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|Peter and his little sister are awakened one night by a stranger.|
I had a character appear one day, much to my surprise. He's been coaxed and counseled here within Elfwood, but this is part of his story. It came to me late one night, something I am not appreciative of.
Note: The little girl can't say her 'r's. I tried to convey that by phonetically spelling how she would pronounce a word. Hope that helps.
Peter sat up straight in bed, immediately awake. He clutched the down comforter around himself as the chilly tendrils of air tried to snake their way under the covers. The room was dark though the full moon outside shone silver down on the frosty landscape. He could see his breath in his room and shivered. The luminous digits of his alarm clock read 4:46 am. He sighed.
The crash that had awakened him sounded again and he froze, barely breathing, trying to determine where the sound had come from. The creak of his door opening made him jump.
"Peto..." The quiet voice of his little sister seemed to echo in the house, once again silent. "Peto I'm scahwed...."
She padded into his room, encased in her footy pajamas that she refused to stop wearing. Her warm body crawled into bed with him.
"What do you think," she breathed, wide eyes staring up at him, luminous in the dark room, "it is?"
"Quiet, you'll wake Mom and Dad," he admonished, but drew her close anyway.
"Oh..." She allowed herself to be drawn in, furiously sucking on her thumb. A fainter crash sounded again.
"It's probably just a wild animal. Go to sleep, Sara."
He reluctantly crawled out of bed, hoping she at least would go back to sleep if he did this for her. Peter sucked in a breath as his bare feet touched the wooden floor but he silently moved across the room, avoiding the squeaky spots. He pulled back the curtain and wiped away the frost that had formed.
Looking down into the yard he could see every detail with a sharp distinction. The moon was so bright it almost appeared to be day.
"What is it Peto?" Sara whispered worriedly from his bed.
"It's a dog..." he replied in wonder. He watched as a large, shaggy animal lurched into the trash cans again, causing another crash to sound in the night. He couldn't tell what type of dog, but it didn't look well.
"A doggie!?" Sara jumped out of his bed and ran from his room. He twisted around and grabbed slippers and a bathrobe to follow her.
"No! Sara stop!" Peter whispered as loudly as he dared, praying their parents wouldn't wake up. They wouldn't appreciate it at all.
His sister didn't listen and instead ran for the back door, reaching up on tiptoe to turn the lock and slip outside. He raced after her.
Peter found her kneeling in the snow beside a large husky type dog. It was hard to tell the exact color in the moonlight but the animal was big. Sara was rubbing her hand through the fur of the dog, a wide grin on her face.
"Peto, can we keep it? It's huwht" She pointed to a large portion of fur that was matted with blood.
"You know Mom and Dad say we can't have animals because of your allergy." He ran a hand through the thick fur. The dog had no tags on him.
Sara pouted, "I hate allewgy."
He sighed, "Well, we can keep it in the barn and try and find a home for it. But you can't tell! It has to be a secret."
She nodded, a serious look on her face, "Secwet."
Peter pushed the dog into a standing position and with Sara's help, was able to move the animal into the old barn in their backyard. He found some mothridden blankets and made a nest of sorts and pushed the animal into it. The dog was dead weight and his eyes appeared mournful as he watched the children work.
Sara sat down next to the dog. "He needs a name."
"So name him, Sara, I'm going to find some rags and water to clean him up." Peter began searching the barn. His father had a workshop in here, he knew there had to be rags.
"You will be Shaggy." Sara's voice pronounced the dog's name and Peter could almost see her large smile. He had just found the rags and was about to get snow to melt for water when his sister let out a piercing scream.
Peter raced back to find her frozen in place as a very naked man lay on the blankets where Shaggy once had been.
"Shaggy is gone, Peto! Shaggy?" Sara clutched at Peter's bathrobes, burying her face in the fabric but keeping a portion of an eye on the stranger. The man was curled up in the blankets, shaking. A part of him was covered in blood and his hair was long and tangled.
"Who are you?" Peter asked, with more bravado than he felt. His stomach was flipping over itself and he lessed his shaking by clutching his sister's small hand in his own.
The man looked up at him with the same dead look that the dog had earlier. His mouth moved and a hoarse sound came out of it, but Peter could make no sense. The man cleared his throat.
"Don't let them get me." The stranger looked at Sara and reached back a hand, "Nice little girl, pretty, you pet me...."
Sara sucked harder on her free thumb but didn't say anything. The man turned to look at Peter.
"Nice boy too. Brought me here." His voice trailed off.
"Who are you." Peter repeated his question but it was Sara who answered, not the man.
"Shaggy?" She moved forward to sit beside him, ignorant of his lack of clothes. He nodded fervently and rested his head in her lap, eyes closed in comfort.
"Where did you come from?" Peter was curious now. "And how are you a dog and a person?"
The man opened his eyes. "Always have been both. Never questioned it. But the bad men, the bad men made me hurt, to find out why. Always asking why, so selfish, never thought about poor old Shaggy."
Shaggy's insane rambling trailed off and he whimpered. "Don't let them find me."
"We won't let them get you, Shaggy." Sara was stroking the man's hair as though he were still a dog. "Wight Peto?"
"Well," he began, thinking aloud, "The bad people want you because you can change."
The man nodded.
"So the solution is not to change. That way they can't study you. Just stay like this and you'll be safe." Peter was proud. It made sense. Don't give them what they want. Simple.
"Don't change...." The man's voice was a whisper. He sounded almost mournful, sad at the decision.
"Pwomise you won't change, Shaggy-dog?" Sara had clutched his ears much like she would a dogs and was staring him in the face with her begging eyes that could melt the coldest heart.
|The Strength of Cassion 5-8||The Strength of Cassion Prologue|
|Strength of Cassion Alternate Ending||Compline|