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by Margo Fallis
The Trap

          Several of the village women carried in plates of food for the guests. After putting them on the table, Padd said, “Help yourselves. As you can see we have roasted chicken, figs, potatoes, carrots, and venison. Eat up.”

     While the group feasted, Bubb walked over to Padd. “What’s the plan now?”

     The others found a place to sit. “I’ve given it much thought,” said Padd, “and what we need to do is set some sort of a trap. Kolin knows by now that his mother and brother are alive. I’m afraid we haven’t much choice. We will need them to lure Kolin to us. There is a spell, when used along with the Stone of Destiny, can destroy the wolf. However, his twin and mother must recite the spell together while Kolin is alive and in their view.”

     “The beast is too powerful and strong for us,” Corin said. “We’ve seen what he’s capable of. He devoured a giant of a man in a matter of seconds.”

     “The wolf can’t out do this spell. Any suggestions on a way to lure Kolin to this village?” Padd looked at the others for ideas.

     “He’s angry with me,” Bramber said. “I escaped. He said he’d kill me if I tried. I could lure him. He’d love to get his fangs into me.”

     “No. Not Bramber.” Braden scowled and took her hand.

     “Hold on, Braden. I quite willing to…”  Bramber began.

     “No.” Braden took her outside. They walked over to the shade of a tree. “What do you think you’re doing? I’m not allowing you to set yourself up. It’s too dangerous.” He ran his fingers through his hair from front to back in frustration. “Bramber, I’m sorry, but I’ve seen that wolf at his worst. I saw what he can do to a person.” Braden took a few deep breaths. “I couldn’t bear it if something happened to you.” He pulled her close and held her.

     She pulled away from him and looked up. “Braden, I was with the wolf too. He stole me from my home, kidnapped me, and carried me here on his back. He is furious with me for escaping. Use me for the lure and then kill it.” Bramber pleaded, determined not to give in to him.

     Seeing he was not going to win the argument he bent his head and kissed her gently on the lips. “All right, my love. As you wish, but we must have a precise plan. I want you in minimal danger.”

                   *  *  *

     Inside the tent the others talked. “But he’s my twin brother. I demand a say in the matter,” Kile said, his face red with anger.

     “And he’s my son. I am his mother. I agree with Kile.” Princess Serba stood her ground.

     “All right! All right! We’ll go with another plan. What do you suggest?” Padd’s gaze went from the princess to Kile. His long, sticky tongue flew out of his mouth and licked the sweat from his forehead.

     “I have been thinking about believe I have a plan that will work. Mother, I will need your help,” Kile said.

     “Of course, son, you have it,” his mother replied.

     The group listened as Kile revealed his plan.

                       *  *  *

     The wolf paced back and forth in front of a small hill. He wanted to destroy them all and in anger he howled, releasing his tension.

*  *  *                                 

     Bramber and Braden heard the howl and rushed back to the tent. “He’s here,” Braden said. “Bramber and I have a plan.”

     “We’ve already come up with another plan, Braden. Princess Serba and Kile have insisted we do it their way,” Padd said.

     Braden sighed with relief.

     After an hour they left the tent one by one and headed off in different directions to do their parts. Bubb went from home to home gathering the villagers. Once they were all together, he led them down a trail, off into the darkness. They came to an abandoned village. Collapsing huts and walls offered some protection. Bubb left them to sleep and headed back to Pinea.

     Padd stayed in the hut. He held the Stone of Destiny in his chubby, slimy fingers. He sat, waiting with patience, for the call to bring the stone to the others.

     Corin headed immediately to examine a cluster of trees, looking at each one carefully. He selected a sturdy oak. Pulling out his knife, he began cutting off branches. One by one he sharpened them to a point.

     Braden and Bramber gathered flat stones that could be sharpened and used as spearheads.

     Cafania and Gorbal followed Kile and his mother into an abandoned hut. They practiced the spell over and over again until they knew it perfectly. They couldn’t afford to make mistakes.

     Fingal had gone earlier with the villagers.

                   *  *  *

     The midnight sky sparkled with millions of stars. The moons, both crescent shaped, hung in the sky, casting dim light on the planet below. Princess Serba and Kile sat by the fire. It shot sparks into the air, exploding in orange bursts.

     Corin, Braden and Bramber hid behind a hut, not far from the fire, weapons ready. Cafania and Gorbal stayed inside with Padd, awaiting Kolin’s arrival.

                   *  *  *

     Kolin had a plan of his own; death for all. Humans were no match for his powers. He waited until darkness crept upon the land and made his way towards Pinea. His anger and hatred grew with each step. His sharp claws grew longer, his thick, matted fur stood straight up on end and his mouth salivated and dripped slobber to the ground. Red eyes glowed with evil.

     He slowed down his pace and came to a stop behind an ancient tree, wide and covered with peeling bark. He saw his mother and twin. A groan of jealousy escaped his jowls. His gaze scanned the area. Nobody else was in sight. “Where is the woman. I want to rip her to shreds in front of her cherished lover and then devour him limb by limb.”

     Kile and his mother both sensed Kolin’s presence. When a twig snapped behind them, they both jumped and looked in the direction of the noise. Kile saw the glowing eyes. “It’s him, Mother. It’s Kolin. He’s over there.” Princess Serba saw the eyes. A tear ran down her cheek.

     The wolf came into full view.

     From behind the hut Corin, Bramber and Braden came running. “Remember, don’t kill him!” Braden reminded the other two.

     Padd, Cafania and Gorbal opened the hut door. Gorbal held the Book of Spells and Padd, the Stone of Destiny.

     Kolin recognized the trap and knew that he was going to die. He leaped at his mother. She tried to run, but the wolf bit into her dress and held it. She tugged, but knew she’d been caught. She turned and looked into the red-eyed wolf’s eyes. “Kolin, my son.”

     He released the dress and lurched for her throat, showing no mercy or compassion. His jaws neared her throat and were about to snap down when something hit Kolin on the back of his head. The wolf fell to the ground; his twin brother standing above him with an ostrich-egg sized rock in his hands.

     Kolin lifted his paw and showed his brother his claws. Kile had left himself in a vulnerable position. The wolf was about to slice open Kile’s belly when a spear pierced his foreleg. Kile rolled to the side and out of the way. Kolin howled and tried to stand, the spear still protruding out both sides. Another spear flew through the air and went into the other foreleg. Blood splattered all over the dirt around him; some landing in the fire, causing the explosion of deep purple flames.

     A few moments later two more spears hit the wolf, who fell next to a willow tree.

“Quickly, recite the spell.’ Padd said, handing Princess Serba and Kile the stone. “Now!”

     They recited the spell. “Ye evil one of days gone by, with glowing fire within your eye, leave us now they raging heart and return to dust. Go now, depart.”

     “Say it again!” Padd croaked, seeing the spell beginning to work on the wolf. “He’s a strong one and is resisting.”

     The princess and her son repeated the spell four times, rubbing the Stone of Destiny.

     Kolin felt as though he was being ripped in half. His legs burned with scorching pain. His head wanted to explode. With each chanting of the spell, the pain increased. Kolin howled and groaned in agony. After the fifth chant, he fell.

     Princess Serba dropped the stone and ran over to the dead wolf. The others, including Kile stood watching in sorrow as the wolf transformed into a young boy. “My son,” the princess cried, bending down to hold Kolin. Kile knelt next to her. They sobbed with both relief and broken heart for the loss of son and brother.

     The boy’s eyes opened. “Mother,” Kolin said, reaching for her.

     Taking that as a sign of remorse, she reached to stroke his face. Kolin raised his hand as if to stroke her back, but instead, wrapped it around her throat and squeezed, trying to suffocate her. His eyes glowed red until Corin plunged a spear into his heart. His hand dropped from his mother’s neck. The lifeless body turned to dust and blew away in the wind.

     “He’s gone,” Gorbal whispered.

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