"Nao what are you doing out here? You’re going to freeze to death, and I’m not going to be the one to blame for it."
Naomi turned to look up at her older brother with the look of pure rebellion and happiness she wore often when she did something she knew would bug him to no end. "Right…like Mom and Dad will still hold you responsible for my well being.", she said with a soft laugh. Turning to look at her Nathaniel held out the steaming cup in his hand.
"You never know.", he said shaking his head as she took it form him, "Are you still waiting to find our mysterious visitor in the middle of the night?" He was teasing her of course as all older brothers are supposed to, he knew exactly what she was most afraid of. Who wouldn’t be after seeing what it had done to the small lamb she had named Snow?
"Yeah.", she said in an almost chilling way. One that made Nathaniel wonder if maybe he shouldn’t hide the knifes in the house. "I hope its not a-", she paused as she shuddered and drank from the mug her teeth still chattering.
"Well if you wait fore it to come you’ll freeze your butt off. Come on…We’ll set the traps later.", Nathaniel said grabbing her hand and hoisting her up by it roughly. She shrieked of course and glared up at him as she shrugged his arm off of her. He sighed heavily and passed a hand over his face. Ever since their parents had passed away last spring, Naomi had never been able to smile or be the same girl she was then. Aunt Maude was cooking dinner and hopefully she’d rope Naomi into helping her, else she’d go up to her room and shut herself up in it doing who knew what for hours on end. It was always as quiet as the grave when he passed by, the door always locked. Last time he had jiggled the doorknob he had nearly gotten his head chewed off.
"Any site of the critter?", Uncle Charles asked behind the local news a rustle of papers echoing his question. Naomi said nothing as she went past Nathaniel and took off up the stairs. He watched her go then turned to his Uncle with a look of disbelieve on his face. Was he the only one that could see she was still hurting? Snow’s brutal murder had only been a grisly reminder of how cruel and unfair death was.
"No.", Nathaniel managed to say as he struggled to get off the moccasins that his Aunt had gotten him. He hated them and would have rather worn his worn out tennis shoes but it made Aunt Maude smile every time he put them on so on they went. "I’ll go out and help you set the traps later…After Naomi’s asleep."
"Why wait?!", Uncle Charles grumbled with another and final rustle as the paper came down and folded onto his lap. "Sooner the better…Damn things wished they’d just let us shoot em like we used to."
"Oh no you don’t Charles!", came Aunt Maude’s sing-song voice from the kitchen, "These kids are going to eat before you have him trotting around the whole property looking for some wolf!" The mere mention of the creature that had done so much damage by just killing a newborn lamb and any hope in a young girl’s heart, seemed to carry a silence that ushered in death.
"Well damn thing won’t be doing any thing like that again if it gets caught in one my traps…", Uncle Charles slapped his hands together to mimic the snap of the trap. Aunt Maude shook her head and looked up to the ceiling as though trying to imagine what kind of hell her niece was sitting in all alone up in her room.
Naomi Winters drew her knees under her chin her hands wrapped under them, head resting against the wall, and eyes closed. Sometimes she wondered if they all knew that she could hear them like they were in Nathaniel’s room (which was next to hers). At least they weren’t talking actually about her this time around. That was the only good thing about that thing that had killed Snow, now it was the problem not her. They all thought they knew what would bring her back to them, or at least that part that had been buried in the ground with the ashes of her parents. But it’d never come again, not even with Spring and its promises of new life. It would all die in the late Fall anyway. She passed a hand over her face to pass over the dark circles under her eyes. Why hadn’t she cried when she had seen Snow’s mangled body? Was she just an empty shell now? Her eyes landed on the candle on her bed stand and the matches. She reached over and grabbed the box and slid it open taking one of the matches out. She always thought it was kind of ironic how something that made fire looked like a shrunken sucker core. She struck it against the side of the box and watched the flame inch its way down the stick. Then she laid the flame across her left palm, and closed it. She cringed no she was still able to feel pain. At least the physical kind…
"Naomi? Naomi why don’t you come help me set the table.", Nathaniel said as he opened her door. She threw the matches under her blanket and covered her palm with her sweater sleeve as soon as his head poked from behind the door.
"Sure.", Naomi said as she slid off the bed and walked behind him down the stairs. As she set down the china on the table she made up her mind right then. She wouldn’t let them kill it. She’d go out later and make sure every trap was already set off...It was true she felt nothing but anger towards it, but at the same time how could she justify taking it’s life?
"You guys don’t really have to set off traps, Nate.", she mumbled as she brushed the hair from her face with her hand which the sleeve was pulled over.
"Uncle Charles seems to think so- we can’t have it eating all of the flock.", Nathaniel told her as he set down the glasses and turned to look at her eyebrow raised in a questioning way. "Don’t tell me your not upset over what happened to Snow."
"I never said that…", Naomi said as her hand trembled as she withdrew it from the plate she had set down. "I just don’t see how we’re any better than that wolf was for killing her. We’re just continuing the slaughter."
"Now why do you have to say it like that?!"
"It’s true though isn’t it?!!", she said bitterly. "We’re no better than it is!"
Silence replaced what would have been idle dinner conversation, not that it would have been much of anything under normal circumstances any ways. That’s not to say that Maude Winters didn’t try to start talk at the table but somehow it was answered shortly and then the topic died quickly as it hit the air.
The air that night as Naomi made her way out the back door into the night bit and swiped at her nose as though it were trying to defer her from going any further. She grabbed her sweater around her neck and continued on underneath the pines that blew with fierce hissing down at her. She tapped along the ground with a long twig and swept the ground with the light from the flashlight in her other hand. The first snap. Her heartbeat had raced to such an extreme that she was afraid that she might pass out. She pulled herself together and pushed on through the dense weeds and fallen wood. In total she had set off four and if memory served her correctly there was five.. Which meant that somewhere around here was-
Her skin crawled with goose bumps and she felt as though the blood rushing in her ears was drowning her in the darkness of the night. That terrible howling whine. She forced her legs to move but they didn’t go in the direction that her mind was screaming at her to go. Instead they were headed towards it. Why was she defying logic? Was it because that howl tugged at what little shattered remnants of her heart were left? She tripped over a log and scraped her leg against it, and as she went to stand she seen it a few feet off. The back leg was caught in the trap that looked like viscous jaws. But something was different about it, it seemed bigger now that she was close to it. Much bigger than she had imagined. Slowly she approached it the stick back in her hand, but the flashlight was no where to be found. She talked softly to it as she came closer when it pinned back its ears and growled at her. Her heart racing as she whispered, "It’s okay…I’m not going to hurt you…I’m just going to spring the trap." The wolves jaws closed slightly but she could still see the elongated canines. She acted quickly as she smacked the release on the trap. At first the wolf just stood there and for a minute Naomi was afraid it was going to lunge at her. Something held her in place with those icy arctic blues that looked over her. Then it lowered its head slightly then turned slowly and walked off into the dense brush. Naomi breathed heavily as she leaned against a nearby tree behind her. She covered her mouth as she closed her eyes. She was so stupid. Why would she feel like she needed to risk her life for it’s? Even as she snuggled back under her covers she wondered the same thing. Her fingers brushed against the matchbox and rested there, her palm had started to sting. Maybe that was why she felt that way…
· Fri Nov 13, 2009 @ 08:22pm · 0 Comments