Crimson and Wolf
Gilbert looked down at Elizabeta, "just how much sadness are you hiding? Just how many thoughts are you locking up in your heart?"
Elizabeta glared up at Gilbert. She felt her cheeks get hot but hoped it didn't show. Ever since she set eyes on the book, she forever after believed that betrayal tasted like something that you had to swallow many times until it goes down. Even then, it left a bitter taste in her mouth.
Elizabeta turned her sliver eyes away from his red ones. "I think that you lost the right to know what I am thinking when you agreed to play your part..."
To me the woods have always felt like a living, breathing creature. At times, it would be like your mother shielding you from the horrors of the outside world and at the same time teach you more about the darkness of life then you ever thought possible.
I had never known my parents. All I really remember about them is a smile here and there and the same warm feeling that I get when I fall asleep in a tree. When I was a small child, I would pretend that the trees held my parents souls and they were always watching over me. During the long dark nights when I could hear wolves under my tree, I would think of this little fantasy and talk to my 'tree parents'. It was a comforting thought that I found myself using whenever I felt alone.
However, I wasn't alone in the woods for very long. It had been another long night with no food and wolves knocking at my door. I was weak, hungry and tired so I was just asking to be attacked when I climbed out of my tree to look for food. The moment I put one foot on the ground there was a low growling. Without another thought, I ran for it.
I could feel the wolf's hot breath on my heels as my entire body was lashed by tree branches. I ran for what seemed like hours in my weakened state until my body decided to collapse. Surprisingly, I was not scared. It was like I had accepted my death... when it didn't come.
Slowly I looked up and almost passed out.
The wolf's face was just inches from mine. Its hot sticky breath blew over my face. It s musty smelling black fur seemed like smoke. I was so scared and tired that I couldn't even scream for help. Not that I believed that I would get it. I had never seen another human in the woods.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
"So this is how it ends..." I thought.
My body tensed waiting for the pain of being ripped to shreds when I heard a laugh.
"You don't have to be so frightened kid. It's not like we're going to eat you!"
Hearing the mocking voice made my eyes snap open and glare at the owner of the voice. He had dark brown hair that looked like he had tried to neatly style it, but just caused it to stick out at different angles. His glasses seemed too big for his face because he constantly had to push them up the bridge of his nose. He had a dark green tunic and brown pants with a cloak that seemed to swallow him whole. He looked like a little kid playing dress up in his father's clothes.
"Do not be unkind Roderich. This boy must have been through some troubling times."
My head snapped to the man that I hadn't noticed before standing over the wolf's body, cleaning the blood off his sword. His blond hair trailed down his back like a golden waterfall. Looking closer I saw that muscles rippled underneath his shirt. His cloak was the same as Roderich's but his seemed to accent his muscles instead. Compared to Roderich, this man looked like a god in comparison. The man walked up to me and helped me to my feet.
"My name is Folkert Beilschmidt. That boy over there as you may have guessed is Roderich. What shall we call you?" Folkert asked.
I looked at my feet in shame. I had never known my name and I haven't really thought about it. When you live alone, with only the trees as company you don't really think that a name is important.
"I don't have one." I muttered.
The man just gave a small smile. The smile seemed sad but kind as well. A blurry image of my parents smiling down at me sparked in my memory and I knew that I could trust this man.
"Well how about we call you Gilbert?" Folkert asked.
I smiled back at him. "That would be awesome!"
We walked through the woods in comfortable silence. Well, as comfortable as it could get when I felt Roderich's glare burning a hole through my back. I looked behind me and saw him quickly look away at Folkert.
"Why are we bringing him? Don't we have enough mouths to feed as it is?" Roderich snapped.
Folkert stopped walking to glare at Roderich. "Do you remember being hungry and alone in these woods? Because I do and I don't want anyone to feel that way if I am able to help them." Without another word, Folkert turned and started walking again. "Now be quiet or you will scare away all the animals and we wont get any supper."
Roderich grumbled about going to look at the traps that he had set and walked off in the opposite direction.
When he was gone, I caught up to Folkert. "If it is too much trouble then I don't have to come with you. I will be fine on my own."
Folkert smirked. "Says the boy that was almost killed by a wolf."
I could feel my face heating up and hoped it didn't show. "That was just one time! A stupid mistake!"
"And that stupid mistake could have cost you your life."
We walked in silence for a few minutes while Folkert took down three rabbits with an arrow.
When he finally spoke, his voice was gentle. "I used to be like you. I thought I was invincible...that nothing could hurt me." He paused and looked me straight in the eye. A pained look breaking through his cold exterior. "That's what got my best friend killed."
I couldn't look away from his eyes. They were so blue and so full of sadness and regret that I thought that I would be swallowed up by them. Folkert started walking again without looking back to see if I was following.
"I had almost given up on life. I kept replaying that day in my head over and over. If I had done things differently, would Julius still be alive. That is when I found Roderich. He was about six years old at the time and just wandering the woods by himself. I guess I saw this as my opportunity to make things right."
I didn't know what to say so I stayed silent. We walked for another few minutes until we reached a clearing. A small house stood in the middle. It looked run down but at the same time, it seemed like a safe haven. I looked up at Folkert who smiled down at me.
"Welcome home Gilbert."