“Stop running, Zade,” Annabelle whispered into his pointed grey ear. “You’re tired. Get some rest.” She hopped off of his back, landing on her feet unsteadily. His tail whipped behind her, helping her regain her balance. “Thanks,” she uttered silently. Zade crumpled onto the ground, starved and weak, and Annabelle instantly became concerned. Zade grunted and huffed, trying to tell her that she didn’t need to be concerned.
But this was Annabelle. She was always concerned about Zade. “I’ll be back,” she assured him with a light kiss on his wet nose. As he lay there, too exhausted to move an inch, she sauntered away from him and into the forest.
She wasn’t sure how exactly she would go about what she had in mind. Annabelle wasn’t exactly a hunter with a rifle or even a bow. She had no weapons on her, except a four inch knife that was tucked away in her sock. Annabelle knew Zade would die if he didn’t eat something; he’d been starved the whole time he was locked up in that warehouse. And she couldn’t let him die over something as silly as not eating.
So she made her way down to a creek, filling up a canteen in her pocket with water while she was there. Surreptitiously, she removed the knife from her sock, gripping it so tight that her knuckles turned a sickly white color. Annabelle glanced up and down the creek, straining her ears to listen for any sound other than the trickling water. There was a rustling down quite a ways from Annabelle, and sneaking over to its location wasn’t easy. She managed to do so without scaring the lone doe that was there.
Annabelle thought up ideas in her head, brainstorming for any reasonable way to kill the creature. She thought about climbing a tree and pouncing down on it, knife in hand, ready to slit its throat. There were many other outlandish ideas, but only one seemed rational to Annabelle. She crept closer and closer, avoiding detection (although there were a few close calls when the doe would look up and scan the area) until she was about ten feet away. With the knife gripped tight in her left hand, she raised her arm, testing her aim, and with one powerful throw, the knife torpedoed through the air, penetrating the deer in the neck.
Totally surprised that her aim was better than she imagined, she watched the deer kick spasmodically as it hit the ground, huffing and snorting, big brown eyes strewn wide with fear. Annabelle, still partially in shock, approached the animal lugubriously. She knelt on the ground, her legs sinking into the soft earth beneath her. Annabelle, with a heavy heart, placed a hand on the animal’s head, a soothing touch as it writhed in the dirt.
“‘By the same power that slays you, I too am slain, and I too shall be consumed. For the law that delivers you into my hand shall deliver me into a mightier hand. Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven.’”
It was the only thing Annabelle could think to say before the creature died, blood still trickling down the side of its neck, staining the pure white fur with lines of crimson.
She stroked the deer’s head once or twice, attempting to conjure up yet another plan—how she would get the deer to Zade. After a few minutes of asking herself this question, she gathered the hind legs and pressed them together and began to drag the animal through the woods, desperately trying to remember which way she came from.
Annabelle made it back eventually, catching sight of Zade’s silver pelt gleaming in what little light filtered through the trees above. His head, suddenly enveloped with the scent of fresh meat, whipped upward, nose tilted over towards Annabelle. A grisly growl erupted from his mouth when she laid the animal carcass in front of him and she backed away a few feet, knowing how violent he could get. He was a wolf, which meant his brain controlled his body differently than when he was human. His self-restraint wasn’t as strong as he would’ve liked, especially in the presence of Annabelle, but he gnawed away at the limbs, devouring the animal, enjoying the rumbling satisfaction of feeling his teeth slice through sinew and tissue. Zade reveled in the taste—and he had never been much of a fan of raw meat, but it felt so good to have some kind of nourishment that he no longer cared about such miniscule issues.
Annabelle watched, a look of pure fascination on her face. She observed in awe the way his muscles stretched as he reached for more meat, the way his eyes seemed to glow brighter with each bite, the way every once in a while he would roll his head so he could peer into her eyes before delving back into his prey.
She knew Zade didn’t have to be in his wolf form right now. She was astute enough to realize that he was just weak, so he remained a beast until he had the power to shift back. Besides, Zade was slightly uncomfortable with the fact he had no clothes to wear if he returned to his human body. And the thought that he would parade around the middle of the woods with only Annabelle to accompany him (and no one to witness the lovemaking between them), Zade thought he would never let Annabelle leave the forest, forever to dwell beside deciduous trees under the ivory light of the moon.
Just like Zade always wanted, ever since he became a werewolf so many years ago.