It was bright outside this time when Ben came to, and again, the night before was mostly a blur. He had been awake and aware for the next two hours after smashing his arm into the tree but much like when he battled the big grizzly bear, the time was spent running on instincts. Every part of his rational mind was silent as his body ran rampant on its own accord.
Whatever stimulation the injury to his arm caused had set off a chain reaction that culminated with him running around on all fours, chasing down a large buck with surprising ease. The transformations he was undergoing were excruciating. The bones throughout his body contorted forcefully while his muscles expanded exponentially. That was only the beginning of the pain. The pressure applied by his changing body on his skin was overwhelming as it ripped apart from the bulging muscles and shifting bones.
The process was so fast that the skin tore and then impossibly quickly, healed back seamlessly only to be ripped apart again. Even now in the morning sun, with no obvious signs of metamorphosis, he felt different. Whatever was taking hold of him at night had changed him permanently. He was more than twice as strong, fast and alert as he was before and had developed some miraculously advanced regeneration. There were no signs of injury anywhere on his body now other than the smudges where blood had once seeped and blotched.
His clothes were torn and shredded with only his stretchy boxer shorts still mostly intact. The normally timid and shy man was long gone. Ben ripped off what was left of his jeans and T-shirt and tossed them on top of the mutilated deer carcass lying beside him. Though he was more alive than he had ever been, he was losing himself. He was acting like a savage; hunting down animals, killing them with his bare hands and then gorging on their raw flesh, panting and salivating uncontrollably.
The distinctive double clicking noise of a shotgun being cocked sounded not more than five feet behind him. For the first time since Moe was standing over him with a pistol, seconds from his fate, Ben felt real fear, but more than that he felt vulnerable… human. The anxiety threatened to change him but he resisted. It was nice to be afraid, to feel in control.