Chapter 2: Oh grandmother, what big…
Selvia was sitting beside her grandmother’s bed telling her about her walk. Her grandmother, Polivia, was on the bed, listening to every word her only grandchild was uttering. She was not very old but her dark brown hair was half gray. It is true; she was Mr. Arendill’s mother. She was in her cream colored sleeping gown. Her skin was light brown but not truly wrinkled. Her skin was quite smooth compared to anyone else in her age, in the middle of fifties. She had been down on fever for three days now but she was feeling better then. Her granddaughter had been visiting her since she fell ill. Her daughter in law and her son had came when they heard that she fell ill but they could not come anymore because they were busy with their daily works. Polivia understood their condition and was more than grateful when they sent Selvia to see her.
“What was his name again dear,” Polivia asked as she lost track of Selvia’s story.
“His name is Edmund. People calls him names but I refuse to say it. He was very nice to me. He even walked me up to the junction. We talked very much on our way. He was a very pleasant company. He didn’t even mind my chatters, grandmother. He mostly listened and smiled. Oh, he has a very wonderful smile, grandmother. Whenever he smiled, I would smile too. And he really loves to laugh. Whenever he or I make a joke, he would laugh. Sometimes he laugh at things that I don’t understand, but I don’t mind because it sounds right whenever he laughed. He seemed so upset when I first saw him and I thought that he might not want to talk to me, but he was very pleasant. And I really wanted to introduce him to you. But he had work to do so we parted at the junction. But he did promise though. He said that he will come with me next time and let me introduce him to you. I cannot wait for that time. I really liked him and I really want to introduce him to you,” Selvia told Polivia. Polivia laughed pleasantly at her granddaughter. Selvia seemed dumbfounded at first but then laughed along with her grandmother.
“Well then Selvia, I can’t wait for that time too. He sounds very nice and I can’t wait to meet him. Next time, I’ll make some pies for the two of you. Gooseberry pies would do just fine. You love gooseberry pie do you not Selvia?” Polivia said smiling. Selvia smiled when her grandmother mentioned pies. She loved her grandmother’s pies; they were the best she had ever tasted.
The day had slowly turned dark when Selvia chatted with her grandmother. By the time they finished talking, the first lightning flashed followed by the raging sound of the thunder moments later. Selvia squealed when the lightning flashed and the thunder roared. She quickly hugged her grandmother. She was very afraid of thunder and lightning. They were always too bright and loud. Polivia looked outside the window and saw dark clouds forming in the sky.
“Oh my,” Polivia exclaimed, “It will be raining heavily today, Selvia,” she said with concern. Selvia stared at her fearfully. Polivia smiled at her granddaughter and said, “Not to worry, dear. You can stay with me until the rain stops.” And with that, the first drops of rain fell on Polivia’s house. “Selvia dear, would you mind fetching the candle and my tinderbox from the table for me? I’m quite uncapable of walking right now,” Polivia asked softly to the still shaking Selvia. Selvia raised her head from Polivia’s lap and nodded.
Selvia slowly extracted herself from her grandmother and walked toward the table in the kitchen. He grandmother’s kitchen was smaller than Selvia’s kitchen. There was a small square table enough for only four people to sit in. The kitchen was situated beside the back door. There was a big wooded cupboard and a ladder too. The cupboard was the place where grandmother puts all her books. She loved to read in the kitchen rather than in front of the fire place. There was a window built right above the kitchen and whenever she reads in the kitchen, she would look outside. She had a nice view from that window because her house was built on a small hill. The back side of the mountain was steeper than the front but not fatally. One who does not watch his step when he goes out the back door, would fall but only a little way from the door. He can always climb back up.
Even though the scenery was beautiful by day, it was scary when darkness comes, or so Selvia thought. She had never much like the forest when it was dark because her father had sometimes read her frightening stories concerning the forest and its inhabitants. One that, for some unknown reasons, stuck with her was on wolves. Her father had once told her about werewolves. They were wolves that could change into a kind of human form when the full moon appears. It comes out from places, which are dark and advanced towards its victim through the dark, slowly and soundlessly.
For some reasons, she was now, staring without awareness, at the window. She remembered how her father told her that the werewolves would come from the shadows. Sometimes they come from the back and sometimes from the front. Its prey would be stunned to see it advance from the shadow as a wolf. Its prey would be stunned and unable to move from fright. It moves slowly from the dark into the light where its prey can see it clearly as it change…
Selvia saw sudden movements from the darkness of the forest. Immediately, she stood straighter and clutched the candle and the tinderbox nearer to her chest. Fear was rising rapidly inside her. She stepped a step backwards but she saw no more movements.
Just as she was about to turn she saw movements again from the trees. It was getting darker and the rain was getting heavier. Selvia could not clearly see through the dark. Suddenly lightning flashed and Selvia saw what was moving in the dark. It was a wolf running towards the house.
Selvia screamed loudly as the wolf hit the door. Selvia fell to the floor as she heard the beast hit the door and she fell quiet. The wolf did not slam the door for the second time but it did not move away from the door. It was quiet for sometime that Selvia thought it was dead. Suddenly it howled and Selvia screamed again. She could not get up. She was too scared to move and her father was not there to protect her. She screamed again as the wolf howled again.
The wolf stopped howling and started scratching the door. Selvia turned around and saw the wolf trying to scratch the door down. Selvia pulled herself from the kitchen but her body was too frightened to function. Suddenly, Polivia appeared from the kitchen door.
“Selvia, what happened? Why were you screaming?” Polivia asked. Selvia pushed herself to get up and hug her grandmother. She pointed to the back door and Polivia heard the scratching. She pulled her granddaughter closer to her a reached for the broom. With one hand cradling her grandchild and the other holding he broom, she readied herself for any misfortune.
Not far away, Selvia and Polivia heard howling and saw more shadows of wolves arriving to push the door down. The scratching wolf moved away as more wolves slammed the door. Since the door was made out of wood, it could not withstand high pressure, thus after a few attempts from the wolves, the door crumpled under the weight if the wolves. This time Selvia did not scream. She merely whimpered as she heard the wolves snarl at them. The wolves shook themselves dry and started to advance towards them.
Polivia was helpless against too many wolves. She stood there clutching her granddaughter and the broomstick. She too whimpered as the wolves came through the broken doorway, one by one.
Lightning flashed again and Polivia saw an outline of a person. Polivia was stunned to see that the outline belonged to a boy. The boy advanced toward the crowding wolves and started to snarl. The wolves responded to him and turned around. The wolves started howling, one by one, and snarled at him. He did not anything, he only stood there. Suddenly, a wolf jumped towards him. He stood where he was and as fast as lightning, he grabbed its front paws and slammed it to the ground. The wolf whimpered and ran back into the forest.
The other wolves stared at him as he hit the wolf out of its courage. They nearly retreated until a wolf pounced at him. The other wolves followed the wolf’s lead. All the wolves started attacking the boy and the boy desperately tried to defend himself as well as the occupants in the semi-wooden house.
Polivia watched in awe as the boy fended the attacks from the wolves. She even forgot that she was momentarily paralyzed by the wolves. She let go of Selvia and tried to hit a wolf with the broomstick she had been holding, but the boy who was risking his life to save them saw her and shouted loudly,
“NO! Don’t do it! It’ll only attack back! Leave it to me, I can save you!”
And at the same moment, a wolf bit his arm and he screamed.
Selvia, who had just noticed the boy when her grandmother released her, screamed too when the boy screamed. Somehow, she knew the voice but, at the same time, it was unrecognizable. The voice was much colder than she had heard before and it was frightening. Selvia feared the owner of the voice but at the same time, yearned to see him.
Selvia could see clearly what was happening for lightning had flashed. She saw the boy bleeding badly from his injury. His right arm was hanging limply and blood was streaming down it like a furious red river. He had pulled himself away from the wolves and was panting badly. He had lost his energy from the brawl. The wolves had sensed his drained being for they were now circling him and not attacking. Then one howled followed by the others. Soon the air was full of howling crescendos of the wolves. Suddenly it stopped and the dark suddenly became eerie with the constant pounding of the rain and the sudden hush of the wolves. The boy’s crouched self was clearly visible in the dark and Selvia could sense that the wolves were waiting for the boy to weaken from the constant flow of blood onto the earth. The moment came and the wolves pounced. The boy could not do anything, he was helpless.
Before Selvia could scream, the front door was forced open and someone entered. The appearance of the stranger pushed the voice she was about to let go down her throat for the stranger had a gun ready to be used. The stranger ignored them and went straight to the wolves and he opened fire. One shot hit a wolf at its rear calf and it fell with a yelp. Another found a wolf’s head and it fell dead instantly.
The other wolves stopped in a mid-leap when they heard the shots and the helpless yelp from their companion. The turned around to face their new opponent but whimpered at the sight of the gun. The stranger fired once more and the wolves ran with endless haste back into forest, leaving their injured human victim behind.
The stranger faced the injured boy. Suddenly something leaped out from a nearby bush and head straight to the injured boy. A lightning stroke and Selvia saw that it was a wolf cub. A dark furred wolf cub stood between the injured boy and the stranger. It snarled for it was too young to growl at the stranger. But the stranger gave no notice to the cub. He only stared at boy with cold eyes. Then in a small voice he said,
“Leave now, Wolf Cub. You’ve caused enough damage here,” coldly. The boy made no move to reply. He got up on his injured feet and picked up the furious little cub. Without another motion, he left. As he turned around, his eyes and Selvia’s eyes met and Selvia saw how tormented his soul was, and he entered the darkness of the forest without a backwards glance.