The villagers were afraid of her, she understood this. She had always understood this. From the time she could walk, people crossed the street to avoid her. It had something to do with the wolves.
From her earliest memories, she remembered wolves. She remembered her mother, the sound of her voice, the smell of her and she remembered the smell and the feel of wolves. The first time her mother had walked in and found a wolf standing over her cradle, she had gone into hysterics, so she had overheard her father say, but she had been unharmed.
The wolf had left the house peacefully but returned a few days later, taking up a watchful post at the edge of the woods near the house. Other wolves eventually joined the first. Her parents had been fearful at first, but eventually came to accept the wolves’ presence as normal. They were always there, but never threatening.
When she was old enough to play outside, that’s when the wolves came right into the yard. Again, the first time this happened, her mother had been first terrified, then amazed when she saw that the wolves weren’t threatening in any way. At least twenty wolves had surrounded her and there she stood, in the middle, arms flung wide, head tipped back, twirling in circles, with wolf pups dancing and jumping next to her, laughing!
Her parents tried not to show that they were afraid, but the villagers were openly frightened. No one wanted to be her friend, other children weren’t allowed to play with her, but she didn’t care. She was happy and content to run with the wolf pups and nap in the woods, snuggled up against a mama wolfs fur. Her parents stopped worrying about her safety. Indeed, what child was ever safer? The few times other children turned from taunting to trying to shove her, a circle of snarling wolves drew tight around her. After that, the other children just ignored her.
She had heard the whispers though. That her mother was a witch and her father was a werewolf. Or that her mother was the werewolf and her father a powerful warlock, or that she wasn’t their child at all, but a changeling or a fairy child found abandoned in the forest.
But she knew the truth. The truth that the real monsters were the normal humans. The ones that watched her with fear and loathing, the ones that would hurt her given the chance and for no other reason than they didn’t understand her. They didn’t understand the wolves or her affinity for them, with them. So the feared her and what they feared, they hated and what they hated, they would kill if they could.
But she knew things they did not. She knew the wolves’ secrets, their wisdom, their ways and she knew she could live with them if she chose. She would never feel afraid in the forest, surrounded by the pack. There was only one sensible thing to do. She had to leave before the villager’s fears drove them to do something horrible.
Standing at the edge of the forest, one had draped across the mother wolfs neck; she stared down at the village full of people that would never be her pack. Never be her people. As the sun edged up over the horizon, she exhaled into the chill morning air, drew in a deep breath, then turned and disappeared into the forest.