah... I'm Marion, by the way..."
He went back to chewing on his bread.
There was some noise above them.
The stone would be moved, soon.
"Say. What kind of moon will we have tonight?"
"Hm?" The shiver was gone from Marion's voice. He was fearful but expectant... "Judging by how bright it has become, it should be a full moon, no?" Carl shrugged. "They make hunting at night easier, so I quite like them."
Marion sunk his head.
The stone was pushed aside, and a single ray of light lit up the cell. Marion twitched, holding his head as if he was in pain.
He heard two chuckling voices from above, walking away.
"You ok?" Carl asked. Marion didn't look good at all. He looked like he was in serious pain. "... Marion?"
"I'm sorry for ruining your favorite moon," Marion stammered, biting his lips, screaming in agony. "I'm sorry for what's about to happen... AGH!"
"Hey, you're making me quite uncomfortable, here!"
Carl stood up and distanced himself.
Marion honestly scared him right now.
"And where should I run to, exactly?"
Something bad was about to happen. Carl felt it. His hair stood on edge, and he instinctively reached for his knife... which he hadn't with him!
Marion's voice lost its tired tone.
It was deep, growling... dangerous.
He was changing.
First, it was just his hair... then his eyebrows, the hint of chest hair on his breast, but soon hair grew from every part of him. He stood up, and Carl had to look up at his towering stature. His nails got longer, sharper, like knives. The joints in his feet bent strangely, and he buffed up until he looked like a bear on two legs.
He was muscular, with long nails.
His clothes laid on the ground, ripped into pieces.
With a wolf-like growl, he lowered his hands... no, his paws from his face. Marion's eyes were red slits of murderous intent, narrowing in apparent displeasure.
At the sound of Carl's voice, the figure which was Marion and wasn't Marion punched angrily at the bars separating him from the corridor, ripping them out of the stone walls.
They were made of solid steel, and they reached deep into the solid stone.
No man could rip them out like that...
Then, Marion found Carl.
He knew that look.
He had seen it all the time when he summoned his trusty wolves to help him slay wild game. It was the look of a predator who found his prey...
Finally, Carl knew what went wrong with his summon.
"You are a wolf, aren't you?"
The words fell on deaf ears as Marion jumped on him, biting deep into the arms Carl threw in front of him, attempting to defend his face.
Both were ripped off before Carl even felt the pain.
The claws of the beast in front of him dug deep into his torso, and he spit out blood as Marion bit into his throat, cleanly separating his head from his body.
The last thing he saw was Marion licking his lips and letting out a howl, before indulging int he meat to his feet.
"Sonja... I'm sorry..."
As such, Carl's last moment passed.