A Small Gift

It’s rough in many ways, but came to me in a dream this morning as a thing to share.

It was dark, though I was not sure if it was day or night.  It no longer mattered as we lay there in the light of the small tree decorated with care.  It was a tradition that had stood the test of time, as we put it up each year and hung the lights and the few special ornaments that made it our tree.  

The darkness grew in the room, even as the light spilled from the tree.  As that light grew, my breath caught as I recognized it and remembered the first time I ever saw it.  


The girl was an anomaly, and anomalies made me suspicious.  Even in this form.  I had already hunted and fed, as you pretty much had to do that after a change.  The old tales of changelings having bloody feasts was true, as changing either way was a huge energy sink that required complex amino acids, protein, and more.  So, first you ate and you weren’t particular about what or who you ate right after a change.  Bad fiction not withstanding, it wasn’t a fun type of eat either.  

Me?  I prepared food in advance and had it waiting.  Rare, not raw, and everything I would need to deal with the change.  Even in human form I liked my steaks rare.  In this case, I also laced everything with supplements, just to be safe.  

I had moved to the desert years back, so as to take myself and my curse away from normal, innocent humans.  The abandoned mine had been a great place to build a small home in front, with plenty of room (and exits) behind.  Here, I posed little risk to the innocent, had plenty of game to hunt at the change, and, even better, I had discovered prey worthy of my new form and skills. 

There were and are evil humans, and I did consider them fair game.  I also discovered there were other things, evil, that were not human.  Even in my cursed state I saw them as fair game and worked hard to rid the area around me of them all.  I even expanded my territory so as to remove them from being able to reach the little pockets of humanity that existed even in this remote area.  

She shouldn’t have been there.  Not even the human traffickers moved through this area anymore.  Yet, here she was and she was a puzzle.  

She stood as if waiting, and clearly knew I was there.  Yet, she had not pissed or shit herself, which was the usual reaction of a human to meeting such as me.  Her scent was a tangled mix of girl, maiden, and even a whiff of crone.  I circled carefully, sniffing and studying.  

I was not hungry, having eaten a number of snacks in the form of small animals along the way, so I was more intrigued than anything.  Her presence screamed “trap” in many ways, and something else in others.  I kept the trap in mind even as I circled closer and closer, searching for hidden things and forms and not finding them.  

In human terms, she was a petite thing.  Sitting on my haunches she barely could meet my eyes.  With canid directness, I leaned forward and sniffed her crotch.  When a dog, or wolf, does such it is because that sniff, and your scent, carries a lot of information about which no lie can hold.  Sex, age, health, and for females where you are in your cycle are just part of the complex information shared.  Yeah, you can get almost as much from the neck, but it’s more thorough and complete at the crotch, for all that humans consider it rude.  

This sniff, however, caused me to rock backwards onto my haunches.  I literally could not tell her age, beyond the fact that she was adult and moving towards peak fertility.  At the same time, there were elements of pre-pubescent youth and extreme age involved.  Her health was excellent, and her hygiene good to the point that it was clear she was quite fastidious.  Underneath it, however, was something else, something I had not felt in far too long.  

She spread her arms wide, clearly in welcome, and as I came forward towards her I heard her say 

“About time you silly old wolf” 

even as the light came blazing out of her.  As it did, I hit the ground hard, in pure genuflection.  Even as I did so, I caught a glimpse of the knight slightly behind her, who’s body was the purity of youth with eyes that were as old as the universe.  I noticed a slight smile on his lips as he nodded in approval at my prostration.  

The light was filled with fractals, almost like a kaleidoscope of my youth.  I caught glimpses of multiple things at the same time, birth, horrific death, and more before a thing of pure light shadowed them all.  I lowered my eyes to the ground as she approached, and felt a gentle hand touch the back of my head.  

What poured into me was love, and a data dump such that in a cartoon I would have been cross-eyed and had birds tweeting in a circle around my head for weeks.  I knew who she was, and in any form my lips are not worthy to form that name.  I howled and drifted into the light that flowed within me.  

When I awoke, the girl had made a nest in the fur of my belly in which to sleep.  I smiled, though many might not recognize it as a smile.  Oddly content and at peace, I leaned forward and kissed her as wolf should.  She stirred, and I heard the laughter behind her words as she said

“Ohhh, Ick, wolf germs!”  

I couldn’t help it, I laughed at the old, old joke, and she giggled into my chest.  My howls probably sounded ferocious, but were anything but.  We lay like that for a while, each content with the other and the situation.  Finally, she roused and moved out to look me in the eye.  

“We need to make a little trip before we go home.  There’s something we need to collect, since it’s not just you or me anymore.”  

I nodded to show I understood, and she leaned forward and kissed my head.  Her hand moved, and shortly after my leg began to move as she found the spot and sent me into canid nirvana.  When she stopped, she smiled again, a woman’s smile, and spoke again.

“There’s better than that to come.”  

She went over to where a small pack had appeared, and picked it up.  I swear it had not been there the night before.  Together, we walked as she led us both to a place I had not been before.  There, at her direction, I dug a bit and we found an old leather bag filled with gold coins.  She placed it in her pack, and we then headed towards my home.  

It really wasn’t much, but I was proud of it.  Thick walls enfolded a bedroom and bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen.  Despite the remoteness, I had electricity courtesy of a discrete tap on a power line a mile or so away,  The living room had a fireplace, which provided both light and heat at need.  Opening the door to the mine led to many things, including the library that I had built off of the books I brought with me.  I may have been cursed, but it did not stop me from learning, and hoping.  

Her smile was huge when she saw the small tree, already decorated.  I may have cast aside many things when cursed, but faith and tradition were not among them.  Every year, at this time, I found a small tree and brought it alive into my home.  I decorated it, fed it, and at the end of Christmas I took it outside and planted it.  Before too many more years passed, I would have a nice shield of evergreens around my home.  

She made herself right at home, to my amusement.  It wasn’t just the cleaning and re-arranging, but the fact that she would nest in my fur almost any time I lay down.  Though it was not in a church building, we had truly been wed and while a challenge on some fronts to my bachelor ways, it was also a thing I welcomed having been convinced that such was not for me.  

I admit she spoiled me.  She loved to cook, and I was sated every day in ways I had not known before.  Being in wolf form demanded a lot of nutrients, much less calories, and it was as if she knew everything I needed at any given time.  A week or so after we arrived home, I awoke to quite the breakfast, with meats and pastries and more.  Even as I ate, I had no need to sniff her directly to tell that she was both at peak fertility and quite aroused.  She blushed bright crimson as I simply looked at her, then once I was finished she led me back to bed.  

While it was never that same level of crimson, as the years went by she always blushed.  I loved that blush, and the sounds she made later that were as close to a howl as a human throat could form.  Afterwards, as always, she made a nest in my fur and slept.  

Yes, I did change back to human form a few times in those early days, for both our sakes.  Yet, it was not to be, and for reasons I can’t name it was intended, right, and fitting that I stay in my wolf form.  No, I will not call it cursed, not any more.  Not after that data dump.  A small bit of memory to share with you… 

“You know I haven’t killed anything that didn’t deserve it, other than that mouthy squirrel, since I met you.”  

“Hmmmph.  Any squirrel deserves it, and they are mouthy for a reason.  Whenever you catch yourself and stop yourself from saying something it has to go somewhere, so it goes to the squirrels to say.  It’s why they are such mouthy things.” 

I stopped and looked at her out of the corner of my eye as she mixed something in a bowl.  There were things that came out of her that clearly came from on high.  Then there were things like this.  A wise wolf learned to simply nod knowingly.  Which I did. 

The smile that crossed her face let me know she knew what I had done, and I smiled a bit too.  Not too much, for that could get a reaction I might not like, but…. 

Her face took on a more serious look. 

“He, and those that serve him, can’t create.  They can only warp, distort, or denigrate that which God has made.  The virus that made us what we are was something that was broken, warped, distorted to make it what it is today.  It was not created, just broken.”  

With a sniff of disdain, she went back to mixing and I slowly nodded towards the fire as I knew from that awful data dump that she was right.  It had indeed been broken, and creatures like me were the result.  The us part made me raise a mental eyebrow.  Only, for some of us, something held.  Some core remained in place and even at our worst we tried not to harm sentient beings.  

Which is why I hadn’t simply attacked that girl I found waiting for me in a small fold of the rocks years ago.  Why she, and the memories given to me, had to work together to truly take her as my wife.  That first union had resulted in twin sons.  

The nuns and monks had entered our lives right after that first union.  Some of the coins we had brought back changed hands, and our larder was filled.  Well, to me they smelled as nuns, though none of them wore the wimple.  They clearly were a religious order, though I had my doubts that the Church, any Church, was officially aware of them.  

Even after she began to swell, we enjoyed each other as she said we needed practice.  Some dim memory from being purely human reminded me that such made delivery easier, so, we practiced.  When her time drew near, the nuns returned, this time with a monk, and I held her as our children were born.  

The twins spent time oh her, on her skin, and then spent time on me.  They made contented sounds as they, like her, made nests in my fur.  As for me, that was the most contented time of my life, for all our children.  After she had nursed them for a couple of weeks, and they had spent as much time with us as possible, they were taken away.  I howled when they left, not so much in negation as a recognition of what must be, and as a way for them to find us later.  

Years meant so much to me in my human form, and not so much in wolf form.  It’s a rather different perspective on time, measured more as seasons and not years.  It was measured by litters, by births, rather than anything else.  I lost track of the years, though I never lost track of our children, and there were many in our time together.  

Over time, our children came back to us as members of whatever religious order it was that looked out for us.  They brought us our regular supplies, and tended us as she gave birth.  Now, they waited, knowing what was to come.  

My forays out to hunt and prune back any evil that dared raise it’s head nearby slowly dropped in distance and number, even as she clearly was slowing down.  She began fading before my eyes, though her eyes still danced with laughter and mischief.  A few days ago, I had known.  

So we lay together on the old, worn sofa, looking at our small tree decorated in light and love.  She had made a nest in my belly fur, and had not stirred from it.  A few days ago, she had quit eating, as had I.  As I lay there, watching both her and the tree, I was content.  Our children and various types of grandchildren were around us.  

Moved, I leaned down and kissed her, my tongue messing her hair.  Though her eyes never opened, a smile crossed her face and I heard faintly her little girl voice say 


“Silly old wolf” 

Even as I began to chuckle, the light suddenly grew.  As it overwhelmed me, I saw once again the fractals of details, not just of our world but many.  From that overwhelming image, She emerged.  As She took our hands, I saw once again the knight off to the side, but this time, he raised his sword in salute, and he nodded to me.  In the distance, I saw our children, who both showed what we had become and provided a line of defenders against the dark.  Who stood for creation, and not the degradations of it.  

Looking down to my side, I saw I was not alone.  Our forms were different, not at all like our Earthly shells but refined.  While what we had been was reflected in them, they were more.  Together we followed Her deeper into the light, hand in hand, and smiles upon our face.  

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