• Read Prelude First!!!!

    A large plain, completely and surreally surrounded by forest lay off to the east of a small little town. Most of it looked untouched, green, quiet, and windy. The sun had shown a cool morning light on the stretch of beauty, and fell upon a fenced-in yard. The house was small, but not too small. It had two stories and a shaded back porch looking upon a shed and little garden across a large open area of grass. All this enclosed in with a new wooden fence, the whole house looked well-kept and clean. The front faced the forest where a dirt road led back to town a while through, the back in the light.

    The plain rolled, dipped, rose, slopped, and flattened in random areas along its massive land. The high slop at one end was topped with the closest section of that forest wall, shaded as the sun crept over. Out of this crept a small black creature, whining with every step. A it lost its footing and rolled down the slope, finally resting out in the nothingness of the plain, whimpering covered by the ever-growing wind.

    Ritz sat solemnly in the pet cemetery, looking to a grave that read “Oscar” she was not crying, though she had very much before, now she just… stared. Her short acorn hair moved with the morning wind, ceasing momentarily as her mother walked across it’s path, then knelt down next to her, “I’m sorry this had to happen… but you have to understand some people’s reaction to this sort of thing.”

    “He was a good dog… the best dog…” Ritz breathed.

    “He was.” Mother agreed, “Too bad he turned out to be a familiar.” She stood, and sighed, “You should head home, sweetheart. Do you need me to come and make you dinner?”

    “No, I can manage.” She stood with her mother and hugged her lightly, “Thanks though, I’ll see you mom.”

    “I love you sweetie…” She waved as Ritz climbed into her truck and drove off.

    Ritz was maybe twenty, still in collage. She got a golden retriever named Oscar to keep her company in her isolated land that used to be her father’s. She was always kind, always doing odd jobs and helping everyone in town out. And that dog never left her side… Until at a family reunion she held at her house the dog spoke… And her uncle got scared and shot him with her gun…

    She didn’t have to drive far, but it seemed like forever. As she passed the people in town they looked to her and nodded, or clearly avoided looking to her at all. This was the way Thomason Town was and always will be, nervous and to themselves, scared of anything new or strange. She turned onto the dirt road and started into the forest, dark with a thick canapé of leaves overhead. She new every curve and every bump, she could find her way with her eyes closed, but she routinely turned on the headlights. She drove at a speed not too slow but slow enough she could stop if something jumped out ahead of her. As she would normally, she looked over to make sure the goofy dog wasn’t hanging his head out the window and getting smacked with branches. She would often get a giggle out of him barking at the animals in the forest and then getting confused when something wound hit his shout. But of course… now Oscar wasn’t there to make her giggle. The dog she loved and raised wasn’t there to cheer her up this time.

    She quickly looked forward, wiping the thoughts from her mind, and cleared the trees. She parked on the side of the house and cut the engine before climbing back solemnly to her empty house on the empty plain. She walked to the door as she always had and started to reach for her key but then remembered herself rushing out of the house with Oscar bleeding in her arms, there was a good chance she’d forgotten to lock the door. She gave up on the key and just walked in. The house was as she left it yesterday, the kitchen was littered with half eaten food and coloring books, the living room the same with her shotgun off the rack over the Television and now laying on the floor. No one from the get-together had cared to pick up after themselves.

    Ritz sighed and made her way over, kneeling down to pick up the gun. She paused and looked to the sliding glass door leading to the backyard; she could see the majestic dog walking in through his doggy door with that goofy smile on his muzzle. He had sit down in front of Ritz and spoke the first and last words she would ever hear from her, “I love you, Ritz.” That goofy Oscar had a goofy low voice, with innocents in it that clearly showed he didn’t understand… He was naive. Then, there was the ghostly gunshot and the whole vision faded. Tears ran down Ritz’ cheeks for the hundredth time and she stood with the gun. She wiped her face of the liquid and placed the gun neatly back on the rack. She walked back to the kitchen, taking a garbage bag out of the cabinet and throwing all the food, crayons, and paper plates into it.

    She filled it quickly, getting each and everything she could from the living room and kitchen. Ritz tied the bag and slung it over her shoulder, walking out of the house and throwing the bag in the dumpster next to the house; she would rig that to the truck in a few weeks and haul it to the dump. As she reached to close it, she saw the black spot out of the corner of her eye; A little black spot in the center of all the green. She stood there and stared at it, seeing if it moved. Her heart started to pound, was it a dead animal? Curiosity tempted then overtook; she started toward the strange thing. As she got closer, she could see fur, then she started to get faster, then a muzzle rose from the fluffy black ball, she ran to it and knelt down beside. It was a wolf cub, whimpering with his large auburn eyes pleading her. His back leg bleeding, he’d have died if she had never found him. He was young but growing, just big enough to b considered a medium sized dog; somewhere between a rat terrier and a pit-bull.

    Ritz ran her hand over his fur, very warm and soft. His breathing was fast, he was getting weaker. Without a second thought, she carefully scooped him up, and walked just as cautiously. The poor cub whined and shook in her arms, afraid and in pain. She walked in the house and brought it into the bathroom, laying him in the tub and gently petting his soft fur again, “Stay here, baby. I’ll be right back.” She left the room and when to the hall closet along the steps, took out three dark towels before she hurried back.

    Amber, Ritz’ mother, came back to her nice little house in the center of town. She dropped her keys and sighed as she fell into the couch, “Becky, I’m home.”

    A girl came out from the hallway, short and thin, probably in her mid teens. Her curly acorn hair tied back. She came over and sat by her mother, “Was it hard for her?”

    “Very.” Amber nodded, caressing her head, “I don’t blame her though… it’s hard too lose the only thing keeping her company.”

    Ritz had splinted the cub’s leg with two rulers and wrapped it thick. The wolf was now sitting in Oscar’s dog bed, watching her walk across the kitchen. She took out a few pieces of ham from a little packet and walked back to him, kneeling down, “Hey, little guy, you hungry?” She help out one piece, dripping with honey.

    The little cub looked to her, then too the food. He slowly moved his head forward and nipped at the meat, pulling it gently away from her and setting it between his front paws, where he devoured it greedily. Ritz smiled softly as she watched him. She’d never seen a wild animal this amount of trust before. He looked back up when he was done and leaned forward slightly with his nose high, sniffing her. She put her hand out toward him and he jerked back. After a short moment he moved forward to sniff again.

    Ritz sighed softly, “Well, you’ll be staying with me for a little while so how about a name?”

    He looked up at her, the very distinct look of waiting… Ritz was set aback by the look; it was almost like he was responding, “Yeah? Like what?”

    “Can you understand me?”

    The cub tilted his head to one side. Ritz let out a soft sigh and looked back to him, “um… a name…” She looked over his black fur, and his pretty eyes placed and angled perfectly on his fuzzy little head, his large paws and thin legs just starting to grow a bit. She smiled, “I know a name for you, Midnight, Midnight the elegant creature of the moon.”