The Echoing Howls

It’s been said one can hear them, howling still, through the forests, the valleys and the hills. It’s been said one can sometimes see them, in the peripheral of your vision, their tall silhouettes flashing by. They watch you, and hear you, they can taste your smell. After so many centuries, they still have no place, doomed to roam forever where none will ever acknowledge them.

In a time, so long ago, that most have forgotten how the world was once ruled by Gods and creatures much mightier than man; A time when animals were beasts, who understood mankind better than man did himself, it was then that justice served through more than the book of law.

Somewhere between the mountains of the Balkans and Carpathians, between ancient Greek and Thracian kingdoms, on the edge of the river Danube lay a small village rich and cultured. They were not with many, a few hundred at best, dressed in beauty and fed with abundant cuisine. Their children spoke in many tongues, raised to be merchants, like their parents had been.
And from the river would come often, merchant vessels of nations far away, to trade with them the riches and the knowledge that be. As such these people were proud and peaceful, favored by man and beast alike. It goes without doubt that the Gods smiled upon them, as this was how man should be.
But riches do not come without a price, if not just the envy of thy neighbor, the angry sparkle in their eye.

As the seasons changed and the wind, the cold and darkness crept over the lands once more – all the people in all the lands prepared. They stocked their food, rationed their meals, sheltered their animals and paid tribute to their Gods. As should be.
And so did the people of the village, but with their compassionate and wise hearts they did not just think of themselves, but of the beasts in the forests too. They had shared with them the warmer seasons, hunting amongst their kind, taking what was necessary and not more than that. And the beasts had accepted, understanding the need.
But as cold weather came, they had little from which to feed, and the people of the village came with animals from their herd, leaving them for the wolves to feed. They brought berries for the deer to feast. And grain for the birds and small animals to bring to their nests and holes.
And the beasts ate with gratitude, before retreating to their winter grounds, to meet again in Spring.

But it was not just the beasts that wandered the forests still, preparing for Winter’s struggle, a few angry men sought after sleepy animals to surprise and kill, for these men were ill-prepared for winter. With respect for nothing they set out hunting in the woods, their bitter hearts with envy, finding no prey or worthy goods. But soon enough they’d find out why as they stumbled upon the food left for the beasts, a meal worthy of any man, yet dedicated to the forest and the animals’ lair. And with loud noise and angry display they scared away those few animals still feeding, and ate from what was theirs.

After their ferocious feasting they sought from where these foods did come, leading them onto a trail to the rich and cultured village. From every chimney rose smoke, of dry wood and cooking food.
These angry men, those ill-prepared, boiling with envy deep inside, hurried back to their village just passed mountains with fast stride. They told of these people, who lived in riches, were sleeping in dry warmth, who wasted their foods upon the animals and beasts, these cultured fools along the river bank.
And through a whole night and day they sat, speaking amongst each other in murderous envy and with growling stomachs, of how they truly deserved these luxuries over their neighbors – along the river bank.

And on the next night they set out with knives and spears, bows and arrows, clubs and axes; towards the river bank. And there they saw, from the edges of the wood, how those rich and cultured people ate with their children, taught them of many things and lay their head to rest. Nearly frozen from cold, yet fueled by pitiful hate, they emerged from the treeline to sneak closer by and seal their fate. As they surrounded a small house each, they could hear the gentle, peaceful snoring of those inside; a sound so honest and true it would even fill a hungry beast with remorse and turn home without a fight.

But not these envious minds, these bitter souls with dark hearts, only their growling stomachs made a noise as they sneaked inside and loomed over the parents as they slept. And the night sky filled with the cries of the children as they saw their parents murdered, one by one, by the envy of another.
And such they gathered the food, the riches and the children – strung together by rope and took them through the forests towards the mountains in the bitter cold. The children wept silently, shivering with fear and wintry chill, dreading the heights and challenges to come. Begging for food, a loaf, just one.
It was then their captors realized, the children were mouths to feed, but they’d rather feast themselves then fullfil these children’s needs. But none of them had the courage to slay even one child and such they chose the cowards way out.

Into the valley they led them, tying them down like sick cattle to the rocks, leaving them behind to hunger and suffer through bitter cold. And slowly they ascended the mountains, as the children watched them leave, without remorse or guilt. Just satisfied with their spoils.
One by one the children fell ill, overcome by broken heart and freezing chill, their weeping cries carried by valley winds into the forests and the lands as they slowly perished all.

And from the wind, perhaps by the whisper of the Gods, the animals awoke and heard their desperate wails. And together they agreed the wolves should set out and look, these humble friends from the riverbank, were in need.
And through the woods, through the snow-white grasslands and towards the mountains the wolves chased with all the dedication a beast can have. And with heavy heart they found before their very feet, the many children who were no more, sacrificed for another’s greed.

The wolves howled into the cold, night air as it echoed through the mountains. Not to speak of territory or prey to find, but mourning a heavy loss. And with their souls broken, shattered hearts and vengeance on their mind the wolves devoured with tenderness and respect the remainders of the children.
And with the blood of the children still on their teeth they chased up the mountains, to find those bitter and dark souls, to go after every murderer and thief.

Before the break of dawn they caught up with them, those guilty of carrying bloodied goods, and quietly stalked them from the woods. Until the perfect moment arrived. And from each rock, each bush, each hole and every path they popped up with growling, blood-red teeth.
The foolish souls, now devoid of courage or greed, pleaded the wolves to spare them. But to no avail, as beast and Gods alike had decided upon their fate, justice would be served through an angry beast’s hate.
And as such the wolves jumped the screaming, crying, pitiful men and women and bit into their flesh. And from their teeth seeped the blood of the children, into their open wounds, mingling with the sputum of an angry wolf’s jaws, justice for their murderous flaws.

The wolves ran, leaving all those bitten with a choice, to slowly perish as dawn arrived – laying in the snow. Or to crawl into the caverns and wait for the moon to heal their wounds.
And cowards would not be cowards, if they did not choose the easy way out, and fearing for their sinful lives they sought refuge in the caves. As the moon rose, the following night, to their horror they could see, as hairs and teeth began to grow from their wounds and wailing mouths, they were forever slaves to be.
And till this very day, you might just hear them howling through the night. Tormented still, by the souls of the children they did kill, chasing them along. These werewolves are outcasts, exiles from all, no beast or man will ever accept them; they disgust any who may see, the pitiful souls that are inside of them and forever will be.

Now times have changed and people have forgotten, the Gods have become silent but one thing is still clear – when you travel through these ancient woods and mountains and hear the whispers of children or the echoing howling near. Hope for wolves and not these Lycan fools, for they will hear you, watch you, smell you and seek your sympathy. But never will they find the sympathy they seek and this angers them deeply, do not ever let them near…

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19 comments

      • ZoeyDerrick

        I think the best comment I have is WoW! I loved the old world feel and mythology and the ancients and the Gods are a passion of mine (little known secret) and to read a story like this was very awesome! Very Well Done!

        *HugS*
        Zoey

        P.S. Sorry it took so long. Can you forgive me now? *Down on her knees, begging silently*

    • Severed Limb Movement

      That was exactly what I was aiming for. I was trying to sketch a “mythological” event, like the old paintings of the 1700 and 1800’s where the events of a myth/legend are more of a still life than “epic events” such as from the LotR-movies. I was trying to give depth yet space to envision it, keeps things in careful moderation instead of “over the top action”. Kind’ve like the Grimm brothers stories. 🙂

  1. The Darker Half

    Bobby this is awesome. I had visions of amazing imagery while reading. Van Helsing’s epic painting to be decrypted and Underworld’s Lycanthropy detailed in ancient living forests. Fangorn and Glengariff Woods. I too experienced a chill reading it. Well done !

  2. mari wells

    Wonderful story.
    Sorry it took me so long to come read it. I’ve had a horrid migraine the past few days.
    Beautiful wording, it gave me chills. Kept bringing memories of the recent past to mind too.

  3. Pingback: A little change « Mari Wells

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