Chapter 13Mature

Sandra (30): Wolfsong

Sandra and Rhyley reached a clearing which was vaguely familiar to the former. She was confused and didn’t understand why, until she remembered that this was the clearing she had stood at the border of in her Wolf Dream. Tonight there was a ring of werewolves - eight, she counted, including Roger who stood at the head of the circle and watched as Rhyley and Sandra stepped into the clearing. The wolves’ coats varied in colour: Roger’s black fur wasn’t shared by any other wolf and among those already in the circle, two were dark grey like Rhyley, two were brown, one was pure white like an Arctic wolf and two resembled Alaskan wolves (except for their pale and bright blue eyes) which Sandra had seen on a nature documentary. Rhyley moved in front of Sandra so that his body was perpendicular to hers and stopped. Sandra got the message - she should wait here. When she was standing still, Rhyley walked away to join the circle, sitting down not too far away from Roger between one of the dark grey wolves and one of the Alaskan-wolf-resembling ones.

Roger was the only wolf standing and when Rhyley joined the circle, he sat down. All of the other wolves gazed at him and there was about a minute of silence during which the forest’s hushed nature seemed more intense and everyone seemed to be waiting - including Sandra. Sandra wondered what she was waiting for and tried to perceive the slightest clue from any of the wolves’ behaviour. But every wolf was still and every wolf was silent, apart from the occasional audible breath. Every wolf was focused on Roger so Sandra supposed he would give the signal to start the mysterious Wolfsong.

And so he did - a nod of his head which if Sandra had been looking anywhere else, she would have missed because the movement was so slight. The wolves, as one unit, raised their heads to the sky and howled at the moon. At first there was one joint howl of about three seconds’ duration, but after that the lengths of each wolf’s howl varied and there were occasional pauses so that they started at different times; it became like the sounds of an orchestra: each howl different in sound but the notes and the pitch being varied as well. When it came together it was the most unique sort of music conceivable.

Sandra closed her eyes to better absorb the song being produced before her, which seemed to echo around the clearing and reverberate through her. The wolves’ howls were haunting, especially since they were raised in the midst of a large forest under a predominantly black sky in which the moon shone eerily, travelling through air which was cool from the absence of clouds. Sandra felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise to respond to the chilling noise.

She marvelled at their ability to create such music, which rose and fell - sometimes both at the same time - and not so much painted a story as encapsulated the current scene: the darkness, the otherwise silent forest, the seeming loneliness of these animals and Sandra with so many indifferent trees between them and any other person or wolf. It was difficult to think of the wolves as people - Sandra didn’t think that anything about them betrayed their humanity. 

On one hand, Sandra felt a pang at hearing the Wolfsong since she wasn’t a werewolf herself and couldn’t join in with the wondrous creation of music, but on the other hand she felt the music swelling around her and including her in it, like she was a bystander being painted alongside the main event in a picture. As the music travelled through her she felt as she had felt in the Wolf Dream - connected to and profoundly aware of the earth. There was ground beneath her feet, and there were roots and worms and rabbits and moles in the ground. Far, far below the ground were the mantle and the chaos of the magma and then the solid, cool rock of the core. She felt like a part of the system of Nature, of life, of the changing of seasons and of the fauna and flora which were meant to co-exist in a better way than the way which humans had forced to be the compromise. She wondered what other magic there was in the world, perhaps unknown even to werewolves, hiding itself away to keep it safe from human intervention.

Sandra also felt another connection on this night of magic and novelty - this one to the wolves, who had allowed her to hear their Wolfsong even though she didn’t have the power to change into one of them. She opened her eyes and found Rhyley from his silver streaks, which seemed to be singular to him, and felt connected to him - this was part of his world and therefore a part of hers. She longed to be next to him howling at the moon though also daydreamt of receiving a private rendition which could take place more intimately - specifically, when they were alone together. She remembered him saying it wouldn’t be much of a Wolfsong if it was just him and she did appreciate what the different howls did to make the Wolfsong what it was, but didn’t think she would mind merely hearing Rhyley’s howl if he ever desired for her to hear it.

The Wolfsong was by far the profoundest experience of Sandra’s life, and she truly appreciated her luck at being one of the few humans who were given the opportunity to witness this. Despite the eeriness and despite Sandra’s slight detachment from being the only human present, Rhyley had been right - she was loving it. She sat down on the ground and watched and listened, captivated and unaware of how much time was passing - in fact, unaware of anything else going on around her. She was in the here and now, immersed in Wolfsong, and nothing could pull her away.

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The End

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