Sunday, 26 February 2012

Short Fiction: Vicious


There was a great storm, a black moving sky and we were wolves. I nipped at your tail as we ran through the woods, my heart pounding, my hot breath escaping from my lungs to the damp ground beneath my nose. The daylight shifted quickly from bright to dark; the moon emerged and vanished again in cycles. Thin twigs whipped back at me as you rushed ahead. I eluded each one at first but still I absorbed the small stinging backlashes. The senseless strikes of our fast paced and frenzied dash served to increase my adrenaline and permit me to move even faster. 

I watched all of my trees fall, one by one. The tall, arching beings appeared to contain shady gods to me. Each bore secrets of great mystery and could retell the history of our lands. They created all the shelter we ever needed. They were protection from the big snow and gale. They were tall guardians standing erect in finely created entropic rows, forming a cathedral for us to observe white cloud formations on nights when our breath was frosted ice.

Our end was announced with the arrival of the great black and yellow crawlers. Their entrance was quite unforeseen and they revved loudly, spewing black from their top pipes as they proceeded to methodically eat each of the trees. Humming machine coils and sharp chains ripped and tore apart our pillars until there were none. Still, we remain wolves. We bolted away from the crashing and razing until the only sound was quick pumping blood rushing forced through our pointed ears. It was no less tragic than a plague or airborne virus that could resist all cures and foreshadow the absolute and final end of the world. Once our run commenced by departing our first and only home, I never wanted to stop. I don’t believe we could have stopped any longer if we wanted too. We are running, homeless wolves now.

Bad spirits started to appear on the land and my feelings of happiness evaporated. The spirits morphed and shifted in gliding motions, transformed themselves into ungraspable wisps and chilled, misted shadows. I could spot them out of the side of my eyes. I could smell their sulfuric burning, like matches and ashes and rot. They spooked both of us in different ways. I watched your hair involuntarily bristle into a ridge of sharp quills. They caused an astonishing confusion in your mind. I tried to explain to you they were real and very dangerous. I tried to tell you. 

Once when there were trees, and sunlight streamed down in patches on our fur you asked about my past. You asked if there had been other wolves. You asked me about my travels. I wanted to tell you but I could not remember. A wolf's life is short and time never allows explaining all that we want. I cannot explain anything to you now; not even in whispers, not even telepathically because of the spirits. I am limited to reference, speaking in a sideways and abstract manner. It is the language of wolves anyway. 

Here is a story I can tell. It is a tragic one all the same. I knew a creature named Selma and when she was young, she walked very proud. Her precocious confidence was captured in step, her long elk-like legs pointed comically straight one after another. She was in the line of the fawn. Selma was my senior and had already mated with a creature named Herne. He marched along side her for a time. His magical charm was airy and mercurial. He brimmed with foolhardy sparkle. Herne claimed dominion of all four winds.

Courtship and friendship ensued between the two for sometime. They were always in concert, marching tall through wild ferns and grasses. Herne was the first creature I ever saw in pursuit of love. He was also the first creature I ever knew that died. His magic did not save him from the fall and the attacking animals. His legs buckled after the first few swipes and his blood poured out like the small creek. Black birds managed to clean up the remainder of his corpse, but they could not help Selena whatsoever. She stopped speaking and eating and then walking too. The birds returned at that time to help. They cleaned up for Selena.
I still have you beside me though. We are much stronger animals perhaps, less afraid of being close to the dirt on the ground. A small amount of blood trickles and streaks in lines from our fur, but still stops and crusts over. I am so tired and want to rest but I am thankful. I am thankful for what we have, thankful for my four legs that still run, thankful again for you. 

We push back in manners we can. Through more wet and dark branches we push and maintain our pace. I realize in an instant that we will be separated at some quick turn. The trail we blaze like sweeping fire will split apart in two, like two halves of a fruit exposing vital seed and flesh. This is not what I want. I take no pleasure in the idea. I see the turn up ahead and know I must take it.
Two wolves are harder to catch, our odds doubled and our hides twice as safe. I wonder when you will discover my absence. I wonder if you will hate me for my departure but I whisper to you, just keep moving and hope you hear. So often we communicate in that fashion; when too many other ears listen, when what is said is not what is actual. Please forgive me. I know you hear me. Hear me now wolf even if you do not understand for the moment. Just keep moving. 
Blood cakes on my paw. The dried brown gel has collected deposits of leaf particles and pine needles. I realize the blood does not belong to me. It is yours. 

I want my thoughts to be of how rich we were. We had night sky and breeze to stir our coats. I lived like a child in joy. We had soft nests on the ground and time to yawn and sniff things and nuzzle. We were robbed by these giant monsters. We were robbed and for this round, there will be no justice. I will howl at the moon in our memory. I will grieve with tar in my soul. I will send message to the universe and pray it delivers vengeance. 

I hear a sound new to my ears. It is metallic and clanking and reminds me of the farm church's bells. I open my eyes and realize I am no longer running. It is day again. My legs are curled beneath me and there is not much space to move. Bright silver bars cross each other in front of me and form a diamond pattern. I cannot get out of here my love, I can not leave. 

There are other animals here, wherever I've landed. At first, I think the other animals are cows. The land looks ruined, the mess is great. The smell is stronger than cattle though. I can see them moving from my cage. I decide they must be pigs. They are dirty animals, stomping around in their own filth. The farmer here will have no means to employ an animal like me. I resign to die here without remorse.

My spirit sends a whispered message to you as agreed: After the time of the humans ends wolves will reclaim the continent. As top predator, they will repopulate the forests. New born packs will move from east to west, returning from the mountains. They will refill the forest where they were once hunted to extinction and reclaim that which was taken. It is then the universe will truly see to our burgeoning. The vicious rule this world. I will see you there.

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