Jan 08

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Tamer Animals


The wolf takes over Ari for a night, which leads to an awkward morning between her and Dale.

The wolf wanted out.

Throughout the day she fought a feeling of soreness. She was easily irritated, and her joints ached for no real reason. She tried napping on the couch in her office but ended up only tossing and turning until she finally surrendered. She logged off her computer and declared the day was over a few minutes before three. She told Dale she could leave whenever she wanted, but Dale decided to man the phones for a few more hours. She turned away from her desk and switched from employee to girlfriend in the time it took Ari to blink.

“Are you okay? You haven’t been sleeping well the past few nights.”

“I’m fine. I’m just a little logy. I’m going to stay home tonight, okay?”

“Sure.” They kissed goodbye and Dale pinched Ari’s shirt sleeve. “Call me if you need anything, all right?”

Ari nodded and kissed Dale’s forehead before she left. She walked nearly to downtown trying to clear her head, but she couldn’t seem to find her mental balance. Finally she just went home, took a long shower, and crawled into bed. Despite the lethargy that had haunted her all day, she found she couldn’t get to sleep. Her mind, so evasive on her walk, now wouldn’t shut up. She faced the window, she covered her head with a pillow, she played quiet music, but nothing helped.

When she finally drifted off, she dreamt of crawling through the window onto the fire escape. In a dream-like haze, she descended the steel steps to the alley. It was still light out, in her dream, and she could see people on the street. She was wearing underwear and a T-shirt, hardly dressed for a night out, so she retreated deeper into the shadows. She didn’t remember undressing or shifting; in the logic of dreams, she went from bipedal to running down a side street on all fours. She felt the sharpness of gravel against her paws, and she smelled her surroundings with such vibrancy that she was a little taken aback.

Wake up.

She just wanted to take a quick look around her bedroom to reassure herself it was a dream. She rolled her shoulders and flexed her muscles and, when she didn’t feel the blankets moving against her feet, she realized that she hadn’t fallen asleep. Or rather, she had fallen asleep, and the wolf took the opportunity to take over.

Wait, wait.

The wolf ignored her. Ari felt the fog closing in again. The wolf moved across the back lot of a steak restaurant, the wafting odors of garbage washing over her. She could almost see the clouds parting to let her pass, and the wolf shouldered its way between the tall wooden doors of the fortress around a dumpster. Ari let the fog roll over her and–

–bright lights shone in her eyes. She put a hand up, the fingers silhouetted in the spotlights before she realized they were human. She dropped the hand and spun around. She was standing in the middle of a parking lot, naked, and people were shouti–

–trees whipping past her, lungs and heart pumping overtime, breath coming out of her elongated snout like steam from a train as–

–Dale shouting–

–her feet slipping in mud, her right hand shooting out to stop her fall. Rough bark against her palm, tearing the flesh just enough to wake her up. Sweaty, dirty, bloody… apparently she had run through a bramble because her thighs and calves were crisscrossed with long, thin raking marks. “What did you do, you bitch?” Ari muttered.

She looked around, still catching her breath as she tried to determine her location. It took her a moment to realize she was on Azalea Way, and another few seconds to accept she had actually run that far even as the wolf. She was surrounded by birches, using them as cover as she waited for her mind to catch up with her body. She was naked and covered with scratches; anyone stumbling over her would assume the worst when she came stumbling out of the underbrush.

Finally she recalled the location of her nearest stash. She made her way carefully through the park. It was still early, but it was better to be safe than sorry. She paused to make sure the gazebo was empty before she crossed the empty space between the trees and the back of the shelter. A loose panel at the back was easily lifted, and she reached inside to find her duffel bag. She pulled it out, retreated to the woods, and then examined the bag.

Something was wrong.

The bag was only half-zipped. When she explored further, she saw that the baggies holding the clothes had been torn and ripped open. Muddy streaks in the shape of fingers marred most of the contents. There was a clip of money – thirty dollars – and a pre-charged cell phone that hadn’t been touched. As far as she could tell nothing had been taken. She found a pair of green shorts and a white baseball shirt with blue sleeves. She decided to put off the mystery of the rifled-through stash wriggled into them, and flipped open the cell phone to dial Dale’s number.

She paced as she listened to the buzz of the phone ringing. She pushed her hand under the ruffled elastic of her shorts. Her hips felt raw. She rolled her neck and moved in a tight circle. “C’mon, Dale. Wake up.”

“Wow. What was that?”

Ari furrowed her brow and went back through her mind. Running, getting caught outside in human form. Naked. And Dale’s voice. Had the wolf gone to see Dale?

“Come on, Dale. Answer.” Panic began to bubble up in her, and she rested her palm against a tree. “Answer, damn it.”

There was a click, and Ari almost hung up thinking it was the voicemail. “What?”

“Dale? It’s me. I’m in the Arboretum Aqueduct. I think–”

“Take the bus.”

Ari blinked, the clicking of the phone in her ear sounding like a slap. “Dale?” Ari pulled the phone away from her ear and stared at it in disbelief. She thought about calling back, but knew it wouldn’t make her feel any better. She could see her face reflected in the face of the phone, a blurred image that lacked any features.

“What the hell did you do?” she asked.

The wolf didn’t answer.




The bus arrived twelve minutes after the posted schedule said it would, which Ari counted as near-miraculous. She climbed aboard into the vehicle’s false brightness. The sun was coming up, but it was still dark enough outside to make her feel like her squint as she went up the steps. She found a seat near the back and dropped into it.

The bus was only about half full; too early for the rush of commuters and too late for the drunks to be stumbling home. A few people on their way to work glanced at her unusual attire, her scratched legs, and muddy hands but most seemed content to mind their own business. Ari’s exile at the back of the bus was broken when one woman, apparently the self-appointed speaker of the other passengers stood up and made her way back. She sat across the aisle and leaned closer, both so she could whisper and so it would be harder for Ari to ignore her.

“Are you all right, Miss?”

Ari smiled and tried to make it look authentic. “I’m fine, trust me. It’s worse than it looks. Hazing. I’m not allowed to talk about it.” She winked. “Don’t worry, though. I’ll get my revenge on ’em.”

The woman seemed vaguely mollified and returned to her own seat. Ari rested her arm against the window and watched the city pass by. Her mind was still elusive, so she focused on what she knew.

Dale had gone from concern to anger in the space of a few hours. Ari couldn’t remember what happened during those hours, but she did have a vague memory of Dale’s voice. Wait, and her blankets. She closed her eyes and saw a flash of herself pulling back the blankets on Dale’s bed. Was that a recent memory, or just a manufactured creation from all the times she’d done it? Going to bed with Dale still felt new to her, but she couldn’t remember each and every time with perfect recall.

Odds were that whatever she’d done to earn Dale’s scorn, she’d been human when it happened. Dale wouldn’t hold the wolf’s actions against her. But that was even more worrying; the wolf had been in charge while Ari was still in human form? That hadn’t happened before.

Had it?

She remembered all the times she had woken post-transformation. Maybe she had gone from wolf to human, running through the woods on her hands and bare feet, scurrying around like some wild woman. She looked down at her palms. They were streaked with mud and scrapes.

Her stomach lurched. She put an arm across her torso and winced, bending forward slightly as the cramp twisted everything from her sternum to hip. She’d eaten something. Or rather, the wolf had. She looked back to see there was a small lavatory at the back of the bus, and she stood on shaky legs to make her way to it. The woman who had spoken to her earlier looked up with worry. Ari managed a smile.

“All part of the hazing.”

“Are you sure you want to be part of a group who would put you through something like this?”

Ari chuckled ruefully. “I’ve asked myself that a lot, ma’am. Trust me.”

She barely made it to the bathroom before whatever was inside made an appearance. She hit her knees, eyes squeezed shut as she rode through the convulsions. She’d learned a long time ago that no good came from looking. When she was through, she reached up and closed the lid, resting her arm across it as she flushed with the other hand.

“Ari? Hey… hey, wait a minute! Come back here. Where are you going?”

Her shoulder bumped the wall and she grunted as she corrected her trajectory. She heard pursuit (Dale’s feet hitting the floor) and instinct took over. She ran.

She washed her hands in the little sink crammed in next to the toilet. She splashed her face and ran her fingers through her hair. Whatever had happened with Dale, her body had been present even if her mind wasn’t. So she just had to listen to what her body was telling her about the night. First off, a lot of running. She felt weak and exhausted. Her knees ached. Her hip ached, but differently. She pushed down the waistband of her shorts. The waffle pattern of the elastic had been transferred to the flesh. She used her thumb and forefinger to explore and found an indentation.

What was that from? A belt?

She pulled the strap tight until it bit into her skin, then slid the tongue through the silver loop.

The elastic snapped back against her skin when she let it go, and the slap of it made Ari jump. She still didn’t have the whole picture, but the frames she had… No wonder Dale was pissed off. “Oh, God.”

A knock on the door startled her. “Miss? Is everything okay?”

When had the bus stopped moving? She grabbed two paper towels and blotted the water from her face before she opened the door. The bus driver was standing in front of her, blocking the aisle. Most people were facing forward, but the busybody lady had twisted to show Ari her concerned face. Ari smiled. “I’m fine. I’m just eager to get home. And I’m sure everyone else is eager to get… wherever they’re going. Please, don’t worry about me. I’m fine. I swear, scout’s honor.”

“You understand our concern. You look dazed, you’re covered with mud and scraped all the hell, and your clothes–”

Ari shrugged. “You should see me on a bad night.” He didn’t look amused. “I’m sorry. I’m touched. But whatever Law & Order episode you think is about to begin, I swear, it’s not.” Or if it is, she thought, I’m the one Mariska Hargitay would be handcuffing before the end of the episode. Oooh. No. Focus, Ari. “I don’t know what to say to prove to you I’m not just in denial or being strong about it.”

“We could call whoever set you up to this,” the woman suggested. The bus driver looked irritated at her butting in. “They could confirm it’s just a prank.”

“If I do that, I’ll fail. I’ll just have to do this all over again tomorrow night or next week or…” She sighed and let her shoulders slump. “We’re a mile away from my stop. I’m a mile away from a nice hot shower and a warm bed. Look at me. Don’t you think I could use that better than… well, anywhere else you could take me?”

He hesitated. “You swear you’re fine.”

“I swear. Your conscience is clear.”

“Okay.” He seemed sheepish now. “Sorry for the trouble.”

Ari shook her head. “No, don’t say that. Because the next one might need your help. I don’t want you to hesitate because you’re embarrassed about all this. I’m glad to know someone actually cares enough to make a fuss. But I don’t need to be saved, I promise.”

He finally went back to the front of the bus and Ari took her seat. She rested her head against the window, her brave face slipping as the bus started up again. She didn’t know everything that had happened at Dale’s apartment, but the picture was getting clearer with each passing moment. She could see the elevator, the thankfully empty lobby where no one had seen Ari’s naked arrival.

The building was silent, sleeping. Ari’s footsteps sounded impossibly loud on the carpet. Dale’s door was locked, but Ari knew where the key was hidden. She stopped and took it out from behind the fake molding at the top of the door jamb. Her movements were mechanical, like a stunned animal relying on muscle memory. She stepped inside, closed the door, dropped the key without caring where it landed.

Into the bedroom. Dale, sleeping facedown under the blankets. Ari walked around the foot of the bed and quietly opened the bottom drawer. It was right on top since they had used it over the weekend. Dale had washed it, but she could smell them on the latex. Her nostrils flared as she ran the toy under her nose, looking at Dale under the blankets. Her knees were bent, one hand under the pillow, her hair feathered across her cheek.

Ari didn’t remember putting on the harness. She had a flash of the blankets being pulled away, and then tugging down Dale’s pajama pants. The curve of her bare ass, pink in reality but looking blue in the moonlight coming from the window. Ari climbed onto the bed and Dale finally stirred enough to wake. She inhaled sharply in fear, dropping her head back to the pillow.

“Fuck, Ari, don’t do that. What–”

Ari put a hand on Dale’s shoulder and pushed her down. She grunted, and Ari positioned herself between Dale’s legs.

“Ari, what the hell are–”

She squeezed Dale’s shoulder, pinching it at the curve up to her neck. Dale hissed, “Ahh,” and Ari rubbed the tip of the dildo against her. Ari’s hair hung in front of her face like a thick web, a trellis wrapped in dark vines. She moved her hand to Dale’s hip and roughly pulled her up, forcing Dale’s knees to bend moments before she thrust inside. Dale gasped into the pillow, Ari’s hand still on her shoulder as she began to thrust. She moved her legs to put them on the outside of Dale’s knees, forcing Dale’s thighs together and tightening the grip on the toy. Dale’s rhythmic gasping turned into a moan punctuated by the slap of Ari’s hips against her.

Ari bent forward, snaking her arm around Dale’s waist. She wet her lips and then tilted her head to the side, opening her mouth as far as she could and then biting Dale’s neck. She was gentle, just teasing the flesh with her teeth, strands of Dale’s hair caught on her lips and tongue, but she growled low in her throat as a warning she could bite down at any time. Her hips continued thrusting, and Dale was now rising to meet her. Ari moved her hand from Dale’s shoulder – no need to hold her down now – and cupped her mound. She touched Dale’s clit, and Dale cried out. She pressed down into the mattress and then arched up against Ari, their bodies tight against each other.

She didn’t know how long they spent thrusting against each other. She knew Dale had at least two orgasms, marked by loud keening and pressing her hand flat against the headboard. Ari had a vivid memory of slapping Dale’s ass, rearing her hand back and bringing it down hard, Dale hissing in reaction as she rolled her hips against Ari.

Finally, Ari remembered pulling away from her. She could distinctly hear the ragged breathing in the room, as if all the oxygen had been sucked out. She took off the harness and rose from the bed, swaying as she passed through the door. She remembered Dale calling out to her, getting more and more frustrated until Ari finally opened the door, transformed, and padded down the hall to the stairs. Apparently she’d moved too fast for Dale to keep up.

So from Dale’s perspective, Ari had snuck in, gotten off, and run off without so much as a “thank you ma’am.”

She exhaled and shook her head, looking down at her hands. “Sorry, Dale. I would’ve hung up on me, too.”




At home, she took the long shower and watched the mud and dried blood swirl around her feet and down into the drain. When she felt human again – more than just an expression with a canidae – she toweled off and tended to her wounds. They were all minor, thank goodness, and would most likely heal during the next transformation. She crawled naked into bed and hugged the pillow, reminded again how she had held Dale the night before. She considered calling in to say she’d be coming in late, but a call didn’t seem like it would be welcomed and a text seemed cold. So she left her phone on the charger and drifted off into an uneven sleep.

At noon she woke up and threw on some clothes, a black sleeveless shirt and a pair of jeans. She walked to work to prolong the torture. She felt like a delinquent being sent to the principal’s office to answer for her crimes. There was no way to plead innocent or escape punishment. She had done wrong, and she deserved to be yelled at.

She just hoped she didn’t deserve to be dumped. She and Dale had only just found each other; she hated to think the fucking wolf could get between them the way it had gotten in the middle of so many other relationships.

Dale looked up as Ari came in, shoulders hunched and face pinched. “Hey.”

“Hi.” Dale stood up and unbuckled her pants. Ari frowned as Dale stepped around the edge of the desk and pushed her trousers down. She rested her hands on her chair with the seat of her pink panties aimed at Ari’s face.

“What the hell?”

Dale looked over her shoulder. “What? You were expecting a different position? Well, just manhandle me until I’m right.”

Ari winced. “I guess I deserved that. Look, I want to say that last night– could you pull your pants back up?”

“Yeah. What did happen last night? Because I’m completely stumped, Ari.”

“I’m so sorry, Dale. The wolf went a little insane last night, I think. I went to sleep and it just took over. I woke up in Washington Park with no idea what I had done. You have to know I would never, ever…” Her voice broke. “I wouldn’t treat you that way, Dale.”

Dale pushed away from the desk. “What exactly are you apologizing for?”

A horrible thought occurred. She still only had a foggy, primal recall of what happened. What if it had been someone else entirely and she just assumed the woman was Dale? She let that thought die quickly; the room had been right, she heard Dale’s voice, the harness… She shook her head. “What do you think I’m apologizing for? I came into your room, I-I… took you.”

“Ari…” Dale’s voice softened and she looked down at her feet. “I liked that part.”


“You took me. Anything bad about that scenario is made up for by the fact it was you doing it.” She chuckled and shrugged. “Anyone else, yeah. Over the line. Much too much. But you, I trust. I trust enough to let you do something like that to me. It was raw, it was… amazing. I’ve never come like that before.”

“Oh.” Ari furrowed her brow. “So what am I apologizing for?”

Dale scoffed. “For running out. You just slipped out of bed and… it made me feel cheap. It made the stunning thing we’d just done feel dirty. I should have realized you weren’t yourself. I guess, uh. I guess we both have stuff to apologize for.”

“Yeah. But not the… sex?”

Dale crossed the room and cupped Ari’s face. “The only thing wrong with that kind of sex is that it can’t be planned. Planning takes all the energy out of it. But no, Ari. You don’t have to apologize for that. I loved it.” She kissed the corners of Ari’s mouth. “I’m sorry I made you take the bus. I know how hard that must have been wearing your stash clothes. I was just so angry. If I’d been fully awake I would have known you would never do that to me.”

“Forgiven,” Ari said. She kissed Dale properly, their tongues touching as they leaned against each other. Ari put her arms around Dale. She lifted the hem of Dale’s shirt and tickled the smooth skin just above Dale’s belt.

“I did like that greeting, though. Maybe we’ll make it the new official Bitches Investigations greeting.”

“I’ll stock up on pretty panties.”

“Or throw them all out. That would be a heck of a way to start the day.”

Dale squeezed Ari’s arm and they pulled away from each other. “Big day?”

“A couple of potential clients. I scheduled them for late afternoon because of, well. I figured you’d want to sleep in.”

Ari nodded. “Okay. I’ll go get settled.” She turned to go into her office. As soon as her back was turned, Dale picked something up off the desk. Ari turned on the inside office’s light, and Dale rushed up behind her. Before Ari could turn, Dale had started swatting her rear end with a rolled up magazine.

“Bad dog! Very, very bad dog!”

Ari was too stunned to respond until Dale stopped, straightening her shoulders and then unrolling the magazine. She cleared her throat and held the magazine out to her.

“Oh, and I got the mail.”

“A-anything interesting?” Ari asked as she took the magazine.

Dale shrugged. “The usual.”

Ari reached back and rubbed the seat of her pants. “So are we even now?”

Dale smiled evilly. “We could only get even if we were keeping score. We’re just playing for love of the game.” She winked and headed back to her desk. Ari watched the sway of Dale’s hips, her brain now able to process the entirely appealing image of Dale with her pants down bending over the edge of her desk. There were possibilities there…

Ari went into the office, surprised but not entirely upset by what had happened. She knew that a little bit of rough play wasn’t going to become standard in their relationship, but if they decided to occasionally throw in a spanking or some dirty talk to make things interesting, well…

Maybe she should let the wolf out to play more often.

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