“You’re going?” I looked at Bill in disbelief. He couldn’t go.
“You can’t”, I said, blunt with surprise.
He sighed. His whole attitude said, “This is harder than I thought”
” ‘Tia, the army needs me. I have to go. And it won’t be long, not longer than a year, I promise.”
I couldn’t see him through the tears that were steadily flowing, blurring my vision, but I could tell from his tone of voice he was giving me his I-wish-you’d-be sensible look. I felt stubborn. I didn’t want to be sensible. I wanted to be selfish and make him stay. ” ‘Tia, please. . .” I stood, having had enough.
Bill’s voice followed me as I ran out of the house and down the path to the woods.
” Cottia. . .”
The stormy winter sky disappeared as the comforting darkness of Wolf Wood embraced me. I ran on, not knowing where I was going, and not really caring. Forgetting everything, forgetting even that the very wood where I was now running had gotten it’s name from wolves that had roamed free no more that ten years ago, remembering only that Bill was going away. I stopped short. What if he never came back? I hated myself for thinking it.
I looked around to see where I was. Old instinct had led me to the little clearing where Bill and I had played as children. I sat down, my eyes filling, as pictures from the past flashed through my mind. How alone I’d felt when I first arrived in the small town of Wallington nine years ago, a small, scared eight year old girl with dirty blonde hair and sad brown eyes. Bill’s smile when he asked me if I wanted to be friends. The very clearing I was now sitting in where we had reigned as king and queen. And now he was going. I stared at the little patch of sky that the dense green leaves did not cover as I cried as if my heart would break. At last the peaceful unconsciousness that was sleep took me.
I was in a field of red poppies, and Bill was lying on the ground beside me, dried blood in a crust on his forehead, his face ashen, his eyes unmoving. I touched his hand. It was ice cold. Then the terrible realization hit me. Bill was dead. My heart felt like every drop of life was being squeezed from it, and there was a terrible weight on my chest. . .
I awoke. It wasn’t a dream. There was a terrible weight on my chest. My eyes flew open, and I stared straight into the golden-yellow eyes of a wolf.
I could have screamed, but I didn’t. I could have fought, but I didn’t. I just lay there and let it happen, watching the winter-white sky go grey above me. One wolf prodded his nose into my hand and against my cheek, casting a shadow along my face. His yellow eyes looked into mine as the other wolves moved me this way and that. . . by Danielle Bester