*Surprisingly, this post has no language or violence, to speak of. Hmm.*
A cold wind cut through the house, drawing Madeleine out of a deep sleep. The old house creaked under the howling winds outside and rain pelted the windows. Tree branches scraped at the glass, and the four year old girl pulled her knees to her chest amid the oversize comforter and cast wide eyes around the shadowed room.
Her feet hit cold hardwood floors and she snatched her teddy bear off the bed to carry down the hall with her. A flickering light shone from her mother’s room, casting dancing shadows on the peeling wallpaper in the hallway. Madeleine swallowed as she crept up to the door with quiet steps, the bear clutched to her chest. She peered around the door and found her mother kneeling on the floor in the middle of a pentagram. Red candles burned on the outer edges, and a bowl of oils sat in front of her, shimmering light reflecting of the surface.
Madeleine listened as her mother began whispering words foreign to the young child’s ears. The whisper built to a frenzied chant, the words echoing off the walls of the room. The floors began to shake and Madeleine drew back against the wall, terrified tears streaming down her cheeks. A door slammed open downstairs, rain driving into the foyer and hitting the floor with violent force as the moon peered out from clouded skies. The windows began to shake, and Martha’s voice grew stronger.
The candlelight snuffed out with a gust of wind and the house fell into stunning darkness, illuminated only by flashes of lightning. Madeleine swallowed as her eyes struggled to focus. She glanced down the hall towards her room, and a bolt of lightning lit the hallway.
A beast blocked her path. He rose almost to the ceiling on all four paws, his head dipped low and green eyes staring at her in the night. Saliva hanging from his jowls glinted in the lightning, and as quickly as she’d seen him, the monster disappeared when the light faded. Her heart racing, Madeleine froze. She had no idea where to go. Her mother’s voice still floated from the bedroom, the chant growing as the storm raged harder.
Another flash of lightning illuminated a second beast. He stood behind the first, eyeing Madeleine down. Eyes wide, she pulled the teddy bear to her face and sank down the wall. Tears streaked across her face and hit her arm as they dripped from her chin. Terror filled her, forcing the air from her lungs.
A cold nose pressed against her cheek, and Madeleine whimpered. The monster snorted against her, moisture from his nose pulling her hair with it as he pulled back. The second beast approached and sniffed her bear before licking her hand softly. They walked past her, into the bedroom. Martha’s chants stopped suddenly.
“No.” Her voice was barely a whisper, but Madeleine heard it in the lull of the storm.
A man answered. “Yes. The gods have spoken.”
“This is not the work of the gods,” she said, malice lacing her voice. “This is the work of a demon.”
“Demon or god, the oils have never lied to us,” said another man. “She is mine.”
“No,” said his comrade. “She is too young.”
“The butterfly-effect will be too strong,” Martha whispered.
A growl resonated deep into Madeleine as she listened. She stood and ran back to her room, not wishing to hear anymore. The bed was comforting, and when she pulled the covers over her head she felt as though nothing could get her. A loud thud came from the hallway, followed by a snarl. With shaking hands, she pulled the covers tighter around her as her door swung open.
Heavy steps approached her bed. She tensed as a nose pushed into her back. It persisted until she slowly turned to face the monster. His bright blue eyes bore into hers and he laid his head on the bed with a sigh.
Madeleine stared at his sad eyes. She pulled the teddy bear closer to her chest with one arm and slowly reached out with the other hand. Swallowing, she squeezed her eyes closed and laid her fingers on his surprisingly soft fur. She held her breath, expecting him to explode like the forgotten bombshell. He angled his head to her touch and licked her hand before he was ripped from the covers.
She screamed as the comforter was torn away. Scrambling up on the pillows, Madeleine tried to gain leverage from the beasts fighting in her room. One threw the other into her dresser. Panting heavily, he rose as the aggressor approached the bed and hit him with a shoulder.
Madeleine fell off the bed in her fear and crawled out of the door as the wolves raged in battle over her. Martha snatched her up in the hallway and ran out the front door, a small suitcase in her other hand. Rain pelted them, driving like bullets into the thin fabric on Madeleine’s back. From the woods surrounding their home, no fewer than fifty wolves emerged from each side to ensure they didn’t flee. The two groups stared at each other across the expanse of her front yard, growling at each other with their hackles raised.
Panting behind them drew Madeleine’s attention, and she watched as the two wolves emerged from her house. Bleeding and wounded, they walked a distance apart from each other. They didn’t stop, but limped into the woods.
The howl echoing into the cold night air shot chills down Madeleine’s spine.
The other magnificent flashers:
Julie Hayes (m/m)
Victoria Blisse (m/f)
West Thornhill (m/m)
Freddy MacKay (m/m)
Lily Sawyer (m/m)
Sui Lynn (m/m)
L. M. Brown (m/m)
Pender Mackie (m/m)
Elyzabeth M. VaLey (m/f)
Ryssa Edwards (m/m)