All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
All Hot Topics
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
- Program Links
- Program Reviews
- College Links
- College Reviews
- College Essays
- College Articles
Death is a Welcome Guest
So, I opened my mouth, inhaling quickly, and, with a slight pause, fought the words out. “Hey, Angie, look. I’m sorry—”
Out of nowhere, something like five men jumped out of the bushes behind us with guns in their hands. I shot up, and the little Angie kid did too, but not before it all was over in a flash. “THERE HE IS!”
“ALEX, LOOK OUT—” Before I even knew what happened, I saw a flash of blue and other bright colors run forward. Then there was a high pitched scream, and she—
…The rain was incredibly heavy that night. I don’t think I’ll be able to ever forget it because it was the night that changed my life—when all my trouble started. The thunder and lightning was pounding outside, and the rain was so thick that you couldn’t see two inches past your own nose. Luckily, I was inside, peaceful, content, and (most importantly) alone. Not really happy, but it was as close to that as I’d get.
I was lounging around in the back of my cave, finishing off the last bits of my dinner, when, out of nowhere, this small, wet little thing threw herself in and landed flat on the ground. She lay on the stone for a little longer, gasping, before sitting up and getting her wet hair out of her face. I tensed—human. I hated humans. And don’t come after me with the whole “But you were a human once too” talk; believe me, I’ve heard it enough. The little human girl was soaked to the bone…she was getting my nicely-cleaned floor wet. Even worse, she started wringing her hair and clothes out too. Great. First rain, now an unwelcome guest. She dropped her purse onto the ground and lay down again, stretching her teeny limbs out spread-eagled.
…It would be so easy for me to just break those off. It would certainly be fun, even if she didn’t taste very good. These pleasant thoughts often came to me. No. Not tonight. Too much trouble. I’ll just scare her off. So I licked the blood off my jaws, stood up to my full height of eight and a half feet, began a growl in the back of my throat, and walked toward her. My claws made clicking noises on the stone floor, and I felt my fur bristle with pride…I look awesome. It took the stupid little thing a few moments to notice me, but when she did, she sat up…and smiled.
“Oh, hello there! Am I intruding?”
For a moment, I was caught off guard. I shook myself. “…Go away, little girl. You don’t belong here.”
“Well I don’t really belong anywhere. And I’m not a little girl.”
A sigh rippled down my spine; she just wasn’t getting it. She really didn’t get it. “Oh really.”
“Yup! I’m twenty-four, which makes me an adult.”
She nodded, her curly, dyed hair bouncing.
There was an uncomfortable silence.
“…Aren’t you—uh—afraid I’m gonna eat you, or something? Look, little girl—”
“I’m not little.” She repeated.
“Well—whatever! My point is, I could crush you. Grind your bones up easily. Pull your limbs apart and eat them in front of you. Doesn’t that scare you?!”
She thought about this for a few minutes, casting faraway eyes to the ceiling. “…Well sure it does. But you’re not, are you? I mean, that’s kinda rude.”
There was another silence. I found that my jaw was hanging slack. Then, out of nowhere, she giggled; it was high and sort of bell-like—incredibly annoying.
“Don’t laugh at me!” Now I was just speechless.
“I’m—I’m sorry, you just have this hilarious expression right now…” She didn’t stop laughing. No, even though I threatened her, she just rolled on her back on the stone floor and laughed in my face. It was infuriating to be outsmarted by a stupid, little, human girl.
“…So the fact that I could rip you to shreds any minute now doesn’t bother you.”
“Because death is a welcome guest! Why be afraid of dying if it’s gonna happen to you someday anyway? Besides, there’s only one thing I want right now anyway, and if I don’t get it, then that’s okay. I’ll live—I mean—” She broke off into obnoxious giggles again.
“And what would that be?” My voice was beginning to snarl, and I felt the corners of my mouth drawing back into a sneer. If looks could kill, she would have been dead a long time ago.
“Oh, I want to see the fairies dance!” This caught me off guard; I stopped and looked at her, my jaw going slightly slack.
She smiled. When I didn’t say anything else, she took out a thin, worn out blanket from her purse and laid down on the floor, shutting her eyes. Good. She’ll at least be quiet, now—maybe I can carry her outside and put her in the forest or something so she’ll get lost and not come back…Just then, they snapped back open, and came to look at me again.
“By the way, my name’s Angelica Richards, but most people just call me Angie. I mean, most people just call me ‘girl’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘scram’, but all my friends call me Angie….Do you want to be my friend?”
“No.” I spat at her and turned to walk haughtily back to my food.
“…That’s what everyone says.”
I paused again. “Then why don’t you go back to your friends, where you’re wanted.”
“Because I’m not wanted. That’s why I left—‘cause I’m just a burden to people.” I started to comment on how much of a burden she was being to me, but I forced myself to be silent. “My dad disowned me, too, so I don’t have a home anymore. I started just being homeless and being okay with it, but then I found out about the fairies, so I left! And now I’m here, and life’s great, so it’s all okay.”
“Wait…” I slowly turned to face her again, my eyes narrowing. “How long’ve you been out on this…this…” I fought for the word. “trip?”
“Oh, I don’t know, a few months.” She broke off yawning, and snuggled deeper in the blanket that barely covered her; two pale, little feet poked out. The thought of breaking them was still rather appealing.
I was arguing with myself. “…My name’s Alexander.”
Her face instantly light up, along with her eyes. It sort of seemed like they turned a brighter shade of blue, but I quickly ignored that as a trick of the mind. “Alex?! That’s such a cute name!”
“DON’T call me that.” I cut her off hurriedly. What am I getting myself into?!
“So…so you’re my friend, now?”
“No, duh. I’m just…”
What am I doing?
“Yeah?” She looked excited, and waited impatiently for what I was going to say next.
That horrible twisting, lurching feeling I got in the pit of my stomach when I was battling with myself sprung up again, worse this time, along with a small migraine. My fur fluffed up a bit. Finally, I grasped an answer that I was sure to regret— “I’m just saying I’ll take you to see the fairies dance.”
I did regret it. The little girl gave this loud squeal that pierced my ears and made my head pound harder. “THANK YOU! THANK YOU, THANK YOU!”
“Alright, alright, I get it!” With that, I stormed off to the back of my cave again, my whole body bristling, and flopped back onto the ground in front of my meal again. I had started today with a good feeling, and it ended with the gods sending a demon after me as my eternal punishment. What was worse, the cow I had gone to so much trouble to kill was now cold.
…The beginning to my day was not a good one. First, bad dreams of men with guns coming after me; second, the stupid little girl waking me up two hours earlier than I would’ve liked.
“…Hey, Alex, you awake? Hello? Can we go now?” There was a ball of light coming from the girl’s hand that almost blinded me when I opened my eyes.
“Agh—what is that?!”
“Oh, sorry.” She turned the flashlight off. What’s that human doing here…does she want me to eat her?!
After a few seconds, when my head finally stopped pounding from the light directly in my eyes, it all came back in one horrible train of thoughts. Great. I’d hoped it was a nightmare. The girl—or Angie, I guess—slung her purse back over her shoulder and ran to the mouth of the cave. She stretched her tiny arms out to the sides and gave a long sigh. “Oh, it’s a beautiful day, isn’t it? C’mon, you’ll miss all the sunshine!” The light coming from outside showed me she’d changed into dry clothes…hideous dry clothes. They looked like men’s overalls, but they were made of this stupid, flowery-pink fabric. Does she have any taste whatsoever?
“Yeah, yeah, I’m coming…” I got up from my stone bed and fluffed my fur out, sending droplets of blood flying to hit the walls around me. When I started toward the back of my cave, the little human thing asked where I was going, but I answered only with a growl….
Finally, after much arguing and nagging, we started off. First we passed through the lengthy field surrounding my home in the cliff-side. Then came a river, then the forest, then we looped around a town…needless to say, she was incredibly slow. And don’t give me that “well her legs are shorter” look, either! I don’t know why I ever agreed to escort her on this stupid little trip. She was obnoxious, too; she kept singing these little classic-rock songs. She sang them again, and again, and again. When I heard the refrain of “Here Comes the Sun” for what was probably the billionth time, I finally yelled at her to shut up; my roar could be heard throughout the countryside, and that kept her quiet for at least another half-hour.
By nightfall, we’d only walked five miles. “Phew!” She said as she dropped more wood onto our fire. I came back and dropped the ten dead rabbits I’d been holding in my mouth next to the small circle of rocks; Angie looked at them hungrily, and slowly, very slowly, I felt a growl rising in the back of my throat.
The little girl hesitated, scuffing the heel of her battered shoes on the ground. “Could I maybe…you know…have one of those?”
My snarl came out in my voice now, too. “No. Get your own food.” Thus was the nature of instinct; I hunted, caught, and killed it, and therefore, it was mine. Besides, if she was gonna be traveling with me, she’d have to realize I wasn’t gonna wait on her hand and foot like a slave. I was an escort; that was all. I saw her big blue eyes fall, but she made up her mind and waded off into the tall grass around us. Without hesitation, I started on my own food, not even looking back…until I heard small grunts and turned my gaze back over. She was hitting the ground with the point of a dull stick, obviously trying to spear something in the grass. How cute. I think I’ll watch for a bit. So with that, I turned to face the tall weeds and watched her fail time and time again. It was quite amusing. After a few more minutes of not being able to get anything, she dejectedly walked back over and plopped into her previous place across the fire from me. “How’d your hunting go?” It was all I could do not to burst out laughing at her. She shrugged, sniffing, and dug through her purse for a moment. The little Angie kid pulled out a crushed, half-eaten granola bar and began to eat it with sadness across her face. I felt myself beginning to crack. There was a gentle, sort of unsatisfying crunch as she bit off a tiny piece and chewed it. Then she bit off another, and another, each little crunch making me feel like a worse and worse person.
I sighed deeply. “…Fine. Here you go—make sure to cook it, though. I know you humany things can’t handle raw meat.”
Her face instantly lit up, her eyes glowing a little, as I tossed one of the dead rabbits over the fire to her. “Thank you, Alex! Thank you!” With that, she ran to me and threw her arms around my neck. Instinct made me push her off, but she wasn’t discouraged by that and just went back to cook the rabbit meat.
About fifteen minutes later, the little girl spoke with her mouth full. “Sho…Alex, you shaid you know da fairiesh?”
“Yeah, duh!” I swallowed my own food. “They’re always coming after me with their stupid dance and stuff—‘Alexander, come dance with us! Stop ripping out peoples’ hearts and take a break!’”
She giggled, the sound high and still annoying. I grinned with large, sharp teeth.
“…And what about you?”
Her bright eyes snapped back up to me, “Huh?”
“You know, how’d you find out about the fairies? Most humans don’t know they exist.”
She gave a broad, slow smile and leaned to whisper something to me. Even though she beckoned me closer, I raised an eyebrow and just held my distance. Oh no, don’t you think I’m your friend. I’m only in this to get you off my tail. Nothing else. After an irritatingly suspenseful pause, she finally said, “…I met one.”
I waited for her to go on. “Yeah, and?”
“And…she asked me to come be with them!”
“Wait, wait, wait,” I cut her off, “a fairy was in your town?”
“Well, no, not exactly, but just outside of it! My dad told me to stop daydreaming when I told him…actually, that was really close to when he disowned me.”
I didn’t say anything else, thinking about this, and then our conversation moved to other things.
The little Angie girl was soon asleep, curled up on the ground with the blanket barely covering her again. The thought of eating her didn’t occur to me now: I was too full.
…I woke up with the most wonderful feeling: when I looked around me at the small, makeshift camp we’d built, the little Angie kid was gone. Every trace of her had vanished—her purse, her blanket, her granola bar rapper, her obnoxious voice…This’s great, I thought, no more giggles, no more fairies, no more missions, no more girls, no more humans, and (best of all) no more optimism! I stood up with more vigor that morning, shaking out my coat and feeling grand, on top of the world. With a swipe of my tail, the remains of last night’s fire had disappeared. I started wading off into the tall grass in the direction I’d come from with a new spring in my step. Even better, some worms and other nasty bugs were up from the rain storm a few days before—a healthy snack to start the day. After I spat out my fifth snail-shell, and was about to start on my sixth, a high, annoying, and all too familiar voice chimed up behind me. “Alex, wait for me! Alex!”
My eyes closed. The breath fell out of me in a sigh. “…Well? Where were you?! If you want to come along with me, you’ve got to stick with me, got it?”
“Sorry,” She was panting. “You weren’t awake yet, and I thought that until you were, I’d go take a bath…there’s a really nice little stream down that hill, if you want one too!”
A growl slowly rose in my throat. I chewed on another snail, spat its crushed shell out of my mouth with more force than normal, and stomped ahead. Angie ran to catch up with me, her wet hair bouncing. It was colorful—stupidly colorful. She’d streaked it with weird tints like blue and red and gold and stuff.
“No.” I sped up a little. I heard the kid’s footsteps speed up too. I sharply turned a corner, and she turned it too. Once again, I considered leaving her behind; why not? She wasn’t doing anything to help me, and this whole trip wasn’t my idea anyway. She was slowing me down too….But for some reason, I was never able to bring myself to that; every time I thought about it, I came up with these weird excuses not to, like I was connected to her somehow—like I cared about her. I didn’t care about her, though. Nope. Last time I cared about someone, they had to go and die right when I needed them most. “Death is a welcome guest”, ha. More like “death is a thief in the night”.
Soon enough, we were out of the grassy country and back into the tightly-knit forest. Angie made us stop so she could climb the trees. Finally I got so annoyed by it that I knocked down the one she was in—she never stopped us to climb on stuff again. After leaving the seemingly endless forest, there came the lush, beautiful hill-country…at least she thought it was beautiful. I hated it ‘cause it was so open; there were plenty of places humans could be lurking and find me. Besides, it was right by a town, where there would be even more people: people whose families I’d eaten. Yup, I visited a lot, and they knew what I looked like. Recently they’d imported some guns just in case I showed up again, and when I did, I left with a few scars to decorate my pelt. The little Angie kid, on the other hand, didn’t realize this (of course not, she had a pea for a brain) and went skipping through the hills singing a loud love song. The town came in view not too long later, with its teeny thatched roofs and stupid, crooked houses. Why they would build a house on uneven foundations, I don’t know; they just did. Anyway. I felt my fur rise uncomfortably as we neared it.
“…Hey, kid, stay close to the tree-line.”
“Oh, why? This place is so pretty!” She did a cartwheel.
I could see some people in the town pointing at us; it made me stiffen. “Just come on!”
“Alex, you’re such a spoilsport—”
Then, a woman screamed— “WENDIGO! IT’S THE WENDIGO, COME TO STEAL OUR YOUNG GIRLS AGAIN!”
A man belted something else about people hiding their daughters, and I rolled my eyes; what do they take me for, a fire-breathing dragon? Girls taste all spongy; everyone knows little boys are better.
A gunfire split the air through the hills with a loud bang, and without thinking, I grabbed the back of the kid’s dress between my teeth, slung her onto my shoulders, and raced ahead toward the sunset. The men, hunters, came after us quickly, bringing their guns.
“Don’t shoot until the girl is out of range, alright?! We’ve got to get her back to town before we kill the beast!”
My heart sank down to the pit of my stomach…they think I’ve kidnapped her.
“A-Alex, what’re they doing? Who are they?!”
“They’re hunters, kid.”
“Why’re they after you?”
I groaned, “Because I’m a monster, okay?! I eat people.”
“Oh Alex, that’s horrible!”
A bullet shot past us, grazing my shoulder; it took a chunk of skin and fur with it. I growled deep in my throat, but pushed the urge to kill and eat them right there and then back. “I know, I’ve been trying to tell you that!”
“No, it’s horrible they’re after you.”
“It’s not horrible to hunt the horrible, kid; it’s human nature.”
She started to say something, but another piece of metal flew past and tore through her shoulder; I heard her scream. The leading hunter yelled at the others for hitting the girl. I felt panicked, all of a sudden, something I couldn’t control, and began to run much faster than before, flying across the hillsides until we’d lost them.
Angie’s arm was sluggishly pulsing red blood that got all over her and me, and I quickly laid her down once we’d reached a safe place—a small little groove in a bluff bordering the hill-country. “Quick, give me your purse. I need something to bandage it.”
Her voice and body was shaking badly. “I’ve got some spare underwear in there, somewhere…”
I paused, then gave a deep sigh. “Underwear? Really? Fine.”
She laughed weakly, but it was sort of choked. I could tell she was trying not to bawl; my own laugh was strangled as well.
I opened the little pink pouch (almost ripping the thing in two with my claws) and started fishing around; yup, there were some frilly pieces of women’s personals in there, but they were quickly shredded to bandages instead.
“…Hey, Alex?” the kid asked after I bound her injury.
“They said you were a wendigo….Are you?”
I sighed…how am I gonna say this?
“…Yup, that’s me.”
“So…you ate someone?”
“I don’t want to talk about it, but yeah.”
A silence spread over again—one that I was perfectly happy with. After she fell asleep with the tiny blanket over her and her bandaged arm carefully arranged where it wouldn’t get any more damaged, I kept thinking. It’d been a while since I’d thought about the first time I’d eaten someone. I was an ordinary man, then: twenty-something, handsome, loved by all, and terribly greedy. I missed those days. Why me? What’d I do to deserve this?
...Reality hit again in a while after lamenting, and I realized that we’d have to miss a few days on the road while Angie recovered.
For some reason, she didn’t bug me so much anymore.
…It was the middle of the night some weeks later, I’m not really sure how many. This stupid little fly of some sorts had lodged itself in my ear, and I woke up with a growl and a toss of my head; it tried to fly off, but did I let it get away? No sir. I caught that pest in my mouth and snapped down on it with my teeth…it wasn’t satisfying at all. Worse off, I couldn’t sleep again. I laid down my head and rolled a bit with my eyes closed.
We were on this sort of weird rock-hill thing that had somehow managed to grow these skinny trees on it. It was sort of dead-looking. To one side of me was that forest, and on the other was a cliff-side that went straight down into the valley again. To the front and back of me were tall, thorny bushes. Each time I turned, things seemed to get more uncomfortable; I ended up facing the drop-off when another biting insect decided my face would be a nice place to rest. I flicked it off and was going to go after it when, instead of just seeing the cliff and empty space beyond, there was a figure in front of me—a sort of Angie-like figure. I paused in my tracks, watching her; maybe she hasn’t noticed me being awake yet. The little Angie kid had her back to me, and she was facing the valley. The hand coming from her injured arm was clutched in its pair and was sort of limp behind her. She was pretty close to the edge. For a moment, it looked like she was going to jump.
“…Hey, what’re you doing up?”
She looked back at me quickly; her amazingly bright blue eyes glowed out of the dark a bit. “Oh, good morning, Alex! I just couldn’t sleep, that’s all.”
I grunted in response.
She paused a little, debating with herself and scuffing the heel of her sneaker on the rocky ground. “Never mind, it’s nothing.”
“If you’re gonna say something, say it; don’t just leave it there…” I mumbled the next part, “it’s annoying.”
Silence again from her end. Not for long, though; when she spoke again, it was quiet. “Well, it’s just…what’s it like to become a wendigo?”
I chose my words carefully now, feeling a little panicked, for some reason. Why now? Why does she have to know now, of all times? I sighed, then resigned myself to answer the question. “…It feels awful at first, like you want to hurt someone. Then it’s just hunger, lots of hunger for a long time—and only for meat. You never have enough, either. It feels like as soon as you eat something, someone reaches into your stomach and pulls it out again….After a while, plain meat isn’t enough. It has to be raw. Even then, that’s not the end of it. Eventually all you want is human flesh. It’s disgusting; gradually you start getting disgusting too. I remember…” I swallowed painfully, “I remember the first time I ate someone. My lips were always dry after that, and they started cracking and bleeding. You’ve probably noticed that about me already, huh? My lips’re always bloody? You start getting hunched over, too, and then the fur sets in. It’s slow, and it hurts. It hurts a ton.”
The little Angie kid had turned back to me during this, and now she walked over and sat in front of me to listen…it was weird. The expression on her face still wasn’t fear; she looked pretty sad, but not afraid of me.
“…After I killed that one man, I moved on to my baby brother. My mother saved him from me, thank God, and I felt like a monster when I realized what I almost did…I left home soon after that. Well, actually, I was chased out. People didn’t want me anymore. They tried doing a rite to save my soul from the wendigo’s, but nothing changed.”
I stopped talking then; I’m not sure why, but I just couldn’t say anything else. Angie didn’t say anything either for a while. When she did speak, I could hear just how much she meant what she said. “Oh, Alex, I’m so sorry…it’d be so hard for your whole community to throw you out like that!”
“Yours did too.”
She shrugged. “Well yeah, but…”
“It’s okay. I’ve gotten over it.”
There was another long, gentle silence; the little Angie kid bit her lip a little like she was thinking. I saw a hopeful smile tug at the corners of her mouth. “Well you’ve got me, right?”
A loud snort came out of me without my control. “Yeah, I’m stuck with you!” A sudden quiet went down like a knife; this one wasn’t pleasant at all like the last one was. This one was tense; hurt.
Angie stuttered a little and then shot up out of her sitting position. “I—I’ll be back…” She started walking away from me toward the dead-looking forest patch with the white, skinny trees.
“Hey, where’re you going? It’s dangerous out here!”
She was far enough away that she had to call for me to hear her. “I’ll be fine, I just wanna be alone for a little!” She let out that bell-like laugh of hers once again as she disappeared; it was kind of broken-sounding. I groaned. Great job, Alexander, you made her cry. Bravo. That’s just wonderful, just wonderful. I felt uncomfortable, now; I was alone with the knowledge that she was upset—and that I was the one who made her upset.
Well, I thought after a while of just sitting stiffly and cursing myself, might as well use this time to find some food. So, I hauled myself up, shook the sweat and blood out of my fur, and loped off to find some livestock….It was very strange: my appetite for humans seemed to have stopped.
When I came back about an hour or so later dragging a gray mare behind me, the little Angie kid still wasn’t back. I was getting worried…What if something bad happened while I was gone? What if someone found her? So I dropped the beast by the fire and hurried off into the forest; the trees sort of looked like skeletons.
I darted in between the thin, closely-spaced plants for what seemed like it must have been a half-hour or more, yelling for the girl. I couldn’t see her anywhere. All around me was dead forest. “ANGIE, IF YOU CAN HEAR ME, ANSWER ME!” She didn’t, though, as many times as I called for her. I was incredibly panicked, now. Then, I stumbled through and opening in the brush…and looked up to see the stupid kid sitting on a white tree-stump, crying. First I sighed in relief, then, a slow anger rose in me. I walked out to her, twigs crumbling under my feet.
She looked up and quickly wipes her eyes. “Alex, I was gonna come back soon, I promise—”
“Don’t scare me like that again! What’s wrong?!”
Angie looked down and played with her dress; it was the nice cotton one, with the grayish-blue fabric and the white collar. “Nothing…”
I darted around in front of her so she had to look at me. “Tell me! Just tell me, won’t you?!” I was almost roaring…the people in the valley probably hear every word I said.
“I—I love you! It made me sad when you said you don’t want to be with me, that’s all…I’m really fine…”
I paused, my jaw going a little slack. When I found my words again, I was still yelling. “Look at me, Angie.” She didn’t; I forced her chin up. “Angie, what do you see in me?!” She was trembling, but she still wasn’t afraid. Hurt, but never afraid.
“M-my friend. You’re my friend, Alex.”
“No! I could eat you! Why can’t you see that?! You’re such a stupid, insignificant, little girl!” With every sharp word I threw at her, she seemed to shrink more and more. “You’re twenty-four, Angie! You don’t understand! Death isn’t a good thing: it’s gruesome and painful, and the people who knew you will never get to see you again! It’s no wonder your father threw you out!”
But she cut me off with a soft, single sentence: “That’s what everyone says…”
I stopped in mid-word. Then I just sort of looked at her for a bit, gaping still.
…Finally, I got some control over myself again, turned, and ran back to our camp. The horse I had gone to so much trouble to kill tasted bland now.
…My eyes kept going back to the dead-looking tree layer. It’d been a long while since I’d left, and the little Angie kid still hadn’t come back. I was starting to get worried, and I hated it; before this, no one but I had power over me, for years—not even my family. Then she just showed up out of nowhere, without asking me first, and shook my world in her puny hands like it was nothing. She wasn’t even that convincing or pitiful. I ripped off another piece of horse-meat; what’s happening to me…I don’t even feel like a wendigo anymore. What do I feel like? A human? No. That’ll never happen; I’m stuck like this. I can’t go back.
“…How’s your horse?”
I jumped, my eyes snapping up, to see a little girl with a soiled blue dress and rainbow hair standing over me…well, in front of me, seeing as she wasn’t even up to my elbows. My ears and fur slowly lowered again. “Eh, it’s a horse; kind of stiff, kind of tough.”
She giggled; it sounded like it caught in her throat a bit, but I didn’t say anything to it. After a tense moment of her standing in front me while I ate, Angie sat down; she laid her knees out to the side of her as usual and rested her weight on a hand, and even though she was smiling away like normal, something was missing. I knew what it was, too, and it hurt.
I ate some more in tense silence—it was weird, the bloody things I ate never seemed to bother her. In fact, the idea that I ate people didn’t even scare her. I swallowed, and hard…I couldn’t just live knowing I’d hurt her feelings like this. So, I opened my mouth, inhaling quickly, and, with a slight pause, fought the words out. “Hey, Angie, look. I’m sorry—”
Out of nowhere, something like five men jumped out of the bushes behind us with guns in their hands. I shot up, and the little Angie kid did too, but not before it all was over in a flash. “THERE HE IS!”
“ALEX, LOOK OUT—” Before I even knew what happened, I saw a flash of blue and other bright colors run forward. Then there was a high pitched scream, and she was on the ground, blood coursing out of her side. The thundering sound of the bullet firing split the air through the countryside around us. All of us paused for a desperate moment before the reality of it all sunk in…I heard one of the hunters yelling at the other for shooting so soon, but his words never formulated in my head. At first I was shocked, then I wanted to kill something. The hunter who shot screamed when I raised my claws above his head, but for some reason, I never brought them down on him. No, scratch that, not some reason; I knew why. Angie was lying there unconscious with a bullet stuck in her stomach. The idea still hadn’t really sunk in. Without second thoughts, I grabbed the back of her stained dress in my teeth and threw her onto my shoulder before pelting off into the hills. Angie. She’s hurt. I gotta—gotta get her away from here, then I can just lay her down, and fix her up. Yeah. It’s gonna be fine. It’s gonna be fine, Alexander…It’s gonna be FINE. I shuddered as I ran; I could feel her hot, wet blood seeping down between my fur. She kept bobbing in and out of consciousness, too, and her head kept painfully hitting against the shoulder where the bullet had grazed me. Normally I’d get mad and move her, and I was going to, but the idea that she was going through much more pain than I was made that thought disappear. Another train of thought was going through my head, and this one was even more painful, in some stupid way. This whole time, we’d been in reach of the fairies. If I’d wanted, I could’ve just picked Angie up like I did now and run in a straight path, and we’d have been there in no time. I guess…I’d wanted to slow her down, make her walk the extra miles. Maybe it was payback for her carrying me off on this trip in the first place. She didn’t carry me off, though, did she…
I heard a loud, wheezing gasp as the little Angie kid fought back into consciousness. I barely glanced at her before I had stopped running and set her down. She let out a small grunt when I did. My eyes went slightly wide; the whole of her dress was barely blue anymore. She was crying. Not like before, either; this time it was evident she couldn’t help it, and was trying to hold back more. This was when the reality of it finally struck. I started to shake. “A-Angie. Kid.”
She managed a nod through her sobs.
A growl rose in the back of my throat; I was so confused… “What—what were you doing?! I’m two hundred pounds and three feet bigger than you, I would’ve been fine!”
“I…d-don’t know…” She tried that stupid, bell-like giggle again; it was evident how hard she was trying now.
“Don’t say that!”
She cringed. “…S-sorry…”
“Don’t apologize, either!” Before anything else came out of my mouth, I took a shaky breath to compose myself. “Okay…” I sighed. “Okay, shut up for a second, I’m gonna fix you up.” Panic struck me when I realized that her purse with her other clothes was left back at our camp. My shaky claws finally grabbed hold of her skirt, and shredded it; it was already soaked with the dark, human liquid, but I used it anyway. The pressure I was putting on her side made her stiffen significantly.
“Alex, s-stop—please, stop—”
I shook my head slightly, ignoring her.
“Alex, no—ALEX, PLEASE—” Tears tainted black and blue from her makeup spilled down her face even quicker, but I kept wrapping the cloth around her injury. From then, it was just screams—lots of them. An especially piercing one scared me, and I stopped; I was faced with a hard decision. If I didn’t take the bullet out, she’d be in pain, and probably not make it, but if I did try to take it out, my claws would do more harm than good. My whole body was shaking now.
“…W-well? What now? C’mon, hurry up before I start again.”
“I…just wanna see them dance…”
I sighed and looked off to the side; she was crazy, thinking about that now.
“…I’ll be happy…then, finally…”
“…Hey—don’t be ridicules!” The laugh I put out to hide my fear was terribly fake-sounding. “I can’t take you to see them like this. You’ll…” The idea of what was coming hit me in the face like a knife. My voice dropped to barely above a whisper. “You’ll die…”
The kid tried at a shrug and a smile, but neither worked. “D-death is a welcome guest!...”
I finally snapped. My breath was heavy in my throat. Fear was replaced by irritation, and irritation by anger. “Well—FINE! FINE, ALRIGHT?! YOU’RE GETTING WHAT YOU WANT, YOU STUPID, NEEDY, LITTLE GIRL! WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU HAPPY?! DO YOU WANT ME—WANT ME TO PUT ON A SKIRT AND DANCE A JIG, OR SOMETHING?! FINE, THEN, LET’S GO! I’LL TAKE YOU! YOU’LL SEE I’M RIGHT; THE WORLD ISN’T ALL FLOWERS AND CANDY, ANGIE. SURE, IT LOOKS LIKE THAT TO YOU, HUH? WELL YOU CAN TAKE THAT RIGHT TO THE BANK, SEE WHERE FAIRIES AND NICE DRAGONS’LL GET YOU IN LIFE. ‘DEATH IS A WELCOME GUEST’, HA! WELL IT SURE WOULD BE TO YOU, YOU LITTLE, INSIGNIFICANT—” I had raised one of my claws to strike her in that moment, and something made me cut off my yelling instantly. It was the look of plain, utter fear on her face. I’d never seen it there before; it scared me. My whole body was starting to shake again. I sniffed a bit, tossed my head to the side to avoid having to look at her, and picked up the little Angie kid once again to start running.
After what seemed like an hour even though it couldn’t have been nearly that long, I skidded to a stop on top of the fairy’s hill. Dust sprayed out from beneath my feet, and Angie broke into raspy coughs which ended in just wheezing. As the cloud cleared, little dots of light started showing up around us. They were dancing, in a way…twirling around and around without stopping. I brought the little Angie kid down to the front of me and set her on the soft ground. She was awfully pale, but more than that, she looked like she was going to be sick. I dropped down next to her shakily, fighting for words. It was hard getting myself under control. Come on, Alexander. Look at her. You’re running out of time for this.
No it’s not…
I pretended like she was right. It was weird, her eyes were perfectly dilated; they shouldn’t have been, in light like this. “Yeah, I know. Stupid, right? So flashy.” She tried at a smile. It faltered, though, and she went back to looking pained. My teeth gritted together against my will, and my words hardly came out. She still heard me, somehow. “C’mon, hold up, kid…”
“A-anything for you!” I trembled more at that, soon finding it hard to look at her because of everything going through me I didn’t want her to see. “…H-hey…Al…ex…are they singing?”
Her words brought me back, and I nodded weakly. “Yeah…yeah. Man they’re so shrill.” My laugh was way more high-pitched than it ought to have been. “…It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
“…Do they make you…happy?”
I paused and looked back down at her; her head was turned to the side, and her big, blue eyes were unfocused. “Well—well, yeah, I guess…why?”
“I’m sorry…I…can’t make you h-happy…figures, though…right? Me being so stupid…and…and all…”
“Stop it. You aren’t stupid.”
“…You said so yourself…”
I could barely understand what she was trying to get out now, but it felt like getting punched. “I was wrong, Angie. I—I was just angry, okay? You’re the most…the most significant human on Earth. You must be. You’re so brave, and you always know when to smile even when you don’t feel like smiling at all. You did something that no one else was able to do; you walked into my cave and said ‘hello’. You didn’t scream, or run, or faint…and that meant the world to me, Angie.” I was shaking again, and the lump growing in my throat was so tight it hurt. Angie’s brow was furrowed, and she kept looking off to the side like there was something there the rest of us couldn’t see. I dropped my voice to a whisper, “Hey, kid, what’s wrong?”
I stiffened once again. “What? No, no, no, see, look. They’re right there, see? All those stupid little fairies and their clumsy dances. Oh, come on, baby-doll, open your eyes.”
I was pleading now. Her teeny hand squeezed around my fingers once, and she did open her puffy, tear-filled eyes again. “…You’re beautiful…A-Alex…”
My voice came out sluggishly tremulous. “You’re crazy, I’m a monster…”
I could barely hear her, now, and it was terrifying.
“…Can’t…you see yourself?...”
The big blue orbs never shut, and her hand slipped away from mine. I blinked shakily. Stop it. Keep breathing; I know you can. You’ve held up so long…But what now? My voice cracked loudly up to a higher pitch when I started talking again. “C’mon, get up, Angie. Angie. Angelica? Angel?” When I shook her shoulder, she followed in my motions like a ragdoll would—completely still and limp. I swallowed hard, and began to gasp for breath when the tears started rolling down my face…Tears. Wendigos can’t cry…“Can’t you see yourself?”
Shakily I let her slide out of my arms onto the weirdly damp ground and brought my hands to my face. The fur was gone. Then I looked down at myself too to see legs, feet, arms…human legs, feet, and arms. I could barely appreciate it then, or how in the world it happened, because at that moment, the fairies started swarming over Angie’s body. They shut her eyes, pushed her slack jaw back into place, and I watched in silent floods of confused feeling as they carried her body off to the sparkling underbrush where they lived.
There, Angie. Are you happy now? You saw the fairies dance.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
This article has 0 comments.