Two moons over, p.6
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       Two Moons Over, p.6

           Levi Shipley
 
shouldn't get involved to begin with."

  Cecil would have none of that. He never intended to consider what Hodge would say. Here was a broken soul, one with potential. Cecil couldn't allow this child to stay shattered. He needed a better home.

  Cecil approached the boy slowly. "Are you alright? Where are your parents, buddy?"

  The boy's green head remained low and still. "Mommy and Daddy went to speak to the Scary Man for their happy grass. They said he wanted money this time."

  "Well, I'm sure they'll be back real soon." The poor child doesn't seem to know what his parents are really into yet. I hope they really are fine.

  "No! No! No! The Scary Man came home this time." His sobbing increased. "I was outside playing with my frens, and I heard it, and I came in, and the Scary Man was walking out the door." He wept harder, trying to catch breath. "Mommy and Daddy were on the floor and wouldn't wake up. There was red stuff everywhere, and I got scared, and I came here, and I, and I . . ." Back to incoherent muttering under his breath.

  The boy was at most seven years old and was experiencing a panic attack. He hyper ventilated, and his appendages shook helplessly. His jaw continued to move as if he were speaking, but only gibberish came of that. There was no way to ask more questions. He needed time to calm down first.

  Cecil extended a paw to the boy, who instinctively grabbed hold of it. Hodge shook his head but didn't seem so disapproving that he would turn the child away. The boy strode in Cecil's shadow as they walked, dragging his feet and gasping between sobs. Eventually he settled to a moderate pace and consistent breathing.

  Silver fur pulled up from moist brown soil. Disorientation was an unwelcome greeter. The werewolf stood and examined the area to the best of her abilities. It had been too long since Salina dealt with such conditions. Her mind was jumbled and for once, the control she'd always maintained was stripped away. She rose, reading her surroundings. The sun was larger and blood red. Two moons were nestled on the horizon.

  She needed to move. There was no more to be garnered here. Her next instinct was to regroup, but this was unfamiliar. She began to walk, westward by her assumptions with this alien sun. Her balance and strength returned, wiping away the concern for survival.

  Three

  She had always been strong but never given free rein to it. In her youth, true youth, she'd been quite an adventurous child, bringing in mud, frogs, bugs, and even the occasional snake to her parents' ranch home. In all respects she was a tomboy, though she was criticized for unladylike manners and habits. She lived in a time of quiet, refined southern aristocracy but lacked the ties and wealth to such a lifestyle. Her grandfather's plantation had been incinerated during the American Civil War and left them to inherit the only remaining structure, the horse barn.

  Sure they managed to live comfortably in the old stable, but Salina was viewed as a peasant by other children. She started more than one quarrel over where she stood in society . . . and often bloodied the nose of an older boy. She lived with it well. She was a fighter who wouldn't be pushed around by the high and mighty and their fear of grime.

  She went on like this for the longest time, but fate was cruel to her. The home in which she was born and raised came burning down around Salina. She was the only survivor aside from her father who was away on business. Naturally, they kept horses in their home, as it was originally intended. But hay is flammable, and candles can be hard to remember. Neighbors appeared for aid, but her family was already dead. She managed to escape before the blaze took her, but she was not unscathed. No, she suffered horrible burns all about her body. She did in time recover, but in her weakened state contracted polio, common enough in that time. She could’ve died from it, and that might have been a mercy. Recovery was out of the cards.

  In the end she beat that too, but not without losing her legs. Oh, they were still attached, but if she couldn’t see them she wouldn’t have been able to say that for sure. Now she could only sit, useless and disfigured. One might call it a dark time in her life.

  She'd been Cecil's age, a year older at most, but in her state she was a burden. Her time had no use for an uneducated cripple, something she reminded herself daily. She couldn't do the old farm work, reach the stove to cook, hang clothes to dry, or even travel to town with her father. No, the only thing she was good for was watching birds fly from the porch of her father’s rundown shamble of a new house. This broke the wild spirit in her, replacing it with a torn ghost which raged in its entrapment.

  Then along came two European travelers, Germans according the church's pastor who also acted as the county sheriff. He was a well-respected man, holding the two most esteemed careers of the era, but as a truly old fashioned, stubborn man, change evoked his fear. Foreigners were naturally mistrusted and shunned because of this and were often ousted from communities for any excuse the authorities could concoct, unless of course they were wealthy. As his flock followed his fear, they alerted themselves of these outlanders, and word spread of these visitors. The people could only hope they would not stay for long.

  But foreigners were nothing new, in fact, wealthy lords often journeyed to the New World in search of land and profit. No, what put the residents on edge was that these Germans were common folk, drifters, possibly scam artists or even criminals. They had no official business for their arrival and no purpose.

  No matter. Salina couldn't chase them off, go with them, and likely wouldn't even see them. What she forgot was that the road she monitored for sport lead to New Orleans, though not directly. But every now and then, travelers would take this detour. And every traveler, rich or poor, always seemed set upon that salty city. Not that she'd ever see it. No, she'd come down with the scarlet fever or some other death entailing illness. The road and the walking would be all Salina would ever enjoy to see.

  Sure enough, the Germans came passing by. Salina studied them carefully as they came from the East, kicking up dust and speaking in a tongue of gibberish. A man, likely the husband, was first to appear. He had curled wheat colored blonde hair, a raw hide jacket and pelted leggings. The lady with him kept a brisk stride in tune with his. Her hair was like rust, red with dark flecks. She was wearing a hoop skirt made by the town's tailor and capped herself with a fine spring bonnet and pink ribbon.

  How oddly matched the two were. But their air was kind, each wearing smiles to outshine the wardrobe.

  As they were about to pass up Salina's house, the woman stopped, looked up at Salina, seemed to lift her head, and then whispered something to the man. He then turned into the driveway with his eyes on Salina. When he reached her, Salina was astonished to know he spoke English.

  Four

  All in the past now. Never again would she feel so helpless. The education she once lacked was given to her, and her frail body restored. Her life was now in her hands. To her, leading others was unnecessary so long as she controlled her own fate. She was a control freak in this manner, though her type would not be considered so by most. Self-control. That was her aim.

  She came to a rundown town, a classic ghost town before the inhabitants left. Her nostrils flared at the scent of spiced rums and whiskey. There was no five o'clock in this neighborhood, as the sun was still quite high. A pair of trolls floated obscene gestures towards her from a tavern stoop. An old, rather miniature, man staggered down the street in her direction, ranting of maple cider and his old dogs.

  Then the epicenter presented itself. A lively bar entitled Pale Saloon radiated more decibels than any other thus far, and it happened to give off all the expected odors except for one which caught Salina's attention. She wasn't sure, but the scent was a werewolf's though faded and weak. A claw scratching marked a support post as she approached.

  The marking was flawless, indicating incredibly hard, razor-like nails. The dogmen howled as she entered. Her sterling coat and slim physique had that effect. Luckily, they were too
drunk or lazy to confront her. The bar tender was another short elderly man, whose eyes never left Salina.

  Since the old fellow was fully conscious, she made her way through smoke and intoxicated leg chasers to the bar counter. Surprisingly, the inside was well kept. The wood had been varnished, the stools reupholstered, and the lights cleaned and shining dimly through shades to soften the atmosphere. Every liquor she'd ever seen on Earth was displayed behind the counter and doubled by a mirror wall, a fashionable peacock method for businesses. The man just stared at her, putting her on guard, but at the same time relieving her of finding someone with an attention span.

  "Ya wouldn't be happenin' to be lookin' fer the young wolf dogman that was in here earlier todee?" His throat grated from congestion.

  The news was good, assuming this wolf dogman was indeed really a werewolf. "Maybe. What did he look like? And did he say his name or where he was going?"

  "Name, no. Headed to . . . not sure." The man coughed and gave the tip jar a quick glance. He coughed again.

  "I, uhh, don't have any money. Can't you just tell me?"

  "Hmm, maybe if ya show me what’s under that top of yers." He grinned and licked his lips.

  Salina growled, reached across the counter and took
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