In the Maw, Shattered Teeth [M - Violence]

North Portland 
#1
 There were different breeds of mission that littered her dossier at any given point in time - from the long-term and evolving to the cut and dry. Picking one to focus on was a skill set perfected over the course of years, knowing there was no progress without work on the ones that had holes, not allowing the direct targets to slip away into the surrounding fog of the northwest. But this one, it had a specific scent to it that had caught her attention. A generalized call to arms and not something with her name carefully typed in bold at the top.

As far as she was concerned, it might as well have been personalized all the same.

 A shifter with a loud mouth, a breed of suicidal that was uncommon but not exactly rare in the long and sordid history that was Carmine as she knew it. Barking mad about hunters and cloaked killers, drawing attention to himself when he could have easily nestled into the surroundings and laid low while they scooped up bigger fish to fry. Assisted self-slaughter, that's all it truly was at the end of the day. Maybe he'd been wronged in some perceived way, maybe he had contempt for what he was, maybe a meager human life was too long to be burdened by the heavy pelt of the monster who he shared his person with. Whatever the case, they heard the call and arrived like some sort of urban legend, the name of which spoken one too many times to make their existence deniable for much longer.

 They had him in a loose sense, a confined area that needed to be combed through - not a mystery but not a laser sight focus. And while backcombing through the lingering muck of the very outskirts of North Portland didn't bring her any particular joy, there was some comfort in the methodical and mindless. A sort of ease that arrived with the squelch of her boots on ground that seemed perpetually damp from the tall grass covering it.

 She stopped every once in a while, bowed her head as if focused in prayer to hone in on sound. Listening for the snapping of brambles underfoot, the swish of fabric, or perhaps ... what seemed to be the tattoo of a heartbeat that felt too swift to below to the average doe or fawn.

@starling

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#2
He spit, but there was too much blood in his mouth to eliminate the bitter taste of iron, forced to swallow crimson and sinew to allow his lungs the means to take a deeper breath. Fingers lifted to push inside naked, mottled skin, but with a twist of his neck, he could see the bullet left none of itself behind in the hole it had created.

Just the parting gift of silver.

Teeth slammed together as he grunted through weaponized hellfire, features twisting wildly as he worked past the climax of it, endowed with enough fury and stubborn endurance to continue despite how pain wished him to genuflect. He was close now. He could smell it. His reflection's maw stretched to expose jagged canines, the thundering impatience of his beast's call to arms bleeding a red that disfigured all traces of logic and strategy. With a push against the earth, he barreled forward, leaving corpses behind to rot under the shadow of an otherwise peaceful canopy.

There.

She was just as he'd described, so startled by the revelation that Logan stagnated, feeling the weight of loss as he took in the gentle brown of her eyes. Her heart had ceased to be useful, but the desire to free it from her ribs had not dissipated, without the courtesy of a language she could understand, muscles instantaneously pulling and stretching to accommodate the bear's resurface.

The giant crashed through the underbrush and easily weaved a path through the trees, neck twisting as heavy jaws snapped at the nearest limb, a predator's trajectory anticipating movement.
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#3
 In the slow tick of seconds she had just enough time to resign to what she was hearing under the white noise of their surroundings. Enough time to carefully, quietly pull the zipper down the rest of the way and open up her coat, but not enough to properly grab anything that might've been concealed underneath it. About all the wiggle room she was afforded as she listened to the boom of branches that seemed closer to tree limbs snapping, the rustle of nature as it prepared to expel it's worst.

 The size of a pissed off bear was less alarming than it had been the first time years ago, but it was still enough to tilt the irises of her eyes to a cooler shade. Enough of a natural impulse at sight seen to make her cut into her bottom lip with her jaw clenched as her teeth grew. Accustomed by now to the taste to a point where she didn't spit, though she flinched at the tang and grit of it, slow and syrupy as it moved through her body.

 Instinct, experience, and a natural leg-up where senses were concerned afforded her a narrow window of time - enough to twist at the waist, keeping her arms pressed to her sides to protect her torso. But it opened up a clear target which the goddamn thing leapt for - powerful jaws clamping round her thigh above her knee, enough force behind it that she hissed as she was knocked forward, bent over the bear. Reaching to grab onto a fistful of fur at the back of it's neck and find some degree of purchase with her other leg in an effort to avoid going down. The ground, would not be her friend - that much was abundantly clear on size and weight alone.

 Grunting to avoid yelping, eyes narrowed and stinging at the radiating pain of sharp and enormous teeth puncturing through layers of skin and muscle. Knowing enough to understand the time bomb that was getting him off before he started to shake. Fumbling with her free hand in the moment to get a grip on the wood of the handle of the hunting knife, the clasp on the leather case left unsnapped since she'd parked the car. Coated in silver on Carmine's dime, just creeping past five inches or so and curved - an old friend.

 She swung down with as much force as she could muster behind it, with the frantic power of someone trying to restart a human heart. Aimed for the top of his head in the flurry of movement and hoping to scrape against bone enough that he'd let go and give her a seconds reprieve.
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#4
The taste was acrid, but not unlike the bloat of a summer fish, and while he did not truly hunger, he was determined to strip flesh and sinew to shattered bones. What he didn't eat, he would drag to face the sun, her black soul left to burn a glorious white as penance for everything she'd destroyed.

Scattered ash for scattered ash.

But now was not the time to picture that perfect dust, the bitch lively between his teeth, dark nose twitching as his chest thundered, anvil-sized jaws pressing downwards to secure. The bear knew to shake, neck instinctually oscillating to separate her dead and decaying body from whatever life kept it mechanized.

With such an opaque red, he could not see through feral rage to touch self-preservation, smelling the silver but not heading its distinct warning until it fell. Warm. Thighs lifted them both upwards and into the air, with a roll of his hips, sitting on the ground, back paws jutting outwards against her stomach as canines unhooked from the unexpected shark, its bite scrawling tyranny across auburn fur.

He shook his head once, and opened his maw with a deep bellow, as he righted himself, nails raking the ground. There was but a moment of reprieve, blood spattering against the cold earth as he pushed forward, his beast's tenacity occluding the reason for the growing darkness in his peripheral. Somewhere inaccessible, Logan knew what it meant.

Fight.
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#5
 The mind, human or undead, had a funny little way of short-circuiting in times of adrenaline. Something she clung onto as she growled through her teeth when he reared and took her at first with him. The sound easily swallowed compared to the outcry of his bellow and pain, enough to rattle the useless knowledge she had about grizzlies - real ones. One that could be scared away by open jackets and outstretched arms, not love-torn little men with rage and self-destruction in equal measure.

 There was a pop, it's source somewhat lost on her in the heat of the moment. the air (thankfully unnecessary) knocked out of her when he snagged on her shirt and at points into her skin. Thankful when he was forced to let go on instinct, grateful for the reprieve even when it sent her hard onto the ground. The pain wasn't as slow to visit as some people made it seem, but it was diluted in the heat of the moment - a simmer instead of a raging boil.

 Tolerable enough at least to allow her to roll so that she wouldn't be easily flattened and a direct path. Settling on her good knee rather than waste the time and effort into trying to pull herself up - unsteady as she would have been. Grip somewhat ruined by the blood that now seeped between her fingers and splattered to her wrist, she held tight all the same, two hands this time and swung for his side. Used the force of her weight to try to pull down and tear through what skin she could.
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#6
What adrenaline had siphoned, pain now mockingly returned, splitting skin parting the curtain for humanity to face the worst of fear and realization.

Let me have it.

The bear stumbled and growled, rounded, but didn't lunge, Logan reaching through the veil to grasp what birth had granted him- control. Cadal, a charaid. Tha am blàr agad seachad. It was not a quiet goodbye, the sound of rearranging bones occluded by the depth of his beast's ululation, the noise stretching into a strained groan as his own eyes wrenched open.

Logan was on his feet, and though the world tilted, he did not cease, arm bandaging his useless side as cold wind turned warm rivers into sluices of ice. "I'll see yeh damned yet," he snarled, with a cough, blood following the path his words had set. His chest tightened as he fought for each drowning breath, two steps taken before he joined her on his knees, surrounding vegetation baring the scars of their destruction.

He searched through soulless eyes and wished he could spit into the wells, anger slipping as his life ebbed. "Carmine," he mumbled, body beginning to tingle, fingers using the last of their coordination to heave and plunge a jagged branch towards her side.


Sleep, friend. Your battle is over.

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#7
 She supposed in the somber sort of holier-than-thou way that Catholicism tended to light things, she was already damned. Imagined what had to happen in the inner workings of a creature to make it seem like revenge was more pressing than self-preservation. The ideas syrupy, slower than they would normally be in the wealth of pain and the pounding of her head. Too slow to bother with a retort, too focused on making sure he stayed down to concern herself with bickering.

 Still, the name made her eyes widen the slightest bit, as if it were some code for a secret lover. No time to laugh at the death rattle of a curse as her head jolted back - instinct making her scrunch the slightest bit in preparation for the wild push forward. It hurt most assuredly, but not in the same way that a powerful set of teeth did, a lukewarm treat, but enough to push her wobbly balance and send her falling alongside him. Head cradled by the overgrown grass, watching him through the blades, minding his throat, his chest - some tension or jolt of movement that might suggest he was still breathing after all.

 Success at a cost, she groaned then as she straightened out her wounded leg, pulling and stretching muscles that felt decimated. The entirety of her right side carrying the brunt of the damage. Watching his pale face, focusing on the smell of blood as she reached out and felt her side.Where the fabric of her blouse had been torn just south of her ribs, the slight bulge of the branch just below the surface on her skin, towards her back where there seemed to be no exit would. Feeling back forwards and pressing her palm to the side to keep the branch steady while she used her other hand to break it from the thicker part of the branch, a little less weight to tug at the puncture. Pulling out the rest was ... not her problem, long as she got back to head quarters before the sun rose.

 Staying still, she steeled herself before reaching down, quiet diagnostic work as her fingers gingerly touched the rough tattered edge of the denim of her jeans. Tilting her head to look down at last, blurred in the darkness and from the deep shade of her own blood as she didn't finger the divots where his teeth had bore down but the ragged edges around them. Not the sort of thing she would trust to stand on, turning to look to the sky to try to get a sense of the time. Reluctant to even sit up too quickly, knowing the importance of keeping awake all the same as she considered the phone in her left pocket, sandwiched between her and the earth.

A clean up crew, a medic, a whole lot of hassle. Still, done was done.
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#8
"Carmine."

It would echo within the last, labored swell of a breath, blue eyes finally acquiescing to hold the ceaseless shadow that pushed to occupy them, tendrils of a rugged and cold earth cradling his body's disfunction as it slipped to ruin and decay. She'd inflicted herself into his very veins, but Logan would not allow the monster to transcend into the walls of his mental coffin, what was left lucidity pulling at memory's strings to occlude the vampire's image with his family's smiling faces.

Peace.

It lasted but a moment, his bear jerking with futility as the same insidious voice that had pointed him towards an end incited a new beginning, each syllable pushing through promised infinity with a rancor that twisted and disfigured the taste of death.
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