Light powdery snow fell gently down on and around a crying little girl. Her hands were on her face fruitlessly wiping the tears streaming out of her eyes.
“Maman, maman,” she sniffled.
She shivered in her light pink dress, too cold to move, too tired to scream. Flakes continued to fall on her curly brown hair, onto her dark skin. She curled herself up into a ball trying to keep warm.
“Maman,” she whimpered.
The wind howled and the snow began to fall heavier. In a few moments a snowstorm would head directly towards her. It would kill her if she did not leave. That is, if the giant wolf behind her did not eat her first.
It was the size of a bear. Its grey fur was mattered with blood. A sliver of saliva dropped from its mouth to the ground. It prowled through the trees towards her.
She was completely unaware, until she heard its ragged breath behind her. She turned to look and screamed.
The wolf lunged at her.
A lady appeared out of nowhere, tackling the wolf away from the little girl. Taking a knife from its sheath attached to her belt, she spun it in her palm and stabbed it in the neck.
It yowled and snapped at her, snarling, frothing at the mouth. She jumped backwards off the creature, leaving her knife lodged within it. She pulled out another knife and flicked it into its left eye. It howled and rolled around in pain, spit and blood flying everywhere.
She didn’t stay to watch.
Turning on the heel of her boots, she sprinted towards the little girl and snatched her up into her arms.
The girl was still screaming.
“Hey, um, so… my name is Clover, and...” The girl continued screaming. “Quiet, quiet, um wait… oh hold on… languages… Earth… French, Ahh, I don’t know… Shhhh,” Clover said trying to calm her. “Hush. Don’t worry! Ne t’en fais pas. Shhhhhuushhh!”
She ran through the woods, the wolf staggering quickly after them. “Close your eyes, you don’t want to see this kid. Shhh. Ferme tes yeux.”
The little girl obliged. Clover held her tightly, jumping over roots and dodging branches, with the monster following behind them. She could still hear its ragged breathing and growling. The snow was falling heavier. The snowstorm was closing in.
I should make a path. Can I though? There are too many trees! I don’t have a choice, do I though? But there’s no space. Think Clover think!
She ran until she saw a small clearing ahead of her. Her face lit up.
She turned to look at the monster. It was still after them, but she had put distance between them. She was certain she had enough time. “Hold on tight,” she said to the girl. She shifted the weight of the child towards her right hand, keeping her left hand free.
With her left hand she rubbed the stone she wore around her neck. A grey thing with two vertical lines carved on it.
An image flashed through her head. A shack of a house sat serenely by a rushing river. Its roof looked like it is about to cave in. A small bare tree lies to its left. A collection of wildflowers grew by the riverbed. The flowers swayed with a passing breeze.
In a moment the image is gone, and she is back in the small meadow with a wolf to her back. Tied to her belt is a small black leather pouch. She reaches in and pulls out three stones. Two black and one white. She gives the white stone to the girl.
“Miki? Qui?” She asked. The girl nodded. “My name is Clover Whitelock. I’m here to take you home. Miki, I need you to think hard of your mother,” the lady says in French.
“Maman?” the little girl responded and reached for the stone. It glowed white when she touched it.
“Très bien.” She took the stone back from the child. On it is a carving akin to an asterisk.
“Hold on tight, and close your eyes again, don’t open them till I tell you to,” she said.
She casts the two other stones in front of her after rubbing them with her thumb. On them are more carvings. Two dots of identical sizes were on both black stones. They land in front of her, one in front of the other. They lit up when they hit the ground. The earth around them began to quiver. Light slowly spread outwards from underneath the stones.
The wolf was a lot closer. Its breathing was haggard, blood dripped down its open wounds. It prepared to pounce.
It sprung at them, snarling and gnashing its teeth.
Clover hopped onto the black stone in front of her and they disappeared.
The wolf bit into the air and fell heavily on the ground. It snapped its head in all directions, confused. Then after licking its wounds it proceeded to hobble away.
At the edge of the meadow, a man with a shock of red hair descended from a tree. The snow was falling much heavier. He chuckled, looking at the spot where the pair was. With one hand he rubbed a stone around his neck and with his other hand he casted stones onto the floor. He stepped on the first one and disappeared, leaving the howling snowstorm behind.