My fearless friend taught me new and intriguing things, such as how to get what I wanted when I wanted it and how to get off scot-free. Through the winter months, my untamed friend had ideas that clearly led me to stalking animals. What I had not yet learned then was how to take their life. What I was learning was inappropriate, but it felt great. I could feel the taste of the kill each time, watering the back of my throat. It happened one night, but I didn’t know if it was real or a mere dream.
It was late May. I was soaring through the forest, leaping over vast brush and dead tress while my welcomed friend taunted me until we came upon a young buck feeding itself. Stopping behind a tree limb heavy with moss, I glared at the deer, feeling my mouth water.
“Take it. You know you want to like I do,” my head suggested. “I have taught you well, my friend.”While I was hesitating, the buck noticed my presence and bolted. I, being the arrogant hothead I had become, took off after him without thinking, hurling over stumps and downed trees like they were nothing. But the buck was faster.
“He hasn’t gotten off that easy.”My friend whispered.
Anxious to learn how, I whined, “Show me.” Without a wasted moment, my friend took the lead, and we took off after that deer like a bullet from a gun. I had never run so fast in my life.
The strength in my legs made the trees almost nonexistent,like a painted background sans the full moon. It wasn’t long before I was on that deer again when he came around the tree into my sight. Leaping over the brush in the way, I bared my teeth when I came down on the back of that deer, just missing the horns, sinking them into the soft flesh of its neck. Struggling, we both went down, but I held tight, draining his life while my fangs sink in deeper.
“That’s right, boy. Just little longer, and he’ll be finished,” my head snickered.When the deer stopped panting, I also heard its heartbeat stop. Getting to my feet, I paced around the thing just to make sure it was indeed dead before I sliced its neck open with my sharp fangs.
With the flesh exposed and the warm life running out onto the ground, the aroma of the sweet smell was calling to me like a soft wind. Hunger-driven for the taste, I stuck my nose into the wound, biting down the flesh and tearing it away. My head had been right so far when it told me we could do things out of the ordinary and not get caught. But the feel of the chase and the kill and the taste of the warm life-giving blood were both incredible. Then I came to believe what my friend said that the others were keeping such things for themselves. Swallowing a tender piece of meat, I licked the warm blood with the tip of my tongue from my jaws as I caught a faint smell of what I thought was smoke.
“Finish what you have first,” my head woofed. Without further ado, I fed on the deer until I was satisfied.
Feeling proud of what I had done, I cleaned myself of the remains and was ready for home when I heard a voice calling to me—not my head though. It was coming from within the woods. It grew closer as my fear grew stronger, but my curiosity bound my feet from running as my tail hid between my legs. Staring though the darkness at the trees, I thought I saw movement with shiny eyes glaring at me. What stepped out from behind those trees into the moonlight was gargantuan.
Standing not more than five feet from me was an enormous wolf with a coat so grey it appeared blue or maybe it was due to the moonlight. The eyes were so black they reflected the light at me and the nose so shiny it glistened with moisture.
“He has come for your kill,” my head rasped in my ears.
“Shut up!” I snarled, looking at the creature in front of me. “What do you want here?”
Sitting down on his rump, he sighed, “Do not fear me. I am Waya. I have been watching you for some time.” Those large bubble eyes could have cut me like a knife.
“I have heard of you,” I snarled.
“I have paid a visit in your dreams.”
“So who is Sandseff?”
“He and his two sons are my friends. The legends told today say they are the forefathers. I have let that rumor ride for centuries since no one really knows but those who have the true books written in blood.”
I was about to ask how he knew me when my head growled. “Do not whimper one word.” Knowing it meant my new friend was lingering in me, I kept silent.
He caught my hesitation. “I know about your dark side. Come with me. I have something I would like to show you that I think you will be interested in.” He rose to his feet, and my eyes traveled up with him until the moon hung between his ears.
“Where are we going?” I barked, feeling my nose wrinkle.
“See what the fool has to offer,” my head beckoned.
Agreeing, I growled, “Lead the way.” The animal raised his snout into the air and inhaled. When he turned to leave, I followed at a distance.
Through the silent night, like a mated pair, I kept up with him, leaping over fallen trees and creeks until we came upon the smell of the smoke, which had gotten stronger before I heard the voice. I dared not ask where we were going in fear the creature might snatch me up by my nap. Not long, I saw the light of the fire through the trees. Waya stopped behind a large red oak tree covered in moss and sat down. I took the liberty of easing over closer to peer around the tree at an old man with long grey braids on his shoulders and a young boy with black hair and eyes, I assumed to be his grandson, sitting cross-legged on the ground in front of the fire. It reminded me of my father and Chief on those nights around a warm fire telling stories.
Tuning my hearing, I listened to the old Cherokee teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight, and it is between good and evil. The evil is a creature that has anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The good is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight could be going on inside you.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which will win?”
The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”
Realizing the story was in reference to me, I stepped back and faced the large wolf. “It’s me, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” he replied. “If you look closer, you will see they are Jeremiah and you back when you were just a boy. You will need to embrace the darkness within to find the strength to combine both. Otherwise, that creature will take you to your death.”
Staring at the old man, I whined, “How is that possible?”
“Like the old man said, ‘It’s a rage inside.’” I watched the fire flicker in his eyes when he continued, “You wolf’s nature is kind and loving, but the companion in you will make you become the most powerful and ruthless creature you will want to know.” He glared at me. “I chose you for a reason, Luther.” No sooner did he say that than he, the old man, and the child faded as if they were never there, leaving me to wake up alone.
Written By Patsy Deppe, Author of Waya’s Chosen