Ghost Wolf

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Cooper3's avatar

Literature Text

Jill excused herself from dinner and started on the dishes.  The leftovers were put away, the dishes were washed, and the pans soaking in soap and water; the meager chore washed away her worries for the day.  Before she reached for the towel to dry her hands, she froze.

She looked out the kitchen window to the backyard.  Through the trimmed bushes and fence, she felt two yellow eyes looking back at her.  The moon was full and she recognized the outline of a timber wolf.

Jill knows the wolf, not personally, but occasionally it would show up.  As long as she can remember it was always there, intimidating her fear.

"Go away," she whispered.  She didn't want to alarm her mother and brother.  The wolf's ears twitched, but that's all.  It still stared back.  Feeling those familiar chills creep up, she went to her room, closed her blinds, and hummed to sleep.

It's no surprise how she reacts to the wolf.  One night it just… showed up.  It scared her so much, she felt that the sight of wolves were bad omens.  When taking the bus was not an option, walking the half-mile walk from school was frightful.  If she did it followed her, keeping its sights on Jill.  For a while she thought of nothing but the wolf; it began affecting her grades.

In the past she told friends and classmates the wolf existed.  When she points at it, they told her they see nothing.  The timber wolf was visible only to her; it almost drove her mad.

When she started senior year, she had enough.

Looking out her window at the wolf one night, Jill said, "You don't scare me anymore.  You don't attack me, bite me, or even growl at me.  You're a ghost."  She knows it heard her from the twitching ears, but it does nothing.  She turned away from the window, and in the corner of her eye she saw the timber wolf shaking its head.

It got up and walked into the forest.

In time she grew to ignore the wolf, even though she still sees it.  She hanged with her friends more and her grades improved.  People say she changed overnight to someone that doesn't talk to herself.  The wolf, defiled to a mere dust particle to Jill.

The avoidance carried on to graduation as Jill walked and accepted her diploma.  It was her proudest moment, the lively smile said it all.  Her family and friends cheered her on.  If only her dad was there to say, "I'm proud of you pumpkin."

The timber wolf stood at the end of the ramp looking at Jill; she walked passed it, ignoring it.  Unknown to the students flipping their caps to the air, the wolf walked away and out of sight.  Jill celebrated with her friends.

For a few days Jill packed for college; her new car was stuffed with her belongings and her roommate's.  She said some heartfelt words to her friends, mother, and brother.  Her plan was to study sleep disorders as an interest at a university with a strong psychology program.

Earn her doctorate, but solve her own mystery of the wolf was the ultimate test for Jill.

While leaving town, she spotted the wolf near the forest, and almost gasped.  Its left paw was raised and moved, like it was saying goodbye to her.  Jill believed it was another meaningless illusion and drove off to her future.

A week before school started, Jill was resting in her dorm alone.  Her belongings were stored away, her classes were chosen, and she loved the surrounding college town.  Her mind was adrift in learning possibilities while staring at the ceiling, but was feeling a little afraid of being on her own.  She had her webcam and cell phone to cope with homesickness, but knows she has her roommates to hang with.

Just then she felt an icy chill down her spine, goose bumps formed, and realized she wasn't alone.  What caused it was a loud and powerful howl outside her window, enough to jolt her upright.  She had to look.

Sitting on the curb next to another dorm was the same wolf from home, staring at her.  She gasped and ducked.

"No… frickin'… way," she whispered.  How the wolf found her was a mystery, but within her, she knows that the wolf will stalk her until the end.  Ignoring it was shattered.

And it never ceased – between classes, during class, at night, and eating out.  The wolf glared with more intensity than before, like a judge.  It was high school all over again.  One month it lasted.  Her roommate couldn't handle the familiar moods and suggested what Jill never considered before.  She went to an on-campus psychiatrist.

The first question he asked was why not consider it before.  Jill said she didn't think it was necessary and cost too much.  They spent two hours talking, delving deep into Jill's rooted problems.  It felt like an intrusion of privacy for a good purpose.  Then he said, "Jill I believe what you are seeing, this 'wolf,' is contributed to not coping with your father's death.  And this wolf is a symbol of guilt and fear of dying from the guilt."

It was something she truly accepted, yet he was right.  Her dad died when she was turning eleven.  They were never on good terms; he worked too much.  He was never there except birthdays, but when he says Jill's nickname "pumpkin," she feels good about herself.  She wasn't there at the deathbed, but her father wanted her on his last hour.  He died with a broken heart.

"You feel sorry for his death and it's haunting you," the therapist said.  "I suggest talk to your family and keep a journal.  That way you can move on and hopefully not see the wolf anymore."  Jill agreed with the therapist, her family stood by her.

But that didn't compare to the night after her midterms, as she passed them all.  Jill was in town picking up things from the drugstore – her roommate waiting in the parking lot, when she was grabbed by a mugger and dragged into an unlit alley.

It was too fast for Jill to react, but her fear rose with the mugger's knife inches from her neck.  His face and skin showed signs of drugs and worse.  "Give me all your money," he demanded.  Jill had no choice but follow orders by dropping her stuff and fish in her purse.  She struggled gathering the cash as the mugger became needy.

She froze when a deep growl appeared.  She saw the wolf, on it's paws, snarling at the mugger.  But something unexpected happened.  The man heard it, and saw the wolf.

As Jill was confused as ever, the mugger cursed; the wolf didn't budge.  Jill screamed when the wolf lunged at the mugger, then silent as it "phased through" his legs, and run off.

He was dumbfounded for a second, then he screamed in agony as his legs locked up and shook uncontrollably.  Jill herd muscle snapping.  He collapsed, giving Jill a chance to run for it.  The screaming kept going as people noticed and called 911.

Jill hid from the commotion, trying to slow her breathing.  No matter how she believed it, she understood that the wolf protected her.  How did it all happen?

The wolf appeared and barked, scaring her.  With a wide grin it rubbed against Jill's leg.  She felt a real wolf being… friendly to her, but she was too stunned to move.  All she managed was to thank the wolf.

Instantly the wolf dissolved to smoke, letting the wind take it away.  Jill blinked from the spectacle.  At her feet she saw a beautiful necklace, a gold chain with a large gold pendent.  She picked it up to examine it and discovered the pendant was a locket.  Inside it made Jill gasp from a sepia picture of her, a toddler, and her father carrying her on his shoulders.  Jill felt moved for a while, but her mind clicked to a crazy and impossible clue.  An item her father possessed, even the necklace was his, all from the attic.

Only one way to find out.

She drove back home to follow the wild theory.  One item stood out from the rest when it still hanged in the loft.  She arrived and went straight for the attic.  Her heart was beating like a rabbit's.  Under the dust-covered blankets of her father's stuff, she pulled them away.  Between the boxes was the item, a large scenic oil painting.  Her heart skipped as the wolf in the painting was identical.  How could she forget such an important piece of evidence?

In the corner of the frame was an envelope she didn't notice before.  She grabbed it, opened it, and read the small letter.  She cried after reading.

"Happy Eleventh Birthday, Pumpkin.  Hope this makes up for me not being there.  Even if you don't know it, I'll always protect you.  Always.  –Dad."

She hung the painting in her dorm room with pride.
This is my entry into #Digiversity's Down-to-earth Magic Contest. The rules were to partner up with a writer and a illustrator for a joint submission. I was partnered with ~devils-assassin and he made this in junction with the story.

Worked as hard as I did. Hardest. Story. Ever. And I'm proud of what I created.
© 2010 - 2023 Cooper3
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monstroooo's avatar
I really like the way you hint at the story, rather than just telling it outright. There's a suggestion that the wolf is Jill's father (or his ghost) - but it's never said outright. You've told a story - by turns touching and intriguing - but retained a nice degree of mythology, or mystery, about it. That's a really nice touch :) It allows the reader to draw their own conclusions.

I did have issues with the tense and grammar - there are some sentences here which would give an English teacher a nervous breakdown ;) Try to be aware of whether you're writing in the present tense or the past tense, and stick to it. I'm happy to give you some pointers if you're not sure what the difference is.

It might be a good exercise to write a 500 word story in the present tense, and then re-write it in the past tense. Doing that will really give you a feel for the difference, and help you to be more accurate in future. Again, I'll gladly give you some help with that, if you wish :)

It's easy to see beyond the grammatical errors though - there's a really good story here. It's engrossing, it's well told, and you absolutely should be proud of it.