Running from Illusions
Soaring Dove, in spite of not being able to know what the legend was about Dark Shadow mentioned, was happy, even being around others.
She was never that great with groups, after all the people laughing at her for the stupid mistakes she made, blamed several times for things she didn't do, and the rumors that easily spread throughout all of middle school. Who knew the rumors about one of the quietest people in the grade could be the most popular and last so long? Like the time Silvia started the rumor that Sasha was cheating on three guys. Kyle, another guy from 8th grade and a guy from 9th grade, both of whom she hardly heard of. And of course everyone believed Silvia, but not a single person believed Sasha.
Soaring Dove wished she could simply forget her stupid mistakes and move on, but the more time she spends alone, the easier it is for those memories to slip back into her mind, causing her to spend more of her life alone, trying to avoid making mistakes again. All she wanted was to be left alone, or simply erase history and start over her life. It made her wonder if she was nothing more than a bother to everyone or, at very rare times, a small necessity for games in gym class. The only time she felt comfortable being herself was being with her mom, the only one who made Soaring Dove feel like her life was worth something. Usually being around people gave her a slight irritated feeling, including her dad, but Swift Silver never gave Soaring Dove that feeling when her mom was human.
The white wolf noticed the other wolves were talking to one another, but couldn't hear them, too busy listening to her own thoughts. Soaring Dove looked down at her reflection in the water. She smiled, because for once she felt pride in the way she looked, so beautiful under the moon that shone down on her glistening, pure white fur. The wolf looked past her reflection for a moment at the spirits under the surface. The white shimmering figures that frenzied earlier were now peacefully drifting in the water.
She came closer to the water's surface, looking at the strange silver marking in her left eye. Strange, how it was a perfect quarter moon shape. She was taken by surprise a bit at a slight change in the silver marking. When the wolf came just an inch closer, her nose barely half a centimeter above the water, was that just a trick of the light, or is the silver in her left eye turning red? The quarter moon marking in her eye slowly distorted into a darker and darker red. Soaring Dove wanted to move away when the wolf realized that she couldn't move, couldn't hear, and couldn't see anything other than complete darkness that her surroundings melted into and the red quarter moon in her eye. Somehow she went from looking down at the moon to looking up. It wasn't until the moon was blood red when Soaring Dove could finally hear again, but the only sound the white wolf heard made her want to be deaf again. A blood chilling howl came from close behind caused every hair on her body to stiffen. The howl was like nothing she had ever heard before, long and mournful yet so full of hatred and cruelty, scorching into her mind. As soon as the howl started screams for mercy came from all around Soaring Dove. A few cursed bitterly at the one howling while most were pleading, but the words overlapped each other, making it almost impossible to pick out individuals in what sounded like an extremely large group. Out of the blur of agonized voices spoken one voice was able to be overheard from all the others. A pleading female voice cried out, "Please save us Soaring Dove!"
At the moment Soaring Dove couldn't think. Her mind went numb while tears flowed from her eyes and every one of her muscles felt suddenly weak with fatigue. The howling stopped, but the screams in pain continued while a voice behind her, the same one that howled, laughed coldly, enjoying the others suffering. It was a male voice, strong and deep, but it gave the she-wolf a feeling that whoever or whatever laughed, was much older than he sounded.
Soaring Dove heard footsteps come closer; a set of two feet came from behind her until she felt breathing against her right ear. It took all of Soaring Dove's wits to not attempt a scream for help, as she still felt frozen in place. Her eyes widened as the scent of blood reeked from his mouth as he whispered softly, "Such lovely, white fur you have. What a shame it would be to wreck such beauty." More tears threatened to fall in pure fear, yet somewhere in the back of her mind she didn't feel fear, but anger and a growl echoed in her mind for a few moments. All at once the presence that stood next to her disappeared; the cries for help slowly altered into murderous growls, and Soaring Dove was free to move again, which made her realize she was holding her breath, nearly collapsing from the sudden tiredness from before. As she gasped for air the wolf looked around, desperate for any sign of light or hope. She could feel cold darkness all around her, and something, many things, full of evil.
Looking up at the red moon, which gave off no light, she saw a few wisps of clouds begin to block the moon. The less visible the moon became the colder Soaring Dove felt. A wave of dread came over her. It wasn't until the moon was completely covered when somewhere lightning flashed, revealing the animals in front of her. She flinched when the thunder cracked that had immediately followed the lightning in the sky, and she could not believe the sight before her. Wolves, at least a hundred of them, standing on two feet, hunched shoulders, glowing red eyes, and some kind of shadowy aura lifted off their pelts. Werewolves? Demons? The wolf thought, Both, but how is that possible?
Lightning continued to flash and thunder shook the ground as one of the demonic creatures advanced towards her. She quickly backed away a few feet until the ground behind her no longer existed and her back legs fell and was left clawing at smooth stone. Looking for a grip with her back legs she found that nothing was there to help her get back on all fours. But seeing that she was surrounded by demons, the thought of getting back up wasn't very tempting to her. Soaring Dove continued to create claw marks in the stone to keep her from falling in the seemingly never ending darkness.
The demonic werewolf stopped at three feet in front of her while the others stood back farther away. As much as Soaring Dove wanted to keep her eyes away from the werewolf, her will went against her and looked up at the creature towering above her. The continuous flashes of lightning showed that the creature, rather than having paws were furry black hands with three inch claws that quickly grasped something around its neck and tore it off. The werewolf threw the object to the ground in front of the white wolf between her paws. Tiny volts of electricity ran down Soaring Dove's spine at what she saw in front of her. It was an amulet, its color she was unable to decipher, and as the wolf gradually looked up and straight into the demon's eyes, she knew she had just made a deadly mistake. The creature's eyes blazed with hatred, and raised its furry right arm, a grin spread across the werewolf's face showed off long, sharp fangs as it saw the terror in her eyes. Just before black claws met her face, Soaring Dove was sitting back in the cave, but it was distorted and darkened by red. The spirits weren't in the water, and the crystals were all black. Confused and scared, she backed away from her reflection and looked at the wolves behind her, only to find that they too had become demons. She guessed that even her mother Swift Silver was turned into a demonic werewolf because all seven standing behind her were replaced by the malevolent werewolves.
Panic seared through Soaring Dove as they came nearer, so with no hesitation she turned and leaped off the tiny island in the center of the lake, then trusted her new legs as the she-wolf sprinted at full speed towards the exit, running from the demons behind her. Their barks and snarling filled her ears, and no matter how much she tried to block the sounds out they would echo in her mind. Soaring Dove only ran faster when the werewolves pursued after her, like hungry predators closing in on weak prey.
Somewhere the white wolf heard Dark Shadow call her name as she entered the tunnel, barely heard over the werewolves barking, making her hesitate for a split second, then she thought, What am I doing!? I'll be dead if I stop! Faster than ever she made her way through the tunnel, twisting and turning until she was back at the entrance. No crickets or frogs could be heard, only the wind and creaking trees. Soaring Dove looked at her surroundings, and everything was tinged with red. She looked up at the sky. Before the she-wolf entered the tunnel there was a beautiful full moon, which has now been replaced by the blood red quarter moon in a starless sky. Soaring Dove barely had time to think before she heard the echoed barks from behind her.
Quickly, she ran to her left out of the clearing and into the dense forest. Though Soaring Dove had the same vision as a wolf, sharper than a human's, her eyes were blurred by the tears that streaked down her face as she barely avoided low hanging branches and large roots, threatening to slow the wolf down. Eventually Soaring Dove came up to a river that was two feet deep and ten feet wide. In an effort to cover her scent from the pack of demonic beasts, she leaped into the water, and then trotted downstream instead of running to keep from making too much noise. She felt a pad on her front left paw tear on a sharp stone. The water was too dark to see anything, but Soaring Dove felt the blood flow freely. The wolf clenched her teeth tightly, anger and alarm rising in her. Once there was enough distance to scarcely see where Soaring Dove had first jumped into the river, she got out of the water on the other side and hid behind the bushes next to as the demons came to view, just about suffocating herself to keep her breathing steady and quiet. Hopefully she could hide here until the demonic beings went away.
Each one sniffed the air or had their nose to the ground drooling. One werewolf walked downstream on two back feet, carefully scanning the trees with red eyes. As the beast came closer Soaring Dove backed away slowly, hoping the ground wouldn't disappear under her feet like before. She took one more step back and, with her luck, stepped on a brittle stick that snapped loud enough for the closest demon to hear. The she-wolf felt momentarily stunned at the snap and the creature looked right at her direction. Soaring Dove could only wait until the creature made a move. She avoided looking at the demonic creature in the eyes and focused on the aura lifting off its pelt. The shadowy aura around it seemed to intensify as the demon slightly lowered its head, still looking straight at her. Every muscle screamed at her to run as the air grew colder.
Finally, she couldn't take it. The white wolf twisting around and sprinted full speed away from the demon that pursued after her, doing her best to ignore the stinging cut on her paw that left a tiny trail of blood. The demon snarled and she could hear it come closer and closer behind her. It didn't matter whether she made a sharp turn or boosted her speed as much as she could, the demon was getting nearer.
The ground before Soaring Dove sloped down. The hill was filled with obstacles such as trees and large thorn bushes. Knowing it was a bad idea, she continued her speed, certain that the ground was slippery with mud from the recent rain. It may give Soaring Dove a chance to gain more distance between her and the demon. After that, she wasn't sure what to do next. Soon the slick mud had her lose footing and tripped over a large root, landing heavily on her right shoulder, and banging her head against a large stone sticking out of the ground at least twice the size she was. The wolf was deafened by a ringing sound in her head. Closing her eyes, the white wolf shook her head, dazed from the pain on her head and shoulder. If she could get just one wish, it would be for all of the chaotic stuff that's been happening to be over. Or that this night never had existed, to be back in her room with her dog Shadow. She even missed praying that her nightmare wouldn't return, though it had each night unless she stayed awake.
When Soaring Dove blinked open her eyes the next moment, she felt a great rush of relief wash over her. Everything was no longer tinged with red, the sound of crickets and frogs returned, and the pale white, full moon was back in the star filled sky.
It was an illusion, that's what I was running from. Nothing more, she thought. But the hallucinations still made her edgy and was amazed at how real they seemed, scaring her half to death.
Getting back up on her feet, she winced at the pain in her shoulder and saw that her right side was caked in sticky mud. She looked up the slope and saw a dark figure coming at her. Then she heard Dark Shadow's voice again. This time it wasn't overlapped by snarls and barks, but exact words were hard to make out, as Soaring Dove's head was still filled with the annoying ringing sound. She backed away as Dark Shadow slid sideways down the hill on his paws and stopped next to the white wolf.
"Alright, now that you've stopped running from me, can you please tell me what the heck that was all about?" asked Dark Shadow, catching his breath.
Soaring Dove looked away. She felt ashamed, miserable, and angry at herself. She wanted to be left alone. Her only reply was, "I guess I was seeing things. That's all. I really don't want to talk about right now Dark Shadow."
Dark Shadow said, "Why not? C'mon, you can tell me. It looked like you were running from something and-"
Now she was getting ticked. It was the first time she's ever been scared like that, other than being in the car crash over two years ago near her dead mother. Soaring Dove had very little patience for those who wouldn't leave her alone. She had little patience to people who only talked to her.
Face to face with the black wolf Soaring Dove looked straight in his amber colored eyes and cut him off. "That's exactly it Dark Shadow! You were that something! I don't know why I had this stupid hallucination, but I do know that you and the other wolves wanted to kill me, even my mother! There, are you happy now?"
Then Soaring Dove quickly realized her mistake. Dark Shadow was only worried and asked while she snapped at him. Soaring Dove backed away and took a deep breath, avoiding eye contact. She had to force out the words from her mind, "I'm really sorry… I just… want to go home."
A tear escaped from her left eye and landed on a wild raspberry vine.