50 Word Stories: King Alf

The sword stood embedded in a rock larger than a sheep.
He knew it his destiny; it was an unavoidable truth. Merlin had told him so. He tugged. Nothing happened?
"Pull, Arthur," encouraged the ancient wizard.
"My name's Alf, not Arthur."
"Damn, I really should magic a new hearing aid!"

The Wolf Among Us: Golden.


 

The lifespan of wolves made it difficult for Luna. No sooner would she grow attached to one than nature would take it from her. She never really settled with the pack.

I did my best for my daughter, acted as I thought a father should, but my turning presented problems. I would never have hurt her, I knew that now, but she couldn’t bear to see my pain. For her part, Luna never became a wolf. Even when she came of age, she did not make the change. It drove her away and almost destroyed me.

When the last of the pack did not return, trapped and killed by man, I set out to find my daughter. There was nothing left for me in the wilderness, only memories.

Pretending to be normal was the hardest part. I ingratiated myself into every bar in every town, but nobody knew of the girl with the golden hair. Until one long summer, that was.

I left the frontier behind and headed for the ocean. I had a hunch, but nothing definite. Mankind faded away to memory as the wild encompassed all. There in nature’s untrampled perfection, I allowed the wolf to remain for speed and endurance. The miles hurtled by. That was my undoing.

The shot came from nowhere; the bullet struck true. The man that was king fell as the sun did set, and life ebbed away in crimson rivulets. My hunter approached with caution, golden hair billowing in the north wind. It was Luna, of course, she’d tracked me all along until sure we were alone.

She said she did it for her momma, and for me. We belonged together in heaven, not apart in hell. Luna held me tight, wouldn’t leave me alone, her hair burning beneath the sunset. She was so beautiful, so alive, so wolf.

My final breath was as a man. My final sight that of a majestic, golden wolf running off into a fiery future. It might have been Luna, or it might have a god, either way, she couldn’t have looked more alive.

Part One: here

Part Two: here

The Wolf Among Us: Luna.

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Winter hit with one swift, remorseless stroke. Rock and meadow gave way to an ocean of snow that undulated in the fierce north winds. 

The pack proved restless around their new alpha. I had become a king amongst wolves without raising a paw. It was not a title I’d asked for nor savoured. But, if truth be told, those of the lupine hearts were not evil and I grew to admire them in some animalistic fashion. They showed me more kindness than society ever had. I would sit and stare at mountain ranges I did not know nor welcome and wait for my fur-clad army to return with food. Thus, we remained for several weeks the wolves and me.

I felt the change before the moon rose. Unlike my first mindless experience of half-man, half-wolf, I sensed every nuance of the wild as it happened. It was a tugging that started with my soul and ended somewhere behind my eyes. In an extravagant burst of snarling self, I emerged from my metamorphosis as the moon appeared in a starburst sky; I loved it. Freedom came to me in the form of scent and sound, wind and snow, and I lapped up every second. I knew everything in those moments of both man and beast, nothing was forbidden to the king of the wolves. Until my mind slipped back to home, and then grief struck me to the core.

Perhaps it was the golden lock tied about my neck that twisted free in the wind to flap loose before my eyes? Perhaps not? Either way, all that I’d done returned in a crimson dream. I looked back to those of the inclined muzzles and deferential stances and bid them farewell. There were no words, but they knew.

Leaving the man I was behind, I ran. Like a shooting star of silver and grey, I departed. The wolf took a hold, senses attuned to winter nights leading the way, and I went where my furred legs bid.

I’d run for forever when I found the tracks. Two sets of footprints in the snow: humans. The hunger took me then, as I raced across the wilderness in search of my prey. I found them, too. 

They were huddled against the cold beneath a sycamore’s bough, one small, the other smaller still. I snarled; they looked wide-eyed and fearful. But fangs were soon withdrawn. The wisps of gold gave them away. There were only two such souls in the land.

I would have told them if I could how I’d thought them dead and I their destroyer. I would have thanked them for their searching if I could. But I couldn’t. Instead, I prowled right up to them and lowered my head allowing the golden lock to fall to the porcelain snow. My wife knew; my daughter did not. With the last of her strength, she placed the child, our child, Luna, on my back and slipped into the sleep of eternity. I wished I could have buried her there, but had no control over the change at that time.

We left her where she lay and ran whilst still I could. There was only one place for the daughter of a wolf king. The pack called us home.

Part 1 here: The Wolf Among Us.

50 Word Stories: November 5th (Guy Fawkes Night)

They scatter, fauns and satyrs, nymphs and dryads, for England’s night is full of fire. Scared away by explosions of colour, myths and legends exit before holidays of our own making. For one night we celebrate our own folly and devious machinations at the expense of true fable. How odd.

Fantasy Lost

Beneath a violet sky

The unicorn did cry

Fantasy was passing

Flipping slowly by

The golden streams stopped flowing

The Phoenix rose no more 

The cherry blossom withered

Eternal all, no more

The stars did dim in sadness

The constellations split

And even warming darkness

Laid low, twisted, made sick

The faerie were weeping

As petals fell to earth

The moon and sun disjointed

As man the ground gave birth

The others watched them emerge

Then turned their backs away

Solitary legends

With us, they could not stay