“Ciana, what’s going through your mind right now? As we watch this beautiful sunrise, what thoughts run through your head?” Fiadh was sitting on his haunches, staring as the red-orange sun slowly rose in the sky.
“I’m just thinking about how much I enjoy being here with my mate, not a care in the den.” Ciana turned to look at Fiadh. He swiveled his head to look at his beautiful silver-furred companion and barked softly, in joy. Ciana stared into his deep, blue eyes, then pressed her nose up against hers.
Now the sun was displaying its beauty, and small yips and yaps sounded from the den nestled in the cliff behind the mates. Fiadh pulled away from Ciana and padded into the den to care for the pups.
“There’s a rabbit next to their place!” Ciana called. Fiadh turned slightly and nodded at her. She nodded back and stood up, stretching her legs. Just another day.
“I don’t care why, Delilah! You should’ve known better than to go out, never answer my calls or texts, then come back two days later! You’re such a brat! I knew I shouldn’t have married you those years ago. In fact, I want a divorce!” Joel stomped to the front door, walked out, and slammed it behind him. Delilah was left standing in the center of the living room, shocked still. Tears ran silently down her face. The sound of Joel’s car pulling out of the driveway reached her ears.
I want a divorce.
I want a divorce.
I. Want. A. Divorce.
Joel’s words replayed themselves in Delilah’s head, over and over. The worst part was that she knew they weren’t just fighting words. She knew that he meant it. The love of her life was leaving her.
“Knock, kno-” Suzie Houper walked into the house, a smile on her face fading as she saw the sight of Delilah. “Dee, what’s the matter?” Closing the door behind her, Suzie cautiously walked to Delilah, stopping in front of her.
“J-j-joel. He-he… Suz, we’re getting a divorce!” Delilah howled. She threw herself onto Suzie, bawling.
“Oh, no, Dee. I’m so sorry.” Suzie contemplated saying something along the lines of “You were too good for him, anyway”, but knew that it was too soon for that. Right now, Delilah just needed to wallow in her sorrow.
“This time, Fiadh, I’m going to go with the alphas for food. You’ve gone the last three times. It won’t take long, but still, don’t let the pups out of your sight. They’re tricky. Especially Aurelio. Watch him closely,” Ciana instructed. She padded around the den, making sure that everything was in order. Before she left, Ciana licked Fiadh and barked a goodbye to her pups.
Several hours later, Ciana trotted back into her den. Her mind immediately told her that something was off. Fiadh was sleeping in the center of the den with Jazlynn and Kulia climbing on him. Acantha and Breaker were also sleeping peacefully on the west side of the space. And Aurelio was… Where was Aurelio?
“Fiadh! Wake up! Get up, Fiadh!”
Fiadh jerked awake, throwing Jazlynn and Kulia off of him. A deep growl began in his throat before he realized it was Ciana.
“Hello, Ciana. The pups and I did well. What did you kill?” Fiadh glanced behind Ciana, to see if there were any dead animals there. Before he could see clearly, Ciana snapped.
“I leave, and you fall asleep when you’re supposed to be keeping a watchful eye over the pups. What kind of wolf does that make you? Not a very good one in my eyes. Oh, and where in the den is Aurelio?!” Ciana’s ears were sticking straight up, and her teeth were bared. “And this isn’t the first time you’ve lost a pup! You know what, Fiadh, you can just leave. The pups and I can manage on our own.” Ciana gestured to the pups who were cuddled in the corner now, ears flat to their head.
“Fine. I knew you would just weigh me down, anyway.”
Delilah’s tears slipped silently down her face. A small bird hummed a sorrowful tune in the distance. Toddlers laughed from the closeby neighborhood. One toad croaked in the pond. The wind rustled leaves on the ground, and on trees. Through her tears, Delilah sang an emotional song that she had written.
“No one sees her pain; it just happens again and again. She puts on her brave face, but she really needs an embrace.” Delilah sang it softly, but with just as much power as she normally would in her studio. “She won’t let them see, no matter how hard she wants to. She hides it with her crazy. This is nothing new.”
The bird had gone quiet now, listening to Delilah’s melodic voice. The toad had also gone silent, stopping on the edge of water and land. Delilah only stopped when she heard someone or something step on the edge of the forest. She snapped her head around and saw a silver-furred wolf with piercing indigo eyes.
Never. Never had Ciana heard a voice like that. So, unwillingly, she was pulled by a trance away from her den, to a part of the forest she had never explored before. There was a clearing, and man was sitting there. This man was female, with dark brown fur and light green eyes. The female was singing.
“She won’t let them see, no matter how hard she wants to. She hides it with her crazy. This is nothing new.”
Ciana stepped on a twig, and it snapped in half. She winced as the female man stopped singing and turned towards her. They stared into each other's eyes for a moment. It felt like hours, though it was probably only thirty seconds.
“Hello there. You’re pretty far from wolf territory. Are you lost, sweetie?”
A feeling began deep down in Ciana’s stomach. She could feel it. It was a good feeling; it told her it was okay to go towards this female man. Of course, Ciana didn’t know who the female was, but trusted her. Ciana could tell the man felt the same.
As Ciana inched forward, the female man began to sing again. It was a song that meant a lot to her, Ciana could tell. Why was the question Ciana couldn’t answer.
“I built a friend out of three pieces of plastic and a pen. I made him on the table in the den. I gave him my old cell phone for a head, for a head.” Delilah sang slightly louder than the time before, hoping to spike the wolf’s attention. It worked, because the wolf continued to proceed towards Delilah. Right up until the wolf was next to Delilah where she was sitting, cross-legged, in the clearing. The wolf sat down next to her as Delilah continued the song.
“And we spent holidays at my house and we left presents in a stocking. And we bought bolts and things and strings and a new watch, that’s what he got.”
For the next hour, Delilah sang different songs to Cianna. The wolf was a great listener, intently watching the entire time. While this was happening, the sun was setting and the moon was rising. A silver glow covered the clearing, enhancing the light of both Delilah and Ciana’s eyes.
Delilah finished up the last verse of “Hallelujah”, then stopped. She reached over and wrapped her arm around Ciana. A message passed between the two, silently and sneakily.