A Wolf In the Fold, Part Two

From the Story Arc: He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

Previous Story in the Arc: A Wolf In the Fold by Heavy Brother (Wednesday, July 20, 2005)

(posted Wednesday, July 27, 2005)

Women.

To the Brother, they represented life, hope, the future. Every woman he’d held in his arms, whose skin pressed against his in a moment of passion, received a measure of his love for the human race. One day we will win; sex was an affirmation of this idealism. The revolution began at home, in bed, between a man and woman, a celebration of the freedom to move, to breathe, to think.

As a man, a Brother, he hoped some day to find a woman with whom that revolution was ongoing. She would reach inside his soul to pull out his deepest beliefs and hold them up to the sun as if they were an infant conceived. It was love; it was duty; it was a connection to the reason God made humanity.

Why, then, had he allowed his duty as a hero of his people to stave off such an important part of life? He’d made love to hundreds of women, of all nationalities. African-American, White, Japanese, Hispanic, Russian, Australian, French, even an alien. Every time he woke in the morning with the need to grow something real in his heart assuaged for a time. And this was how he believed his life was to be lived.

Death, slavering jaws and bloody fur, the Wolf, bore down on him. His life had reached the end, a violent death, though hardly a common one. Eaten by a werewolf! No shame there. He’d saved children’s lives.

“Show me what you got, you big ugly sucker,” he growled at the beast. He pushed his fear aside with anger and defiance, as he always had.

The Warwolf licked his chops. Hot breath raked the Brother’s face. A sound emitted from the beast, a wordless cry of triumph and consummation. Heavy Brother made one last effort to move, to find strands of gravity to harness, to no avail.

It lunged at his head. He closed his eyes.

He heard a metallic clank and yelp. Something metal landed near his shoulder: a rebar, rusted and coated with concrete dust.

“Get away from him!” Gaia’s Soldier stood in the hole in the wall he’d created. She hoisted another rebar like a spear.

The Wolf’s weight shifted as it turned its body to look at her. Still pinned, Heavy Brother found he could move his hand…and reach the rebar she’d hurled at the creature’s head.

“More…” It said. “Good, good.”

Heavy Brother caught his breath for the first time. Even without his gravity boost, he was a powerful man. Without hesitation he slammed the rebar blunt end first into the soft underside of the Wolf’s muzzle. Blood splashed over him as it penetrated through to its tongue.

It howled in agony and rage.

Gaia’s Soldier took a single step and launched a flying kick at its head. It fended her away with a muscular arm; she landed on all fours and snapped to a defensive stance. Pain had obliterated the thing’s tenuous grasp on sentience. It operated on sheer instinct, clawing at the rebar. Heavy Brother thrust it deeper into its jaw, until it was ripped from his hands, half of its three foot length protruding out of the Wolf’s maw.

Heavy Brother rolled to his feet, chest burning with pain. Able to breathe again, he took a deep gulp of sooty air. His head snapped around to the boiler, set into the wall. A small iron door showed orange flame through the grate.

“Aura!” He gestured towards the boiler. “Keep it off balance.”

She somersaulted through the Warwolf’s legs and spun, catching it in mid-stride. It staggered and fought to regain its balance. Heavy Brother danced past it to open the boiler door. Hot air singed his face. The roar of the flame drowned out the beast’s howls.

“Keep it up, baby,” he said.

Gaia’s Soldier dodged a powerful claw swipe. Her foot found its knee joint just as it placed its weight on the other foot. It stumbled towards Heavy Brother.

Still no gravity strands, but he knew what he had to do. He bolted forward into the flurry of claws and fangs and fur and blood, fighting down the urge to flee and take Aura with him. His hands found the rebar; he pressed his weight against the Wolf’s, an embrace both intimate and terrifying, so close he could hear the creature’s racing heartbeat. Twisting, he pulled the head of the Warwolf forward into the boiler door, rebar end first. Its momentum carried its massive bulk forward, unstoppable; hairy shoulders collided with the sides of the opening.

The smell of burning fur and flesh turned his stomach. It spasmed in agony.

Moving quickly, he pushed the upper end of the rebar through the door, using all his strength to guide the thing’s thrashing. For a moment it seemed it would free itself; then it threw its head forward too far, and the rebar jammed itself against the inside wall of the boiler. The Wolf tried to pull its head out of the boiler, but the intense heat had already weakened it; within a span of seconds, its brain boiled.

Yet it still did not die. A final tug tore its jawbone loose. It staggered back into the room, head a burning, bloody, gutted mess. Claws flailed wildly around it.

“Sheeeit,” Heavy Brother said, wrinkling his mouth in disgust.

“Oh God, Anthony, just kill it,” Aura said, holding her nose.

“Hell, I don’t know how.” He looked around for a shovel or an axe.

The creature howled, forlorn and dying in pain. The sound gave Heavy Brother a shiver.

A slender shape appeared framed in the hole. “Aiyah! What is going on?” People’s Blade, wearing shorts and a pink Hello Kitty tee shirt, stepped inside. Her drawn sword seemed incongruous, as if she’d been unable to find a suitable carving knife for a picnic.

“Damn, my sister, I am glad to see you. The situation is…mostly under control.” His breath came in short gasps now. “Could I borrow your sword for a minute?”

People’s Blade shook her head. “Only I can wield it. Shall I put this thing out of its misery?”

“Please, Commissar,” Aura said.

The Chinese woman tugged at her tee shirt with distaste. She circled the flailing Wolf, watching for an opening. “It will be messy. I don’t want to get bloody.”

“I’m sorry, sugar,” Heavy Brother said. “It’s hard to avoid.”

People’s Blade’s sharp eyes measured the scene with utter precision. She approached her victim as a surgeon would a wound. Ducking under a paw, she sliced its Achilles tendon. It fell over. She skipped over the head, seeming to let the blade dangle from her hand. As she stepped to the side, the creature’s head fell off. The body twitched and was still.

Not a drop of blood had touched her shirt.

She carefully flicked the remaining blood off her blade and sheathed it. “You appear injured,” she said to Heavy Brother, concern in her eyes. “If I had known this was a Warwolf, I would not have let you engage it alone.”

“I wasn’t alone,” he said, looking to Aura. She smiled at him, then looked away.

“Well,” People’s Blade said. “I am afraid you are most unsuited to the next task, in your present condition.” She stepped back through the hole in the wall. “Calming the children down. You would give them further nightmares, with all that blood. Please see Social Medicine at once; she awaits you outside.”

Aura slid an arm under his shoulders; he was grateful for the support.

“Also,” People’s Blade said from the echoing hallway, “I would like to read in your report your explanation for cooking the Warwolf. It is a most curious way to fight crime.” She smiled at him, then trotted off.

Aura wiped some of the blood from his face. “Anthony, you are a mess. Why didn’t you wait for us?”

“There was no time.” They made their way out of the basement, stepping over debris. Upstairs, Fei Li crouched among the children, telling them of the defeat of the Wolf with animated gestures. She smiled at them with a reassuring confidence, as if it were all a bad dream. They wiped their tears as they watched her, taking comfort in the pretty little lady, not noticing the sword tucked into her belt.

Heavy Brother and Gaia’s Soldier took a side exit. In the fluorescent light, his wounds looked horrific. He would have indeed frightened the already traumatized children. Aura’s touch was firm and gentle, her expression determined. In his haze of pain, he couldn’t help but notice her beauty. It would ordinarily have shamed him to be rescued by a woman, even a strong sister. Yet today, he felt…what was it?

Pride.