I Am A Wild Thing (story)

I don’t remember much from my early life, and what memories I do have are made up of blurred images and vivid smells. I don’t recall how I came to live in the forest any more than you may remember being born. I was merely a cub; one shaped very differently from the rest of my litter, pale and bare of skin where they were heavily furred; but still one of them, one of the pack.

Time as you know it was nonexistent, aside from night and day. Hunt, eat, sleep, play, run: those were our hours; and once in a while there were the hours of hide and sneak, when the pack brushed against the unnatural presence of creatures shaped similarly to myself. They smelled terrifying and alien, the air trailing after them a sharp cloying cloud that made my nose burn. They had peculiar furs and moved about on only two legs, or on the backs of tall beasts that stunk of fear and smelled like food, or in moving caves that swayed on their odd rolling feet as they made their way through our territory on clear-cut paths. The Alpha always did his best to keep us well away from them, but we occasionally crossed signs of their passage. We picked through the scraps of their leavings, sniffing cautiously for disguarded foodstuff, and sometimes I would find strange objects among the refuse: a collection of leaves covered with markings and stuck together; an object, hard, but clear like water, that fell open when I nudged it and spilled an eye-burning, poisonous-smelling liquid that reminded me of the female creatures, and which made the others skittish enough to retreat; and once, a stone in the shape of a wolf, small enough to fit in one of my hands. That one I kept, carrying it back to the cave where we slept that season and burying it in a corner. My packmates avoided it until the smell of the creatures had dissipated, and then were simply dissinterested.

I would dig it up occasionally and look at it while the others played or rested around me. It was smooth gray stone, and the wolf stood alert, head up and ears raised and foward, tail down. I would run my finger over the texture of its fur, hard gouges in the stone’s surface, as if tiny, tiny claws had been raked across it. That was the first time I remember ever being truly curious about the tall walkers, that they might create such a thing, and I wondered how it was done.

And that’s the beginning of this character history-run-rampant. This started as a concept for a table-top roleplaying character, and has evolved into an exercise in trying to create a sympathetic anti-hero. We’ll see how long she’ll manage to stay that way, anyway. Stay tuned for more as I work on it.