The Beast

To Sean: Thank you again for another great story starter. I still owe you two more!

She stared the beast in the eyes and raised her hand, causing the creature to hesitate just for a moment.

The pause allowed her to set off a blinding light creating the distraction she needed to grab the Grimoire. She hurriedly flipped to the spell as the beast began to recover and stumble towards her. When she found it, Cat willed her breathing to slow and began the incantation. The warehouse lights started to flicker in response to the power being called forth and as the last word was uttered, a force passed through Cat and wrapped itself around the beast. As she stood up, she was grabbed from behind by two men wrenching her arms behind her back. Cat struggled against her captors, but in vain and was forced to watch her spell unfold as a prisoner. Not the victory she had in mind, but she was too distracted from her dangerous predicament by the familiar shape the beast was beginning to take.

Its claws melted into strong masculine hands and its barrel shaped torso into a lithe muscular chest with a tattoo of a raven in flight. It was more like a watercolor painting than harsh lines, beautiful and fierce covering the right side. “This can’t be possible,” she said aloud, but what she already knew was confirmed when the beast’s face took shape. Wes stood before her. She tried to run over to him, but the effort was futile against the strength of the two men holding her in place. Wes recovered quickly however and began to approach and her excitement faded as she was met with a twisted grin and vacant brown eyes. This was Wes’s body, but his soul was lost. Clearly in over her head, Cat wished that she had listened to Finn and didn’t come here alone.

Tears began to well up as Wes closed his hand around her throat and began to squeeze. She tried to struggle from his grasp, “Wes…don’t…please,” she croaked out to no avail when she felt as if her whole body was snapped and yanked. Cat fell to the ground, dizzy and clutched her head. That’s when she realized she was free. “Cat!” Finn called as he came running to her side. “Are you okay?” the panic in his voice was palpable as his hands ran over her body to make sure she was unharmed. Instinctively Cat’s hand went to her throat to rub the aching muscles when a large explosion sounded from behind them. She turned around to see the warehouse up in flames. Finn hadn’t come to rescue her alone. He had brought the entire coven and they destroyed the threat. Cat knew that she should be grateful, that she should want to lose herself in Finn’s arms and the comforting gaze of his green eyes, but all she felt was the renewed grief of losing her husband all over again.

Cat was staring blankly out the window when Finn walked in, but she was too preoccupied with her own thoughts to notice. Finn loudly cleared his throat to get her attention and Cat jumped. “I’m sorry,” he said quickly. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“No, I’m sorry. I haven’t been myself since the warehouse. I just keep thinking that Wes was alive all this time. I could have saved him.”

Finn looked at her worriedly. “Don’t,” was all he said.

She looked at him confused, “Don’t what?”

“Blame yourself,” he replied. “There’s nothing you could have done. You saw for yourself that he had no soul and no one can come back from that. It’s impossible.” Cat looked down at the floor. Tears starting to well up. She didn’t want Finn to see her like this. It wasn’t fair to him to watch her grieve for another man. She loved him and didn’t want to cause him pain.

Finn could feel her turmoil and closed the distance between then. Gently he raised her chin so their eyes could meet. Cat saw no anger, no frustration. Only love. He placed a tender kiss on her lips then asked, “Would you like me to come with you to his grave? We could say goodbye together.” Cat nodded, relieved that she wouldn’t have to face this alone.

Finn looked over at Cat and squeezed her hand reassuring her as they approached Wes’s grave. “I’m sorry we couldn’t recover his ashes. There was nothing left after the fire died out.”

She squeezed his hand back, “It’s okay. I didn’t expect there would be. Not with the power of the spell that was cast.” Slowly Wes’s grave came into view and a lump in her throat formed, but it wasn’t from sadness. Cat dropped Finn’s hand and ran over picking up the fresh flowers that were laid on his grave. Finn ran up behind her, “What is it?”

She looked at him, hands shaking. “These flowers… Wes only ever gave these to me. It was a joke. He knew I hated white roses and would leave them for me to find. It was stupid, but it would always make me laugh. I’d forgive him anything after finding them.”

“What are you saying?” asked Finn confused.

Cat answered with determination, “That he’s alive and we can save him.”