No one messes with my people. They’re mine. The little girl whose older sister was shot and killed? Mine. That old grandma that had to choose between heat and food? Mine. The mother who had to work the street to help support her two kids? Mine. The old man who worked the rail yard because he can’t save enough to retire?
Yeah, mess with him at your own peril. I will end you.
These are my people. To the little girl, I’m the scary dog that keeps the drug dealers from pushing her big brother into a gang. To the old grandma, I’m the guard dog that keeps people from trying to rob her when she walks her groceries home. To the woman who works the street, I’m the reason she gets to work for herself and doesn’t fear a pimp. To the old man? Well, he knew what I really am. He’s human, but kinfolk. He also leaves me nice steaks and fresh pizza.
Consciousness is a fickle thing. I knew I was different from the other whelps. I was bigger, stronger, smarter and fiercer. I would take on anything that threatened me and mine, even if they were bigger than me and I would win. The bigger than me part? That didn’t last long. As Papa Paulino would say, “there’s big, then there’s freight train big, and Toby is freight train big.” That’s my name: Toby. Only Papa Paulino called me that, but he was right. If I wanted something, it was full speed and run over anything in my way. Papa Paulino liked to keep an eye on me. He helped raise the other whelps but me he treated special. I like him. He’s mine.
Papa Paulino is sad a lot. He’s always thinking about his son that died because of bad drugs. I hate drug dealers. They’re bad. They threatened him once. I didn’t like that so I bit them. They shot me.
I am big. Really big. Bigger than any dog. Big. Dumb drug dealers thought I was some mongrel.
To be fair, I didn’t know I was more than a big dog. I was Papa Paulino’s family. He was part of my pack. He was mine. No one messes with what’s mine.
No one expected me to turn into an ever bigger, frenzying, wall of death.
Well, maybe Papa Paulino did. He stayed back and watched as I tore them limb from limb. Stupid drug dealers.
Drug dealers were a bloody mess when I was done. Papa Paulino was happy that I protected him, but he had to call in favors to clean up the mess.
Soon after, I met my den parent for the first time. He was this big human that was the first human I met that made me feel small. He was super big. He said his name was Iron Mountain. He told me he was like me: a Bone Gnawer. He was nice. He had fun games to play: chase, pin, find food, track. I was really good at pinning. I liked that. Iron Mountain said I was good but I could be better.
He had me learn from this theurge, Thousand Blossoms, about how to treat wounds and how to know the best ways to hurt people. I understood that I needed to fight, but she said there’s more than one to fight. I wanted to fight drug dealers. She said I had to learn how drugs affected people and that would help me pin people and make them fall down when I rushed them. I learned a lot about medicine.
When Papa Paulino came to visit and found that out, it made him happy. It meant I would be able to help my people when I came back. I missed my people. They’re mine. They sometimes get sick and me learning about people medicine means I can help them if they’re hurt. I might even be able to keep them from dying if they’re shot. That made me happy.
Iron Mountain taught me about the litany and my role as an arouhn. I fight for Gaia. I like that idea. I get to be big and bad and scary and make the Wyrm tuck its tail and run. That makes me happy. Thousand Blossoms explained how the wyrm is trying to hurt the world. I don’t like that. The Wyrm hurts my people. I will hurt it worse. I will make it bleed. She said that drug dealers are part of the Wyrm. I hate them even more.
I was put through my rite of passage with the other cubs. They didn’t like me much. They were Silver Fang and Black Fury and Fianna and went on and on about their breeding and how I was a mongrel. I didn’t care. Iron Mountain said that they were cubs, like me, and wolves, like me, and didn’t know better. I was a big wolf so I should be the bigger garou.
We were sent to go fight the thing. I just know it was supposed to be big, bad, scary and of the wyrm. That was about all I got. I wasn’t leading the mission. The Silver Fang wanted to. I didn’t care. He wants to lead? He can lead until he’s weak.
We tracked this thing down to its lair in the umbra, which was not far from where Papa Paulino worked. This made me want to kill it even more. It was big. It had jaws bigger than mine. It was scary big. The Silver Fang told the Fianna and the Black Fury to flank it and told me to go up front. I was okay with this. I charged it and knocked it down. It clawed me. That hurt a LOT. The Fianna and Black Fury dived in then jumped back after attacking. I kept knocking it down.
This seemed to be working until it did some crazy shocking thing that hurt more than its claws. When I shock it off, he was running away.
I chased after it, the other cubs right behind me. I followed it, turn after turn, my nose sharp. When it stumbled into a dead end, I charged it with everything I had, all my rage, and slammed it against the wall. It collapsed in a huge pile and the pack set upon it, clawing it to shreds.
Silver Fang human told the den parent I was relentless, like a freight train. To quote what the Black Fury said: duh. No one stops me when I want something and I wanted the Wyrm thing DEAD.
That’s how I got my name: Freight Train. Papa Paulino still calls me Toby. That’s okay. He’s mine. He said that it was time to move on. The railway was moving him. I did not want him to go alone. He doesn’t have any other pack. He said there was a town that the rail was going to need to be rebuilt and that there would be plenty of people like him that would need help. They would be my new people. Iron Mountain agreed.
So now, we’re on our way to a new city and new train yards. I will find new garou to pack with and new people to help. Gaia have mercy on anyone who hurts my new people. It’s not a light at the end of the tunnel: it’s Freight Train coming your way.