This snap fiction story (what’s that?) shone into the world when I snapped this picture of the moon during an wintery evening walk with the dog…
Canis Lunus—A Love Story
Holding the flask tightly, Louvella raced into the dark woods without looking back. There was, she knew, nothing to took back to. Nothing to run from. But she was impatient and had everything to run to.
The witching girl had told her to wait. To find a quiet place, wait for the pale light, and make the change on her own. It would be painful, she’d said, not something you want to see a loved one going through. But Louvella’s heart had bounded and she could wait no longer. Ryard had crossed so many years ago, it was a small miracle that he still recognized her.
His was a curse that deepened with time, but so had their love. Louvella had been loyal and true, and their time together every four weeks had kept him in balance. She hadn’t told Ryard about the girl, nor about the potion. She didn’t think he’d understand—and he wouldn’t want her to make the sacrifice.
But it wasn’t a sacrifice, not to Louvella. Each month, it was bliss when he surfaced. But the pain of seeing him return to his animal form had become unbearable. Better to join him there and be together for as long as good Nature would allow.
Ryard found her before she spotted him. She heard that familiar moonhound snort, a short nasal exhalation that told her he was troubled. Louvella spun around and found him standing much closer than she’d expected. His wolfen eyes pierced her, searching for an explanation. Why was she here, weeks too soon? Tonight was a full moon, not a new moon.
“Listen,” she said as she knelt in front of him, stroking his think fur. “I went to see the girl Arfryn, the one I told you about.”
He growled and shook his head, taking a few steps back.
“She knows!” Louvella insisted. “She already knew I am with child. My feelings were right: Arfryn confirmed it’s a wolfling.”
Ryard became very quiet, never taking his eyes off her. Finally, he lay down and let out a melancholy whine. She sensed his resignation but was determined to match it with her own resolve. She showed him the flask.
He immediately sprang to his four feet and approached her, snarling his discontent. But Louvella didn’t back away. She stepped closer and grabbed him by the ears, nose to nose.
“I cannot raise it in the village. You know this. It cannot be among people. But it can be with us.” They looked into each other’s eyes for a long time, without a sound. “I will not leave you. And you can never leave us.”
Ryard shook loose from her embrace and took a few steps deeper into the woods. He looked up at the full moon, which had just emerged. Then he looked back a Louvella. She took the flask, drank its bittersweet contents in a single gulp, and followed him to his lair among the trees. At least they would now be together, she thought as she felt the kindled magic start to stir inside her, until the next time they’d be able to hold hands again.
• • •