Soul Mates

Soul Mates

A Story by Pixie Meat


I am a feeling
The acknowledgement of wind caressing body
Muscle pushing against bone
Driving forward
I am the howl of a young wolf
A cry of triumph
The voice of freedom
Splitting the night
I am a strand of song in the symphony of night
Blending with the owl’s cry and the light rain’s fall
A beating heart in the distance
Serves as percussion
I am a remnant, ringing
Meeting human ears
A resonating nostalgia
The heartbeat quickens in wild recognition
I am the beginning of a dream
Through the mind’s eye, the wolf runs again
The memory soars across the sky
A longing for that reality
I am but a feeling
Drifting away now, almost forgotten
Returning to oblivion
As the wolf continues on
A long, low growl emanated from deep inside the beast’s chest from where it crouched on the sidewalk before me, in clear sight. Its black eyes seemed to glow with excitement as it watched me, standing before it, unable to move. I was too terrified to justify what I was feeling, but behind the terror there was something I couldn’t recognize. Anger, I thought. A snarling, ripping emotion that I could feel as if it was my own, and yet I knew it wasn’t. Not my own, but still inside me, trying to get out. I could feel my mind slipping as the thing began to take over. 
The white wolf took a step forward, its hackles raised. What looked like a lupine grin appeared on its lips, its vicious teeth shimmering. Anger swept through me again, and I trembled. The waves of ferocity within me made my gut roll, and I felt my stomach try to empty itself in one dry heave. My head was still spinning, and yet I felt propelled to attack. I knew I would win. My insides were screaming to tear the flesh of the creature, to kill it. Kill, kill! The chilling refrain echoed in my mind, and suddenly I knew I wanted to, knew that I had the ability to. The small part of me that was left, the real me, the sane me, was almost gone, but not quite. I was excruciatingly aware of how my being pulled and tugged on the outside skin that could not contain it. As much as I wanted to kill the wolf, to taste its blood, I would not leave my body, my human self, no matter how much I wanted to.
 The wolf twitched its tail, a challenge. It was taunting me. You don’t have a chance, pup. Don’t push me, I thought, but I knew that I was trapped. That human part of me, the useless, wormlike creature that kept me captive here, taunted me enough every day with her incompetence. This was too much. No matter what she thought, no matter how I hid within her, I was the beast, and I had been hiding too long. 
 The wolf tilted its head back and let loose with a exultant howl that made the human’s body squirm with my rage. Then it lunged for my throat.
Too bad you can’t win that way, I thought, and for a moment I tasted victory, sweet as fresh kill on my tongue. This might be my moment after all. You will only kill the girl, and I will escape. You know you will die if we fight. Destroy her, and we shall see.
It infuriated me that I was dependant on the human, and now that she would be gone, there was nothing to hold me back. My anger fueled me. The wolf had only to make one wrong move, and I would pounce on my chance in an instant. My time had come, if only it would destroy the girl…
I felt its jaws clamp around my neck, and the human girl screamed in pain. I felt the pain, but it was nothing. Do it. The sooner you snap her neck, the sooner I kill you. You’ve been alive for longer than you deserve. I itched to fix that, to be the one to do it. But the jaws around my throat relaxed the smallest bit. The human part of me blacked out, and I was trapped in her sightless body. 
My thoughts raged. The ground had been pulled out from under me. So it had been playing just as hard as I had, but the dog had won in the end. It was never going to kill the human; it had only been trying to taunt me out of her body so that it could see to me once and for all. But I could not leave her lest I die, and it knew that. I would be too weak without her to sustain me. But it wanted her. It needed her too. The while wolf must have been barely alive itself. How could I have been so stupid? I cursed myself. The beast would never kill the girl. I had walked blindly into a trap. I had thought that today I would finally get what I wanted, but in truth I had never even been close. My only consolation was that I had not fallen for the bait; that I was as strong as I had thought I could be, if only by a hairsbreadth. I knew that the beast stood over me now, though my eyes would not open, and I knew it could do nothing now but lurk in the shadows, always waiting for me to make the wrong move. I knew I never would.
Yelling. The human’s name being called. I refused to think of it as mine. I was not Enna, the weak little girl. I was Karn, cursed to remain in her body for eternity. Arms wrapped themselves around me, and I heard shouting and crying. Human things. I knew I was being rushed to the hospital now. I forced my anger deeper inside me until it was everything but gone. Methodically, I shut myself down to lay dormant inside the body that I would never be able to call my own. Then I was human again. 
I woke drenched in cold sweat. My blankets were woven around my feet, like I had been trying to kick them off during the night, but I was shivering now. My flaming red hair was knotted and matted, but I didn’t care. I was still shaking. I knew how that dream ended. My hands shaky, I felt along the line of my neck and traced my fingers along the long scar on the bottom of my jaw, under my chin. The raised line throbbed in reaction, more to my thoughts that my touch.
I tried to slow my breathing, but it was no use. Every time I blinked, I saw the image of the wolf lunging for me, and with every beat of my heart I felt the horrible swell of darkness that had been Karn. There was no hope of getting back to sleep now. I knew as soon as I closed my eyes again, I would be brought back to that scene, and feel the fire inside me that scared me so much. I had not felt the full force of it since the attack, but the sinister reflection it left on my recurring dreams made sure that the childhood fear could never die. Now it was back, stronger than I had ever remembered it. 
A bloody moon met me as I looked out the window, making my alabaster skin seem to glow. Glancing at my alarm clock, I felt my stomach plunge. Two o’clock on the dot. Today was going to seem very, very long.
I sat up in my bed, my head spinning with fatigue. I had to keep myself awake, just for a few hours until I could be off to school. I could get through that. I was tempted to pull my blankets back over me to protect myself from the bitter chill of my room, but thought better of it. It would not help me to ward off sleep.
I woke up again sometime later, sore from falling asleep folded oddly on my side. I groaned, but inside I was happy that the dreams had not returned. Whatever had resurfaced inside me lay still now, and for that I was grateful. It was still too early to get up, but I rose regardless, knowing there was not enough time to fall back asleep anyway. After getting into my school uniform, I walked downstairs to the kitchen, knowing Gran would already be in there making coffee. She was. She gave me a brief glance, poured me a cup, then one for herself.
I took it as I pulled a chair up to the counter, looking into the drink’s black depths and seeing the exultant eyes of the wolf in my dream. Dark, empty eyes. I looked up to see Gran looking at me curiously. She knew I didn’t drink coffee. Did I look that much like I needed a caffeine boost?
Gran was a tall lady, and extremely pretty, though not by the media’s standards, perhaps. Her white hair glistened in the soft yellow light pouring in through the window, and her features held wisdom and knowledge from a generation passed. How I had learned to love her face after my parents had died. I didn’t really think of them as Mom and Dad anymore; I had barely known them, after all. I remembered only their faces, but sometimes I would dream of them, fitting them into the stories Gran told of them, building a family for myself. There was no need for that, of course. I had all the family I needed in Gran, and she in me, I hoped. 
I looked at the coffee in my hands and back at her, an unspoken accusation in my eyes. Secretly I was thinking, No kidding I look bad, I just got mauled by some rabid animal for about the hundredth time. Plus, I think I might be a schizophrenic.   She smiled at me, but still said nothing as she turned to the cupboard and dug around for breakfast plates. 
Most of the time I liked how mornings with Gran were quiet, both of us too groggy to make decent conversation. But today it felt fake, feigned, and uncomfortable, something I rarely felt with her. I knew it was because this morning’s silence hid a conversation that needed to be had. And so I began.
“It was much worse than it’s been in a while.” My voice sounded especially loud as it shattered the customary silence like a rock thrown through a window. Gran and I both frowned, not liking the change in routine, however necessary it was.
“Drink your coffee, dear. You will feel better.” Gran told me. Her voice held a kind of majesty that stirred up something inside me, something happy and calm. She was what I called a kindred spirit. I never doubted her. I took a swig; it tasted horrible, but I would never tell her that, though I knew she would not be offended. I considered putting milk or sugar in it to weaken the taste of the dark brew, but something inside me told me to suck it up. It felt like defeat, like cutting a pill in half before taking it. No thanks. I turned my mug around in my hands, liking the feeling of warmth on my palms, then poured half the liquid down my throat, grimacing as the hot fluid slithered down. Best to drink it while it was warm, at least. 
Gran sat in front of me, looking as graceful as a Japanese geisha as she quartered an orange and let the excess juice spill onto a plate. I gulped down the rest of my coffee before speaking again. To my chagrin, she reached to pour me more.
“It was mostly the same as every other time, but ever since it actually happened, I felt more and more like I should have; just scared. I could barely feel the intensity of the strange anger anymore.” The room started to grow misty and out of focus. I did not need my eyes to see the scene that my dreams painted. “Last night it came back, stronger than I remember. Almost as strong as the first time.”
“It was just a dog,” Gran soothed, her eyes searching. “Don’t you remember how the whole town went on a search, but could never find it? And no one claimed it either. Just a stray dog.”
Wolf, my mind corrected. It had been a wolf, I knew it. No dog could howl like that. The logical part of my mind, the more dominant part, knew that wolves didn’t live around here where people did, and it held to that. But the smaller part of me, the part that allowed me to hold onto something and use it to scare myself over and over, that part of me knew.
I continued on. “It brought everything back. I could feel something inside me, Gran. And I know it wasn’t just a dream, because that was what it felt like in real life. But I didn’t know, I couldn’t remember back then. After it happened, I couldn’t remember anything clearly.”
“After you woke up, you were in shock. You could not have remembered. Do not blame yourself for that.”
I nodded, although that hadn’t been what I had been looking for. I wanted answers, not reassurance. I feared that this might be one of the only things that Gran could not give advice on. That feeling scared me, and I pushed it away.
There was silence for a long moment, but it was not the familiar, companionable silence that I was used to. Slowly I rose, feeling awkward as I left the kitchen without a word. I did not know where else to go, but I was not staying here. Once in the hall, I murmured, “I’m going to school early. Bye, Gran.”
I turned as she silently drifted towards me and laid a hand on my shoulder. In my ear she whispered, “We shall talk when you return, if you wish to.”
I nodded, tears suddenly lodging in my throat. What was wrong with me?
I got out of the house as fast as I could. As soon as I was down the street and out of sight of the house, I sat down on the curb and buried my head between my knees. My backpack felt heavy this morning, the sun too bright for my eyes. I felt sleep deprived and depressed, and terrified. I searched myself for remnants of the creeping beast that had thought those evil things back in my dream, the thing that called itself Karn. The dream that was actually a memory. But I was torn. I had always been afraid of the white wolf that had attacked me, but the thing that had been inside me was clearly more evil. Did that mean I had two enemies, or was I to side with one of the beasts?
No matter what…I was the beast. That was what I had thought in the dream. But I wasn’t! I was just a normal girl. I just wanted to be a normal girl. I was clearly going insane. I wondered briefly if I had gotten brain damage when I had passed out on the sidewalk that day. Was I dangerous, deranged? I had heard of people trying to kill their families because they had gone insane. What kind of a monster was inside me, and could it take over again?
There was another pressing question that I had not allowed to surface yet, but it nagged at the fringes of my mind. To fully explore it, I would have to assume that I actually wasn’t insane, and I wasn’t sure about that. In fact, it seemed very unlikely. I tried for a moment. So what’s different? Why are you back, little monster?
If I was insane, it was a moot point. Who cared if it didn’t make sense? Insanity generally didn’t. But if I wasn’t insane, a long shot to say the least, then there had to be a reason why my own personal demon had resurfaced. I felt dirty, like Karn was inside me still, a stain that would never leave. 
As people started to walk down the street toward the school, I stood up and wiped my eyes. I just needed to get through this day. It would be easier to hide what I felt when I saw people I knew. I could occupy my mind with laughter and light conversation for a couple of hours. 
I managed to live through the day without arising suspicion. It was hard, but I managed, and when the final bell rang I felt an enormous sense of relief. I practically ran out of the building. I began to walk home, feeling proud of myself for surviving the school day. I screamed when I felt two big hands grasp my shoulders. Instinctively, I went limp, trying to fall out of the person’s grasp.
Sam caught me, giving me a quizzical look. “A bit jumpy today, are we?”
I blushed madly as I realized that everyone around us was staring. I righted myself hurriedly and smoothed down my skirt with shaking hands. Sam was frowning. He kept a hand firmly planted on my shoulder, probably worried I’d fall down again.
I frowned back. “Just a bit, thanks. You know, I’ve managed to get through most of the day without looking like an idiot. Thanks for your help; I was starting to get worried everyone thought I was normal.”
I tried to smile, but it didn’t work. Sam looked worried about me. He probably was right to be. I decided to at least make an effort.
“I didn’t see you in class today,” I said, and my voice sounded unusually strained.
Sam looked down uncomfortably. I could tell something was bothering him. When he looked up, he seemed to refocus on me. 
“Seriously Enna, are you okay? You’re white as a ghost.”
I couldn’t tell if he was just grasping for a subject change, but I knew what he said was true. My fingers tangled in my hair subconsciously. “Let’s not start with the albino cracks, now,” I gave a shaky laugh. 
We stood there for a minute as people started on their way home, shooting curious glances in our direction. Feeling embarrassed, I clutched my backpack straps and began to walk toward my street, Sam following behind me. He tried to make conversation, but I was beyond that. My day had been too much, and I was spent. He seemed to catch on quickly. Besides, something seemed off. This was not normal behavior for my best friend Sam. He was usually so bright and bubbly, and our conversations seemed to just flow naturally between us, but today he was resigned and… nervous. It seemed like he was the one who was jumpy. He scrutinized my every step as we walked, as if waiting for something to go wrong. Or maybe waiting for me to figure out what was wrong with him.
When we reached my house, I felt bad for not being more personable with him when he had been so nice to walk me home. It seemed like everything in my life was falling down around me, but I couldn’t think of a thing to say. This was disconcerting, because I usually told Sam everything. I couldn’t help feeling abandoned, whether by him, or by a part of myself.
“Well…bye then. See you tomorrow, I guess.” I opened the front door and took a step inside, but he grabbed my wrist. I turned to him, curious, and was surprised when I met the intensity of his gaze. 
“I know you’re scared, Enna. But I won’t let anything hurt you.”
I took a step back involuntarily. What was he talking about? A chill ran up my spine suddenly, and my eyes shot out of focus as a growling voice resonated within me.
Don’t go making promises you can’t keep.
Cold sweat dripped down my back as I broke away from his grasp and slammed the door shut. I ran full tilt up to my room, not looking behind me even though I could hear Gran greeting me. I shut myself into my room. I could only hear my pounding heart and the breath ripping from my lungs. My vision was blurred, and I knew I was crying. I could still feel something writhing inside me, restless and waiting.  
The monster from my dream had never visited me in my waking hours since the day of the attack.
I heard pounding on my bedroom door and Gran shouting to me. “You okay? Let me in, dear.”
I fought to hold in my terror and keep my voice steady. “I’m fine, Gran. Just really busy. Lots of work to do. I’ll come down later, okay?”
I knew Gran wasn’t that gullible, but she left without a fuss. Now I was alone with my thoughts. 
What had Sam meant? What was wrong with him? Could my dreams somehow be connected to him? No! I didn’t want to hurt him, too. He said he needed to protect me. From what, though? He couldn’t possibly have known… And who was he protecting me from? The white wolf, or the beast inside me? Was there another component in this battle?
I could do nothing. I was far too stressed to think clearly. My breathing started coming in short gasps, and I lay down on my bed, hugging my knees to my chest. I needed to pull myself together. Slightly frantic, I worked to control my breathing. In, out. In, out. Sometime later, I fell into a restless sleep.
I was back in front of the snow white wolf. I felt the wind blow through my hair, my vision obscured by fiery tendrils.   My breathing felt labored. I was fighting against Karn. This was not how it had happened in real life.
The demon inside was trying to get to the surface. It was weak; I could feel that it was in pain, but it was still stronger than I was. My muscles throbbed. I was sweating, though the breeze was cool and light. The wolf before me was unmoving. There was unspoken hope in its dark eyes. For a moment, I saw my own turquoise eyes reflected there. I shivered.   
I could not fight for long, and the demon broke through. Its anger made it strong. The pain was excruciating, and I screamed, but still I remained conscious. I had to win. 
Get out of me! I screamed at it. My eyes were screwed shut against the gut wrenching ache. Every breath hurt. Black spots clouded my mind.
 Strong hands grabbed my shoulders and wrenched me around, holding me close. I was crushed against someone’s strong body as I screamed on. The pain was getting worse. How high was my pain threshold? I looked up to see Sam’s face, tight with anger. His frame gave one violent shake, and Sam was gone. In his place was a snarling honey-brown wolf. 
Sam!” I sobbed as I opened my eyes. Gran was leaning by my bedside, holding onto my wrists with an anxious expression. I coughed; my throat was dry and raw from screaming. My body was burning hot. Did I have a fever? There was a red haze before my eyes…
Gran had blood on her hands. I rolled over to see the source, and saw long, violent scratches down the inside of both of my arms, from my wrists to my elbows. Blood trickled from the ripped skin. I screamed through another sob, then realized that my fingers were also red and bloodied. I had done this to myself during the night terror, trying to free the monster inside. 
Gran looked at me with her ancient, knowing eyes. “I will wrap your arms. You will tell me what is going on.”
She sat bandaging my arms for a long moment while my crazed moaning quieted. It was late in the day; I knew I was missing school, and I did not care. Finally, I could breathe normally again. I had run dry. 
I sat up, shaking. My hair was dull with grease, and I was sure I looked horrible. I needed a shower. 
Gran sat beside me, hugging me close to her frail body. My mind flashed to Sam, then shied away. It was all to confusing to even think about clearly.
I opened my mouth, not sure where to begin. My arms throbbed painfully. Suddenly, it was pouring out of me, everything that did not make proper sense in my head piecing itself together as it escaped from my lips.
“I’m scared, Gran. I don’t know what’s happening to me. There’s some monster inside of me. It’s real, I know it. It wanted to fight the wolf the day I got attacked. But it’s evil Gran. Really, truly evil. It calls itself Karn, and it wants me dead. I don’t know why. Karn says that the white wolf wants to keep me alive because it is too weak to kill me. I don’t understand. And when I tried to fight it, it hurt so much! And now Sam is involved too, though I don’t know how. He couldn’t know about this. I didn’t even know about this until yesterday, but he said ‘I will protect you, you don’t have to be afraid.’ I feel like he knows something. I need him to, so he can tell me that everything is okay, but at the same time, he can’t know, because that would put him in danger, too. I don’t know what to do Gran. Help me.”
Gran looked at me for a long moment. I felt like a great weight had suddenly been lifted, but the bones and flesh were still crushed underneath where it had been. 
“I think,” Gran began, “that it would be best to discuss this with Sam.”
I cringed. I didn’t want to see Sam. I wanted him to stay out of it. Mostly, I had to admit to myself, I did not want Karn to come back. I was afraid. Nothing but a scared little human. 
I looked at the clock again. It was almost noon. How had the time passed so quickly?
I stood, my head spinning slightly. Gran watched me silently, her expression supportive. As I exited my room, I heard Gran get up as well and go downstairs to wait for me. Walking into the washroom, I quietly undressed and turned on the hot water. The steam from the shower filled the room and cleared my head. The silence was calming as I took longer than I needed in the boiling water, running my fingers through my hair lazily until it shone. Finally, when my skin was pink and wrinkled, I stepped out into the fog and dried myself. I slowly slipped into my school uniform, which had been hanging on the doorknob. I concentrated on the comforting familiarity of the course fabric, how the waist of the plaid skirt hugged my hips, how the blouse hung on my body. I ignored how the sleeves bunched up over my bandaged arms, rolling them up around my elbows like I did in the summertime. I held the collar up to my nose and inhaled the fresh scent of laundry detergent. It was soothing to know that some things were always the same. 
I wrapped my hair securely in a towel as I walked downstairs. Gran met me in the kitchen, handing me an apple. I bit into it thirstily. As I wiped the juice from my chin, I started to plan how I would do this. The school day was almost over. By the time I got there, everyone would be coming out. I could easily just blend in with the crowd until I found Sam.
I emptied my books from my backpack, not wishing to lug them around with me when I left. Then I left without another word.
I felt a bit awkward walking through the empty streets of town, but I was pleased when I reached the school just in time to see the students filing out lazily. I slipped into the crowd effortlessly, hidden in plain sight. No one noticed me on a regular day, why should today be any different?
Even before I began my search, Sam was behind me. He placed a hand on my shoulder, turning me to him gently. I smiled in greeting, but my stomach plunged when I saw the grim set of his face. 
“What’s the matter?” I choked, fear blossoming in my chest. Then I remembered our last meeting, and I blushed. Had I hurt his feelings?
“We need to talk. Now.” Sam didn’t sound angry, but he would not meet my eyes. His hand slid down my arm and locked around my wrist as he started toward his house. I had to jog to keep up with his long, deliberate strides. I whined as his big hand put pressure on my torn flesh.
“You bet we need to talk,” I tried to say, but stopped when I almost bit my tongue. After being towed for half a block, I broke free of his grasp. The fear in my voice came out as anger. 
“Sam! What is going on with you! Tell me!”
Sam stopped dead. His eyes were screwed shut, and he was sweating. I noticed he was shaking. Oh my God, I thought. Someone tell me what’s going on or I’ll scream.
I realized that I was shaking now too. I took a deep breath, relaxing my stance. I hadn’t even noticed that I had been standing like I was getting ready for a fight; legs shoulder-width apart, knees bent, arms slightly raised. I itched my sore arms spasmodically, desperate to calm myself. It wasn’t going to be long before I started hyperventilating. 
Sam seemed to take a breath too, his eyes slowly opening. The shaking had stopped. The way he held himself, fighting to stay relaxed, made him look tired. It made me sad to see him that way, though I could not say why. I guess I just liked him best when he was the happy, light Sam. My Sam, not this other person that had taken him over.  Go away, other Sam. I don’t like you, I thought, and in my head my voice sounded like a simpleminded first-grader. 
“There are some things that you should know. I didn’t want to tell you, because I didn’t want to hurt you. It’s too late now, though.” His eyes took on a slightly crazed look. His breathing was audible, wild. 
“Tell me, Sam. I think I can handle it.” What is it? I wondered wildly. Get involved with the wrong people, Sam? Decide to try drugs? Murder someone, need help hiding the body? Whatever it was, it didn’t matter. It would be better to know, so I didn’t have to stand here going insane, always wondering.
Sam looked at me strangely. Not really at me, though. Sort of analyzing me, trying to imagine what reaction I might have. I met his gaze evenly, waiting for him to begin speaking. Finally it was too much.
“Spit it out Sam! I’m sick of all this! Either explain this to me, or stop bothering me! If I need to figure this out on my own, I will, but I have enough to worry about without you stressing me out. Cut it out with the stupid suspense bit, okay?” I gasped, holding back tears. “Just cut it out, okay?” I whimpered, but the tears were flowing freely now, preventing me from saying anything else. I watched as his hard expression melted away, revealing a hurt, vulnerable Sam that I had never seen before. He was in pain too. Something was hurting him, just as much as it was hurting me. Such a similar pain, I thought. It’s all the same, isn’t it?
I could almost hear the click in my head. 
Everything around me shot into vivid focus as the pieces shifted together. I pushed him away from me, my hands suddenly steady and strong.
“I think I get it now,” my voice was barely more than a whisper. 
We began to walk again, but this time I was the one keeping pace, almost running. We were at his house very soon. I stepped aside as he unlocked the door, wiping my stinging eyes as he let me pass. His house was dark and smelled of new carpet. I felt around the wall for the light switch, but he got to it before me and led me downstairs into the den. I sat cross-legged on the floor, ignoring the armchairs that sat tilted towards a small television. We always sat on the floor here, ever since we were little kids. It was something I didn’t even think about anymore. It was just our spot, where we belonged. It didn’t seem to hold any comfort for me today. 
Grabbing two Cokes from the mini fridge in the corner, Sam came to sit across from me. He tossed me one, and I caught it deftly, clicking it open and leaving it untouched in front of me. I almost laughed as he gulped down half of his, then hiccupped. Almost.
“So,” I tried to begin, but faltered. All my determination from my epiphany evaporated in a gust. My mind felt hollow. All was silent for what seemed a very long time. I seemed acutely aware of every noise in the room. The light bulb buzzed a high keening sound. The air conditioner whirred gently. A clock ticked, unnecessarily loud, as if pointing out how long this awkward moment seemed to stretch. Finally Sam spoke for me, in a husky, hesitant voice. 
“Do you believe in…soul mates?”
I was on my feet in an instant, soda spilling everywhere. A million emotions flickered through me, until I was caught between a mix of anger, fear, and completely unreasonable elation. This wasn’t the direction I had been planning to take this conversation. And anyway, who was he to be talking about soul mates when there were obviously more pressing problems? But wasn’t it a relief that at least this problem could be solved easily? Then again, that probably wasn’t even true I settled on fear. 
“Oh no,” I said. Well, that was rude, I chastised myself silently. I decided that getting up this morning at all had been a bad idea. 
“No!” He was standing too, smiling. He looked like he was holding back laughter. “That’s not what I meant.” 
I grimaced. “Oh,” I muttered, my face flushing. Bubbly brown liquid was dripping from his face, and his shirt was stained as well, as was the carpet. I wasn’t even sure what I had thought he’d meant, but I smiled despite myself. I was glad he was happy again. The atmosphere in the air seemed to lighten. The c lock settled down to its normal volume. I remembered how to breathe.
As we sat back down, a spluttering laugh escaped my throat. Sam smiled at me, and I smiled back. I was gasping now. He was laughing too, just as hard as me.
“What’s wrong with us lately?” I gasped between bursts of hysterical laughter. “We can’t even keep up a normal conversation,” I bubbled. I was making a fool of myself, and I didn’t care. I’ve finally cracked, I decided, and it was an enormous relief.  
My anxiety temporarily gone, I decided to take advantage of the feeling to start. There was something I needed to say. 
“I’m sorry about the other day. I don’t know what came over me; I guess you just caught me by surprise.” Understatement of the year, but it didn’t really matter. As long as he knew I was sorry for running from him.
His face grew serious again, and something inside me groaned. So much for keeping it light. 
“No, I’m sorry,” I tried to break in, but he held up his hand. I waited.
“I’m sorry because it was a stupid thing to say, especially since you couldn’t understand. I just needed you to know that you had someone you could talk to, but I screwed up and ended up scaring you more. I just wanted you to know, and that was selfish. I should have done it is a…more tactful way.”
I couldn’t respond to that one. Suddenly the words from that afternoon rang in my head as clearly as if he had just spoken them.
“I know you’re scared, Enna. But I won’t let anything hurt you.”
“What did you mean, Sam?” My voice was quiet, but strong. “How are you a part of this?”
Sam wasn’t expecting such a deep question. He shook himself before responding.
“It’s time that I explain myself, I guess. Tell me how much you already know, first.”
I looked to the ceiling, wishing that the answers could be written there for me. “Uh…I know that I’ve been dreaming about getting attacked by a white wolf almost every night since the attack,” We both cringed, remembering. “And I know that on that day, I felt something inside me. Karn. I haven’t felt that in the dream before, until just recently. And then, when you said that to me, Karn spoke. ‘Don’t make promises you can’t keep’, he said, but he wasn’t confident. He’s afraid of you, intimidated. He thinks that you can protect me. Why?” Lately I’d found that saying things out loud helped me figure them out. I was pretty sure I hadn’t known that before I’d said it, but now it seemed obvious.
Sam kept his face blank, but I could tell he knew the answer to my question. Instead of pressing him, I continued on. I was on a role. 
“The white wolf is good, I think. Or at least, better than Karn. I think it was trying to attack Karn, not me. That’s why she didn’t kill me. Karn said that it didn’t want to kill me because it was too weak, that it wanted me. It wanted to lure Karn out of my body.”
At the sound of his name, a growl began inside me, like a cramp. I clutched my stomach. I felt sweat break out across my forehead. Sam took my arm from around me, holding my wrist with gentle strength. The growling stopped abruptly.
“You’re right about some things, Enna. The white wolf is good, and she doesn’t want to hurt you. And I can protect you.” I believed him. The pain was gone. 
“Explain, please,” my stomach lurched, and his other hand closed around my bandaged forearm. I settled, breathing hard. 
“I can’t tell you, it will hurt you too much.” 
“Doesn’t matter,” I coughed, but my muscles contracted painfully in contradiction, and I whimpered. 
Quietly, a voice that was not Sam’s spoke, gentle as a cool breeze on my face. 
“But I will show you.”
The ripping started inside me again, fresh and raw and painful. I cried out. Sam held me to him, and it dulled. I felt dizzy with pain. 
“Ready?” he asked, and I nodded against his chest. With both hands, he held my face away from his and leaned his forehead against my clammy brow. The pain spiked for a miserable moment, and then something else filled me. Light. 
I barely noticed Karn anymore. He was being pushed down by the light, farther and farther within me until he was an almost indecipherable speck of blackness. I opened my eyes, but I couldn’t see anything past the shining force that had entered me. I saw the outline of Sam laying me down on my back, then leaning away from me. I watched as the basement ceiling swirled in a glittering haze before me, then disappeared as another scene appeared before me.
“I am Céu. This is my story, as much as it is yours. You will understand everything soon. Stay strong, young one. Everything will be alright soon.”
I felt the spirit of a wolf, Céu, flowing inside me, filling me, and it was peaceful. I could see him. I found his image in my minds eye, his memory of a glimmering reflection on a starlit pond. The still water shone with the reflection of his honey-brown coat, ruffling in a gentle wind, his dark eyes set deep into his majestic face. Sam’s eyes. 
Now I was watching as the white wolf ran beside me through the night, like a flash of silver lightning. My flanks heaved as I ran beside her, trying to keep up. We ran for the sake of running, for the joy of it. She had always been faster than me.
Rune slowed to a bouncing trot, circling around me as I sat. She rubbed her muzzle against mine, directing my gaze to the edge of the forest into the town beyond. 
From their high balcony windows, two children talked. Rune’s glistening fur ruffled as she watched the little girl’s red hair blow around her in the night wind. The little boy laughed, and I started. 
“That’s me and Sam,” I said stupidly, and I felt Céu nod.
The next scene unfolded around me. Rune and I strode side by side into a clearing. Our family, the pack, surrounded us. I felt my own fear, but Céu’s feelings engulfed that. He felt joy at returning to the pack.
The leader stepped forward, nuzzling me and Rune in turn.
“You have good news, I expect,” he barked.
Rune nodded. “We have found our humans.” 
“Good,” the leader wolf barked. The graying fur around his muzzle showed that he was many moons old.
Someone in the pack growled, and a dark grey, feral looking wolf stepped forward. Both Céu and I bristled. I did not need an introduction to recognize this wolf as Karn.
“This is unacceptable,” Karn spat at his leader, defiance emanating from him. The older wolf’s back arched subtly, rising to the challenge.
“Do not address me as you would a pup, Karn. Show the respect you have been taught.”
Rune’s black eyes glimmered. “Step back, brother. This is not your place.”
“I disagree. Everyone in the pack has a right to state their views.” Karn’s tail swished back and forth, challenging. 
Rune advanced infinitesimally. “That is correct, but to act on their views is the job of the appointed Alpha.”
The leader stepped forward, disregarding Karn and speaking to the group. “Our two spirit wolves have been chosen. They will journey out at sunrise to carry out the sacred tradition that ensures our survival. Because of the unity between wolf and human, both of our species may have a divine protection. It is the duty of the pack to send forth the two most worthy among us.”
“It is disgusting!” Karn interrupted. The pack responded with rumbles of disapproval. “The filthy humans do not deserve our protection, and we certainly do not need theirs. These are the slimy creatures that have hunted us for centuries! I will not permit my own sister to take part in this disgrace.”
“Enough!” The leader growled, and the pack shook. Rune spat in the direction of her brother, and a murmur of agreement shivered through the surrounding wolves. Karn snapped behind him, and three pups shot back, yelping. Their mother bared her teeth viciously, but kept quiet. 
The leader turned to Karn. “No more defiance, or I guaranty this will be your final night with the pack.”
Karn’s paw flashed before his leader’s face, and blood droplets fell to the dirt as the old wolf roared in pain and outrage. The Alpha dog snapped at Karn, who danced away, barking a laugh. His threat rose on the wind as he disappeared into the night.
“There’s nothing you can do to me now, old one. I am free of you. I am unstoppable.”
The leader shook his head, blood dripping from his snout. A pup whimpered, pulling close to its mother.
Rune and Céu stepped toward the Alpha, knowing what they had to do. Tenderly, the leader’s strong jaws closed against each of their throats. Their bodies slumped as their spirits were released. Their bodies would be left behind to humbly die, a final sacrifice.
Once again the scene shot ahead, dissolving into light. Céu stood before me. I approached, letting my hands tangle in his long fur. His eyes, the familiar eyes of my best friend, reassured me. 
“Thank you for helping me to understand.” I whispered, but he shook his great head back and forth and spoke within my mind once again.
“There is still some to tell, but it was too painful to relive. I think you might already know what happened.”
I nodded. My body felt heavy and relaxed in this bright, warm place inside my mind. My hands moved up and down across Céu’s back, his warm fur like a soft blanket of comfort. “I think I do know. Karn stole me, didn’t he? That’s why he’s inside me. And Rune is trying to claim me, to kill him, because she is the true other part of me.”
Céu’s head tilted towards me, nudging me gently. “Correct. But Karn never made a mistake, never released his hold on you, and Rune grew weak in her spirit form without a human host. Before she left, she made me promise that I would protect you. She gave a great deal of her remaining strength to me so that I could protect you from any pain Karn might bring you. But now, I fear that he might be stronger than I ever imagined. We must carry out the final plan now.”
A shiver ran through me.  “The final plan?” I whispered. 
Céu stepped back from me. I searched his warm eyes, but I could not warm my soul. I was afraid of what he was about to tell me, afraid of the pain that his big brown eyes held.
“Our final plan to save you and Rune. Sam would sacrifice himself first, to send me into you,”
“NO!” I screamed, jumping back. That couldn’t happen. Did that mean Sam was already gone?”
Céu continued. My head buzzed. I thought I might faint, though I was already unconscious to the real world. “Then we would travel together in wolf form, something Karn could never allow himself to do with you because you were not meant for each other. He would have ripped from you and killed you both, something Rune was counting on. She could have entered you before it was too late.
“We will find Rune. She calls to me, and we will finally go to her. Then it will be time for my sacrifice. I will give Rune my spirit, making her strong. When I leave you, it will make room for Rune to enter. It will be as it should be, and you will both be saved. When I go, I will take Karn with me. It is worth it if I can save Rune’s spirit. It is worth it to Sam if he can save you.”
“No,” I whispered, “No, there has to be another way, a way that we all can live.”
Céu shook his head sadly. “No, I am sorry. This is the only way. If I leave you now, Karn will be too strong for you to survive. You will surely die, and so will Rune.”
“So it’s one or the other. Fine. Let me die. I am sorry that Rune has to die too, but you and Sam must live. You must. Please,” I begged, tears filling my eyes. Sam couldn’t die, and neither could Céu. They had worked so hard to protect me for so long, and all I was causing them was pain. This had to end. 
A meager spark of hope lit inside me when I saw Céu’s eyes brighten. I had no reason to hope, but I had to. 
Céu met my stare evenly. “There is one other way, but it will be incredibly painful for you. I will not let you do it unless you are completely sure you can handle it. I will not loose you.”
His final words reverberated around me, spoken by both Céu and Sam. I was sure, and I had to convince him of that. 
“Tell me,” I said. I tried to sound confident, but my voice broke, betraying me.
Céu began. “If I go back to Sam, you must hold onto me. The pain will be lessened. Do not let go, or you will surely die. We must reach Rune. I regret this already, Enna. The chances you will live are slim.”
“I will live.” I didn’t know where the confidence came from, but I truly believed it. “You will protect me. You and Sam. I will live, because you need me to. If you will protect me, I will do the same for you. I’ll live. Just let me try.”
Céu’s big eyes bored into mine for a long moment, his gaze silently searching, mine pleading. This was a fight that I had to win.
Finally Céu’s eyes closed and he tilted his head to me. “Alright. I hope you are ready. For our sakes, and for Rune’s.”
He left me without warning, and I threw up. Sam’s cool hand was on my cheek, keeping me alive. I was in his arms. He carried me up the stairs, running out the door of his house and into the backyard. I was blinded by excruciating pain. Sam’s house backed onto a large forested area. I held onto him as tightly as I could as he shifted from human to wolf. I rolled impossibly onto his back, my hands tangling in the long fur of Céu’s neck, tightening as another spasm of agony shot through my body. I had never imagined pain like this. It was indescribable, and it was supposedly being lessened. What would the pain be like undiluted? I couldn’t even bear to think about it. I thought I might faint, but I fought the blackness with everything I had, knowing that I could not let go. 
“What’s happening to me?” I sobbed.
Céu’s muscles tensed, breaking his smooth gait for only a moment. I was sent into another spasm of pain. His answering growl sounded inside my mined, sending my heart racing. 
“Karn is desperate. His own life means little to him now. He’s killing you from the inside.”
I pushed my tearstained face deep into Céu’s shaggy fur. The lull in pain was minuscule. I cried out again, and I felt him cringe in pain, a reaction I was sure meant that he feared for Rune as well as me. I knew he was right to fear. 
“I’m sorry,” I sobbed. I couldn’t do this to him, I couldn’t, it wasn’t fair…but I was. I was going to die, and I felt bad for him, not me. I was the one who had convinced him to take this chance. If I had stayed silent, Rune would live, and he could die with pride. Sam could have died with pride. What would happen to him now? Would he be okay? I hoped that he would find it in himself to get along without me, and forget all of this. But after all that had happened, I knew it was more than I could ever forget easily. Along with my regret, I felt an incredible anger at the monster inside me. 
Your own sister, Karn. How could you do this? How could you ruin four people’s lives, one of which is your own blood? Do you really hate us all that much?  Do we deserve this?
That was it. I could feel the flame inside me die as the blackness consumed everything. 
I’m sorry, Céu, I thought from a half state. I’m just so sorry I’m letting you down this way.
Céu roared. I was jolted back into full consciousness, pain stabbing at me from every direction. But I was alive. He wasn’t going to let me give up. 
A weak hiss escaped from my throat. I wanted to say thank you, but I had no strength left to waste with words. I pushed myself closer to him, straining deeper into his warm, flowing gait. 
Something changed, but I was concentrating so hard on keeping myself alive that I didn’t realize at first that we had stopped moving. I opened my eyes, and I saw the wolf from my nightmares. 
Céu whined. Rune had not even realized we were here. Around her crumpled form lay the still bodies of small creatures, each baring small puncture wounds, but there was no sign of their blood around the grassy clearing or on Rune’s muzzle.
“She feeds on their spirits, not their meat,” Céu answered my unasked question. I found that I was in too much torture to care about the animals’ deaths. All I could take in was the bedraggled form of Rune, her fur sticking in dirty clumps, her empty eyes staring at some far off point, unseeing. Her every breath looked labored, her whole body heaving in a worryingly unsteady rhythm. 
Karn’s scream suddenly filled my head, and my hands flew to cover my ears. My whole body shook, and I fell from Céu, losing my grip. I could feel my body writhing on the ground, but only faintly. I was only fleetingly aware of everything outside of the horrible shrieking, and the pain, the pain…
The pain I had felt while flying through the woods was nothing compared to this. 
It must have been only mere seconds that Karn ripped at me mercilessly before Céu was curled into my side, pressing himself against me. The pain subsided, and I gripped his fur, shaking compulsively in aftershock. 
Céu’s voice in my head was full of mourning. “Enna, I’m sorry. I failed. I was wrong. Rune is too weak to enter a human host without enough power to sustain her. You would both die.”
“So come into me, and Sam can sustain Rune,” I wondered that I still had enough control of my body between paroxysms to form words that made sense. 
Céu’s sounded remorseful. “No Enna. Then we would be trapped forever in the wrong bodies, never fitting. It would be just like having Karn inside you. You would be just as you are now.” 
In another spasm of anguish, I tugged myself closer and growled into his fur. “You could never be as bad as Karn. I see no other way.”
His great head came down between his paws, and his eyes closed. He had given up. He hadn’t let me give up. How could he do this? There had to still be a way. We hadn’t gone through all this for nothing. I wasn’t going to let it all end in suffering like this. 
“But…” I grasped at straws. “But you were going to enter me to bring me here-” Still clinging to him, I rolled to the side and coughed up blood, my thought ending abruptly as my body seized. 
“Only to get you here,” he explained tenderly, shifting his body so the pain decreased. “I would have left you, and had Rune been strong enough, she would have claimed you. But we are not meant for each other.” His voice was saturated with defeat. I knew there had to be a way, a way for Céu and Sam to live. If he would just let me die, then they could go on. But he would never do that. He would waste away here beside me, taking my pain and hurting right along with me. But I wanted him to go on so much, I needed it. I wanted Sam and Céu to live more than I wanted anything in the world, more than my own life-
As soon as I heard Rune’s weak voice call to Céu, the pieces fell into place. I prayed that my idea would work. All I needed was for Céu to stay out of the way. There was no possibility that he would understand what I was about to do. But Rune would.
Suddenly I got a glimpse of Sam through the throbbing red haze in my mind. Through the fog, his face was so clear. I remembered the scene so perfectly. It was so pure, unable to be tainted no matter what Karn did. I still had that one, perfect glimpse. In the memory, we had been laughing. Just that thought alone eased a little of my suffering.
“Do you believe in…soul mates?” The recollection of Sam’s awkwardness as he asked that filled me with a longing nostalgia. What if I never saw him again? But I pushed that thought away. I couldn’t think like that. If I gave up like Céu had, we were all doomed. I had to concentrate on pushing forward to save us all.
I now understood where Sam had been headed. It was so obvious now- soul mates. Céu had said that Karn could not live on inside me properly, could not transform while I hosted him, because our souls were not meant for each other. Rune was my true other half- just like the human concept of a soul mate, only in a different context. Even weak as she was, she was my only hope. She had to understand, even if Céu did not.
“Rune,” my voice sounded strained and raspy. Only I heard the purpose there. For a moment I leaned away from Céu. I needed this to be believable. I needed to fool Karn, and to do that I would need to fool Céu. Karn would need to see his reaction so he would make his move. I’m so sorry, Céu, I thought to him once again. I was about to crush his last hopes completely, but it was necessary. I let the excruciating agony flow thick in my voice.
“Rune,” I croaked. “Kill me.”
Céu’s eyes, Sam’s eyes, looked from her to me in horror. Oh God, I thought, I can’t do this. But I had to. Rune stepped forward weakly, and I thought at first that she did not understand. Would she really do it? Would Céu stand in her way? I knew that he wouldn’t. But even if Rune really did kill me, it would be okay. Sam and Céu would go on. 
As she approached me, Karn could not suppress a growl of triumph. It rang in my head. I braced for the end. I would never again see my Sam. That was okay. He would live. He would be okay. This is what I want, I told myself. Karn would be able leave my body, but he would surely die. If Rune could not kill him, Céu surely would. 
But then, as Rune closed her jaws around my neck, I saw my own turquoise eyes reflected in her dark, empty ones, just as I had in a dream; a dream where I had fought Karn. 
“Soul mates,” her voice rang in my head like an inside joke being told between best friends, and in that instant, I knew that she understood. 
Her gentle teeth came down on my throat, feigning lethal power as she carefully broke my skin in a quick movement, making new markings overtop of old scars. I cried out, but the scream of pain was, in a way, my own howl of triumph. Inside me, Karn burst forth a moment too early. I felt his ripping distress and unfathomable anger as he realized that he had been too impatient, leaving my body before it was actually dead. At the same time that I felt my own pain leaving my body with him, I heard his screaming realization that he had been tricked; Rune had never been going to kill me in the first place. Our clever ruse had worked. Karn had finally made his final, fatal mistake.
Slowly my pain trickled out of me through the tender new wounds I wore around my throat. I could feel Karn’s absence acutely. He was not only gone from my body, but gone from this world. He was dead. I sighed in relief as I melted into Céu’s warm side. 
Everything was silent. I almost believed I could just lay here, curled against the great brown wolf, forever resting in oblivion. Then reality called to me, chasing away my peace, bringing back the soreness that remained.
Sam and Rune nuzzled each other intimately, finally reunited. It should have been a beautiful thing to witness, but it somehow looked like a goodbye. I would sure that if wolves could cry, these two would have been. To my horror, I saw Rune’s entire form flicker, as though she was only a beautiful illusion. 
Céu turned pained eyes on me. 
“Enna...” his voice died. I had done everything I could, and it was still not enough. He could not live and be happy if I hosted him. Who knew how long it would take for him to make me strong again, strong enough for him to leave my body? Would it be too long? Would he be trapped, just as Karn had been, inside of me?
“But you can be with Rune now,” I whispered. At least they could be together. At least he could stay with the one he loved. 
“Yes.” His voice was warm, but his hurt showed clear on his face. “Thank you,” he said sincerely. Then he stood on his hind legs and howled to the empty sky. His form shone in the light of the setting sun, and then it was Sam standing over me. I saw a misty form float from him and felt it as Céu came into my body. I should have been happy, but I could feel the subtle ways in which my body rejected him. 
Sam dropped to his knees beside me, looking just as he had when he had carried me out into the yard. It was as if he had just been suspended in time while Céu had taken over. I sat up, still sore, and he hugged me so hard that I noticed for the first time the bruises that covered every inch of my skin that was visible, and probably the rest of it, too. I could feel no further damage though. Pulling away, I nervously prodded at myself. I couldn’t feel any broken parts, at least, just tenderness. I was glad about this; I wondered how I could explain the state my body was in to any doctor. I was sure that Gran would believe me when I told her what had happened. It was such a blessing to be able to be so open with the person I loved most.
When I looked up, Sam was crying. I touched my own face, realizing that I was crying as well. What had I done? Should I have just done as Céu had said in the first place and let him sacrifice himself? No! Besides, I was not strong enough to host Rune and fight for both of our frail lives. We all would have died. Was no one even grateful for my choice?
“I won’t say I’m sorry,” I said harshly, my throat still raw from Karn’s internal assailment. “I’m not sorry I did what I did. There was no way I was letting either one of you go. There was no other choice.” Deal with it, I finished in my mind. Be thankful that we are all alive. 
But his hands were on either side of my face now, and I realized that I had misinterpreted his reaction. He wasn’t angry, he was…happy. Yes, he was happy. Perhaps not at the precise way things had turned out, but he was as happy as I was that we were all alive, no matter what form we took or what bodies in which we resided. 
As he looked into my eyes, I began to wonder if I really hadn’t misunderstood him originally when he had first spoken of soul mates. I stared back at him, my shaking hands finding holds on his strong shoulders, my body sagging into his, letting him support me as I stretched up to his level, watching him lean forward…
“If I may interrupt,” Rune’s silvery voice, still weak, echoed lowly through our minds. I jumped at the image of the flickering wolf. Sam broke away and ran to her, and I heaved a sigh of relief as she flickered out one last time, her lips curled up in what had to be a smile. Her changing form morphed into him. He tensed, feeling the strain of the imperfect fit. I was still aware of how Céu folded slightly uncomfortably under my skin. But it was better than Karn. It was worse for Sam, who had only known a feeling of wholeness all his life. Now he must feel as defective as I had felt for as long as I could remember.
“I’m sorry, Sam.” I said, but when he turned to me he was grinning. He was at my side in an instant.
“Never, never say that!” he all but shouted at me, hugging me to his side again. My bruised skin protested, but I did not. I smiled, letting tears of relief, exhaustion and pure bliss flow. It was a bittersweet moment for all four of us. Somewhere in the turmoil of my mind, I wondered abstractly if I would ever be able to think of it as ‘the two of us’ instead of ‘the four of us’. Would it have been different if we had been partnered up properly, each wolf residing in their correct body? But that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that everything was going to be alright now. Sam wasn’t bitter in the least; he was happy. Happy to be with me.
Very close under the surface, the wolves were awake within both of us, together again. Céu’s passion burned in me so close under the surface that it prickled my bruised skin where Sam touched me.
The absolute silence of the nighttime forest contrasted with the singing inside me; my ragged breathing, my beating heart, the blood pounding through my veins. I was so overwhelmed by it that I just let myself be left behind in the swells of emotion. The silent simplicity itself was like a harmony playing underneath the music within me. Sam held me, and I could feel Rune within him, reaching for her Céu, needing to be with him. I held Sam closer, knowing this was how it was meant to be between us, how it had always been meant to be. The quiet world moved in slow motion around us. I felt the double surge of love again; mine and Céu’s, pulsing through me to Sam. I was so full; I surely couldn’t contain all of this. The tears that were still flowing were not enough to let it all out. 
And then the space between our lips was none as our bodies relaxed into each other, celebrating our victory in one final swell of pleasure that was so strong it was almost painful. Life flickered all around us in the dark clearing. Overpowering beauty. Lingering pain. Raw passion. Pressing exhaustion. Sweet fulfillment. Breathtaking ecstasy. Consuming warmth. Resounding affirmation. 
Absolute happiness. 
Something inside me climbed, roaring with life, never wanting to stop. It moved within me, stirring, shifting, flying, soaring! Howling, howling with rapture, Céu burst forth into the fresh new night, and Rune followed, entering into her rightful body. My tears suddenly ceased as Rune curled into my awareness, automatically a comfortable, natural part of who I was. 
I thought this would have been enough to send my teetering consciousness too far over the edge. I relaxed into the rough grass of the forest clearing, but I felt as strong and awake as ever. I was still aware of an exultant howling filling me, but now it belonged to Rune, my true other half.
I looked at Sam with wide eyes. His expression was one of shocked, euphoric disbelief. 
“I thought…we were too weak to…” I broke off. I understood, deep inside me. Our joy, our realization that everything could be okay, had given us all enough strength to go on and make things right. This night, we had forced ourselves on perfection, and there had been no choice but for it to comply. 
Rune’s howling became louder, filling my head, my body, my soul, so strong that I knew I could no longer contain it. It should not be contained. It needed to be free, pure and full of feeling, out of me and into the night air. It was a symphony of brilliance that would not, could not, go unheard. 
It didn’t matter that it was my first time, or that I didn’t know how. It also didn’t matter that I was bruised and battered and broken, or that I should have been exhausted. Without a thought or conscious decision, I slipped into wolf form and became Rune.
And oh! The joy of singing into the night! I felt an incredible sense of release as I let go of all my suppressed emotion through glorious sound. But the song was nothing without the dance. My body was screaming, needing an outlet for the rush. 
And so I ran, and Céu ran with me. From within me, Enna reached for Sam, and their spirits wheeled and plummeted in a midnight waltz in remembrance of what had been gained tonight. I hadn’t run in so long. I howled with uncontained delight and pushed my muscles on harder than ever, shooting forward into the dark trees. I lost Céu behind me, but I knew he was always close behind. I barked a wolfish laugh, and I could feel Enna laughing with me. 
After all, I always had been faster than him. 


© 2009 Pixie Meat

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Wow....amazing write. Seriously creative and beautiful. I am very impressed at the way in which you left me feeling compelled to read the whole story. Keep up the awesome work, my friend. ;-)

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Added on October 14, 2009


Pixie Meat
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