Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Immortal Shapeshifter Among Us

Tuesday yowls and howls, shapeshifter lovers.

Here we are already at mid-month. Time certainly isn't slowing any in my universe, despite leaving that superspeed year, 2012.

Today's flash scene got going, and the heroine arrived on the hero's doorstep, but...hey, time ran out, so their story will have to be continued.  


The Immortal Shapeshifter Among Us

"That werewolf ain't the only one in this territory buildin' underground. Preparin' for the worst."

Zephanaiah wrapped his hand around one of his favorite modern rifles, swung it upward, and sighted a target in his personal shooting gallery. In seconds, he'd shot the center hole--about the size of a dime--clean out.

With satisfaction he lowered the weapon onto the gun rack after reloading, and gazed around at his extensive collection of weaponry. Mostly guns, though--from powder shot muskets to specialized guns that used ice bullets.

Truth was, he possessed about every make and model there'd ever been. Another large room held the machinery and materials to manufacture ammunition, a trade he still learned.

Manly pride dictated Zephan take several minutes to scan the walls of his enormous bunker, where he'd mounted the pistols, handguns, derringers, glocks, hunting rifles of every variety, sawed off shotguns, tommy guns--plus the in-the-news, falsely labeled automatic weapons.

Not only that, he owned about a hundred custom-designed sidearms, including his most favorite, a pair of fast-draw, pearl-handled, single-action Colts. One thing Zephan knew for damn certain, he'd never be enslaved again.

Not without one hellacious fight to save himself, and anyone else. After fighting side-by-side with the Thracian gladiator, Spartacus, during the slave uprising, he'd ironically won his freedom by dying first.

He'd been reborn with the stench of death in his nostrils, covered by the slaughtered bodies of his comrades. With madness assailing him, Zephan had believed he'd been taken by the gods to an underworld hell, meant for the souls of rebellious slaves.

He'd wandered about, his throat parched from lack of water. Once he'd slaked his thirst at a village well familiar to him, Zephan had realized he remained among the land of the living.

Thus, his world travels began, mostly battling tyrants, and escaping the pursuit of slavers who knew what he was, one of the immortals. If captured, he'd be forced to breed like an animal, and be repeatedly killed for sport in the gladiatorial arena.

Reminiscent of Zephan's past, battleaxes, spears, and other primitive weapons, along with knives and blades of every type, decorated his bunker walls, as well. A long sturdy table held several enormous, leather-bound tomes.

Inside, he'd recorded the detailed history of each ancient and modern weapon, beyond his personal experiences, that is. Given his constant search for more knowledge, Zephan was always adding to the pages.

He also listed ale recipes, having developed a yen for a goodly brew. When the finest ingredients were used, the naturally transformed grains and herbs were medicinal, and kept muscles on a man.

Zephan slipped his finger along the thin blade of a rapier he'd used during his days in Renaissance Spain. The life of a gentleman had suited him then.

These days his desire for freedom fired through every last particle of him, unrelenting, unceasing. He'd tasted liberty for far too long.

As an American colonist, he'd joined up with the revolutionary army, once the battles had begun in earnest. Later, during the Indian wars, he'd lived with the Apache, and known the freedom of roaming the great open lands as a warrior.

Since then, living on the fringes of society, as what some called a mountain man, suited his solitary nature. And, also suited the creature he shapeshifted into on rare occasions--what some now termed a Manticore.

The lion-dragon-man beast was a cousin to the phoenix, and had originally been genetically designed by the Atlanteans to defeat a race of giants. Somehow, Zephan had inherited genes that not only turned him immortal, but into this odd killer creature.

"I'm one of those damn complicated men they talk about in them romance novels," he groused to himself, since no one was around. And, hellfire, dark humor had gotten him by for centuries now.

With his mountain man buddy, Dead Aim Dane, a puma shifter, sweet on the ranch lady, Stormy, they'd spent less time together, hunting in the backwoods around Talbot's Peak.

He didn't begrudge Dead Aim. But a man got mighty lonely. And with Brandon Wayne always tied down to his ranching business interests, and pleasuring his woman, that gal reporter, Leona Lane... well, he needed to find some new companionship. One of these days.

Zephan strode through a narrow archway, and into the armory he'd setup for the population of the Peak...just in case. He'd gotten the idea from the fact that the government of Switzerland armed their people to the teeth, had redoubts throughout the countryside, and expected the men to be highly trained with weapons. So far, no one had dared invade that tiny country.

Truth was too, Zephan was trying to talk himself into making an appointment with Dante, so they could discuss the protection of their territory. He well knew, the werewolf alpha, his pack, and his crew already patrolled regularly, and had stopped many a takeover attempt by various nefarious forces.

He'd stopped a few himself. On a couple of those occasions, Zephan had been on the same page as Dugger, the dingo shifter, and his warrior woman, Symone. They'd fought in concert with each other, ridding the Peak of invading enemies.

'Course, many of the shapeshifters and supernaturals likely figured with their superior abilities a weapons cache wasn't all that necessary for survival. But, Zephan begged to differ.

Besides, a free man, a free woman for that matter, was always armed. Or, guaranteed, at some point down the road of history, they wouldn't remain free from the slavers who still operated in secret, and ruled by corrupting officials.

With that in mind, Zephan surveyed his stockpile of simple, easy-to-use guns and rifles, all of them in pristine condition. He'd even considered opening a shooting range with training classes. Although, he doubted that idea's time had come.

With a harumph and a growl of frustration, he pivoted on his booted heel, heading toward the ramp that led to his humble abode above ground. He knew why the moment he stepped a foot inside.

Someone timidly rapped on his front door. While he hadn't heard the sound, his gut knew. A man, even as an immortal, didn't live free this long without relying on his gut instincts.

Who would be roaming 'round the back country as darkness settled over the snow-covered land, and the temperature fell like a rock--or fell like a boulder tossed by Odin himself...well, Zephan had to wonder.

As he strode over his stone floor, he sensed the woman begin to turn away. Not wanting man nor beast, and especially not a woman, left out in the brutal cold, he hurriedly jerked open his roughhewn door.

"Ma'am, can I help you?"

At least, she was dressed for the weather, with her face mostly covered. Her gaze met his, and Zephan fell into the dark intriguing pools that were her eyes.

"I...I think I'm lost. I...do you have a phone? The signal isn't..."



~ Have a Magickal and Miraculous New Year ~ 


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~


Serena Shay said...

Ooh looks like Zephan has quite a long past to share. Maybe the lovely woman at the door is a Historian! :)

Pat C. said...

Or a romance novelist.

Or an enemy spy? Seems odd that a solitary mountain man with a massive weapons cache and a fierce desire for freedom (and maybe a need to stay hidden?) would have a home base so easily accessible that a stranger can just walk right up to the door. Unless I mis-read and she's been wandering around in the woods for a while? In which case, imagine if she passed out right on his doorstep ... intentionally or otherwise. There are so many neat directions this could go in!

Pat C. said...

Slightly off-topic: ever see the movie "Tremors"? Michael Gross (from "Family Ties") and Reba McIntyre (!) play a survivalist couple. You accurately described their basement "playroom."

Savanna Kougar said...

Ah, a historian, now that could be 'really' interesting, especially is she follows the establishment party line.

Savanna Kougar said...

Well, given our heroine was dressed for the weather and riding a snowmobile [comes later in the already written part of the story, I just cut it off at where she's asking for a phone] ...well, how accessible are off the beaten path places these days? She didn't stroll up to his front door, and say 'hey, neighbor, I'm out of sugar'. ~grins~

No, I never saw that movie, Tremors... just heard about it. I just let my imagination do the work, as far as the character of the hero, and what he's been through.

But, yeah, lots of intriguing places to go with Zephan and his heroine's story. ~smiles~

Pat C. said...

Bet she gets a heap of sugar anyway. ;)

Savanna Kougar said...

She just might... we'll see... ~smiles~