A horrible cry shattered the stillness of the forest and somewhere a deer stopped dead in her nocturnal wander, frozen by the sound. In the far distance, a wolf howl rose as if  in reply then faded and the air was still again. The doe sniffed the air cautiously, her ears flicking back and forth then she went on her way, her gait faster now, unsettled. The light of the moon shone down upon her path, throwing her shape into sharp relief, making her easy prey, seeming to catch her no matter how deep into the forest she went. Though the creature could not comprehend that it was unusually bright on this night, she still sensed that something was different,something was wrong. Behind her a twig snapped and she bolted , her every nerve a taught spring. In her strange panic, the doe ran headfirst into a tree, the sheer momentum killing her instantly. As her life ebbed away, that horrific sound pierced the air again, falling on her slowly stiffening ears. 

Victor woke in agony, his leg burning with a ferocity that reached his belly and made him want to vomit.  He couldn't contain the screams that burst from him as pain thrummed up and down his left leg in sharp spasms. The moon glared down upon his fevered body, far too bright to be natural, its oddly magnetic pull making his head ache.  He had been dreaming again. 

Waiting for the pain to subside as it usually did soon after he woke, Victor tried to gather his thoughts. The sweat on his brow began to cool, and his leg grew still, left with only a dull ache now. It was getting easier, but to look at the bare skin there would tell a different story. The wolf's teeth had left long scars and  deep jagged furrows all over his shin and ankle.He had been sleeping when the animal attacked, trying to tear his leg off, seemingly thinking he was dead and easy pickings.  He had fought the wolf off, with no weapon at his disposal, only his hands. In a flurry of fur and teeth, Victor had ripped the animals bottom jaw clean off, the  pain in his leg fueling a rage that he could barely control. He remembered skinning the dead hide and wearing it around his neck, still warm with the wolfs blood.  The savage rage the creatures attack had awoken never really left him, or perhaps it had always been there. He couldn't remember anything prior to the wolf attack, apart from a strange village he had apparently resided in for a summer. He didn't care much to remember  anything else, much more preoccupied with the strange dreams that would come visiting all too often while he tried to sleep.

They seemed to consist of gardens with tantalizing scents and strange lights, jade  gates and faceless people with low monotone voices who kept calling his name. He only assumed his name was Victor since it was what these dream people called him. He felt beckoned by these nightly visions, and tortured by them too, drawn helplessly to them though he knew agony would follow. The only thing Victor knew for certain, was that he had to find this place from where they called. It was much less a thought than it was a feeling, hard and certain and never letting up.  This was one of the few feelings he would allow to rule any step he took.

Only because it was stronger than he was.



The End

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