“Where would you like to begin,” Dr. Foxfire asked with a clinical degree of composure. There was an almost playful patience to her measured manner as she took up a seat facing Gabriel. Much like some careful spider she seemed completely at ease and ready to control the coming conversation. Casually she crossed her legs and allowed one foot to bob slightly back and forth. Her hands were clasped together and rested neatly in her lap. Eyes of deepest emerald held Gabriel in their entrancing gaze and the soft white glow of the room seemed to highlight her silver-grey hair until it almost looked like it was burning.
A whispered voice at the back of his mind told him that the Doctor was consciously making a point to emphasize a desired image. Somehow she was subtly dominating the situation, but he couldn’t tell how or why. Gabriel found himself dizzy with a growing twist to his thoughts that prompted him to shake his head to try and clear it. “Something happened while you were in your office,” he mumbled weakly.
Gabriel decided squarely to push aside any of these thoughts that seemed to blur his focus and seize on the troubling ones that worried him. “I can’t make sense of things completely,” he explained with a sense of shame that sparked a small measure of annoyance at his implied weakness. “But as I became irritated I discovered strange feelings flooding through me that I cannot explain. With them came powerful impulses that made me want to do things, changing me.”
Unable to maintain the Doctor’s scrutinizing stare Gabriel quickly lowered his head and closed his eyes. He was still searching for the right words, some way to communicate what he had experienced without sounding mad. But no miraculous method offered itself to temper his tongue with the words he so wished would provide the appropriate answer. With a sigh he resigned himself to whatever fate his uttered claim might earn him.
“I am changing into some monster,” he revealed, the very admission bringing with it a wave of guilt and worry. “The rage and frustration burned inside me. Before I even knew what was happening I found myself watching in horror as my body betrayed me. My flesh became furry and my desires darker. Claws formed and this crazed creature was standing in my place threatening to replace me with its own control over me.”
When next he looked back up a softer sight was waiting to meet him. Dr. Foxfire’s entire demeanor somehow now radiated a calming aura that reached down into Gabriel’s core. He found the fury inside him that strained against him for release retreating to ease itself. It was like bathing in crystal clear water, or bathing in the warm sun while a friendly breeze was blowing.
Gabriel drank in the soothing serenity and paused for a long moment before he continued. His voice lowered into a hushed whisper when next he could find the words that waited for him to speak them. “I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to regain control,” Gabriel admitted with a diminished degree of nervousness. ‘I was terrified that along with my body that my very soul had also been taken from me by that malevolent monster.”
“And yet, you now sit before me once more in control of your self,” Dr. Foxfire interrupted with professional precision. “What vile taint did this creature corrupt you with that allowed you to return to your senses? Hmm, how did you regain control if it has so completely taken everything you are from you?”
The questions hung on the empty air for several silent minutes as Gabriel forced his self to consider them. Only a single answer kept presenting itself to his stumbling survey; he had forced his way back out. Through determination and focus he had managed to find something calming to ease his anger back out of control.
“I focused myself to regain control,” Gabriel finally answered confidently. “I refused to allow that thing to take anything else from me. There is work left for me to finish and it is something that is worth me doing right. To give up or try to take the easy path wouldn’t be the right thing to do. My Grandfather taught me better than that, I am better than that.” Gabriel peered directly into the emerald enigmas that held him and matched them with his own piercing perception.
Dr. Foxfire could read the fiery forged determination that those steely eyes declared. “I am not my father, Doc. And I refuse to lower myself to be compared with the likes of him or something as inhumane as that monster.” She had heard enough, and even more than that she had seen into him. What she found waiting her was a welcome relief, worthy of a trust she hadn’t found in a very long time. Now it was her turn to sigh deeply before she continued.
“Well done, it is a rare enough thing to find someone capable of confronting such primal impulses,” the Doctor explained. “When I studied your test results at first it was a peculiar puzzle that presented itself. Your very genetic structure has been altered into something else. Now, naturally there is only a handful of explanations know to cause such a thing. But unofficially there are some lesser accepted things capable of affecting someone in such a manner.”
“What are saying Doc,” Gabriel interrupted with an instant inquiry. “What do you mean by some unofficial explanation?” The simplest answer presented itself to support the Doctor’s case. It took the form of a bushy fox tail that jovially appeared behind her to swish about. “Does that answer your question?” She asked with a coy grin. Ironically Gabriel now found himself dumbfound and speechless stuttering to recover.
“I was born this way,” Dr. Foxfire continued. “Some might call me a Kitsune although others undoubtedly prefer the terms abomination, monster or demon. And while I have managed to keep my abnormal nature hidden for a very long time it has not been easy. It’s part of while I took up this duty on some quiet pioneer post. However your current condition is quite different I am afraid. Clearly you were not born this way; instead something has afflicted you with this altered existence.
What should be of concern though is the fact that whatever attacked you is still on the loose. And I can say with some authority that until recently no similar suffering individual has been known to be residing on Gallu. If they were here I would have discovered them long before now. Instead we have an unknown threat that has appeared recently and whoever it is they seem completely comfortable reveling in their unleashed rage. If something isn’t done to stop them soon things are going to get worse.”
“How do you mean worse,” Gabriel asked with a growing measure of concern. He had witnessed first hand how dangerous this thing was, but he was certain that once it was known the authorities could deal with it. “While you so far are the sole survivor of an attack,” the Doctor replied reluctantly. “If this threat isn’t contained and quickly we face a growing one of not just this mysterious monster. Another like you could turn into a similar creature or we could contend with the creation of other nightmarish things.”
“Can’t the peace-keepers handle that thing,” Gabriel offered as an excuse to ease his fears. “Perhaps you should look inside yourself and consider the answer to that one,” Dr. Foxfire countered. “Fair enough,” he conceded as he realized that he couldn’t see a few peace-keepers stopping him with simple side-arms either. “What do you propose we do then?”
“Consider our options carefully,” the clever fox-tailed doctor confirmed. Gabriel had no real idea what options might be left for them to consider but at this point he still longed to be able to do something. But just like the start of any project he couldn’t refute the value of a carefully crafted plan. “Measure twice, cut once,” Gabriel agreed and waited to hear what options they had to choose from.