Arthur’s voice rang out as mouth curved in a great big grin. A silver sound bounced off the white walls of Prudence’s living room, filling it with the joyous sounds of his laughter. Prudence and him had been playing a simple game of tag around the house when she tackled him to the ground, her smile just as broad as his. Even though he was a boy, she easily pushed him around ever since they had known each other. He didn’t mind and honestly didn’t have the heart to “defend” himself. So as she laid on top of him and laughed, he laughed along with her.
“You two shouldn’t play so roughly in the house…” A woman stood above them, her long chestnut hair hugging her hips. Her hands were folded across her chest, her soft honey eyes smiling when her mouth refused to. She gently lifted the small girl off of the boy, her belly still shaking as she continued to laugh. “Come on, Prudence. You know better than that.” As she sets her on her feet, the corners of her mouth tilt up, a soft smile restricting her from correcting her daughter in the right manner. “You’ll never find a man to marry if you don’t start acting more like a lady.” A chuckle resonated from her throat.
The redheaded child blinked up at her mother. “But I don’t wanna marry anyone, momma.” She protested, whining. She looked around the woman’s legs to peer at her friend, who was currently picking himself up off of the floor. She began to bounce on the balls of her feet when their eyes met.
“You will when you’re older.” The brunette explained to the 7 year old. “And Arthur will want to look for a wife too.” When she looks over he shoulder to the boy, he’s frowning and shakes his head.
“No I won’t. I don’t like girls.” Arthur declared, is golden brown eyes filled with defiance as he stared back at the mother.
“You like Prudence, don’t you?” Both females then were look at him expectantly. One with hope, the other with knowing.
“Y-Yeah! But she’s different…” Arthur trails off and turns head away, his cheeks ablaze.
Prudence face shifts, from one of confusion to one of delight. Her head snaps towards her mother, her short red hair bouncing from the movement. “ See! I don’t need to be a lady! I’ve got Arthur!” She beams, hopping once again.
As the brunette opens her mouth to oppose, a large bang sounded through the house. It bounced from wall to wall and left the three staring towards the hallway. It happens three times, a substantial pause between each one. It rattled the home. The two kids clung to the legs of the woman, hiding, their legs shaking. Finally, one last thump front door breaks from its hinges and falls to the floor in a pile of rubble, exposing the woman and children to the foggy night outside.
A brutish creature stumbles in, as if daze. Its wolvish head swings from left to right and back again, its dark, matted fur blowing softly in the wind. It stood on all fours, its hind legs that of a wolf as well. The front legs, on the other hand, looked more like a human’s arms, but covered in the hair of a dog. Its eyes then land on the three figures huddled together, its nose twitching as it smelled the air for the scent it had followed here. Its gaze meets with Arthur, who is no longer an 8 year old boy, but is now a 15 year old teenager. As he gawked into its emerald eyes he finds not a mindless beast but the eyes of a prisoner. He takes a step forward, abandoning the two women behind him in his curiosity.
He holds his hand out, wanting the animal to smell him, and become familiar with him, like a person would do for a pet. For some reason he felt a strange connection to it. Almost like he had met it somewhere before but couldn’t recall where. It crept towards him as well, now smelling the approaching adolescent.
“Arthur! Don’t!” He ignored Prudence’s calls, continuing to cautiously move forward. He was almost entranced by its gaze. He wanted to help it somehow. Wanted to free it from whatever had trapped. Suddenly, he felt something pulling him back.
“Get away from there! It’s going to hurt you!” As Arthur looked back, he found Prudence, also no longer a child, but now a 14 year old. Her fingers dug into his arm as he attempted to release himself. She wasn’t going to let go, not just for his safety, but hers as well. “Come on!”
“It’s not going to hurt anyone… It’s trapped in that form.” He stares her straight in the eyes. “I need to help it.” He jerked his arm away and sauntered away. He didn’t care how afraid his dearest friend was, he knew that the beast was just as afraid. Neither one of them deserved to feel that way. As he got closer, it snarled at nipped at him, as a warning sign. He was to determined to leave it now.
“It’s fine… I’m not going to hurt you.” Arthur crooned, seeking to calm it. When he reached him hand out to its nose, it snapped its head away from him, as if it didn’t want to touch him. Still, he continued to reach for it, not expecting it to suddenly jerk back towards him and collapse its great big mouth around his hand.
Arthur screams and rips his hand away, clutching it to his chest and cradling it in his other hand. He had fallen to the ground, staring up at the beast, fear filling his golden brown eyes. He attempts to scoot away from it, kicking his legs against the ground, trying to get some sort of traction on under his feet. There was nothing he could do, and in that moment he thought it was going to kill him. Eat him. It was big enough to fit his entire head in its mouth. His body trembled in voluntarily and as he started into its emerald eyes this time, it was not calling for help. It was searching for food. Arthur’s heart pounded in his chest.
“Arthur! Run, you idiot! Run!” A high pitch squeal, pulled him back to reality, releasing him
from the paralysis that his fear had thrown him in. He jumped to his feet and scrambled to get to Prudence, more focused on getting her to safety than on his injured hand. As he runs by her, he grabs her hand tightly with his good hand and heads straight toward the window, dragging her behind him. He struggles to open it, even while using both hands, and it takes much too long for comfort. He glances over his shoulder, watching the beast lurk closer, drool leaking from its mouth. “Hurry! It’s getting closer!”
Arthur fights through the pain shooting through his hand and finally swings the window open. He moved out of the way, and motions for her to go through. As he waits, he watches the beast and scans the room. The mother was nowhere to be seen. There was no trace that she had even been here. His breath was quick as he glances at Prudence struggling to get through. He swiftly pushes her through and climbs in himself. He as he was about to fall to the ground on the other side, he smashes into the wall, dangling from the wind, a sharp pain from his foot. The brute had caught him, just barely, and had bitten him again. He grimaces and kicks its nose with is other foot until it let go, and he scurries away, clawing the grass. The pain in his hand had dulled from the new injury that he had received.
“Go! Get out of here!” He roars, as he crawls away from the wall, gritting his teeth. He watched as Prudence hesitates, staring down at him with fear. “Go!” She darts away, moving as quickly as her panicked legs would let her. He slowly picked himself up of off the ground, grunting and groaning as he steps on his now injured foot. He needed to run, but simply couldn’t. He limped, his heart proceeding to pound in his chest. He couldn’t get away. There was no way he could outrun anything in this state. He glanced over his shoulder, listening for the sounds of the beast behind him. He didn’t see it. He didn’t hear it. It was like it had disappeared completely.
Arthur pauses, his eyes peering into the window that he had escaped from. There was no movement. As he was focused on that, a sudden pain shoot through his hand and foot. He fell to the ground once again. They were burning. He clutches his hand to his chest and curls in on himself. The pain was so unbearable. He wanted to scream but his body couldn’t produce the sound. His shivers and shakes and before he knows it, his vision blurs then suddenly goes black.