AN: I wrote this a while back for an Anthros promp on the DMC forums, so excuse me if it's not my best. I wanted to explore Carnegie a bit, and this AU, taking place when he's a preteen/child...popped into being. I hope y'all enjoy it. :) Cheers. Please read and review?

Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I don't own Darkside. Fortunately, no fuzzy creatures (human or otherwise) were harmed in the making of this fic. Please don't sue me.

Backstage at the Beastilia Exotica the air was thick with anticipation. An hour ago the dark room had been filled with various animalist sounds of frustration and fear, but now the room was nearly silent but for the odd whimper or growl. It was as if the animals in the room could sense what was about to happen.

Faint music drifted through the air, rising in volume before slowing to something that seemed to hint at the death and bloodshed to come. The patter of many footsteps nearly covered over the mournful sound, though those too eventually ebbed.

Two of the many brown overalled workers at the Beastilia slowly dragged a huge tarp-covered cage from the wall. An ominous growling rose threateningly from it, but the workers payed it little mind as they dragged it towards one of the doors on rattling wheels.

The cage and workers made their way out onto the main stage. The crowd whispered amongst themselves, some debating what creatures were inside and others chattering in excitement about what was to come. Grimshaw had vanished after his announcements. Though that wasn't a foreboding sign; it tended to happen most days.

A snarl poured forth from beneath the tarp, and after a moment the workers yanked it free, revealing…a bear. The grizzly was huge and the sight elicited several gasps and one thing, high-pitched shriek. It was obvious why. Everything about the bear, from its long, wickedly sharp claws to its bulky, shaggy chestnut body spoke of carnage. What could possibly survive that?

One of the workers cautiously flipped the cage's lock open. After several moments of the bear growling and trying to grab at the workers, it didn't seem to notice that fact. Then the cattle prods came out. They weren't electric, but with each poke of the sharp objects the bear grew more and more angrier, eventually launching itself at the door and barreling out.

Its attention was focused exclusively on the audience and several of the people in the front row seemed to have realized that they were in a bad spot with a bear in front of them that hadn't eaten in days. But the doors were locked and they couldn't get out until the 'show' was over. A roar burst forth from the bear as it advanced on the audience members. Just as people were trying to climb up over their seats to escape the bear, a low clanking distracted everyone.

A tiny cage spun into view and a boy fell out of the open door. The boy tried to stand up, but fell back to his knees as his body contracted in pain. The bear growled and advanced on him, sensing a weak human kneeling in its wake. The boy groaned as the audience watched.

The main event had started.

The boy gave a soft chuckle and got to his feet as the bear stalked him. His body was contorting, growing larger as grey fur spread to cover him. His hands grew paw-like and his eyes turned from that of a human to that of a predator. Elias Carnegie didn't want to fight, but he couldn't help it. He was hungry and it was a full moon, after all.

The bear lunged for him and he jumped out of the way of its claws just in time. Carnegie just had to last five minutes and his family would get paid for his trouble. That was fine. He could do it. He hoped he could.

Another angry roar ripped through the air as the bear tried to get at its prey. But Carnegie had had enough of dodging. He swung a paw out, lashing across the bear's eye, and ducked under the beast's claws. The bear was having none of it. Not only was it angry and hungry, but now it was wounded and backed into a metaphorical corner that made it even angrier.

The sound of the crowd faded as they continued their deadly battle. The wereman had already decided the bear wasn't going to be a good dinner. But there was a window nearby that might lead him to it….

Three minutes.

The bear's claws tore through the matted fur and flesh of Carnegie's side and he let out a howl of pain. The wereman kicked brutally at the bear's legs. A sickening crack tore through the room, announcing that he'd hit his mark. Victory, however, was short lived as the bear knocked him down and attempted to maul his face.

Hot breath and rage-filled snarls clouded his senses like something out of a terrible dream as he tried to hold back the mad bear. Sharp teeth attempted to bite as long claws scraped at him and the ground around him. The floor was ripped to shreds, but somehow the boy survived.

With a frustrated groan, Carnegie slammed a paw into the side of the bear's head. The creature careened sideways with a whimper. Carnegie hopped to his feet as a wave of hunger coursed through him. So hungry….

The bear attempted to swat at him again, but stopped in confusion, as the boy was nowhere to be found. There was just a smattering of glass before a suddenly open window before it. But the bear could still smell flesh. And, as Grinshaw's watch hit the five minute mark, the bear turned on the audience and attacked.