Chapter 23 - A Cold Day in ...
The entire family was frozen in fear. Apoc had fixed them with his snowy eyes, and they did exactly what I do when I look directly into them. I saw both sides frozen in a tableau and realized that I would need to break the ice. I turned and walked to Apoc and nuzzled him and then turned back to the family.
“Look Daddy! Two of them. It’s her husband.”
“No honey that’s a timber wolf - not a dog.” Clarified the pastor.
“Can we keep ’em?”
“No!” shouted mother and then more calmly, “We can’t keep him honey he’s wild, it just wouldn’t be safe or right.”
“But he’s nice. See?!?”
Apoc hung his head.
The pastor blinked. “Can he understand me too?” He asked me.
I looked from Apoc to Father and back again. I wasn’t sure how much Apoc understood actual English, or he just got the tone of voice. I’d never considered the fact that he may understand as much English as I did... maybe he was an earlier version of me. I’d never considered who Apoc might have been before the lab. If I could have cried right then I would have, a selfish cry for all that we’d lost and all the words that we’d never be able to say to each other.
“Are you going to hurt my family?” the pastor asked.
I shook my head.
“Can you promise me that he won’t?” He pointed nervously at Apoc.
Apoc looked at me and held my eyes. I remembered his teeth on my neck, and my shame deep in my gut. I couldn’t keep his eyes. If he had been human ever... Was he still human? Was any of his humanity left after killing? After Shen?
I remembered the smell of the disemboweled wolf. Could I let a killer loose on this family? I’d never seen him with children, hell I’d never seen Apoc interact with anything but me, and the wolf he killed. I turned back to the Father... I thought for a moment and sighed. I looked up at him and shook my head once.
“Thank you for being honest. Well I have to think about my family... I can let you out here or I’m willing to drive you to the next town it’s about 17 miles further down the road. If you want to go further I need you to get him into the back. And then when we stop I’ll open the door and you can go out. So nod yes if you want to get out here.”