“I wonder, will you bring further chaos to the world, my pet?” the twin mused, “I will allow for you to decide alone, my faithful hound.”
A gentle stream wove its way upon the ground, shaded by the thick canopy of the surrounding forest. The stream was shaped by the ancient stones that have remained, forgotten by time with soft blankets of moss warming them. A soft humming, as gentle as the stream’s flow, and as sweet as the water it held, filled the air as a young girl playfully hopped from one stone to the other, moving her way upstream with a carefree smile.
Innocence filled her carnelian eyes as the damp moss caressed the soles of her bare feet, pushing water between her toes. Her pink hair swayed with each hop, brushing against her back, but she fell still as a distant howl filled the air, and her humming faded.
The howl sounded again, striking something within her core that caused her eyes to widen and her heart to quicken. She stood still, listening and realizing that the forest seemed to hold its breath. No life could be heard in the dark forest except for the lone howl that reverberated through the air once more, causing her heart to skip a beat as she rose a hand to her chest. Her breathing was slow, but she could feel her heart pound against her chest, and she slowly lowered her hand to her side.
Once more the howl pierced the air and she took off. She moved her legs as fast as they would allow and her feet landed softly upon the grass. Her breathing slowly began to rise as she continued her dead sprint through the forest.
The forest grew denser around her in an almost suffocating manner, blocking out the sun that shone above, yet she continued to find air to fill her lungs as she persisted in her desperate dash.
Soon the girl came upon a small clearing that was still covered by the forest’s thick canopy. In the middle sat a lone wolf, howling towards the hidden sky. She froze as she looked upon the massive beast. She may have been a child of six years, causing all manner of things to appear overwhelming to her, but this beast stood three times her height. Its fur was made of shadows, darker than any night sky as it threatened to consume any light that dared near it. Peeking from behind the shadowed furred lips were fangs of steel, sharper than any blade, lining the length of its jaw that sat deeper than any wolf the girl had seen before.
“Why? Why have you left me here, Mistress Noxera?” her pet wailed.
The beast’s howl was soulful, as though abandoned, causing tears to well up in the girl’s eyes. She knew what true loneliness was, and would wish it upon no other. She slowly moved towards the beast as its melancholy song continued to bellow from its parted jaws.
“This world is changing, Usko.” Noxera spoke, “Larsolis is bringing a new age, and I am contributing my part. Find a new Master, my pet.”
A sudden gust blew past the girl just before reaching the beast, forcing her to stop to brace against it as the wind howled, carrying her scent to the wolf.
The beast’s howl slowly faded before gradually lowering its head to the source of the scent. No eyes could be seen upon the wolf’s face but the gaze weighed heavily on the girl, freezing her in place. Yet, she drew slow steady breaths and slowly rose one hand to her chest to feel how her heart pounded against it.
“I will devour you,” a low deep voice slowly echoed from the beast as though tasting each word, but the girl remained still with tears in her eyes. The beast continued to gaze upon the girl as she slowly reached out to him with her other hand.
“You called out... and I listened,” she whispered as he began to part his massive jaws but he paused upon hearing her words.
“Foolish child,” his voice echoed through the forest as shadows pooled beneath him. “You will be devoured,” it growled as the shadows crept along the forest floor towards her.
She watched as the shadows threatened her but remained still while continuing to offer her hand.
“I was abandoned,” she spoke quietly as the shadows crept over her feet before wrapping around her ankles. “So… if it makes you feel better,” she continued as the shadows slipped around her body and over her arms, “Go ahead!” she smiled brilliantly while the shadows wrapped around her throat and she continued to offer her hand. “Nobody wants to be alone…” she added as her voice faltered and the shadows slowed as they crawled across her cheeks. “But, if you don’t devour me… then I could be your friend.” she continued as her smile softened. “The darkness is always better with a friend, right?” she questioned as the shadows seeped into her eyes.
Shadows covered every inch of the girl as she remained standing with one hand on her heart and the other extended towards the beast.
The wolf remained, gazing upon the girl as memories of her life flashed before his eyes.
The beast saw her father abandon her and her mother without a word, before her mother abandoned her at an orphanage, to chase after the father. He learned the girl’s name was Flora and that the children of the orphanage rejected her, while the caretaker barely acknowledged her existence. Eventually, another girl at the orphanage, Lera, took notice of her. Flora fell for Lera, but Lera only acknowledged her when they were alone, making poor Flora experience a new loneliness.
The beast’s heart ached upon living the memories in his mind and it slowly melted into the shadows, moving through them and into the ones that held the girl.
“You are truly alone child…” the beast’s voice echoed inside the girl’s head as the shadows moved up her body, releasing her feet first. “I called out, and you listened…” he continued as the shadows poured into her eyes. “I am alone no longer because you came when I called,” his voice echoed warmly through her as the shadows slowly continued to release her body while pouring into her eyes. “You humans say the eyes are windows to the soul, and you are not wrong. I will join your soul. You will never be alone again, Flora.” the beast hummed as the last bit of shadow filled her.
Her hand slowly fell with a slight pang of sadness at the absence of the beast’s physical presence, but happiness found its way to her heart as she felt his soul wrap warmly around hers.