Mwahahahahahaha! It is a scary time of year, a time for the ghoulies and goblins to come and wreak havoc over our lands! A time where we frighten ourselves with haunting tales by campfires and knock on stranger's doors expecting goodies... not our demise...
Here is a tale for you all on this frightful day... I do hope to meet your high scary standards...
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! And remember... chocolate ghosts on a stick for reviewers!
A Wolf's Cry
"…but even if they were barricaded into the forest, they wouldn't be rid of them, because werewolves live forever."
They all simply sat in shocked silence, watching the campfire's flames dance in the cool autumn breeze.
This lasted until Toph finally found her tongue and started to giggle.
"That one was actually scary!" She said, smiling.
"Don't you think it could be real?"
"Please! Werewolves? Come on Katara, even Zuko said it isn't real. It's all superstition, it's what you get when you live in a village all of your life." She slammed her hand onto the ground; a log flew through the air and landed in the middle of the crackling fire.
Katara looked up to the sky, her blue eyes showing slight concern, "It just all seemed so real, the truth in the disappearances, the weird caution posters in the village we passed through, the people wouldn't even let us stay the night. They were scared of something."
"She's got a point... wait! It's a full moon! We could all get attacked by werewolves!" Sokka ducked behind his sister, who laughed at him, her fears easing slightly.
"Don't scare yourself too much, you'll need at least a little sleep tonight."
The boy peeked out from his hiding place, his boomerang held tightly in his hand, "I'm not scared Aang, I'm just... cautious." This earned a giggle from the rest of the campers and relaxed them all... slightly.
"It wasn't even that scary. In my opinion you could have added a lot more violence, like you could have added a few attacks!"
Aang rolled his eyes in amusement and looked up at the sky.
He watched the remaining, golden leaves sway in the trees. They clung to their twisted branches, silently praying for a calm, wind-less night.
As Sokka had pointed out, a full moon hung in the deep blue sky, glowing eerily behind the tangled branches. It almost looked as though it was staring down at him, and for the first time ever, looking at the moon made him feel uneasy and banished his cheery mood. He pulled his eyes away from it, just in time to see that Zuko was standing up and brushing dirt from his clothes.
"Where are you going?" He asked.
"To get more firewood, like I just said."
"You're going alone?"
"Yes, is there a problem?"
"No... but do you really want to go into that big, dark forest where anything could be lurking in the shadows ready to jump out and eat you alive?!"
"Ha! I knew you really were scared! You just don't want to admit it!"
"I am not scared! I just think that someone should go with him... Toph how about you?"
"I don't think so Twinkle-toes."
"One: Because there isn't anything Zuko can't handle out there, and Two: He's gone anyway."
It was a nice feeling, knowing that somebody cared about you. It was just pathetic that they were scared of a rumor.
Though there wasn't anything that could prove that the story wasn't real, Zuko didn't believe it. His uncle had told him the story a while ago, and passing through the village had simply brought back the memories, and he had told them the same story.
Iroh laughed heartily, "Scary eh?"
Zuko returned the laughter with a gentle smile, "Yeah, scary story. Where did you hear it uncle? Or did you make it up just now?"
The elder gasped, "It is not a 'story' Zuko. It is fact. I heard the story from a man in a village in the earth kingdom. A lot of the people that go into the village forest at night do not return back to the village again. Those who come out again are completely mad and talk of nothing but huge wolves and death. Of course it started as a simple rumor, but when people started going missing, that is when they started believing the tales and getting scared."
Zuko appeared to consider this for a while. He finally looked up at his uncle again, "I'm sorry uncle. But humans that turn into wolves every full moon? It can't really be real..."
"If you must see to believe, you may not live to see what you did not once believe... Now, how about some nice hot tea?" Zuko smiled again, though this time, slightly more worried.
And that was what they were. Stories, nightmares. Campfire tales. Rumors.
Zuko picked up a log and added it to the collection he had in his left arm. Now that he was away from the campfire, the light breeze was a lot cooler and poked his skin in an unfriendly manner. Something about his breeze made him wrinkle his nose in disgust. A scent was carried by it. A rotten scent. The smell of age and decay.
Paying little attention to this, he turned back... then stopped dead.
He turned suddenly, dropping his wood and letting a stream of fire out from his clenched fist. A howl erupted from where the fire had been aimed at, followed by a series of similar howls at a further distance.
This time the rustling was louder, and it sounded all too much like something was running towards him.
Growls and snarls were heard all around him, in a circle, getting closer and closer with each second. He was frozen to his spot, his breathing increasing rapidly and matching his racing heart.
Then all at once, eight wolves crashed through bushes that surrounded the fire-bender and landed, growling harshly. One's ear was smoking and most of the fur on it's head was singed black. The one stood directly in front of him took a step forward, challenging him with it's glowing golden eyes, baring it's gleaming razor-like canines.
Zuko snapped out of his frozen state and blasted the wolf with a fire ball. It jumped to the side, then changed it's direction suddenly. It darted towards Zuko and pounced.
The impact bowled the bender over, knocking all of the air out of his body. Several of the other wolves had approached him and were pinning down his arms and legs while he lay gasping. The black one stood to one side, if it had been a human it would have been smirking with a sense of victory.
Zuko caught a glimpse of it's paws as it started to pad towards him... they were hairy and equipped with huge talon-like claws. But they were long and looked like human fingers...
The bender started to struggle, but the wolves had a grip that was horrifyingly strong, and they had no intention of letting him go... yet. He was strong, perfect wolf-material, and this was an opportunity that not one of them wanted to miss. The leader stopped at Zuko's head and opened it's great mouth, showing it's teeth once again. Zuko could smell it again, the rotten smell... it was the werewolves he had caught the scent of, they had eaten not long ago, but he needed not worry about what they had eaten. It was their newest meal he needed to worry about.
"Okay, why does it take ten minutes to get firewood? Last time I went, it took me five."
"Well that's the reason we don't have any left right Sokka?" Everyone laughed.
"That's not funny!"
"Alright you two! That's enough! You sound like children."
"But we are." They said in unison. Katara gave the two an annoyed look and shook her head. 'At least they aren't arguing anymore.' she thought before kicking herself mentally for cursing it. Luckily, they didn't start fighting again.
The four of them sat in silence, watching as the roaring fire died down into small flames. Waiting for the return of Zuko.
The silence was pierced suddenly with a series of angry howls and followed by snarling and dog-like hissing. They heard the thumping of many paws on the ground, running towards something in the forest. They remained silent and listened intently. Their silence was broken once again, but this time, it wasn't howls, or snarling. This time it was a scream.
"That was Zuko!" Katara yelled. She got to her feet and started to run, Toph however grabbed her arm and pulled her back.
"We've got bigger things to worry about, and there's eight of them!" She said. A high-pitched howl echoed through the air once more before eight huge hairy wolves jumped out from behind the trees, surrounding them and baring their teeth impressively. One stood taller than the other seven and his fur was not the same matted brown as the others, but a sleek black colour. His eyes glowed gold and were fixed onto the four teens. It threw it's head back and howled with glee, showing off it's blood-stained canines. It brought it's head down sharply and readied itself to pounce. The others copied. They leapt.
Aang whipped out his staff and slashed the air with it. A heavy gust of wind threw the wolves off their feet and onto their sides. Taking this slight advantage, he grabbed Sokka's arm and flew up into the trees. Katara followed him with a wave of water from their supplies and rode it in his direction. But Toph couldn't see where they had gone, and now the wolves were closing in on her. She slammed her foot down on the ground and moved her arms, bending the earth. Huge columns rose lightning-fast out of the ground and threw the wolves away, into the trees. She fled in the direction she prayed the others had gone.
Toph could feel the wolves getting closer and threw rocks behind her, hoping to throw them off her trail. But they were dogs, and they were fast. One jumped and caught her leg, helping her fall onto the leaf-covered ground, she screamed as she fell to the floor. She felt the blood roll down her leg, where it had bitten and started to yell for her friends, but they were long gone.
She was left with the wolves.
Aang dropped Sokka and Katara came to a halt next to him. Aang landed heavily and fell to his knees. He clenched his fists and punched the ground, tears pouring down his cheeks. If he'd only gone after Zuko, then he could have helped, there was a huge possibility that the wolves had gotten to him. One of them had bloody teeth, and no doubt the others would have had too, had Katara not screamed Zuko's name. Toph was gone too. She would have escaped, had she not been blind.
Katara stood to one side, feeling her own tears fall. She felt terrible. She had been so scared that she had forgotten Toph couldn't see. So she'd been caught by the wolves. Just like Zuko. She felt it was all her fault and prayed Toph was just a little slow and would appear any moment now. But she didn't.
Sokka had moved a little further away from the group and was sat watching the stars, his knees brought up to his chest and his arms wrapped around them. He wasn't crying. He couldn't. He was so shocked, the tears wouldn't come. Zuko's tale had been true. Wolves that attacked anyone who ventured into their forest. They could have even been werewolves. And now the storyteller had been taken from this life by his own story, along with the one that believed the least.
Now they would never see them again... or would they...
The Next Full Moon...
She breathed in the cool autumn air and heard her friend next to her do the same. Soon the time would come.
They waited for the hour.
The midnight hour.
Their hunger was intense.
Eating nothing but forest animals had gotten boring and tasteless. They weren't to leave the forest so it was all they could have. But one month of squirrels and rats was well worth what was coming. A few more moments and they would be able to have it...
It was what they craved, what they fought over, what they loved. It's every lycanthrope's dream.
One more minute.
One more minute and they would have it. They would be stealthier, faster. Their senses enhanced, hearing, sight, smell. Only her sight was unaffected by the change. She remained blind.
The time came. Fire shot through her body, she arched her back, screaming through this painful transformation, but happy. as soon as she was a wolf, she would have her meal, her blood. They would sneak into the village. They knew the villagers wouldn't come into the forest, they would have to sneak it. But that was all part of the fun. She would get used to the change too, there were plenty of full moons to come. Hundreds. Thousands. She would soon forget about the pain, maybe even long for it...
Because werewolves live forever...