TITLE: Chance Meeting
GENRES: Fantasy, drama, mythology, emotional.
SUMMARY: One innocent, one evil...how do two such worlds meet?...
WRITING STATUS: Completed.
WRITING DATE: Circa 2002.
LENGTH: 1800+ words.
CONTENT WARNINGS: None.
COPYRIGHT: This story and all characters, unless otherwise stated in the Disclaimers, are copyright © tehuti_88 and may not be used or distributed without permission. The reader is free to print out or download a copy of this story for offline reading as long as the author's copyright information remains upon it. Please do not distribute; if you wish to share this story, send a link to this page.
DISCLAIMERS: Ocryx and his "species" are © the Haunted Theatre of Mackinac Island. Certain characters are from Ojibwa mythology. Although aspects of this story are loosely based on Ojibwa mythology and culture, artistic license has been taken as this is a FANTASY story. Please take note that this story was written around 2002 and that my writing style and understanding of the mythology I created may have changed vastly in the meantime.
ADDITIONAL INFO: NA.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This short story ties in with the Manitou Island serials listed above; as such, it might not make much sense out of context. Please see the ending of "Unleashed"--in an old series of stories I wrote long ago, the demon Ocryx fell in love with Little Dove, daughter of the medicine man Stick-In-The-Dirt (whose wife and tribe he inadvertently killed when he was freed from captivity). In this version of events, he knew her much earlier on. (Even a demon can have his weak spot.) Please also see "Return To Me" for a later-in-life sequel to this story.
PEBBLES MADE GOOD houses. At least that's what Little Dove thought. She sat beside one of the Island's many springs, constructing a small building out of stones and moss and bits of bark she'd found lying about, the knees of her dress getting muddy. She used the mud to glue the structure together, leaving a space for the door, and then set to making a tiny stick person to go inside the house. If she had the chance before it got time to head home, she would make a whole tribe full of stick people. After this one, she would have five. A man, a woman, and three children, their daughters. A family.
A shadow fell across the tiny building and she gasped and her head jerked up. The fear on her face was instantly replaced by a huge smile when she saw who had approached.
"You came!" She stood up abruptly, brushing herself off and rushing toward her visitor. "I was starting to think you wouldn't! It's kind of late today. I have to go back home soon. But I'm really happy you came!"
A large wolf stood at the edge of the clearing, staring back at her. It lowered its head and deposited something on the ground, then lifted its head again. Little Dove's smile grew.
"You brought something? For me?"
The wolf didn't reply. She moved closer and bent to retrieve the object it--he--had dropped, taking it in her hands and holding it up to the light. The late afternoon sun glinted off of a string of crystals tied together in loose formation, sparkling every color. Little Dove's eyes lit up.
"A necklace! You mean I can have it?" She gave the creature a hopeful look. "It's a gift?"
The wolf blinked and tilted his head. He still said nothing, though it was as if the girl could understand something unspoken, for she leapt up and bounced in a circle, giggling and holding the necklace out before her.
"Oh! Thank you, thank you! It's so pretty! Oh, wait a moment! I have to try it on first, right?" She stopped bouncing, her smile growing slightly sheepish. She slipped the strand of crystals over her head and held out her arms, smiling at the wolf. "Does it look nice?"
The wolf lay down in the grass and placed his head on his paws. Little Dove danced in a circle.
"I'll make sure to wear it the next time I come back here!" Her smile faded a little and she stopped spinning, lowering her arms. "I can't wear it home though...Father would be angry with me if I did. He doesn't like that I come out here...he says bad things live around in the woods."
The wolf lifted his head but still didn't speak. She sensed a question from him and sat down in the grass with a sigh, clasping her knees.
"Well, he won't tell me exactly what it is...but he says that bad things live in the woods...and near the lake...do you know the lake? He says there's this awful lake near the other side of the Island, and that a monster lives there. He says it did bad things a long time ago. I think he thinks it'll snatch me away if it finds me, or something."
The wolf's ears flicked. Little Dove sighed again and collapsed so she stared up at the trees overhead.
"I know...maybe he's just telling me that to scare me, so something like a bear doesn't get me. I know he's just worried about me, is all. Maybe if Mama were still here, he wouldn't worry about us so much. I bet that she would be able to keep an eye on us without having to tell scary stories!"
The wolf lowered his head back to his paws, ears folded askew. Little Dove frowned, brow creasing. She sat up and leaned on one hand.
"I hope I didn't say something to upset you! I didn't mean to. I don't know...I guess I just miss her sometimes. I don't remember her; White Deer says I was just a baby. She said something big came down from the sky...it had glowing eyes, and it broke all of the wigwams...and Father and we were the only ones left. Mama died when that happened...I wonder why something would do something like that? Do you know?"
The wolf merely stayed as he was, though his look had grown considerably darker. Little Dove sighed and lay back again.
"I know, you weren't there...though anyway...Father says that that's the thing that lives in the lake, so I have to keep away from there. That's why I don't wander too far; but now he's worried that I come here! He says that monster might come to get me even if I'm not too far away. Why is he so worried? If I saw a monster, I would go right back home. I know I would! I just haven't seen one yet...I don't even know what a monster looks like. Do you?"
The wolf lifted his head.
"I know...you probably haven't ever seen one, either! I just wanted to talk, is all." She lifted one hand to trace the outline of a cloud drifting overhead. "Maybe someday you can show me where you come from, Wolf? I'd like to see it. I would show you my camp, but I don't know if they would like that. Still, I..."
"Little Dove?" a voice called, from far off in the woods. Both the girl and the wolf lifted their heads, looking in the same direction. A rustling came, faint and faraway, and then the call again. "Little Dove!"
A guilty look came over Little Dove's face. She reluctantly got to her feet, and gave the wolf a regretful look.
"I...have to go now. I should've gone back a while ago...he'll be unhappy I was out here so long."
The wolf stared at her.
"I wish I could take you back with me." Little Dove bit her lip; then she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around the creature's neck, burying her head against his ruff. He tensed slightly when she did this, but didn't pull away; she took in a breath, smelled water and wind and wolf smell. It was comforting, for some reason; she hated letting him go, even as she drew away. They both looked at each other in the fading light, and Little Dove had to rub at one eye as it blurred, removing the necklace with her other hand. She forced a smile as she shoved it into her pouch.
"I'll put it on the next time I come out here. I promise!"
That seemed to satisfy the wolf, at least for now. He rose to his feet but still didn't move away. Little Dove gasped and turned in a circle.
"Oh! Wait! I have something for you, too! Just let me--"
Her foot slipped in the mud and she squealed when she fell. The wolf bristled and jolted forward, but she merely landed on her behind, on top of the little stone house. She grimaced and her eyes welled up from the pain; she glanced down beneath her and her eyes grew.
Little Dove pushed herself up and knelt in the mud to inspect the carnage. The house had been ruined beyond repair; and three of the five stick people she had already fashioned had been broken to splinters. Tears welled up in her eyes as she scooped up the pathetic remains, the wolf coming up beside her. She rubbed her eyes, leaving a muddy streak across her face, and sniffled miserably.
"I was going to give them to you. A gift. But I broke them all..."
The wolf snuffled at the remains in her hands. He nudged the broken figures away and Little Dove sniffled a few more times, blinking away her tears.
"Oh...wait. These two aren't broken." She set aside the splintered dolls and held up the two that remained, giving them a narrow-eyed look. "This one's the mother. And this one's her daughter! I know they're not very much, with what you gave me, but I hope you like them." She held them out on her palm and the wolf carefully picked them up in his teeth. The fangs were long and as sharp as splintered rocks, but they didn't even damage the delicate figures. Little Dove gave a watery smile and wiped her eyes one last time.
She bit her lip and glanced over her shoulder, then getting to her feet again. "I have to go now," she said sadly. The wolf stood where he was. "You'd better go, too. He won't be happy if he sees me talking to you...I promise we'll talk again, though! If you'll come...?"
The creature tilted his head slightly. The dolls stuck out of his mouth in an almost comic fashion, and Little Dove couldn't help but smile.
"All right! I liked seeing you again! And thank you for the gift!" She waved cheerily, then turned and ran off through the woods. A moment later a man's voice could be heard, quietly rebuking her.
"Little Dove! Have I told you never to wander off too far? And to come back before the sun begins to set!"
"I know, Father...I just didn't know it was so late."
"You do know that it's dangerous out here at night. You have to be more careful...I'm only worried about you."
"I know...I was just talking..."
"Talking...? Little Dove...I don't want you to wander off so far again. Especially with that around. You know what I told you..."
"But Father, he's so nice to me! He gave me a gift and everything! He won't hurt me."
"You don't know this for certain. I told you. The creature can take that form...the same one who hurt us long ago. You can't trust him."
"But he would never hurt me, Father..."
"Please promise me that if you see that thing again, you'll come back to the camp. Straightaway. Little Dove?"
A sighing noise. Little Dove's voice was almost unintelligible. "All right...I promise."
"You are a good girl, Little Dove." A pause, and their voices grew further away. "You know I only make you do this to protect you...I don't ever want to see you hurt. I could never live with myself if something happened to you or your sisters, do you know this?"
"I know, Father...I understand..."
The voices faded into silence, but for the rustling of the leaves in the breeze. The wolf still stood in the clearing, with the two tiny dolls clasped in his teeth. The fur on his hackles prickled and a low but menacing growl rose in his throat, his stare still turned toward where the girl had disappeared. His fangs almost sank into the frail dolls--almost. Then he seemed to remember that they were there, and relaxed his jaws just a little. He turned to head back to where he had come from, but he cast one last glance back over his shoulder, and his eyes gave one final, glowing glare.
The underbrush hardly rustled as he slipped within, trotting back toward the lake.