Well ladies and gents, it’s that time of cycle that I post something old. I’ve debated posting (endorsing, selling) my currently listed Etsy item, the MacRabbit, but I decided to spare you that since I’ll be pouring my handiwork on you for the next ‘Something New.’😉
(You can still check it out if you’d like!)
Anyway, what I am posting is an old short story I wrote some time ago in college. The initial concept still draws my imagination down the wild, twisting forest paths, and the basis of Leo’s character is still one that I play with when dreaming up stories. Anyway, please enjoy!
Leo pulled up and parked the rusty red Chevy, his high school tassel swinging with the force of the truck. He took a deep breath and released it, running his large hand through his sandy hair. Just get it done quickly, he thought to himself. As if this ever went quickly.
He jumped out of the car onto the gravel parking lot. The park was abandoned at this time of evening, especially with summer storms brewing overhead. The tension in the air matched Leo’s inner tension; tension built up from putting this off, tension built up from the need to do it. Glancing overhead, he made his way into the woods.
Taking the trail wasn’t usually the smartest thing to do, but Leo felt too lazy to start off the hike with forging through foliage. He’d have to do enough of that later. ‘Course, later he wouldn’t care so much. After a good ten minutes, he decided it was as good as any time to split off. Choosing a spot that was well covered with unnaturally green bushes and weeds, he pushed his way into the heart of the woods.
The deeper he trudged, the clearer the sound of the river grew. Leo had chosen this particular park because of this river; it was wide with a series of waterfalls, some small and delicate, others large and roaring.
The scents of the water and the trees pulled at his nose, and he knew that all of his desires to resist were falling away. He closed his eyes to the tense air, breathing it in, letting it fill him. Why did he hate his nature so? It was a part of him. It was something he wanted to release. He would go away from here, wherever that was, and forget the scents, the colors, the tension, the freedom that the wind howled to him. The freedom of the night, of the storm, of all those things on which he could never place his human fingers. The wind pulled at him, at his form, at his heart, and no longer could he hold it.
Changing was always painful. But in this atmosphere, the pain felt more than natural- it felt necessary. It was a part of his nature, it was a part of the nature around him. As his bones cracked and grew, he heard the pain of the wind. As his skin stretched and ripped, he heard the pain of the sky. Of the river. Of the trees. The pain of all things bound. His form released itself in a howl of pain.
No longer could fear or reason hold him. He raced off through the woods, browns and greens flying by in a fury of earth and wood, leaves old and new. Shadow traces of the other occupants of this forest surfaced, none of them willing to come out and greet him, but none of them shy by the flavor of human. This was his territory, the territory of a wolf. He ran with the wind, water, and sky roaring at his back, feeling their fierce passion fill him till there was no way for him to release that energy but to succumb to the call of the run.
Faster, harder, straight to the sound of the river. Upon reaching its swollen banks he turned and followed it, jumping rocks and fallen trees with abandon. Never dropping speed, he jumped a boulder which reminded him that the greatest waterfall on the river was just a few good yards away. His yellow eyes grew slightly wider with anticipation. Another boulder, and he leaped clear of gravity, angled just so that he flew over the edge above the water.
With a light splash he fell thirty feet into the icy water. Submerged for just a moment, his senses began to screech with the need to be above. He pulled his head up and paddled over to the bank. Pulling himself was a slightly harder task, as his fur was now soaked. He shook it, but a roll of thunder told him it wouldn’t make much difference in a few minutes. Time to start the return trip.
Leo was only about twenty-five feet from the truck when it started to rain again. Walking over to the Chevy, he stood on his hind legs against the side of the bed and used his nose to flip the handle. Standing there reminded him even more of the fact that he was no normal wolf.
As he climbed into the cab, he forced his change to begin, just so he could fit. He lost a good ten pounds in water just from loosing the fur. He grabbed the towel and closed the door before anything unsightly was visible to the outside world. After wiping himself down, he threw on a pair of jeans and a tee shirt.
Leo sat for a moment, remembering the scents and sounds of the woods and the rain. He knew he had been given a gift, but somehow, he could figure out why it was supposed to be just that. How many other people were forced to dance between two worlds, never to belong to either? He started the truck and put it into drive. One day, he would have to choose.