“Will we always love each other?” she asked, licking at her teeth.
“We always have.”
Alice raised an eyebrow, her lips curling up like a hungry wolf’s. “Forever and always.”
“Always and forever.”
Release the beast and all shall be as it should.
Let loose the primal. Let the devil have this night.
You yearn to race across the moors with the smell of the forest a distant aphrodisiac. You seek only God’s gift: life.
You must. To not do so is an affront to me the one who made you. You dishonour me with your pathetic attempts to remain… Human! Do it. Do it now.
There was always a voice in my ear, a whispering demon with yellow, slitted eyes and teeth like sabres. There was always that temptation to kill. When it came, when I uncaged the beast and allowed it to feast, I thought I’d touched freedom, when, in truth, all I’d touched was her. Just as she’d wanted. Just as she’d needed. Just as she’d dreamed.
Now it was my turn to find that freedom. I had to because I couldn’t live like this another day longer. To be uncaged forever that was the real dream, the real freedom, the only real death.
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
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.
The wolves ran free that sunburst evening emerging from the fog like ghosts with razor teeth. Emboldened for some reason, the canines set upon us as though having to have waited to do so for far too long; they hurried to make amends. Those wild dogs of legend, larger than ponies, more dangerous than a fistful of vipers, set upon the villagers without fear nor compassion. They were indiscriminate in their slaughter not even dallying to feast. Like the wolves of Norse legend, they tore into men, women and children alike, as I watched from our smallholding on the hillside before the fog took all but the screams.
I prayed they’d gone though knew they hadn’t. When ice-blue and amber eyes emerged from the pitch night to glisten in the light from my profligate candles, enough to light a city, I panicked. We owned no guns, no real weapons of any kind and the beasts did not fear the light. Yet, I did what I could. I ushered my wife and our child, Luna, she of the golden tresses, up into the rafters, withdrew the ladder and smashed it to pieces to my wife’s screamed protests. I did not care, they would not kill my family. And like a man possessed, I took my axe from behind the door, blunt from chopping winter kindling, a candle for false security, and stepped outside.
There were hundreds of them crimson-mouthed and rabid-eyed, waiting, just waiting. I snarled and roared like the maniac I felt; they licked their fangs unimpressed. I would never know if God or the Devil smiled upon me then as the clouds withdrew and the fog melted away. The moon came out full and bristling with silvered intent. It affected me. The wolves lowered their heads as though expecting it.
I awoke days later in a land I did not recognise surrounded by the grey ones. There was no malice in their eyes, no menace to their maws, only love. They and I were one before nature and would be forever. I knew it the moment the moonlight struck the first falling snowflakes of the season. They had taken me as one of them and I was glad much to my shame. If it had saved my family, then eternity was a small price to pay for being alone. The long, golden hair wrapped like a tendril around my fingers suggested it hadn’t.
Don’t walk with the crowd
Run with the pack
Howl to the moon
And don’t look back
Don’t cover your feelings
Growl only the truth
We’ll all miss our best pal
Beneath WordPress roof
(In loving memory to a great guy RIP)
It is not the cold stare of ice-blue death
Nor dagger-like jaws that salivate at my scent
Nor even the snarl of the disenchanted
That worries that lost and lonely soul
But, instead, the crying of the unsen others
They who wait for the command to feast
They who run wild, yet still must obey
I pity them in my subzero demise
In truth, we are so very much alike
There is no wind, all is still below the wild moon. I hunt; we hunt, individuals bathed in silver light, metallic colouring seeking metallic tang. Working as one to lessen the hardship of the Alaskan wilderness, we persevere.
Winter has been hard. Deep snows have tested us, and found a few wanting. Only the strong have survived, the bondings of the group tightened. We have a new leader now: one that was not born wolf; me.
There can be only one alpha, one supreme lord of the pack, tooth and claw has made that choice. Now, as I stand in regal monochrome nothing but an outline to those we seek, I consider. I still poses thought, I do not know for how long?
I face the north wind and taste the fear of others, I muse at what it was to be human if I have made the right choice: but not for long. I am wolf forevermore.
Once upon a long ago
A child stalked the woods,
Hunting all the timberwolves,
For them, it was no good.
They ran at sight of little girl
Donned in blood-red hood,
Because their parents told them too,
The child cared less than should.
She’d call to them in honeyed tones,
Coax them through the woods,
Then pull out axe to kill them with,
Believe, it was no dud.
Until one wolf he took disguise
To trick red riding hood.
Her grandma was his face of choice,
And laid he did, not stood.
The girl did waltz into the room
Her hands coated in blood,
And slew the wolf without a thought
You’d think she’d misunderstood.
But know you all the girl was bad;
Kill us all if she could!
Be wolf, or man, or family
She’d create a killing flood.
And still she stalks that ancient realm,
That reddest of all woods,
Draped in cape of crimson hue
That damned red riding hood.
(Image courtesy of dizzyclown on deviantart.com)