White Death

Published on by Francesca Quarto

The young man, Kendall Paltry, known as "whitey" to his few friends and associates, had lived in the village of Kent since his birth, twenty two years earlier.

The day he came squalling into the world of men, was marked by two significant happenings.

Firstly, the babe being presented to its ma was as white and translucent as a sheet of ice covering the water barrel outside the cottage door; and secondly, this new being was covered head to tiny toe in a downy white fur, nearly as thick as the mouser, Kidney Pie who worked at the baker's down the street.

The mid-wife quickly determined that ​"Whitey" wasn't a cat after checking that he had all the normal male parts. But the fur was something of a disruption to the usually predictable process of birthing a local whelp for her. And she didn't hesitate to show her displeasure.

"What in the name of all that's holy have you made here, Alice?" she demanded of the new mother.

Still weak and bleeding more profusely than was typical, the young woman merely sighed and said "Let me see the babe for meself."

With that, the midwife gladly handed off the newly made human still connected as it was to the long cord. She set about severing the umbilical moorings, freeing the mother to nestled the child more closely to her bosom after wrapping it with swaddling.

"Why, he's perfect!" Alice said somewhat defensively to the mid-wife's ears.

"He'll be such a help to me round the place and his da will be happy to have him a son at last."

Alice was out of her mind and everyone knew it in the village. Poor girl had lost her wits after she was savagely beaten and raped by a stranger passing through the village with his "Magic Show and Grotesques". Every effort was made by Lord Drummond's men to secure the scoundrel, but he seemed to vanish into the thick woods surrounding the small enclave of cottages and farmsteads.

A few months after the horrific incident, Alice reported to the Aunty she lived with, that she was feeling unwell everyday for the past several weeks. Soon thereafter, the mid-wife was called in to examine the poor girl and her pregnancy was announced to all.

The village knew Alice to be a chaste and wholesome lass and there was no doubt who had fathered the bastard on her; the magician.

As Alice cradled the furry child, cooing softly into its furry ears, the oddest thing since its birth occurred and if the mid-wife hadn't heard it with her own ears, she would have denied the whole story.

While Alice stroked the tiny bundle in her arms she stopped briefly saying, "I shall name him Samuel."

Suddenly, the babe jerked in her arms and opened his mouth wide. Out of that tiny orifice he emitted a sound not unlike the roar of a heavy wind, or the sound of crashing waves.

"Our babe is to be called after him what fathered him; my name is Kendall and ye shall give it him too!"

Alice and the mid-wife were left open-mouthed, staring down at the babe who had now closed its eyes and snuggled into his ma's sweet breast. They exchange horrified looks and again looked back at the sleeping form of the child.

The mid-wife was first to break the silence when she let out a scream that would pierce the ears of a deaf man. She lunged for the door, anxious to escape the monsters within the tiny cottage. Not even waiting to be certain the new mother was well enough to be left on her own, the woman flew into the night like a bat out of a cave.

"Ah well', said the young Alice.

"Who's to say what is proper for a newly born child. Mayhaps your voice was a tad sharp for that old woman's ears, but I fear ye not."

The boy grew into an imposing young man; still covered in the white downy hair of his nativity, but more accepted over the time that lapsed in the village life.

He would walk openly about the small market on Market Day and stop to pick up sundry goods at the local stores. He always showed complete respect to the other residents and treated his ma like the Queen Mother.

Until, the day the Magician returned.

Alice was alone in the cottage and sorting through her needles to begin mending her son's shirt; one of two he owned.

The door to the cottage flew open and the magician strode inside.

Alice froze in place like an ice cycle from the eves as he came toward her.

Just as he reached out a hand to touch her face, the light from the doorway darkened and Kendal stepped over the rough threshold.

"What is this I say?" the magician said, a sneer playing tag around his words.

"Tis only Kendall sir, my boy."

"But look at him! He's covered like a wolf in fur! He's a beast walking upright!" the magician was laughing now.

"Kendall's lip curled away from his teeth and a low growl seeped out like the starting trickle of water from a hole in a dam.

The snarl on his mouth looked more intimidating as the fur around his mouth began to drip with heated saliva and run down his fur covered chin.

The magician began to back away from Alice while she remained stone still; waiting to see the transformation she knew was coming.

Alice had a deep secret and she harbored it like a fugitive inside her heart.

She had been out in the woodlands some twenty-one years back and had encountered a man of such a handsome countenance that she fell immediately under his spell. They were secret lovers for several weeks until the time of her ravishment by the magician.

Upon hearing her tale, the handsome lover said he would take revenge upon the rapist in due time. Until then, he asked her to be safe and bear the child she knew they had conceived.

One moonlit night before Alice was four months gone, she met again the handsome stranger in the woodlands. But now, instead of tenderness she watched horrified as he tore at his clothes and then hers and as he thrust himself into her already filled womb, he bite down on her neck hard enough to draw blood and a gasp.

He quickly fled her and seemed to Alice's stunned eyes, to lope off into the dark, brooding forest.

Now his revenge upon the magician would be made real, carried out by the wolf cub he had seeded in her those many years past.

Kendall's body began to warp like wood after many days of exposure to the wet. It twisted and his sturdy back became gnarled with a sharp backbone protruding now from his thin shirt.

The white fur that covered his body bristled like a boar's and his teeth descended in long yellow bone, sharpened to fine points. He reached out a hand with fingers tapering into deadly talons and grabbed the magician by the throat.

It was over in less than a minute. The eviscerated magician lay in a deep red puddle of his own making.

Alice heaved a huge sigh and turned back to her mending.

There is nothing better in life than a goodly son she thought as she hummed his favorite lullaby.

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