The Beast of Bodmin Moor
Jack’s heart pounded, strong and true; trembling through PJ’s tongue as he chased the silvery trails strewn across his honeyed tum. Glistening in the moonlight, like spider silk decorated with dew. Its beat did resonating as somehow more than a thundering in PJ’s ears, he could do feeling its vibrations, as a…bone deep sense of awareness. So deep, its echo made the very ground do thrumming beneath his paws. Strange…but possibly not as spooky as the thought that flitted through his head. Jimjams suspected he might be able to use it as a…compass, to do finding Jack.
“Jack…?” he wuffled. Lazy lids lifted to bedazzle PJ with blue. Still shimmery, but calmer now, like Caribbean seas at sunset. “Can you...feel me?”
“Feel you? D’you mean…can Jake?” he asked, tufty brows furrowing a tad.
“Huh?” Jimjams twerked his top lip in a wtf fashion that was a mite multilingual. Had doing mating addled Jack’s faculties? He had endured a very long wait to do the deedy, after all. “Jake? I’d have to be squiffy to do asking something so daft. I meant, can you do…sensing me, inside yourself?”
“Sorry…you’re right. It would have been a batshit question.” Jack paused and did cocking his head. Phin could have sworn he heard a snort of disgust, although Jack didn’t do one. Not out loud, at least. “Can I sense you? Yes, but I think I may have been able to before you shifted. I assumed I’d just followed your scent, which could be true, except it seems…more than that, in retrospect.”
“D’you think you could do…following it, to find me?” Phin wondered, buoyed by the fact Jack hadn’t done letting rip with one of those snorty noises Jake was so fond of.
“Now that you’ve asked…” Jack wriggled into a Sphinxy position and raised his head to do skygazing. It looked so low, up on the moors, like a vast swathe of sequinned velvet stretching as far as the eye could see. The stars made his nose do twinkling. “That seems…feasible,” he decided, before adding: “Don’t ask. I do not intend on letting you out of scent range ’til I’m sure you’ll be safe…”
“Dammit, if someone else did declaring that, I’d be so miffy I might do a runner…p’raps for the hell of it…to prove I could. Humph.” Bummer, he didn’t seem to be very proficient at truth twiddling on four legs, so it was a bloomin’ good job they were longer than Jack’s. Jimjams had a sneaky suspicion he might need to shift himself sharpish when his dear sire did sniffing out a faradiddle or two. Much.
“Then I’m glad you’re not miffed as I very much doubt I could stop myself from proving you couldn’t.” Jack sighed. His scent did souring to…something that reminded Phin of pumpkin slop. It wasn’t like ‘sour lemons’—that would be a crisp, cutting sort of smell—this was earthy; so fusty it was tricky to do focusing on the meaning of Jack’s words. When the penny did plink into place, it made the musty whiff seem a mite more fathomable. If nonetheless daft.
Jackal journal: Self-disgust was not a suits-you-sir scent.
Status: Endangered. Extinct, asap.
“Why did you sigh if you want me to do staying? That doesn’t even make Jimjams sense.”
“Jimjams?” Jack’s tongue did lolling in a laugh.
“You started it! You called me PJ. That’s short for jim-jams, so stop prevaricating and do telling me why the whiffy sigh?” he huffed. It smelled and sounded so far from the way Jimjams felt, it made him do hunkering to the ground and resting his chin on his front paws. The very solidity of the soil felt…reassuring with too-much-stuff running amok.
“What was ‘whiffy’ about it? I doubt that was a dog-breath slur.”
“Your niff went…sort of strange…” Jimjams did wrinkling his nose, rather than cosh Jack with a reeking word. “When you said ‘I doubt I could stop myself proving you couldn’t.’ It sounded as if you’d have to do telling me to stay…but smelled as if you wouldn’t want me to. Yet, you told me jackals do ‘mating for life’…so that’s screwy. I’ve just done thinking another thought that’s loopy now. Odd that.” PJ noted.
It was something Phin had wondered about from the moment Jake did sharing his story. But he hadn’t understood just how impossible it would seem to Jimjams: How the bejeezus could the girl at Glastonbury do bearing to leave her mate?
“You’re right, it doesn’t make sense…but I sighed when Jake flinched from the fact he’d want to command you to stay. That wouldn’t be noble, apparently.”
“He’s a daftie. I might wish he would, despite myself, if I had a strop and did stomping off in a miff. I might even hope he did so as ignobly as pos—oops, I shouldn’t have done admitting that.” Pj’s scent spiked so sharply, it’s consequences made Jack look as if a hairdryer had been blasted up his snoot.
“PJ…” The blue ignited like a lightsaber bursting to life. A sudden waft of woodsmoke, mulled wine and roasting chestnuts made Jamjams do springing up. About a big sloppy licky kiss before swivelling around to present Jack with his fluffy butt.
Jackal journal: Turning foxy sure as shameless strumpets hadn’t enhanced Phin’s subtlety skills much.
Status: A bit of a moot point while sporting a fancy free cock.
Phin had oft been informed that pottering about in the altogether was not-the-done-thing at all, no matter how comfy it was. Jim-jammy devil…where there’s a will, there’s a way. Ho hum.
All that flashed through PJ’s head in the flicker of an eyelash, instantly obliterated by the brain-blitzing swipe that sluiced his person. Stone the crows ‘n’ crikey…’scuse me while I kiss the sky… Jimi-jams Hendrix just about did too, such was the sublime shock to his system. A fur frizzling Fender Stratocaster Experience PJ wouldn’t have done missing for the world…
A wee while later, Jack did butting a blissed-out Jimjams with his nose. “C’mon…it’s time for your tour of the moors…or it’ll be daybreak and we’d better get you home.” Home. How wonderful that sounded, even though it wasn’t PJ’s. He did, however, have a campervan perfect for parking on Jake’s driveway. That could be a plan, then his dear sire would know Jimjams was safe without being driven doolally. Quite so soon. PJ wouldn’t let himself do counting chickens, it made Phin scratchy. He would look flea-bitten t’boot.
“Where we off to…?” PJ did shoving all such thoughts aside and scrambled onto all paws.
“Anywhere you wish…” Jack grinned and did swiping him a lick before scarpering in a spray of gritty bits. ‘Twas with a joyful wuff that Jimjams set off in hot pursuit…of his very own happy ever after.
They ran…ran with the fur rifling wind whispering secrets, thrilling to the sighs of the night. Fast, so fast, they would be but blurs to less discerning eyes, but PJ could do seeing every blade of scrubby grass they sped across beneath their canopy of stars. By the time they did pulling up, panting with exhilaration, he could feel the dawn creeping ever closer. Hear its scents stirring. Sense the subtle shift in the air.
“PJ…it’s time we headed back…”
“Pfft. That gong-bonging is going to get old, y’know…” PJ huffed.
“Poor Jimjams…” Jack snickered. “Stop chuntering…and think sausages. We can come back tonight and every night thereafter if you wish…”
“Okay…” Phin fuffed a sigh. “Cramming myself back into my body isn’t going to be very fun, is it?”
“No…which is why I’d rather we got it over with. I need to know…you’ll be okay.”
“Are you worried that I’ll be missing a leg, or, I dunno…my head? I might be better off without that.” PJ noted.
“Just…humour me, okay? For my peace of mind, if nothing else.”
“Oh alright then, Mr Fussypot-a-lot. Will I get a doggy-choc for being a good boy?” Jimjams did pinning on the best puppy dog eyes Phin had ever pulled off. Ha, lightweight.
“Ooh…something like that.” Jack winked, turning tail to do fleeing as if the hounds of hell were hot on his heels. Rather than his very own. Homeward bound before dawn stole the darklight away…
*** 2 ***
PJ did leaping over the garden gate and skittered to a stop (which wasn’t quite quick ’nuff) behind Jack. Oops. A snootbutt up the bum was a much better way to do braking than nutting a wall, it must be noted. Phin’s jackal journal would soon be jim-jam-packed with fascinating facts. Splendid. P’raps he could do turning it into a novel? That was Phin’s life long dream; to have a book published. So, why not indeedy?
No one thought The Vampire Diaries were a factual document, did they? The Jackal Journals would have a hero every bit as luscious as Phin’s former very favourite fella. With even more bedazzling blues than Mr Somerhalder. Tadah...a claim so outlandish that no one would believe a word he wrote, freeing his fictional self to waffle on as he wished. Sorted. Hiding in plain sight.
The Jackal Journals: by Phineas Finlay.
Status: research and role play…in progress.
That last part sounded as much fun as his new stopping technique.
Behopes Jake wouldn’t put the kibosh on said plans. Making both sires miffy would be a very bad thing. It was an itty bit ironic that Phin’s dad would like him lots more with four legs. First and foremost on the preferable front; PJ wouldn’t do too much embarrassing the Major in public. Unless he did cocking his leg up a Colonel. Jimjams could also do fetching his paper…curl up on his feet and keep them warm in winter while he did his crossword and watched telly. That would be cosy. Man’s best friend…rather an affront to his siring sensibilities.
What if Jake soon feels likewise? Being an eternal source of regret to both sires would be unbearable.
“PJ…what is it?” Jack’s tone suggested that he’d done woofing PJ’s name more than once.
“What’s what?” Jimjams wondered. He hadn’t uttered anything amiss, had he done something untoward? Um, since the parking up the bum incident.
“Your scent is so infused with sorrow, I can taste it. You reek like the dregs of last week’s milk. Sort of sour, but worse, wrong…off. I’d ask if you were worried—or miffed—about changing back except, you don’t smell like fresh distress…more as if it’s lingered so long, it’s turned rancid.”
“Oh…it’s not important.”
“PJ…” His name was a low rumbly growl of warning. A not-to-be-trifled-with tone Phin did recognising all too well. On that note…
“I was just thinking ’bout my dad, that’s all,” Jimjams huffled.
“Is he sick?” Jack’s tufty brows knitted with concern.
“Sick of me? Yes.” PJ did a soft snuff, like a rueful smile on two feet.
“I doubt that’s true…even if it feels that way. I was such a disappointment, mine buggered off. But. What I’m about to say has been hard fought for, okay? I’m not mouthing platitudes, I promise. We can only ever be who we are. If that’s not good enough, it’s not your fault. You haven’t failed by failing to fulfil his expectations. Being you is more than enough…if he can’t see that, then he’s failed you.” If scent could do aching, Jack’s did. His sorrow was as raw as salt rubbed into scorched flesh.
“Do you ever see your dad?” PJ did wondering.
“No…not for a few years. He used to turn up a couple of times a year—to persuade himself he was doing his duty—I guess. He wasn’t much of a loss…selfish bastard. My mum got married again and had a couple more kids, she’s happy and I’m happy for her. We get on great, there’s no big drama. I’m closer to Jessie though, I think you’d like her…”
“Your sister?” PJ’s question was met with a nod, so he asked another…prompted by the mellowing of Jack’s scent when he’d mentioned Jessie. Phin suspected he knew the answer, but PJ was a curious sort of jackal and had a journal to write, so it wouldn’t do to get it wrong. “Is she more like Jack or Jake…?”
“Not Jake…that’s for sure. She’s not a fuckwit, which helps,” Ja/ke snorted. As if he’d never met a juxtaposition that couldn’t be dismissed with a expulsion of air through his snoot.
He’d told Jimjams more in the last two minutes than Phin had learned since they met. Did Jake’s foxy self free him up to do telling truths he shied from without his furry suit of armour? It was a good job Phin was wired all wrong, or he might do believing that Jack was Jake’s true self, shrouded in—safeguarded by—fur. Fortunately for that scoundrel’s comfort, making sense was not Phin’s forte, so Jimjams thought it best to let sleeping dogs lie.
“Jack, how do I…what must I do?” he asked, instead.
“Okay…” Jack backed up a bit, until they were face to face, blue to brown. “Focus… inside. Find a…tendril of self to tug on, a Phin thing…”
Well, that made less sense than Phin did. Only his body bits were all that different, so he’d need to locate those. Where did Jimjams do stashing them when he wasn’t wearing them? That was bonkers. He sure as shovels hadn’t done buying his bones in the garden.
A Phin thing that’s not also a PJ thing? Okay…Jimjams did closing his eyes…and saw the answer. In his head…which was, o’course, where Phin spent most of his time. Jake’s face shimmered into focus; hair a hundred shades of honey, umber, bronze. Golden skin agleam with—Skin. Phin longed to do trailing his fingers down Jake’s sinewy chest, down, down, to the tempting trickle of hair leading to…hmm...
Uh-oh. PJ lifted a lid for a peep. Blue blazed back. He slammed it shut again…before his eyeball started singeing. It was not-a-jot fair to trot out that particular tone. Varmint.
“I am focusing!”
“You smell like sex…it’s driving me demented,” Jack growled.
“I only did focusing on you—your other you—who is a Phin thing! Jimjams can’t do sitting on Jake’s—”
“Exactly. Now shurrup, I was just getting to the best bit. Bossy boots. Hmm…now there’s a thought…” Phin did popping back to his stash of treasures and lo, there Jake was. Naked, ’cept for a pair of black bovver boots…and all Phin’s.