Do you remember when I, the all-knowing narrator, said that this was going to be a happy story? A humpty-dumpty gets put back together again story? Yeah, me neither.
In a place similar to that of a desert town, lived a young boy. This boy had bright ginger hair, and emerald green eyes. His energy contagious, and his smile always returned.
When the boy was eleven, he was playing out in the dunes. His mother would scold him for it like she did every time, but nothing bad had ever happened there. What could go wrong, he cluelessly thought.
It was then that the boy saw the wolf. It was a sandy colored wolf with short trimmed hair and pointed ears. As the villagers would say, a desert wolf, and a bad omen.
The boy was curious though. Living in a desert, there wasn’t usually anything more than a lizard or a rattlesnake around. He had never seen a wolf before.
When the boy got closer, he realized the wolf was dying. It was laying in the sand and it’s leg was badly injured. Probably snake venom, the boy assumed. He cautiously moved closer, and then the wolf bit him.
Later, his mother would scold him for getting so close to a hurt animal like that. And then, after the night of the full moon, she would beg the Sand Mother to take away his curse. But it wasn’t a curse, or a gift. It just was. Jonathan Clements was a werewolf with ginger colored hair and bright green eyes.
His mother worried constantly after she realized the wolf demon had possessed him. That was what they had always been taught to believe in their small village. The kingdom of Meolin was well known for its hatred of werewolves. The people believed, with all their hearts, that once you were infected, the wolf took over, and killing was all it knew.
It wasn’t long before the mother saw this as a lie. Her son was her baby and no wolf could take that away from her. She worried for her boy though. If someone were to discover his secret, they would surely kill him. So the mother supported both of them and Jonathan had no responsibilities at all.
But then she fell ill. A disease known as Desert Death. It would attack the nerves and motor functions of her legs first, and then slowly squeeze out her last breath. There was a cure, but she and her son couldn’t afford it on the mothers wages alone.
Thus, the boy with no responsibility went for a job.
A well-known warlock was offering three Bits a day for janitorial work. Jonathan had always dreamed of becoming a doctor. It wasn’t as good as being a warlock, but he wasn’t so good at the magic part of healing. Jonathan would have settled for being a doctor.
“You’ll do, I think.” The warlock told Jonathan.
The weeks since were past by constant cleaning. The young werewolf swept, mopped, dusted, cleaned and cooked. Everything the warlock asked, Jonathan did. He was too desperate to argue. He needed the money.
So when the warlock asked for an inch of hair and a drop of blood, he thought nothing of it.
“Come with me to meet a client today, yes?” The warlock smiled. Jonathan nodded without hesitation. He couldn’t contain himself. He tried to tell himself, this was for his mother. But truly, he knew it was his dream to be a doctor. To help others in any way he could manage.
They climbed a small hill that lead to a cave outside the sand village. From the hill, the sea was just visible between the sand dunes and palm trees. Jonathan could smell the salt from the ocean. He didn’t know it yet, but it was his last time seeing the sun through his own eyes.
The warlock lured him into the cave with sweet words and patient looks. But once Jonathan was in, the warlock made quit work of knocking him unconscious.
A few shots of Wolfsbane later, and Jonathan was chained by his wrists to the cement wall. The chains were made of iron that burned his skin from the contact. Jonathan screamed for hours until he finally passed out from the excruciating pain. The wolf within howled his final howl before the darkness overcame him.
The warlock brought in his prey. The Assassin.
“Let me go, you psychopath!”
Now, as your narrator, I understand that you are probably wondering, “Wait, isn’t this about time for Arve’s grand entrance? Where is the hero?”. I get it. But I am but a narrator for the story, and am sad to narrate that Arve is starving to death some hundred miles away from Meolin on his boat with the other so-called heroes. Sorry. Not.
“I have, for many years, been a servant to my people and to magic. I have healed thousands, but I have also watched thousands die. And that is the problem with humans. They die. Why do humans die?” The warlock mused whilst he worked at his desk.
The assassin, Lin Aijun, was chained to a chair and couldn’t move anything but his head. He suspected the metal chains were made of silver, but such a precaution made no sense. He wasn’t a werewolf.
Aijun struggled against the metal but knew there was no hope. How could he have been so stupid? To take a job like this was suicide and he knew it.
“I’ve set out to stop humans from dying. Mostly me. But I will test it on you first. You see, if I am immortal, I can help thousands more to be healed. It would be a win-win.” The warlock reasoned. He carried a hammer and a large nail shaped diamond over to Aijun.
“The werewolf over there courts immortality, but suffers a terrible curse for it. I wonder if I can separate the two.” Aijun finally noticed the small boy in the corner.
The boy was huddled in a tight ball and shivering. He had no shirt on, and grime covered him, head to toe. His eyes were glassed over as if he wasn’t even awake anymore. Just staring into nothingness and waiting for it all to end. The chains left permanent burn marks on his wrists and ankles, but nothing could be done for it.
Aijun recognized the look on the boys face. Hopelessness. He had felt that once too. And it was starting to creep into the edges of his mind now.
The warlock came over, and put the sharp point of the diamond-made nail against his wrist.
“Now, this is going to hurt.”
The warlock swung the hammer high and dropped it right onto the head of the diamond. Aijun screamed as it pierced his skin. Another swing and it hit bone.
“Stop. Please stop. I can’t-” The warlock was already lining up a second diamond-made nail just short of the man's elbow.
“Take immortality like a man.” The warlock grunted before following through with another strike to the nail. With two nails solidly in place, the warlock stalked over to the werewolf. The werewolf shook with so much fear that it lacked the thought process of moving away. It was broken. Aijun screamed for him to fight. For him to move away. To do anything but just sit there and take it.
But Jonathan wasn’t the monster they all thought he was. He was just a kid who could sometimes change into a wolf. He wasn't big, or bad, or even truly immortal. Why was this happening to him?
“A drop of blood and an inch of hair. Evil to the bone, and yet, weak all the same.”
The warlock dragged the third diamond shaped nail through the young wolf’s throat.
“No!” Aijun screamed. The werewolf- no, the boy- was dead. “He was just a kid and you killed him!”
The warlock hurried over to Aijun’s already bloodied and bruised arm, and implanted the third and final nail between the other two. Aijun clenched his teeth but refused to scream. That kid didn’t scream, so neither should he.
"A kid? No, Mr. Lin. Just another dead monster."
It would be nearly three days before he heard the voice. At first it would feel like his imagination, and then it would sound like an echo or a hallucination.
But then he would realize that the voice was real, and was yelling for him.