- Sci-fi comic about ancient things people find in melting icebergs
It’s full moon again and little Lidia can’t sleep all night, burning with fever as if the merciless city’s plague has reached her quiet faraway village… Only the plague burns down a man in several hours but Lidia wakes up healthy, if a bit pale, next morning and doesn’t even remember the horrible night…
Every time the moon was full, the same story repeated. A local healer, Tati, was a frequent visitor in Lidia’s house. No weather could stop him. If he had to go through the muddy swamp the land turned into during spring rains, he did. Same with winter blizzards and snowfalls. Same with the blazing summer heat. Every full moon, he was there. He sent everyone away: Lidia’s brothers and sisters and both her parents, the noisy lot, as wild and annoying as springtime wood goblins. With them gone, Tati lit a candle in the broom cupboard where Lidia liked to hide and sat there all night with the sick child. He cradled Lidia in his old, gnarled hands, sang to her, told her stories. He never gave her potions, only the tea from quiet-herb so she would sleep well…
Tati the healer was Lidia’s only friend. The other children avoided her for some reason. Her mother and father didn’t care for her much. They had work to do and didn’t have time for their sickly thirteenth child; trying to get their attention was a sure way to be beaten up. No wonder that when Tati died, Lidia felt like the sun itself turned black and darkness swallowed her world.
Then there came the first full moon without Tati. Lidia hid in her cupboard again, a stuffy wooden box that resembled a grave now, without a little quivering candle on the floor, without the smell of herbal tea, without the old man’s magical whisper.
After Tati died and got buried in the ground, all those he had nursed back to health quickly forgot him. It seemed so wrong to Lidia she couldn’t stop crying…
How will she survive this night without him? How will she live her life without her only friend?
It was dark and scary here in the cupboard. Lidia stood up and opened the door. She was shaking all over, suffocating; she’d give anything now for a breath of fresh air. She started descending the stairs, one step at a time, her thin hands clutching desperately at the rickety railing that was as cold as ice to the touch.
It took her what seemed an eternity to leave the house, but in the end, there she was, free under the starry sky where a full moon shone in all its glory.
Lidia smiled. She felt much better now! And the wind… the wind was magical! It brought thousands of sounds and smells she had never known existed; the gentle smells of pale night flowers, the pungent smells of young herbs, the ethereal scent of the dust from the wings of a moth... The sounds were unusually rich too, every note like a sparkling jewel laid upon the soft velvet of darkness!
A wolf howled in the forest. The beast’s song echoed in Lidia’s heart like no human song ever did. It suddenly felt so dear, so welcoming, so natural to the girl that she ran toward the sound, crying: “Please, please, sing more, wolfie! Don’t stop!”. She ran and ran… it took her some time to notice that she had four strong clawed limbs now, a wet, sensitive nose, and pointy ears; the dewy grass was way closer and touched the fur on her sides.
“I’m a wolf now! How wonderful!”
Wolves and werewolves, servants of the Moon Lady, her heralds and messengers… You don’t become one, you are being born one. But finding yourself is another matter. Sometimes, during the full moon night, parents find a wolf cub in their baby’s crib. Early reveals usually end in murder and fire. But there are late bloomers, like Lidia…
She ran out of the forest into the wide clearing; a silver wolf greeted her there. His intelligent eyes spoke more eloquently than words ever could…
They ran through the forest together, free under the starry dome of the sky, safe under the Moon Lady’s watchful eye. A moment there lasted for an eternity and the eternity there lasted for a moment.
Lidia woke up in her cupboard the next morning and thought: “What a wonderful dream!” But then she saw that her feet and palms were dirty and there were grass blades and feathers in her hair…
Her family’s shepherd’s dog backed up and started barking its head off as soon as is saw Lidia. The poor beast was terrified. Lidia’s brother hit the dog with a stick.
“Strange,” he said with a sneer. “It’s like old Baff has scented a wolf…”
There were many wonderful nights since then; nights filled with running, playing, and hunting. Years passed.
Lidia had grown up. The little girl with wild eyes turned fifteen. People were afraid of her. No one could look her in the eye. No one dared to force her to do something against her will. Everyone said she would never make a good wife and no one dared to ask for her hand in marriage.
Such terrifying power is given only to those who knew real love. Lidia loved her silver wolf more than she loved the sun and the moon, the night and the day, more than anything. The full moon nights were what she lived for all those years, balancing between her two selves - wolf and human. She already felt the heartbeat of her and the silver wolf’s future child…
Lidia’s parents tried to marry her off many times and failed again and again. Men felt terrified and helpless in their daughter’s presence, so they backed off from the deal the moment they met her; most walked away, some ran.
But one day Lidia’s mother returned home in a triumphant mood.
“Now you will marry, little witch!” she said. “Whatever magic you were doing, it worked after all: you’ve got yourself a very rich man.”
Lidia thought, “Let her gloat! If he doesn’t run away as the others did, I will tear him to pieces in the night and leave the human world to be with my silver wolf forever!”
On her wedding day, Lidia put the white dress on and sat in her room, waiting, as still and alert as a predator ambushing its prey. She heard bells ring outdoors and the front door creak, opening. She heard unfamiliar steps approaching her hiding place. She saw the door open…
There they stood, both young, both beautiful, looking at each other with love and passion. The world stopped for them, there was no more time.
He had those deep, intelligent eyes that spoke more eloquently than words…
“Silvermane?” Lidia whispered.
“Darksong,” he nodded with toothy a smile…
(April 4, 2003)
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English is not my native language.
If you see an error or a typo, please, tell me. I will fix it.