...a werewolf! This post answers a blogfest prompt asking readers what they think a character looks like. Meika had the closest guess with "a bear of a man." He is not really a werewolf; he is the Beast of "Beauty and the Beast" fame. Comparisons to werewolves really singe his fur, because werewolves do not exist (duh) and even if they did, they could transform back and forth from man to wolf, whereas he is stuck in the middle and can't be either one.
The excerpt serving as the clue was:
Gustav hated the first thaw of spring. In the winter, he could pace his courtyard, which was inside the protective walls of his fortress but outside the walls of the steaming palace, filled with the smothering noises and sounds of imprisoned bodies, human passions and lusts and miseries, Gustav’s own envies and his guilt. Winter in the courtyard was cold and clean, a white stage upon which the subtle music and scents of nature played. In the courtyard Gustav was most at home, neither in nor out, neither in the dwelling of man nor of beast. The frigid air soothed the burning flesh beneath his heavy coat and numbed, if only a little, the indecent onslaught of life’s essences through his nose. In the winter courtyard, he could see the dark petals of his mother’s Lenten roses scattered across the snow. He could almost remember his mother in the winter.
At the first hint of spring, the contrary blossoms began to fade. The snow rotted; the purity of ice and frost receded into the black earth. The dry bones of last year’s grasses and tree branches rattled as the forests and hills awakened. The sun called the dead to life and unburied the wet loam of last fall’s leaves. It was a brown time, ripening to muddy, bloodthirsty red. Predators crept from their forest lairs, seeking meat to break winter’s fast. Toward Easter, Christians on their faraway homesteads slaughtered lambs and chickens, harvested eggs, and made blood sacrifices. Animals mated in ecstasy and bore their young in agony. Spring was hunting, hunger, lust, and fear. It was a time of blood smeared over doorways to protect the firstborn. The world gave violent birth to the spring, whose sweetness, like a newborn child's, would not settle in for weeks or months.
And Gustav in his courtyard, under his heavy hide, was doomed to hear and smell it all, the quickening of the wilderness and the rituals of the holy, and he could neither experience any part of it for himself nor turn away.
Gustav does regain his human form later in the story, so I guess it is only fair to reveal his HUMAN appearance. Again, Meika was spot on! Post-transformation, Gustav is a big man, tall and muscular, with an angular face and a hint of the lupine left forever in his form. He has a scruffy face, shaggy dark hair, and piercing pale eyes. In fact, minus the blue hair pomade, he looks a lot like MY ultimate fantasy, Till Lindemann.
But for now, poor Gustav is trapped in his beastly body within his enchanted compound, waiting for some lovely lady to come along and...
Stay tuned for more excerpts!