The red wolf padded silently through the moonlight forest, senses steady & sharp, hungry & hunting over a slick covering of misty pine needles. The red wolf reached the bluff which overlooked the dimly flickering hamlet & inhaled deeply, hoping to catch scent of her pack & with the wind of her life howled to the high, heavy Harvest Moon, through the timeless trees, and down to the terrible hamlet.
Her nose to the wind, the red wolf caught a warm, salty whiff of humans – one aroused, one afraid, delicious hot smells to trot toward down the dusty trail tracking potential prey.
The red wolf quickened pace toward sounds that grew from scuffle to scream as the woman plunged a dagger deep into the man’s liver.
The close, irresistible, warm burst of blood spirting off the man made the red wolf sprint, lunge, & land on the man’s torso, tipping him over, face to curved fangs. The red wolf locked onto the human’s throat snapping him down, while simultaneously, the man sliced a gash deep in the red wolf’s lean side.
Rosemarie’s red right hand recoiled as she fell backward into the dirt, dropping her dagger, small sounds escaping her as she scrabbled backwards away from the red wolf devouring the soldier, shuttering & twitching with the compounded fear of being found by both a man & a beast in the woods. Moments ago, Rosemarie had been foraging fungi under the Harvest Moon & now intense anticipation bloomed horrible in her heart as minutes passed & no other wolves joined in the kill in the isolated glen.
“A lone female,” was Rosemarie’s first clear thought through the continuous growl deep from red wolf as she tore open the torso & gobbled up nutritious organs.
“They would say a lone female would never last, but we both have,” Rosemarie whispered, tossing back her wild black hair so her eyes could lock with the masticating, rumbling red wolf, slid her hand over sandy pine to wrap fingers around her dagger, kneel to stand, & imperceivably step toward red wolf.
“You are alone because they killed all the rest. The sing stories about you red wolf, because you are the one who eluded them all. When they see this soldier, they will think it was you who devoured him, not me who actually used my dagger when he advanced his menace … Sister you saved me,” she whispered so moonbeam soft it rolled around atop red wolf’s lush fur & absorbed into the deep muscle of meaning: Rosalie’s tone caught red wolf’s ear & she stopped chewing & licked her muzzle, bright tongue adding to the autumnal ombre of chestnut, bronze, blood. Red wolf, sleepy but sharp, stood atop & inside the soldier carcass, gore from her own wound steadily seeping down her side.
Rosemarie shook a deep breath into her belly & registered nature’s surrounding bounty: crescent moon leaftlets crept fernlike with drooping clusters – a poultice of moonwort & mandrake would help heal. Red wolf’s growling deepened with a heavier labored breath as she struggled to stay standing as Rosemarie picked & prepared, used a stone to smash, and chanted to the sky & all the winds to receive the power to save & be saved, to sing & be sung, be many & be one.
Rosemarie’s chant transfixed red wolf & the forest was entirely quiet, the territory claimed by the natural connection. Red wolf smelled the power inside the depth of the medicines, a usefulness designed in creation brought to truth by those who listen, the scent deepening her relaxation into the eternal consciousness. Rosemarie’s long fingers trembled uncontrollably yet she moved smoothly toward red wolf; red wolf responded with an openness entirely new & beautiful in her brave ability to receive.
As Rosemarie poulticed, red wolf started slipping to the stars, her eyes rolled & tongue lolled. A piece of Rosemarie’s soul tugged as if it sewn to red wolf, trying to escape to run together toward Elysium.
“Pass safely, sister savior, I will join you shortly where we can teach each other the ways of woman & wolf. First, I will bring justice to your pack & all the hamlet has taken.”
Red wolf gasped a shuttering inbreath & exhaled with a midnight blue, astral, dying howl.
Rosemarie sank her dagger deep into red wolf’s last moment of air, ripped through her deep chest, cut & chopped her heart, liver, & kidneys & ate them under the crystal clear gaze of Mother Moon, who happily admired her children & joined them heart, body, & soul.
Rosemarie left red wolf’s remains with the soldier, gathered herself, washed in the brook, & made her way to her home between forest & hamlet, alongside the Lenni Lenapi family’s farmlands bejeweled with maize, beans, & squash. The dark eyes of the Wolf Clan’s patriarch watched Rosemarie cross the field in the evening’s first breeze, & wondered when her wild black hair had turned red.
The morning met Rosemarie with a gorgeous show of sunlight & the satisfying tending & mending of self-sustainability, newly minted golden auburn hair her tousled crowning glory. Rosemarie’s time passed like warm honeycomb cooling as she baked & weaved her way through the weeks, red wolf prowling & pouncing inside, exploring Rosemarie’s vast anima. The Harvest Moon transitioned, hiding her face in the celestial tabernacle, making the sky & earth sleep deeper in the lack of night light, a new orbit marking the passing of phases & lowering of veils.
As Rosemarie swept around the golden oak with her handfast besom broom, she smelled their putrid souls & heard their wicked purses before she saw their sanctified countenances, Magistrate Price’s steed outstepping the rest of the rabble.
“Rosemarie, we know you cast a wolfbann maleficium & caused the red wolf to attack & kill the soldier. We have a witness, who we now know now to be your co-conspirator with Satan. Confess you are a witch & we will spare your soul.”
Rosemarie gripped the hawthorn stave of her besom broom, the acrimonious odor of evil emanating from Magistrate Price, & swiftly raised the broom & shoved its sharp birch branch bristles in the Magistrate’s eyes.
Clutching his ruined face Magistrate Price slid from his steed & blubbered through eyeball blood, “Take her to the castle for a full confession!”
Rosemarie was met with the man-made monolith of immensely orchestrated agony, afflicted with the wretched actions of individual evil & collective decrepitude. The stone cell’s oozing earth moisture & moss comforted Rosemarie as she spent her shattered nights staring through her tiny window out at the moon, moving into the fuller phases, waxing & waking to offer a brand new brutal.
Magistrate Price’s soft scarred scratches made his bitter eyes appear ringed in fire, as his patience waned with Rosemarie’s continued silence. He shaved her wild hair & soft body, pricked her for blood, deprived her of sleep, pressed, dunked, & screwed, feet & thumbs & nails in search of the devil’s mark.
Through the damp echoes of the deep underground, Rosemarie heard another person, a man, in the same horrific torment & similarly stubborn to concede.
Magistrate Price’s voice creaked with the same pitch as the hinges of her captivity, “Tomorrow we burn you & your co-conspirator; final confession is at sundown.”
Bodice torn & drenched, Rosemarie was dragged into the sunset, bald, bloody, & bruised, but not broken, the sky crowned with clouds moving languidly across liquid grey sky.
A Native American man lay curled on the cobbles, & Rosemarie smelled his authentic vitality: their gaze met & initiated an immediate exchange of ferocious familiarity, connected by condition of unbridled courage clashing with whimpers of constant torture.
Magistrate Price was cruelly casual & carnal as he passed time & sentence on Rosemarie, whose chin never left her chest, which heaved heavier with every wicked winding word, “Patriarch of the Lenapi Dusk Song saw you under the full moon when the soldier was murdered by your lupine familiar. Because he is of the Wolf Clan, we know he shares your loyalty to the devil. His neighbor, Landlord Hopkins, bears witness Dusk Song the Lenapi danced & leaped loudly with claws & red pelts, possessed by devils. Magistrate Price turned to the tense hamlet, & incanted, “String them up & spark the fires to save their souls!”
A shift in the atmosphere & the sky opened wide to an early evening clear & bright with the pure light of the magnanimous Hunter Moon, whose whole heavy, heavenly task is radiate for the kill, a generous wide eye hanging over the hamlet.
Smells crushed into the mortar of Rosemarie’s mind, a cannonball casing of fragrance & pestle of pungent cataclysm. She inhaled deeply to clear the crushing cranial commotion, her consciousness systemically upping the auditory awareness of sniveling disgust surrounding; she lost her legs & dangled from the heavy hands of her accusers.
Muscles formed with each of Rosemarie’s short hair shafts, which began to grow thick & red standing on end in widow’s mane straight down her back into a mad mohawk, fluff & fur pushing through every pore. Rosemarie’s blood sizzled as her bones broke & boiled in black bile, hard cartilage crusted as tendons veered & thickened phlegm expanded inside her pulsating cranium, shifting & inflating her cheek cavities stretching as her jaw jammed & unhinged to clack back with canines tearing through top teeth exploding her mouth with bone growth. Rosemarie screamed in agony, her chords ripped & roared & she howled directly into the intensity of the universe, calling for her transition of woman to mystic mechanism of alpha keystone balance, causing a chilling pause in the mania of the moment.
Rosemarie Red Wolf’s dress shredded as she fell to all fours & the crowd gaspingly ran.
Magistrate Price lit the fire under Dusk Song, flames reflected in his tunic’s gold buttons.
Rosemarie Red Wolf ran through the flickering blaze & bit Dusk Song with a vital nip, transferring the divine message how to transcend the space between moon & earth.
Rosemarie Red Wolf clenched Magistrate’s Price’s bejewled hand, with crushing jaws, yanked his shoulder out & pulled him down with a pathetic squeal, arm dangling grotesque as he crawled, kicking pebbles & flinging spittle insults. Rosemarie Red Wolf bared her gleaming teeth, ears pushed back, wild red fur expansive, the wolf woman’s terrible nature unbridled & exposed, Magistrate Price’s stench a pooling of perverted life & pathetic death.
As flames grew around Dusk Song, they cast a shifting pallor as his ocular cavity collapsed into a muzzle with front-facing eyes & dark thick fur; expanding musculature wrenched the ropes & sent sparks into the growing evening as Dusk Song Wolf stood stark still on the embers before erupting into a howl filled with the promise of both new & familiar mysteries.
Rosemarie joined in the howl, their chorus of enchanting conjurations free to trust, be, & become together, as one & many.
The Hunter Moon radiated, the Wolfs’ helpful handmaiden for the bloody hunt, thinning the sniveling herd who had taken all, imposed more, & acted less; the Wolves left none alive except those whose scent rose beatific, & the hamlet torn with flames & covered with dying screams & harkened howling of the growing chorus of change.