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Marcus

By Jennifer Waugh All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Fantasy

Short story

I was running down the sunlit hall, the light bouncing off the flowered wallpaper and the shiny trinkets on a small table that sat next to the top of the staircase. Running for my life in such beautiful surroundings seemed a little ridiculous. Then, I could hear them behind me, claws scrabbling on the hardwood floors, sounds that made the previous thought irrelevant. I made it to the staircase that led to the third floor and took them two at a time, using the banister to pull myself forward faster. I had to get to the room. If I could get to the room, then I would be safe for the day and I could try my idea later. I left everyone else there when the sun broke the horizon this morning. Ironically enough, it was only really safe to be walking around the house at night.

Night is when the house grew dark and old, the wallpaper fades and starts peeling off the walls. The hardwood floors are dusty and creaky with age. What little furniture left in the house is broken and rotten with age. Night is when it is the correct time. Our timeline. But that was at night, and it was morning now. The house was alive in the time it knows best; when it was new and occupied by an entire family and their servants… years and years before anyone in my little party was born.

I made it to the third floor and could hear the claws sliding on the hardwood floor as they attempted to slow and begin ascending the stairs. For a split second, I was curious to see if they would actually attack me. Perhaps, they would recognize my scent and were just curious. That thought splintered when I heard the snarling, they had caught my scent and knew I was close. I ran down the darker third floor hallway, most of the shades were closed on this floor and it gave it a shadowed look. I glanced behind me and spotted a shaggy head silhouetted in the dim light, its eyes gleamed at me and I froze for a second like a scared rabbit. It was so close; I was only twenty feet from the stairwell. I started backing away as it climbed its way up to the landing. The wolf was so huge; I had not realized in my brief glimpses that the head came up to my waist. It was a light grey in color and then it was not alone; a tawny colored body joined the first. Now, there were two wolves staring me down.

They started running at me and I raised my left arm in defense. I felt teeth latch onto my arm and I screamed in pain. A bright flash of light came from my left hand and the wolf fell away and lay on the floor unconscious. My knees gave out from the energy I had just spent and I slumped against the wall holding my bleeding forearm. The tawny furred wolf walked a half circle in front of me warily growling and sniffing at the other wolf.

I heard a sound from the adjoining hallway. A shadow came around the corner, featureless until it glided closer. The darkness clarified into features of someone I recognized from the ancient photos I had looked at only hours before. The figure was wearing an old fashioned suit; he had dark hair and dark glittering eyes.

Marcus.

He stopped and his eyes widened in surprise. I hadn't realized I had whispered his name out loud until then. I whimpered as a wave of fear and pain washed over me. He glanced towards the wolf that was pacing and made a gesture. The wolf immediately stopped and sat, making little growling and yipping noises. Marcus tilted his head like he was listening and made a noise in the back of his throat like he was answering the wolf.

He then focused his eyes upon mine and slowly stalked towards me, I started stammering then, "Please... don't. I'm trying to help you. Marcus… wait." His eyes narrowed with curiosity and slight suspicion. "You can't help me," he stated, "you can't even help yourself." He snarled then and signaled the wolf, they both came at me, hands coming around my throat and teeth closing in on flesh.

"NOOOO! " I yelled as I sat up in the bed. I struggled to get free of the sheets that had twisted around me during the night. I worked myself free and tried to catch my breath again as the dream replayed itself in my mind, keeping the horror fresh. I hadn't dreamt of Marcus's house in years. My door flew open and Dani stumbled in dressed in a long black t-shirt and holding a bat in one hand and her Athame in the other. "Kat! What is it? Where…" she looked around the room and then focused on me, slowly lowering her weapons. "What happened?"

I lowered my blanket where I had clutched it to my chest in surprise. "Are you my champion, Dani?" she arched her eyebrow at me, her brow ring catching the street light shining thru the window. I sighed and ran my hand thru my tangled hair. "I had a dream about Marcus and the wolves."

She focused in on my right arm and came to the edge of the bed. "What is that?" She gestured with the knife.

I looked down at my right arm and gasped in shock. A fresh bite marred the flesh; blood dripped freely on my bed sheets. I looked up at Dani, "Oh Gods, it was real? How… how could it have been real? Oh, does this mean he is coming back? He can't come back, we solved the riddle and fixed it and made it so he passed on and is no longer stuck. He can't come back, what is…" I babbled on while Dani put her weapons down and sat beside me on the bed. After a minute of trying to get me to listen to her thru my psycho babble, she shook me hard, "KATRINA!" I stopped mid sentence and looked at her.

"Kat, we need to clean your arm up and get it bandaged." She put her arm on my shoulder, "Can you walk?" I looked down at my arm and back up at her and nodded. We got up and headed to the bathroom together. In a rare display of gentleness, she doctored my arm, gave me Advil and water and then walked me back to bed.

She tucked me in and sat on the edge of the bed. "Are you going to be okay to sleep?" I looked at her pleadingly and she sighed dramatically. She moved the bat to lean against the bed post and her Athame on the bedside table. "C'mon, as your champion I will protect your dreams this night" she smirked at me and then yawned. I lightly swatted her arm but snuggled down next to her. She really was the best friend I could ever have, and I felt safer already. Sleep came quickly and I dreamt no more that night.

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