The Dawn of the End by Kristen Ashley

Fenn barked a shout of shock and staggered back into them.

Jell and the woman froze.

And Tedrey’s blood turned to ice and his feet stopped moving.

For now, there was no man.

There was only…

A Beast.

He was twice his original height.

He had a hump on his back.

The entirety of his body had short, coarse fur, except around his neck, where there was a long, thick mane. His legs were painfully thin with long cloven feet. But his arms were beefy, with enormous hands that had long, lethally-clawed fingers.

Tedrey could not see his face, for it was turned from him, but he saw the head had short fur above that mane, it sloped forward in a flattish way, and now it turned toward the women, who took one look at it and scattered like mice.

But Fenn stood still, as if he was stunned, staring up at the creature, his face a study of amazement.

Or repulsion.

And then Fenn’s body jolted as the creature struck out with its claws, opening four lines of gore across Fenn’s chest.

Fenn’s knees gave out, and he began to fall, only to be struck by another swipe, this opening up more of his body, including his throat in a gash so deep, his head began to list backwards off his neck.

It did not.

For the creature tore it free, lifted it over his head with the neck pointed down, and tipped his own head back, allowing Fenn’s blood to seep into its open mouth.

Abruptly, however, he tossed Fenn’s head to the side, turned, and in a mighty sweep, he caught up the woman and Jell, both of whom had been preparing to run away.

He did this in the thin, overlong fingers of only one of his huge hands.

He lifted them up with not an ounce of apparent effort and tossed them across the clearing, away from Tedrey.

The woman slammed, back against the tree, and Tedrey heard the break.

Jell went rolling between some trees.

And the creature followed them, with each step transforming from the Beast he was back to the man he used to be.

“Oh no you don’t,” he said, standing, now naked, and human, hands on his narrow hips, looking down at the groaning woman then into the trees toward Jell. “I’m not done with you yet. No, no. We’re just beginning. And to be certain things are straight, you both are mine.”

And on those words, Tedrey unfroze.

He turned.

And he raced into the woods.

He did it knowing it was the end of The Rising.

But it was the beginning of The Rising.

He also knew one more thing.

At all costs.

He had to get to King True.

The End of Part Three

To be continued…