'I've grown.' I thought to myself.
Size didn't necessarily determine strength but large creatures were rarely weak in the animal kingdoms. Previously I had stood at a height of roughly 5"7, for a chimp this could be considered giant.
Raising my arm and inspecting it curiously I noticed my limbs had also become significantly thicker. The fusion of wolf into my existing bloodline had significantly increased my physical attributes.
The structure of my limbs had changed to become far more angular and menacing, my hands now more closely resembled claws rather than human mands.
I stared at the nails on my right hand. Instinctively I knew how to use them.
In the next instant long claws burst forth from my nails. Primate hands were dextrous and nimble but lacked penetrative power. With the addition of a wolf's claws I could now easily tear through fur and flesh.
Fur as black as night, claws as sharp as blades and thick rippling muscles. Standing more than 6 feet tall, I had almost entirely shed my human appearance.
Were a child to somehow stumble into my den I had little doubt they would begin to wail and scream upon sighting me. Those educated on the supernatural might shriek werewolf or wolfman.
I disliked the sound of werewolf on my tongue. The perceived notion of howling at the moon, dismembering humans and fearing silver went against my image of myself.
'I like wolfman.'
From an ape, to a wolf; this was my journey. Thick lustrous fur grew everywhere on my body, but in a pool of frozen water I saw a pair of faintly human eyes stare back at me.
Chimps distinctly resembled man's early ancestors and perhaps due to my unique genes, my facial features shared several similarities with early man.
Strength coursed through my limbs with every breath I took. Inexhaustible vigour seemed to be trapped within my bones and blood.
The changes to my body were large and from the bloodline inheritance of the wolf I had gained a great amount of information. Unlike primates, wolves were skillful hunters and the gap in my knowledge regarding killing tactics had been thoroughly remedied.
I was eager to apply my newfound knowledge to the real world and already I knew the perfect target.
'The instincts of my body have changed. My hunger for flesh and blood has grown exponentially. This must be from a wolf's carnivorous nature.' I mused thoughtfully.
Animals were controlled by instinct. What set humans apart from beasts was rational thinking.
Like animals I had powerful instincts that guided my choices, but at the same time the well-measured human approach to decision-making influenced my thoughts.
I somewhat pitied the fate of the wolves. They had contributed powerful strength to me, allowing me to transform into an almost supernatural lifeform.
Now they would be slaughtered by their own claws to feed the red flame.
Greed was a corrupting force. If the benefits were right even a saint would commit terrible acts. Pursuing strength too desperately could only become my downfall.
The red flame had travelled with me from earth to arrive in this world; I felt confident it would not purposefully bring me harm.
The unique characteristics of the red flame could greatly improve my strength each time it was used, but the relationship between tool and master could easily shift.
Due to its nature the red flame was destined to be bathed in blood and therefore so was I. Mindless slaughter was the quickest way to enhance my strength but I would not allow myself to take that path.
'The forest floor and the treetops both now feel like home.'
Every step I took unleashed the power contained within my muscles, hurling me forwards at great speed. Whether flitting through the treetops or shuttling between frozen trunks on the forest floor, my speed turned me into a black blur.
In the future I knew that countless creature would die at my hands, never knowing what killed them.
When walking on my hind legs I could run faster than any wolf. Each stride I took was over a meter in length. The fusion of wolf into my genes had transformed my stamina into an almost bottomless pool. The thick pads and sharp claws on my feet continuously found stable purchase as I ran, skillfully allowing me to better exert my tyrannical strength and making my movements explosive and fluid.
Droplets of melting frost pattered against the frozen earth. Weight had a inexplicable impact on agility and my rough control over my increased strength meant that swinging through the treetops would soak my fur with snow and icy water.
I opted instead to run across the forest floor.
Wolves were quadrupeds and their four powerful limbs gave them incredible speed, however most apes walked on two feet.
Observing the world from the low perspective of a wolf was invigorating. The impulse to run as fast as my legs could carry me desperately sought a release.
The howl broke free from my lips and rang out clearly in the forest.
All I could hear was the whistling of the wind and the sound of my own heavy breaths. Travelling on all fours felt primal and freeing; I felt immeasurably close to the instincts in my blood.
Up until this point I had still viewed myself as a human being trapped within the wrong body, but now, as my claws dug into the icy earth and my ears twitched with distant bird calls and rustling leaves, I knew that human was only a part of my identity.
'If my former kind attempt to hurt me. I will reply with the same response.'
It didn't take me long to find the wolf pack. The fusion of wolf blood had sharpened my senses to a terrifying extent. I could smell them from tens of miles away.
Naturally they could smell me too.
The alpha met me on the boundary of his territory. Eight large and furious wolves snarled behind him.
After transforming into a wolfman, my scent now carried a familiar canine smell. The ordinary wolves could not recognise me as the taunting beast that swung through the trees a few nights ago.
Only the alpha let out a shocked and wrathful growl upon seeing my face. Despite the thick black fur sprouting from my body and the tremendous increase in size, my face still remained that of an ape.
My nose and ears were now sharp and pointed, but my yellow eyes had not changed.
The alpha hesitated for a few seconds. He could smell the familiarity of my blood.
Instinct was a dominating force in the minds of animals. The alpha saw me as an intruder to his territory and a threat to his cubs, my existence could ultimately not be tolerated.
Waiting finally became too much for the simple mind of a wolf behind the alpha and it charged forwards with a howl.
I knew that the wolf was pushing it's speed to it's limits, it's jaw was open wide in anticipation of ripping at my neck.
Yet in my eyes it was akin to a child running at an adult. The wolf's charge looked fearsome and would shatter the mind of a weaker-minded animal, but it posed no threat to me.
As it drew closer and closer the wolf unleashed the power coiled within it's muscles and pounced. The excitement in its eyes clearly showed it had interpreted my stillness as fear.
Blood splattered across my fur. Extending my long tongue from my mouth I licked the blood from my claws.
'It tastes sweet.'
Lowering my head I tore at the wolf's corpse with my teeth. Warm crimson spurted from its neck.
The wolf's struggle had lasted for less than a few seconds. In the air it was nothing but a predictable and easy target. It didn't stand a chance as I leapt to meet it in middair and slashed it's necks with my claws.
Fifteen minutes later only the alpha remained, panting heavily and swaying unsteadily. While I had taken several blows from the stubborn and fierce wolves, all but the strongest of the group had been killed.
The outcome of the fight had been determined the moment it began.
Pride and sadness blazed in the alpha wolf's eyes. Even as it struggled to stand it refused to yield.
Gathering the last of its strength the alpha let out a long and sorrowful howl before charging towards me.
It's blood tasted no different to its pack.
The lives of 8 large wolves had greatly satisfied the red flame. It would only take a few more kills to fill it's stomach.
'It would be foolish to rely upon the same prey to improve my strength. I will have to hunt new creatures.'
A large and imposing figure appeared in my thoughts.
'After I take your strength it will be time to explore new lands.'