Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Cursed Halloween Story

All Hallows Eve is nearing!  I'm so excited!
You know what this meansanother installment in the ongoing spook tale, 
If you have yet to experience the plight of the Queen of Werefolk—caused by a witch’s cursenow is the time to curl up in the corner of your sofa and greedily feast on the beginning chapters of a gripping Halloween tale.  Following are quotes from the reading to wet your appetite:

“Vengeance, retaliation, retribution, revenge are deceitful brothers; vile, beguiling demons promising justifiable compensation to a pained soul for his losses. Yet in truth they craftily fester away all else of worth remaining.” 

“I squinted at the western sky behind Thaddeus, a blood-red smear melting into blackness. Twisting my neck, I glanced the opposite direction. My teeth clenched at a magnified, round moon nearly as scarlet as the portending sunset, its luminous face half masked by hazy cloud cover. Hatred, vengeance, anger……such emotions coursed through my veins in a poisonous concoction that muddied my mind, impelling me to grip my sword tighter and fight with every ounce of strength I possessed against those who threatened my family - my kind. Currently, Thaddeus was behaving as such a threat, using his powers of persuasion to condone human sacrifice for some outrageously perceived good. He wanted an offering for the monsters; a desperate, futile offering of human flesh that would in no way protect the other villagers from being mauled as he promised.” 

“Misery is a river of tears that whispers my name in a constant hiss.” 

He gestured at me. “Do you like the blanket?”

I nodded. “It’s warm.”

“I made it. Well, actually, I didn’t skin the animal, but I did kill it….after the others pinned it down. It’s werewolf skin.”

My heart faltered; I gripped at a wad of black fur.

“I slayed the beast for you, Catherine. I used your sword. It was your grandmother’s idea actually, a wedding present. You mentioned how chilly you get.”

“You didn’t slay a werewolf,” I breathed before repeating the words louder. “You did not slay a werewolf, Thaddeus.”

“Oh, but I did. I took a band of huntsman with me and we tracked one down. A smaller one, mind you, not far from the front gate…”

“You did not!” I contended more strongly. Why would one wolf have separated from the pack? Why outside our walls?

“Yes, Catherine, I did,” he insisted.

I shook my head disbelieving. “You’re not capable—”

“I am so.”

I wanted to cry. I wanted to protest, but to do so meant giving away my knowledge of the truth. Without knowing what else to do or say I changed the subject.

“The fire’s gone out.”

Thaddeus turned his head to check. “You’re right. I’ll see to it.”

He fed the barrel stove until a healthy blaze was roaring. Finding me no longer a decent conversationalist, Thaddeus left with a promise to return soon with food and water. Unobserved, I gathered up the fur hide of a lost soul and curled into a ball, hugging it close to my chest. 

I cried silent tears and mourned for this unknown werewolf for days. 

“Enemies may unite to eliminate a common threat, but never without a wary eye fixed on their ally.”

“Vengeance would have us assault an enemy's pride to beat him down. But vengeance hides a dangerous truth, for a humbled foe gains patience, courage, strength, and greater determination.” 

The nonsense of his claim made me stammer over the rest of my question.  “But…no, no, why did you….I mean, why didn’t you kill me?  Why let me live?  I’m your sworn enemy wielding the power to destroy you, so why am I not dead?”

His face fell forlorn as if he had insight into the ending of my story, one that could only be labeled a tragedy.  I was certain such was the case; I would most likely die here at the hands of the same monsters who’d taken my offspring.  But I would not go to the grave without first understanding this mystery.  When moisture appeared to glisten in his eyes, the sight was excruciating to me, so I dropped my gaze to stare at his legs—waiting.”

“Enemies may unite to eliminate a common threat, but never without a wary eye fixed on their ally.” 

I made a heart-sworn oath at that very moment, vowing on my son’s grave to hunt down the black queen of the devil and strike her dead with my silver sword.  And I would do the same to her companion, that foul umber wolf. 

“Grandma, it hurts,” I cried, lifting my face to seek compassion in her gaze.  “I want that wolf to pay for what she’s done!”

Her cold hand rested on my cheek and wiped at a spill of tears. 

“Oh, the wretched creature shall pay, Catherine,” Grandmother assured me.  A fiery glimmer flashed in her eyes, and I knew my pain was understood.  “She shall pay dearly.”

“Vengeance is a monster of appetite, forever bloodthirsty and never filled.” 

Copyright 2012 Richelle E. Goodrich

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