‘Why is it going to rain tonight on such an honorable night?’ I wondered. I ran into the shrubbery that surrounded my village only to be welcomed by screams and weapons clashing. I broke into the edge of my village when my mother grabbed me and flung me back into the shrubbery.
“Run Sia! It is an ambush!” my mama screamed.
Noises pierced my ears and then silence came over them. My eyes grew large as I looked over what was always a peaceful village. My uncle stood in front of my aunt baring his fangs as a man ran at him with a knife.
A fight broke out and then like a beautiful butterfly my uncle was cut down. An arrow then shot my aunt and she slumped backward, only to fall onto my uncle’s dead figure. My eyes grew wider as I stared at all the blood on the ground; my eyes eventually resting on a body. The majority of them belonged to my pack—the rest of them foreigners.
“Run!” Mama cried out to me once again, shaking me back and forth, trying to wake me from my numbness. Her eyes froze and rested on me as a smile came over her lips. A man stood behind her, retrieving his blade from her back. She coughed blood on my face and continued to smile at me. A comforting smile. Because of that smile I was able to hear again—to see properly again.
‘I must run…’ I thought, ‘listen to Mama’s words.’
Slowly the blade came out of her back, and her grip loosened from my arms. She slumped into the ground in front of me.
‘Run,’ my mind screamed.
I scrambled my feet beneath me. I began running the other way as a weapon scratched at my arm and made me yelp in pain. I ran as fast as I could. Running. Just running. ’Just run.’
I fell into a hard log that came out of nowhere and rolled down a hill with it until I was thrown onto the flat shrubbery. My eyes found Keeley’s. Her blue eyes stared back at me.
“I am sorry. I know you told me to not come to your land but I found many scents and I had a bad feeling. And…” Her eyes widened as she saw the blood drip down from my shoulder. Instantly I began to cry.
Her comforting touch only made me feel like a coward. Her blue eyes brought flashes of my little brother and sister to mind. ‘How could I have forgotten them? I must save them.’ I ran back towards the village on adrenaline, Keeley following me even though she wasn’t the fastest; she now kept at my pace at a struggle.
‘My little brother and sister… I must save them.’
The screaming began to burn my ears once more as we burst out into the blood-bath that was once my home. My family. My pack. I ran as fast as I could, avoiding everything and focusing only on one thing: my hut.
I burst through the fur that flapped on the hinges of the door in the stormy night. I went to our rooms quickly, only to drop onto my knees at the sight I stumbled upon.
I began to wail as Keeley dropped to my side, mirroring my grief. My kin brother and sister. My little baby sister. My little baby brother. They both lay on the ground as the floor slowly absorbed their blood into the dirt. Their throats bled out.
I screamed at myself, cursing my lateness. I began to scratch at my arms and pull at my hair as all I could do was scream and cry. Keeley’s hand crushed down on mine as she reminded me she was still here. She pulled at my hands every time I would try to scratch myself again and again.
A twig was broken behind us, reminding us that we were not alone, and a woman now hovered at the door with a weapon in her hand.
Keeley was ripped away from me in a blur as I turned, all I could see was a smudge of silver and then I leapt for it. I knocked the knife out of the woman’s hand and began to beat and claw at anything I could on the murderous being. ‘Was it you who killed my little brother and sister?’
“You can’t have her too!” I screamed as my hand now hovered shakily over the handle of a knife. The woman spluttered a few final breaths and then slumped to the floor. I wiped away my tears, erasing the blurred vision I had.
‘I have just killed someone. I am a murderer’. My eyes franticly shook back and forth over her dead body. ‘Was she the one who killed my little brother and sister?’
Keeley grabbed my hand and began to run out the door, but my slow legs buckled beneath me. She slapped me across the face and grabbed my chin, forcing me to look at her. “I thank you, dear Sia, for saving me. But now we must run.”
It was the strongest I had ever seen Keeley as her blue eyes shined darkly over me. I nodded numbly. And then, like she asked, I rose to my feet and we fled from the hut.
We burst out into the bloodied scene once again. Rain had begun to pour and thunder and lightning shook the ground and lit the sky. The flashes illuminated the bloodied smiles as it streaked across the shadowed figures of the foreigners. And of my pack. They were on the floor. Massacred.
“Papa!” I screamed as I saw him struggling in the center with another two men as they tried bringing their blades down on him. His long, thick red tail was streaked with a much darker red. I gasped as he lifted his face so that his eyes met mine. He had many cuts and his eye bled out. I could see his strong face as he gathered more strength after seeing me. Papa’s sword knocked one of the attackers and then stabbed into him, as the other foreigner took advantage and brought his knife down on Papa’s shoulder. Papa quickly sliced the foreigner’s stomach with his sword and watched him fall.
“Sia!” Keeley pulled me away as a man began to run at us and then an arrow was shot. My eyes froze wide as Papa stood in front of us, taking an arrow to the stomach that was aimed at my head. He then began fighting off the new attacker who directed his attention to us. My papa turned his head to look down at my shaking and bloodied figure. He smiled. Something I have never seen him do toward me for a very long time. Since I was a child, he had not smiled at me like that.
“Run, my Sia,” he gently said, before turning on us to continue fighting our attacker. With no further hesitation, Keeley grabbed my hand and dragged my numb figure across the village and back into the bushes. We ran for a few minutes when another arrow shot at us.
‘Why are they hunting us? Why have they killed my family? But we were the strongest— how can my pack have fallen? We are warriors. I must fight to survive and protect Keeley.’
I grabbed Keeley’s wrist, finding the strength I needed to do what I was always trained to do. ‘I must fight and protect my kin.’
We ran towards our small hiding place. As soon as we came upon the little log, I threw her in there and gestured for her to be quiet. When we were little children, we could both fit inside, and we would always hide in there when my pack picked up on Keeley’s unfamiliar scent and began to hunt for her. The moss on the log smoldered our scents so in truth we could never be found. But as age altered us physically, only one of us could now fit in the small hole. And it was now my turn to protect her.
She looked back at me searchingly, before her eyes blurred with understanding. Only one of us could fit.
“My kin,” I whispered.
I put my finger to my lips for her to be quiet. Two men came to my side, surrounding me. One leapt for me as I punched him in the shin and then in the throat. The second wolf caught me off guard, grabbing me from behind and locking my hands behind my head. As the other wolf approached me again, I kicked him down again. He lunged at me, punching me in the face and creating a disorienting ring in my ear. I couldn’t even move my body to my will as it created such a distraction in my mind. They dragged me by my hair and I was pulled away. I tried thrashing, pulling at my ears at the pain they were inflicting and yet my body didn’t respond with the strength it usually did.
I stopped looking back at Keeley, who cried in the small log that only I could see. And I smiled—for comfort.
I was dragged into my village and forced to my knees in the center. I was soaked by the rain, it was on my red hair and fur, but I was covered in blood at my knees. I searched over the dead bodies of my pack, somehow finding no emotion. Just numbness. I looked over my papa who lay dead in the same spot where I had last saw him and then at my mama. I looked over all my cousins, elders, uncles and aunts. All those that were dear to me, now circled me with death.
“Sia,” his voice struck me. I couldn’t help but freeze as if a snake had bitten me. “Look at me.” My head was tilted to see Thomas’s blue eyes flash a light blue as lightening hit the sky.
“I...” My eyes widened as I narrowed down on the sting of betrayal. Thomas waved a knife as he walked toward me. I looked at him, unmoving, in shock at why he would do this. He drove the knife deep into me. The boy who was not much older than I was—the boy who had claimed to love me—grasped around the handle of the blade that now rested in my stomach. He pushed his lips onto mine, kissing me savagely, and then ruffled the hair on top of my head. I spat out the disgusting sting of his venom-like kiss from my lips, still stunned at what was happening.
“I... I…” he taunted. “You never understood. Stupid girl.”
Thomas smiled and then ruthlessly clutched the back of my hair. He dragged me to a standing position where he could look down on me once more. I struggled to stare into his face as my vision flickered back and forth. This was not the look of love.
“This I wanted to do myself.”
He retracted the blade slowly from my stomach as I whimpered quietly to myself, trying not to give him the satisfaction he desired.
“It could have been anyone I cursed. But you just made it too easy. You should have listened to your ‘dear papa’ and not have been so curious about human life. If not you, it would have been anyone else. You just made it easy.”
He pulled on my hair once more and threw me into the mud. I slid across the blood of my pack. I whimpered to myself as I felt my spirit leave my body, and I cried aloud for the betrayal I had witnessed, and for my stupidity. My pack was now gone.
‘I can now only pray they will accept me into the afterlife.’
And that is exactly what I did, pray, until blackness found its grasp on me. And nothing but death became my entirety.
In truth, one might state that in this world we search for love.
But in the start of all we find a friend.
In this lifetime we meet many and claim many to be close.
And in the end of this, no matter whom it might be, a friend will always be a memory of our love.
Dedicated to whomever it is you find to be your kin—
Protection is the key. And in this tiny body of a friend, you will protect this love you share.
Protect thy love.
And in return, you will always be healed.
For you: be the protector; let them be the healer.
This gift can only be shared with one.
And let that be of your kin.