The thing in the past
Meet Alpha King Xavier Black
Species – Werewolf
Hair color – brown
Eye color – green
Age – 632
Meet King Oberon Faircrown
Species – Fay
Hair color – long snow-white hair
Eye color – blue
Age – 680
***POV Zagon (18 years ago)
I am NOT okay.
The father I call ‘sir’ was right. So, no, I’m not okay - I’m six.
I breathe so fast, it feels as if I’m not breathing at all. A crisp cold wind blows through my hair from the west, hinting that something dark is coming – or maybe it’s already here. It sweeps playfully through the trees, bringing along the cries of people long dead.
Then it tucks unfamiliar on my new form, an onslaught of a brutal, evilness that seems to smother me, moving closer and closer and closer, until I’m a claustrophobic mess.
In just a fleeting moment, being who I really am ruptured from inside revealing its carnal nature. But what if it’s something I don’t want want to be? There’s no choice but to be what you’re born to be – and it seems I was born in hell.
I try to regulate my breath and watch the dusk dawn with the rise of twin blue moons, mute and mystic, breaking the thick darkness with somber glints of light that pierce onto the landscape below.
This light enhances the low-lying fog that coats the two figures standing frozen next to the new grave, seemingly unaware of my piercing eyes.
The men cling to their coats, pulling them tighter around their tall bodies with each slow ticking second. They’ve been standing there since forever.
Long forgotten is the warmth from the sun, even though it just recently disappeared behind the mountains to the south, and I hide behind the tree trunk, hoping to shelter the bundle on my back from the harsh temperature.
This was a treacherously rude day, long not over by the looks of things. I watch silently, concealed in the shadows, not willing to intrude into the sadness that covers the grievers.
Their severe mood echos mine. I look down at my unfamiliar bloodstained black paws in the snow - the beast hiding inside me forced himself out. A single drop of red drips down onto the white powdery ice as if to torment me, proof that I’ve become the monster my father always blames me to be.
All the things I had to endure, the beatings, the torture, the rejection, the hate … might not be as undeserving as I’ve always thought. It seems he was right all along. I’m not an innocent victim of circumstance, no, I am the cursed child of the devil.
The pain of my fur being pulled from my side quickly jolts me back to the present. I turn my head to look at the cause of my discomfort - the tiny body cradled on my back, feet dangling down my sides while one fist clings to my hair like shit to paper. The strange silver bracelet around her wrist shoots tiny sparks of light around as it reflects the moonlight. It’s like something I’ve never seen before, a delicate chain with three interlinked charms hanging from it, a wolf, a heart, and a leave.
She lets out a soft moan and nudges her head deeper into my neck, her long blonde hair is like a contrasting waterfall against my black fur.
I look back at the two men, contemplating my next step. Can I trust them? Should I move into the dim light where they can see us? I give a small step forward but then hesitates again. Will my hound scare them? Will they judge me for being a killer or even blame me for the death of their loved one? I’m not big on the trusting issue … not with my background. I can count the people I trust with one finger – Luan. But these men seem like they could be good, like the woman they just buried.
I stumbled upon the girl and her mother and secretly followed them. They seemed so happy, so loving, so warm, and caring … something I don’t know anything about. My mom is not … eh … let’s just say that she’s not very motherly towards me – calling me a seed from hell, forcefully planted in her belly. And who can love a demon anyway?
A sudden burst of wind blows snowflakes slaps my face and with icy fingers and clears my thoughts and pulls my glare with it to the side where five dark body heaps break the crisp virtue of the snow. The wind plays with the loose pieces of their coats, flapping them around like mortal waves humming a soft lullaby of wrongdoing – my wrongdoing.
Then it continues to howl and whistle through the trees as if possessed leaving me to go back to my thoughts again.
Those now-silent beings attacked us, pale-faced men with great speed and sharp teeth. I don’t know how it happened, but I felt some pain, heard some crunching, and then I was running on all fours towards the child – my inner beast broke free due to the shock. A strange feeling inside drove me to destroy everything in my path, the strong need to protect the little girl overwhelmed everything else.
I close my eyes in shame and let the guilt drown over me.
I killed someone … well three someones to be specific. The mother in the ground killed the other two before they ripped out her heart. The fact that they were all monsters or that it was self-defense, doesn’t lift my guilt.
I broke a law of Creperum, I’m a murderer, a dark soul. That is if I even have one. Dad believes I’m soulless, doomed by darkness, and made for hell.
The girl moans again and something dampens my collar, a thin dribble of warm liquid slowly starts seeping downwards. Is she drooling on me? Yuck! Girls! But at least it’s better than her peeing on me I suppose.
The tall lean man suddenly moves and I instinctively pull back into the shadows. He stumbles through the thick snow to the first corpse, giving it a hard kick as if to make sure it’s not going to resurrect.
“Fucking bastards!” He throws his head back, his long silver hair catches the light from the moons, giving it a blue shimmer. He sniffs hard staring up into the starless night.
“Your daughter put up one hell of a fight Oberon,” says the beefy hulk walking towards his friend. I prick my ears, trying to figure out who they are and what side they’re on. So far it seems as if they’re friends not foes.
“A fortunate stroke of serendipity, getting killed by vampires twice. Five years ago they killed her with her mate, and now she’s officially gone,” says the one called Oberon with another loud snotty sniff. I don’t understand all the high words he’s using, but at least I figured the people I killed were vampires. I’ve never met any other supernaturals before. Hell, I didn’t even know I was one up to a while ago. It sure explains why my wounds heal so quickly. The quick healing is something I hated, cause as soon as I healed the torture would just start all over again.
“Something ripped these vampires to pieces,” the brawny continues, squatting down next to one body. The first man lowers his head, wiping over his eyes with his sleeve. He looks at the body and frowns.
“It looks like wolf bites.”
“My thoughts exactly. But Belle was a vampire, so not her doing. Do you think the kid is a wolf?”
“She might take after her father, but she can’t shift yet doofus - she’s four! And why do you always assume I got all the answers – I’m not psychic for goodness sake,” Oberon says.
“Isn’t fays suppose to be smart and well-rounded?” I guess that means the pointy ear man is a fay, so the little girl is also one then – since she has the same ears.
“Gmf! It doesn’t mean we know everything. Why don’t you rather start sniffing and find the girl? Or is that alpha nose too old to smell anything, Xavier?”
“Fuck you, fairy.”
The crackling sound of breaking bones fills the air and then as if in slow-motion the man transforms into a black wolf. The animal shakes his big head, he’s huge. What are the odds of running into three different species in one night? And what are they doing out here in the wilderness of Communia? Maybe they also have abusive families and got thrown out here as punishment for being born.
I give another step forward, intrigued by the magnificent animal and I instantly freeze at the sound of a twig breaking under my paw. I blink my eyes and swear softly, eyeing the little piece of wood sticking out from under my foot with blame.
The wolf’s ears twitch and then his yellow eyes penetrate the darkness where I’m hiding. I know he knows I’m there so I slowly move from behind the tree into the light, my heart racing where it jumped into my throat, pushing close my windpipe and I struggle to breathe again. I’m not scared but I instinctively know I can’t win this fight, definitely not with the package on my back. And right there is the reason for my slight panic attack.
Both stare at me in disbelieve, shock, skepticism, surprise … or a combination of those emotions. For a while we just stand in the cold, eyeballing each other silently.
A deep frown forms between Oberon’s thick white brows and he continues as if talking to himself.
“A fucking black hound. I’ve never even heard of such a thing. Grey, yes, but black? In all my years. You see it too, don’t you?” He looks back at the wolf who just shakes his head while rolling his eyes secretly at me. My newly found hound lets out a deep growl. I hate it when people talk about me as if I’m not right there standing before them.
The wolf turns back into a very naked man and I must admit I’ve never seen muscles and parts that size ever before. He’s easily three times bigger than any man I’m acquainted with.
“Ug, let me just fix this first.” The fay snaps his fingers, and with a blue flash he holds out some clothes to the naked man.
“Just cover that old royal dick of yours – p.l.e.a.s.e.” He pulls out the last word sarcastically pouting his mouth.
The wolfman gets dressed with a sigh.
“Yeh, you’re just jealous. Fays got the brains but wolves got the tools!” Xavier bumps Oberon with his shoulder almost causing him to lose his balance.
The fay looks physically and mentally drained as he glares at him taking an extra deep breath, softly counting by himself. When he gets to 5 he speaks again.
“You can be such an alpha sometimes.”
“I AM an Alpha,” Xavier sniggers, “At least we know what tore the vamps apart.”
And then the little girl sits up straight on my back. This time there are no words in my six-year-old vocabulary to describe their faces so I’ll just go with flabergasted.
“She looks just like her mother!” Oberon whispers with tears in his voice. Joyful tears flood Xavier’s eyes and roll over his cheeks.
“Ok, demon, just give us our granddaughter so we can all get out of here,” says Oberon, holding out his arms expectantly.
“Leave my puppy alone!” The little voice shoots through the air, she obviously doesn’t know her grannies. Annoyed by the little drooling kid, I throw my head in the air. I’m not her freaking puppy and I don’t need a four-year-old girly girl to protect me.
I tense my muscles, ready for anything they can throw at me. And just in case, I give them a growl to let them know I mean business.
“Now isn’t that sweet? Maybe we must keep him.” Oberon smiles softly tilting his head to the side. Sweet? What is it with these people and their baby-talk?
For a second I consider making a run for it while their attention is not on us, but the little flee is still securely fixed on my back and I can’t take her with me to my destructive bad life.
“Hey, we’re not going to hurt you, we’re here to help you. I’m Oberon, king of the fays and that ugly dog is Alpha King Xavier.”
I cock my head to the side and then painfully shift back into my normal body. The little girl slides from my back and drops onto the snow. The sudden coldness against my bare body shocks me, goosebumps trickle over my skin. My feet feel wet and soggy, and it starts to tingle and pain. The two kings seem more shocked to see my normal form than they were seeing my hound.
“Aren’t you a wee bit young to shift? I mean, you’re for sure not 16 yet,” Xavier recovers first. I don’t know how to answer him, I don’t even know what I am, needless to say at what age I was supposed to become a monster.
Oberon snickers at his wolf friend, “I guess well-endowed parts are a K9 thing.” I glance down at my junk and then try uneasily to cover it with my hands.
The fay magically creates some clothes again, handing them over to me with a teasing smile. I thankfully get dressed as quickly as possible, soaking in the welcome warmth it provides.
“What am I? And what was that dog I turned into?”
“Oh, boy, you really are a mess. You are a demon and that was your hound … but you shifted waaaayyyy too early.”
“I tried to protect her and her mother and it just happened.” I stand up as tall as my six-year-old body allows while glaring at the two kings. The girl hides behind me, her little arms awkwardly wrapped low around my hips in an almost abusive position.
“What’s your name?” Xavier asks.
Oberon opens his mouth to say something but an eery scream burst through the sky, interrupting him.
I see the two riders before I hear them, the snow damping the horses’ hooves into muffled puffs. The mounted creatures’ long grey robes flap in the wind like flags of doom.
Stuck in the same spot, I can only watch them get closer and closer as if perplexed in a slow-motion movie. Small details become clearly highlighted, like the firey snorts of the horses turning into icy clouds of fog, and the flames of hell reflecting in the darkness of their dead eyes. A horripilation of dread tingles down my spine, and it’s as if something is sucking all the happy energy from my soul … that I don’t even have.
Their cries rip through the sky and I’m sure it can be heard straight through hell to the other side of the world. I close my sensitive ears with my hands, trying fruitlessly to block the sound before my mind explodes. The girl also covers her ears and closes her eyes, probably hoping it will help.
“Darklings … fuck!”
I stand solidly on the spot, not even blinking. Darklings? I thought they were just made-up creatures from fairy tales, used to scare children when they’re bad. Mom threatens to hand Luan and me over to them at least once a day. We always laugh about her vivid imagination but turns out she was dead serious.
A bright blue light sparks through the night and shoots the one attacker straight from his horse. The alpha king moves with lightning speed and before the thing even lands on the ground, his heart is ripped from his chest. Sticky dark blood oozes from the hole to dye the snow. Xavier drops the heart that seems to be a black rock, his hand and arm coated with black blood. One down, one to go.
That one storms towards me with stretched-out arms, lying low in the saddle, his face a skeleton with parts of decomposing muscles and skin still attached, his eyes hollow orbs of nothing.
“Zagon, MOVE!” The king’s voice pulls my primitive instincts into action and I grab the girl at the last moment to dive behind some scattered logs. The dirt-filled hooves fly over my head, missing it with mere inches, but one long nail scrapes across my cheek. A thin trickle of blood runs down my face and I dap it with the palm of my hand.
The rider pulls his horse around with force to face me again. I pull the girl protectively closer, foreseeing my next action, but not getting ideas from my clouded mind.
“Give me the boy!” Ok, the thing can actually speak.
“Over my dead body!” Oberon lifts his hands midway in the air, holding them stretched out before him.
“As you wish, king of the fairies,” the sarcastic Darkling spurs his steed into a full gallop, the metallic surface of the sword in his boney hand shining. Why does he want me? Is he here because I murdered those vampires? Am I going to jail?
Some more blue light appears, coming from the Fay King’s hands. I’m mesmerized and confused seeing magic for the first time – how many first experiences can one cram into a single night before one goes crazy.
The skeleton man falls down as if frozen in an awkward position like a statue, sliding on the slippery ice to halt mere meters from my feet, the panicking horse cantering into the forest. He doesn’t smell much better than he looks.
“Phew, he stinks!” The girl scrunches her nose and I swear it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Cute for a girl, that is. But she’s still a girl and all girls are just annoying little spoiled brats. The quicker I get rid of her, the better.
Oberon spits on the ground in disgust. He seems rather mad and I make a quick mental note that a mad Fay King is something to avoid.
“Remind me never to get on your bad side, Tinkerbell,” the wolfman laughs and Oberon swears softly.
“So what’s the plan now?”
“Typical wolf, all brawn and no brains. Maybe we can get some answers from him.”
“I don’t think it will work, you know that, but let’s have a go,” Xavier says.
The hulky wolf king picks up the living Darkling statue into the most normal position possible, holding onto one shoulder to keep it upright.
“Why are you here?” The fay king seems to have lost his patience along the way. I wonder if doing magic drains their energy, cause he looks really tired, almost sick.
“Maybe I just came up here for lunch, who knows?” The Darkling has a clanky hollow voice as if he’s talking into an empty tin can.
“Fuck you,” the wolf king swears … he does that a lot. “We know you didn’t come up here for hamburgers and fries.”
“Sometimes I wonder how you rule a kingdom, wolf,” Oberon says.
“What?” Xavier laughs, “You rather want me to be friendly with this thing? Ok, I’ll be friendly then.” He seems to enjoy annoying his way-to-serious friend.
“Ok, buddy, who sent you, and why do they want this pup?” Xavier taps the skeleton on his shoulder as if he truly wants to form a friendship, his voice warm and non-hostile – he sounds almost believable.
“His daddy’s pals want to adopt him,” I swear if a skeleton could sprout a smirk, this was it. So he can be funny too.
“You know my dad?” For the first time, this day seems to be not such a waste of life. I’m going to get some answers. Eagerly I move my face closer, my nose almost touching his.
“Yes, but I can’t tell, it’s a secret,” he whispers extremely soft, winking one of those blacker than black eyeballs.
“Are you going to tell us anything useful?”
“You’re a king, you should know that Darklings can’t reveal anything – it’s one of our flaws!”
The Fay King seems even more agitated, a small vein is jumping full speed in his jaw and I can hear his heart rate increasing.
He mumbles to himself in deep thought while walking in a circle, making big gestures with his arms. “A midnight black hellhound, the mark on his face. Peculiar, very peculiar. The Darklings … who could control them … his real dad must be powerful … The prophecy … could they be … no … fuck … I’ll cut off those overgrown balls before … no it can’t be … a demon … why Selene … what did I do to deserve this … you just can’t be nice and for once make it a fay … no, first a wolf, now this?”
“Is he okay?” I softly ask Xavier.
“It’s a fay thing,” he pulls his eyes at me while making a circling motion with his index finger at his temple.
“Why are you making no sense, like an old crazy fool? You’re scaring the kids,” the wolf king then says, stopping Oberon mid-rambling. He scrutinizes me, his blue eyes reflecting the power he can manifest, but I’m not scared. Not even death scares me anymore … sometimes I think it would be better than the life I have.
“Zagon,” Oberon lets out a deep sigh, then he takes a deep breath, “We have to take the girl. Don’t worry son, she’ll be safe.”
A strange feeling, as if I’m sad and angry all at the same time, burns in my heart. But I know he’s right – what in hell am I going to do with a stupid little girl?
“Puppy, stay with me!” The girl grabs me in that almost groping position around my hips again. I swear if Luan saw me know he’ll laugh for hours on end. She puts her thumb into her mouth and tears hang from her long eyelashes. I put my arm protectively around her shoulders and look the King straight in his eyes.
“I’m sorry, demon, it’s nothing personal.” Then the freaking fairy flicks his hand and mumbles a few words. A tormenting pain shoots through my brain and I grab my head between my hands and stare hatefully at Oberon.
“I don’t think he likes you much!” The Alpha king laughs.
“Good thing he won’t remember everything.”
The cold west wind swirls around me, softly laughing, bewitching me into darkness.
“He’ll wake up soon. Let’s clean up this mess before we go,” Oberon’s voice is the last thing I hear.