Freebie Mondays: The Tale of Forg the Werefrog

Freebie Mondays: The Tale of Forg the Werefrog

It isn’t very often I write something full silly, but it’s always a ton of fun when I do.

The idea for this short story came from two friends of mine (Jchillyy and Karly5123) and arose out of a random conversation during Jchillyy’s stream. The final prompt was thus: “Werefrog man (who fights crime in the city) hunts vampires until he gets to know one via an epic fight and then they realize they are on the same side and agree to work together (at which point they also kiss).”

The frog thing has become a running joke in our community after a drunken night of golf, so I was happy to add to the lore, as it were.

Absolutely no scientific research was done for the creation of this story. I basically just turned off my brain and let my fingers write whatever they wanted. (I created a lot of tongue-related werefrog lore.) It’s totally ridiculous, but also tons of fun. And of course we had our sweet Frog Duck with us for the crazy ride.

I wrote this prompt live on stream, so if you’d like to watch it come together, you can catch the VoD here!
. . .

I wasn’t always a creature of the night.

Once upon a time I was one of those morning people. Up with the sun and first cup of coffee half drunk before the sun peeked above the horizon. One of those people you’d see dripping with sweat from a morning run in the wee hours of morning. The first in the office before the new work day started, and so annoyingly peppy you’d roll your eyes when you had to clear the last of the sleep out of your brain to clock in for the day.

That was me. Until I was tongue lacerated by a werefrog.

I know, it sounds like something out of a bad B movie. I’m not entirely sure it wasn’t some mutant escaped from a lab. Who the hell ever imagines there are werefrogs in the world? Most were-creatures are actually cool, like wolves or cats or bears. Creatures with claws. Apex predators. Hunters.

But no, it turns out that there are lots of subclasses of the disease that creates zaonthropes. Lycanthropes are just the coolest and most well known from howling at the moon and monster movies and all that. But if you spin a big giant wheel of animals, you’ll probably find a were-version out there somewhere. I’ve even met a few wereducks along the way.

It’s a crazy world out there.

I tried at first to deny what was happening to me. Like maybe there was some kind of vaccine that would protect me from the transformation. I tried locking myself in my room at night. I even tried those ankle cuffs that prevent you from sleepwalking.

But it was no use. The beast inside me always woke up. And it turns out, frogs are a hell of a lot smarter than you think. Really clever little buggers. So there was no type of lock that could keep me confined. And when I realized I was going to be roaming the night, testing the air with my freakishly long tongue and leaping across the spaces between buildings, I just decided to embrace it.

Why fight the inevitable?

And it turns out, there’s a whole world, an entire society of creatures that come out only at night. They hide in dark allies and leap across rooftops. Some of them hunt and some of them just can’t hide their faces while the sun is out. But most of them are really cool.

Except the ones that aren’t.

You know, like the actual werewolves that everyone raves on and on about. Turns out, most of them are jerks. As soon as they transform, they just lose control and go wild. They tear things to pieces. They bite. I think most of them have learned to avoid humans – there are consequences for ripping a person to total shreds when the sun comes up the next morning. But I still recommend avoiding anything that sprouts claws and sharp teeth once the sun goes down.

Because people think those transformations only occur during the full moons, when the power of the orb is at its peak or whatever.

That’s actually bullshit. If you’re a were-thing, you feel that pull every night. Except maybe during the new moon – if you’re lucky. It’s just strongest when the moon is full. Irresistible.

But since I learned to embrace who I am, I’ve let go of the morning. The up with the sun, first cup of coffee bright eyed and bushy tailed worker routine was the first thing to go out the window. Though I kept the wee hour runs – they’re useful.

My day starts at dusk now, when the last dying light of day dims and sinks below the horizon. That’s when I get up, lift some weights, pour that first round of coffee and really dig into the work that has become my calling – crime fighting.

You’re laughing now, I’m sure. But actually, frogs are really good at this sort of thing.

I’m standing on one of those low ledges that line the roofs of those big highrise buildings right now, and I feel the air flowing over my slick, slimy skin. My eye sight isn’t the greatest, but some species of frogs actually live their entire lives at night. So while it takes some adjustment to get used to the distribution of my vision, it isn’t the handicap you might first expect.

Besides, my legs are powerful. It’s not all that hard to leap fifteen feet distant, and I can get thirty in if I really try, have a running start and gain some height. Vertical is a bit more difficult, but I’m still pretty impressive when compared with a human.

Then there’s the strength and versatility of my tongue. I can actually use it a bit like a grappling hook. If I just get a good few circles around a protruding object, it sticks really well. And you’d think it would be hard to let go once you get a really good tongue grip, but now that I’m used to how all of these extra abilities work, there’s actually a really simple trick to it.

But I digress. I’m not up here tonight to sell you on how great werefrogs are. You’re probably not ever going to turn into one, let alone want to. But it’s a big night for me, so I’m waxing a little bit eloquent.

Tonight, I’m going after the big game, the darkest of the dark creatures, the true lords of the night.

Tonight, I’m hunting vampires.

* * *

You wouldn’t think it, but vampires have a distinctive tongue scent.

I do most things with my tongue now, in case that hasn’t become apparent. My nose isn’t really that strong, but my tongue has all these extra tactile sensors now. They let me determine the temperature and smell of any place I’m passing through. If I know what a person’s smell-taste is, I can track them for a few hours. It’s kind of gnarly. Food is really easy to determine, even down to its component parts. But humans tend to be a bit tricky. Their tongue-smells are complex.

Vampires have this sort of undead funk. It’s not exactly rot. They aren’t exactly falling off the bone. But it’s kind of like kimchi, that fermented sort of funk. If you smell-taste that in a high-class portion of town, you just know a vampire has recently been to visit.

I didn’t even believe in vampires at first. Zoanthropes, sure. I mean, it’s easy to believe in people who undergo transformations when you’ve experienced it for yourself. But the undead? Drinking blood? Needing to get invited into a place before you can cross the threshold? That really tests the limits of believability.

But then I saw a few of them lurking in the shadows, draining their most recent prey and turning into bats so they could scatter when I approached. It’s a really nasty business, dealing with vampires. Especially since they disappear in the wee hours of morning and don’t come around again until the sun goes down. You really need to find where they hide during the day. That’s the only way to truly corner them.

Zaonthropes can do whatever they want during the day. But vampires? They burn as soon as the sun strikes their skin.

I wish I had a better plan. It sounds kind of lame to just follow a vampire back to its lair and open the windows while they’re sleeping. I’m guessing they probably have some kind of defense against that. But I didn’t get claws, so I have to work with what I have.

As I perch on the edge of the ledge from which I’m about to leap, I take a moment to enjoy the chill of the night air caressing my skin. I’ve always felt like that chill wakes me up; it’s why I used to always run in the mornings. But now it makes me feel alive. Like I was only just pretending to be real all those years I spent working in an office.

This is the real deal. Excitement buzzes beneath my transformed skin. I don’t even mind the webbing between my fingers and toes anymore. It made me clumsy at first, but now I know my way around.

I gather all of my strength into my powerful legs. As a human, it would be terrifying to jump from the edge of a building this high without being able to touch the other side of the leap I’m trying to make. But as a frog, I know exactly how far I can go.

I release my legs like two coiled springs and, suddenly, I’m flying through the air. For a minute, I feel like a bird. Like I could soar straight into the clouds. But I don’t flail my arms. I learned that lesson the hard way. I’ve got to stay aerodynamic.

I land, and a slight vibration travels up my legs. They’re like shock absorbers. I hesitate only a moment before I take off running and leap to the next building then the next. I’m not worried about stealth for the first part of the journey. I’ll hide when I get to where I last saw the vampires.

This city can feel like a maze from street level but, from above, I cut across the city blocks in no time. It only takes about ten minutes to reach the outskirts of the neighborhood I’m searching for. And sure enough, there it is, the smell of kimchi.

I take a moment to check my surroundings. I need to make sure that the kimchi smell isn’t, you know, actual kimchi. But there’s not a restaurant or a dumpster in sight. I’m hovering over a clump of those old style clubs, the ones that want you to flash cash and membership cards before they’ll let you in the door.

I have to swivel my head from side to side since my field of vision is quite a bit broader as a frog. But it only takes a moment to spot a dark figure moving down an alley. They have to be fresh from one of the luxury clubs because they’re drenched in fine fabric and accessories that scream hot topic.

Definitely a vampire.

I can’t just leap across the rooftops anymore. I have to be careful now. Vampires tend to look up a lot more than normal humans because they’re aware of what can drop on them from above. So instead of leaping back into motion, I use my tongue to descend the side of a building. It’s rough going, and there are more than a few odd tasting patches on the way down that I’d rather not think about.

As soon as I hit the ground, I test the air again with my tongue sensors. Then I follow that strong sensation of kimchi.

I follow for most of an hour, darting in and out of the shadows, using the glint of street lights off the metal of the vampire’s accessories to keep track of them. That and the smell. The closer I get to my target, the sharper the smell grows. It’s almost giving me a headache by the time the vamp I’m trailing comes to a halt.

I assume he’s about to dart through a door into a warehouse or meeting place but, instead, he whips in my direction.

I freeze. I’m under no delusions that vampires can’t spot you if you stop moving, but I don’t really have any other natural defenses. I can’t change my color to blend in. I just have to rely on my natural speckling to hide me in the shadow dapples of the moonlight.

But it’s too late. Those cat-like eyes have already narrowed in my direction. I hear a hiss and catch a flash of fangs.

There’s no time to do anything other than act. Backing up slightly, I press my enlarged feet against the wall of my hiding space. I can’t stick sideways on the wall, but I can balance just long enough to push off and dart full force at my target.

I ram my head into their midsection even as long claws start to sprout from the vampire’s fingertips. I must have knocked the air out of his lungs – if vampires even breathe – because he doesn’t try to claw me. He just buckles and rolls to the side.

I roll with him, trying to get my arms or legs into a position where I can control the final outcome of our movement. I scrape my sensitive skin against the dry asphalt, but I manage to arrest our movement in a way that lets me crouch on top of the vampire.

I waste no time curling my hands into fists to send them flying at the vampire’s face.

He grunts, then growls, then attempts to raise his hands to block my punches. But I’m already wailing full force. Frogs might not be particularly strong, but I’ve still got the limbs of a human, and I don’t lift weights for nothing.

Unfortunately, my good fortune only lasts a few moments before the vampire remembers he has claws. He rakes them along my left hand, and blood wells from the openings.

I leap backward, and there’s enough power in the small movement to carry me several feet away.

All zoanthropes get a small amount of magical boost to their healing – it comes with the territory of twisting your body into new configurations. So the wounds are already starting to scab by the time I tuck my arm against my torso.

Unfortunately, the healing power of vampires is much stronger, and I only managed to create a few bruises on my target’s face.

When he stands up, it’s like that animation of a vampire rising from their coffin in a monster movie. There’s no bend to the legs or push from the arms, he simply levitates his shoulders upward until he can land on his feet.

Then he moves fast as a flash to rake his claws at my face.

I duck and dart under his legs. It helps that he’s already leapt into the air to hover-spin and chase.

Three powerful leaps carry me into an open space. Then I turn and whip my tongue out of my mouth like a whip. I’m aiming for the face, but I end up hitting the shoulder.

I would say the sound that comes from my target’s throat is disgust, but I don’t really have time to think about it or the saliva streak I leave behind when I withdraw my tongue for a second strike.

My tongue is the fastest part of my body, so it’s easy to get another two strikes in while the vamp is still trying to figure out what to do about me. I back up a little after each new blow, trying to get to an escape route. But there’s a lot of high walls and crates in this area. And I’m pretty sure if I turn to run or try to scale a building, the vampire is going to catch up with me before I make it very far.

Frogs aren’t really made for this kind of combat, but I’m trying my best.

My opponent has recovered from the shock of having a tongue whipped several times at his face, and he attacks my latest swing with his claws. Speed is on my side and I manage to retract my tongue before more than one of his wicked claws can graze the sensitive flesh, but the wound left behind still hurts like hell.

You know how people think the human tongue starts to heal instantly? That’s a myth. But as a werefrog, my tongue does have that ability. There’s a new patch of fresh, pink skin along the side of my tongue by the time I pull it back into my mouth. But I don’t know what will happen if part of my tongue gets sliced off, and I don’t really want to find out.

I let the vamp get closer, dodging and weaving to get out of the way of his long claws. I bide my time until I can get my arms under me, then I use the power in my legs to kick the vamp square in the chest. While he’s flying through the air, I turn and run.

I’m leap-diving down a dark alley not even paying attention to where I put my feet. The only thing that can add to my speed is those little leaps, and I don’t look back. Frogs can move pretty damn fast, but their main method of defense is to hide.

I’m scanning the shadows as best I can, hoping for a small space I can squeeze into in order to change direction. But I don’t find anything that can accommodate my bulk before I hear the flutter of bat-like wings.

A sudden shadow looms in front of me, and the vampire’s claws shoot toward my face.

Changing directions on a dime isn’t really a frog’s strong suit either, so I only manage to halt my momentum instead of diving head-first into the claw strike.

At the last moment, the vampire curls his hand into a fist and punches me right beneath the eye instead of raking a series of gnashes in my side. I’m grateful, but only for a second. Then I roll and skid across the pavement, opening several new scratches and forming several new bruises. Even with rapid healing, these wounds are going to smart tomorrow.

I pant to catch my breath. I’m pretty sure now judging by the steady composure of my opponent that vampires don’t actually need to breathe and I simply caught this one off guard before.

In three slow steps, he looms over me, his shadow falling across my skin, blocking out the little bit of light that penetrated this alley from the next street over.

A shiver travels through my spine, and I try to tell myself it’s not fear. But now that I get a close look at this guy, he’s pretty impressive. He’s tall and thin, not overly muscular, but I’ve felt the power in his limbs. His face isn’t exactly vibrant anymore, but nor is it gaunt, hollow or sunken like I expected.

He’s actually pretty handsome. Like if I met him in the mall and didn’t know he was a vampire, I’d probably flash him a smile and maybe waggle my eyebrows a bit. You know, just to get a feel for whether or not he felt the same way about me.

I’m trying not to admire the man who’s about to kill me. It’s probably just a defense mechanism or something. Maybe it’s frog-related. I don’t know.

But when the vampire lifts his hand and extends it in my direction, there are no wicked claws extending from his fingers anymore. In fact, it kind of looks like he’s trying to help me up?

I narrow my large, rounded eyes at the hand as it comes to rest near the middle of my face. I don’t know much about vampires, but I know you can’t trust them. I’m not sure if it’s the immortality or the dark powers, but I’m pretty sure every word that comes out of their mouths is a lie.

Case in point, when I don’t grasp the hand extended toward me, the vampire hisses, once again exposing his fangs. “Take the help while it’s still an option,” he snarls. And I can’t help noticing that his voice is a rich baritone. Seriously, he could be a singer.

But I can’t trust those dulcet tones, so I shake my head. “Whatever you’re going to do to me, just get it over with quickly.” If this is my last night on the mean streets, at least I can say I did a decent job of contributing to their cleanup. I brought several criminals to justice and helped just so many old ladies across the street. You would not believe.

The vampire frowns, and his hand wavers for a second. “What?” he responds, confused.

Oh yeah, I forgot. When I’m transformed, my lips don’t work the best. Frog mouths are good for frog things but not really people talk.

I clear my throat. Then, because the situation can’t possibly get any worse than it already is, I let go of the beast. The night is thinning and the moon is hovering near the horizon, getting ready to set. Or at least the small moon that I like to think of as the frog moon is setting. The big moon, the main moon of our world, is still hanging out. It’s got a few more hours before it gives up the goat. But that’s more of the werewolf, werebear moon.

Like I said, zoanthropy is complicated.

I feel some of the power melt out of me, but I can also breathe through my nose again and it relieves the odd kimchi stench that radiates off the vampire while it’s this close to my tongue. I don’t mind so much that I’m giving the vamp a glimpse of who I really am – I’m probably dead anyway, right?

“I said, whatever you’re going to do, just make it quick.” There. I’m sure he understood me this time.

The vampire stares at me for a long moment as if trying to determine how big of an idiot I am. Then his handsome face twists into a grin. “You’re kind of cute,” he says as he retracts his hands. “But seriously, I know who you are and you’ve got this all wrong.”

“You going to try to convince me that you’re not a vampire?” I demand as I cross my arms over my chest. “Because that ship has sailed.”

The vamp rolls his eyes. “I am most certainly a vampire just as you’re obviously some kind of werefrog thing. Which is a new one, actually. I don’t think I’ve ever met one before.”

“Just call me Forg,” I reply. I’m not sure why, but it sounds better than ‘werefrog.’

“Forg?” the vampire blurts, still sounding shocked.

“Yeah, it’s the name I assumed when I became a creature of the night.”

The vampire chuckles. I want to hate him for it, but I can’t. He actually sounds kind of nice?

I don’t know, maybe I bumped my head.

“Listen, Forg, you have the wrong idea about me and my people.”

“Vampires?” I reply, skeptical.

“Well, no. Some vampires are pretty big jerks. I mean my… what would you call them? Clan? Crew? Let’s just call them my friends. I’m telling you, we’re on the same side. And if you give me another night, I can prove it.”

I want to tell him where to shove it. That’s what badasses do in the movies. I want to tell him where to shove it and then walk away in slow motion while something explodes behind me. But he’s still blocking my path, so when he extends his hand again to help me up, I really don’t have any choice but to take it.

“Meet me back here tomorrow evening at moonrise. Frog form optional.” And I kid you not, he winks at me.

What am I supposed to do with that? I just kind of blink at him before managing to stammer, “Uh… okay?”

His hand tightens around mine where he still holds it. His skin is cold, but mine is warm and it generates this kind of spark between us. I can feel it warming my cheeks, and I’m suddenly flustered. I try to stumble away, but the vampire tugs on my arm.

We’re right next to each other. And now that I’m not a frog anymore, he doesn’t smell like kimchi. He smells like spice and the air after rain. My heart is hammering in my chest and my throat, and I suddenly remember that I’m naked.

Because you know, frogs and humans don’t fit in the same clothes. I haven’t worked out the way to make that stretch happen.

But it doesn’t matter, because I’m lost in those weird cat-like eyes now. The vamp is grinning like he just saw the most adorable thing. And then he leans down.

When his lips touch mine, there’s an electric spark. It shoots through my whole body. I just barely have time to register that I’m enjoying the sensation before the vampire steps away and there’s suddenly a cold spot where he was previously standing.

“Tomorrow night,” the baritone echoes in my ears before I hear the flutter of the wings again. “Moonrise.”

“Moonrise,” I manage to reply. Then I’m alone in a back alley on the wrong side of town wondering what the hell I just agreed to.

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