Wolves At The Door

December 5, 2007
By Jordan Allin, Tucson, AZ

The deep, unearthly cries send shivers down our spines. In mother's lap, the twins wail and cling to each other in terror of the beasts that are the origins of the howls. The voices rise and fall in chorus, blending and separating as they sing their heart's desires to the world. The sound shakes me to my roots, and I feel a sudden longing to throw back my head and raise my own voice in sharp counterpoint. I stand at the window, watching, waiting, for the ghostly beings so near and yet so far away. My breath fogs on the glass, obscuring my view of the stark, white landscape outside.
My head turns as I hear a sharp click. Father has his gun, and I fairly shrink away from the grim look on his face. Does he want to kill the beings who sing such a haunting tune? My heart turns to ice in my chest, and I gaze up at him imploringly. No! I want to cry, You can't! Leave them be! Can't you hear the beauty? But I can offer nothing but silence.
Father leans down and murmurs in mother's ear, then kisses each of the twins on the top of their golden heads. "It's okay." He says firmly. "No man-eaters will get in this house! He turns to me, and I watch him, waiting, unable to meet his eyes for fear my own will betray me.
"Come on, Delilah, let's go," he tells me. Slowly I come down from the windowsill, leaving two warm spots where I'd pressed in my rapt attentions. I move to him and walk beside him as we step out into the crisp night air. I suppress a sigh at the frozen beauty around me. A howl still shatters the silence of the night, much closer now. I ache to respond. Something about it calls to me, urging me to go to it. I imagine that I can see piercing yellow eyes watching us from the underbrush, and it appears father does too, for he is continuously looking about, breath coming fast with his fear.
Another howl sounds, the closest yet. The eeriness of it makes my hair stand on end. Surely no mortal beast could make such a noise? Father curses and cocks his gun. The mechanical lifelessness of the sound is unnatural in the winter stillness. Father places his hand on my head, for his comfort or mine, I do not know. An owl asks its eternal question overhead, eyes beacons in the darkness.
A twig snaps, and our heads turn simultaneously towards the crack. Two golden eyes peer out from the shadows. Time stops as the three of us watch each other. After what seems like an eternity, father suddenly brings up his gun and takes aim. My eyes go wide as the spell breaks and I spin to stand between my father and my wild brother.
For that's what we are. In that single instant when the world stood still, I felt the connection, and I knew he felt it too. He is my wild brother; it is his song that calls me so strongly. He has come for me, leaving the safety of the hills to seek out his sister.
His eyes snap from me to my father. I watch them, wordless as ever, but my heart is singing with my brother's song. Father scowls at me, his eyes ordering me back to his side. I do not obey, and continue to protect my brother until soundlessly, he slips away and disappears.
Father swears at me and lowers his gun. Then, without a word, he turns and heads back home. I slink after him, knowing I will be punished for my disobedience. But even so, my heart is singing.
Singing with the song of my brother.

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