King Pellinore dismounted his horse because he felt that the questing beast was nearby. He literally felt it. Pelias did not know how or why, but the creature somehow gave off this sensation, a sick feeling combined with the sensation of being covered in slime, whenever it was near. And that was exactly what Pellinore felt now. This wasn't the first time he had been close to the beast. He prayed, as he always did, that this time would be the last. It never was, but usually he only knew the beast had been in a place by it's grisly leavings long after it was gone. The mutilated corpse of animals or the occasional person was its usual calling card. But Pellinore had gotten close enough to see it before and he knew he was likely to see it again. He hoped against hope that this would be the last time.
The so-called questing beast was his family curse. The story he and his family would tell to others was that it was a family quest, passed down from father to son, to capture or kill it. But the true reason was that some ancestor had used foul magics to call the thing here, from where Pellinore did not know, and every generation felt it there responsibilty to send the foul thing back. So far, none had succeeded and many people had died painfully as a result. It had an appetite for human flesh
Lots of men would tell you that when they first started getting involved in something weird, they had a bad feeling. Something gnawing at the pit of their stomach telling them to stay away. A feeling they ignored. I think those men are liars. When I first picked up the bounty to haul in the Largo brothers, I never once suspected this would be the job that would open my eyes to the existence of things I never dreamed were true. There was no gnawing in the pit of my stomach, no prickling of the hairs on the back of my neck, nothing of the kind. But that was the case that first got me the reputation as the man to hire when a case came up that had undertones of the supernatural. And I went into it thinking it was no different than any of the other horse thieves and murderers I had spent my time tracking down since the end of the war.
Larry Wilkins was in jail…again. The cop shoved him into his cell roughly and Larry let out a squealing “HWEEE HWEEE HWEEE”, like he always did when he got stressed out or angry. A skinny Mexican dude in the cell across from him heard it and found it hilarious.
“I’ll…HWEEE….I’ll kick your ass Fucker! HWEEE HWEEEE HWEEEE HWEEEE” Larry yelled. This only had the effect of making the guy laugh more.
And this was why he was in jail in the first place. He had been at a bar and his “Swine Tourette’s” as he called it kicked in. Someone started doing the bit from Deliverance, “Squeal like a pig, boy, squeal like a pig” and thought himself quite funny. Until Larry headbutted him in the chest, which became a fight, then cops, then here.
At least he had the cell to himself this time. He couldn’t get into any more trouble. And if he let out an occasional squeal, no one to laugh. His solitude only lasted a few hours though, until a well-dressed man entered the cell. It looked to Larry like Ming the Merciless had donned a business suit and carried a briefcase, the man had a bald head and a hawk like face with a pencil thin moustache. He simply said “I got you released on your own recognizance. Let’s go.” The man enunciated every syllable and sounded almost and sounded almost bored.
“Who are you?” Larry asked, then let out a little grunt.
“Your lawyer, let’s go” the man said.
“Let’s go. We can discuss this over coffee.”
They walked to a nearby Denny’s. Every attempt at conversation was squelched until they sat down and Larry said “I can’t pay you. And I hope this isn’t some weird sex thing because...” He trailed off because the bald man was fixing him with an annoyed stare. Larry just trailed off into a quiet “Condescending prick”
“I didn’t ask you to pay me. I am here to make you an offer. That you were in jail when I made this decision is purely coincidence, I assure you”, the bald man said before ordering a breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage and ham and instructing Larry to order whatever he wanted, which was just coffee.
“What kind of offer?” Larry was eying him suspiciously while making soft little grunts and twitching his right leg. Things he did when he was nervous.
“I can help you. Your Tourette’s. Your temper. It’s all connected you see. And I can make it go away.”, the man said without his face betraying a hint of emotion.
“Okay, now I know you are bulshitting me. Doctor’s said they can’t cure it. They can give me meds, but I don’t like the side effects. I don’t like….HWEEE…Fuckers like you…..HWEEEEE….Yanking my fucking chain!”, Larry slammed his coffee down and noticed that the everyone else was looking at them before sullenly quieting down and talking in an angry whisper “And what the fuck do you mean about my temper, asshole? I don’t have a temper, just no patience for fuckfaces like you.”
“I am not a doctor. But I can still help you. Here.” The man said while he fumbled around in the briefcase, before pulling out a vial of a silvery liquid. “Drink this.”
“Fuck you” Larry said
“I assure you it won’t harm you. Why would I want to harm you. Just drink it, if it doesn’t do what I say Then finish your coffee, go home and our business is concluded. If it does, then hear me out.”
Larry took it and drank. Seconds later the bald man said in a venomous tone “Now, you stupid loser, squeal like a pig for me.”, then he flicked a sugar packet into Larry’s face.
Larry was immediately surprised, the Deliverance thing was his pet peeve. One of his many berserk buttons. So was being called a loser. But he didn’t feel anything. No rush of temper, no involuntary squeal. Just puzzlement at why this strange man was acting that way.
“I rest my case” the man said, “The vial I gave you should only work for a minute or two, just enough to demonstrate my point. But, if we can agree to terms, I can cure you permanently.”
“And just what do I gotta do for this cure, suck your dick?” Larry asked, “I already told you I don’t have money”
“Nothing so pedestrian, Larry. It’s simple. I want you to kill a man.”
“This is where I make it easy for you. Anyone you want. The man you were fighting with. Find a child molester. Some stranger. Doesn’t matter to me.” The bald man slid Larry a phone, just call me when it’s done. My number is the only one on that phone. As long as you aren’t so stupid as to do it, say, in the middle of a police station or something, I can help you avoid being caught. And I will give you a far larger dose of the cure. One that should remove your affliction for the rest of your life.”
Larry looked at the phone as the waitress brought the man’s breakfast. “Just keep the phone. Think about it. But don’t think too long…” The man said while making a shooing motion indicating that it was time for Larry to leave. And, getting away from this crazy asshole who was going to get him put in prison seemed like a very good idea.
Days passed and Larry put the strange encounter with the bald man out of his mind. He kept the cell phone, it never rand and there was indeed only one number on it. But otherwise, he just considered it the weird capper to a bad night. A week after the strange encounter, Larry did what he usually did on Fridays, went to a bar to have a few drinks.
He was just starting to nurse his second beer, by himself in his favorite secluded corner of his favorite quiet bar when he heard a familiar voice.
“Got a squeal for me piggy? Oink oink?” it was the redneck asshole who he had gotten into it with last weekend. And he was busting himself up laughing.
Larry tried to ignore him but that never worked. He could feel rage rising in him as he got up. Simultaneously, he let out a string of squeals at the same time. This caused the redneck to laugh even harder. “I knew you had it in you, Piggy. That’s a good piggy. Squeal for me some more…”
Whatever he intended to say after that was interrupted by the 250 lb bulk of Larry Wilkins shoulder smashing him into a wall. And then, just like the previous week, a fight ensued. Larry squealed and honked as he pounded on the redneck. Apparently, the body check had knocked the wind out of the guy, people were trying to pull Larry off but adrenaline and rage took over. The Redneck pulled a knife, but Larry twisted it out of his hand. Took hold of it and stabbed the redneck 17 times. Everyone backed up and before anyone else could react, he was out the door.
Larry paused in a filthy alley, and without even thinking about it, he reached into his pocket where the bald man’s cell phone lay. He didn’t mean to kill the man? Had he? He wasn’t sure himself. A part of him felt relieved that he could now get the cure. He dialed the number and before he could say anything he heard the bald man’s voice say “You did it. Excellent. I will be right there. And no more than a minute later, a black SUV rolled up to the alley and the door opened. “Get in” said the bald man’s voice from within.
Larry got in and the bald man tossed him a clear sports bottle, filled with the same silvery liquid from the week before. “You earned it. Drink up.”
Larry looked at the bottle. Remembered how much pain his condition brought him. How it had just culminated in a man’s death. What he didn’t notice was that he was transforming. Growing wiry hair all over his body. Growing tusks. He chugged it. And calm overcame him, just calm. He had no fear, no anger, nothing.
“Feeling Good, Piggy? How about a squeal?” The bald man turned and said. He then stabbed a small knife into Larry’s bicep and then licked off the blood after he withdrew it. Larry felt the pain, but he couldn’t bring himself to react. Not so much as a yelp or a squeal.
“You know, I was beginning to think you would never do it.” The bald man said as he drove, “You are a wereboar. That’s your Tourette’s. That’s your temper. When you killed that man, you fully embraced your nature.”
Larry just nodded, numb, blissful. It made sense but he didn’t care
“My kind finds your kind far too delicious for that. So now, I have given you your form and taken your will. Oh, and I just realized how rude I was since we met. I never gave you my name. My name is Mr. Wolf.” and face was already changing into a furry grey muzzle.