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.