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Scarred

Faolan

By JBazPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 10 min read
Top Story - February 2024
36
Scarred
Photo by Marek Szturc on Unsplash

I awoke to the cry, a faraway mewling that disturbed the morning calm.

Peering outside the cabin window a new day greets me with fresh fallen snow, light flakes float down like confetti on New Years eve. I brush the sleep from my eyes and stare out the frost laced glass. A shiver runs through my body as I hear the soft cry once more, weaker this time, pulling at my heart.

Walking softly so as not to wake my parents, I put on my winter boots and coat. I find myself standing outside, no breeze tussles my wispy hair, only a pale moon greets me. A haunting wail of pain floats on the air, wrapping itself around me. I follow the cry. There is desperation in the sound, I feel it calling me. Stepping slowly, a crunching sound cracks the silence as the top brittle layer of snow breaks under my feet. There is a caution to my movements as if I am intruding into a mystical wonderland covered in white.

Lifting my face to the sky, delicate fairy wings of frozen white land upon my cheeks, cooling the heat from my skin. The pain and burning sensation have never fully left me, the fire that charred my skin, has not hardened my heart, but it weakened my soul. It is the reason we are here. My parents saw my pain from the stares and constant whispers. Taunts from children, who once were my friends scar me worse than the flames. I do not hate them, they are scared by what frightens them, and apparently it is me they are frightened of. I tell myself; it is because they believe it could easily have been one of them.

But that is not the full truth.

It is dim in the predawn light, yet the snow sparkles like a path leading me onward. A scent of damp pinecones rejuvenates my soul. In the shadowed trees of the forest I trod on, mesmerized by the beauty that surrounds me. Pausing, I see movement and hear a soft yip echoing within the trees. I swear I hear my name carried on the wind.

In the hazy light my eyes seem to be playing tricks on me, a mound of snow in a low-lying bush moves, and once more a mewling emits in the hollow, this time weaker. Crouching low I crawl forward, until I come face to face with the moving bump of white fluff.

Caught in a snare is a wolf cub, bloodied and exhausted from the struggle. Frightened eyes pleading for freedom.

"Hi little one, you’re a mess....like me."

The bush is not natural, it was placed there to hide the trap, I pull it gently away. Whispering in a soothing tone for the frightened creature.

All the while I was so absorbed in helping, I failed to notice pale eyes peering through the undergrowth, watching my every move. If I had been aware perhaps I would have run.

I began to hum a soft tune; the same one my mother sang to me while I fought through the torment of recovery. A wire snare, meant for hares roaming the woods captured this innocent pup, cutting deeply into the flesh. He or she may suffer with pain for the rest of their life, like me.

My hum turned to song as I crept closer, slowly showing that I meant no harm. Poor little fella, I am going to say it is a ‘him,’ I feel we have so much in common. He lay there lethargic, worn out from the struggle. The only movement came from his eyes as they darted back and forth, with fear.

“It’s ok boy, I’m not going to hurt you.”

Reaching out I stroke his soft fur, with a burst of energy he snapped at my hand, “Hey, Enzo don’t bite me.” I snap back. I don’t know why I called him Enzo; the name just popped into my head. It was the name of the dog from the book I just read. ‘Art of driving in the rain’ To me it seemed to fit him. It was also my brother’s name; the one who didn’t survive the fire.

Removing my coat I gently tossed it over him, and held him firm to stop the squirming, whether out of fear or exhaustion Enzo went limp. I felt his heartbeat racing, as I eased my hand down his leg. Holding him in one hand while trying to remove the wire was not easy. Slowly I worked the snare, so it loosened and opened. But there was a portion that was embedded under the fur and into his flesh.

“This is going to hurt, but I promise it will get better.”

Enzo seemed to understand, and the brave little fellow barely cried as I wriggled the wire loose. I quickly applied snow onto the wound and held it firmly in my hand. Rivulets of red ran between my fingers, dripping upon the virgin snow.

Enzo remained calm as I let go and began to remove gauze from my left hand, the one that refused to heal. While the rest of me never will be perfect it has slowly recovered, leaving scars of wrinkled pink skin. My hand, unfortunately continued to bleed from cuts refusing to close.

With great care I wrap Enzo’s tiny paw, I believe he understood I was here to help.

I talked to him as I wrapped his wounds. “I’m Thomas, I will not hurt you.”

His tiny tongue softly began licking my red hand, as I wrapped him. I guess he saw my injuries and did his best to help. Instead of pulling away I welcomed the tenderness, it tingled.

I smiled at the feel, it was soothing, maybe it was the closeness that I enjoyed. Contact without revulsion.

My body was chilled, I apologized, as I recovered my coat and put it back on. His liquid eyes stared at me as I stood above him. My thought was to scoop him up, tuck him in my jacket and return to the cabin so we could nurse Enzo back to health.

As I was leaning down I heard a snap of a twig or branch, followed by a low growl. The few hairs I had, bristled. I suddenly began to shiver, and the cold had nothing to do with it. I sensed, more than heard, paws cracking the frozen ground behind me. Turning slowly towards the sound I see one of the most beautiful and frightening creatures crouched low and beginning to circle me. Pale blue eyes penetrated my soul, her fur pure white as the first snow fall, only a shadowed nose makes her stand out against the backdrop of nature.

I am assuming Enzo is her pup, leaving me in a very awkward position and defenseless.

With ears up and slightly tilted forward her lips pulled back under a crinkled snout, the low growl a constant.

I held my arm out in a useless act of defense, I began to back away. She continued to circle. Finaly finding my voice I was about to call out when I noticed my left hand, it was no longer pink, there were no open wounds oozing. It was as it was before the fire, normal.

For what ever reason, I no longer was focused on the she-wolf. My arm dropped and I stared at Enzo. Kneeling I reached out and scratched his neck and under his chin. “What did you do?”

In answer, Enzo bathed my face with kisses, I felt an instant tingle, a coolness that washed through me. I couldn’t help but laugh, completely forgetting the danger I was in. The deep throated rumble from behind reminded me of my predicament.

Before I had a chance to react, Enzo darted, with a hobbled limp, between my legs to place himself between me and mom. The hairs, on her fur immediately relaxed, and she lay down in the soft snow. Enzo nuzzled her front paws and welcomed the loving licks from his mother.

I suddenly became dizzy, I hadn’t exerted myself this much in months, and I fear I was feeling the affects. It was time to head back to the cabin. I backed away carefully, watching the love these two had for each other, a mothers care and child’s unconditional trust. Turning, I began tracing my steps back to the cabin. When the strangest thing occurred. A melodic voice, as sweet as what I can only assume an angel sounds like, called out to me.

Thomas.’

Pausing in disbelief I looked back upon Enzo and his mother. She stood not three feet away, her gaze fully on me. My mouth opens but no words come out.

Thank you, for saving Faolan.’

I managed to stutter. “Y ..You’re welcome….I called him Enzo.”

With what appeared to be a smile she replied ‘Enzo, what does it mean?’

“I don’t know, its from a story I read.”

I am called Naheena. Know this, you will forever be welcomed within our realm, you are now one of us.’

It was then I noticed, dozens of eyes staring at me, their silhouette shapes mere shadows in the dawn. As one a chorus of howls filled the woods.

Her comment overwhelmed me, kindness had been a foreign concept to me of late. Even my parents, who I know love me, still have this underlying anger towards me. It isn’t their fault I am the cause of their sorrow. If it hadn’t been for me, my brother would still be alive, and I would be normal. I felt a tear flow down my cheek.

Why do you weep, Thomas?

“I don’t deserve your kindness; I am not deserving of your trust.’

Do you think me a fool?’

“What? No, it’s just that..”

We are capable of seeing the true person, outside defects does not dictate what is inside. We have the ability to see who you are, and your heart is pure.’

One by one the others emerge and gathered around Naheena. She strode towards me with a purpose, Faolan close behind. I was unable to move as she gently nuzzled my hand and rubbed up against my leg then walked away. One by one the entire pack followed suit.

A silence hovered in the air, while I struggled to understand. How am I not questioning this conversation and everything that is happening, am I hallucinating, is this a fever dream?

I look at my hand and realize this is no dream, I touch my face and no longer feel the scars.

Before they disappear into the woods I call out. “How did Faolan heal me?”

She looked at me, then her little one. ‘I do not know, perhaps he did not wish for the scars to define who you truly are. Farewell Thomas, until we meet again.’

With that statement, the snow began to fall once more and they faded away into the forest

I know I have yet to fully forgive myself. As for my wounds, they will eventually heal. I will learn to live with my scars, both visible and those within.

Thank you,

Jason

Young AdultShort StoryFantasy
36

About the Creator

JBaz

I have enjoyed writing for most of my life, never professionally.

I wish to now share my stories with others, lets see where it goes.

Born and raised on the Canadian Prairies, I currently reside on the West Coast. I call both places home.

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  4. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  5. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (29)

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  • Donna Fox (HKB)2 months ago

    Jason this was something else... Heart palpitating and honestly leaves me a little speechless. A defining silence rings in my ears while I absorb the beauty of this story! Incredible job and congrats on Top Story!!

  • Daphsam2 months ago

    Congratulations on your top story you wrote a very heartwarming story. 

  • Mariann Carroll2 months ago

    Jason, wow !!!! Congratulations!!!!! 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Captivating story!!! Fabulously written!!! Loved it!!!💕♥️♥️ Congratulations on T S and Leaderboard win!!!

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!!

  • Dana Crandell2 months ago

    This is absolutely magical, Jason! It spoke to the child and the nature lover in me. Congratulations!

  • Celia in Underland2 months ago

    Awww JBaz this is so beautifuly touching - I sobbed my wt through most of it , such a beautuful message and as always so brillianlty written - sorry it took a while to get round to it, a couple of mental weeks. Super congratulations on a truly inspiring and wondeful TS 🤍

  • Kristen Balyeat2 months ago

    oh my goodness. I can't even. This story is just beyond amazing, Jason. What a gorgeous story! I'm going to have my ten-year-old read it. Your ability to draw the reader in and magically sweep them away into another world is just magnificent. Beautiful job! Very well deserved top story! Also, yes, tears...again.

  • olymoolla2 months ago

    You write very well please visit my vocal id and leave a comment about how I write stories and how I write stories

  • olymoolla2 months ago

    আপনি আমার অনেক সুন্দর লিখেছেন

  • Kodah2 months ago

    💗Congrats on ts!! Well-deserved! 💗

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • ROCK 2 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!

  • L.C. Schäfer2 months ago

    Inside scars can be tricksy buggers. Well done on the t.s. 😁👍

  • Tina D'Angelo2 months ago

    Oh, this one needs to be expounded upon. The backstory should be told, as the future story of Thomas. This was a well we all fell into. Congratulations.

  • Ashley Shiflett2 months ago

    Beautiful! Congrats on top story.

  • sleepy drafts2 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!!! This piece moved me so much. I'm so happy to see it on the front page! 💗

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Congrats on the TS.

  • Judey Kalchik 2 months ago

    Back to congratulate you on Top Story recognition

  • Jess Boyes2 months ago

    So beautiful, I loved it.

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    Beautiful, magical story, I got quite swept away.

  • Naheena is such a beautiful name! Your story was so touching and magical! I hope in time, Thomas would forgive himself. Loved your story!

  • Mark Gagnon2 months ago

    Jason, your use of descriptors to set the scene is pure magic. Even without them, the story stands on its own merit. A Top Story for sure.

  • John Cox2 months ago

    This story is pure magic, JBaz. I absolutely loved it and like Randy, I hunger for more.

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