There was a time, I looked into a mirror, for an answer when I didn't know the question. So all I saw was the red-brown skin of my complexion, the dark, hollow look of my eyes and I watched my lips move in silent prayer for relief to my misery. I had come to the end of myself, I was in trouble and there was no one to help. Viewing my pitiful face gave me no encouragement, so I turned away.
A sound of a wind moving through trees caught my attention, it wasn’t from outside my room, but from the mirror. I looked into it again, but I had no reflection, but what I saw I couldn’t explain. I viewed it in silence.
The night air finally grew still among the dark trees. Now, the only sounds come from the men I've tracked to this place, the sounds of their loud music and boisterous voices. The pads of my feet take silent steps as I sniff the air around me. I confirm the men I seek are here. There is a house among these trees, a two level horror, with broken shingles and dirty windows allowing only meager light from an upper window. I feel my body tingle as I become aware of the presence I seek most, my wife. They took her hostage to lure me here. She is near that dimly lit room. I see a low, heavy tree branch that I can jump from to the top of the first level, from there I'll leap to the roof. I will break through the window from there.
I take steps to follow my plan when I'm interrupted by a pleading male voice, "Please don't kill me...please!"
I head towards a voice familiar to me. He is being beaten, I can hear the blows and smell the blood. I cross over to a patch of bushes. From behind them, I see the brutal scene. A blind folded, tied up man is being struck by two men taking turns punching him. With each blow he falls to the foot of a large tree.. Just as I recognize the man, one of the abusers verifies his identity. This man raises a pistol to the man’s head, "I'm sick of your begging Louis, tell us where you were taking that woman!"
Louis, through bloody lips mutters, "To her home,"
The other man slugs him in the stomach, their victim crumbles.
The man with the gun pulls him up, "No you weren’t, she don't live where you were going!"He pushes the gun against the trembling man's temple. "Enough! This fool doesn't know nothing!" He pushes the gun harder,
"We'll ask the woman again where her husband is.” The second man added, “and since Louis ain’t helping, we ain’t going easy on her this time!"
Hearing the threat to my wife, I stood up on two legs, yelling "You don't have to ask her where I am, I'M HERE!
"What the hell!" the man said as he let down his gun. I was on him before he could raise the weapon against me. I tore his throat out, leaving him bleeding on the ground. The second man tried to run, but didn't get far. Headed for the house, I cut him off.
Rising to stand in front of him, I heard the same question, as he backed away, "What the hell are you?"
I showed my fangs standing there and took steps to close in. “Hell has seen nothing like me!” I growled as I leaped, flattening him under my weight. He died the same way, his throat torn open from a single bite.
The sounds of our scuffle stirred the occupants of the house and a bright light came on near the side entrance. I managed to stay out of the light by finding that low branch which was my first step up to the roof. I plowed through the upper window. It seemed the entire place was on high alert now, outside and inside. My breaking through the glass had placed me in a short hall close to the room where she was. Before reaching the door a man burst out, fleeing gun fire. He tumbled down some nearby stairs colliding with other men making their way up from the main floor. I had no time to enter the room to reach her, instead I ran past it to confront the men. Throwing my weight against them, they all tumbled back down. Three of them scattered, running for exits. Only one fool lagged behind, crawling on the floor grabbing for his dropped shotgun. I didn't give him time to raise it, as I jumped at his trigger hand, snapping it off at the wrist. As he screamed, I took him out, my bite taking off the top of his head.
I bounded back up the stairs to find her. She wasn't in the room, but a dead man was. She had been the one shooting when I came through the window and she had managed to take down one of them. The only other evidence of her having been there was some of her clothing. I returned to the window and jumped down to the ground. I knew she had escaped this way, but my senses had become uncertain of where she had gone. The remaining gang members were running around wildly. There was shouting, screaming, vehicles starting up with loud engines firing. I was glad they were rattled, but I wanted and needed to find her. At the moment their noise was impeding me.
I went back to the tree where the bodies of the first killed and their prisoner was. Louis however, was still breathing. For a second I thought of snapping his neck as well, after all he was involved in my wife's attempt to leave me. I reasoned If she hadn’t been out with him she wouldn’t have been captured by these goons. For this, I wanted him as dead as the others. As I considered killing him, my thoughts were interrupted by his sudden moaning. "So you wanted to be a hero?" I whispered in his ear. "Save her from her crazy husband, huh?"
I didn't bother to remove his blindfold or the ropes that held his hands. I simply grabbed him by his collar and dragged him where he could lean against the tree. He struggled weakly to remove his blindfold and I slapped his hand away. "No hero, you don't need to see, just keep this in your hand." I handed him the dead man's gun and pressed his hand over it. I managed to move away before he fumbled and removed his blindfold, " Who's there? Wait, I need help!"
From my hiding place I said, " You don't need help, hero. You just need to know who to be a hero for."
"What?" He asked
I had turned to leave, the goons were still all around, but I couldn't resist making things more plain for this fool.
"Stay away from my wife!" I growled. I bounded off, he was on his own.
Her scent was easier to make out now and I raced towards her. She was smart to head away from the house, but her path was taking her deeper into the woods. In the distance I could hear sirens, the police were on their way to the horror house. They were finally acting on my anonymous call, placed before my hunt began. They figured it out late, but all worked perfectly. I knew I would reach her and get her home, keeping the authorities from involving her. After all, the fight with these drug dealers was between me and them.
She was walking slowly along the top of a flat ridge leading to a dirt road. Dressed in only her underwear. I was sure she was not only cold but exhausted. I was astounded by how far she had gotten. While I didn't want to appear to her in this form, I had little choice. From this distance heading home on four legs would be quicker than heading home on two. Besides, I knew a shortcut, she would only have to endure my wolf appearance for a short time. She was quick to hear me coming and began to run, but I easily caught her. Holding her tight, we passed through unseen travel spaces, one of my more useful talents. It took the last of my strength, but we made it home. We were safe for now.
By the time I opened my eyes, my solemn face dominated the mirror. But what was this experience I had? I seemed to view it, yet I was part of it. I was this beast rendering judgement instead of having judgement rendered against me. It was wondrous to feel so powerful.
Days passed, I kept my vigil before the mirror. I had nothing else. Evil men would soon come for me. I had no defense against them for I was evil like them. My only hope was to return to the world of the mirror. More days passed, I began to plead with it. When that didn’t work I began to rail at it like a mad man. Surely by now I was a mad man as I firmly believed I could fall into an illusion and be saved.
As the time wore on, I decided that if only my face remained in the mirror, I would destroy myself.
I heard a sound, a sound of wind and I bolted up to look into the mirror….
I don't know how long I had laid there beside my husband. I didn’t want to stir him in any way. I was still afraid, but it wasn't always that way. I loved him before, I loved him even now.
I remember when we first met. It was an unusual circumstance. I was working the evening shift at the hospital. I was an Emergency Room Technician. There had been a huge house fire that evening with family members and a rescuer injured. The Trauma Team took immediate charge over the more seriously injured. Those victims were the husband, who had gotten his children and wife out and the first responder, a sheriff deputy, who had reported the fire and helped the man get his family out. This sheriff deputy ended up getting trapped in the house with the husband. A wall of the house collapsed on them. What was remarkable was they both got out, before the firemen arrived. The husband had first and second degree burns, but his rescuer, the deputy, not only carried the unconscious, heavy man out of the burning, collapsed house, but managed to do this without getting burned or injured. This deputy was still brought in as a trauma case because they were sure he was injured in some way.
I remember how talk of him was all over the hospital that evening. After running minor tests on the stable family members, I was ordered to do some blood tests on the heroic deputy as well. With him in the triage room were three of his fellow officers. A tall older man greeted me at the door. After giving me a flirty smile, he announced me. I walked in making my way around the bed curtain and came face to face with truly one of the most enigmatic individuals I had ever seen. I was drawn to him immediately. He was not only handsome, but his eyes seemed to look right through me and I wasn’t frightened. I had never seen or felt anything like him before. I knew immediately, he was one of my kind. After a moment, I managed to explain why I was there.
His pleasant expression never changed as he politely declined having his blood drawn. The older man, who apparently was his superior, began to suggest he was being foolish and for him to cooperate with ‘the pretty lady’
He relented and gave a nod to his commander before looking off. His other companions took time to tease him as they assumed he had a fear of needles. As I was silently readying my tools for the blood draw on the table next to his cot, I saw his muscular bare chest rise in an inhalation I thought wouldn’t end. Then he spoke, “Get out all of you.” His voice wasn’t loud, but it rang in an odd way that seemed to shake the room and resonate even after he spoke. The three men jumped in unison and quickly left without further words.
I was alone with him now. When I looked up, he had his eyes fixed on me. The men were right, he was afraid, in a palatable way. Yet, it wasn't perceivable in his expression. Still looking at me he said, “I’m ready.
The blood draw was completed without incident. I wanted to linger, to talk, to ask his name, but all that came out of my mouth was, "Is there anything I can get for you?"
His expression unchanged and looking straight ahead he answered, "I'd like some water."
Elated to comply with this, I bolted out of the room to obtain a hospital water pitcher filled with crushed ice and filtered water. I rushed back with the filled water pitcher only to run into the older sheriff at the door. " He's getting some sort of heart test right now." Looking at the pitcher, he added, "Is that for him? I can take that."
I nodded, dumbly, then handed it over. The rest of my night was filled with what I should have done, what I could have said and other such nonsense. Mostly I wondered if he perceived me as I did him.
We did meet again after a few minor glitches. I felt we were meant to be together and he confirmed it.
We had first met in the fall. The Christmas holiday was our first spent together. This was the time he chose to tell me the secret about himself. I knew he was, in a word, clairvoyant. I was aware of this in him at our first meeting, because that's me as well. I had lived with visions and premonitions, vivid nightmares and out of body experiences. I obtained my 'gifts' from my father, whom I loved greatly. He taught me how to control it and not fear it. But when I had a vision of his death, I told him and tried to find ways to stop it, without success. He had died before my eyes and in the same manner my vision had shown me. Soon after that, I attempted suicide.
I remembered his eyes when I told him. I also remember how he knew exactly how I hid the scars of my botched suicide; my deeply scarred wrists. I wore many bracelets on both wrists. He removed them and replaced them with many sterling silver bracelets. They were all different widths and etched patterns, all so beautiful. He knew my most intimate secret and turned my shame into beauty.
His turn had come and now he became slightly evasive. His was not just intuitive. He was so much more, and he struggled with how to tell me. He told me he was more than man. He was an ancient guardian spirit, legendary among his native tribe and placed to keep watch over barriers gates to keep originators of evil bound until final judgement. He was allowed to live as human and transform into a beast of power if needed to defend or save. His animal of power was a wolf. He told me it was important for me to know his power was not related to the mythical werewolf. I pleaded with him to show me, but he wouldn't. His beast form he told me was sacred and nothing to display lightly. I had no idea I would see him in action. It was far more overwhelming and terrifying than I could have ever imagined. I came to understand why he chose to be a sheriff deputy, it fit well with his identity as a guardian of people.
After he brought me home, officers from the Sheriff's department came hours later. They were investigating the claims by Louis that he and I had been taken captive by a drug ring.
I was sitting on the sofa when my husband opened the door to them. He calmly pointed to where I was sitting. When I raised my head and greeted them, their queries about me ended. There was no way I could have been there and at home with my husband because I would have had to be at two places at the same time.
The Deputy wasn't one of my husband’s friends from the Sheriff’s Dept, but the Deputy knew him and they spoke quietly near the door, "Sorry about all this, but this Steve fella insisted you were there too." He snickered
My husband snickered with him and shrugged.
That ain't all the deputy added "There were bodies slashed up everywhere. Some of the crazies we caught said a mad dog got in. The rest of them packed up and left, but we’re trackin’ them, heading south.”
“Heading south huh?” I heard my husband say.
I knew then his war with them wasn’t over.
In the light of the pale dawn, I finally moved only to find him gone. His fierce presence lingered but I still wanted him here, with me, in whatever form. Now all was uncertain. I didn’t know when he’d be back or if he would be back. All I knew was he said to me in a dream, “I go hunting” his phrase for vengeance against all threats till they no longer exist.
I heard the wind, but now there was no mirror, only truth. Now, I could go hunting.