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I focus on the faint whisper of soggy winter leaves under my bare, exposed feet. My ancient boots must have fallen of miles ago. Tendons in my legs are aching and screaming me to stop. All of the blood I own feels frozen, but I keep on.
“If only I would have stayed away.” I think to myself. The picture of Demetri’s limp body flashes like a racehorse in my mind, I cringe at the image. But I don’t dare slow down.
“If only I would have stayed away.” I repeat again.
It was December 8th 2007 when I first saw the gallant creature. At the time, I had no clue what it was. I was 15 years old. Drifting to sleep that night, because of my bed being right beside a window, I saw those two green eyes. A thousand animal names popped in my head, my dove gray eyes fluttered closed, and I fell to sleep knowing I had to see it for myself.
The six o’clock light dimly seeped through my red curtains, the same color as my untamed hair. I dragged my self out of my bed with sheer effort and pushed off my grandmother’s quilt. A flash of the green eyes appeared in my head, and I remembered my goal for the day. I jumped over hundreds of books, little women, Beowulf, 1984, all my favorites, concealing my floor and I started to make a small dance.
I placed my hands on my boyish hips and twirled till’ I was sick. My hair danced from my waist and into the air like a restrained fire. I pressed play on my old CD player and it grunted to life. An old Green Day song started from where I last left off. I danced till’ I was to my phone, It was sparkly and silver. I pressed my best friend, Demetrious, number and the buttons light up like fireflies. Demetri had silvery black hair and luminous topaz green eyes. His lips were normally chapped because he always used to forget his chap stick on his washing machine. And the green eyes were usually supported by small light purple coloring, due to his poor amount sleep. Often, people said it made him look demonic, but his personality made up for it. He had a tendency to have night terrors; he’s even been close to committing suicide in his sleep. Despite his terrible lack of sleep, Demetri was always a kindly person. I remembered franticly that I had to get dressed, so I reached for my clothes. My favorite light blue shirt and my white, puffy marshmallow like coat were both lying stiffly on my desk chair. I quickly grabbed my golden cross necklace and latched it uncomfortably around my neck. The gold looked like it swallowed the sun. It’s quite funny since I’m Wiccan that I wear a cross. I only do so to fit in with the crowd.
“Hello? Vivian?” Demetri’s voice sounded urgent.
“Hey Demetri, can I ask you a favor?”
Trying to balance the sparkly phone between my shoulder and my ear, I imagined Demetri standing in his plain room, weighing the odds of getting killed.
“Well, I was going to sleep last night, and you know my bed is right by my window, right? You’re never going to guess what I saw!” I waited for him to guess, he didn’t.
“Aren’t you going to guess?”
“No.” I could just feel his excitement through the phone. I rolled my eyes.
“Yes! Guess, it’s fun!”
“No.” And that’s when I rolled my eyes for the second time in our conversation.
“Fine, Fine, I’ll tell you…..” I added a dramatic pause, which my momma says that’s all I am, one big dramatic pause. I reached down by my foot to get lime green hair brush, and started combing through my flaming red locks.
“An animal! I saw an animal!”
“An animal? You called me at six o’clock, to tell me you saw an animal?” his voice was very dreary, I was afraid I’d woken him up.
“Yeah, of course, But I need your help. I have to see it Demetri! It had such pretty eyes. And now that I think about it…..its eyes were the same color as yours…”
“No, I’m not coming, you’re crazy.”
“Okie dokie, be here in one hour!”
“Viv, I said no.”
I cut the line, slipped on my silken top and started dancing freely down the hall, my feet tapping on the slick hard wood.
“Viv! It’s Demetrious!” My grandmother called from downstairs. I jumped down the stairs two at a time and made my way to our newly re-modeled kitchen. My Grandma started staying with Mom and me when she turned 77. Worst gift she ever got she said. And a few other things Mom said not to repeat.
“I can’t believe you called him at six in the morning!” My grandma’s accent was heavy and her brows fused together. But I could tell that she was hiding a grin. I shrugged and went to our fridge to get a juice box. By this time the door bell was ringing like a mad man and was getting quite annoying. Even my grandmother had her fingers in her ears, trying to block out the constant ringing. So I finally gave in, and opened the door for Demetri.
“Hey Ace.” I winked at him teasingly and bolted out the door, and into deep drifts of snow. I could hear him walking behind me, not sport enough to run. I made it to my bedroom window, along side the house and I waited for him to hurry up. I faced the forest and spoke like a robot, trying to get Demetri to laugh.
Demetrious slowed his walk even more, made his way across my lawn and stood very still. Each second he stood a bit more still. I could tell his muscles were strained, like he was about to burst into laughter any moment. Finally, he spoke up.
“Well? Are we just going to stand here?”
He grabbed my limp arm, the one where a scar was formed from a freak accident. A scar that runs from my delicate skin of my wrist, to dense skin of my shoulder, and makes me point to the woods
“Onward.’ A velvet grin melted on his face. Snow had sprinkled on his bangs, making his hair stick to his skin. I smiled back, and started towards to woods.
The moment I stepped into the woods I was in awe. Soft snow was falling out of the sky, bright like diamonds cut out of the sun. A trembling love seemed to penetrate out from me for the forest. Two topaz green eyes were glowering at me from the corner of my eyes. And they weren’t Demetri’s. I stopped mid-step and put a protective hand in front of Demetrious. Beside the green eyes were three more pairs of innocent, identical eyes. A wolf. A wolf and its pups. Those same sentences kept repeating in my mind monotonously. My hands were quivering, trying to hold Demetri closer. He put his palm on my shoulder and calmly put me behind me.
“No.” I whispered gently and tipped around Demetri’s fretful body.
“Yes.” He said sternly and pulled me back.
“Can’t you see, she has…one…two…three pups. One step and your dead, she’ll kill us without regret.”
All the words he said went right through my ears; I concentrated on the wolves. The wolves’ over fur was a warm umber and she had endless black holes for eyes. But what I didn’t notice before was the faint foam forming near her mouth. There was a dangerous stillness about her, that immediately made me think of the rabid animal attacks around my town. Even rabid, her appearance made me think of the name Lionel, so I began calling to her.
“What? What are you saying?” Demetrious cocked his head just enough to not upset Lionel and make her go into a panther like crouch.
“Lionel. It’s her name, it suits her nicely. Don’t you think?”
I cocked my head to match Demetri’s perfectly.
“I, think your nuts.”
We were in a tantalizing trance when Lionel stood up. My head drew to Lionel’s furry one; I could tell she was upset. I took one glance at Demetri, a thin sheet of sweat hung on his temple. I felt a warm pulse in my hand, knowing it was his. I tried to turn around; But Lionel was much, much quicker. Pearl like snow was a veil over Lionel’s muzzle. She looked dreadfully beautiful.
If only I stayed away, I thought again.