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Canidae; Part II
Kindle winced as a bucket of freezing water was splashed in her face.
“Wake up, you little demon!” Hissed a voice that was painfully familiar.
Kindle sat up, yawning. What a terrible night! She had barely gotten any sleep. All of the sudden, a bundle of clothing was shoved into her arms.
“Get dressed, little wench! You're naked!”
Kindle looked herself over. That she was.
“And when you're done, tell me. You've got a lotta work to do, young 'un.” With that, Nana shuffled out of the room, leaving a candle so Kindle could see.
Kindle quickly slipped into her clothes, which were no better than peasant rags, and walked outside to where Nana was hanging her clothes on the clothing line.
“I'm done, Nana.” Kindle's voice was weak and scratchy.
This surprised the twelve-year-old girl. He voice was fine a minute ago! What happened? Nana swung around, her gaze was sharp.
“What took you so long?” She hissed, despite the fact that it had only taken Kindle minutes to get dressed, “Go out to the well and fetch me some water. I need it for cooking tonight.”
“Yes, ma'am.” Kindle croaked.
The well was far away from the house, and usually fetching water was bothersome to Kindle. But she could have time to herself now that she was away from Nana.
Kindle walked further and further into the forest, and she started to daydream. What would it be like, if her parents really were demons, and they came to rescue her from Nana? Would they put her under a spell, to give her immortality? Could she live happily with them, serving the forest gods? All of these questions were kind of confusing to Kindle, and they made her think, making her create stories in her mind. Oh, what she would give to be with her parents again...
Kestrel had gone out earlier in the day, so he could fetch water while the air was still cool. It was about mid-summer, and Kestrel knew it could get brutal if you waited for too long to go get a heavy pail of water. So here he was now, tying the rope that was attached to the metal bar that hung over the well, which was made out of stone, and lowering it down until it reached the water below. When he heard the bucket splash, he lowered it some more so it could tip on its side and be filled. When he was sure that it was full, Kestrel took the handle that raised and lowered the rope and turned it counterclockwise, making the bucket start to raise toward the well's opening.
When the bucket was at the end of the rope and a foot away from him, Kestrel reached out to grab it. When he got a hold of the bucket's handle, he untied the rope and let the other end fall into the water in the bottom of the well. Sighing, Kestrel took the full bucket and walked over to a fallen tree. He sat the bucket in the grass and sat on the tree's decaying trunk. He pulled his knees up to his chest and hugged them, hiding his face. He had had quite the night last night, nearly getting killed by that strange wolf. Who was that wolf? Why did it have to attack his village?
As Kindle was venturing further into the forest, she became more absorbed in her thoughts. She didn't even notice as she came upon the clearing where the well was. She suddenly stopped in her tracks, sensing someone was there. So she peered through the undergrowth and raised her eyebrow as she took in the sight of a boy, about her age – sitting on a fallen tree with his face in his knees. She decided after a while that she should approach the boy slowly. He might have a weapon.
So Kindle took a step forward, quietly moving closer to the boy near the well. She took another step.
Kindle winced. She had stepped on a twig.
The boy in the clearing's head shot up, his eyes alert.
Uh oh. Kindle thought, feeling the hairs on the back of her neck start to bristle.
Kestrel's head shot up when he heard the crunch of a twig. Someone was there.
He relaxed for about two seconds when he saw it was a girl, only to realize who the girl was, then he felt his muscles tense again. It was Kindle! He looked into her ice blue eyes and felt the muscles in his throat grow tight with fear. Then he knew.
Kindle was a werewolf.
There was something in the boy's eyes that made Kindle nervous. She recognized him. He was Kestrel, son of the baker and his wife. But the look he got in his eyes – the look of sudden recognition, and it gave her a queasy feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“What?” Kindle finally gathered up the courage to say something to the baker's son.
Kestrel didn't say anything. All he did was pick up his bucket, glare at Kindle, and then, without warning, he bolted.
Kindle stood there, baffled. What'd she do?
Kestrel zipped through the trees, the water in his bucket was sloshing out with every stride.
How could he have missed the clues? It was so obvious now! That wolf in the village – it had no tail. That was a sure sign of a werewolf. The human eyes – more werewolf traits.
Now I know. She really is possessed! Thought Kestrel bitterly.
As he grew closer and closer to his home, Kestrel smirked. He had an idea. He burst in through the bakery's doors, looking around for his father.
The baker was just kneading some dough, punching it, rolling it, and then punching it again. Kestrel sat the water bucket down by the door, out of the way of any costumers that decided to come in.
“Dad,” he called over the hiss of the stoves. “where's mom?
The baker looked up from his work.
“She's upstairs, in the house cleaning.”
Kestrel nodded. “'K, thanks.”
Kestrel climbed up the wooden stairs to the second floor of the building. When he reached the landing, he found himself in a hallway. He walked down the hallway to an open door on his right side. He entered the room, looking around as he came inside. His gaze rested on the woman who had ran up to him the night of the attack. He could see her more clearly, now that it was daylight and he wasn't in shock.
She, like her son, had espresso-colored hair and dark brown eyes. She had high cheek bones, and her hands were dainty and small. She wasn't the skinniest woman in the village, but she wasn't overweight, either. She turned around and looked at Kestrel, her gaze cautious but fierce until she realized it was her son that was standing in front of her. That was when her gaze softened.
“Kestrel, baby, what took you so long? I was starting to get worried.” She stood up, walking over to Kestrel and embracing him.
Kestrel let his mother hug him, he let her worry over him for once in his life. He understood that she had nearly lost him, and she, too, was just getting over the shock of almost losing her baby boy. Then he got serious.
“Mother,” he started. “Where's the village priest? I have to ask him something.”
Kestrel's mother put her hands on his shoulders and looked into his eyes.
“He's in the shrine on the outskirts of the village. Why?”
“I think I found something of his.” Kestrel lied.
The woman stared at him for a moment, then she sighed.
“Very well, then. Off you go.”
Kestrel turned around and walked out of the room. It was time for the destruction of the demon.
“Hello?” Kestrel called into the shrine.
It had been a long journey, but Kestrel had finally reached the shrine his mother had directed him to at sunset.
“Hello?” Kestrel called again.
Still no answer.
“Hel-” he started, he cut his call short and spun around when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
Standing before him was an elderly man, dressed in robes that were a creamy white color. He looked sickly and decrepit, his tear ducts had drainage encrusted onto his skin. His eyes were cloudy and white, and Kestrel gasped.
“You're blind!” He choked.
The elderly man chuckled.
“One does not need eyes in this world to see what's really important.” He replied softly. “Now, what is it that you want?”
Kestrel's gaze hardened. This was it.
“I've come to learn to kill a werewolf. I believe I found one.”
The priest nodded.
“Can you help me?” Kestrel asked.
The man didn't answer for what seemed like ages.
“Yes,” he finally answered. “But werewolves are Hounds of God. Why would you want to kill one, my child?”
Kestrel blinked. Hounds of God?
He couldn't really think of an answer to that. So he just made one up.
“A werewolf attacked and killed my family. I believe this one was a werewolf that made a pact with the Devil.”
The priest nodded again, a thoughtful look entered his cloudy gaze.
“Very well, then. Aconite, also known as wolfsbane, repeals werewolves. They despise the scent that the flower gives off.” he wheezed.
Kestrel felt his cheeks grow red with annoyance. He wanted to kill the werewolf! Not repeal her!
“Yes, but how do you kill a werewolf?” He prompted.
“Silver. A silver blade through the heart should kill it.” the priest paused. “But I strongly advise that you heed the information I gave you earlier; werewolves are Hounds of God. They do battles in Hell with witches and demons. Kill one, and that's one less guardian we have to protect us against the Devil's evil.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Kestrel thought. You'll say that when you're killed by one!
“Thank you, sir,” Kestrel said politely as he turned and walked out of the shrine.
Now it was time for revenge.