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A Chance Encounter
Once again for the fourth morning in a row at 2:22, the wolf was standing outside my window. This time, I rose and followed him. He led me through the thick forest that was behind the row of small houses. The wolf didn’t move too fast, but he did move fast enough. I could see my breath in thick clouds of steam. It didn’t quite blend with the snow on the Evergreens or the Blue Spruces. Neither did the wolf; that was all I cared about.
There was a clearing. Inside that clearing was a black hole. Waiting for me to advance, the wolf stood boldly beside it. Just as bold, I approached not knowing what to expect. I took wild guesses at this madness. Water? Possibly a litter? The wolf’s family was stuck? Maybe even a chest of gold? I expected anything except for what I saw nestled against the breast of an oil black wolf with amazing turquoise eyes and a frozen blanket of crystals from nose to tail.
“Oh, God!” I gasped as I slid down the side of the steep hole. I wasn’t thinking. The wolf inside was the last of my concern. A small child was cuddled against her belly. God only knew how long the child had been there. The she wolf stood back, shaking off. She was gone when I looked up again; so was the white wolf. With compassion, I scrambled out of the hole and headed back towards my house.
Me! A mother! I thought as I lowered myself into the hot bathtub with the two-year-old against my breasts now. I was only twenty-two and fresh out of college with a librarian degree. My family passed when I was only eight, and I never looked forward to a relationship with another person. Let alone kids. I never knew what kind of mother I would be. I never wanted to try it. It scared me to think that I could be responsible for another baby’s abandonment. The chances of leaving a child alone in the world for others to care for frightened me. I had faced that experience, and I was paranoid of leaving my child to a fate such as mine, although it could not be helped.
Sighing, I gazed down at the small girl child. Like the wolf that had cared for her, she too had oil black, but curly hair. Her honey-roasted skin was pale with a tint of blue. Her face was perfectly round and innocent of this fate that had begun her life; she was still sleeping. The look of her reminded me of myself when I was far younger.
I dressed her in a pale pink cotton shirt and wrapped her tightly in a blanket that my older sister had made for me when she was sixteen, only two months before the bridge had collapsed. I couldn’t put the girl down! I found myself smiling lovingly at her, rocking her, and kissing her baby cheeks every chance I had. She was beautiful!
I remembered something I had found tangled in her hair when I was washing it. It didn’t matter how much I scrubbed her down with the pomegranate body wash and berry shampoo; she still smelled of cold, woodsy earth. I picked up the flat burgundy stone that hung on a silver chain. On the front was a cub’s paw print and in silver embedding, Sabriel was written in elegant calligraphy on the back.
Slowly, I returned to my room, my mind running a million miles a minute over the whole night. I could be dreamingâ€”it was too real. I wasn’t dreaming. I looked out the window through the fresh falling snow. There, the white and black Timberwolves gazed back. In a strange sense, I knew that the female was coveting for the child in my arms. Her turquoise eyes shimmered in the faint moonlight, but she bowed her head with solemn respect before turning to follow the leaving alpha that had only guarded once like an overbearing father.
A moment passed before I was able to gaze down into my arms again. Turquoise eyes wondered back up at me. My breath was stolen in that instant by her beauty and her history. When I was able to breathe again, I smiled. “Sabriel,” I murmured, brushing my lips across her forehead.
Her lips pulled back coyly, and she snuggled as close as she possible could to me.
I crawled into my bed. I knew what was expected of me. I knew that I was chosen to receive such great faith and honor. I made a private promise to the unknown just before we drifted off into a linked dream of wolves, people, endless snow, and silvery moonlight. I promised I would never desert Sabriel.