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The Where-Wolf by Ghislaine Arsenault
Chapter 1 : The Where-Wolf
 
Rating: 12+Chapter Reviews: 51


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His face was warm, and he nestled it into the damp scent of aged tweed that lay between him and his fatherís chest. His bare feet were dangling in the air, dirt and blades of grass sticking to his young skin. His fatherís arms supported his tiny frame, functioning as his legs as they walked through the forest. The sun shone through the roof of the trees, creating patterns of stained glass on the forest floor, and Remus imagined that with every crunch of his fatherís feet another pane of the glass was being broken.

He did not know how long he had been hiding behind that log. He hurt, and had gotten blood on his new trousers. He had known his father would be angry, he had spent weeks saving up to buy Remus a new pair of trousers. He had wanted to cry, too. When he had first felt his face hurt, and his eyes get wet, he had put his hands over them. Big boys did not cry. He decided to wait behind the log. He did not like this game, it was not fair. The big dog had chased him, and when he fell the big dog had hit him. He had screamed, and the big dog had run away. That was when he climbed behind the log. That was when he began to hurt. That was when he got the blood on his trousers. That was a long time ago, now, when it was still dark out.

He was thankful the game was over and he was back in his fatherís arms. He did not understand why his father was not as relieved. His father was shouting, while he himself was happy. He wrapped his arms around his fatherís neck, a victory hug. He told his father about the big dog and the game they were playing. He told his father that he had been playing at being a hero like the ones he read about in books when the dog had appeared. He had wanted to touch the dog and make friends, so he had gone up to pat him. The dog had growled, and so he had run. He was very sorry he had stayed out all night.

When he finished telling his story, his father began to cry. Remus looked up at his fatherís face. He thought that big boys did not cry. He touched his fatherís face with his small hands, pushing his lips into a smile. It was all right now, he said. The dog went home, and we are going home, too.

He closed his eyes and rested again against his fatherís chest. When they came to the edge of the forest, the tall grass of the field tickled the soles of his bare feet. He smiled. He knew they were almost home. He kept his eyes shut and he imagined the lovely smells of his house, and the warm feeling of being in his bed once again.

---

His father took him into the bathroom and undressed him. He took the bloodied clothes and put them in the rubbish bin. Remus did not understand why his father would want to throw away all of his nice new clothes. His father ran the bath, the steam quickly filling the small room. He looked into the medicine cabinet and pulled out several little bottles. He then took out a bag full of cotton wool. Remus was sat on the toilet; the porcelain of the toilet seat was cold on his skin. His father knelt down in front of him, putting some liquid from one of the bottles on the cotton wool. He told Remus to stand up and turn around. Facing away from his father, Remus felt a big hand on his shoulder and then the freezing sensation of the cotton wool on his back. He heard his father say that he did not want to make a fuss, or create a scene. He said that he could take care of him right here, there was no need for wizard doctor. He had dealt with werewolves before.

Remus wondered at this big word: where-wolf. Was that the name of the big dog he had played with? You must have to go and find them, if theyíre called where-wolves. They probably hid during the day in the forest. How lucky he had been to find one!

He flinched again at the sting of the liquid against his back. He looked down beside him and saw a pile of cotton wool, all soaked with red. He wondered if it was all from him. His father picked him up and placed him in the bath, turning it off. The water was too hot, and stung him more than the liquid from the bottles had. His father was crying again. Maybe his father was upset that he had not seen the where-wolf. He wondered if his mother had ever seen a where-wolf.

Remus looked at the water and saw that he had scratches on his face, too. His father was scrubbing his back with a cloth, and the water was becoming pink around him. Remus hated baths; they made his skin wrinkle up like raisins. Maybe the water was going to make everything that hurt shrivel up like raisins. He thought that was a good idea.

---

His father wrapped him in a towel and carried him to his bedroom. His father put him down on the bed and went to get him some pyjamas. He felt better now, and he was happy when his father helped him on with his trousers and his shirt. Everything smelled better when he was clean, even things that were not him. He pulled down the covers and wedged himself into bed. His father had stopped crying now, he was smiling. Remus leaned back against his pillow but it hurt a little bit. He shifted to lie on his side.
His father told him that he was too tired now to read him a story, but he promised to tell him a long one that night. He told him that he needed to sleep; he had had a long night, but he was safe at home now. Remusí thoughts were reeling. He could not wait to get under the covers and think about everything that had happened the night before.

ďI hope you know that you are a special boy, Remus,Ē said his father, running his fingers through his sonís hair. Remus yawned.

ďI know,Ē he smiled. ďIíve seen a where-wolf.Ē




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