There are two wolves who stay with me. While they are no longer of this world, I can hear their whispers even now. Their voices can be as distinct as they were when each still lived and sometimes I swear the hairs of my ears tremble under the warm air of their breath. Every time I feel the sensation, I cannot help the need to look over my shoulder with expectation of seeing their smiling face. What a dream to indulge… What a nightmare to fear.
Their smiles. Their smiles were so different - are still different. The expressions still paint the inflections of their murmuring ghosts clear as any corporeal face that could show it. One is gentle and seeks to remain benevolent while the other dons wily smirks as if she knew all the tricks of fox, raven, and coyote. Maybe she does, I can’t say I truly doubt the possibility. But where she can pick out the darkness of every beast my upon which my sight settles for more than a moment, her counterpart shows to me the light within the very same creature who may be cloaked in shadow. Something worth saving, worth admiring.
Perhaps that is all these two are to me. My dark and my light. Could it be I assign them the personas of the two wolves who spared me the very fate that stole their lives? Some… obscure way of passing my conflicts, my crimes, and the few virtues I maintain, onto some other soul not my own? Maybe. I’m no hero. This neutrality I so often comfortably nestle within may very well be a testament of my cowardice. There are days I wonder what bravery it was the led me to seek a place within Malaysia’s flock.
I wonder if it was bravery at all. I doubt it. I can still taste young blood on the roof of my mouth, the back of my tongue. A madman can do anything and bravery has nothing to do with it.
A small crowd of wolves gathers around a recent kill. Those of high ranking work to fill their bellies while the rest wait patiently on the outskirts of it all. I sit at the treeline, eyes half-closed after a long day of foraging. The comfort of a familial setting and the wafting scent of a meal soon to come makes my eyelids all the heavier, but I find the wherewithal to stay conscious by watching a few young tumble and roll. It makes me think of my youth until such thoughts graze and poorly healed scar and I’m forced to shut it all out. But the young have a knack for timing and like the flies around the carcass, they can smell an opportunity to be a pest.
Three gather around me and take their seat expectantly as if I’d invited them myself. “Wha’s on y’mind?” asks the leader of the small squad, his face screwed up with concern or disappointed curiosity. Something about it makes me want to laugh, yet I feel my lips and brows form a scowl instead.
I tell him, “Two wolves fight within me. One speaks out of love alone and the other is blinded by hatred.” It’s a delight to see the lot exchange confused glances, judgemental and ignorant. I suppose I can’t blame them; I might’ve been the same when I was their age if I knew anything of the luxuries which softened their days. So I explain to them the details of my thoughts and watch a miracle take place as understanding of blossoms within their bright eyes. How wonderful it is to know they aren’t the entirely brainless maggots I initially coined them as. I suppose it goes to show how judgemental and ignorant I am. These pups and I aren’t so very different at all.
“Well,” chimes another, sitting just off to my right, “Which of the wolves do you think will win?”
It is an admirable question and, in all honesty, one I’d not considered before. I allow a moment of silence drag on while I ponder my answer and toy with their impatient curiosity. It is one of my pleasures to know someone waits on me and although my mind is dedicated to the task before it, I admit their compounding need to know my innermost thoughts was an indulgence. But, at last, I confess my conclusion:
A smile crawls over my muzzle as I watch a hopeless gloom come over their little heads. Whatever grand hopes of hero and villain, good and bad, right and wrong, had been instilled into their young minds has clearly taken a blow and I am glad for it. It is likely I’ll earn the scorn of their parents who tell comfortable lies of a black and white world, but I’ll happily take the paltry repercussions if I am able to undo even a sliver of their devil's work.
Of all the living souls to be found on this island, I find that the young are most deserving of the truth and most deprived of it.