Chapter Four: To My Very Core

Once they had hiked their way down from their lookout spot and onto the road below, they stopped in front of a lodge. Wendigo wasn't entirely sure what the plan was since Francis had only briefed them on the situation and John hadn't told-at least hadn't told Wendigo-what the plan was. He supposed capturing two girls wasn't going to be all that difficult but he doubted the mafia wouldn't sell them out to the ADA. They wouldn't miss a chance for their two rival groups to take each other out.

"Want me to capture them?" Lovecraft offered apathetically.

John shook his head, a small, amused smile on his face as he gazed at the lodge. "No. You'd kill them." Seeing his chance, Wendigo slowly began to raise his hand to volunteer. "Wendy, put your hand down. I said no."

Wendigo rolled his eyes and moved over to stand by Lovecraft as John took out his knife and pushed the tip into his neck. Instantly, the iron scent of blood hit his sensitive nose and lingered even when John implanted his seeds and the vines of his ability curled around him. The smell alone nearly sent him mad with a fierce hunger. He craved the taste so badly he almost couldn't hold back the urge to sink his teeth into that pale, tender flesh. At his side, Lovecraft grunted, annoyed at the waves of madness radiating off Wendigo.

"Calm down. This is not the place nor the time to go on a rampage." Lovecraft whispered sharply.

Wendigo nearly snapped his now sharpened teeth at the supernatural but realized the other was right. This wasn't the place nor the time and he had to get his hunger back in check. He took a deep breath, let it out and relaxed his shoulders. He willed his sharper teeth to shrink back to what was "normal" and cleared his mind of the more violent thoughts that knocked around in his head. His stomach growled ferociously and it rang loudly but the feeling from before was gone. He vaguely felt bad about causing such a racket but, lately, the "treats" Francis handed him weren't enough to keep satiated-not that he ever really was to begin with-but at the very least they kept him from going berserk.

"There you are."

A small, blue car nearly zipped by them but John's grape vines grasped at the vehicle, lifting it high above them with it's strong branches before winding around the metal tightly. The shattering of glass, the groaning of compressed metal and the shouts of women filled the air. Lovecraft just stared blankly at the car and Wendigo scoffed at such an easy capture.

John walked towards the suspended car, an easygoing smile on his face.

"Sorry about that," He apologized, a bit of mockery in his voice. "That must have been scary."

John paused for a moment. "Tell me, do you know anything about grape vines? They-"

Wendigo tuned out the rest of whatever speech the man was about to go into. His obsession with his own ability was beyond irksome and he didn't have the patience to listen to it. Instead, he began to think about this mission. The mafia had been generous, to say in the very least, with their information. There had to be a catch-there always was-and that would be the ADA. The mafia would tell the ADA that they sold information on their office staff. This would not only cause them to take action but lure the Guild into making a move and because of this, if the mafia was lucky, the two organizations would kill each other. If anything, both sides would be weakened and the Port Mafia could make their move. Their leader didn't seem like the type to dawdle so this meant the ADA would be coming soon to rescue their office staff.

As if on cue, Wendigo perked up at the new smell suddenly entering his range. An unfamiliar person was sneaking around from behind them, approximately twenty yards away. John didn't seem to notice and, for a moment, Wendigo nearly called out to him. However, he tilted his head and shut his mouth.

He really wanted to see what would happen.

The smell got closer and closer until it was right behind Lovecraft. Another scent had joined, this one near the roots that had curled around the car. At his side, he saw Lovevraft peer at a green flake floating down in front of him, holding out his hand so it landed on his large, pale palm, he began to observe it.

"Snow? In this season?" He muttered confusedly.

From his peripheral vision, Wendigo saw the metallic sheen of a gun before the echo of shots reverberated through the air. The sting of bullets entering his chest nearly made him gasp. It hurt. It burned. He could feel the blood seeping from his wound. Yet he did not cry out as he hit the ground. Nor did any tears fall. The feeling wasn't new. Of course, the pain stayed the same but it no longer bothered him. He had felt pain much worse than what a mere handgun could deliver.

Stil, he did not move. Even as the wound healed itself, skin stitching together once more and the foreign object ejected from his chest, Wendigo stayed completely still until the man was in sight. Maybe it was his earlier madness coming back or the hunger that constantly gnawed at his stomach, which had only become worse recently, but he could feel that overwhelming urge to bite, to rip apart, to dig his nails into the man's organs.

John had used his roots to disarm the man-most certainly from the Armed Detective Agency-and gloat, despite the fact that their captives were currently running down the path towards a train about to pass. The agency man was right there and a certain truth smacked into his head. He didn't care whether he wasn't allowed to eat people.

He needed it.

'These people are irrelevant', he thought to himself. Wendigo was just so tired of living off the scraps of bodies. From the time Francis picked him up, his meals weren't sufficient. He wanted to sink his teeth into a fresh heart and reach for those delicious eyes, pluck them from their sockets to feel them burst upon his tongue in all of their liquidy goodness.

His stomach gave a loud growl at the thought.

Wanted. He wanted it. Wanted. Wanted.

Hungry. HUNGRY-


The controlling voices stopped and Wendigo shook his head, a bit nauseous from the sudden retreat of the madness. He looked up. Through blurry eyes he could see John. One look at John's face and he knew.

He knew he no longer resembled what others perceived as human. His very nature, down to his core, was exposed. From his horrid maw to the stench of death and corruption that followed him. A ghastly thing that haunted the dreams of men. The madness sat back in a dark corner of his mind, coaxing him to come back, to tear and rip apart. The two agents stared up at him and he saw the true face of terror. In the reflection of their appalled eyes, Wendigo saw himself-a rotting corpse with a soul long forgotten. In all the centuries that passed, he had yet to overcome the hatred that welled up inside at his very being.

For a moment, Wendigo nearly fled. To be stared at in such a grotesque form had his "human" half squirming. It begged him to hide away from the wide eyes and to never show his hideousness to this world. He nearly caved into its demands but a resounding crack from behind stopped him. Lovecraft, it seemed, finally awakened from the nap he went into when he was shot. He moved his neck in ways no human should be able to, letting the bones crack noisily before setting them back into place.

Lovecraft didn't say anything as he passed Wendigo and, instead, unleashed his ability. Several green, thick tentacles wrapped around the two agents and, only until he squeezed them, did they finally snap from the terror they had once felt. Taking advantage of the distraction, Wendigo transformed back into his dominant form-a human one. Without even a glance to John, he ran down the road, chasing after the girls. The road was sinuous and long, but he could still smell the girls scent, growing ever stronger with every stride he took. A part of his mind was still fixated on what had happened mere moments ago, the faces of the agents embedded behind his eyelids, and, for a moment, he could feel the full force of his sin.

Wendigo shook his head from the thoughts that would surely lead down in a spiral with no way up.

The scent veered towards the woods near the road and Wendigo gave pursuit. Teeth gritted, he pushed his legs even harder to catch up. He could also faintly smell John's ability in the flora around him, no doubt traces left behind from trying to find their targets. He grunted when a few branches shifted, nearly smacking him in the face. Wendigo was sure that it was a reprimand from John because he took off without saying anything. He hoped John knew not to tell Franics about his lack of control, he would never hear the end of it if he did.

Faintly, he could hear the sound of a train whistle up ahead and he began to chase after its sound. A mile further and a downhill descent led to railroad tracks where a black train was huffing and puffing away. Wendigo groaned as it got further away from him but decided it was probably best if he went after it anyway. Looking around him, seeing that no one was near, Wendigo bent down, got on all fours, concentrated on his limbs and slowly began to feel them shift into the shape they were before. He made sure the madness in his thoughts was kept in the darkest corner of his mind while his body underwent the change. His arms and legs were now thin with no skin covering the exposed, rotting muscles underneath. His fingers and toes merged and became three, longer, thicker fingers, each adorned with a sharp, black talon at their ends. A bit pathetically, he prayed that no one would see him.

Back hunched, he shook his new limbs and sped off after the train.

The train hadn't been all that difficult to catch up with. His speed was greatly enhanced in his other form so not much effort was made. Wendigo sat outside, on the small platform at the back of the train, waiting for it to make a stop. The girls were undoubtedly inside, their scent stronger than it was before, but unlike John, he wasn't all that keen on making such a big scene even when there were other people.

It wouldn't be all that long before the train came into the next station, he could feel it beginning to slow down. Wendigo jumped off a few meters before it had come to a complete stop and hid nearby in the shrubbery. He had a clear view of the platform and waited until he saw the two girls exit the train. However, before he could make his move, a silver haired teenager ran up to greet the two-no three. A young boy was with them as well. The kid was strange looking and the airs he put off didn't feel like any sort of kid Wendigo had come across.

The kid radiated a twisted sort of energy. Layers of agony, fear, hatred and distress swirled and mixed around him. A not too far off combination of the madness that often leaked out of himself. At first, the kid didn't do much, he walked forward until he bumped into the teenager. Wendigo assumed that the child would just apologize and move on but the young boy smiled before lifting his arm and rolling up his sleeve.

A loosely tied bandage was wrapped around the entirety of the kid's forearm, where it tried and failed to soak up the blood from the dozens of razors digging into the skin. It truly was a horrific sight on such a small child. A sign of the life this young boy must lead. Wendigo, while not having much empathy or sympathy for humans, did feel something for the kid, although he wasn't quite sure what it was. In all the years he had been alive-which was too many-he had witnessed countless unspeakable acts and yet he wondered why this one felt any different. Perhaps it was the sadistic grin the kid made when he used his ability on the silver haired teenager. Or the taunts he gave to the teen so he would choke his friends. Maybe even the child's promise of suffering towards Dazai.

He couldn't help the feeling welling up inside his usually apathetic heart at the sight and a small grin began twitching on Wendigo's lips.

He wondered how far he could push this child's mind before it completely collapsed.

A/N: Back at it again. Its been awhile I feel like. Where this story is going...I don't know.