M I D N I G H T

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ix. midnight

I stared at the poorly lit street through blurry, teary, eyes as I continued to walk away.

Fight or flight is a funny concept.

Well, to me at least.

Essentially, your brain goes on high alert at the sight of something you deem potentially dangerous or stress inducing.

We can find out what truly stresses someone out or what they are really scared of, whether it be spiders, ladybugs, perverted old men, or the dark.

Recklessly, I had just walked out of the house into the dark and kept walking till I reached the edge of my neighborhood. The walk, itself, had been good for me. It helped calm me down, and even though the tears were still falling, and I was still shaking, I was away from the place I thought of as potentially dangerous and stress inducing.

I had chosen flight without even realizing it.

Perhaps my body knew what it was doing. I had known my mother long enough to understand that it was hard to convince her otherwise when she already had her mind set.

I just wish I had grabbed a jacket first.

My sweatpants were doing the best they could and my socks helped, but I was still in my slippers that I had reserved for indoor use only and my shirt, while long sleeved, could not withstand the cold night.

I paused at the end of the sidewalk and looked at the massive wooded area in front of me.

A car loudly came driving down the street and I jumped, startled at the sudden sound. It’s headlights were beaming ahead and when I made out the license plate that said β€œHILBILY” I ran into the woods and behind a tree.

Mike’s license plate put my brain on high alert and made my muscles tense.

My breathing was in shallow pants and I felt a cold sweat fall over my body. After what seemed like hours, he finally made a u-turn and went back the way he came.

The night suddenly seemed darker. I shivered and turned around only to be met with more forest. I don’t remember running in this far. I tried to trace my steps, even using the flashlight on my phone but I couldn’t see the street anymore.

Branches snapped and leaves rustled in the dark around me.

I turned off the flashlight suddenly paranoid that it would make me a visible target of whatever is lurking.

The cold sweats reappeared and I looked around me.

Oh god.

Where am I?

I shivered at the thought of spending the night in the woods. Sleeping in the dirt, bugs crawling under my clothes and into my hair. I cringed and itched my scalp. My tears had stopped but I felt them prick at my eyes. This isn’t happening. This is not happening.

Just calm down and try to find a way out.

My head was pounding and I swallowed the lump in my throat but my hands were still shaking so much and my stomach was churning.

I bit my lip so hard it started to bleed.

Just relax. Corvina, please just relax.

Breathe.

Trying to convince myself to calm down at this point was fruitless but I knew I needed to get my mind clear. There was so much happening. So much had already happened. And now I was lost in the woods. In the middle of the night.

I felt my face unattractively scrunch up, my lips flattened into a frown on my face and a choked sob left me before I could push it back.

I crouched down, on my knees and I just allowed myself to actually cry for the first time in a while. The sobs that escaped me were so violent I could barely breathe and my stomach began to lurch with the way I was constantly heaving and pushing more tears out by the second.

I wish dad was here.

If he was here, there would be no Mike. I wouldn’t be lost in the woods right now. Mom would still love me.

Why.

Why did he have to leave?

I was sobbing so loudly I didn’t hear it approach me. I didn’t realize until it nudged me so forcefully I fell forward, the sticks and dirt digging into my palms. I heard a growl and slowly turned around to see a huge wolf.

Like, five feet tall.

The wolf at the grocery store was nothing compared to this beast.

My throat went dry and I slowly crawled away from it. It came closer, following me, stalking me.

Another sob left me and the wolf stopped. It held its head up and looked at me.

I’m no zoologist but i’m pretty sure most wolves do not have the ability to look confused. The uneasiness in my stomach settled.

I furrowed my eyebrows as another thought hit me:

How come I’m not running anymore?

Does my brain not count this literal predator as potentially dangerous?

It purred and sat on its hind legs. The wolf tilted its head to the left, tongue sticking out and tail, wagging. I wiped my face with the back of my hands and sniffled, an amused giggle left my lips. I shakily stood up and watched the wolf as I did so. It hadn’t attacked me yet and from what it looks like, I don’t think it will.

Cautiously, I took a step forward and held out a hand. The wolf stared at it for a while before slowly bringing its head down under my head and then raising it so I was petting it. The softness of its fur made another laugh leave my lips.

β€œYou’re so soft wolfie,” I whispered.

It barked, happily.

I looked closer at it this time. There was no way it was a normal wolf. It was way too big and its eyes....were blue?

Did wolves normally have blue eyes?

β€œHuh,” I said softly, β€œYour eyes remind me of someone.”

I looked at the wolf more closely.

I smiled, β€œYou know it’s kinda funny. You almost look like him.”

It barked again.

β€œHis name is Alexand-”

The wolf pulled away and lunged at my neck, giving it a big lick that traveled all the way up to my eyebrow. I took a step backward and held a hand back out to stop it from coming closer. I used my other hand to wipe my face.

Ugh.

β€œNot cool dude.”

The wolf whined.

β€œSorry, sorry,” I held my hands up in defeat before furrowing my eyebrows. β€œCan you actually understand me?”

The wolf stopped moving momentarily and stared at me with wide eyes, before it stood up straight and began looking around, suddenly alert.

β€œAlpha!” I heard a familiar voice call out but it was too dark. I couldn’t see who it was. β€œYour father needs you.”

The wolf growled before looking at me worriedly.

Is the wolf’s name Alpha? Does someone actually own this huge wolf as a pet?

The wolf nuzzled my neck, soothingly and any panic or fear I once had was gone. This wolf had comforted me.

And then it bit me.

β€œOw!” I hissed in pain and pushed myself away from the wolf, β€œWhat the heck man? I thought you were a nice wolfie.”

The wolf looked down at me sympathetically as my body warmed up and my vision became blurry. The voice called out β€˜Alpha’ again and I watched as the wolf’s eyes followed my movements carefully. I lost my balance and fell onto the forest floor.

The wolf purred and I heard a bunch of leaves rustle. It gently nudged my head to the side and placed a pile of leaves where my head once was before nudging my head back over. The leaves crunched under the weight of my head and my thoughts were slow. I felt a small stream of blood dripping down my neck.

β€œYou...” my eyes began to close, β€œ....pillow?”

What the hell?

The wolf looked into my eyes.

I chuckled lazily as a blur of erratic and foggy thoughts hit me.

Alexander looks like a wolf.

I passed out.

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