[M] Krampus is coming

p. Calhoun

POSTED: Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:06 pm

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.


no chains on my soul, it's a wild horse running free

Twelve was miserable, and more so than usual.

In addition to her normal insomnia-fueled foul mood, she was now cold; and damn if it wasn’t cold up here, even more so it seemed than it had been in New York. In that wretched city there were at least enough fires and bodies to keep warm, but here there was nothing separating her from the bitter chill of winter.

The skinny coyote woman had always been sickly, due to her lack of proper nutrition as a pup, and so instead of a winter coat coming in thick and warm, she instead looked like a half-molting bird. The only thing keeping her from freezing to death were the clothes she had procured for herself; a deer-pelt suit where the fur had been turned inward, and the leather portion out; it had a hood, which she was so thankful for it almost made her come back to Christ... almost.

She had also wrapped her hands and feet in rabbit fur-lined strips of leather, but it did little to keep her fingers from tingling. Some of this she had fashioned haphazardly for herself, and the rest she had managed to trade for; her personal stash of liquor was now depleted.

It was mid-day when she left the relative comfort of her shop to head to the lake for water, two buckets tied to Orville’s fur saddle. The troughs were freezing over, and so she had to make this trip twice a day to make sure the horses in the stockyard didn’t get dehydrated. The lake was still too large and warm that any serious ice had trouble finding a hold. Usually a couple kicks and fresh water was there for the taking.

The sky was pregnant with snow, but luckily none was falling yet. She and her mule hurried along, going at a brisk pace; the quicker they got this done with, the better.

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POSTED: Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:40 pm

Independence was a marvelous thing.

That wasn't to say that the five-month-old puppy was truly independent, but Calhoun was trusted with wandering around most of the ganglands, at least. He had no intentions of pushing those boundaries, either. A scaredy-cat and too dumb to be anything but well-intentioned, he heeded his parents' warnings well.

Currently, the boy—in that awkward stage where he was equally gangly and fat, with paws still large enough to stumble over—loped toward the lakeside, dry tongue lolling as he sought to quench his thirst. He’d had a busy morning running around in play, chasing his sisters and coaxing Remy into chasing him, and now he felt utterly fatigued, his chubby flanks heaving and drool speckling his forepaws as he made his way to the water’s edge.

A sheen of ice covered the shallows, and Calhoun tiptoed around the pools in the pebbled beach. He’d been warned about how dangerous ice was, and so he kept as close to solid ground as he can, giving the hard surface a few bats with his paws, eventually giving up and lowering his head to slurp at the moisture that lay on top of the ice, or that melted slowly with his breath.

Hoof-falls stirred his oversized ears, and the tawny puppy lifted his head, spotting a skinny grey Luperci leading her mule to the water. She smelled like clan, though he hadn’t seen her before. Her visage might have frightened another child, but his parents’ faces were crisscrossed with a ruin of scars, and so there was no worry in him as he turned to wag his tail at her.

“Hello ma'am!” Calhoun yapped, his voice a high-pitched thing coming from his ungainly and chubby body. “Could ya help me break the ice? My mama said don’t go too far an’ I don’t wanna fall in but I’m awful thirsty.”

His green eyes stared, wide and round, up at her: hopeful and guileless.
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POSTED: Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:21 pm

no chains on my soul, it's a wild horse running free

Fuck this. Fuck that. Fuck you. Fuck me. It played like a mantra in her head as she trotted along. This was fucking awful, but ever the worker; ever the slave to one thing or another, Twelve would do her duties.

Of course, it was a thankless job; did the others even take a breath to think who might be watering the unclaimed horses? No, she doubted so; just so long as they were not falling dead to the frost, that was all that mattered. Twelve didn’t want any praise anyway, just made sense that she would at least try to save the animals from suffering, even if she could not save herself from it.

Dark thoughts were interrupted by the soft voice of someone she did not immediately recognize. A pudgy, gangly boy, naked as the day he was born and on all fours, coming up to greet her. At first she just stared, trying to place him into the patchwork of her reality, when she realized it was The Burnt Woman and Butter Face’s child, Calhoun. Her mind was immediately shot back in time, to a night shared with good drink and good company, she, Calhoun (the pup’s namesake) and Santiago. They had gotten drunk and tried (and failed) to steal a horse.

Then the memory of Calhoun’s head rolling through the sand.

Twelve realized she had been staring at the boy without saying anything, she probably looked right mad to him. With a grunt, she dismounted the mule, Don’t call me ma’am. I ain’t no ma’am, Butterball. she said as wrapped feet hit frozen ground, I’m busy. You’re big enough, break your own hole.

Twelve undid the buckets from Orville and went to the edge of the water. It was frozen pretty solid around the edges, something she wasn’t expecting; days were getting colder and colder, before long she wouldn’t be able to break a hole at all. Damn she sure did need a furnace.

With some effort, the skinny coyote slammed the heel of her paw into the ice until the surface splintered and split away. She was about to dip her bucket in when she sighed and turned to the pup, Come and get a drink. She commanded.

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POSTED: Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:44 pm

The scarred woman stared at him in silence, and Calhoun stared back with his big round eyes before they dropped submissively. He heard rather than saw her paws touch the earth when she dismounted from her pretty mule, and his ears twitched up when she corrected him. If she wasn’t a ma’am, maybe she was a mister? His tongue lolled around in his mouth, and he chewed on it thoughtfully.

Dismissing him with the insistence that he was big enough to break a hole on his own, the coydog hoisted the buckets and walked ot the shallows. As she began kicking at the ice, Calhoun grimaced down at his own puddle and attempted the same, pouncing on it like he might a mouse in the snow. Unfortunately, while it cracked under his direct attacks, it was all ice — no water to be found beneath the surface, even when he lapped at it hopefully. He picked up a chip of ice in his mouth and tried to crunch it before the woman called to him.

Dropping the frozen shard, Calhoun wagged his tail and padded over to the shallows. “Thank ya kindly,” he said; the polite phrase might have been charming with a baritone drawl and a tip of a cowboy hat, but it sounded ridiculous in his squeaky voice. “Uhh, I dunno what t’ call you if you ain’t no ma’am,” he added, and lowered his head to drink greedily from the shallows, shivering at the cold. “’S good.”
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POSTED: Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:16 pm

no chains on my soul, it's a wild horse running free

He thanked her in a much too adult fashion for his age, and she watched him with raised brow as he waddled over to the hole she had made and drank. What a strange child, she supposed she shouldn’t have expected anything different from Evelyn and Santiago; fucked-up begot fucked-up, and she was proof enough of that.

She remained still until he was done, and then bent down to begin filling up her buckets. The water was icy and hurt her hands something fierce when she touched it… she would have to make a fire later. She hated making fires, she hated doing anything that would give her the comfort she deser-

No, no, she couldn’t think like that. She wouldn’t think like that. Any suffering she endured she deserved and deserved tenfold more than what she received.

Twelve realized Butterball was talking, asking her what to call her if not ma’am, Twelve. She responded, My name’s Twelve; I’m surprised your ma hasn’t warned you about me. She doesn’t think too highly of me I’m sure. She said with little disdain. The Burnt Woman didn’t seem to think too highly of anyone, and even if she did, Twelve could give a shit less if she was not included. She still couldn’t quite believe why any right-minded Luperci would what to birth babes in this kind of landscape.

Once her buckets were full, she began to haul them back to her mule, Don’t drink too fast, she said against gritted teeth, you’ll catch cold.

What the fuck was she doing giving the young boy advice? Maybe the cold was getting to her more than she had thought.

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POSTED: Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:38 pm

224 words

Twelve. Were Calhoun older, he might have questioned the moniker, but the growing child took everything in stride. He was one of the rare few youths that accepted their ignorance and inexperience for what it was, trusting the word of adults as he navigated a world still so new to him. It made him a good, complacent boy, if arguably dim-witted to those who challenged an authority that did wrong by them.

She ain't said nothin' about you, the puppy replied, his brow furrowing. He didn't sense anything dangerous about the woman that would warrant a warning; she belonged to the Ashen, after all, and wasn't some haunting lupine stranger at the borders. 'less she did and I just forgot, he added, licking cold droplets from his whiskers, a motion that grew more nervous as he wondered whether he had forgotten something important. Maybe he would have to ask his mama for a reminder.

He resumed his drinking, coughing a little when water went down the wrong pipe, then wagged his tail and chirped an Okay! when Twelve cautioned him, not even bothering to look up. It wasn't until his thirst was slaked that he looked up, bright-eyed as he studied the mule and the weight it bore.

Where ya goin' with them buckets? D'you need help?

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POSTED: Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:46 pm

no chains on my soul, it's a wild horse running free

The pup said that his mother had not said anything about Twelve, at least, nothing that had stuck enough for his tiny brain to remember. Twelve didn’t quite know how to feel about that; should she be relieved or offended?

She recalled the conversation held between Evelyn and herself months ago, when the two of them had discovered the shop with Twelve now claimed. The former slave had not held back her opinion on puppies to the then very pregnant Escuella, and she was sure that she had prickled that woman’s already burned flesh. Ever since then, the two of them had shared a quiet discomfort between them, a strained relationship that otherwise would have come to blows had they not now been restrained by the decorum required as clan members.

Okay, so she was relieved then, that little Calhoun had not heard about her. Twelve would rather he learn to dislike her for who she was when interacting with him directly rather than have his opinion molded unnaturally based on the words (whether true or untrue) of his mother.

As she mused, she finished filling up both buckets. It was cold enough that the small amount of water that leaked between the wooden slats froze and kept the majority of water housed within the vessels. They would be heavy, and she was weak; still with a grunt she lifted one up with both hands and turned just as Calhoun offered help.

She paused, looking at him wide-eyed again, and then to make her way slowly back to Orville, And who’s gonna help me; you? I’d like to see you try’n lift that other bucket for me. She said. Why did puppies always say such foolish things? Insinuating he could help her… what a dolt.

Getting to her mule’s side, Twelve lifted up the laden pail and began to tie it with straps to secure it. She wished the buckets had some lids, but if she moved Orville slowly, most of the water would remain contained, just so long as she made sure to secure it well to his side. Doing complicated tactile functions such as tying and wrapping straps with pretty much frost-bitten fingers was difficult, and Twelve was becoming more and more irritated by the minute.

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POSTED: Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:29 pm

216 words

The skinny coydog seemed to struggle with the weight of the bucket, which of course meant that Calhoun had no chance to lift one. Given a few months and the onset of puberty that would channel his ample puppy-fat into broad muscle, he would be able to help everybody that he dreamed of helping – but as of now, all that Calhoun could boast were good intentions.

And everyone knew that those were only good for pavement.

He didn't register her reply for the incredulous scoff that it was, only wagged his tail dumbly as he watched her heft the first bucket. As her stiff fingers fiddled with the straps, he glanced at the second pail, full to the brim with frigid water. Calhoun approached, grabbing the handle with his jaws, and simultaneously tugged upward as he took a step, confident that the motion would be smooth, his task effortless.

Instead, the bucket hardly budged, and then it budged altogether too much as his plump, clumsy body stumbled into it.

Water spilled noisily and splashed into the snow, surging back to freeze his paws. He yelped in alarm and pain both, hopping backward and tucking his tail between his legs, his round green eyes lifting to Twelve.

I'm awful sorry! Calhoun exclaimed at once.

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POSTED: Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:00 pm

no chains on my soul, it's a wild horse running free

She would have never dreamed in a thousand years that he would actually think that she was asking for his help, but once again, Twelve had overestimated his intelligence.

The sound of water spilling onto snow made the scarred coyote jerk away from finishing the last tie of the water bucket to see that Calhoun had tipped over the pail and all the life giving liquid she had frozen her fingers over was already gone, absorbed into the snow around it. Butterball knew just as quick as her he had done fucked up good, tucking his tail and looking up with her with larger than life eyes, apologizing profusely.

Blacks lips lifted to revealed vile yellow teeth as Twelve snarled and stomped aggressively over to the pup, You little shit! She exclaimed. She wanted so badly to tear into him, to pick him up and send him sprawling onto the ice of the lake, but knew she couldn’t due to his heft. Or she could kick him, make him feel the same pain she felt from seeing her hard work to go to waste, but she was pretty sure that she would get lynched by his parents if she hurt even the smallest hair on his pudgy head. So instead she just snarled at him, and kicked the frozen snow his carelessness had created at his face, Get lost, Butterball, before I give you a matching tail to my own! She threatened.

Once the pup was verily scared off, she retrieved the spilled vessel and returned to the hole she had created to fill it back up. Beyond pissed off at this point, all Twelve wanted to do was get this water back to the horses and figure out a way to thaw herself out. Damn kid, just as bad as this damn cold and snow.

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POSTED: Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:45 am

Twelve stormed toward him, and Calhoun feared for his life.

He had been scolded soundly before, despite his efforts to be good, because while he wasn't as trouble-making as his siblings, he could be careless. His mother was armed with an intense glare that would put the fear of God into anyone, even though Cal wasn't afraid of her icy-blue, ruined eye or the burns on her face as much as the disappointment her look represented. That was the worst he'd ever gotten, and so he naively thought that was the worst it got.

But with his parent, there was trust – trust that, no matter how mad she got, she would never lay a hand on him beyond a swat on the rump to get his attention. Twelve was not his kin, and so there was no promise that she wouldn't do the things that crossed her mind (and his wild imagination).

She was an adult stranger, an unrelated coyote who could choose to kill him then and there if she wanted to.

The skinny coywolf snarled and cursed at him, and when snow flew into his face, Calhoun was already ki-yiing with fear and scrambling to escape, his oversized paws slipping in the slush he created. He sprinted away as fast as his ungainly body could, his face burning with frightened and ashamed tears, his threatened tail tucked as firmly between his legs as it could.

244 words

We can archive this once you've read it! Hehehehe.

the graveyard's full, we're running out of earth
but we can use the bones to build another church

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