Mr. V. Jarsdel

The crackling of the fire made me aware that Mr. Jarsdel had stopped talking, Stan sat pensively beside me, while I waited for the conversation to continue.

“Does the story really end there?” Stan finally asked.

“No, not quite,” Mr. Jarsdel was standing in the darkness away from the fireplace and from us. He calmly watched us as he proceeded to tell us the story.

Athanasia had fallen in another loop, again locked in a hospital room, this time she wasn’t alone. A man, stood beside her, soothing her. He was an older man in his forties, stout and unappealing, but he was kind and affectionate towards her. His gaze never left hers.

“It is going to be all right,” he says to her lovingly. “I will be here. Everything will be all right. I will be here.”

Athanasia nodded in understanding.

“They will be here soon,” he squeezed her hand. “I will be here… They will take me away first. Don’t be afraid… They won’t hurt me and they won’t hurt you. Only a few of us can speak, they need me… Here they come.”

Athanasia nodded as a group of male Wendigos, dressed as doctors came in, followed by two nurses and five others. They were calm and friendly as it was not in the Wendigos nature to be amiable.

“Here he is,” announced one of the doctors, signaling towards the man that held Athanasia’s hand.

“Come forward, creature,” another doctor directed the man.

The man gave Athanasia one last squeeze of her hand and stepped towards the smiling Wendigos, whom paid no mind to Athanasia as she hid behind a dresser. Athanasia watched as they complemented the man she had been with, As they admired the man she could not help but feel a bit of animosity towards them. They appeared human until you looked into their eyes. The Wendigos bantered with each other as they approved of the man.

“Harold will be very pleased,” said one of the visitors. “Harold should be here soon. He wanted to see for himself.”

“We haven’t had a creature that spoke in a long time,” said a doctor. “It would be a pity to see him go.”

“Harold has been looking for one a long time,” said the visitor. “Here he is.”

“Hello, everyone,” a neatly dressed middle age Wendigo greeted the group as he came in.

Someone pushed the man forward.

“He will do nicely,” Harold eyed the man up and down.

“The creature comes with a pair,” said a doctor.

“A pair!” Harold exclaimed.

The doctor pointed to where Athanasia hid. She shirked further into the corner when Harold stepped forward to take a gander at her. He had a pleasant manner about him and smiled at her, though, Athanasia still distrusted the Wendigo.

“That’ll do,” Harold was pleased.

“It’s the creature’s wife so he proclaims,” said the doctor. “We can’t separate the pair as one will not be right without the other. We will send him first and then she follows.”

“That will be fine,” said Harold. “I have been searching for a domestic for sometime, especially one that understands me.”

“Yes, yes,” the doctor agreed, “most of these creatures are simple brutes who have lost the capability to speak, let alone speak our English tongue.”

“Some even find it hard to understand us,” laughed one of the doctors.

The others laughed along. They chatted a bit, still in good spirits they all left, taking the man with them. Athanasia was left alone, fearing for her future and the man they called her husband.

 

 

 

 

Mr. V. Jarsdel

“Did she know what was happening to her?” Stan asked.

“She had no clue,” Mr. Jarsdel turn to face them. “She was trapped in the never endless loop. She had no way of knowing what happened to her before and after she came back to life… by happenchance some one was able to put the pieces together. A stranger who had crossed paths with Athanasia. He saw everything.”

“What did he see?” Stan was intrigued.

“This particular stranger had coincidental met her more than once,” Mr. Jarsdel said. “The first time he was eight, his grandfather had owned various creatures and kept them as his personal servants. The grandfather was also known to abuse them.”

“Creatures?” Stan was lost.

“Humans,” Mr. Jarsdel explained, “that’s what the Wendigos called them, as they saw them inferior to their own kind. Wendigos were prideful beasts, especially those more prosperous. The stranger’s grandfather was egotistical and he was cruel to anyone inferior to him. Among his collection of humans was Athanasia, a young girl who never spoke. The stranger remembers her very well because he watched his grandfather slaughter her in front of him. Afterwards, as it was customary, her remains were cremated.”

“They cremated the bodies?” Stan was perplexed.

“Did you assume they threw the bodies in a pit?” Mr. Jarsdel grinned. “Wendigos might have been savages but they were not uncivil. If they left remnants of bodies laying around scavengers, mostly other Wendigos would have been a problem… The best way to be rid of the bodies was to cremate them. Ashes to ashes, Athanasia returned to dust. The stranger had witnessed all this, not long after she had been cremated, someone had noticed foot prints leading away from the oven, as if someone had climbed out of it. It was presumed that a scavenger was in the midst. Years later, the stranger was fifteen when he saw a familiar face. He wasn’t sure it was her, and soon after she was annihilated. Nevertheless, he saw her a few more times, in flesh in blood she would stand in his presence.”

“It could have been a coincidence,” Stan asserted. “We all have a Doppelganger. I have been confused a few times to being someone they recognize.””

“It could have been a coincidence,” Mr. Jarsdel said. “But, Athanasia wore a necklace baring her name and when the stranger called it out she answered to it. Every time he came close to knowing the truth she was killed and her ashes strewn among the other ashes. But perseverance paid off when he waited in an alley one night. He had watched her ashes being strewn outside the back door among a pile of white dust. He had looked away for a moment and almost had missed it when he heard something rustling. From among the cinders, she emerged, reincarnated from her own ashes, seeing is believing… She stumbled from the dust, naked and trembling with cold. He watched her as she wobbled down the deserted street. She found a purple petticoat lying around and covered her flesh with it, not far were a few trash bins were she scouted for food. She was ravaged by hunger that she couldn’t quite explain. Before she could finish, the stranger grabbed her and pulled her in the alley, telling her to be still, that there were other Wendigos approaching. If they found her, they would tear her apart. That’s where that story ends.”

“It ends?” Stan was bewildered. “What do you mean it ends? What happened next? You got to know.”

“The stranger lost her,” Mr. Jarsdel said.

“How did he lose her?” Stan raised his voice.

“The stranger, though a Wendigo, was well meaning,” Mr. Jarsdel said. “He took her home where he thought she might be safe, but someone had broken into his home and abducted Athanasia. He followed the trial of blood and lost track of her. He never stopped searching.”