Chapter Twenty-Seven: Monster (5)Mature

Raif watched the Mage-Man cross the courtyard, and considered following him.  It knew, however, that this particular Mage-Man was not very fond of it—and had, in fact, wanted to make it dead upon their first meeting.  If its Friends had not intervened, the Mage-Man might have succeeded in this venture...or perhaps not.  Raif was already dead.  Could it die again?  Doubtful.

            Even so, the fox-like creature waited until Alasdair MacQuarrie was a safe distance ahead before trotting out in pursuit.

            Recently, it had been having thoughts, thoughts with words and a first-person protagonist rather than the kind of thoughts it had been accustomed to, those made up of images and a general but indistinct sense of self.  In amongst these were more memories from its life as a human boy by the name of Raphael Greenwood.  Such recollections were passed along to it like fairytales.   It knew what occurred in them in great detail, but they didn’t quite feel like its own experiences.  For instance, it remembered now how he—the human Raif—had died, yet it felt no unusual fear of fire.  Here in the Great Big Stone Thing, fires seemed content to gnaw away at wood, showing no inclination to leap from the grate to feed on flesh.  These fires were nice ones.  They made warmth and good smells.  Raif was safe in their presence.

            At the present moment, however, it was not a memory of death or fire that played behind its eyes.  It was not, in fact, a memory at all.  Rather, the vaguest wisp of foreboding crossed its mind, and it looked up at the sky to see that the sun had set.  Bad things happened after nightfall in the Carvil Valley.  Raif had to protect its Friends.  Protect them from things like the Bad Man in the Black Cloak and creeping Dark-Fogs.  Tracking the Mage-Man would have to wait until another time.

            The creature pivoted on its hind legs and bounded back up the stairs, through the open oaken doors, and into the long, torch-lit corridor.

The End

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