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 Home (?) at last

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Posts : 526
Join date : 2013-09-02
Location : Nacogdoches, TX

PostSubject: Home (?) at last   Sat 07 Sep 2013, 19:04

Zoe traveled along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico until she reached the town of Sabine.  She assumed the easiest place to find food, water, and shelter would be along the water’s edge.  She made a point not to spend much time in any one town, however, as she did not want to risk an unexpected transformation and more unintended killings.  After a graciously uneventful night in Sabine, Zoe followed the shoreline of Sabine Lake north to the Naches River, which she was told would take her to Nacogdoches.  

About an hour north of Angelina, Zoe found herself ravenous with hunger.  She had devoured her provisions on the first day of her journey and was afraid to venture into town for more, lest a word ill spoken might trigger a homicidal reaction.  She was beginning to reconsider heading back to Angelina when slight movement caught her eye.  

A large white-tailed buck stood grazing just on the other side of the river.  The sun, setting low in the sky behind her, had allowed her to presence to go unnoticed by the creature.  The feeling of hunger grew strong in the pit of her stomach, but she was no hunter and would have no clue what to do with the animal even if she succeeded in killing it.  

As it had a few nights before, instinct took over and shifted Zoe into her bestial form again.  The sound of the transformation drew the attention of the roaming deer, which stood frozen for just a moment before fleeing the bank of the river.  Zoe closed the gap between her and the deer with ease.  As she made her final leap to tear into flesh and satisfy her hunger, she was tackled from the side by an unseen assailant.  

She rolled to her feet and came face-to-face with a large half-wolf/half-man, which she assumed looked a lot like her, though she had not actually seen her transformed form.  Though deep growls rumbled from the throat of her assailant, he made no move to attack her further.  His body language seemed to suggest he was protecting his territory.  She let out a growl that came out more as a desperate plea for help than the intimidating snarl she had intended to release.  

He took a few steps forward, forcing her back the way she had come.  He was soon joined by three others of varying colors and similar sizes, all of whom seemed intent on running her out of the area.  Though she had been no match for three humans, she knew that this fight would not end well for her.  The first wolf, growing impatient with her slow progress, lunged in her direction.  She yelped and bounded back across the river, which must have been a dividing line because the wolves did not pursue her across.  Content that she was not returning, the four wolves turned their backs to the river and ran off, likely in search of the buck she had almost caught.  

The thought of the buck brought the hunger pangs back with a vengeance, but her recent altercation had likely dispersed all potential game in the area.  She resumed her human form and put on the spare clothing O’Toole had packed in her satchel.  

I’m going to have to figure out a way to stop trashing my clothing.  I can’t afford to keep buying new things.

Zoe stumbled into Nacogdoches well after dark.  Though nighttime travel was ill advised, she assumed that she could handle any danger that may come her way.  One of the local saloons still bustled with patrons at this late hour, and Zoe mustered her strength and walked through the swinging doors, heading straight to the bar.  

“Water, please, sir, and something to eat.  Anything really, I’m not picky, just hungry.”

The mustachioed bartender grunted a response and mumbled something about not being a chef.  He placed a glass of water, some stale bread, and what she assumed was some sort of meat in front of her.  She immediately snatched up the bread and began devouring it along with the leathery meat.  

A middle-aged woman appeared from the storeroom behind the bar.  She froze when she laid eyes on Zoe, but Zoe was so engulfed in her meal that she did not notice the reaction.  

“Ain’t you a bit young to be here at such an hour, Miss?”

Zoe looked up from her cleaned plate, realizing the woman was speaking to her.  

“I’m sorry, ma’am.  I just got into town and was terribly hungry because I ran out of rations on my way here from Galveston.”

The woman’s eyes softened ever so slightly as she raised a quizzical brow.    

“You got a place to stay, hun?”

“No, ma’am.  I’m honestly not even sure what I’m doing here.”

“Robert, lock up when you’re done.  I’m headed home.”

Robert grunted his affirmation from behind the bar as he served another drink.  The woman gestured to Zoe, who picked up her satchel and followed her out the door.  They climbed into a waiting buggy, and the two rode in silence for a moment before introductions were made.  

“I’m Harriet Rogers and that there was my saloon.  My husband, may he rest in peace, bought this place a few years ago and converted it from a stone house into the fine establishment that it is today.  And what might your name be, Miss?”

Though more wary of strangers since her transformation, Harriet seemed harmless enough and Zoe desperately needed a place to rest.  

“My name is Zoe.  Zoe Kostas… I think.”

Harriet nodded knowingly and smiled.  “Pleasure to meet you, Miss Kostas… you think.”

Zoe and Harriet arrived at a medium-sized house just outside of town.  A few further pleasantries were exchanged as Harriet showed Zoe to the spare bedroom.  

“Thank you very much, Ms. Rogers, for your kindness to a stranger.  I will most certainly repay you when I can.”

“Never you mind, hun.  It’s the least I can do.  And please, call me Harriet.  Get some sleep now.  I have a feeling you may have a long day ahead of you.”

"If tomorrow is anything like the last week, your feeling is spot on. Good night, Harriet."
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