Long, long ago, a great depression settled over the land. Word spread that the lands were drying up and crops were dying. An end was near and no one would survive. The people were becoming anxious and scared causing tension amongst themselves.
During this time, a man wandered from town to town. He was not human as he had a tail like a wolf and eyes like glass. His eyes were so clear people claimed to be able to see their future if given the chance to look into them.
He was a quiet soul, barely speaking unless spoken too. It was said that he brought good luck to the places he visited. By the time he’d depart, the water would return and crops would grow producing more than they ever had. The vegetation would be greener, the people happier.
Once word spread of this miracle man, he was welcomed with opened arms to the places he visited. So happy were the people to see him that they showered him with beautiful gifts and delicious foods. The villagers were afraid that if they made him unhappy, their town would surely die. But he was a humble man, and he would always respectfully turn down the offerings. And as soon as he had arrived, he would leave, and the village would flourish.
I had heard of these stories as a girl and dreamed of a day that I may be able to meet this miracle man. Never had I imagined the circumstances that would come with his arrival.
A man wearing a mask had appeared in the village one day. The mask looked like that of a bird, the beak long and narrow with the stems of flowers poking out the seams. He sat in the center of the town, his long black coat drawn up over the back of his head. Like a vulture, he waited.
Not long after his presence, came a horrible cloud of darkness. Crops began wilting, animals were becoming ill, and many found dead. The villagers suddenly started to become ill soon after. People feared he was the source of the illness. Many begged him to leave, others used threats.
The man would not move.
Then one day, a villager fell dead outside his home. The masked man stood up, the first movement he had made in days, and walked over to the dead man. He knelt, resting a hand on his back with his head bowed. Then in a fluid motion, he lifted the man and carried him back to where he had been sitting. He laid the man down and sat next to him. Not long later, a woman fell dead, and he did the same with her. Soon, he sat next to a pile of bodies. Friends, family, all in a heap next to the bird-faced man. Everyone began locking themselves in their houses, closing their shutters tightly.
Finally, someone spoke to him, “Why are you here?”
I peeked out the window, noticing many others had begun to as well. He was just as described, his eyes the purest blue I had ever seen.
“Why are you here?” He repeated, more forcefully this time.
The masked man stood, his body stretching towards the clouded sun, his voice coming out muffled, “For you,” He pointed with long gnarly fingers then slowly turned his finger towards my window, “And her.”
Suddenly the shadows began to seep out into the road, surrounding the masked man. Demons climbed up from them, their eyes empty and soulless. The man from the legends fell forward, transforming into a black wolf before his hands even hit the ground. He fought every single one, sending them back to the shadows they had come from.
The masked man grew larger, his limbs whipping out like vines towards the wolf. In retaliation, the wolf snarled and bit attacking the masked man violently. During his distraction, a demon appeared in front of me. It opened its mouth drooling out ink like saliva from its gaping maw. Before I could react, the wolf had its jaws wrapped around the demon’s throat, crushing it in one swift bite. The familiar blue eyes locked with mine, and I knew that my life was about to drastically change.
For over a year we traveled together so he could protect me. I want to desperately say that we had become close friends, but that wasn’t so. He had a wall built up so high around him that I just couldn’t climb over it. Something terrible had happened to him. Something so awful that even those who seemed like close friends to him were kept at a distance. While he wore a mask and carefully guarded his emotions and thoughts, it was their faces that betrayed him. Their faces silently screamed of pity, guilt, sympathy, and pleaded for forgiveness.
He visited every now and again after his mission was completed, after the demons stopped appearing and I was safe. He’d stop into the shop, buy a few apples and stay for lunch.
“I might not be able to visit again for a while,” He said one afternoon around a mouthful of apple, “I got promoted, but I’ll try to stop by when I can.”
That was the last time I saw him.