JOSHUA AND THE GARGATOM
The Wolf and her Man
This document is the sole property of the Author.
It is protected by copyright and any use of it in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of the author.
This story is entirely a work of fiction and not based on any real people.
Joshua and the GargaTom
Shaun M. McGrath
Professor M as the students called him was very happy that the university had granted his request to travel to the highlands of Scotland to gather material for the new book.
He and two other professors in the English department had begun work on a book of folklore from Scotland and Ireland several years ago.
The professor was friends with a teacher at a high school in Scotland. Johnathan MacTavish and he had gone to college together back in the 1990's.
The two had given each other a hard time about their accents when they gave speeches.
"It is a bit odd for a regular yank, like you, to be attending Oxford!"
Johnathan was giving him the evil eye at the time.
Perhaps! Joshua's father had then gone into a twenty minute dissertation consisting of nothing but lines from Shakespeare's plays.
The interesting thing was that it made sense.
Their professor had been sitting on a bench unnoticed at the back of the crowd.
When the Yank had finished he finally spoke up.
"MacTavish! I fear the yank has outclassed ye! Even I could not remember all the quotes let alone put them together in a manner as to make a Scotsman blush so!"
It was the professor's way of telling them to end the feud.
"Professor, forgive me! I did not know you were there, sir!" His father had been embarrassed at not knowing enough of the culture.
"Mister Miller: It was impressive but you should learn more of the culture, before you make too many assumptions. I fear that you do not yet know the meaning of many
of our phrases! For example, when the young lady asks you to: Knock her up: she is not referring to getting pregnant!" The professor could not be too upset and the
American had in fact been spot on with most of the phrases. There had in those days been a sort of war of words and puns that made the English department the place
to be the week before exams. The two were known to duel in the courtyard with words for hours. It had become a friendship of high order.
Then the university had the sad duty to allow it to end. The two graduated with honors.
They tried to keep in touch and when they could afford it they would meet somewhere for vacations. Many universities in both countries would invite the two at the
same time for lectures or symposiums. The result was legendary. The English department of one rather large American university was smart enough to invite the two and
have video cameras in place. The result was an epic movie over three hours long and involving some fifteen different encounters between the two.
Johnathan had stopped in the middle of the last speech and smiled at his friend.
"Our revels now are ended! I am going home! We may never meet again my friend!You take care and be safe!" Johnathan had patted his shoulder.
Joshua's father was stunned but grabbed Johnathan and gave him a hug.
"Perhaps, in due time, our paths may one day cross!" They looked at each other and then walked away in different directions. The students were floored.
It was at that point when Joshua's mother had chased after his father. She married him and had Joshua.
Joshua was eleven when they found out that she had breast cancer. She fought with everything she had. Joshua and his father buried his mother when Joshua was fourteen.
His father had tried to go on for three years but had to get away, away to the lands of his greatest friend.
When the University had approved a yearlong trip to the Highlands of Scotland Joshua�s father smiled for the first time in three years.
The legend discovered
Joshua and his father moved to a small cottage on the edge of a village in the northern highlands of Scotland. Joshua was seventeen years old and had already completed
high school.The truth was that he had finished his first year of college and was glad to have a break.
He noted that the tour buses came to the village several times a day. His father had not told him of any significance of this village except that his friend Johnathan
lived here. The youth went down the old road and listened in the early morning to the tale told by one of the tour guides.
He leaned against the guard rail of a parking area.
"The passage of time can often change people, ideas and even memories. Some are lost, others take on an almost mythical perspective.
Here in the highlands of Scotland there are many tales that refer to the realm of the Tuatha; the realm of fairies. Many of these tales have mysterious endings.
Here in this village one of those tales seems to surround the ruins of the old bridge and the mists that come down to the river each morning.
Joshua turned and looked at the ruins of a bridge that would have crossed the river. He saw the mist coming down the side of the mountain.
"About two hundred years ago it was recorded that one of the men of the village had asked a girl for her hand in marriage and she had turned him down in favor of his
brother.He would not take vengeance on his own kin so he crossed the river and waited for the mist.
He was not afraid but rather excited that he would know the truth of the old stories.
He had destroyed the bridge behind himself just in case it was true. The tale told of a beast who walked on two legs like a man and left the tracks of a wolf.
The mists had made it to the edge of the woods and the villagers were all trying to convince him to return to their side of the river.
The mists had cleared the woods and were only twenty yards away when he made his choice.
The woman who had turned him down was hit by a fit of guilt. She had tried to get him to come back but he no longer trusted her.
The man took a deep breath and stepped forward into the mist and they say into history."
The tour guide looked at the river and smiled. He thought for a moment he had seen the flash of blonde hair from behind the rocks on the far side.
"His bones were never found! Some say that he was carried away and eaten by the creature of the mist. The records say that all they ever found were the tracks of
very large wolves!" The tour guide had his hands full as always trying to keep the tourists safe as they took pictures from every possible angle of the mists coming
down the mountain and the ruins of the old bridge.
"There are those of course who say that he is still alive! Up there on the mountain and in the realm of the Fairies!" The tour guide motioned that they were low on
time and should all board the bus again. He helped some of the elder females and everyone could see that he was working hard for his tip!
"I just love hearing that story! If only they knew the truth about Great Grandpa!"
Darna looked up into the eyes of her older sister. The youngster was always nervous when they got this close to the human side of the river.
Lola would be seventeen soon and that was the age when her people should choose a mate. She was sad that there were no males left.
"That story had a happy and sad ending! He was very happy and lived a long and wonderful life with Great Grandmother! She was only able to keep him alive
for a hundred and forty years but even now she is content!" Lola smiled at her sister and had a strange feeling that something was about to change.
She almost felt like someone was standing beside her. She turned and just before the mist covered her she saw a young male standing on the Human side of the river.
"They still have not figured out that those were not wolf tracks!" Lola looked down at her paws.
"Humans are not very smart?" Darna looked at her sister again.
"I think it is more like they cannot accept what they do not understand. Great Grandpa was pretty smart but he always told mother that Humans could not be trusted."
Lola nodded her head.
"But he was a Human!" They looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders.
"You must be careful my daughters! There is always a danger that the Humans will see you."
Tara was not too harsh with her children. She herself had sat at the river's edge and heard the story of how her Grandparents had met.
She knew that the humans were not all bad after all the story they told was just as romantic as the truth.
"Grandma, why can't we live with the Humans in the village?" Darna, was the youngest member of her clan and the youngest in the Garga village.
The old female now sat in her rocking chair and put her tail across her lap. Then she pulled the warm blanket over her lap and smiled at the child.
"The Humans don't really believe that we exist! They have always feared what they did not understand and that fear makes them dangerous.
They would seek to destroy us before we could get to know each other. Now it is true that we were once warriors of legend, but there has not been a true warrior
born to our village in hundreds of years." She looked at her great-granddaughter and knew that this child may well be the last of their village.
"The people of the Human village don't even know that we are kin!" Elizabeth, the girl's aunt, was herself not married. She had once been in love with a Human and
when the villagers had caught the boy trying to cross the river, well, she had never seen him again.
Tara, the girl's mother had been the last female to take a mate. Her husband was younger than she but was the last male of the village.
"What of the old way? Why should we die out just to honor some treaty that the humans have long since forgotten?" Tara was struggling with the idea that her
daughters would live and die alone. The other adults all gave her a stunned look. The room fell silent and the sound was deafening from the unspoken words.
"It has been two hundred years and there are three families that have males the right age."
They all turned to look at the elder.
"Daughter of my daughter, I am sorry but even it means we will pass into history, we will not break our honor! They have kept their part of the treaty for these past
centuries and I will not allow my family to be the ones to violate it!" She sighed and closed her eyes to hide the tears that were threatening to come forth.
"But your mate was human?" Two of the elder females looked at her.
"He came to me, remember?" She stared back at them.
"So then is that the flaw in the treaty? If I can get a male to cross the river and enter the mist then he is mine?" Lola suddenly had wide eyes as she looked
at the elder female.
The elder smiled and leaned forward.
"Yes! But only if he has no human mate!" She hoped that Lola was old enough to understand what she was saying. All these years they had told the girls never
to be seen, but now, now she knew what she had to do.
"How do we tell if they have a Human mate?" Elizabeth was now on her feet standing behind Lola.
The elders all held up their left hands and pointed at the fourth finger.
"Gold! A band of gold on the fourth finger is the binding mark of the Human's possession."
"Now Joshua, your seventeen years old so remember that these Scottish girls have a different attitude than Americans.
We will only be here for a year so try not to step on any of their traditions or beliefs! Remember I need them to co-operate if I want to gather
the stories for the book. I don't want them to clam up! Please?" Professor M. gave his son a serious stare.
Joshua nodded his head as he inspected the new fishing pole and tackle box full of gear.
He knew that his father meant for him to stay away from the locals by spending his time doing what he had always loved the most, fishing.
Being the adventurous sort Joshua headed for the river just before first light the next morning. He cast his line into the large pool just on the downstream side
of the ruins of an old bridge. As the daylight crept deeper into the river valley he noted some movement on the far side of the river.
He was sure that he had seen a pair of girls with long blonde hair but lost sight of them as they disappeared into the morning mist.
Johnathan MacTavish was the old friend of Joshua's father who had gotten the cabin for them to stay in. He was a high school teacher who now lived on the edge
of the village near the pub. Joshua had always loved to sit and listen to the two of them tell stories and spin the tales of folklore, trying to outdo one another.
Johnathan was set to check on Joshua each day after the school let out, as a favor to his old friend.
"Mr. MacTavish, when I was down at the river this morning, just below the old bridge, I saw a couple of blonde girls on the far side of the river.
Do you know who they are?"
Johnathan MacTavish lived with his father and the question from the young American nearly made the eighty year old man jump to his feet.
"No one of our kind! Boy! Ye best let them be and forget you ever saw em! Never cross that river or there'll not be of ya to bury boy!"
The youth was startled and stepped back.
"Now DAD! Don't you think it is time to put those old legends to rest?" He stepped between the two and stood there.
"Nay! I tell ya boy, stay away if you value yer life!" The aged one shook his finger at the two and sat back down in his chair, clearly upset.
"The last to cross was near 200 years ago. Once he entered the mist, they never found so much as a bone! No man nor beast goes near that place when the mist comes
down to the river! You watch, even the birds will not go there when the mist comes down the mountain!"
He felt as though he had made his point and nodded his head. He then leaned back in his chair and lit his pipe. He nodded and tried to calm himself until he was
soon asleep in his chair.
"What does the mist have to do with it?" Joshua asked the younger man quietly.
"It is said to hide the beast. According to legend they mostly look like humans but they have the feet of large wolves and the long fangs as well."
Johnathan did not notice the look on the teenagers face as he placed the wool shall over his father and set the pipe into the tray so it would not start a fire.
Had he looked he would have seen that this had the opposite effect on the American youth. Joshua was now even more determined to meet them.
He had felt something strange something he could not explain and now he had to know for sure.
Early the next morning Joshua took his fishing gear and a pair of binoculars and headed for the pool below the bridge. There he waited and pretended to fish.
Just before the mist came down the mountain he saw them. He picked up his binoculars and looked but then put them back in his pack. He felt as though he had done
something wrong when he realized that they were not wearing anything. Part of him wished that he had gotten a better look but the respect in him won out and the
binoculars were snapped into his pack. He was glad that the best parts were hidden by their hair and the rocks in front of them. He was sure now that they were just
girls not monsters.
They were so beautiful, he had to meet them. He studied the remains of the old bridge and deemed it way too dangerous to cross.
He then studied the current and knew that he could never swim it. A week had passed and he was starting to think that if he went up stream maybe he would be able
to find a place to cross. He was now recording the girl's times of arrival and that they always left when the mist came to the river.
"Sis, hide!" Darna was suddenly scared and stayed close to the rocks.
"Did he see us?" the younger girl asked her older sister.
Lola looked around the corner of the great rock and suddenly had a strange feeling of calm.
"Yes, I believe he did!" Darna was almost in tears and looking for the mist.
Lola put her hand on Darna's shoulder and gave her a look and a smile.
She then took a deep breath and stood up. She shook the main of her long golden hair and walked boldly out to the sitting stone. There she brushed her hair and
pretended not to be looking at the male on the other side of the river.
"He is young like us! I do not think he is from the village, his shape is different and I have never seen that color of hair before."
Lola was smiling and felt rather happy.
"He is pretty darn cute!" Darna watched in almost horror as Lola was doing things she was not ever supposed to do.
Lola stretched her hands into the air and started to move her hips from side to side and run her hands down along the sides of her body.
She had seen her mother's shadow once, as the elder did a certain type of dance for her mate.
Lola tried to copy those moves but was not sure that she was doing it right.
"What are you doing?" Darna wanted to run for the mist and not stop until she would reach the village.
"You heard what Grandmother said, He has to cross the river to be mine!"
"Lola, Stop!" Darna wanted to run for the mist and not stop until she had reached the village.
"Don't worry, I have the strangest feeling that he is supposed to be with us!"
Just then Darna saw Lola gasp and jump down behind the rock. She carefully peeked around the rock. Her young male had been pacing on the far rock and
looked as if he were about to jump into the river. Joshua knew that they had seen him. He watched in awe as the older one came out from behind the rocks and
started to brush her hair.
"Whoa" He could not take his eyes off of her. She stretched her arms up and was doing a most amazing dance. His heart was racing and mind was beginning to
make less and less sense.
"I have to meet her!" He looked at the river and paced back and forth on the rock. He wanted so bad to just jump in and swim across but when he looked in
her direction again, she was gone. Joshua knew that there was no more time for today. He could see the mist coming down the mountain on its daily route to the river.
"Tomorrow! I will find a way across and I will meet you!" he was still looking at the far side of the river as the mist cleared the trees.
She suddenly appeared and turned to look at him. His eyes opened wide as she waved to him. Joshua waved back and took a step forward towards her.
He saw her disappear into the mist. Joshua picked up his fishing gear and hiked nearly a mile up river before he found a place where he might be able to cross.
There was an outcrop of the rocks and a tree on the other side close enough that he might be able to get a rope to it. All he would need is a rope and something
to use as a grappling hook. He hurried back to the cabin. The youth put away his fishing gear and went out to the shed. He found a rope but it was far too short.
It was now just after 2 in the afternoon.
Joshua headed for the hardware store in the village. He found a length of rope that would work and something to use as a grappling hook and a couple of new lures.
He took the supplies back to the cabin and began to make his plans. He knew that he would have to work in secret or the villagers would get upset with him.
Dinner time came and his father was late as usual. Johnathan arrived at the cabin with a small bundle. Joshua noted that the bundle had a wonderful smell.
The older male was a little disappointed that his old friend was not there.
"What is this?" Joshua started to reach for the cloth that covered it.
"Nope! You will just have to wait until dinner!" Johnathan smiled and put the bundle into the oven.
"That will take a while to cook! What say we hit the pub for a pint?" The elder smiled and patted the teenager on the shoulder.
"I'm under age!" His eyebrows went up at the thought.
"Nonsense, my good fellow. If you would prefer a soft drink that would be just as good!"
The two walked to the pub which just happened to be on the same side of the village.
"Here we are, Charlie's Pub!" Johnathan opened the door and waved the youth in.
Joshua thought that the elder was perhaps smiling a bit too much.
He could have sworn that he saw Johnathan give the bartender a nod.
"There is an empty table, there in the middle." The two walked over and sat down.
Joshua was beginning to think that there was something going on here.
It seemed to him that these people were acting a little different. He saw the waitress peeking out from the door to the kitchen and could have sworn that he heard
girls giggling. Within just a few minutes he became aware that all of the surrounding tables had been filled with girls near his own age.
They seemed to all be dressed in traditional and colorful dresses.
"So, Joshua tell me, do you have a girl friend?" Johnathan had said it perhaps a little louder than he would normally speak.
The entire Pub suddenly became so quiet you could have heard a mouse in the attic.
"No sir! Not yet anyway, why?" Joshua guessed what was about to happen.
"Well then, have you ever seen the Scottish girls dance?" Suddenly there was music and within seconds all of the tables had been cleared away.
The girls in the dresses were now on their feet and starting to dance. The youth watched captivated as the girls took turns showing off their skills to the American.
It was not long when one of the braver ones came closer and started to do a dance much like the one the girl in the river had done.
"Wow! What do you call that?" Joshua was intrigued.
"That is a forbidden dance of desire! She will probably be in trouble when her father finds out!"
Johnathan had said it loudly. The girl blushed and ran away to the girl's room.
A stern and somewhat shrill voice came from behind them.
"Now Johnathan! You know perfectly well she has a wee crush on the Yank and you should not be embarrassing her in front of him!"
She shook her finger at the older male and squinted her eyes.
"Now Meg, you should go and have a talk with her!" Johnathan was trying to send her attention to the girl and away from himself.
She put her hands on her hips and gave him a look.
"You had better not be burning that Haggis!" She huffed and headed for the ladies room.
"What is Haggis?" Joshua gave the older male a look.
"Sort of a sausage hot dish!" Johnathan smiled again in the manner Joshua knew now was a sign of his hiding something.
The girls finished the dancing and seemed to disappear completely.
The two then headed back to the cabin. They saw the university car sitting outside the cabin and went in. Joshua noted that the Haggis on the table was now half gone.
There were several empty bottles sitting on the table and he could hear laughter coming from the other room.
Joshua smiled, it was the first time he had heard his father laugh since before they found out about his mother's illness.
"I guess you had better help yourself or you may not get any!" Johnathan then headed for the other room and a conversation which would be the stuff of legend.
Joshua put some of the haggis on a plate and headed for his room upstairs.
He tasted the strange food and decided that it was not bad. He typed the Word haggis into his phone browser and then looked at the dish.
He hit the delete key deciding that it was better if he didn't know. Setting the alarm clock to wake him well before first light Joshua tried to get some sleep.
His dreams were filled with confusing and strange images. Every time he started to dream of the girl in the pub she would become the girl from the river and
somehow she always seemed to be in danger. He wanted to protect her, he wanted to hold her. The girl in his dreams however always had her back to him.
He never saw her face. She started to turn and he was excited to get to see her face but the alarm clock sounded and he awoke panting.
Joshua rose quickly and went to the kitchen to get something to eat. He drank a cup of instant hot chocolate and ate two pieces of toast.
He turned around and saw his fishing pole but the new rope was missing. He looked everywhere he thought it might be but he had no luck.
"Looking for this?" Johnathan stood in the kitchen door holding the rope.
"Yes! I don't want to fall off of the rocks." He smiled and Johnathan knew in an instant it was not the true purpose of the rope.
"Looks to me like you're planning on crossing that river!" Johnathan put the rope on the table.
"They are just girls! I want to meet them!" Joshua wanted to grab the rope and run.
"I have seen them myself, or at least their elders! Many years ago at the pool below the old bridge.
I was young and full of life. I saw them one morning when I had gone to the river to fetch water.
The one I saw was not a blonde though, she had the longest most beautiful hair I had ever seen.
She was tall and slender and she had her back me. I was sure that she had seen me but she never let on." The elder pointed at a chair for Joshua to sit in.
"I almost tried to cross the river but my father caught me. The village elders stopped me from making that journey. It is far too dangerous."
Johnathan stepped over to the kitchen sink and started to run water for the coffee. Once he had placed the filter and then the grounds into the coffee pot
Joshua heard him take a big sigh and lean on the counter.
"The village elders are too afraid, too frightened to even find out. They would never forgive me if I didn't try to stop you!" Johnathan was having those
strong feelings that something was missing, something he had forgotten was about to be found.
"You might delay me, but we both know that you won't be able to stop me!" Joshua drank the coffee that was offered to him.
"Very well but if I help you, you must promise not to enter the mist!"
"It can't be dangerous! Every time I have seen them they walk into the mist."
Joshua looked at his fishing pole and the rope.
"How were you planning to get across the river?"
"A narrow spot up stream. There is a tree on the other side that I believe I could hook with the rope and make a sort of crawl line!"
Joshua had learned how to do it at a summer camp.
"So you were planning on leaving the rope in place?" The elder gave him a stare.
"Yes! How else would I get back?" He returned the stare as if his logic had won.
"According to the old legends, if you make any form of a bridge, it is an invitation for them to cross. As the story goes, so long as there is a way to cross,
made by the hand of man, young males of the village will go missing!" The two sat for a moment looking into their coffee cups.
"There are so many young ladies right here in this village, why go after what you can never have?"
"You don't know that! You said yourself that you never crossed the river."
Joshua wanted even more to grab the rope and run.
"Your right! Nothing ventured, nothing gained! You must promise, your word, that you will not enter the mist!"
Johnathan was very stern and his words were perhaps a bit more forceful than he had intended them to be.
"Yes! I promise that even if I have to swim back, I will not enter the mist." He smiled.
"Very well, I will take the rope after you cross and then follow you downstream on this side of the river. If the mist gets too close then I will throw you
the rope at the narrow point near the old bridge and pull you back!"
The pair agreed and headed for the river. Joshua led him to a spot not that far upstream and they tied the rope to his make shift grappling hook.
"Aunt Elizabeth, why are you coming to the river with us?" Darna was afraid that the elders would get mad, if the young male was there.
"Many years ago I too was seen by a male from the village. I could not get him to cross the river but I have never forgotten him!
He was young and strong and oh so handsome! I wonder what he would look like now. Humans do not live as long as we do, so they age quickly.
I thought he might jump into the water one day but the villagers saw him and grabbed him. That was the last time I ever saw him.
I went to the river every day for several years but he never returned."
She looked a bit sad and as if she might start to cry.
"I want to see the river again and the rocks on the far side and maybe". She then fell silent.
Darna took her Aunt by the hand and smiled at her.
"I will show you the trail that we are using now!" The younger girl led the way out of the village and through the cave and down the side of the mountain.
The girls were cautious as they had always been and stayed to the rocks.
Joshua made several tries to hook the branches of the tree. He finally caught it on the fourth try. Johnathan held the rope tight while his American friend
crawled to the other side. They then unhooked the rope and each started to run down the river banks, trying to keep the other in sight.
It seemed to take far too long to get to the ruins of the old bridge.
Joshua started to call out as Johnathan climbed onto the rocks.
"What was that?" Elizabeth had heard a voice calling out. She peeked around the rock and gasped.
Lola heard the calls and knew that it was her young male. Her heart was pounding wildly.
It was her young male and he was on her side of the river. She was frightened and excited at the same time. At first she could not move.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath then she walked out to the open area that was near the trail to the woods.
Johnathan saw the female of his youth wade out past the rocks and into full view.
She was looking right at him. He waved and tried to remember to breath. She had aged for better than he had.
Elizabeth thought he looked rather distinguished with the hint of white and slight bit around the middle. She could tell that even now he was strong and healthy.
Johnathan pulled his cell phone out and called the young American.
"Josh here!" He had not yet seen the girls.
"They are here! Just beyond the rocks!" Johnathan tried not to sound too excited for an old man but failed at it terribly. He had almost yelled into the phone.
"My GOD!" Joshua hung the phone up without thinking. There standing in front of him was the creature of his dreams. This goddess was more than he could ever have
imagined. She was around five foot five inches tall. She had long blonde hair that went all the way past her waist. She was slender but not skinny.
She had on a long dress and the grass covered her feet. Her hands were in front of her face but he could still see that she had the graceful lines he had always
imagined as his ultimate woman. She was wearing a scarf over her head and a basket of laundry was on the ground in front of her. Then he dared to look into her eyes.
She had the most wonderful steel blue eyes. She put her hands down to her sides and gave him a smile. Joshua smiled back and noted that this girl also had a
magnificent figure. Lola looked at the male and noted that he was looking her over. She was stunned at first and raised her hands but then knew she wanted
to look him over as well. He was young like her. The male stood at around 5 foot 10 inches tall and while his waist was a bit small he had broad shoulders and
strong arms. She could tell that he was very healthy and she found herself guessing what it would be like to be in his arms.
She then saw the amber in his eyes and was fascinated by how the highlights seemed to dance. His hair was a sandy color somewhere between the sand down by the well
and the color of the autumn wheat. Lola waved to him and wondered if he would wave back.
Joshua returned the wave and almost lost his footing as he tried to slowly get closer.
Lola knew now that all she had to do was get him to willingly enter the mist and he would be hers, forever!
She took a deep breath and stepped closer. She did not see any bands of Gold or Silver on any finger of either hand. He was not taken.
Lola felt that same strange feeling and it only got stronger as she got closer to the male.
"Helo, fy enw I yw Lola. Beth yw eich enw?" Joshua thought that the sound of her voice alone was worth crossing the river.
"I have no idea what you just said! But you are the most beautiful person I have ever seen."
Lola's mouth fell open, she had not thought of that, this wonderful male, this hunk of man flesh that she desired so much that she had given her heart over
without even knowing his name, could not speak her language. Nor she his! The mist had started its morning slow journey to the river.
Joshua's phone rang again and he answered it without thinking. He could not look away from the girl in front of him. He had hit the speaker button without knowing it.
"Joshua, hand the phone to her and show her how to hold it!" Joshua stepped closer to her and then he could smell the wonderful flowery scent of her hair.
He almost lost track of what he was doing. He wanted to take her in his arms. The youth did not have any experience with girls and was afraid to even touch her.
He never wanted to wake up from this dream.
He held the phone out to her and she heard the familiar words being spoken by the voice on the little box. She looked away from the boy to the box and their
hands brushed as she took the phone from him. In that instant she knew in her heart that this was her male!
Johnathan saw Joshua hand the phone to her and wondered what was going on. He could have sworn that for a brief moment there had been a glow around the two.
"Helo?" Lola was almost afraid of the little box that could talk.
"Helo!" Johnathan was now speaking in his native tongue to the girl.
The boy's name is Joshua! He does not speak the old tongue. He is from a far off land called America! Please, may I speak to your elder?"
Johnathan wanted so bad to actually talk to the woman he had longed to meet for most of his life.
Lola called out to her aunt. Elizabeth came over cautiously and looked at the boy. He was handsome and tall and young. She too was almost afraid of him,
this sort of thing had never happened before. She was unsure of what to do. The two females looked down at the box in Lola's hand.
When they looked down that was when Joshua noticed the ears on the elder. They were covered in fur and pointed with little tufts on the ends like a bobcat.
He looked at her clearly and saw the tail behind her waving in the breeze. Since her dress was a little shorter than Lola's dress he could see that she had the
paws of a wolf, not feet. To an American boy who loved anime this made the whole thing seem even more like a dream. That was when he saw Lola's tail.
He knew that she really was a goddess.
"Helo?" Johnathan was not sure what was going on across the river but knew something was happening.
"Helo!" The elder leaned in closer to the little box.
"Please, I would like to know, are you the one, the one I saw here back when we were young?"
Elizabeth knew that it was her male on the other side of the river whose voice was coming out of the thing.
"Yes! Oh YES! My name is Elizabeth". She looked away from the box at the male standing on the far rocks. She now had that strange sense she had felt as a teenager
and it was getting stronger.
"How come you never crossed the river? Why didn't you come to me?" She had tears in her eyes.
"I tried but the villagers caught me and sent me away! I came back a few years ago but you were not here. I waited for so long but you never came!"
She could tell by the sound of his voice that he must have felt the same. Johnathan could now see the mist coming through the trees.
"Keep the device and send the boy back! We will come early tomorrow. I will teach him the old language but we must hurry. OH and my name is Johnathan!"
He wanted to talk more but it would only be a minute or so until the mist cleared the trees.
The elder looked at the Human male and then put her hand on Lola's shoulder.
"It would not be a true claim! He does not speak our language or understand our ways. We must let him go back for now or we would violate the pact with the humans."
Joshua showed her how to hang up by closing the lid and then how to answer by opening it.
Joshua then climbed down the rocks just below the ruined bridge and though he did not want to leave he knew he must. Johnathan threw the rope as hard as he could
and Joshua dove into the river and grabbed it. The elder male was barely able to hold on but managed to pull his young friend to safety.
The two then looked over at the girls on the far side.
Lola's aunt had to grab her or she would have jumped in after her male.
"Lola, they will return early tomorrow and we can talk to them some more."
The two females looked longingly at the males on the far rocks. The feeling of damp soon covered them as the mist reached the river.
The girls returned over the mountain and through the trail back to the village. It seemed somehow brighter today. There was hope, now there was a future.
"He is so handsome!" Lola twirled and held the phone between her breasts. Her smile was bright and she felt something she had never before known.
"He gave her a present!" Elizabeth watched and herself smiled wide.
"What is it?" The elder moved over closer to get a better look at this human thing.
"I do not know what it is called but with this we can talk to them without crossing the river."
"Strange, I sense no magic from it, yet it gives off light without heat!" She wondered what sort of things the humans may have devised now.
Lola opened the phone and a picture of her young male appeared in the top. She stared for a moment and then took a deep breath.
"This is him! Look there is a small picture of my Josh-youa!" She showed it to the elders.
"He is very handsome! But I do not understand, if he was on this side of the river then why is he not here with you?"
She put her hand on Lola's arm and tilted her head as she looked into the teenagers eyes. She could see the joy in them and she noted the slight
red tinge around the edges that marked the beginning of the mating period.
"He did not enter the mist!" Lola felt a slight bit of sadness but looked at the picture and felt safe.
"He could not speak our language! The elder male, my Johnathan, said he was from a place called AM-air-ika." Elizabeth smiled and closed her eyes.
"If you were talking to that one, then why is he not here now?" The elder looked even more confused.
Lola and her Aunt smiled and knew that this would take some time to explain.
"Because Johnathan did not cross the river! He is my male from all those years ago. He did not return then because the villagers had sent him away."
Elizabeth had hope in her heart and a sad sort of smile on her face.
"Be sure to charge the extra batteries! We will cross before first light, that way we will have more time with them."
Johnathan was as excited as a teenager with his first car!
Joshua gave the elder a strange look.
"What?" the elder male was perhaps not thinking clearly.
"If we both cross then how will we get back? You said that we cannot leave the rope in place."
The elder suddenly understood that he was not thinking logically. His mind was clouded with all the thoughts of holding the woman of his dreams.
Joshua knew that he had to tell Johnathan the truth, he had to somehow let him know that these goddesses were not human.
"There is something that I have to tell you! It is important." He sighed and his heart was racing.
"I think I already know!" the elder gave him a look and a smile.
Joshua tilted his head and stared.
"They are not human!" Johnathan smiled at the youth.
"I saw her tail, it was awesome!" Johnathan was silent as he closed his eyes and tried hard to magnify the image in his mind. Joshua noted the look.
"That was not all that was amazing. Their ears are, well, like a lynx! And their feet, paws, that is they have from the knee down." He smiled.
"The legs of a wolf?" Johnathan was stunned for a moment.
"Come with me I must show you something!" The elder male led the way to the town hall.
The two walked in and started to walk along the wall of the old section.
Johnathan pointed at the mural painted on the wall.
"Centuries ago there was said to be a race of great warriors who lived in a secret village high up the mountain. This mural has been here longer than any of
the records we have of the village. It shows a gathering of creatures who stand on two legs like us, but are thought to be descended of a race of wolves.
It shows that most of those warriors were female and that a pact was reached with the people of the village. In trade for their protection against all invaders
the village was to supply them with young males to keep their kind alive. According to this as their numbers grew they began to take more and more of our young men.
The families of the missing youths then destroyed the bridge to the mountain. See here it depicts the elders then making an agreement that so long as there was no
bridge each would stay on their own side of the river.
In times of old these creatures were called GargaTom. The warriors of legend.
It was thought that one of their young males had once ventured out and found his way to a place called Greece. He was mostly human so no one knew.
He himself became a legendary warrior. The story says that his name was Herecule."
"GargaTom! I like that name. She didn't look much like a warrior but she was the most beautiful creature I have ever seen." Joshua followed the elder back out
of the old building. The pair smiled wide as they walked back to the cabin. Joshua went straight to his room and got the laptop.
He went into the site for tracking his cell phone and soon found that it was no longer registered on the server. Its last known location was just on the
other side of the river. He closed the program and knew that he would have to do the hardest thing of all, wait!
The daily chores were completed and the evening meal past in silence. Lola's great-grand mother could see the troubled part of Lola.
She knew that her heart was feeling things that no one should. She knew that there was a chance that Lola's heart would break if she could not talk to her male.
The arcane female took ahold of her tail and rose from her chair.
She went over the corner of the cabin and started to move things off of an ancient chest.
Then she pulled out the locket that she wore around her neck and opened it. Inside was a small key. She took the key and opened the chest.
After rummaging around inside the chest she finally found what she was looking for. An ornate box that was wrapped in a silk cloth.
Even she did not know how old the box was. She knew what was inside the box but had only seen them once, 200 years ago!
"In this box are two crystal amulets. When they are worn by a man and a woman over their hearts, they will be able to understand everything that the other says
and feels. These crystals are neither of Human nor Garga origin. It is said that they were created by the old ones, the Gorachod."
She thought for a moment and then put the box back into the chest.
"First we must know if this is what is meant to be!" The old female nodded to Elizabeth and looked at the cabinet on the wall behind her.
Elizabeth's eyes got wide and she took a deep breath as she opened the cabinet. She reached in and carefully took the crystal that was on a stand in
both hands and closed her eyes.
"Elizabeth! He is your one!" Tara smiled and almost started to cry.
"Yes!" She smiled back at Tara and moved over to Lola.
Lola carefully took the stone and closed her eyes. She thought about her young male and then opened her eyes. The others moved over close and were
looking at the stone.
"Is it supposed to do that?" Tara looked at the elder.
"My word! Lola!" The elder turned and looked the teenager in the eyes.
Lola looked at the stone and was almost afraid to ask why it did that.
"He is your one! But this boy is special, he is not pure Human!" They all turned and looked at the elder.
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. The elder suddenly gasped and looked at Lola.
"It was said that some of the Garchod had sailed away to far off lands with the Humans. As the legend goes, some of them mated with the Humans."
The elder gave Lola a wide smile.
"I don't care what he is, he is mine!" Lola had tears in her eyes.
The elder smiled and sat in her chair with her tail across her lap. She did not want to tell the others of the prophecy.
She recalled in head what her grandmother had told her.
"When the blood of a GargaTom and a Human mixes with the blood of a Garchod, the child will be the leader of legend!"
The elder knew that if this was true the amulets would not be needed. The elder female again smiled and then closed her eyes and prepared herself
for what she had to do.
Elizabeth sat and smiled at the fire. The great hearth was suddenly beginning to feel calm and warm like a favorite blanket.
"We should try to get some sleep. We must go down to the river before morning light."
Lola then lay down on the blanket at her aunt's feet and drifted off to sleep. She dreamt of her young male and being in his arms.
"I set the alarm for 4:30 am. We can get a bite to eat and then head for the river. You can cross at the pine and I will follow down this side."
Johnathan was all smiles as he went out the door. Joshua was barely able to get any sleep, his dreams were filled with how he had acted.
Lola awoke and saw that the fire was almost out. She placed a log into the hearth and wished that the first call of the morning birds would signal
the time for them to meet.
"I will talk to you! MY Joshua!"
Joshua awoke and looked at the clock. 3:30 am. He just stared at the clock. Every minute seemed to take an hour to pass.
"There has to be a way to talk to her! Lola!" Joshua closed his eyes and suddenly felt calm.
He could feel the warmth of the fire and the crackle of the log.
His eyes popped open and he sat bolt up in the bed. He turned to look at the door to his room.
He knew that he had heard her say his name.
Lola, suddenly turned and gasped as she looked at the door. She knew she had heard Joshua say her name.
Professor Miller wondered why the alarm clock just kept going off. He rose and went to his son's room. The bed was not made but the youth was not there.
"I hope he catches some fish today!" The professor went back to bed.
Joshua had finished the toast and instant coffee. He grabbed the lantern on the way out the door. Johnathan MacTavish met him at the trail that led to the river.
The pair walked in silence to the spot on the river bank where the tree leaned out over the river.
It was almost like magic that Joshua had hooked the branch on the far side on the first try.
The youth crossed the river like a ranger on a secret mission. The two pulled up the rope and started down stream to where they would meet the women.
Johnathan MacTavish was old, but today you would never have known it.
Lola, Elizabeth and even Darna rose at the first call of the morning birds.
It was still dark when they set out for the river.
The morning light had not yet crept over the mountain so they were traveling in the dark.
They knew the trail well but had to slow down as they emerged from the hidden passage on the side of the mountain.
Lola was moving swiftly and silently as she almost ran through the trees.
The dew of the morning on the tall grass had made Joshua's pant legs wet. His sneakers were soaked and his socks were all squishy.
He never even noticed as he came to the spot where he had met her. His heart was pounding in his ears so loud that he could no longer hear the river.
He saw a stone that looked like it had just been moved there. The grass here was matted and he strangely felt compelled to stand in the center of this prepared space.
He swore to himself that this time, this time he would put his arms around her.
Lola had made it to the edge of the woods, her heart was pounding as fast as her feet had been moving. She wanted to rush up and throw her arms around him.
Looking past the last tree she stopped and stared for a moment. There, in the clearing, stood Joshua.
Lola was holding the phone close to her heart as she entered the clearing.
Johnathan had scrambled out onto the large rock. He was almost pacing waiting for the girls to show up. Elizabeth and Darna were very surprised when
their arcane grand-mother stopped them at the edge of the trees. She told them to wait and watch.
Lola walked slowly up to Joshua and looked him in the eyes.
For a long moment they just stood there looking at each other. Joshua had never even kissed a girl but would not let his lack of experience stop him now.
He stepped right up to her and took a chance. He put his arms around her and held her. The two were unaware that they had started to glow.
Lola looked up into his eyes and Joshua leaned in and kissed her. The two were now in a world of their own.
The GargaTom all gasped as the boy kissed Lola the two started to glow brightly.
"The legend is true! Just like my mate, this human is very special." The elder smiled as she looked at Elizabeth.
"She will be bonded to him now!" The elder started to head back to the secret village on the mountain.
Joshua opened his eyes and looked at her face. He gently brushed back her hair and looked at her ears.
Lola knew that he was looking at her ears but she wanted him to touch so much more.
"You are so beautiful!" Lola's eyes opened wide.
"I understood you!" He looked her in the eye.
"I understood you as well! But how?" The two embraced again and just stood there.
Elizabeth could see her male standing on the rocks on the far side of the river.
Joshua was startled when the cell phone rang. Lola almost dropped the device.
Lola waved for her aunt to come and get the phone. The pair sat there on the rock and talked.
"So in all these years you have never taken a mate?" Elizabeth was excited and trembling.
"I never got past the girl from across the river! The girl of my dreams." Johnathan knew that she could not see his smile but he did anyway.
THREE YEARS LATER:
The tour bus guide knew that this crowd had come to hear the story.
"Just three years ago it was claimed that a young American crossed the river after seeing a beautiful girl on the far side.
He entered the mist and has never been seen since." The guide smiled and looked at the far river bank.
"It was less than a week later, when the teacher who was his guardian, also disappeared into the mist. They say that his soul will search forever in sadness."
The tour director then waved for the tourists to board the bus. Again it was obvious that he was working for his tip, but this time once they were all onboard,
he looked back at the river and smiled.
Darna giggled at hearing the new version of the story. The young female then shook out her long mane of golden hair and sighed.
The mist was now only yards from the river.
She stood and turned to look towards the human side of the river.
She waved to the cute boy on the other side who was pretending to fish.
Joshua and the GargaTom
After the death of his mother, Joshua's father sought refuge by diving deep into his work. they moved to a another country and Joshua was soon to find out that there was more to the highlands of Scotland than he believed.
I am putting this story here as it is to long for a short story and too short for a novella. What do you think of Love story?