Of Wolf and Man

"One last, grand, forest still stands tall, just waiting to be explored. Stretching farther than any landmass known to man, and nurturing an uncountable amount of creatures. These denizens of the forest, the ones hidden from humanity, rage their own war within, praying that they don’t disappear into the myths. But of course one group only wishes the past to stay in its place, to be forever forgotten- to be forever, extinct…"

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5. Chapter 4.

Chapter 4,

 

 

 

            Birds scattered around in panic when Naomi trudged her way through the forest, disturbing the tranquility. She took a moment to take her breath and thought of how hard it’s going to be to find Shiro. But she continued her aimless wander around despite realizing that finding a pure-white wolf in a snow glazed forest will be near impossible. As she walked around, though, something got caught in her glimpse.

            Naomi’s heart rate rose as she saw two men talking to each other, but it was hard to see them because of the wall of trees that separated her from them. She moved closer to get a better view, and in a second she captured their image; one was taller than the other, but only by a few inches. His hair was shaggy but still had a motion to it, and was dark brown. The other had shaggy hair as well, but was a bit wilder. His hair was as white as Shiro’s fur. Within the next second they were gone, and Naomi didn’t have time to make out the rest of their features.

            In place of the men standing there was two wolfs staring at Naomi intently. One was Shiro, without a doubt, but the other one was one that she has never seen before. He was dark brown and resembled a normal timber wolf, but his eyes were more of a distinctive quality. They were dark yellow like the harvest moon, and looked so innocent.

            There was an awkward aura as Naomi simply stood there in front of the two, unknowing of what to say. “Um, Hello…” Her voice broke as she tried to greet the other wolf. The brown wolf continued his dead stare at her, not even making the slightest hesitation. Shiro’s gaze was more relax, but he too didn’t move his stare.

            “I’m Naomi, uhm, nice to meet you-I, um, think?” There are so many different emotions playing through Naomi’s head. She partly felt stupid to greeting an animal, but part of her has gotten used to it. Maybe she should be inviting to this other wolf? It has to be Shiro’s friend otherwise he would have attacked him. If only something would break this odd tension. “Would you like to write your name is a creative way like Shiro did?” Naomi forced a chuckle after speaking.

            This brown wolf showed no signs of letting up, but Naomi was fed up with this dull game of chicken that was only being played by the wolf. She made a single step forward, and with that the wolf flinched back slightly. That sign of tension and fear caused Naomi to take her step back. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

            The wolf gnarled at her apology, and turned his head away from her in a cocky notion. Naomi didn’t know what to take from that, so she looked over to Shiro for some help. But he was lying calmly on his belly, looking bored from this scenario. A yawn came out, and Shiro looked up to the brown wolf. The wolf returned the look and without any indication, he ran off into the forest, leaving the awkward feeling behind.

            “I’m so tired of random things happening.” Naomi vented outwards, letting it be followed by a huge sigh. “So what now, Shiro? Do you mind explaining that or are you going to stick to the silent treatment?”

Shiro responded with his normal look, but then stood up and made his way back to their camp.

            Naomi followed behind with her shoulders slumped down, “That’s what I thought. You know how hard it is to have a conversation with animals- It’s pretty hard. And not to mention animals with rude manners. If this is how it’s going to continue to be-you know, just me trying to make small talk with the woodland creatures- then I’m just going to keep my mouth shut and stare blankly.”

            They both arrived at the camp, and returned to where they were sitting beforehand. Naomi looked trapped within her head, while Shiro continued to eat the fish that was left over. A little time passed of silence, “Shiro?” Naomi spoke softly and blunt. Shiro looked up at her.

            “I saw two guys standing right where you and that brown wolf were, moments before we had our stare-off…and one of those guys had hair just like your coat.” Naomi’s expression begged for answers.

            Shiro’s answers still remained as cold as the forest, but his eyes seemed like they wanted to tell more.

            She was expecting that kind of reply, but she continued with inquiries anyways, “This whole time I was convinced you were an anomaly, and were some kind of hyper intelligent wolf, but now there is that other wolf. Does that mean there are even more of you?”

            There was better luck to be had asking the lightly lit fire, that was on the verge of extinguishing; at least the fire made a crackle now and then.

            “If there is, then how many, and how long have you been around? And back to my other question, who were those men that were in yours and that wolfs place? Did they run of faster than I can blink, or was that you?”

            Uneasiness bothered Shiro and couldn’t even bother making eye contact with Naomi.

            Maybe she was hoping for answers, or she just had to speak her mind, but Naomi continued asking, “Shiro, are you human? Are you a wolf? Please tell me…”

            In his usual way, Shiro stood up looking at Naomi for a moment. His blood filled eyes were alluring, and enticed Naomi to follow him as he walked off into the eastern side of the forest. There were no words said for the entirety of the trek, but Naomi could feel it deep inside that Shiro was about to finally answer her. It was weird to her that Shiro could just walk through here like every tree was familiar, and never second guessed himself as to where to go.

            It took about twenty minutes for their walk to end, but near the end, even Naomi was starting to recognize the area around them. “S-Shiro…” Naomi tried to speak but old decrepit memories were trying to be remembered. They arrived back at the lonely watering hole with the single tree stump, being overlooked by the bolder that is merged with a hill. This is where she first truly encountered Shiro the other day, but why would he want to show her this place again.

            Shiro walked up the hill, and sat stoic like he did before, staring down at Naomi. The past seemed to still be banging on the back Naomi’s head, so she sat down on the stump trying to put everything together. She looked up and deep into Shiro’s eyes, feeling the power he had, but also the compassion. Shiro turned his to the left, as if he was looking at something, and Naomi followed his lead.

            But as she turned her head, the snow had melted in seconds; the trees bloomed with prosperity, and the cold air was replaced by warm and fresh air that caressed Naomi all around. The birds flew overhead and nestled into their nests built all around, enjoying their time before they had to make their journey south.

            Two small voices could be heard coming this way, and Naomi looked desperate to see who it was. A small face popped around a tree looking fragile and innocent. His eyes gleamed red, but they were still inviting. His short white hair looked poorly cut, as his clothes looked crudely made. Even his sandals were hand crafted. You could tell that none of that mattered to the boy, because he still had his best friend clingy to his little hand, and that’s all he needed. And all she needed was for him to lead the way.

            The other pure face poked her head from behind the boy, and looked excited to see where their adventure would take them. One pigtail on the side of the little girl’s head was waving about as they ran forward, while her blue summer dress flourished underneath her.

            The two children, hand in hand, ran to the small watering hole in front of Naomi. The boy spoke with his tiny voice, “Look, this is what I wanted to show you so badly!” He smiled at the girl revealing one of his missing canines.

            The girl put her hands on her hips looking at bit upset, “This doesn’t seem so special to me.”

            A hurt expression fell over the boy’s face, “It’s not just the water, but the whole thing! I mean look at it! It’s so cool! There’s a place to sit, and swim, and even a place to jump off of!” He tried his best to convince her.

            “I can’t swim! I don’t even have my bathing suit…”

            “Just take off your clothes, that’s what I do!” The boy spoke out, not realizing the implication of he has said. He took off his shirt and scurried up the hill like a dog.

            The girl looked flustered and angry, “Ladies can’t just do that! Dummy!”

            “Why?” The boy innocently looked dumbfounded.

            “Never mind…I’ll just dip my feet in…” She gave up, assuming there was no way to get it through his head.

            “Fine, but will you at least watch me dive in, Naomi?” The boy showed of his missing canine again.

            “Of course, Shiro!” The girl said as she hopped on the tree stump, taking Naomi’s place there. Naomi undid her shoes and placed them into the water.

            Shiro looked down at Naomi, “Alright, you ready?”

            Naomi nodded with a pleasant smile, but as the boy jumped he faded away, along with the leaves and birds. The orange and green faded to white, as did Naomi’s memories. She looked down to see her feet weren’t in the pond anymore; instead there were two snow boots. The distance between Naomi’s feet and the pond actually grew, just like her legs. Even if she stretched her legs she couldn’t reach the pond from the stump.

            “The pond got a lot shallower, and changed with time, as did a lot of things.” A youthful voice spoke out, but sounded hurt from the passage of time. Naomi’s eyes widen to their full extent and flung her head up. “S-Shiro.” Naomi gasped and couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

            There he sat, looking down at the pond melancholic; his hair white as his surroundings and eyes red as blood. His face looked young and soulful, but also looked as though it held a lot of sorrow. The attire of this boy seemed unusually normal, with black jeans and a short, black jacket with a white shirt underneath. The jacket had weird white patterns on the shoulders, being the only thing really distinguishable about his clothing.

            “I remember…” The powerful force of memories exploded within Naomi and she looked at him with shock and disbelief, “…I forgot. How could I forget? Shiro…We would always play together…I remember my mom would get mad because I would stay out so long and come home covered in dirt.” She laughed a bit, but more and more memories came back not letting up, and that laugh quickly turned to tears.

            Shiro noticed and fled down the hill as fast as he could run, ending up next to her side. “Naomi, I’m-”

            “Shiro…you never came back like you promised. When those men came and started to attack the other wolves that were like you, you told me you would be back. But you left me, and never came back! Why did you have to leave me?” Naomi rammed her head into Shiro’s shoulder, and started to let out old tears and even new ones, “After you left me, my father passed away leaving me so empty…why?!” Her muffled words could barely be heard.

            “I don’t know what to say…but I’m sorry. And I came back, it just took some time.” Shiro caressed her back.

            Naomi pulled her head away and looked at him with her own red eyes and a stuffy nose. She pulled her hand back and gave Shiro a light punch to his arm. He flinched, “Ow, that-“

            “And why did you take so long to remind me?! Why couldn’t you just tell me?” If there was ever a time Naomi felt so lost and in a weird limbo state, it would be now. So much new and old information is being thrown at her, and in the pass she would take her time to figure it all out, but now there isn’t even time to question before something new appears before her.  

            “A lot of reasons, and I’m still not convinced that I should have reminded you…” And it seems there is still even more to learn, and as Shiro’s eyes looked both hurt and scared, he pulled away from Naomi and held her shoulders, “Listen. Bad things are coming to this town again, and I wanted to keep it from you- unlike before…but now it’s time you got a full explanation.”

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