Vengeance, retaliation, retribution, revenge are deceitful brothers—vile, beguiling demons promising justifiable compensation to a pained soul for his losses. Yet in truth they craftily fester away all else of worth remaining.
I squinted at the western sky behind Thaddeus, a blood-red smear melting into blackness. Twisting my neck, I glanced the opposite direction. My teeth clenched at a magnified, round moon nearly as scarlet as the portending sunset, its luminous face half masked by hazy cloud cover. Hatred, vengeance, anger……such emotions coursed through my veins in a poisonous concoction that muddied my mind, impelling me to grip my sword tighter and fight with every ounce of strength I possessed against those who threatened my family - my kind. Currently, Thaddeus was behaving as such a threat, using his powers of persuasion to condone human sacrifice for some outrageously perceived good. He wanted an offering for the monsters; a desperate, futile offering of human flesh that would in no way protect the other villagers from being mauled as he promised.
He gestured at me. Do you like the blanket? I nodded. It’s warm. I made it. Well, actually, I didn’t skin the animal, but I did kill it….after the others pinned it down. It’s werewolf skin. My heart faltered; I gripped at a wad of black fur. I slayed the beast for you, Catherine. I used your sword. It was your grandmother’s idea actually, a wedding present. You mentioned how chilly you get. You didn’t slay a werewolf, I breathed before repeating the words louder. You did not slay a werewolf, Thaddeus. Oh, but I did. I took a band of huntsman with me and we tracked one down. A smaller one, mind you, not far from the front gate… You did not! I contended more strongly. Why would one wolf have separated from the pack? Why outside our walls? Yes, Catherine, I did, he insisted. I shook my head disbelieving. You’re not capable— I am so. I wanted to cry. I wanted to protest, but to do so meant giving away my knowledge of the truth. Without knowing what else to do or say I changed the subject. The fire’s gone out. Thaddeus turned his head to check. You’re right. I’ll see to it. He fed the barrel stove until a healthy blaze was roaring. Finding me no longer a decent conversationalist, Thaddeus left with a promise to return soon with food and water. Unobserved, I gathered up the fur hide of a lost soul and curled into a ball, hugging it close to my chest. I cried silent tears and mourned for this unknown werewolf for days.