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Nightmare of the Full Moon


by ezparanza

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A voice called to her; it was so soft, so alluring. She stretched a paw towards it, longing to join it. A whiff of decay and death hit her nose. Crimson eyes glinted and sharp ivory fangs curled into a grin.

      Wait. This isn't right, she thought. A second later she was awake.

      Tahira sighed, stretching her legs. "What a weird dream… to think I've had it the last three nights in a row…" She gazed at the velvet blue sky, her brown eyes narrowing. "Still night… maybe a few more hours until the sun rises," she murmured. Her deep black fur blended with the night, the odd silvery dot making her look like the night sky. That was what her name meant: night sky. Her mother… no, the memories were too painful.

      She rolled in the grass, savoring the fresh smell. The dew clung to her, the little droplets feeling wonderfully cool against her sweaty skin. "I should stop behaving like a pup," she laughed. "But wait…" Her ears pricked, she detected a faint sound in the undergrowth. Tahira padded forward on soft paws, brown eyes straining to see what had made the sound.

      Without warning a shadowy figure descended on her. She snarled, her claws flashing. A shaft of moonlight revealed a brown Lupe, laughing.

      "Fell for it again, did you, Tahira?" he teased. Tahira scowled.

     "Hello, Ryson," she growled, flicking her tail angrily. "I wish you'd stop doing that, though." Ryson shrugged.

     "I can't help it if I've got a sense of humor and you don't!" he replied. He flopped down next to her, his tawny yellow gaze flicking from the sky to Tahira.

      "You two look so alike," he murmured.

      Tahira nodded. "I can't understand why. And tonight's a full moon."

      Ryson scrambled to his paws, amber eyes wide with shock. "Why couldn't you have told me!" he snarled. Tahira smirked.

     "I thought you weren't afraid of the sprites?" she replied mockingly, flicking her ears. "And now they'll come, sneaking up behind you on wings of death, and they'll whisk you away…" Tahira's tail tapped Ryson on the shoulder and he bit back a scream.

      "Don't do that!" he snarled shakily, calming his trembling limbs.

     "Why are you so afraid of them anyways? Do you even know if they're real?" Tahira teased, sitting beside him. "I think it's all rubbish, sprites that come out on full moons and bear your soul away…"

      "Why isn't anyone else out tonight then?" Ryson challenged his friend. Tahira shrugged.

     "Because they're all superstitious weirdoes like you," she replied.

      A whisper on the winds brushed against her ear and she flicked it irritably. "I'm telling you, sprites do not exist," the black Lupe repeated. "It's all mindless drivel to make sure that pups go to bed when they're told."

      Ryson lowered his voice, his amber eyes afraid. "They're saying things. Things like a pup or an elder keeps disappearing every full moon… the clan has moved out."

      Tahira's tail twitched in shock. "What?" she cried in disbelief.

      Ryson nodded. "It's true. I've been through the entire forest, not a sight or scent of any others." He shook his head. "They were wise. We should have followed them!" he snapped angrily.

      Tahira's brown eyes widened. "Oh? And whose brilliant idea was it to stay back and see if the sprites were real?" she asked, sarcasm dripping from her words.

      "Yours!" Ryson replied, a hint of amusement in his tone.

      Tahira grinned. "So it was. But still, we're better off. Prey to hunt, an open sky to sleep under… what more could we ask for?" Circling three times, she settled down on the soft wet grass, a sigh of contentment escaping her.

      Suddenly both friends stiffened. A louder whisper touched their ears, the words clear: "We come, we come… beware us, we come!" Ryson's golden eyes were wide with panic.

     "I was perfectly happy, then you had to come along with your silly beliefs and your teasing, and I just had to go along with you," he whispered in a shrill voice. Tahira twitched her ears.

     "Be quiet!" she hissed. "The sun will rise soon. We'll be okay then."

      Ryson nodded shakily. "Yeah. Yeah, you're right Tahi," he growled, a glimmer of amusement in his eyes. Tahira's lip curled.

     "It's Tahira, not Tahi, not Tai, not some strange nickname," she growled.

      A soft light shone in the distance, drifting closer. An unearthly chorus filled the air. Both Lupes' ears pricked, longing tugging at their hearts. "I must go to them," Ryson murmured, longing in his eyes. Tahira's brown eyes flickered uneasily.

     "Wait. Red eyes, white fangs," she murmured, tail flicking. "No. No, Ryson!" she screamed.

      Confusion flickered in the brown Lupe's eyes. "What? Tahira?" he mumbled. Tahira blocked his way, snapping,

     "It's a trick! It's the sprites! You were right, you were right… can we run now?"

      "Huh?" Ryson grumbled. Tahira grabbed his scruff, panting with his weight.

     "MOVE!" she growled, the word muffled by Ryson's fur. He snapped out of the trance, turning.

     "Right, let's RUN!" he yelled.

      Tahira nodded. The shimmering lights drew closer, a stench of evil. Tahira spun, knocking one out of the air. It spluttered and vanished; a small black piece of what could be coal lay on the grass. The rest drew back for a heartbeat, then continued their relentless pursuit of the friends.

      Gasping and straining, the two Lupes continued flicking the sprites out of the air with their tails. A chorus drowned out their cries for help, a low buzzing sound. The sprites set upon Ryson, but he shook them off, panting. "I can't… go on much longer!" he cried.

      "Then I'll make you!" Tahira doubled back, grabbed Ryson by the scruff and dragged him forward, brown eyes set with determination. The sprites laughed, a low cruel sound. Tahira didn't look back, her concentration on the route ahead, which would lead her to safety.

      Three pairs of crimson eyes opened in front of them. Three snarling mutant Lupes burst out of the bushes, their killing eyes intent on Tahira and the limp form of Ryson hanging from her mouth. Tahira bit back a scream; they were going to die here, with nowhere to hide, nowhere to run, cornered by death…

      A howl rose in the air, eerie in its beauty. Tahira blinked in awe, realizing that it was her howl. Again she sang, the sprites shrinking back. The mutant Lupes backed away, springing into the bushes and fleeing. Tahira howled again, and Ryson awoke to the sound. Drawing his head up bravely, he began to howl with her.

      The sprites screamed, a high piercing shriek. "NO!" they screamed in unison before they began to dissolve, leaving traces of dark purple power in the air. Tahira lowered her head, exhausted.

      Two Lupes stepped out of the undergrowth. One was a white female, the other an orange male. They both smiled. "Tahira! Ryson! We knew we had left someone behind!" the female exclaimed.

      "Ice? Why didn't you help us?" Tahira asked angrily. The female, Ice, laughed.

     "We only just arrived. Now we know the truth about the sprites. They are only small dark faeries!"

      "Really? Mar, is that true?" Ryson asked, turning to the male. Mar nodded.

     "Yes. But you've gotten rid of them for good; the clan can move back! We're so grateful to you two! What would you like?" Tahira sighed.

      "I would like to be a loner on your lands, left alone but greeted when in need," she replied softly. Ryson went to stand beside her.

     "And I shall stay beside Tahira," he added.

      Mar and Ice sighed. "You would have made great hunters and warriors for the clan… but if that's what makes you happy…" Ice growled reluctantly.

      "Yes. It's the only thing. Right, Tahi?" Ryson replied, winking playfully at Tahira.

     And the black Lupe narrowed her eyes playfully and replied, "I'll get you one of these days, Ryson!"

The End

 
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