The Wolf And The Raven
By Linda M. Crate
Spooling fingers of silver danced upon his grey fur. The moon was radiant that night as he stood by her tree. He let out a soft whine, sounding more like a dog than a wolf, and she opened her eyes. The raven gazed down upon the wolf, and he grinned wolfishly at her. She knew that he wanted to play. Trying hard not to roll her eyes, she nodded, then slowly plunged downward so she were mere inches before his head.
He nipped playfully, teeth closing inches from her tail feathers. He barked happily.
Asphodel didn’t have the heart to tell him that she wasn’t in the mood for playing. So she went along with their ritual, moving through the motions, gliding through fingers of cool winter air. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that vampire Tristianna. Benjamin seemed over the moon with her, but she wasn’t so sure she liked her.
After all, what good had vampires done for her?
They had first shunned the werewolves and then granted them their freedom — but she could see in many ways they were still not free. She also noted that the vampires seemed prone to liking the blood of werewolves and shapeshifters more than mere mortals. Sometimes even the occasional faerie or elf — yet those races seemed a little quicker in reflexes, and usually averted being the prey of such heartless monsters.
She was jerked back to reality and out of her thoughts when Cygnus actually grasped on her tail feathers. She let out a derisive squawk.
Landing in her human form, she glared dangerously at the wolf. “You nearly ate me!” she fumed.
“I could never eat you,” Cygnus winked, as he took his human form. He could see the fury flashing in her eyes. “What’s bothering you, love?”
“You’re a horrible liar.”
She scowled at him, despite knowing this was true. Sighing, she folded her arms. “I don’t like that Tristianna girl.”
“Why not?” Cygnus remarked, tilting his head at her.
She brushed long strands of red hair from her dark brown eyes. “Because, she’s a vampire, and they can’t be trusted.”
“Oh, come on now, don’t adopt that attitude.” He sighed. “I know you find it hard to trust people, Asp, but that doesn’t mean she’s vile. She can’t help being a vampire anymore than you could help that you were born a shapeshifter.”
“Still our race hasn’t inflicted other races with enslavement and death,” she retorted sharply. “I don’t know what Benjamin sees in her, truly,” she argued.
He frowned at her. “That may be true, but you can’t hold her accountable to all the crimes her people have committed. She is one vampire among many.”
“But she’s vampire royalty, you mean to tell me that you think her hands have never been soiled?”
“It’s not for me to conjecture,” he shrugged. “Nor is it for either of us to judge her. We’ll just have to get to know her better.”
“Hmph. I suppose you’re right, but there’s something off about her —.”
“What do you mean?”
“Haven’t you seen the way she looks at Benjamin like she wants something from him?”
“Darling, that’s the same way you look at me. She loves him.”
“You’re just jealous that there’s another girl in the group. You haven’t had to share a place with one for quite some time.”
She felt her cheeks redden in color. “I’m sorry, m’lord. I’ll go hide under a rock now.”
“You are forgiven milady. You would be hard pressed to find a rock that hide the light of your smile, the glow of your skin or the brilliance of your eyes. T’would be much easier to find a stone that accompanied them.”
“I find thee giving me compliments I don’t deserve, but I thank thee. Your magnificent beauty and mind are quite pleasing to mine soul. Ye make me happier than the larks singing their spring song.”
“If only the larks song were not so fleeting, nor spring so short and happiness so brief but the memory of your beauteous soul milady will last for an eternity among the angel’s memory.”
“Ah, but your diligent praise of such a lowly a lady as I, is deserving of such wondrous words for you are as beauteous as the constant of golden sun hanging in the heavenly sky — so very unlike the fickle moon silver kisses and his frigid fingers pale that cannot decide whether to wax or wane. No, you remain to shower me in your warmth and love.”
“If I am the sun fair lady then you are the Lady earth herself. Fair Gaia spoken of old whose tresses are like the summer plains rustled by the breeze. Whose eyes are of the deepest depths holding eternal secrets. Whose skin is like the soft soil of risen river and whose laughter is like falling waters.”
“Ah, such lofty praise for a maid such as I? For I am but a whisper on the wings of tissue paper butterflies, fleeting for an instant upon the clovers before being blown away in the teeth of the zephyr. Surely, someone as wondrous you can see but I am just a mere vapor on the shadow of life?”
“But know fair maiden that this is that instant upon which you fleet and you are that vapor that dances and you are the song that whispers. Tomorrow may be and you away, but worthy of praise you are today.”
She laughed. “Okay, you win.”
“Don’t I always?” he teased.
She rolled her eyes, shoving him away playfully. “Just for that you don’t get any kisses.”
“No, kisses? Woman, you are crazy.” He grabbed her by the arm, pulling her into his arms. He stroked red hair from her dark brown eyes. “You’re funny. No kisses.” He leaned downward and kissed her in full.
As his lips crashed down on her she felt waves of tranquility wash over her. She wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders, trying to ignore the tickling of his long blonde locks that brushed themselves lovingly upon her face. He gave her the peace of life which she required — peace she had never obtained from the arms of any other. She smiled, the first genuine smile to stretch the topography of your face for weeks. It didn’t go unnoticed.
She caught the gleam of his white teeth in the moon when they pulled away. “I’ve made you happy?” he asked.
“Silly, Wolf, you’re the only one that makes me happy.” As he opened her mouth to say something undoubtedly arrogant, she silenced him with a kiss.
“Was that your polite way of shutting me up, milady?”
“Indeed it was,” she agreed, laughing. “I’m glad you cottoned on.” She allowed him to take her hand within in his own, enjoying the feeling of his fingers laced with hers. She smiled gently at him. He was the only place that had ever felt like home. He was her wolf, and she knew that no matter what she would always love him.
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Linda Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry has recently been featured in Magic Cat Press, Black-Listed Magazine, Bigger Stones, and Vintage Poetry. One of her short stories has been featured in Carnage Conservatory and she has an upcoming short story for publication in Dark Gothic Reconstructed Magazine in April 2012.
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