CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!
The ringing of hammer meeting anvil echoed in the lonely smithy. The heat of the forge a comfort in the rainy autumn evening. Sparks flew after each impact and gently floated down as embers. A strong steady hand held the piece in place as the the man worked his craft. Focus, concentration, strength, endurance all cycled in the man’s mind. On the wind a voice danced, “I’m still here”.
The man paused, deafened by the noise of his labor, but still able to hear the whispered words. “You think I’m gone, but you know me better.”
The man looked now through the open door, into the gentle rain, and amongst the foliage appeared a…shape? A human? A wolf? A spirit?
“You run but I will find you. You fight, but you know me stronger. Remember what you were taught.”
Suddenly, the skies darkened and lightning ripped across them, the figure now standing just outside the door to the smithy. The flames of the forge were snuffed out, leaving the man in darkness. Another lightning crack illuminated the creature’s mangled form just moments before them man was struck.
Then a bird chirp echoed in the darkness. Light crept through a window and roused the man in bed. His sweat soaked the linens and his breath galloped from his lungs. He sat up not believing what had happened and questioned what was and wasn’t real. He touched his face where he imagined the strike to have connected and found no scar, no wound, only a memory of the event. He sat for many a minute trying to work what had happened, what meaning there was in this…dream? returned memory? false memory?
He was stirred from his thoughts as the door to his room burst open
“Big Brother!!! Good morning! Did you sleep well?” A young girl bound into his room as sunny as this pleasant early morning.
“Uh, Yeah. I slept fine. How’s our little daisy doing this morning?”
“I’m good. One of Father’s friends came by earlier wanting to talk to me, but he scared me. I don’t want to talk to scary people”
“It’s okay. We can talk to him together another time. Would that be okay? You wouldn’t have to be scared if your big brother’s there” The man gave the little girl a warm smile.
“Hm, maybe. Only if we can get pastries after”
“Haha, alright then.” The man smiled again, but buried in his eyes were the pangs of doubt, anger, and hatred. The girl was right to be afraid, and the man would protect her and the rest of his family with his life.