Snow's Falling Again

By
The air was heavy and thick with the looming, tear-jerking scents that were all too familiar. Two of the three presented scents wafting in the air were the most familiar, the third not too much. The fact that the two mingled together wasn’t a good sign at all and the third, faintly familiar scent, made the situation worse. Much, much worse. My fear deepened as I raced forward past trees and bushes, following the devastating scents. As I got closer and closer my hope seemed to dwindle. Snow fell heavily, only coming down faster the closer I got, slightly blinding my vision infront of me. I hated the cold. Too bad it was December.

……

[i]My eyes scanned over the clearing from behind the bush I was hidden in. Where was he…my prey…Suddenly he appeared, walking casually but obviously cautiously while his eyes darted around. My muscles tensed, ready for me to move. I could feel the adrenaline flowing through my veins and I almost bolted right then. Too early…Wait…for the perfect moment…Yes! I sprung out from the bush when he got just a little too close.

“Gotcha!” I yelled and landed right on top of him and taking him to the ground. He let out a surprised yelp as soon as we came in contact. We rolled a few times then came to a stop, me pinning him,”Ha!” I shouted.”I won again!” He stared at me blankly, rolling his eyes slightly. I laughed.

“Yea, yea, you won. Now get off!” He demanded and I hopped off lightly, rolling over onto my back, still snickering some. He never won which only made each day more entertaining. I watched as he got up and shook the snow off his fur, revealing its true blackened color. Mine was an ash tint but with snow mixed in. Ah, wonderful winter.

“So…” I began, as usual. He gave me a grumpy look and I rolled my eyes this time,”I heard we’re all going to be moving soon,” I started, waiting for his reaction before I continued. He sat down and looked back at me.

“And?”

“Well…you’re not wondering why? My mom told me about it. She said it was just time to move again. The last time they had was when we were born. Apparently they move around every eleven years or so,” I explained, just as Mom had. He nodded and I hopped up with a quick twist of my body, tackling him into the snow. This time he fought back and we continued with our little play fight until our mothers came and got us. Snow started falling again, the new white spots giving our home a peaceful sense to it.[/i]

…..

The memory burned fresh in my mind, slowly causing a numbing pain throughout my body. We had never moved. He’d never made it through the next two years. My friend had died a year and a half later, getting sick beyond healing. He was too young, his immune system not strong enough yet to pass through the last winter. We hadn’t moved because another family of our kind had run into us in the two years after my friend’s death. I was fourteen. This was only a few days ago. The new family and my own made a deal, both having the same ambitions about our race. They wanted to restore our declining numbers. Fortunately for them the other family had a male only a year older than me so they made the perfect plan. I was to…’marry’ him if you will, so we could help to raise our falling numbers. Against my consent? I didn’t want to be forced to like someone yet alone be with someone I didn’t know. Plus he looked too much like my departed friend…it was too painful. So, to escape being forced to do something and the past, I ran.

And now I was coming back. But to what?

I was almost there. The area became more familiar; the place I’d left only a few days ago for my own selfish reasons. From that point on I knew where every tree and shrub was located because I’d lived around that area my whole life. Breaking through the last few trees I came out at the memorable clearing of my childhood that I’d lived around my whole fourteen years of life. The scene before me concluded my fears and my heart sank instantly, hard and fast. There was no way such a thing could happen to me. I was dreaming, I had to be. It was too…weird and wrong. Oh, how I’d wished it was a dream. It wasn’t a dream; it was too vivid, too real. Red painted the ground everywhere, spotted by the white pile of flakes that fell pointlessly from the sky.

The crimson coloring also decorated my beloved family, whom I’d just discovered as lumps on the ground, half devoured by snow as well. Every last one of them. The snow wasn’t very merciful or calm as I’d seen it in the past; it showed no recognition to my family as it covered their bodies carelessly. Not much of them was visible anymore, all white with spots of crimson showing. My family was rather large too, consisting of fifteen members including me. Now I was all that was left? It was just so…inconsiderably unbelievable none of them had made it out alive…

Where was the other family? There was no sign of their lifeless selves under the snow, no evidence that they were there. Had they run when danger came too close? Did they abandon my family so they’d survive?

What did it matter?

Somehow, I found the ability to move my legs from their frozen, still position, walking forward but slowly, my eyes widened. It didn’t take long to find the corpse of my mother, my father lying right beside her…They’d died together… I then wondered who of the two had lost their essence of life first. Probably Mom. Strong as she was my father was a bit stronger and he would make sure my mother passed with him speaking final, soothing words to her gently while he made sure she didn’t go through any more torment.

I blinked as I looked down at the two, only then becoming aware of the silent tears that had started to slip down my face. Instantly, I felt guilty for wondering who’d died first then completely shattered. I dropped to the ground beside them, the silent tears turning into disturbing sobs that were completely unnatural to me that racked my body without mercy. Snow was already covering my form but that was the last thing I was worried about. Life suddenly seemed…pointless. Without meaning. What did I have left when all I had was my family? My pride? No, that seemed to have died too. So I layed there, weeping and having nothing while I wished death would come to me too. Why didn’t our attackers come back and check for survivors? There was one.

It seemed like hours before I couldn’t cry anymore. Maybe it had been hours. I didn’t know. I didn’t care. My whole body was stiff, half frozen from the snow that caked over my fur like the others. My face was the numbest, the tears literally frozen on my face. I could get out of that. I could be warm if I wanted to. Two different ways I could escape the freezing cold, one more effective then the other. But I didn’t, of course. I wouldn’t save myself now, not when I was so close to what I wanted at the time.

I found I could barely move when I lifted my body up slowly. I suddenly didn’t want to be there. By them. So I tried to move and walk off, probably go die in the middle of the woods somewhere alone. Because I should have died with them. I should have been there when they were attacked, but I wasn’t. I had run off beforehand because I was selfish.

I staggered, almost falling over as I stood. Dazed and disoriented I I let my true form rip out, tearing away the human flesh and replacing it with ash colored fur. Human appendages morphed into forelegs and paws, a tail growing in. Pathetic human teeth sharpened, lengthening along with feeble nails that changed into claws. Useless human ears pointed and became more acute while the form’s face elongated into a muzzle with a sharp sense of smell. Flames danced around my paws then vanished quickly, all part of my transformation. Bigger than an average wolf but not a werewolf. We were stronger and faster and definitely smarter then your average fairy tail. We were shape shifters, ones that changed to wolves and that alone. We’re called Shadows.

I lowered my head passing a final glance rest on them. For a moment I was proud of our kind even though our numbers were falling. We were being hunted and killed by the ones known as Blanks, our worst enemy. They killed without reason, none we knew about anyways. When we died we reverted back to our wolf forms automatically. Our human forms were just cover ups, maybe not even our other halves. The snow had settled a little, no longer pounding down on the earth. I lifted my head to the sky, staring, realizing night had come. The stars sparkled brilliantly and I could see half of the moon because of the clouds that made the snow fall lifelessly to the ground. For a moment I felt free. Would I feel that way after this? I didn’t know. I only slightly cared Maybe I wouldn’t chase death so quickly. Parting my fang inhabited mouth, my vocal chords let loose a fierce, mournful howl that rang throughout for miles maybe. I howled for my lost comrades, my family. And I howled for whatever the future held for me.

…..

“Sae?” I snapped my head up, twisting to look at who had called me. My eyes rested on a guy my age with light brown hair and foresty green eyes. A worried expression covered his face,”Are you ok…?” he asked, the worry on his face portrayed in his tone as well. I gave him a soft smile of reassurance. I hadn’t realized I’d been staring out for so long, too drowned in the memory.

“Yea, I’m fine,” I answered, looking over his shoulder at the others who were watching us too, different expressions set on their faces. My smile widened as I looked over the five of them. My new family. I’d come across each one at various times and we’d grown attached to each other, too attached to separate.

“You were staring out there for a long time. Did you’re brain finally explode?” One of the other guys joked, earning a laugh from the third guy and the other girl. The one who had spoken to me smiled, trying to hold back a laugh. I smirked and shook my head, eyes resting on the last guy in our small family. He gave me a thin smile that was soft and relaxing. I returned it then turned my head to look outside the window again, eyes trailing the graceful flakes that fell from the sky, accommodating winter to arrive. Life had changed since the incident. I wasn't ready to die like I'd wished for. My plans had changed.

[i]Welcome back winter, happy anniversary my family, and I’ll see you next year, my December.
[/i]





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