The doorbell rings, waking me up. My heavy left eyelid pries open, glancing at the clock. It’s a quarter to midnight. Who the hell would ring the bell at this time of night? I check my phone.
“Ahh! Bright,” I cry to myself as the phone blinds me. No missed calls. No messages. I check social media messages, but there’s nothing there. Maybe they have the wrong house.
Then there’s a knock at my back door. My bedroom is downstairs, in the library I converted so as to avoid the steps. So the knock sounds like it’s just outside my bedroom door.
“Catty!” I scream as I roll out of bed. I test my ability to stand. Pain shoots through my hip, causing me to fall back on the mattress. My young wendigo is at my side by the time I’m in my wheelchair. I tie the belt of my robe before rolling to the back door.
The young wendigo stands at the ready as I crack the sliding door open. “Yes?”
“So sorry to bother you at this hour. May I come in?”
I stare at the stranger. He’s mostly in the shadows. I can make out the tip of his nose. He’s wearing a long jacket, probably a black trench coat.
“Do we know each other?” I don’t move from my spot or take my hand off the door handle.
“We will know each other very well soon enough. Invite me in.”
He leans closer. Silver eyes, unnatural for a human, glare at me. It’s a penetrating gaze. As if he’s a tiger and I am his prey. “Invite me in.”
“No. And don’t think your stare down is making the request more appealing. Leave this place and never return, or it will be your death.” There. I’ve warned him. That’s as nice as I’ll be to a stranger at this hour.
He swipes his hand over his eyes. They brighten as he leans closer. “I said invite me in.”
“Catty, dinner.” I roll back just enough for the young wendigo to get between myself and the door. His pointy, overbite teeth glisten in the moonlight. Claws as sharp as obsidian blades extend toward the midnight caller.
“You keep a wendigo?” Where normal people would run screaming, and rightfully so, the stranger kneels down for a closer look.
“How do you know what he is? And why are you foolish enough to bring your jugular closer?”
The stranger offers his hand to Catty, allowing my young wendigo to sniff him before petting. “I am called Judah. You have befriended this creature. I take it you know what he is? You are not blind or suffering from a mental impairment?”
“My young wendigo isn’t even the strangest creature in this house. And no, I’m not blind, and my mental facilities are in place. Though I’m talking to a stranger at my door around midnight. So I might be dreaming. And the fact that Catty hasn’t killed you yet is kinda blowing my mind.”
“If you would be so kind as to invite me in, I would explain gladly. On my honor, no harm will come to you or yours while in my presence. It would be too great a loss for this world to be deprived of someone who keeps company with a wendigo, even a young one. And I would love to meet your other creatures.”
*** 569 words