Follow the link and find out what others are saying about the cover of The Companion.
Next morning, I had just gotten dressed when Daniel called and wanted to know if I would like to join him and Jason on a trail
”Sure.” I agreed without much thought to the dreams and things.
”Good, we’ll be there shortly then.” I hung up the phone, then ran upstairs for my hiking boots. After putting them on, I went downstairs and locked up the house. I wanted to wait outside because I knew it wouldn’t take them long to get here the way Daniel drove. Sure enough, Daniel’s Camaro.roared up into the driveway. When the black thing stopped about where I was standing, Jason swung the door open from the seat without getting out. I crawled in behind him into the backseat then turned around. Facing them, I noticed both were grinning from ear to ear about something.
”What is so funny now?” I asked, chuckling with them.
”We weren’t sure if we could get you out of the house today with all this stuff about a change.” Jason teased, “Know what I mean?”
I grabbed the front seat just as Daniel asked, “Are we ready?”
“Oh yeah,” I said, sliding toward the seat and leaned over the center console. Daniel put the thing in gear and we rolled out of the driveway toward our adventure for the day. We had decided on hiking the old mountain, but it didn’t matter to me as long as we went.
We finally pulled into a parking lot, where I watched people everywhere, I noticed some with
backpacks or duffle bags, with kids, or just alone. Daniel found a spot to park near the back row. I followed Jason out and stood there staring up the side of that mountain. It had to be the largest one I had ever seen before. But then again, I did leave Maine behind. Jason nudged me with his forearm and asked, “What ya think?” I looked over at him and asked, “How often do you two hike this thing?” Jason didn’t have the chance to reply before Daniel said, “Not often. That thing is high. We ain’t ever been all the way up at one setting.” He came around the rear of the car and stopped. I looked back up toward the top, only to see people on the trail that looked like ants crawling out of the mound. I was nudged by Jason as he went forward followed by Daniel.
The path was wide and rocky as we headed up the steep climb. People from all walks of life were doing the same. We spent the day hiking and being boys where we ran off the trail and into the woods, deep away from the light of day as we sought out one
another. It was timeless while we were having fun. And fun was what we needed. Not all that crappy other stuff, which would come later on. I leaped from the dark woods and noticed the sun going down on the opposite side so I yelled at Daniel to lets
start back down. They both agreed and down we went quicker than we went up, of course. We piled into the car then made it down to the local town diner for dinner.
Daniel pulled up in front of a small diner with a bright, neon sign that read: Cap’s Place. I gathered from the name if was a seafood place, I could handle that. The diner was small and off the beaten path, just out of the city lights. The place was a bit crowded,
but Daniel finally parked the car and we got out in front of the diner with three little steps leading up to two glass doors with low lighting.
”Well, what you all think?” I asked, putting a foot on the bottom step and looked back.
“I think we need to rid you of that slang you got.” Jason said as he looked off into the sky.
“You funny now or what?” I asked with a sneer.
“Let’s go,” Daniel said, passing both of us.
“I’m all for it.” Jason sighed. I followed Jason who followed Daniel up the steps and through the double doors inside.
It was dark and my eyes had to adjust, but the place smelled of seafood and cigars. When my eyes became clear, I could see the place wasn’t fancy or anything. It was just a diner for the locals. It contained round tables in the center and
booths lined the walls. A salad bar sat near the back wall with carpet covering the floors and sword fish hung overhead with wires. A gator hung on the wall that had to be twelve-feet long with a missing eye. We waited by the sign for the hostess–an elderly black woman–to seat us immediately in a booth near the front.
Jason sat with Daniel while I sat alone facing them. After the drink order was taken we talked small about the day but finally the wolf subject came up.
I leaned over the table to them just as Daniel asked, “Do we really believe what Whitecloud’s been telling us? I mean, so we truly are turning into a wolf?”
”I agree. It’s unbelievable as hell. We should take time to visit the library soon.” I lowered my voice looking around.
”Good idea.” Jason said as he bumped Daniel’s arm.
”Exactly what would we look for?” Daniel asked. “You can find it on a laptop too.”
”Yeah, I know but the library can have the local tribe folklore’s or state legends maybe. I don’t know yet. I guess I just need to settle my own curiosity.” We kept the conversation low so others didn’t hear.
An older, short, stocky, dark woman, mid forties with blonde hair and brown eyes finally came to take our orders. Jason ordered the burger with fries and Coke, while Daniel took the Philly steak with hot peppers, onion rings, and tea. Me, I ordered a grilled ham and cheese on wheat with chips and a Pepsi. After the waitress left, we talked about the town where I came from.
”What’s the place like where you came from?” Daniel asked inquisitively.
”It”s a small two-lane, wooded place. My dad and I lived on the reservation there. Sitting Wolf was the chief. His son, Kenna, and I were buddies. Hell, we grew up as brothers.”
”It’s got to be hell to come back to this.” Jason commented.
”You got that right and Im sorry for not being able to remember you two. You seem like such cool dudes.” I laughed.
”Thanks.” They agreed. We spent the next fifteen minutes in conversation about Chief and Kenna until the orders arrived. After dinner, they took me home first, but I wanted to spend some time alone at the lake and the only way was to go at night.
After they had gone, I slipped into the house for my car keys and headed out to the lake for a while hoping to be alone so I could ponder over the things that the old man had said. They kept playing in my head over and over. I feared to think any of it was possible. When the dark lake’s entrance came into view, I hit the bright lights. Turning off the road onto a bridge that led to the parking lot I thought was vacant, until I saw Kimmi sitting on one of the picnic tables. From the headlights, I could see she was sitting on the tabletop.
It was late night and I had looked forward to being alone for a while but what the hell, I was already there. I really hadn’t thought of her, but I felt an instant pulse when I drove past her and found a spot to park.I killed the engine as I opened the car door. Getting out, I asked her, “What are you doing here?” Facing me startled, she said, “I usually like coming out here at night. Why are you here tonight?” ”Well, I just needed to get out for a spell, away from everything.” I slowly walked toward her feeling an inner tension until she stood up, surprising me.Stopping short of the table, I could see she wore a gold colored, full-length dress with a low-cut, ‘V’ shaped neck. The sheerness draped off her shoulders, down her arms, and around the waist. I stepped around the table to face her. sticking my hand out to help her from the bench she stood on. Placing a cold hand in mine, she politely said, “Thank you, Luke.” Then stepped to the ground. “Ma’am,” I responded to her. With the other hand, she reached down and pulled off her shoes, burring her feet into the soft sand. She was so beautiful I was having a hard time keeping my eyes off her. She caught me staring when she said, “Shall we talk or go for a swim?” Her sparkling blue eyes invited me in when she said, “You do swim, yes?” Surprised, I asked, You feel you can trust me enough to go for a swim? ”As a matter a fact, yes, I do. I believe you’ll not hurt me.” She was so damn profound. The urge in me wasn’t sure I could trust myself when her eyes met mine. It was all I could do to stay focused.
With both of her hands into mine, I quietly followed her footsteps in the sand. She barely made a sound while mine crunched in the gritty stuff. I was so taken by her that I didn’t realize I hadn’t come prepared to swim.
”Wait,” I said, coming to a sudden stop. “I don’t have trunks.”
Dropping my hands, she looked back over her shoulder, “Do you have anything on under those shorts?” She asked, looking up under her long lashes.
Feeling embarrassed, I answered, “Sure, boxers.” I grinned.
She winked and said, “That’s all you need then.” I didn’t know if I was being shy or not but I dropped the shorts, yanked the shirt over my head, and took off running.
I ran past Kimmi who made to the waters edge and dove into the icy cold, dark murky water, washing over me like a wave.
Placing my feet in the soft mud, I cam up yelling, “Man, that’s cold.” I was standing in the cold water up to my waist, watching Kimmi on the bank untie the belt around her waist. She knew I was watching when she let it slid from her
pale shoulders revealing a teal-blue full swimsuit that tied around her neck, revealing the ‘V’ running over her breasts down to the naval. When she turned around, dropping the gown, the low back dipped into a ‘V’ showing
partial buttocks with high hips. I thought the legs went all the way up. But to where, was the official cruel intentional thought. When she dove into the water, she left hardly any ripples in the stillness.
She came up quietly behind me with little movement when I felt her soft breath on my back in a sigh. ”This is nice, is it not? Would you mind if I touched your back?” Before I could say, “No, I think not.” I felt her cold velvet hands run over my back in a circular motion around the left shoulder blade. In a whisper that only I could hear, I said, “Damn.” Turning to her, she was standing in the water just under the breast. Breathless from the view, I wanted so much to kiss her when she placed a powerful cold hand on my arm, sending a striking sensation over me. I felt myself slipping into a place I didn’t wish to go but I didn’t want to stop either.
TO BE CONTINUED.
WRITTEN BY PATSY DEPPE, AUTHOR OF WAYA’S CHOSEN
After a joke or two, he asked, “Can you come to the house right away?” His voice had changed.
Concerned, I replied, “Sure, Tom. On my way.” I hung up the phone and run for the front door as I told Mae bye. I never heard her response when I went out the door and to the car in the driveway.
It had begun to rain when I rolled into the driveway and parked, finding both Tom and Mac outside with Jason in rainsuits. I hopped out, then sort of skipped over to see what was going on. Tom seemed angry when he turned around and saw me.
“Damn it,” he swore, looking up the road while shoving his hands into his front pockets.
Stopping at the corner of the porch, I asked Jason, who was pacing, “What’s up?”
He stopped pacing without looking up, moaning, “Willa called me this morning and said Daniel didn’t come home last night.” He glared down the road before pacing again.
Confused, I asked, “Does that mean what I think it does?” Jason nodded yes and nothing more.
Thoughtless, I grabbed Tom by the arm and swung him around in a jerking motion to face me.
Gritting his teeth, he said, “Yeah, Luke. It does.” He coughed, pulling a cell phone from one of his front pants pocket. He dialed a number and waited for only a second or two, then said, “He’s on the loose. Get Ben and the boys together.” He puts the phone back in his pocket.
Mac stepped in, asking, “Do you two want to join the hunt? We’ve got to find him ASAP, Luke.”
“Is this for real or a test?” I grunted.
Jason stopped pacing, grabbed me by the arm, and said, “I know you don’t know him like I do, but he’s in trouble right now. I know I joke but not at times like these. So please.” His eyes watered and his grip tightened.
Gulping hard, I asked with a shaky voice, “Can we find him in this rain?”
“We’re sure as hell gonna try. Y’all cumin’?” Tom contested, stepping toward Jason’s Ford.
I saw Jason motion yes when he released my arm. Tom turned, going to the passenger side of the truck, grabbing the handle. “Well, let’s go, boys. Jason, your truck was built for this,” he said, opening the door. Mac left us and went inside. Jason shook his wet head and scurried over to the driver side while I jumped in the back just as the engine came to life.
“Okay, Jason, let’s ride,” I yelled, slapping the top of the truck with the palm of my hand. He put the old Ford in gear and began to drive in the direction that Tom had mentioned.
The rain stung my face and arms, but my mind was on why Daniel had ran off. God, I hoped he wasn’t doing that call-of-the-wild thing. “Please, Daniel. Don’t, my friend,” I prayed in silence. Jason was right when he said ”’I didn’t know Daniel as well as he did,”’ but I had come to like both as welcomed friends. I braved the stinging rain as we sped along in search of any trace of Daniel while thunder rolled off in the distance. It didn’t take long for the rain to become heavier, with a storm building and lightning striking in the sky. When a clap of thunder awoke, the truck vibrated, making me sit down with my back against the cab, listening to the wet pavement under the tires.
I wiped water from my face when I noticed two other trucks rounded the bend of the road behind us. They kept their distance, but I could see several heads sticking up over the cabs. I slid over to the passenger side and leaned over to the window.
Tapping on the glass, I asked, “Where we going right now?”
“Up over the mountain,” Tom replied,grinning and pointing his finger toward the windshield. “It’s going to be a hell of a ride, so settle in.” I nodded and faced the rear of the truck in thoughts of why, how, and when it happened.
My thoughts were trying to reason why Daniel would do such a thing when I heard the commotion up front. I half turned to look through the back glass and windshield to see a large dog run across the road heading north.
I heard Tom almost scream at Jason, “That looks like him. Floor it, kid!” I watched Jason hands grip the wheel while he stepped on the pedal, and the truck picked up speed. Grabbing the side of the truck bed, I rose to my feet and glared over the roof, ignoring the stinging rain. I tried to get a glimpse of the animal when the other two trucks roared past us. They split up just at the next fork in the road. I slid down with my back to the cab in thoughts of Daniel and me when I first met him and Jason on that chilly morning.
My mind was clouded when Tom opened the sliding window, startling me. I half rose in a turn to stick my head inside.
“He may go to the park first, then up to the Hollow. We’ll start there.” He turned back to face the road.
“Where’s Mac?” I kind of yelled.
Tom widened that smile. “You’ll see him in about…now.” His grin widened when he looked over Jason toward the driver door. My glance followed his finger, and in that instant, around the curve ahead of us was a wolf hauling ass like it had fire on it. Not realizing who it was, I stared.
The brute was so quick that it didn’t stop when it came sliding around the rear of the truck, losing its grip and falling into a roll. But in the same instance, grabbing a hold with its back legs, it leaped up, covered in red mud, and plowed through it up along Jason’s side of the truck.
Jason rolled down the window for Tom. “Looks like he’s headed for the park first,” he said with a point of the finger. When the wolf sort of growled, it turned toward the woods and was gone. I watched Jason’s eyes, knowing he too was in dismay.
“Why is he running anyway, Tom? He needs our help right?” I stuttered.
Tom turned around in the seat, looking me in the eyes. “As we talked about it at the fort, when you first became fully changed, you felt this need to run with the wild in you. We told you three that we refer to it as ‘call of the wild.’ You are carefree, and there’s a hunger that pulls at your senses. It tells you to come and see, to be as free with it always; it’s soothing to you, but you have to fight the dark hand of temptation.”
“This temptation, Tom, is it stronger than the deer at the fort?”
“Much more than you can dream of when it leads and you follow, like if you lead a horse to the water when it is thirsty. Better yet, a drug. And if we can’t catch him soon, he’ll become savage with little or no way of turning back.” Dropping his glance, he turned back in his seat, facing the road.
I felt my heart sink as a lump came into my throat. I swallowed hard with the thought that I could possibly lose a friend to the need. Bitter with anger, I whirled around and sat down with my back to the cab and lightly cried out, “Great Spirit, what’ll happen to me? If I’m this huge thing they have raved about, how will they stop me?”
Out of nowhere, my head cried, “I am your companion, and they aren’t.”Shaking it off,I thought of Jason and quickly looked back in the window into the rear-view, seeing his eyes water. He must have thought the same thing as well. We spent the day searching for Daniel but coming up empty.
Night found me with my wasted mind scattered when the truck came to a sudden sliding halt that threw mud up over the side. Grabbing the side rail, I leaned over to see several wolves guarding one over another along the north side of the road. In the distance, I felt others watching me from the trees, waiting.
I placed a hand on the necks of the two wolves at my sides as I stared at the young man in the truck. He was, as father had said, magnificent. We stepped back, fading into the dark when he glanced our way.
Tom yelled for me, getting out of the truck, “Get the rope.” I got up, retrieving the rope I had been sitting on and jumped over the side.
Jason came to my left as we walked toward the animals. “We have visitors out there.”
“Yeah, I noticed them too.” I never looked over my shoulder, feeling my back being bored into.
There were many others, I gathered were clan members, that I could see on our approach to the animals when some began to change back to human form the closer we got.
Written by Patsy Deppe, author of Waya’s Chosen
I could never tell anyone about my fearless friend, that I enjoyed his company on those nights when I found myself trotting along in my wolf form. But one morning, I was carefree and soaring through a majestic forest covered in moss with singing birds, flowers, and thick, lush, wavy grass that felt like a carpet under my paws. The sun was trying to peer through the thick trees but was cut off by the heavy limbs that drug the ground with moss. To my right, through the shadows, were two more wolves racing toward me. They had stealth in their style, their noses high in the air, and their long slender legs in tune with one another. Their bodies were covered in shiny, thick fur from the nose to the tail. When they reached me, one at each side, we trotted in tune together, like a pack through the forest, hunting, searching for something. Only I never had a clue until a creature stepped from behind a tree into our path.
It stood tall on its hind legs with a broad chest and wide head under two long, narrow ears. The shiny nose sniffed the air when we came to a sliding stop on our rumps. The two wolves that were with me moved closer inward for comfort, I thought. But they began to lick the sides of my face with their warm tongues, lapping over the snout. I felt uncharacteristic with each touch of the tongues loving every stroke. It made me want more, and they gave in to my nudges of affection.
I was so busy being pampered that I had forgotten about the thing in our path until it spoke in a growling tone that nearly scared the hide off me.
“Well, we meet at last. I had hoped to see you a lot sooner, but now it is as good as any. I see you love affection, so soon, I’ll show you pleasure.” It laughed, then turned and walked off into the vanishing sun. With my attention taken by the thing, so were the other wolves when I looked around to find I was alone. As the light grew dim, a bone-chilling howl rang out that made my fur tingle on the ends. With a whining woof, I turned-tail and run like there was no tomorrow.
When I woke up from the dream, I was sitting upright in bed feeling scared of the thing. “Only, it was a dream, right?” I asked myself. I had many of those dreams on my return from the fort, but that was the first with that creature in them. Other times, I was led into a devilish mischief of digging holes, of how to lie and then get what I wanted. I didn’t understand what it meant with “we meet again,” so I ignored the thought. But there were times when I felt devilish inside, only to push it away in fear of letting it get to me and liking the way it felt. And then there were many times I wanted to just let go and run with the wind, howl at the moon, or just get into mischief I knew would lead to trouble. My whole being yearned to be free out there with the others as each day passed, and it grew stronger.
With Kimmi in mind, I grabbed the covers, tossing them off as I leaned over to sit up on the side of the bed, glaring out the window and feeling the soft wind that came through. I was supposed to see her that day, so I quickly grabbed clothes, and then jotted over to the bathroom for a shower. When I was done and dressed in slouchy shorts with a half shirt and sneakers, I rushed down the stairs toward the front door. But before I could lay a hand on the knob, Mae yelled from the kitchen, “Luke, Tom’s on the phone for you.” I snapped a finger in the air and U-turned toward the kitchen.
I took the phone from Mae’s hand, coming through the doorway. “Hello, Tom,” I said as I stuck the receiver to my ear.
“Have you seen Daniel this morning?” Tom sounded unusually different but quick and to the point.
I was lying in bed in a hotel room with a young girl I had met at the lake not so long ago. She had shown me the pleasures I never known before. She was sitting over me bare-assed as I was when she leaned over and kissed me. Firmly taking her into my arms, I rolled over on top of her, and we made love again. What I didn’t know was what was to come.
TO BE CONTINUED
Written by Patsy Deppe, author of Waya’s Chosen
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