Song: Ghost - Jacob Lee
Finally home from the grocery store, I shuffled in my kitchen putting my groceries away. After my encounter with Cassius, I couldn’t help but wondered why he decided to ask around for information about me. I am not going to lie, I am an amateur when it comes to dating.
I don’t have the time. Most of my time was spent training and my dad, although, a drunk most of the time was also very protective over me. I remember my high school prom. He sat in the living room cleaning his pistol. When I asked him why he suddenly felt the urge to clean his pistol, he told me tonight was a good night but I knew my dad. He had an ulterior motive. Needless to say, he scared my date that night. I was home before ten and my date did not lay a finger on me.
After my dad passed away, I could have used this as an advantage to start dating and meeting people but by that time, I was already socially inept of speaking like a normal person. Heck, I carry a gun and knife on me all the time.
That night, I decided that if Cassius could go around asking information about me, I could ask about him. Mrs. Hewitt who owned the only bar in town was the biggest gossiper. She knew everything about everyone and why not when everyone gets drunk around her. People start talking without thinking.
Sitting in the comforts of my bed, I pulled out my several years laptop and researched a few things and completed some bill payments. It was dark outside and the only source of light was the moon and stars outside as well as my bedroom lamp. I leaned back on my pillow with a laptop in my lap, typing away.
A long wolf howl sounded close to my cabin and immediately my head snapped to my bedroom window. It sounded very close. Strangely, it wasn’t fear that sets into my bones but the need to run to the source. The howl was sad and longing.
I pushed the laptop off my laps and tossed the bed covers, sliding out of bed I walked to the window. The howl sounded a lot closer. In fact, so close I knew it was in the front of my cabin. I quickly walked to my nightstand and grabbed my pistol and my knife that was still in its knife sheath.
In only a thin nightgown I wrapped a knitted shawl around me and exited my bedroom heading towards the front door. I peeked out from the front window to see if I can see it first before opening the door.
What I saw, took my breath away.
It was magnificently large in size, twice the size of a normal wolf. Its eyes met mine and held my gaze unwavering. It didn’t growl or attack when it saw me in the window. Unconsciously and in a weird unexplainable way, I walked to the front door and opened it, stepping out with bare feet onto my small porch. Instantly, coldness crawls up my legs and takes over my body. I hugged the shawl closer.
I watched the large wolf in front of me pace back and forth. His dark smoked grey eyes shine with a depth of intelligence that even I knew was impossible for an animal. To further confuse me, he didn’t attack me or snarl with hostility. Instead he paced back and forth in front of me. He was calculating and observing for my next move as if he hoped I will do something.
The tips of my fingers grazing the cold wooden handle of my knife that was on my knife belt sheath. I could kill him. He was alone without his pack which made him an easy target. But something inside of me refuses to move even when my mind was screaming for me to kill.
“What are you waiting for?” I whispered the thought that had been running in my mind. “Why aren’t you attacking me?”
I must be insane. I’m talking to an animal but yet the light that lit up in his eyes told me he knew what I was saying.
“You’re different.” I continued speaking. My fingers still hovering over my knife handle just in case he had other ideas.
The large wolf stopped in his pacing to scrutinize me closely. His head slightly tilted in curiosity. The way he stood told me he was exerting his dominance. I can tell he is strong and definitely a leader of a pack judging by its size but does this thing have a pack? I have never seen anything ever like it.
“I could kill you.”
But you won’t. My mind shot back grumpily. Why? Because you know he is different.
The wolf made a quick impatient growl before kicking off the ground and darting back into the woods. His speed was almost inhuman. No wolf can move that fast. If I would have blinked I would have missed seeing him running back into the woods.
When he was gone, I finally felt my body shaking. The coldness of Alaska was seeping through my thin layer of clothes. I looked at the place he disappeared to one last time before turning back into my cabin.
Stranger than I can imagine. This wolf was different unlike any other wolves I have killed.
He wasn’t a wolf. He was a beast.
I shivered again and hesitantly walked inside my cabin, closing the door behind me and bolting the lock into place.
The next afternoon, I drove into the bar for lunch. I saw Mrs. Hewitt working behind the bar, wiping the counters. She looked up when she heard the bells chime from the front door.
“Good afternoon, sweetie. How are you today?” She asked with a warm smile. Her ashy-silver hair wrapped up into a loose bun on top of her head.
“I’m doing well. Thank you for asking.” I replied before slipping into a seat by the bar.
She handed me the lunch menu and I lifted it up in my hands to look. The bar was quiet this afternoon but that was because people came more at night. She has the bar opened 24/7. Her son is a few years older than me and helps her with keeping the business running. He must have taken the shift last night. She leaned over the counter casually and I could feel her eyes on me.
I peeked over from the menu to look at her questionably. She smiled sweetly and propped her chin in the palm of one of her hands.
“So, it seems the notoriously handsome Cassius came back to the bar the other night to ask about you.” She started conversation.
“Yes? And what did you tell him?” I raised an eyebrow and pretended that I didn’t know a thing.
“Oh nothing much, really.” She bobbed around the answer.
“Well, at first I told him I had nothing but he kept prodding and you know handsome that young fella is. He practically seduced it right out of me. I held on as long as I can before I revealed anything about you.”
“Uh huh...” I said with disbelief.
“I’m sorry but you have to understand, Cassius has never taken interest in any of the girls in this village until you. When he asked about you I was completely surprised and felt impelled to tell him what he wanted to know. He is very convincing, you know.” She replied.
“How about a fair trade. Since he asked about me and you told him information that I never allowed. You give me something in return.” I sat the menu down on the counter and leaned forward.
“And that is?” She was curious now. The old lady was clearly interested in what I wanted next.
“Tell me about him. Who is he?”
Instantly, a huge smile snapped on her face, “You like him.”
I rolled my eyes, “Of course not.”
“You wouldn’t ask if you didn’t.”
“Mrs. Hewitt.” I gritted impatiently.
“Oh alright. Give this old woman a little. I have nothing else other than gossip. Ever since my dear Alan passed away it has been hard, you know.” She huffed before walking down the counter to fill me a cup of coffee.
She walked back in front of me and sat it down, “On the house.”
“Cassius is a very influential man in these part of the area. He has connection everywhere. The man is pretty wealthy as he pretty much owns a little bit of everything in Clinton.” Clinton was the town that I went shopping in the other day.
“What does he do?” I asked.
“His family lineage leads way back. They have lived in Alaska for the longest time and their roots have long been ingrained in these towns and villages close by. He is shareholder to many of these businesses—small or big.” She answered before handing me the cream and sugar.
I picked up the cream and poured a good amount into my coffee, “What else do you know about him?”
“Not very much, I’m afraid. Cassius only swings by once in a while and he is a very conservative man. The other night was the first night he approached me. I was surprised he knew me by my name. Most of the girls in town here has been vying for his attention but the man seems indifferent to their flirting or attempts.”
“Mrs. Hewitt, I know you know everything about everyone...” I pushed further, sipping on my coffee.
She giggled a little, “You’re right but Cassius is one that I do not have any factual information on. I hear things but I am not sure if it is all true.”
I sighed, “That’s alright.”
“I’m sorry, dear. I wish I can tell you more. Do you like the man? You have to admit, out of all the men in these part of Alaska, he is a handsome diamond.”
He was. I am attracted to that confident man but I wasn’t going to throw myself at him like the other girls. I am very much like my dad. I had a lot of pride and I am pretty sure he knew he was godly crafted as sin. I wouldn’t want to feed that confidence or admit to anyone my attraction.
I finished my lunch and stepped out of the bar only to run into the man I had been questioning about an hour ago.
I don’t know if it was our constant bumping into each other but my heart seems to be skipping more and more each time I lay eyes on him. It was like an electrifying fizz pulsed between us when we are close. I wondered if he felt the same or was it all my imagination. I shouldn’t let this get to me but it was like a fog that crawled all over my skin.
“Amelia, we meet again.” His voice was deep and husky. I literally could feel it on my skin, caressing me. I tried to think up of a sassy remark but nothing came. Again, I was socially inept when it came to dating or talking to people from the opposite sex.
I’m beginning to think our encounters isn’t a coincidence.