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by Wes Leigh

Chapter 3

Werewolves are a different beast altogether. They are most agile and swift when in wolf form. Even in human form, their senses are particularly acute, as one would expect from predatory creatures. Most significantly, they are difficult to destroy, due to their rapid regeneration of life and health, even to the point of recovering from serious, life-threatening injuries.

-- From 'Conclusions on the Nature of Creatures of the Night' by Fr. Ignatius Benedictus

"I'm going for a walk, Mom," Daniel said, pulling a coat from the entry closet.

"Isn't it a little cold?" Judy asked from the couch, where she was watching some talk show she enjoyed and Daniel couldn't stand.

"It's chilly, but the wind stopped blowing. Besides, I'm bored out of my mind."

"Okay, sweetie. Be back by five. I'm making a roast."

"Sure, Mom."

"You have your phone?"

"Always, Mom." Daniel held it up. "I never leave home without it."

Judy smiled. "No surprise there. Have fun, sweetie."

"Yeah. See you in a few."

Daniel slipped through the door and closed it quickly behind him. Finally. He thought he'd be stuck inside with his mom for the rest of the day, and that would have been disastrous. Well, extremely sad, at the very least.

The day had been dismally boring so far. Xavier was out of town. Attending some family affair with his parents. The two of them had been hanging out every day for the last two weeks, so with Xavier gone, Daniel was at a loss what to do with himself. When he thought about it, he felt confused. How had he and Xavier grown so close in such a short time? So close, in fact, that Daniel was feeling lost knowing that Xavier would be gone all week.

Daniel wandered down the sidewalk, heading for a small park a few blocks from his house. He was still baffled whenever he walked through the neighborhood. He knew kids lived in several of the houses on his block, but he never saw them. They never came out to play. They didn't ride bikes or take their dogs for walks or any of the things you'd think they'd be doing.

Agony was such a weird place.

Continuing on his way, Daniel heard shouts coming from the park ahead. As he crossed the street, he noticed a large group of guys running around and yelling. Most were shirtless, which surprised him a little. It wasn't cold, but it wasn't a balmy summer day either. As he got a little closer, he could see that the guys were around his age, perhaps a bit older, and every one of them could have been a model for a muscle magazine. Swollen biceps. Thick thighs and calves. Ripped abs. Bulging pecs. But none of them were that big, really. Muscular, yes, but in an extremely fit way. Daniel remembered guys back in Colorado who were big and bulky because they were always hitting the gym and taking so-called supplements. These guys didn't look like that at all. Their muscles were tight and lean, as if they'd earned them by sheer hard work.

At the moment, they were playing a game of football. Or something like football. It didn't seem to follow the rules Daniel remembered. One player would hike the ball to another player, who would attempt to evade the rest, leaping and dodging, with no one to block for him. In a way, it seemed like the guy with the ball was being hunted by the rest, who moved together as a pack, cornering their 'prey' and capturing him by leaping on him and dragging him to the ground. The play was very physical, with no holds barred. Guys slammed together, falling to the ground hard or being thrown to the side, smashing into a tree or each other. The harder they hit, the louder they laughed after it was over, snarling at each other as they talked trash and promised an even harder hit on the next play.

Daniel found himself focusing on one guy in particular. He was a bit taller than the rest, with dark red hair and a thick patch of rust-colored hair on his chest and in each armpit. Sweat was trickling down his chest, turning this hair a darker red, almost auburn brown. From his patch on his chest, a line of dark hair descended down the ripples of his stomach, disappearing into his baggy shorts, which swayed from side to side with each step he took. Daniel didn't want to stare, but the guy had deep ridges running down his flanks, creating a V in the front that drew his eye straight down to the guy's bulging package.

Listening as the guys shouted at one another, Daniel learned that the guy's name was Connor. He seemed to be the leader of the game, choosing who would be the next player to be the prey for the pack. When Connor elected to take the ball himself, the others hooted with excitement, clearly looking forward to their chance to take him down. He called for the ball, grabbed it in mid-air, and ran to his right. The others moved as one, creating a wall of hunters. He feinted to his left, waited for them to shift, then spun on his heels and dashed to the right, knocking two guys through the air as he crashed through them and sprinted around a tree, apparently scoring in their version of football.

One of the guys he crashed into was crumpled on the ground, holding his arm and gritting his teeth. The others gathered around, but didn't help the injured boy to his feet. Connor trotted back over and leaned down.

"You okay, Dillon?"

Dillon, groaning, sat up, holding his arm. "Pretty sure it's broken, Connor."

Several of the guys laughed when they heard that. "You should have known better, trying to tackle Connor," said one. "Yeah, bad move, bro," added another.

Connor helped the boy to his feet. He took the boy's arm in his hands and gently checked it. The forearm was bent at an unnatural angle, obviously fractured. Connor carefully straightened the arm, causing the boy to gasp and wobble on his feet.

"Suck it up, Dillon," one of the others said.

"Don't be a wimp. You've had worse," another added.

Dillon gulped and nodded. With a grimace, he wriggled his fingers and then pulled his arm out of Connor's grasp. Nodding, he shook his injured arm and smiled. Daniel watched, amazed at what he'd just seen. He could have sworn the boy's arm was broken, probably a greenstick fracture, but now he was fine.

Connor reached out and gently wiggled Dillon's arm. "All good?" he asked.

"Yeah. Better now. Let's play some more. Try that shit again, Connor. You won't get past me this time."

Connor grinned and tossed the ball to Dillon. "Hike it then."

The guys cheered, some slapping Dillon on the back, and scattered out.

Dillon hiked the ball to Connor, but he tossed it too high, sending it over Connor's outstretched fingers. The ball sailed through the air and rolled to Daniel's feet. Connor trotted toward Daniel, who picked up the ball. Connor motioned for Daniel to throw it. Daniel launched it as hard as he could, blushing with embarrassment when the ball wobbled through the air and landed in front of Connor. It bounced once and Connor agilely snatched it up. He smiled at Daniel and nodded. "Thanks."

"No problem," Daniel shouted.

The rest of the guys laughed at Daniel's dismal attempt at throwing the football, but Connor told them to shut up and play. He tossed the ball back to Dillon, who hiked it to Connor, and this time, though Connor dodged left and right, the rest of the guys eventually brought him down, though several were groaning with pain from the effort.

Daniel watched them play for a few minutes more, then wandered away into the park. Just watching them tackle each other made his body hurt with sympathy pains.

Daniel sat on the bank of the river, trying to skip rocks on the water. The best he'd managed so far was five jumps. Hearing steps behind him, he turned and saw Connor approaching. Now dressed in a t-shirt and the same shorts, with his bulge still swaying from side to side, Connor was smiling at Daniel as he walked up and sat down next to him.

Daniel smiled back, unable to resist Connor's infectious good mood.

"You skip stones better than you throw footballs," Connor said, teasing.

Daniel snorted. "I'm not an athlete."

Connor grinned. "I don't know. A small, wiry guy like you might make a great wide receiver."

Daniel laughed. "You guys would knock me into next week."

"Maybe. But if I taught you some of my moves, you might juke 'em out of their shorts and leave 'em runnin' around with their little dicks hangin' out." He laughed and slapped Daniel's shoulder playfully.

Daniel glanced at Connor, surprised by the comment. It didn't appear that Connor was trying to be vulgar or anything. He was just making an earthy joke. Daniel decided to play along. "That would bring more fans to the game, especially if I juked YOU out of YOUR shorts."

Connor chuckled and raised his eyebrows. "That would indeed be something to see. Me losin' my shorts, that is. I doubt anyone would be all that impressed with my dick, though."

Daniel looked down at the large lump in Connor's shorts. "You kidding me?"

Connor glanced over and gave Daniel a crooked smile. "Nah, I ain't jokin' around, my man. When it comes to cocks, mine ain't nothin' special."

Daniel laughed and held out his hand. "Daniel Anderson," he said.

Connor shook his hand and replied, "I'm Connor Finnigan. Nice to meet you, Big D."

"Big D?"

Connor grinned. "Yep. That's your name from now on. You may be short, but I'm callin' you Big D so everyone will wonder what you're packin' in your jeans."

Daniel laughed and shook his head. "Are you always like this?"

"Like what?" Connor asked.


"Yep. Since the day I was whelped. But anyone who knows me will tell you that Connor Finnigan is the best friend you'll ever have, and loyal to a fault. You look like you could use a friend, so I'm offerin' if you're interested."

Daniel smiled. "Yeah. I guess I could use a friend."

"Just moved here?"

"Yeah. Dad got a job working in the oil fields. Dragged me and mom here from Colorado. I start ninth grade next week."

Connor nodded. "Figured as much. I'm a junior. I'll keep an eye out for you. Keep you out of trouble, so to speak."

"Really? You think I'm the kind of guy who needs watching over?"

Connor grinned. "Whether you are or you aren't, trouble has a way of findin' you when you least expect it. Don't be surprised if ole Connor shows up in the nick of time to save your wee ass."

"Hey!" Daniel protested. "Watch it with the 'wee' stuff."

Connor laughed. "Sorry about that. I promise it won't happen again. Big D." He said the last part with a huge grin and hugged Daniel to his side. "Say, the fellas and I were plannin' a big campout this weekend. Sort of a last fling before school starts up again. You'd be welcome to join us."

The hug surprised Daniel, but it was a warm and friendly hug, so he didn't comment on it. Instead, he said, "I'm not much of a camper. Never been before."

"You're kiddin' me?"

"Nope. Never had a chance. Dad promised to take me a few times when we lived in Colorado, but we never got around to it."

"Well, isn't that just the sorriest state of affairs I've ever heard in my seventeen short years of livin' on this barren planet? There's no choice now. You've got to come. I can't let you go through life havin' never experienced the raw power of the elements, pittin' yourself against the forces of nature, fightin' for survival."

"Hmmm, when you put it like that …"

Connor laughed. "It'll be great, Daniel. I guarantee it. You'll have a terrific time, and you'll enjoy losing your virginity."

Daniel jerked his head, looking at Connor in surprise.

Connor laughed again. "Your camping cherry, Big D. That's what I meant. What did you think I was talkin' about?"

Daniel chuckled. "I can tell right now … this is going to be a crazy weekend." He sighed. "I'll have to clear it with my mom."

Connor leapt to his feet and pulled Daniel up. "I'll go with you. No doubt, your momma will want to meet me and make sure I'll return you home in more or less the same condition I took you out."

He threw his arm around Daniel's neck and they walked together, side by side. It felt odd to Daniel, since he'd just met Connor, but there was something special about the guy that made Daniel feel completely comfortable with Connor's bulging arm draped across his neck.

Daniel couldn't believe how easily Connor charmed his mom. But then, to hear Connor tell it, they were just spending a couple of nights in his back yard with a few of the other guys from the football team. It would be perfectly safe and give Daniel a chance to meet some of the other kids from school. With Daniel's promise to call her every morning and evening, Judy gave her blessing and even asked what food she could send with them. Connor laughed and said it was all covered. They'd been planning the campout for weeks, and all Daniel would need was a sleeping bag, which they found after rummaging in the garage.

Daniel waved goodbye to his mom as they climbed into Connor's pickup, a battered old Dodge that had clearly seen better days, but still rumbled along. Daniel couldn't say anything about Connor's ride, seeing as how Daniel didn't even have a learner's permit yet.

Shaking his head as they drove away, Daniel said, "I still can't believe she agreed so quickly. You were right, Connor. Gotta hand it to you."

Connor punched Daniel's arm. "Trust me, Big D. I can charm a buzzard off two-day old roadkill."

Daniel laughed. "Okay. That's an image that will stick with me for a while."

Connor turned onto the highway and headed out of town. "We have to pick up a couple of guys first. Then we'll head for the campsite."

"The campsite? I thought you said it was in your back yard?"

"In a manner of speakin', it is," Connor said with a grin. "I've got a pretty good-sized back yard."

"Where do you live?"

"A few miles north of town. Family owns the old hunting lodge and all the land around it. So it's all my back yard, if you get what I'm sayin'."

Daniel could only shake his head. "You're incorrigible, Connor."

"Guilty as charged," Connor said with a laugh, "but I'm a good guy. You'll see. In one day, you'll be my best friend. In two days, we'll be blood brothers. In three days, we'll swear a blood oath to die for each other."

"Really? You think it'll take that long?"

"Maybe not. I might grow on you quicker than that."

Daniel looked out the window. He liked Connor already, but he wasn't sure Connor would like him back, once he got to know the real Daniel Anderson. "Maybe we should just hang out for the weekend first, before we start swearing blood oaths."

Connor shrugged. "We can wait until the weekend is over, I suppose. But I'm a pretty good judge of character, and I think you and I were meant to be more than friends." He glanced over at Daniel, with his lips curled up in a way that made deep dimples appear.

Daniel frowned. "You know, Connor, I've had a few friends in my life, and they've never been quite like you."

"Oh? And what am I like?"

Daniel hesitated, then decided to just go for it. "Big. Powerful. Athletic. Very muscular. And … really handsome."

Connor glanced sideways and raised one eyebrow. "Handsome, huh? So all your friends have been ugly as sin?"

Daniel laughed. "No. But they've all been like me. Too skinny for football. Too short for basketball. Too slow for any other sport. All the girls in Colorado Springs were interested in guys who look like you."

Connor smiled. "Well, I suppose that's true here in Agony too. It's too bad the girls are so disappointed."

Daniel's ears perked up. "Disappointed? Why's that?"

"Let's just say the girls don't always get what they want." He turned to Daniel and grinned shyly.

Daniel couldn't be sure about what Connor was saying, and he was too embarrassed to ask any more questions. He turned and looked out the window at the barren, hilly terrain.

Connor pulled into a dusty lane and drove up to an old farmhouse, tooting his horn as he slowed to a stop. The front door opened and a huge blonde almost as big as Connor came out, waving his arm. "Give us a second," he shouted. "We just finished our chores and haven't had a chance to grab our gear."

Connor grabbed Daniel's arm and gently pulled him over. "Scoot over next to me," Connor said. "Give Ethan and Donny room to squeeze in."

Daniel moved to the middle of the truck's bench seat, wondering how they were going to fit four teenaged boys in there together. Especially if they were as big as Connor.

The front door opened again, and the first guy came back out, carrying two sleeping bags. He was followed by another blonde teen, even bigger than Connor, carrying a large cooler with a bulging backpack hanging from his shoulder. They tossed everything in the bed of Connor's truck, then climbed in the front seat.

"Guys, meet Daniel Anderson," Connor said, "but we're calling him Big D."

The first guy stuck out his fist to bump Daniel's. "I'm Ethan," he said. He pointed at the other guy, "and that's my big brother, Donny." Ethan scooted against Daniel, pushing him against Connor, who had scooted over against the door.

When Donny climbed in too, Daniel found himself squeezed between Connor and Ethan. His legs were pressed together, with Ethan's warm thigh and shoulder pushing against his right side. Connor lifted his arm and draped it across the back of the seat, giving them a bit more room. Now Daniel was pressed against Connor fully, their sides and hips and thighs touching. His shoulder was tucked up into Connor's armpit, and he could smell the older boy's musky scent. It wasn't at all unpleasant, and Daniel found himself fighting against the erection he felt swelling up in his jeans. Fortunately, his cock was pointing down the leg of his pants, so the painful constriction of his jeans kept him from popping a full boner.

Connor shoved the truck into gear, and they drove off, headed back for the highway.

From the far side of the truck, Donny leaned forward and looked Daniel up and down. "New guy?" he asked.

"Ummm, yeah. Just moved here. From Colorado Springs."

Donny nodded.

"Colorado Springs, huh?" Ethan asked. "Good camping there?"

"I suppose," Daniel said with a grimace. "I never had a chance to go."

"Really? How long did you live there?" Ethan asked.

"Five years."

"And you never went camping?" Ethan persisted. "Wow."

"Dad promised to take me, but we never could work it out. This will be my first time camping out," Daniel explained.

"Hey, hey, hey," Donny chortled. "A camping virgin. Gonna pop his cherry, Connor?"

They all laughed, making Daniel wonder just what he was getting himself into.

Before heading for the campsite, they stopped at the hunting lodge to pick up the rest of their supplies. Daniel met Connor's parents, Andreas and Gabi Finnigan. They were warm and friendly, giving Daniel a hug and inviting him to bring his family to the lodge any time they wanted to spend a weekend away from Agony. Daniel thanked them and helped the other boys load up the pickup, mostly boxes of food. No tents, so Daniel assumed the tents were already set up at the campsite.

When Connor said the campsite was in his backyard, he failed to mention that it was about five miles from the hunting lodge and they had to hike the last mile to get there. The campsite itself was in a copse of cottonwoods, in a secluded bend of the Missouri River. There were no tents after all, but there were crude shelters fashioned from tree branches. Each shelter was big enough for two guys, and Connor quickly informed Daniel that they'd be sharing a shelter, tossing Daniel's sleeping bag inside with his own.

In the middle of the clearing was a ring of stone. Stacked nearby was a pile of logs, enough for a few days of campfires.

In addition to Ethan and Donny McCoy, there were four other guys: Joshua and Jacob Byrne, Caleb Murphy, and Dennis Doyle. Most of them were on the football team with Connor. The twins, Joshua and Jacob, played basketball. The Byrne boys were tall but muscular, with raven black hair and bright green eyes. Dennis Doyle was a ruddy red-head, like Connor, but with freckles all over his shoulders, something Daniel saw often since Dennis seemed to run around bare-chested all the time. The smallest of the bunch was Caleb Murphy, who was outgoing, sandy-haired and constantly in motion. He was only a few inches taller than Daniel, but he was much stockier, solid muscle, mostly in his massive thighs, which made him very hard to bring down when he was playing fullback on the school team.

Daniel felt out of place at first. He was definitely the odd man out, but Connor kept drawing him into the conversation, and the other guys were friendly enough, filling him in on the town, the school, and the total lack of anything of interest for a gang of boisterous teenage boys. They sat around, cooking wieners and munching on chips and chugging sodas and laughing. There was no beer or alcohol of any kind, which surprised Daniel. When the guys talked about the kids at school, none of them bragged about the girls they'd messed with, which shocked Daniel even more than the lack of booze. These guys certainly didn't fit the stereotype of high school jocks.

As the moon rose and the night deepened around them, Daniel found himself relaxing and enjoying the company of Connor and his friends. After the guys had devoured dozens of hot dogs, Connor passed out chocolate bars, graham crackers, and marshmallows. "It wouldn't be a campout with 'smores," he said with a grin.

Suddenly the night's peace was broken by sharp yelps coming from across the river.

The boys all jerked their heads in the direction of the noise. "Fuckin' coyotes!" Ethan exclaimed. The yelps were more pronounced now, coming closer, with only the river separating them from what sounded like a large pack of the beasts.

Connor grinned wickedly and lifted his chin, releasing an ear-piercing howl. The other boys grinned and joined him, baying at the moon. The Byrne boys, Joshua and Jacob, jumped up and headed in the direction of the coyote yelps, howling as they ran off into the night.

Daniel stared at them, stunned. What the heck?

Connor and the guys stopped howling and listened attentively. The yelping of the coyotes had stopped completely. After a minute, they heard a solitary yelp, well down river, followed by the distant howling of wolves.

Daniel looked at Connor, confused.

Connor smiled and said, "Wolves and coyotes are natural enemies. Coyotes won't hang about if there's a pack of wolves nearby."

The other guys returned Connor's gleeful grin. In the flickering light of the campfire, their eyes all glowed. Donny snarled, "They won't bother us any more tonight. Or for the rest of the weekend."

Ethan grinned. "Probably won't see any cougars either. I'm sure they're hiding out in their dens tonight."

Jacob and Joshua eventually returned, butt naked and soaking wet, from having swum across the river. The other boys joked with them as they helped them dry off and change into some warm clothing. Daniel sat by the fire, watching them all and thinking.

Daniel shuddered, involuntarily. He wasn't sure which was worse: coyotes, cougars, or the wolf boys he was camping with.

Later that night, with the fire slowly dying, Daniel was shivering again, this time from cold. His sleeping bag was old and worn, and it wasn't doing much to keep Daniel warm during the night.

Connor slid his hand onto Daniel's shoulder. "Big D," Connor whispered. "You're gonna freeze to death in that skimpy little bag. Come here, bro."

Daniel turned over and saw Connor lifting the flap on his own heavy bag. Connor motioned for Daniel to climb in beside him. "Get in, Big D."

Daniel scooted over and slid in next to Connor, pushing his back against Connor's warm chest. Connor pulled Daniel close and dropped the flap to cover them both. Daniel reached down and found the zipper, pulling it up to seal them inside. Connor chuckled and reached around Daniel's chest, pulling his smaller body into a tight hug. With the two of them spooned together, Daniel felt Connor's warm body pressed all against his back, butt, and legs. Connor's strong arm wrapped around Daniel's chest, hugging him. In seconds, the chill left Daniel's body, and he relaxed in Connor's arms.

It was wonderfully warm, and not the least bit sexual. From what Daniel could tell, Connor wasn't even hard. His cock felt huge, a thick, heavy lump pushing up against Daniel's ass, but he wasn't erect. And that was a relief, because Daniel really wasn't sure what he would have done if Connor had popped a boner.

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