They Will Forget
"The Hour of the Wolf"
Arc 1, Part 1
Authors Note: So I've finally figured out how exactly I plan to do this - in arcs. The parts within each arc will be shorter than chapters some might be used to seeing from me (which, in the case of Spider... were ~4k words, regularly.) But, in comparison, there will probably be many more chapters. I'm trying to short change some of the plot holes I have a habit of accidentally creating.
So, the summer is almost over, and this is my first update (sorry,) but on top of that I can't promise that I'll be able to achieve the biweekly update that I assured you guys would have (double sorry.) But I promise to do everything I can to give you an airtight story.
R&R = love.
"How long will this last?" I whispered to the crisp darkness, turning my head to stare out the open window on the other side of the room. Stark white curtains were billowing in the winter breeze, giving the area a surreal feel. How much of his money had I wasted with this open window obsession? How cold had I made the apartment? It was as if a permanent deep freeze had settled deeply into the walls already, and still I simply couldn't figure how he put up with me so often.
Even wracking my mind I wouldn't inform you as to the length of time I'd been laying in my bed. My limbs had long settled into a comfortable numbness, thoughts helplessly treading through the deepest of darks, as the quest for sleep had been abandoned long ago. Hours. Days. Weeks ago. I no longer saw the point in trying, so I didn't. Without expectations it's impossible to be let down.
However the lack of disappointment still failed to assuage the bone deep exhaustion. So, though my eyes burned, and my very core ached, I laid quietly staring at the way various lights played across my room. The gentle movement of fabric illuminated by the lights from the street. The small glowing red dot just above my door frame, indicating that my fire alarm was in working order. The orange flicker of a half dead candle all the way across the room, extinguished in a puff of almost blue smoke by the very winds moving my curtains so hauntingly. Three, colon, three, seven lit in that very sequence on my clock.
"The hour of the wolf."
And it was no wonder the curtains were shifting in such a way that they almost seemed to be moving in reverse.
The hour of the wolf is a time somewhere between the dark of night and the light of dawn, when you can't sleep because you're worried about something. You sit, hearing nothing but the throbbing of your own heart as you think of how everything should be, but isn't. You see all your problems and troubles with striking clarity, and have no way to combat any of them. A time wherein demons seize, ghosts haunt, and there is no relief. The wolf growls quietly somewhere beside your ear, but you can't fight it off no matter how hard you try.
I'd been living it for so long that the hour of the wolf became my life.
Three, colon, three, nine.
The enveloping darkness of slumber ceased to offer comfort the very day he carried me from the freezing waters of the creek I'd fallen into. The day of the funeral. The day I'd decided to run, without a care in the world, or a concern for myself. He'd called me selfish, scolded me like a child, and bathed me like one too. The only thing I found comfort in was assuring myself that he'd done so because he cared. He's always cared, and that felt good. That felt right.
Three, colon, four, zero.
It was about then that I realized I should probably just save myself the trouble, and climb into his bed like I'd done last night, and the night before that. Five more minutes, and I hated to think of what would happen. What inevitably happens, or rather happened before I realized how to keep the wolf at bay for just one more night. Every time, I snuck into his room, and whispered his name like a frightened five year old I thought, "I'll deal with it tomorrow. I'll be stronger tomorrow. I'll be less scared tomorrow." But each time I said it, it became a fuller lie.
In reality, it appeared that every day I put it off, the fear grew. Every time I crawled into his bed, and lay awake there instead of in my own room, it got that much more difficult to stay the whole night alone. I was twenty, and I was sleeping in my best friends bed because I was too frightened to sleep in my own. A pitiful thing, really. Pitiful. So pitiful, that I hated myself a little more each night too.
And I hadn't left yet.
And it was too late to change my mind.
It was almost abrupt, the way the breeze stopped, and the curtains fell flat against the windows. The way I felt frozen, and suddenly catapulted into the throes of a nightmare even though my eyes were open and I was well aware of my surroundings, came about so suddenly that I didn't even have time to cry out. I'd decided to lay quietly through the hour, the whole hour. And slow minutes just before the shift, she struck. And she brought her cubs with her this hour apparently, as there was more than just the one upon me.
And they did nothing but weigh upon my chest like the asphyxiating universe, pushing the very life out of me. Disallowing any movement I'd been giving during previous sessions, probably for being so avoidant. And why hadn't I gone to his room, they wanted to know? Why had I shifted my M.O. so suddenly? Why now, of all times? Well, because foolishly I thought I could handle something that so obviously was not meant to be handled.
And I was having a conversation with a silent force.
"Please..." I rasped, trying to breathe though my chest couldn't expand far enough to allow it. "Please..."
"I- I can't..." And such small, simple words were so very hard to form. "...breathe, I can't- Oh my God."
And I could swear, any minute, I was going to die. "Help..."
An overwhelming light suddenly washed over me, and the pressure ceased so I gulped in mouthfuls of airs. I laid there confused until I noticed a worried expression on the face in my doorway, a young man staring at me through sleepy eyes. He'd come to me, instead of the other way around. He'd turned on the lights, and scared away the wolves, and looked even more concerned when I started crying.
"Solo?" He asked, sliding around the edge of my bed to sit beside me, and I just climbed into him. Terrified, and relieved in the same instance. "Solo, what's wrong?" When I just muttered incoherently into his robe he whispered, "It must be all this cold. It's giving you nightmares."
But how could I tell him it wasn't a nightmare?
How could you be sure it wasn't a nightmare?
How could I tell him that cold doesn't give people nightmares?
How could you be sure that cold doesn't give people nightmares?
"Can I close the window, Solo?" He asked quietly, holding me tightly in the safe circle of his arms. But I couldn't let him because the windows needed to stay open.
"No," I said simply. I didn't explain my reasoning, and he remained blessedly quiet about it. I could almost hear the gears in his head shifting as he gathered me up closer.
"Do you want to come to my room?" He whispered, running one hand through my hair to cup my head protectively. He knew just how to make me feel better. "I don't mind if you want to come, it's kind of lonely without you."
A pause, then, "Yes." Because more than anything, I wanted to be in his room.
More than anything I wanted to be away from mine.
"Come on, honey."