“I’LL RIP IT OFF!” Taima screamed. Her sentences dissolved into jumbles of angry gibberish as she jumped up and down, feathers flying in the tantrum. Words came back to her in twitchy gasps. “DO YOU HEAR ME? I’LL RIP IT THE FUCK OFF!”
Milo spoke, “Stop acting like you’re the fucking, the fucking….” he gestured listlessly for a moment, then brought his hands together with purpose. “The fucking arbiter! Of what Mom wants, okay? I can take care of my own shit.”
“What shit would that be?” She decided to remind him. “Wolf shit?”
Again, the voice from the dark boomed. “Wrong, little soldier. My kindness is what the bat has seen tonight.” There was a ripple from the garden, where the voice spoke, that coalesced into ink black fur and bone white claw. Ebony followed behind it, drawing herself from hiding and standing in a hunch, towering over the crowd with ease. Her face was a young woman’s, mature but bereft of age’s touch, compounded by whisps of black fur around her collar and neatly arranged razors of teeth. Black wings were folded across her lioness body, her alien tail a pinkish color that ended in a flower-like bulb that jutted out the purplish spikes from the man’s stomach.
To the boy it seemed a horrid trap, like a fever dream he was being marched into. By lanterns light he tread with his captor and his fellow prisoner in silence along the entrance path. The path was paved with stone, a foreign luxury in the hovel below. It was lined with a garden of surely imported flowers in perfectly matching shades of reds and whites and lilacs. They were cut and trim to perfect measurements, none encroaching past their gardens. Gone was the overgrowth of the village, the unruly weeds and clutching branches that flanked their village. The manor was sterile, it was organized, it was planned.
“Dude,” he continued, “I still won’t go near the water closet upstairs, I don’t care how many times they clean it. That place looked like a snowman blew his brains out!” he cackled once more, slapping his knee and drawing predatory looks from the students trickling out of the cafeteria. Not predatory in the usual way a boy might have feared, more in the sense of a den of lions staring at a very loud and slow gnat.
But it wasn’t the wolf he had thought he saw. The bags under this monster’s eyes accentuated it’s piercing gaze, the tireless face of a hungry beast. No smirk, only a cracked grin that split across its face like perfectly measured blades. He saw his face trapped in the thing’s eyes, pale and trembling, encircled by the cold flames of its pupils.