Daniel was staring at her, slack-jawed, but shook his head. He rubbed his eyes, then pinched himself, and each time, the image before him didn’t change. He was standing, awake in his room at night, while a storm was going on, and this weird wolf woman was standing before him.
“What… the hell is going on?” Daniel asked.
“Is that all you can say?” the woman asked, snickering. “Ah, how simple human minds can be when their notions of reality are challenged.”
Daniel swallowed roughly, trying to ease himself. “Okay, let me rephrase that, then. What do you want with me… whatever you are.”
“Ah, that’s the question, isn’t it?” she asked. She appeared thoughtful, those golden eyes glimmering. “What I want, my dear boy, is to offer you something, the likes of which you will probably never be offered for the rest of your mortal existence. This is no joke, nor is it a game, it is a literal once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Daniel furrowed his brow. “What…?”
She closed the gap between them rather briskly, so fast Daniel almost fell backwards. He managed to steady himself, and was surprised when she stopped in front of him; she was tall, taller than him, in fact, and he only then saw a tail swishing side to side.
“Do you ever grow tired of the limits you possess as a human?” she asked.
Her toothy smile widened. “Let me try and explain myself, rather than speaking in vague terms, shall I? That tends to make this sort of exchange much simpler.”
Daniel’s lips twitched. “It’d be nice, yeah.”
She chortled. “You see, my kind exist in your world, in a way you wouldn’t normally be able to understands. We live everywhere, invisible to the naked eye unless we will ourselves to be seen. We are… You called me a ‘spirit,’ and this is close enough. We are not the dead, however, nor are we ‘magic’ by any means. We simply are, and that is the best I can explain to you.”
Her tail flicked over and brushed against his arm. He was surprised at the softness, though he registered what was going on - a wolf woman was touching him with her tail, for God’s sake - and he recoiled somewhat.
“Every so often,” the strange woman said, “we will manifest before someone like you. A normal human, living a normal life, with normal hopes and dreams and woes and so on.” She waved a hand. “And when we do, we offer them a choice: a chance to receive our gifts for themselves.”
Daniel stared, absorbing all this. “A… chance to receive your gifts?” He placed one hand onto his chest, as if he could will his heart to relax. “What kind of gifts? And why?”
“The gifts we are blessed with by our natures,” the woman said. “Often, we take the forms of creatures - we borrow their essence, and in doing so, we are given their traits. It’s a bond that goes deeper than blood, deeper than the very soul, and it exemplifies all that we are. I, for example, am bound to the wolf. The hunter, the pack leader, the paws hitting the ground as blood rushes through the body.” Her grin stretched even wider. “And I am offering to give you this gift.”
Written by Hollowpages on 18 April 2019