The Person We Love

Rugaru.

Giving it a name made it no less evil and vile. In the past they'd assumed it was simple madness that drove those called Rugaru to cannibalism. A few papers, pseudo-scientific at best, suggested an illness caused by a brain eating amoeba but given that a quick search of the authors also revealed they wrote for supermarket tabloids and crime tattling websites caused Gigi to dismiss them. In the end she supposed the mechanism didn't matter.

Satan would use any tools that fit in his right hand.

Before she'd left Gigi had convinced the Mother to keep the woman and child more nights than was necessarily needed and to please wait for Genevive to arrange for housing that would draw from the coffers of her order as a gesture of sisterly solidarity. Mother hadn't bought into the reasoning at all, pursed lips and disapproving stiffness signaling she was fully aware the much younger nun was lying. But with resources already finely drawn she reluctantly agreed but not before extracting a vow from Gigi that she'd do a hefty penance, deferred until the remnants of the family were relocated.

After printing out maps of the house where they'd lived, a floor plan from the developer's website that seemed to be correct, and photographs of the man from the mother's social media and the DMV, Gigi put all of it neatly into page protectors and then imprisoned them in a three ring binder with appropriately labeled tabs. She also added a section from her order's database with what was known about the creature.

Rugarus are born and live as human for all intents and purposes, typically being unaware of their condition, but at a certain age they will suddenly begin craving large quantities of food. This condition is not a virus; rather, it is passed down genetically. A person who possesses this gene will eventually give in to the urge to feed and will devour a human. The change starts out with an increased hunger for all food, but quickly transforms into a powerful craving for flesh, specifically human. The change itself is very fast, occurring within minutes of the rugaru's first bite of human flesh. Once the rugaru gives in to its desire to feed on a human, there is no going back; the rugaru will lose its human appearance and change into a monster.

Although it is believed by some that a person with this gene can overcome their curse, no rugarus are known to have been successful in this. Apparently, the final change can be avoided as long as the rugaru resists eating human flesh. Unfortunately, the urge is extremely strong and is practically impossible to ignore.

After consuming human flesh, the rugaru will act as a predator, often eating violently Thand moving on all fours. Their human, emotional side becomes less active, yet they retain all physical abilities. They do retain full memory of their human life and may display some capacity for emotion and empathy, but this is almost always eclipsed by their overpowering need to feed.

Rugarus look nearly completely human, aside from several exceptions: Their skin is "wormy; it's considerably paler than human skin and has prominent veins and skin folds. Full grown rugarus obtain demonic, pitch black eyes, while unchanged rugarus have red, bloody scleras.

Oddly absent there was no discussion of their strengths and weaknesses nor how to properly kill them. Gigi needed the experience or research of other hunters to help with that.

To help with a lot of things. There was no way she could tackle this creature on her own unless she was only interested in being a fruit roll up for it. But she had a binder and most importantly the Hand of God commanding her to clean this taint from His Work.

To the Wayward.

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