Monday, October 31, 2011

A Hallow's Eve Tale

I'm not much of a writer... Compared to people I know, I'm pretty bad at it. But on Saturday night, while inching my way to the barn on a eerily dark night, this story was birthed in my mind, and on a whim I decided to write it down.

Phantom Wolf

Wolf

The night was dark... Very dark. The inky twilight engulfed all that it touched. Enshrouding the valley in a cloak of seemingly impenetrable blackness.... A lone girl shuddered as she stepped into the night's depths. How she disliked having to go out where things could see her, but her human eyes could not see them. During the day, the girl explored all that the countryside had to offer, but at night... At night, things came alive...

 A northern wind blew tonight, causing the girl to pull her coat closer to herself. She knew this wind well... A northern wind in the day is one thing, but everyone knows that a northern wind at night is haunted... It sings a mournful dirge as it sweeps through the land. You can hear it in its echo. Its cry. It wails and weeps for what could have been, yet was lost... It changes its melody as it passes. Hushed and mysterious; powerful and intimidating; swirling, grasping, coveting, enveloping... Silent it comes, and silent it leaves... Leaving in its wake a silent, dusky world.

The girl stood a moment. Having just endured the northern wind that brought a tale of woe in its wake, she waited, and listened... With the wind gone, the crickets resumed their orchestra. Their rhythmic song was comforting to the girl as she continued on. Her destination on this eerie night was only the barn, yet it seemed that though she moved her feet, she could not get any closer to it. The night was so black, she could not see where she was placing her feet; she could only hope that after so many years of going in that direction, her body would unconsciously remember the way.

She seemed to be halfway there, when yet another dirge caller began crying... The wolves were beginning their nightly chant. This was no friendly gathering either. You could hear it in the notes. This was a hunting song... Blood lust was upon the pack tonight as they rallied their numbers, and prepared for a kill. The girl's senses were in overdrive now, as she tried to use her hearing to pinpoint the pack's whereabouts. It took only a minute before she realized where they were. They were close. At the moment, they were atop a hill, and she was in their direct view....

The wolves stopped their wails abruptly, and the night went silent. Utterly silent. The quiet was deafening, and seemed to strangle the girl. Then she heard it. A very soft noise. The tiny crack of a twig... The dead, summer grasses seemed to take a life of their own as she heard them whisper sordid secrets that she could not comprehend... The girl frantically searched her pockets for a flashlight, but realized too late that it had been left within the safety of the house. The moon timidly peeked its round face around a cloud, and cast a blue glow onto the earth. The girl looked to her left, in the direction that she last heard the wild dogs singing, and one hundred yards from where she stood, she spied two, green, glowing orbs...

 She could not stop the gasp that fell from her lips, as the orbs blinked, and moved. The moon's weak rays unveiled more orbs, all staring at her. One wraith-like form moved closer, into the path of the moonlight, and the girl beheld the grotesque form of a grizzled, partly deformed, male wolf. His fur coat was plastered to his body, and seemed stretched over his gaunt frame. His front, left leg was corkscrewed at the knee, and one ear was missing; a testimony to his history. He stared, unblinkingly at the girl. A dispassionate, cold, composed look, through eyes that seemed to have seen many lifetimes. Eyes that had beheld the very gates of death. The moon quailed, and moved back behind the murky coverings of a cloud. It wanted to see no more...

Left once again in the black night, the girl could hear their steps, as they slowly walked closer. She was halfway between the barn, and the house. Which direction should she run? She heard the clicking of their claws, as they crossed the asphalt road that lay between her and them. They were getting closer. Closer...
The girl began to back up slowly, trying desperately to formulate a plan, but her wits failed her. The northern wind predicted this, and mourned for the girl as it passed her. Passed as it went on to spread more tales of woe. The girl's eyes had adjusted enough by now to see the pack, as they closed in on her. In their ghostly faces she read many tales... Tales of bloodshed, death and sadness. But she also read something else. She read in their eyes a continuation of life. Death may be the end of one, but it is life for another. She saw in their eyes, the deaths of creatures, but it was so that they might live. Such is life in this world. She had heard ancient stories from Native Americans, saying that there is no death; you just pass your life onto another to carry the torch for a time...

The wolves were now close enough for her to define each one by sight. They held their heads low, protecting their jugular vein from harm. Their years of experience had taught them this trick, which domestic canines did not know. They could kill the dog with ease; knowing that he carried his head too high. They could kill livestock, knowing that man kept them fenced in small areas. They could kill a bear, knowing that their numbers could beat his strength. They could even kill humans, but they rarely did so; fearing the weapons they carried. The wolf's main predator, was that of themselves... In a hierarchy that depended on a unity of strength, if one showed weakness, he would be violently displaced by those stronger than he.

The lone girl was no longer frightened now. She was looking death in the face, and submitted. There was nothing she could do against such overwhelming odds, so she waited... And hoped that death would come quickly.

The wolves closed in on her. Intent on drawing blood that night. The deformed male led the way, and was close enough for the young girl to feel his breath. He coiled his body to spring... His sinews taught and ready. His fangs seemed to glow in the night; a pale ivory hue, stained with blood. Like tombstones in a graveyard, so resembled his teeth, all aligned in symmetry. The male wolf was just beginning his dance of death, when through the valley, rang a hideous noise. The girl felt as though she was hearing the voice of a banshee. Her blood seemed to curdle, and her breath was stolen away as she listened to the haunted cry.

It was the voice of yet another wolf... But this howl was different from any that the girl had ever heard. A long, low call that seemed to come from Hades itself. It's eerie notes spiraled into oblivion before once again rising to an unbearable key. It was the voice of a warrior. A giant. A monster.

The wolves around the girl drew back, unsure as to what to do. They seemed to know the voice that rang through the night, but they were so close to their victory, they wanted blood. The howl descended upon them again. Its voice was terse with a warning, and died off with a snarl. The pack understood. Slowly, painfully slowly, they turned from the girl and left... As quickly as they had appeared, they disappeared. Their ghoulish forms slunk into the abyss of the dusk, and left in their wake only the dead, summer grasses; still whispering their sordid secrets...

The girl gasped in disbelief. Trying to regain her wits and her breath, she clutched her coat closer to her. She needed to feel something. To know that she truly was still alive. To fathom what had just happened. She lifted her eyes to where the wolves had come from and standing before her, on the opposite side of the old country road, stood a ghostly shape, of the wolf who had called the others off. His fur was a seemingly transparent white, tinged with soot gray. He stood taller than the tallest Timber wolf. And his eyes... Oh his eyes... You could see right through them, and see the landscape behind him, but you could also see time immemorial within his liquid pools of wisdom. One moment they seemed shades of indigo, cerulean, and azure. The next, as ivory, white, and pearl. They saw all. They knew all. Nothing escaped their unbreakable gaze. The wolf stared at the girl, and she could do nothing but stare back. She looked upon him in wonderment. What did he want of her? Though the phantom wolf spoke no words, she understood his message after a few moments. There is a time for death. For passing on the torch of life. But this was not her time. Not yet...

Then, the northern wind came once again, still blowing its ill fate, and as its clammy mistral passed over the pair, the wolf faded into the wind's current and vanished. Leaving the girl once more, alone in the darkness...

1 comment:

Autumn said...

What a wonderful story! I was in suspense the whole way through! The wolf with the rainbow eyes was the *best*!!