She was perfect.
A red hood covered all of her features but her scent was intoxicating. I stood downwind as I trailed her, letting her sweet scent fill my nostrils. She made the same walk every week and each Friday I followed her through the woods, keeping her as safe as I could without revealing myself. Her swishing red cloak covered everything so that not even a wisp of hair could be seen. But that didn't matter. I knew I would love her regardless of beauty or status.
I walked behind her, keeping myself hidden in the undergrowth and behind trees, making sure that she never caught sight of me. We continued that way for hours, like we always did. Just as we reached the clearing where the hooded girl stopped for lunch I smelled something.
On the other side of the clearing that my Lady sat in, a pair of glowing eyes stared at her from the undergrowth. She was facing the other way and could not see his scarlet eyes as they crept forward, the light revealing the brown fur surrounding them. Slowly the wild dog that had been hiding in the bushes crept out and crouched low, ready to pounce. This was no time for dallying.
Bursting out of my own hiding place, I made as much sound as I could, drawing both their attentions. My Lady screamed and backed away from me, towards the mutt behind her. I saw him about to lunge at her, taking my distraction as a sign of alliance. Oh how wrong he was. I ran at him, skirting around her hooded figure and lunged at the dog who dared try to hurt her. He wasn't much of a fighter and I ripped his throat out in seconds. I turned back towards the hooded girl, blood dripping from my jaws as I watched her back away in fear. She tripped and the hood which had hidden her form from me for so long fell backwards.
Her hair was golden and her skin porcelain. A red dress hugged her curves and her skirts lifted to her milky thighs. She shuffled backwards on the ground, staining her hands with dirt. She hit her back on a tree and looked around wildly, as if realizing that she had nowhere left to run and was going to die. Finally my Lady lifted her head and looked straight at me. Her eyes a blazing ocean green that held a sea of fear and regret.
In her eyes I saw myself. Gleaming talons, golden eyes set into the deepest black fur. Ivory fangs dripping with blood. I licked them clean with my tongue, my reflection copying my actions. In her eyes tainted with fear, I remembered who I had become.
This was no place for me. Turning around I walked back into the bushes, looking at her once more before disappearing. At least she was safe.
I howled to alert her guard and waited just outside her clearing for the cavalry to arrive. One of the younger ones saw me once they had secured m Lady and shot my side before I even had the time to register his drawn bow.
This was good. It was all okay. After all, she was safe and nothing else mattered.
I heard fast footsteps behind me and loud gasps. Her sweet voice crying and the commanding voices of the guard. She pulled and struggled with her ever impatient guards before breaking free.
She didn't want to see me but that was okay. Her safety is all that mattered.
Suddenly, there she was, in all her blurred glory. She stroked my muzzle and cried, apologizing over and over and over. This would never do. She had to be okay. So with the last of my energy I licked her palm and nuzzled her hand. She stopped her crying and gave me a watery smile.
My vision darkened and she was no more.
"My name is Claire. Thank you for saving me."
Claire, I finally know your name.