This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Wolf

The strange man’s difference had been apparent to me all along, but his utterly sublime charisma had caught me off guard.  I felt there was a promise buried within his every look, his every movement.  If only I could discern what he offered…

I knew without a doubt he was a wolf, even without the telltale markings of a chemical nature.  Yet, as Silver had suggested, there was something more to him, something not quite right.

I decided to close early and to regroup my wits at the park.  I could always think better within the trees.

I paused in the doorway as I entered the noonday pedestrian flow.   I could scent the day’s other customers: four women; one, two months pregnant; nothing, however of him.  Even his clothing left no discernable trail – impossible.

Seated upon my rock, I watched the play of the children on summer release.  They appeared to swim below me in the shimmering warmth the golden sun poured into the vale between the trees.  I felt the warmth creep upon me and the slow shuttering, momentary muffling, ever more reclining signs of a catnap overtaking me, so I gave in.

It seemed my eyes had just closed when I dreamed of the scene below.

The children swam in their play.  I could see within their roiling midst a group of dark, frenzied form, blazing eyes, bared teeth, moving about as if searching for something.

Across the sea of youth and wolf I saw a lone, magnificent wolf gazing toward me.  I had seen its like only once and then only because I had chanced upon his epic clash with Silver.  I knew however, this wolf was not Zens.  In appearance he came from the same stock.  He was huge beyond any dog or true wolf, black as the absence of light.  Blazing crimson eyes seemed to reach out to me, pleading with me, drawing me.  I rose to heed them and I saw the pack below whirl and advance on my position.

They sought to keep me from the beast across the vale, but I would not be stopped.

I had never willed the change, merely succumbed to it; now however, my desire to reach the great wolf far outweighed my fear of the agony it would bring.

A strange sensation overcame me, a pleasant warmth suffusing my entire body.  I watched in rapt fascination as my extremities contorted, widened, flattened, shortened, shifted themselves painlessly, effortlessly into their destined forms.  I realized with a start that my skin was blackening, then laughed aloud as I discovered that it was a thick black coat pushing its way out through my skin.

I felt the transition begin and could no longer lie upon the ground as witness.  I rolled to all fours on unfamiliar appendages as my rib cage expanded and my waist shrank.  I shook the tatters of clothing from about me and became absorbed in the fascination of my elongating snout.  I laughed a short, sharp bark as whiskers pushed their way from out my newly formed face.

I knew this for a dream, yet I knew this must be my true wolf form.  I wondered that Silver had never remarked on my obvious descent from the great ones, he had seen me return from the kill often enough…

I beheld the wolves climbing the escarpment to my rock and felt a growing pity for them.

I growled a warning that they should depart.  To my surprise, to a wolf, they turned about, leapt to the field and fled into the trees.

The great wolf still stood across the sea of children.  I trotted down the rocky path to seek a way through the maze of sun-drenched children at play.

I spied a glimmer, a flash, within and between the gleaming bodies, never a definite shape; Silver paced me within the maze.

I could see the end of the sea of children, my escape from the maze, when Silver darted out from between shimmering forms before me.

I paused for an instant when Silver launched.  He wanted my throat, but the moist crack as my shoulder struck his lower jaw changed his mind…  He hadn’t seen me move.  I couldn’t believe he was so slow, so frail – surely a product of the dream.

Silver collapsed and disappeared amid the seething, sun-glistening mass of youth, and I could see the great wolf at the very edge of the tree line, upon his own rocky escarpment; I saw him beckoning with his eyes, his body, his very essence.

I leapt free of the sun and into the shadow of a tree line some yards away yet, and a glint from the rear was all I received in warning of Silver’s leaping attack.  To avoid him I had to drop to the ground, losing sight of the great wolf.  Silver recovered from his leap and sought to bar my way, no longer attacking, just pacing me.  He blocked my view up the gravel and stone laden path to the trees.

As I bunched my muscles to leap over him, Silver surprised me by speaking through his lupine throat.

“Sshtop.”  He collapsed before me, in a rain of silver fur, which quickly dissolved into a fine gray dust about and upon the human that is Silver.  “Stop, hear me out.”

I paused, still crouching, and growled.

Silver, eyebrows arching, remained undaunted, even in the nude on a hill before a sun-soaked playground in my dream.

“If you wish to follow the rogue I will not bar your way –“

He didn’t acknowledge my grunted disgust.

“But you must understand that he has come to destroy us and all that we live for; everything we believe in.”

I could no longer bear to remain unheard so I sought to speak and my throat, my tongue, even my teeth shifted to accommodate my desire.

“You cannot be serious.”

Silver’s mouth gaped.  His shoulders dropped and his head bowed to his chest as walked the trail toward me.  In a whisper, he spoke, “So it has begun.”

As he spoke, he fell to all fours and transformed simultaneously, fluidly becoming a wolf and pushing past me to exist as a flash of silver among the golden play.

There awaited a wolf within the woods before me and hopefully, some sort of sense, else this dream were fantasy.

From the darkness between the trees there approached a deeper dark, then the great wolf stood before me.

“I know what you would ask of me, yet I do not believe you are ready for the answers.”

He turned to go and the sun exploded above me.

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