I am Wolf (The Wolfboy Chronicles)Willow Rose
I AM WOLF
The Wolfboy Chronicles
by Willow Rose
Copyright Willow Rose 2013
Published by Jan Sigetty Boeje
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
Cover design by Jan Sigetty Boeje
Special thanks to my editor Jean Pacillo
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Forever is just a minute to me.
SAMI - THE HUMAN WOLF
I WAS NO MORE than a boy when it happened. Seventeen years old and still living in my native country of Romania. The year was 1940. Those were years of many changes. The Nazis had invaded our neighbors in Poland and caused many problems to Jews in our country as well. Including my parents.
Being Jewish in Romania had never been easy. Anti-Semitism had thrived for centuries. In Romania it began as early as in 1579 when the sovereign of Moldavia, Petru Schiopul, ordered the banishment of the Jews on the grounds that they were ruining established merchant businesses and for allegedly exploiting the Christian population in order to enrich themselves. That was when it all started.
Now it was worse than ever. Students formed movements against us at the major universities, organized and financed by the Ministry of the Interior. One such movement became very significant during those gruesome years. They called themselves “The Legion of the Archangel Michael.” The legion formed terror cells and claimed responsibility for the murder of several Jews. Later that movement became known as the “Iron Guard” and was responsible for persecuting hundreds of thousands Jews in Romania.
My family was among those persecuted.
In 1940 we were still a wealthy family living in a small castle in the mountains outside of Bucharest, the capital. Times were hard even if we had a family fortune. My father had recently lost his job because of his Jewish heritage.
As German penetration into the Romanian economy increased a considerable number of Romanian politicians agreed to serve German interests in exchange for directorships in German-Romanian companies. German trade agreements with Romania always demanded the removal of Jews in the branch involved. Up until then my father had been an influential man. He had held several places on boards of big companies and despite being a Jew he was well respected. People would listen to him and his financial advice.
In the summer of 1940 it was suddenly over. They took his steel company from him. The very company he had built from nothing and made into a huge success employing thousands of Romanian workers. One day during that summer in 1940, he arrived at the factory and found it had been shut down. All the workers had been sent home, the fence cut down and all the windows broken.
The entrance to the building was blocked. A man from the Iron Guard handed my father a piece of paper stating that the company was closed and the state had taken over the property and factory. For days my father went to lawyers all over town to try and reclaim his factory and right to produce steel. Most of them wouldn’t even speak to him out of fear for their lives and their families’ lives, they said. That was when my father knew he was defeated and realized that all there was left now was to protect his own family. So we started cultivating the land surrounding our property in the mountains. Soon we became self-sufficient and there was no longer any need for us to go into town, which my parents now considered as dangerous. My three brothers, my sister and I were all forbidden to go back there again. It was too dangerous they said. But when you’re seventeen that only makes it more interesting.
I was supposed to ride into the forest and find wood for our fireplace that day in December when it all happened. My mother needed wood to cook on the stove and heat up the kitchen where we ate our meals. They had to close most of the castle down during the cold months of winter. They simply couldn’t heat all the rooms, especially because they had high ceilings and walls of stone.
I really wanted to go find the wood as promised to my dear mother and on top of it I was planning on hunting down a few animals, maybe even a deer to feed the family for the next couple of days. But something was drew me in the opposite direction. Something, a feeling, a teenager’s curiosity - or maybe just stupidity - made me pull the horse in the wrong direction. I hadn’t been in the capital for months and I wanted to know what was going on.
Of course I had heard rumors. My brothers had whispered about it at night and I had overheard peasants talk to my dad about it without them knowing I was listening. I had seen it on my parent’s faces at night when they spoke and my mother cried while my dad put his arms around her. Something really bad was happening and for the first time in my life my parents were scared to death.
I knew it was a horrible idea, yet I did it anyway.
I rode across the country leaving the castle and the forest behind me. I knew I had to be back before sunset to not upset my mother. I stopped my mare just outside the city walls. Then I walked the rest of the way. Slowly, making sure no one would see me. I walked on the path leading to the city when I heard a noise behind me and I had to throw myself in the side of the road to hide. A big truck passed me on the road. As I carefully lifted my head to look I realized it was loaded with people. My heart was pounding as I watched these tormented faces of women and children holding each other tight and crying.
It was true, I thought. The rumors about people being transported from their villages and to camps were actually true. I wondered if it was true that they were also killed there. I couldn’t believe it. Who would kill innocent women and children?
That was the first time I met true gruesomeness and evil in humans. Back then I didn’t comprehend the extent of it, the depth of the evil in this world as I understand it now many years later. But soon enough I would stand face to face with it. I followed the truck by running far behind it in the high grass, hiding behind shrubberies and trees until it stopped inside of the town.
I felt my heart race in my chest as I heard the soldiers order the women and children out of the truck and line up against a brick wall.
They did so a little reluctantly, some were sobbing, others were crying loudly. Then the soldiers lifted their weapons and shot them. One by one. First the mothers, then their crying children. Their lifeless bodies tumbled to the ground almost soundless. Was it because the shock had deprived me of my senses, of my ability to hear? I remember vividly hearing nothing but my own deep breath while the shots were fired. I fell to the ground in agony holding my hands to my mouth forcing myself to not scream, biting my hand to blood in pain.
Oh this cruelty, this inhumane evil that was revealed to me, this innocence that was ripped out of me. It hurt; it deprived me of my childhood, of my youth, of my childlike belief in the good in human kind.
That belief could never be returned to me. I remember wanting to intervene, wanting to stop them. I remember feeling angry beyond anything I had ever felt before. It was overwhelming, but even more so was the feeling of helplessness. There was nothing I could do to help these people, these innocent women and children. I suddenly understood my parents’ desire to keep hidden from the world, to keep us away from what was going on outside o
f our property.
Suddenly I wished I hadn’t disobeyed them.
I held my breath for a long time while the soldiers picked up the dead bodies and threw them back on the truck. I cried soundlessly while they kicked the corpses and made fun of them and even went through their small packages of belongings and picked out the gold in their teeth. Even after the truck had taken off and I was left alone in the small street with closed up houses I was unable to move.
I waited an hour maybe even two before I slowly looked around the corner again and realized that they were in fact gone. I was breathing heavily as I stared at the blood on the brick wall where the women and children had stood. I felt suffocated, paralyzed.
Slowly I backed up and started to run.
I BROKE OUT IN a cold-sweat and shivered all over my tall, skinny body as I ran towards my mare. My hands were shaking when I grabbed the reins. She looked at me with her big, brown compassionate eyes and I had a feeling she somehow knew, that she sensed that something had happened to me.
I jumped on her back and galloped towards the forest - not looking back at the city.
When the trees of the forest finally covered us and I knew we were safe I pulled the reins to slow her down. Finally I had a minute to catch my breath. Pictures of what I had seen flickered before my eyes and I knew I was never going to be able to escape them. The eyes of those women and children were painted inside of my brain.
Up until now I had led a protected life; I had been spared from this world and its cruelty by a loving family who wanted nothing less than the best for me. I wanted desperately to go back to that place, to that sense of security. But it was too late. The child in me was gone.
I spotted some branches that would be good for a fire and jumped off the horse. I started picking them up and tying them to my saddle when my mare reacted to something. I might not have known much about what was going on in the world, but I did know about horses. Their hearing was considerably better than humans and they sensed danger long before we did. So when she stopped grassing, froze and lifted her head with her ears straight in the air I knew that something was coming our way. Something or someone was close and if she was alert then I should be too.
“What’s the matter, girl?” I whispered and tried to calm her down by putting my hand on her muzzle. “Did you hear something?”
Her eyes looked spooked and her ears seemed to be scanning the air for sounds. That was how they detected a mountain lion in nature, my dad had told me. Their ears were designed to hear a paw on the ground. That was their nature as a prey. They react with fear and that’s when you risk getting run over. Because when danger emerges, horses run. And when they panic they don’t see anything in front of them and they certainly never care about you.
I felt my heart pounding as I tried to calm my mare down by stroking her neck and making calming sounds with my mouth. It was almost sunset and I couldn’t risk her leaving me here. These forests were filled with bears and wolves that would be more than thrilled to feast on me after weeks of starvation due to the cold winter.
“There you go. It’s nothing,” I whispered with a calm voice, yet picked up my father’s old gun from the saddle-bag that I used for hunting.
I heard a rustling and turned my head with a gasp. The mare backed up. She sensed something was there, or someone. Now I felt it too. It was like someone was staring at us, observing us from the surrounding bushes. Then it all went quiet again. My heart calmed down.
“Probably just a deer or maybe a rabbit,” I whispered. I walked closer to the bushes, the sound of my steps creaked in the snow. I felt my heart racing in my chest as I wiped away some branches in the bush causing the loose snow to fall to the ground. I pointed the gun in front of me; ready to shoot if anything should show up, hoping it would be something big enough to feed my family. But nothing was there. I scoffed. Whatever had been there was already gone. I walked back to my mare with a smile. I shook my head.
“It was nothing,” I said to her with a low voice. She was still staring at the bushes and trees in front of us with eyes wide open and her head held high. I tried to calm her down by stroking her gently but I felt the unrest growing inside of me as well. I couldn’t escape the feeling that something was staring at us from somewhere.
I picked up some more wood and branches from the ground and tied them to the saddle. Then I decided it was time to go home. It was almost dark by now and there was no chance for me to hunt any animals after the sun had set. It was also too dangerous.
I grabbed the reins intending to jump on my horse’s back when I heard a rustling again. I turned my head and lifted my gun.
“Who’s there?” I said. This time I was certain it wasn’t an animal. No animals made a sound like that. My voice was trembling slightly. “Show your face whoever you are.”
Another rustling followed and caused my mare to back up in fear. “Easy now, girl,” I said.
A small face grew out of the forest and came closer. A small, beautiful face belonging to one of the most enchanted creatures I believed the world had ever seen. Her shining green eyes stared at me with fear, her pale skin shivered in the cold. As she stood there in front of me, her lips purple with cold I took her for a creature of the forest at first. I pictured her being the fairy princess that my mother used to tell me about as a child before bedtime. She could tell me the most wonderful stories about the creatures living in the forests surrounding our castle. They could be about elves, spirits or will-o’-the-wisps. She had even told me that it was believed that there were were-wolves roaming restlessly in the night. I had always listened to her stories but never believed in them. Now that I saw this mesmerizing being standing in front of me lighting up in the darkness I almost believed that she had been right.
I stared at this gorgeous girl for a long time, mesmerized, speechless, my heart pounding in my chest. I walked closer to her then realized she was shivering.
The girl stared at me, frightened. I reached out my hand. She hesitated and looked at me with suspicion.
“It’s okay,” I whispered. “I won’t harm you.”
Her purple lips parted and she spoke for the first time. “Can ... can you help me?”
I nodded. “Are you running?”
She nodded with a gasp. “They ... they came to our house and took my family. I hid in the stables with the horses. I thought they would find me when they searched them. They took everything. Even the horses. They knew I was there somewhere. They kept looking for me. For two days I hid in a small storage room in the stables. They stayed there waiting for me to show myself, because they knew I had to come out eventually.”
“So what did you do?”
“I sneaked out at night. When the soldiers were partying and drinking in the house. There was one soldier in the stables. He was sitting on a chair halfway asleep with a bottle in his hand. He grabbed me as I tried to sneak past him. He ... he tried to rape me ... But I ... I killed him. He was too drunk. I don’t know where I got the strength from. Anger maybe.”
She lifted her hands and stared at them. They were trembling. “I cut him with a knife, his own knife that I grabbed from the table next to him,” she whispered.
I grabbed her hands and held them between mine. “You’re safe here,” I said. “This is my father’s land. They won’t come here.”
She lifted her head and stared into my eyes. Our eyes locked. It was the most wondrous feeling in the world. I wanted to take her in my arms right there and kiss her. I felt a deep urge to comfort her; I wanted desperately to protect her. The pain and anger she was feeling, I was feeling as well in my pounding heart. I felt it very strongly as if I had been there with her.
“They’ll come here too,” she said with a low voice. “They will be looking for me everywhere now. I killed one of them. They won’t stop till I’m dead. They will search everywhere - even here.”
“Then I’ll get you out of here before they do,” I said. I looked at her and smile
d. “My name is Sami Margulies, by the way.”
“I’m Catalina,” she said.
IT WAS MY PLAN to smuggle Catalina over the borders to Bulgaria. It was my only option to save her. I didn’t want to bring my family in any danger by bringing her to the castle even if that had been my first idea, but that was like waiting for the executioner to come. The soldiers would surely find her some day and then they would kill all of us. I couldn’t risk that. So I asked her to jump on the back of my horse and hold on to me as we galloped across the countryside hoping to reach the borders through the mountains and maybe find a passage that wasn’t closed off. I knew the forests like the back of my hand so I was certain I could find a way.
But it was getting darker and soon it started to snow. I heard howling in the distance and we didn’t get very far before I decided we had to stop for the night. The snow was bothering my mare and made her legs heavy. If she gave up we would be left to the mercy of the starving wolves.
We came to a valley I knew very well and found an empty barn to shelter us for a couple of hours. It would be best to travel in darkness if possible so I was planning on getting up and leave before dawn.
I pulled the heavy gate open and we all entered the dry barn. I found a stack of hay for my mare and she ate with contented grunts and snorts. Catalina was shaking with fear and cold. I put my jacket around her and helped her lay down in the hay. I told her I would watch out for her.
“Just get some rest,” I said. “You need it. You’re exhausted.”
I stroke her hair gently and she closed her eyes. A calmness fell upon her face as she dozed off. She looked so strikingly beautiful. So fair, so fragile.