Mates for Life
I will be there for you. Always.
I left you flowers from the grove, like I always do. Will you pick them up like last time? Will you see me? These and many other questions flood my mind as fear and excitement rush through my head. So much has happened to me in the past few months but I havent forgotten about you.
Ah, these fleas. Scratching my ear with my handor is it paw?makes it go away a little. It wasnt always this way. If I tried really hard to remember, the memories of this life could pull aside like red curtains and the movie of what came before would reel before my golden eyes. Remembering these things is so hard now. Theres never any time for reminiscing on past times; rather, the constant need to run, hunt, feed, mate, play, and other basic needs haunt my mind.
But no, I tell myself. No, things werent always this way. I wasnt always hungry, always running through the woods. No, these needs never always controlled me. I never took exceeding pleasure howling to the moon with my fellow pack members. And I never had these forsaken fleas plaguing me every chance they got. Things were different then a long time ago.
My ears perk, hearing some word from far away, and yet I didnt quite hear it. For a while, a conflict of identity crossed my mind. The wolf in me knows what they are, how they loathe and fear us. It almost wants to laugh. Me, once a human? How unlikely. But a part of me also says the opposite, and I know its true. And I remember how in all this time, I had never forgotten you.
I was once in love with you, yes; in fact, I think I still am. Do you remember that time we met? It was on a warm autumn day when the maple leaves were still gold and green. The foilage made it looks as though the sun had shed its skin and laid a beautiful gold pelt on the ground. Wooden fences of blocky oak and birch lined the human trodden road. Further down, I think I recall a little humanthat is, my houseon a corner just peeking out from a lee of trees and boulders from the left.
We were schoolmates, I think. We had every class together. I suppose it was just coincidence, but something tells me it was more. I had a bit of a crush on you, I did. Yes. Even some of my friends, though I cant remember for the life of my pelt their names or their scent, would notice how I seemed to be following you around a little. I guess it may seem a bit creepy as a human, liking someone without fear of them liking you back. Like a bitch in heat you want, and yet they feel no desire with you. I think it turned out all right though. Cause during that talk we had, where I remember speaking with words and not so many barks and growls, I think you liked me too.
Thats where the memories get more vivid. I remember clearly us going to human fairs, to those small businesses where they made some of the best human food I had ever tasted; that is, when I still had a taste for human food. I remember us going out to Lake Champlain, taking ferries out and just stare out into the water and the clear autumn skies. I think we were in love, then. It was a time when it felt like the sun was always shining on my furless face, the sky always clear, and I was flying as free as a sparrow. Nothing could go wrong with me.
Now my memory begins to fade a little as I try to remember some gap between then and this new memory. Something happened. Something bad. Your mother had died of something bad. Disease, wasnt it? Something ominous. I remember being in the brilliantly white hospital bed, seeing you sitting in a cedar chair, holding your mothers hand. She looked so pale and fragile in bed, like an old deer, waiting in some hidden place, awaiting for death to come take her. She leaned up to you, her body covered in tubes, whispered something in your ear. Then she fell, like she lost her strength.
She didnt get back up.
I dont remember much, then. Muddled pictures of humans dressed in black on a rainy day, with you huddled next to me under an umbrella, as a christian says a eulogy during her passing. The concept of funerals, respect to the dead, means almost little to me now, but it strains my heart to have remembered you so sad that time. As you feel terrible for these funerals, I will feel terrible, too.
All of a sudden, my mind jumps ahead, and all of a sudden, Im driving one of metal ob jects humans use to get around in. A car, I believe is what they were called. I was speeding across the road so incredibly fast. The scent of whiskey was on my breath. You were in there with me, too. We raced the rage and sorrow of your loss together, you and I.
In the times when your mother was gone and your father alone, you had grown more rebellious, more arrogant. As I loved you, I went along as well. As a wolf, I understand the need to run and forget your loss. The feel of the wind in your face as the car shifts gears and goes from ten to thirty to sixty to eighty, the trees along the freeway becoming a blur of light in the night: just thinking about it makes the adrenaline pump into my heart.
Then the world tumbled around. Something mustve come right in front of us. I can recall turning the wheel hard to the right to avoid it, the car starting to roll and roar, metal grinding across the dirt. I can still hear your screaming. The Guard Rail failed to stop the car, and we rolled down the wet hill, wet with the rain that had fallen not too long ago. I rolled and rolled, until something snapped along my waist, and I flew for a few seconds, tumbling into a tree.
It felt like a bad dream. Thats all it felt like at the time. I cant remember the pain of my broken leg, the gashes in my arm and head, or the fact that I was gushing blood from my arm. Not even the alcohol I had could dull the pain. Your safety and the condition of the car didnt matter to me now. All that flared in my mind was the need to live, and in the dead of night, I screamed in agony, crying for help of some kind.
Hours had passed, felt like. My head started feeling funny, my clothes were all soaked in my blood. I couldnt seem to think straight. I knew for a fact I was going to die, and it didnt bother me as I felt it would. I just didnt have enough strength to care anymore. I wonder now as I look back at this if this was how your mother felt right before she died. When death stares at you in the face, you learned to accept it like a dream. Even the wolves that had inched towards me didnt seem real.
I shuddered with fear I remember. The eyes of the wolves glowed pale yellow in the light of cars passing by. None of them saw me to help me or get me to a hospital. It didnt matter now. I was going to die out in the middle of the woods, being devoured by hungry wolves for food. Their piercing eyes went deep into my soul. And the fear of dying returned.
In my last moments of consciousness, one of the wolves did the strangest things Id ever seen. It stood up on its hind legs. Now that I am a wolf myself, I dont see this as strange so much, but as a human it baffled me. What kind of a wolf could stand up on its hind legs, stride towards my broken body, and kneel, feeling its claws against my chest? How could it speakyes, it spoke to mein a voice I swear was the voice of a friend I had presumed dead. And he and I had a talk while I was dying.
You have lost a lot of blood, old friend. He reinstated, scratching his chin. You are going to die out here.
Pointing out the obvious, I thought.
My eyes squinted. Tried as I could, I couldnt make much of him in the darkness. It was as if his fur was as dark as ebony. A bushy tail hung beneath his muscular legs, standing on his toes, the claws scraping into the autumn foilage. Even then, I was still afraid, but he spoke to me in that old voice, a voice I havent heard in years, except more guttural.
I know you know who I am, he snorted. Everyone thought I was dead, that I had committed suicide.
I chuckle a little, barely having enough strength to swallow. Nothing mattered now.
They told us you had gotten eaten by wolves.
No, thats only what the humans assumed what happened. I came out here on my own free will, wanting to find the wolves. I knew where to go, I was just afraid of what would happen to me. I liked things as they were as a human: the cars, the food, the love of my parents.
Why? His head tilted, a soft whine emitting. I guess I was ashamed.
He shook his head. You are dying, old friend. Is whats happened to me so important right now? Dont you want to live?
My eyes widened. I knew what he was asking me. I had seen this before in many movies and literature concerning werewolves. He and I were part of a group that admired the creatures, we were even convinced for a while that he and I were wolves beneath human skin. After he had died, though, I lost interest in the whole thing.
This wasnt how it happened, though. He had chased after his dream, the desire to be a wolf so strong in him. He gave up everything that was meaningful to him just to become something that wasnt man or animal. To live off the land as a natural creature, to shove aside all human desires and relations...something completely selfish, insane, and yet delightfully appealing. And now in this moment of my death, he was asking me to become like him.
Part of me screamed Yes! Yes, you bastard! Why did it take you so long to do this to me? Make me what I always was. But another said, No, dont just throw your life away. Everything you have now is just fine. Youve found a way to be happy without the wolf. And yet you were dead, I was dying, my car totalled, and Im pretty sure my high school grades were dropping. Not that the last two thoughts mattered. What could I do?
I opened my mouth. I...
He lowered his head, fangs bared. Yes?
I swallowed hard. He already knew what I would say, but hed rather wait for me to openly say it out loud. I dont want to die.
It was done, then. He lowered his head to where I could feel his breath on my shoulder, his drool dripping across my arm. I knew you would come back to me, wolf brother.
With that, searing pain shot into my arm. I was in so much pain already, though,
that this didnt really seem to matter at all. When he let go, I spasmed across the ground as I felt a sudden chill rush through my body, the agony elevating scale after scale after scale; and then nothing. I sat back up, disoriented and confused, seeing that my leg was healed, my wounds gone, even though my clothes were still covered in blood.
Remove those human clothes. You wont be needing them anymore.
Why was he being stern with me all of a sudden? He and I were best friends as long as I could remember. But then new thoughts started coming to my mind. Why should I need smelly, human clothes anymore? And how could I ever think badly of my alpha? I obediently stripped myself of all articles of clothing in front of my alpha and the pack, though I crouched slightly for modesty, still ashamed to show myself completely.
A quick snarl from my alpha, and I immediately stood straight, arms to my sides. Now, brother. Behold the moon.
Where was it, I thought? It looked so bright on my shoulders. Then I looked straight up. The moon showed a soft amber, hues of brown and gold dotting her landscape. Such a pretty sight. Such power reflected in her moon. I knew what to expect, then, still. In my last moments of humanity, I thought of you as my lips pulled back into an animal snarl.
I clutched my face as I felt my ears tug against my head, growing pointed and moving towards the top of my head. My nose turned cold and damp, my face pushing out forward and I let go to let my beautiful muzzle elongate into a proper wolf snout, white fur sprouting across the top. Looking at my growing hands, I could see the nails fall off replaced by black claws, the palms thickening into dark pads, ideal for running on all fours like a proper wolf ought to.
Something fell off top my head. I grabbed a clump and sniffed it with my sensitive nose, and realized it was myself. My brunette human hair was falling out, and there was quite a bit of it. As it littered the ground, my head was then replaced with white guard hairs, my mane growing down across my neck, as it thickened, my body growing more muscular and stronger.
My alpha came up and stroked me across the head, scritching his claws against my ears. I whined with joy, wishing my tail could sprout already, so I could wag it and show how much I appreciated being praised by him. Instead, I just lick his nose.
My fur begins to spread across my chest as it barreled out going down my belly and around my waist, growing over my now fully developed wolf sheath. I feel my spine extend as my wolf tail emerged, wagging with glee as my feet stretched out, the nails falling out in favor of wolf claws. Soon I found myself standing on my toes, as tall as my alpha now, and in a matter of seconds, the transformation was complete.
Spreading my arms wide, I let loose a howl, praising the moon and my pack for finding me. The pack joined with me, welcoming their newest member into the pack. When Ive finished, my alpha puts a hand on my shoulder with a smile. Now that I could see him perfectly now, he was as black as the shadow. He smelled like me, and I recognized him as the leader of the pack.
Come, brother. Theres much to learn. With that, I followed him on all fours into the woods, where I could forget all about being human and everything that was.
And so for months and months, I had lived with the wolves as a wolf. Hunting and mating, howling, running and sleeping. That was the life I had lived for a long time. But I had never forgotten about you after all this time. I would come visit the remains of car and where your body would have been before the local authorities found the cars remains and took them away. Quite often, I would find myself sleeping on the spot where it had landed.
But then I found out something that shocked me as I prowled through the city streets one day. You were still alive. I recognized your scent immediately, and I followed it to your home, where I saw you were alive, but now in a wheelchair. You look and sound so much mellow now than when I last remembered you. Though I am a wolf now, I remember you clearly.
And so for all this time now, Ive been leaving wildflowers on your door, hoping that youd one day find me. For all this time, Ive watched you, protected you. A burglar wouldve come to your home once or twice, but I killed one or two of them. The other I let them go free, letting the pack deal with them if they ever came close. Im so happy my alpha approves of me doing all this. He knows how much I care for you. Hes even convinced I would try to make you one of us.
I actually wonder that myself. I am so sad and lonely out here without you. Now I wonder what would happen if you saw me for what Ive become now, if you do come out to see my wildflowers. Would you even want to be one of us? Wouldnt you like the thrill to run again? To live life as we used to? To race the rage and sorrow again like we did, where it was only you and I? Wouldnt you want to make a pack of our own? I wonder still if you even remember me, or if you love me still. You may have already forgotten me, but a wolf mates for life. And to me, you are my mate. Now and forever.
Whatever you choose, whether you go outside and find my flowers, whether you come and look for me hiding in the bushes, whether even you become filled with desire to become like me, I will love you as a dog loves his master.
I will be there for you. Always.