Hunger. Pain. Food. Must have food! "Food," new Rocketman Story. Not all monsters are made that way! Some will stay that way no matter what!
"A Rocketman Story"
By John Pirillo
The thought was like a hammer on its stomach and its mind.
It raised its snout and sniffed the air, drawing in the cold scents and the warm ones. The warm one was sweet like the food it loved to eat the most. Its tongue swept across its sharp fangs, which began to wet in anticipation of a fresh meal.
It leaped to the top off a rock about fifteen feet high and clung to it like a spider, its clawed hands holding it firmly in place. It sniffed again.
The scent jerked its eyes towards the horizon. It couldn't see anything clearly. But every once in awhile it seemed as if something glowed against the ground over the gulley that ran down from the mountain and to its side.
The thought drove it mad with frenzy. It was starving. It had eaten its full a month ago and lain in a kind of deep coma filled with strange memories and faces...small faces...ones it should have felt something for...something besides hunger. But it couldn't remember them that well anymore and the thought of food overwhelmed its memories and drove it in a great leap from the boulder it clung to.
It drove towards the wide, surging flood of water.
The fire crackled warmly in the bowl of rocks and dirt they had piled together in the deep gulley that lay at the foot of Rishikesh, deep in the heart of the Himalayas. The Ganges spun its surging song of joy happily as it crashed and splashed over the shoreline and boulders strew in its path to the sea. The stars were like sharp pricks of light ripped through a velvet cloth in the sky. The moon hung over the nearest mountains like a Guardian Angel keeping its babies safe. The high embankment that ran into their gulley kept the light smoke and flickering fire safe from the eyes of any passersby's.
And there could be some. But not the kind you would want to welcome with open arms. Unless you wanted your neck shredded and your heart torn out. That's what happened to the careless here. Hearts sold for extremely high prices in the Black Market of Delhi.
Harry felt a great sadness descend over him as he thought back to the old days when he and his best buddy, Jim, would hike these ranges, looking for challenges. They weren't mountaineers, or rock climbers, just very young kids happy to explore regions that were forbidden to them. Both their parents would have been horrified to know what they were doing, risking every day. But such is the folly of youth that never dwells on death and dying, and thinks it's immortal and above danger.
"Yeah, Harry." Jet answered drowsily from a blanket on the opposite side of the fire. "Do you ever miss the good old days?"
"Since when were they ever so good for me?" Jet asked, his voice steeped with fatigue, but also a latent anger.
Harry looked at his friend. "That bad?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
Harry waited. Jet always wanted to talk about it.
Jet rolled over, propped his head on his hand, and then looked through the fire at Harry. "My school teacher beat me for looking at a white girl. My father beat me for me getting caught looking at a white school girl, and my mother disowned me for looking at a white school girl. I was damned and kadoodled by everyone."
Harry grinned. "Was it worth it?"
"Hell no!" Jet cursed. "I nearly got away with it, but Mister Kinder, my teacher, caught me again. I darned near got hung when he brought me to the Principal. Both of us didn't know he was the head of the KKK back then."
Harry stiffened. "That bad?"
"Yeah. Harry, that bad." Jet rolled over onto his back, his thoughts reliving those years. "Black kids got a burden on them by just being born. You wouldn't know anything about that."
Harry nodded. "Maybe. But being Catholic has sure got my ass kicked a lot of times by those who hate us."
Jet rolled over to look at Harry. "That bad?"
Harry nodded. "But I'm sure that getting beat up every day after school for being Catholic, spit on by grown-ups when you passed them on the way home, and having cops throw you in jail for looking at them cross-eyed. I suppose that's not as bad as what you've gone through."
"Nope. Nowhere close."And that was the end of the conversation.
Harry lay down. The Rocket suit was a new model. It laid to his right. Jet had one too. They were testing them out. So Harry had suggested a long flight. To India. Jet had smacked the ceiling at first, telling him that they might get eaten alive by Abominable Snow Men. Harry had laughed. "There are no such things."
Jet shook his head. "Harry, maybe not in your timeline, but this one..."
Harry felt a cold shiver run up and down his spine. He was afraid to ask, but he did anyway. "How?"
"One of the first things Hitler did...after blowing up half the world's capitals with nuclear bombs was to experiment."
"Yeah. Lots of experiments. That's how the Sturmgiganten got born. Genetic manipulation and a few other...more gruesome things."
Jet sighed, throwing an arm over is eyes as he remembered.
"One village my team was sent to clean out, had a whole pen filled with werewolves."
Harry sat back up. "You're kidding? There's no such things!"
"Timeline...yeah, I know. But werewolves?"
"Harry, you got a lot of catching up to do."
Harry lay back down. "Jet."
"Do you think we're actually making a difference?"
"You mean by blowing up all those arms depots and destroying Sturmgiganten?"
Jet sighed. "I just don't know anymore. Ever since you brought me out of that hellhole of a life I had been stuck in, I've given that thought a mangling in my mind almost every day."
"We're only two people, Harry."
Harry was silent.
They both fell silent and the warmth of the fire and flickering of the flames sent them into a deep sleep.
Harry fell into a world of has beens and might have beens. He saw a nurse, whose name he couldn't remember, but who he needed to find again so badly that his heart was breaking, and then she would vanish and he'd find himself struggling in the arms of this gigantic soldier, whose face resembled a gorilla's, but with pointed teeth and eyes sparkling with intelligence driven mad by pain and disfigurement.
He woke up with a start.
"Jet, wake up!"
Jet leaped to his feet, reaching for his service weapon, which he had left on the ground. He dove for it the same time as something huge leaped from above and landed where Harry had been lying.
Harry spun around and drop kicked the beast in its chest, tumbling it head over heels, nearly into the surging waters of the Ganges which would most likely have sucked it down to its death, but the creature was quicker, more nimble than that. It landed on its toes and sprung at Harry, claws reaching out for his throat.
Jet's weapon sent a single bullet into the chest of the beast. It fell to the ground and lay there. It didn't move.
Jet and Harry stepped near it, but not to near.
"It's one of those damn hybrids!" Jet cursed, raising its gun to fire again.
Harry gently rolled over the creature. It had a woman's face, but her face was distorted, skin pulled back into the snout of a wolf. "Damn!"
"Double that." Jet snapped.
"She might have been a looker once."
"Not any more. I wouldn't date her if you paid me." Jet cursed.
Harry looked at her skin. He felt it. "She's starving."
"How can you tell?"
Her skin is loose. No fat. Probably lost most of her muscle."
"This probably saved our butts."
"What do you mean, maybe?"
"Just..." Harry didn't like what he did next, but he was going on a hunch. Something flashed across his memory. A face peering into his. "Should we kill it?" The face asked.
"No. It's not a threat. It only appears to be."
"But it's our enemy."
"Haven't we killed enough in this war?" The voice had asked.
Harry had survived, brought back to life and succored b the rebels who had survived Hitler's devastating nuclear blow against the world. Everyone mistrusted him at first, but in time they came to know him better, and when they realized he was fighting for the same cause, they became friends.
Harry looked to Jet. "Help me tie her hands behind her back. Quickly."
"She's not dead?"
"Hell, Jet, you know you're the worst shot I've ever known."
"Saved your butt enough times."
But Jet helped him truss her up and sit her up against a rock. Harry went to the Ganges and soaked a hanky in the water, then came back and gently pressed it to her forehead, then her cheeks and her throat.
She made a low growling moan and her eyes flickered open. Then she tried to claw him, except her hands were tied behind her and around the rock she sat against. She struggled a long time, but both men said nothing and waited.
Finally, she settled. Harry held up a stick of jerky. "Hungry?"
The she creature's nose sniffed the air and she went wild again.
Harry waited. She settled down again. Harry came closer. "You behave and it's yours."
She looked into his eyes and they narrowed a moment, then she relaxed. He nodded. "Good." He pressed the jerky towards her mouth and she nearly took his hand off too. He let go and she ravaged the jerky, swallowing it in seconds.
She growled at him, and then sniffed the air, looking around.
"Damnit, Harry, you might be onto something."
Harry got out a bigger piece of jerky. "A bit at a time and I'll let you have even more."
The she creature considered him a long time, as if weighing whether to eat his hand or the jerky, then she nodded her head slightly.
"Damn!" Jet cursed. "She has some brains left after all."
The she creature howled at Jet and he dropped back. "No offense, lady. But I'm not used to good looking dolls trying me out for a muffin meal."
The she creature looked back at Harry and he slowly eased the longer jerky towards her. She didn't try to snap at his hand this time. She nibbled on it, and he pushed it gently all the way into her mouth. When she was through, he repeated the process.
"Yeah. I know." He sighed. "Ante up!"
Jet grabbed his own jerky and tossed it to Harry and continued to feed the she creature. Her eyes lost some of their ferocity and her snarls lessened, and finally her head drooped forward. She began to make light dog sounding snores.
Harry picked up his rocket suit. Jet did his.
Harry dumped all their food at the foot of the she creature. Jet did the same.
"It's going to be a long empty stomach home, Harry."
"Yeah. Ain't it always, pal?" Harry asked with a smile.
They went behind the rock and loosened the rope.
"She'll be outta that in ten." Jet said.
"And we're outta here in five."
Harry threw on his rocket suit, adjusted his helmet as Jet did the same and they ran for the Ganges. They leaped into the air. Their feet barely touched the waters before they were airborne and roaring into the air.
The she creature's eyes snapped open on the sound and she growled angrily, and then noticed that her arms and hands were loose. She snapped the rope free, and then jumped to her feet. She was about to run after the men, when she felt the food at her feet.
She looked down, confused, surprised. Then her nose got the better of her. She dropped to a squat and began shoving the food into her snout, as her eyes watched the two men arc upwards and then blast across a full moon.
When she was through eating, she threw her head back and howled at the moon, giving thanks to her luck...and maybe, just maybe a little thanks to the men creatures that hadn't really hurt her when they could have.
Puzzled as she thought about it, she shook her snout, and then loped off back into the hills.
Food! She thought. Maybe. Just maybe. Friends!