Wendigo

 It was with great sadness that Achak watched as his friend Kitchi was overtaken with the affliction.

Many tribes from the Massachusett to the Ojibwe had whispered of the monstrous man-eater, the demon affliction that hungered relentlessly for human flesh when it had run out of all other fleshes to eat: this creature that stood like a man but had antlers like a stag, and snarling long face like a rabid coyote, this creature that stood naked but was clothed in hair like that of a bear, this creature called the Wendigo.

Achak and Kitchi had been hunting for game for their clans, Achak for his family and Kitchi for his own. All clans within their travelling Algonquin suffered from great hunger, as was often the case this winter season. Illness had kept hunters from achieving their usual success, often binding them to their tents. Kitchi and Achak initially had good fortune with their hunts, but when supplies ran scarce, and there were too many young mouths to feed that were not at hunting age, the hunters themselves were the first to go without food. It had actually been Kitchi’s idea, son of his clan’s chief, as he wanted to sacrifice all he could for his family’s comfort. He invited Achak, who was of a different clan and not as closely related to his own clan’s chief, to have his portions of the meat first. Kitchi seemed to flourish in the first few days.

Then the storm came, and, worse, it came at their furthest point away from the village.

They created shelters but were low on provisions. Achak offered his portions to Kitchi during this time, but Kitchi refused, perhaps out of nobility or pride.

And Kitchi began to go mad.

On the third day of the storm, as it was beginning to settle, Achak awoke to find Kitchi had left their shelter.

He was able to track his friend with ease, but did not like what he found. He saw the frantic dance of does slain not out of a hunter’s necessity, but an animal’s will. The blood was covered by snow, but all the same Kitchi’s footprints danced around the prints of the doe, and his footprints seemed to grow. By the time he had found Kitchi, who was knelt amongst a nest of deer, whom he had all ruthlessly slain with his bare hands, the footprints resembled that of a bear.

Where the deer had made their dwelling of leaves and branches, Kitchi had made a carpet of blood.

At first, Achak did not even recognize that a man knelt amongst the deer corpses, for Kitchi’s antlers had already begun to form, his lips already stretched beyond the normal length of a man’s, and he had already shed his clothes in favor of a long black mane and thick, brown fur.

“Kitchi!” Achak cried out in anguish, “My friend and brother to my allies, my cherished companion through the thickest of winters, what has become of you?”

Kitchi was unable to respond, letting out instead a howl.

Achak made two important assessments of that moment. The first was that Kitchi would surely try to feed upon him as he had fed upon the deer, and if that happened, Achak ran the risk of becoming a Wendigo as well.

Achak’s second assessment was that he could not kill his friend, so long as there was hope that his friend lived within the beastly vessel.

“Kitchi! Beloved amongst hunters, I shall prove my worth as a hunter now, and trap this demon that has overtaken you!”

The Wendigo laughed and snarled, pawing at the ground, and then with a scream that sounded like a thousand screams, it bounded over a felled corpse. Now, despite its insatiable hunger and constant feeding, a Wendigo is an emaciated beast, cursed to eternal slightness. Achak affixed a rope hewn of dogbane (which he had anchored to a tree by his shelter should he become lost in the storm) to an arrow on his bow, and shot Kitchi’s body clean through the chest as the Wendigo tried to attack. Achak then rolled beneath the creature’s legs and began restraining the beast. The Wendigo shrieked and fought with all its might, but Achak was able to move deftly, and hold back its swipes with the rope. He grabbed a piece of deer meat that it had not yet eaten, and held it before the bound creature’s face. It became transfixed, and through this Achak was able to lure it back to the shelter.
There, Achak fed the Wendigo the meat, which allotted him time to strengthen his bonds on the creature, before binding its mouth as well. He used what hides he had collected to reinforce the rope bindings, and tied the Wendigo to a tree. The creature glared at him through its muzzle, but could not move.

Achak’s plan was to let the blizzard take his friend, for he could not.

This accomplished, Achak passed into a deep sleep.

>>>

Achak stood in the ruins of a tremendous city, a city so large he did not have proper words by which to describe it. Man-made towers of rock so smooth it shone stood to the sky, abandoned. In a manner most uncanny, he understood these were called skyscrapers. The streets were littered with large burning carriages, their windows cracked, devoid of passengers. In the same uncanny manner he knew these were called cars.

He wandered the pavement of the city streets, barefoot, bow at the ready, though in his heart he knew his bow was no match for the horrors this city held.

He rounded a corner and saw standing, atop a pile of wrecked cars, his friend, Kitchi, arms outstretched, bathing in a ray of light that had broken through the clouded sky.

“Kitchi,” he whispered.

Kitchi heard this, even so far away and turned to see him, fear in his eyes.

“I live even still,” Kitchi said, his voice clearer than a rushing river. “Even now I wrestle with the monster. And so will you.”

The shadows around the ray of light began to move.

“The Hate will one day destroy all things,” Kitchi said. “But you, my friend, my most trusted companion, you can keep it at bay.”

Kitchi set his weapon down.

“Kitchi, they are coming for you!” Achak shouted.

Large monsters, with dirty black fur and arms like the legs of a spider, began to crawl up the pile of cars.

“The Wendigo is a creature of greed,” Kitchi said, serenely, assuming a posture of prayer. “But Greed looks to unlock the hate in all men, which leads to indifference.”

The creatures drew closer to Kitchi, single-minded.

“Kitchi, get out of there!” Achak said. “Join me and we can return to the village!”

“I am already gone. If you love me, Achak, you will care for this creature,” Kitchi said. “Even if no one else in the village understands.”

The spiders convened at a spot just above Kitchi, their numbers slowly forming a tent around him.

“I will always love you, my brother, son of the Great Spirit,” Kitchi called from within.

And with that, he disappeared.

Standing before Achak was an enormous black creature, shaped like a cone, its skin composed of thousands of eyes, looking upon him with hatred.

“By the power of the Great Spirit, I shall slay even this creature,” Achak said. “Perhaps then I shall be a hunter among men.”

The last thing he saw before he woke was his arm drawing a single arrow to face the horde of The Hate.

<<<

It was not yet morning when Achak awoke, and he did so with a panic.

He could hear the howls of the Wendigo, in pain against the storm.
The creature was dying; the winds were doing their work.

Achak frantically assembled a leash out of hides, as well as a hood and coat to warm the creature and himself.

Then he ran into the snow, and against every instinct in his body, he cut the creature loose, clothed it, leashed it, and with spear in one hand and a leash in the other, began the journey back to the village.

Achak planned to return in the morning, sneaking into one of the tents and keeping the creature in a cage used for their dogs. He would then begin preserving the meats they had found. He didn’t think they were contaminated with the affliction. Some thought it was a sickness, the Wendigo, but from Achak could tell, it was a spirit.

I hunger, the creature murmured behind him.

It would soon eat itself if he didn’t feed it. Achak would have to hunt for his village and for this Wendigo. He prayed the Great Spirit’s forgiveness and guidance for the extra life he would take. But was it not the Great Spirit itself who had shown him that Achak was still alive?

This resolve a source of warmth in his heart, Achak pressed onward.

Your friend is dead, a whisper came from behind him.

It was impossible that the Wendigo was speaking; its mouth was firmly tied shut.

All the same, Achak knew the voice’s owner was this creature he carried in tow. He would not entertain it with a response.

I ate him, the creature continued. He was my first meal in this new vessel. I ate him from within. Your friend is dead.

“You are my friend,” Achak said quietly.

Fool, the beast chuckled. If you could have only seen how he suffered.

Achak was hungry, and it was making him irritable. He wondered absently if he was becoming afflicted with the Wendigo, if it was gnawing at his soul.

In his mind’s eye, he saw his friend laying down his spear, atop the pile of…what were they again? It mattered not.

His friend was eternal.

I see your thoughts, The Wendigo said, If your friend were eternal, he would still be feeding me, would he not?

“Maybe you eat quicker than he can keep up,” Achak said. “Maybe that is why I must feed you.”

Are you going to surrender yourself? the Wendigo said. Are you going to untie me and let me end it for you here?

“No,” Achak said. “I am taking you to my village.”

Good, The Wendigo said, More food when I kill you.

“I will hold you prisoner,” Achak said. “But you will be fed.”

No one will help you, the Wendigo said.

“I know,” Achak said. “But I will feed you, and protect them from you. The Great Spirit will guide me.”

There is no Great Spirit, the Wendigo said. There are only monsters and men.

Achak went silent. He was reticent to concede any ground to his creature. But the fact was, he did not disagree. Would the Great Spirit allow Wendigo to walk the earth? Would they take his wife, Oota Dabun, from him? Would they take Kitchi from him, leaving this thing in its stead?

And yet, he had seen Kitchi, standing in the sun, unafraid as he was consumed by The Hate.

Achak knew there was nothing. But even his dream of something gave a purpose to the bite in the wind, and the numbness in his feet. His dreams of something gave his absurd care of this demonic beast meaning. Oddly, his need to feed the Wendigo was what was keeping him going. He realized that, had Kitchi not told him to care for this creature, Achak might have lacked the resolve needed to make it home.

Home was upwind, and he could smell it: The campfires, the meat cooking, the pleasant musk of people living together, the hides and the glow of the air within their shelters. He could hear the singing of his clansmen, their prayers entwined in song and poetry, rising into the air like the smoke from the bonfire at their village center.

Achak breathed in, exhausted. He would have to find a way to hide the monster. And he would have to do that before seeking medicine.

Fortunately, he lived in a dwelling on the edge of the village.
He wondered if the Wendigo would give away their location, then realized it wanted to be hidden as well; it probably planned to escape and feed on residents one by one. He realized, his exhaustion growing, that if he could hide the creature in a way that made it believe it had the upper hand, he would be most successful.

He threw a hide over the creature, and snuck around his tent under the cover of the storm. He could tell a guard had spotted him; he would have to be quick. With relief he noted that the livestock cages had been moved into the dwellings for protection from the storm. Most likely they had used his dwelling in his absence.

He climbed into his dwelling finding a fire lit and a single watcher present: Kitchi’s wife, Nadie.

He thought of distracting her, but couldn’t bear to withhold the truth any longer than he needed to. Had not Kitchi told him of Oota’s passing immediately, even when Achak’s own clan thought it wiser to withhold? Was not Nadie every bit as strong?

“Nadie, I have returned.”

Nadie turned, quietly, looking at the hidden figure next to Achak.

“You have returned?” she said. “Is that not Kitchi?”

She already knew, he could tell. If not about the Wendigo, then of her husband’s death.

“It is not,” he said.

My Wise One, my friend, The Wendigo hissed at Nadie, Do you not recognize your husband’s voice? Achak is but playing a horrible trick, he thinks it is funny to worry you! Now throw aside this cloth, and give your husband a kiss.

She stared at it, blankly; even without the beast visible she knew. The voice was an absurd joke, meant to torment her. She ran out of the tent, and Achak could hear her retching. He had done the same, when he had tied up his friend.

Achak opened one of the cages, in which they kept a boar, and forced the Wendigo inside.

This is too small for me, the Wendigo said. I can neither stand nor move.

“It is just the right size,” Achak said, and shoved him in. “You exist to feed, do you not? You will feed in here. With you is your first meal.

Achak began to seal the cage with various hides, both to obscure its inhabitant and to keep it from reaching out. The creature complied, believing that Achak would feed it enough for it to become strong enough to escape.

Achak planned to feed it just enough. To keep it somewhere between starvation and survival. Wendigo were powerful indeed. Even malnourished, the creature would not lose the will to live unless cut off from food completely. At least, Achak assumed this would be the case.

Nadie, clutching her stomach, came back into the tent.

“Where is he?” she said.

“It is in that cage. It murdered Kitchi. I intend to–”

“I will help you,” Nadie said. “A night ago, I dreamt of my husband, standing on the river by which he asked me to be his wife. He told me…” she went quiet. “We shared a farewell. This monster is my responsibility too.”

“I would think you would have no obligation.”

“Our marriage has ended,” she said quietly. “But our friendship…I honor him for what I love in him. I will not live my life with this creature. But I will help you, and one day, I will marry another man. But I will care for this thing. I will do it in remembrance of what was, and hope for what could be.”

She lifted the hide, and already the creature had its hands at the bars, its eyes reflecting the dancing flames of the fire within the shelter.

Hello, my pretty, the creature mocked. Come closer, so that Kitchi might have a look.

“My husband is dead,” she said.

Won’t you feed me? The Wendigo hissed. This man says he will, but he lies! He wants to watch me starve.

“Let him, then,” Nadie said, quietly. “You will starve either way, for all Wendigo do.”

We wouldn’t have to, if you fed us

“We would run out of food,” Nadie said. “Though I don’t have to tell you. This is why your kind is abominable.”

Why make the exception?

“The medicine man does not explain his rituals, he only heals,” Nadie said coldly, and then re-affixed the hide to the cage’s bottom. She looked at Achak. “I wish you well,” she said. “And I will not tell a soul.”

“Can you keep watch?” Achak said. “I need to sleep.”

Nadie nodded. “I doubt I shall sleep a while either way.”

>>>

Achak hoped for a dreamless sleep, but this request was not fulfilled. Instead he was standing in the center of his village, the dwellings burned, and bodies stacked upon the ground.

Ahead of him was a wooden table, with an open chair facing him next to him.

Upon the table was a cup.

On the right of the table was a mirror, and a man stood, facing it.

Achak tried desperately to wake himself from the dream; he tossed, he turned, but nothing he did seemed to break the trance. In fact, his struggle drew him ever closer to the table.

“Welcome,” the man said to the mirror, and Achak realized that the reflection of the man was facing him.

“Who are you?” Achak said, nervously.

“You know who I am,” the man said, a Stranger to Achak, his skin olive, his eyes a pleasant green. He had black, wavy hair, a goatee, and an obsidian breastplate. Achak noticed his chest was scarred under his beard, and he wondered if this pleasant face was some kind of mask. The man had a tattoo on his arm, that read Saligamus, Qui Ambulat in Mundus, and the words twisted like a spiral, bearing the head and rattling tale of a snake.

“I understand you have taken a Wendigo into your care, the man in the reflection said. That this same creature murdered your friend, Kitchi.”

Achak did not trust this man, but then, everything this man was saying was true.

“I have,” Achak said.

The man did not turn from the mirror, merely kept his focus on Achak, calmly. “Very noble of you. But I am concerned for your safety. It is one thing to love those who have done evil to you, another to enable them to do evil to others. Your behavior will inspire men to write stories and maybe even songs one day. But here, but now, you are endangering your entire village. Is this wise, friend Achak? Is this goodness? Does not this Wendigo deserve to die, as it will inevitably do anyway?”

“The Great Spirit does not concern itself with deserving,” Achak said. “And neither do I.”

“Now,” the Stranger said, “That’s not true and you know it. You only spared the creature’s life because it became sentimental to you. I wonder if that same sentiment will be as valuable when it kills your chieftain’s son.”

“I won’t let it,” Achak said.

“That’s not within your control,” the Stranger said. “This creature isn’t within your control. It is, however, within mine, and I order you to starve it.”

“Show me your face,” Achak said.

“You’re looking at it,” the Stranger said.

“Face me,” Achak said, his resolve strengthening.

“Very well,” the Stranger said, and he turned.

Achak felt immediately sick. The Stranger’s face was completely missing skin and eyes; all that was left was musculature and bone.

His voice was now rough, like stone grinding against stone.

“This will be the face of every man, woman, and child when the Wendigo has had its fill.”

“Perhaps,” Achak said quietly, “it might only be my own.”

The Stranger laughed. “That can certainly be accomplished. I’d ask you to come drink of the cup on my table, as your friend did in his last moments, but I can see you’re already a lost cause. No matter, then. You’ll be one like him soon enough. Wake up, Achak.

He clapped his hands, and the sound of them was deafening and horrifying.

Achak sat up, feeling sick, and was thankful for the light of the fire, and Nadie nearby.

“Just a nightmare,” she said. “I am keeping watch.”

What did Master tell you? the Wendigo whispered in its cage.

<<<

“Today we mourn the death of Chief Keme’s son,” Chief Askuwheateau said. “We are thankful for the service of Achak, my clansman and Kitchi’s friend, for giving him a proper burial before braving the blizzard with food and supplies. Let us hope that Kitchi is well met by the ancestors and the good spirits that traverse the heavens.”

Nadie sang at the funeral. It was the saddest thing Achak had ever heard. Her song at times was like a wail, and in moments defied conventions of tone and language. She was singing something beyond words, beautiful, sad, terrified.

Achak wondered what the beast had said to her while he slept.

He looked at the sun, hiding behind the grey sky. It was almost time to feed.

Chief Keme approached him, his eyes watered, but his composure strong.

“I would like to know,” Keme said, “what my son’s last words were.”

Achak swallowed a moment, trying to remember if Kitchi had said anything coherent in the moments before the Wendigo overtook him. All thought he simply perished in the cold, peacefully.

Then Achak remembered the dream.

“He said, ‘I will always love you, my brother, son of the Great Spirit.’”

Keme trembled and nodded. “Indeed, you are the brother of my son, and that makes you my son. In time, if you wish, I will give you my son’s wife in marriage.”

Achak watched Nadie, still singing.

“I will care for your son’s wife,” he said. “But I will leave our relation up to her.”

Keme was a little confused, but nodded: “Indeed, she must mourn.”

The chief of Achak’s clan, Askuwheateau, joined in the conversation, putting a hand on Achak’s shoulder.

“You have done well, both as a friend and as a member of our clan and this village. Even in death, your friendship with Kitchi has further unified us. Come, let us feast together. The blizzard is passing soon, and the hunt will be easier.”

Indeed, the blizzard did pass, and hunting did grow easier. For a time the village prospered greatly, and many were equal parts astonished by Achak’s dedication to the hunt and his reclusiveness. There were reports that he would hunt more than what was needed, but this was dismissed as a rumor as he grew noticeably thinner. Nadie spent more time with him than ever, and rumors also began to flourish of the two growing close in the absence of Achak’s wife and Kitchi.

In truth, the two saw each other as no more than friends, and while they ate plenty, the stress of caring for the Wendigo was draining. The creature had some insight into their thoughts and would mock them for the pressure they faced from the village to marry. He would call out tribesmen he had not met by name and predict days on which he would eat them. The first was a month into the Wendigo’s stay at the village. An old man, Anakausuen, was planning to surprise Achak with a gift of livestock, and unwittingly brought an extra meal for the Wendigo. Fortunately, the old man did not unlock the Wendigo’s cage; he was merely grabbed from inside of it. Achak and Nadie furtively cleaned up his remains, and then proceeded to forge a note in his name saying he had wandered off into the woods to find his wife’s spirit. His disappearance went unquestioned. The off-schedule feeding, though, also meant that the Wendigo was a bit stronger than usual. Kitchi bound the hide that covered his cage in rope, so that the Wendigo could not reach out and open its prison.

The strengthened stomach of the Wendigo meant more horrific nightmares. He would torment Achak in his sleep with visions of Oota, who would run to Achak for an embrace and then become a beast, like a wolf, and mock him, drowning him in the river. Nadie reported similar visions, though the creature seemed unable to conjure Kitchi in her mind, and this comforted her. Instead she would be chased by enormous monsters that looked like spiders with human eyes.

The people of the village began to notice the evidence of their physical and emotional strain.

Chief Keme worried not about it, knowing the two had seen their share of hardship. Chief Askuwheteau, however, was concerned there was unrest within Achak and Nadie’s relationship, and that it would threaten the unity of the village. He took aside his son, Ahanu, one morning and shared his concern.

“Ahanu, my only son,” he said. “I am worried that there may be discord between Achak and Nadie. One day you will be chief, and you will learn that as a leader you will have to do things in secret that may seem wrong, but will allow for you to better care for your people. I am asking you to do such a thing now. Ahanu, my son, will you hide in the couple’s dwelling and spy upon them tonight, and report back to me what you find?”

Ahanu nodded: “I will, father.”

>>>

Achak returned from the hunt that night, relieved to have beaten an impending storm. His elation was mitigated the unsettling silence in his dwelling. Nadie was supposed to be keeping watch.

“Nadie?”

Silence.

“Creature?” he called out to the Wendigo.

It was silent as well, though that didn’t surprise him. He decided he ought to check its corner of the room, to make sure that it hadn’t escaped.

Then he remembered it was the day the Wendigo had predicted it would kill the chief’s son.

And Nadie had promised to stay behind and keep watch.

He could hear a dripping sound, a wet noise that made him sick.

He lit a torch and cried out in horror.

Chief Askuwheteau’s son, Ahanu, was standing over Nadie’s lifeless body, eating her face.

Ahanu looked at Achak, the small boy bearing the same eyeless visage that Achak had seen in his dream of the stranger. The boy screamed and lunged at Achak, and Achak tossed him out of his dwelling–but with him, he also tossed the torch.

The dwelling went up in flames, as the boy began to charge throughout the village, leaping upon those who came to put out the fire and eating them. Achak could see antlers beginning to sprout from the boy’s head.

Standing beyond the boy was Askuwheteau, and he had his spear prepared, tears in his eyes.

Silently, he drove his spear through the boy’s neck as he ate one of the villagers, killing the child instantly.

Askuwheteau looked at Achak, rage in his eyes.

“Where is it?” Askuwheteau said. “The Wendigo.”

Before Achak could answer, he heard a mighty roar, and he fell to the ground as the beast charged from behind him, dragging the flaming cage with it, spreading the fire throughout the village. It leapt upon the chief, devouring him instantly. The chief’s men boldly ran at the creature, and Achak, his will becoming singular in the absence of all family, began to fight them off, defending the beast.

“Are you insane?” One of them shouted. “This thing will destroy the village.”

“Then flee,” Achak said. “But spare it, or kill me first.”

They looked at him, astonished. The creature laughed at him, in the midst of eating Askuwheteau, and said:

This man fancies himself my protector. You’ll have an easier time getting through me than him.

Then he continued eating.

“Is this true?” they said.

Achak nodded. “This creature often lies, but today it has spoken the truth. I am its friend.”

Their eyes widened. “Our chief would have us execute you,” they said.

“Keme is your chief now,” Achak said quietly.

They nodded. The one in the middle said, “We will not kill the son of chief Keme. Even if he is a fool. But you must be gone, and bring that thing with you.”

He’ll die out there, The Wendigo said. I smell a horrible storm on the horizon.

“We’ll go,” Achak said, gripping the Wendigo’s restraints, muzzling its mouth once more. “You may tell the others what you may.”

They watched in silence, as he tugged the hungry creature away from the camp, towards the harrowing snowstorm, which had already begun to rush over the village.

<<<

By nightfall, they had made their way back into the woods where the Wendigo had first transformed.

The child tried to climb into my cage, The Wendigo said. So I made him like me. His body will reawaken soon, reanimated by the demon within. That is, if it hasn’t begun to eat the boy’s body already.

“We will need to make a shelter,” Achak said. “Or this storm will kill us.”

If you unbind me, I will eat you.

Achak nodded. “You wouldn’t be able to make a shelter first?”

Would believe me if I said yes?

Achak sighed. “You’re right. I will have to make it first.”

But you will unbind me?

“Yes,” Achak said. “I will not survive this storm. But your will is strong. If you have shelter and food, you might just make it.”

You do not have the strength to hunt.

“I do not,” Achak said. “But one man is plenty of food for two days. You’ve gone on much less.”

The creature looked at him, confused.

“Who can say if what I have done has any goodness within it,” Achak said. “I see now that I have allowed great suffering to come about by keeping you alive. But I have seen your Master, and I know how he would treat you.”

The creature shivered.

“Yes,” Achak said. “You will have to return to him if you die, will you not?”

The creature lay down, like a dog, curling up, and went silent.

Achak said nothing, and began making shelter in the storm. He even ventured out to gather firewood, and at moments the creature worried he might not return––to undo its bindings, of course.

Achak did return, though the cold was fast killing him.

“You can start a fire when the wind dies down. If only I could have found a cave…”

I cannot go back, the Wendigo said quietly. He is horrible to me.

Achak had grown accustomed to assuming all of the Wendigo’s words were treachery, but still, he was surprised by the creature’s tone.

“I know,” Achak said quietly, as he untied the creature’s bonds.

Do you not fear what is beyond? The creature said, as Achak lay down and began to drift off, his extremities feeling pleasantly warm despite his body freezing to death.

“I assume I will see Oota again,” Achak said. “And if not her, then I will be reunited with The Great Spirit.”

There is no Great Spirit, the creature said quietly.

“I know,” Achak said.

He was on the threshold, his vision blurring, the edge of his sight going grey. He crawled over to the creature.

“I am dying of cold,” he said, “but if you need warmth, you can use my body before you eat it. My last gift to you, creature, is all of me.”

He saw nothing now, only heard echoes of the wind, and what he thought was the voice of the creature, full of sadness, whispering, Thank you, my brother, son of the Great Spirit. He assumed it was delirium, but smiled that his dying mind thought it possible.

The last thing he felt was the warm tongue of the creature, licking his face, and he was unsure if it was beginning to taste him or trying to keep him awake through the night.

+++

Samuel Cullado
24 January 2017

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