Destiny and the Pet Wolf

  • 24 Sep - 30 Sep, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Fiction

Mattia and her little brother Heza were at the restaurant with their parents, in Italy for the vacations. Though they were in Italy, European capital of heavenly–tasting food, the food was terrible; it couldn't have been any good as they were in a fast food thanks to one of Heza's recurring whims.

"My dear daughter Mattia..." started her father. This was the tone he took when about to send her on some annoying chore.


"We don't have any cutlery, we forgot to take it with the trays... Would you please be so kind as to–"

"–fetch some, yes, fine, fine! Buuut Heza must come with me. It's his fault we had to come here eatÊthis: he can afford walking right across the whole restaurant with me to its other end where stands the cutlery."

And so, Heza and her went. Just as they were about to reach the cutlery self–service, a crowd of other customers raided it. As they had been taught to, the children silently waited until they finished their business before rushing to the boxes of knives and spoons and forks. Unfortunately, after the previous customers' raid, there were no more forks.

They thereupon returned to their parents who were starting to starve and lose their patience, and these, rather than going to ask a waiter to replenish the fork stock, took the occasion to 'play an active role in making their children independent' and told them go ask the friendly–looking waitress themselves, because they could not possibly be bothered but the children did not laugh.

The siblings, as grudgingly and reluctantly as should be expected, went anyway. Of course, the intimidating task of speaking to the waitress was left to the elder sister. What other reason would big sisters exist for? To enslave their candid, innocent, gladly helpful younger siblings, perhaps?

"Um miss? Will there be any more forks soon? They–they're all gone..." she managed to stutter.

The big woman she was talking to laughed very cliche–italianically; a deep greasy unjustified bellow, to what the children could only answer to with a sure


"Hahaha, cuties," she said in her increasingly irritating Italian accent while patting their heads with bold and rude familiarity. "There will be more forks even sooner if you come fetch them with me. Will you?"

Wanting to get the job finished quickly, they left with her for the mysterious stinky kitchen dimension of the fast–food. After passing by the french fries' room (where some pre–cut potatoes were being dumped without much care in hissing hot [half–full with ancient crusts of fossilised oversaturated with oil potatoes] frying baskets [bleh]) and the appalling trash room, which, well, lived up to its name, they arrived in the dishwashing temple; temple, for indeed it was quite spectacular.

The white tiling's cement was of an excruciatingly ugly orange that gave a generally dirty impression of the place, some dried rests of food stuck to the ceiling were rotting, and the plain overworked dishwashers' plastic rectangular parts were either fading in colour, transforming into a pearly soft sticky state or falling off, which was the result of the glue holding them against bare machinery drying up.

So, it wasn't exactly describable as a glorious cathedral reflecting and expressing the mechanical and electrical awesomeness of modern dishwashing techniques but rather the degrading banalisation of such useful instruments to the point that their essential role in cuisine was desecrated.

Heza's image of restaurant back–stages had been quite spoiled by this realistic representation of a consumer society, but hopefully he would soon forget this episode and go back to his Ratatouille–inspired delusions.

Among the messy scurrying of employees, young enough to be students on a summer part–time job, in hard plastic aprons heaving up truckloads of freshly washed dishes in their trays, the waitress led the children to the cutlery boxes.

They grabbed the four required knives and turned around to hurry back to their parents, but the waitress' big paw held them back by the arm. They threw her bewildered looks, to what her dull suddenly expressionless face answered with a single low growl of a "Shush."

They could no more talk. They vainly hurt their throats attempting to scream; no sound would come out. They started panicking and trashed at the woman's grip and at the other workers in the room. One of these finally turned round to meet the sight of a colleague restraining two wild youths. His mouth went agape, but the time it took him to decide where to put his dishes down to enquire about the situation, the waitress whispered: "Nothing."

The man went pale, his eyes white. He picked his dishes back up and staggered away in a mechanical manner, like hypnotised– which was likely what had just happened.

The witch smelled of heavy flowery perfume and a hint of alcohol– just like daddy stank after the parties at which he drank too much of it – and a wide evil grin topped her excessively long chin. Limp with fear in her firm hold, she shoved the children in the lower cupboard part of the tray used to transport the heavy cutlery boxes.

Barely small enough to fit in the cupboard, the children didn't even consider banging at it to attract the attention of potential saviours. Such tricks were nothing to a witch. And soon the undercover witch whispered "Sleep," which called upon Morpheus to drag the captives into an uncomfortable pitch–black unconsciousness.

Mattia woke in her summer clothes on an Irish looking type of meadow, wet with morning dew and freezing with cool wind. After a good deal of shuffling her hair into place and rubbing her runny nose, she looked up again.

The scenery would have seemed jolly and pleasant enough if it were not for the dark shapeless clouds eating away at the horizon. And despite it being a green healthy meadow, the flowers had not opened and the usual insufferable insects were nowhere to see. Something strange was occurring; nature had felt it quite obviously and even humans and their deplorable sixth sense were somewhat uneasy.

Next to her, shivering in his dreamless sleep, lied Heza. He looked rather pale, so she thought best to wake him up, and as she shook him, he immediately lifted his head, coughing his lungs out before even opening his watery eyes.

He kept coughing like a heavy smoker grandpa who would soon pass away from lung cancer until Mattia made him spit some thick disgusting glair on the grass. After a few raspy breaths, he asked in a hoarse hardly audible voice where they were.

In the distance, a black shape was rushing towards them. The pair stood up quickly, readying themselves to run either side to avoid collision with the speeding female silhouette approaching. But they needn't do that as the now visible woman was slowing down and hopped off her flying motorcycle in a perfect, elegant and continuous motion.

The children looked at her in a daze, holding each other's hands. Since when does did evil Italian witches ride on flying motorbikes? They guessed they were being old–fashioned, but by mentally modernising a broomstick, they could only think of a vacuum cleaner. Obviously, the motorcycle was much cooler.

Being children, absurd daylight restaurant kidnapping didn't bother them too much; the witch stuff raised more questions in their imaginative minds. At next Christmas, their parents sure would have some trouble finding them the flying motorcycle they asked Santa Claus – or more probably making up an excuse as to why Santa wasn't able to bring them one. An excuse such as:

"You know, a motorcycle is quite large! It'd be troublesome for Santa to take it to you among all the planet's other children's gifts..."

The witch that had just hopped off her bike came to them with a basket of strawberries.

"Hello cuties! How are you? I've brought you some strawberries as breakfast!" was what she told them. Her Italian accent was completely gone and her English had a Scottish cling to it.

Mattia decided not to fall back fearfully and interrogated the woman: why are we here? Who are you? How could you let us sleep in a meadow: my brother caught a cold? And most importantly why did you kidnap us?

The witch had a light laugh and answered to the last question:

"Obviously because you guys ate such cuties!"

A long stunned silence followed this declaration. The thundercloud was covering more and more of the field.

"Don't worry! I'll treat you well! We'll all live happily together in this lovely meadow and have loads of picnics and sabbaths with the other girls! If you need friends, I can always ask Karina and Serene to lend us her Apprentices and they'll come and you'll play 'Catch Me On My Broom' together – oh it'll be wonderful! We're going to have a whale of a time!"

The witch was disappointed to see that this carefully prepared speech hadn't convinced the children, who were stepping back unconsciously, looking at her like she was crazy. Well she had taken them away on a whim – they were so cute! How could anyone resist?

Her friends had always warned her that humans as pets were terribly troublesome, disobedient, hard to please –and though they were cute– quite useless at the turf. They said that after a long training they became more enjoyable, especially since they were so smart compared to cat familiars, little devils or toads and owls.

After dressage, they would start telling you sweet words and accompany you on plant picking trips as well as potion brewing seminars, hold you the interdimensional doors ('Ladies first!) and tell you if you still had some sacrificial doe's blood splattered on your face.

Despite being sickly, in some aspects dastardly stupid for the simplest things that only required listening to your senses, needy– terribly expensive in fact– they were worth the purchase. Sadly, they often had sad and brutal deaths at young age: suicide or decapitation by a grumpy witch.

What made them so cute was their fine, round little faces and bright eyes, much more endearing than the witches' pointy chins, high bony cheeks, straight noses on long thin faces of thick white skin dominated by sharp dull black eyes in a frame of Norwegian goddess style of thin black crow or blonde hair and thick eyebrows. The witch suddenly seemed possessed, Mattia noticed. She grabbed Heza's hand and they went walking around the place. They ate some herbs that Mattia recognised from the garden at home for they had missed lunch, supper and breakfast and their tummies were rumbling quite furiously.

Anxious step by anxious step, Mattia neared the basket at witch's feet, keeping her brother out of harm's reach (unless she intended to monopolise the strawberries). In fairytales, the witch would've noticed her, woken from her trance and devoured her on the spot! But the witch didn't. As Mattia took hold of the basket and slipped away, she could even hear the witch whispering spells and curses to some invisible spirit.

The children skittered away to behind a small hill which would probably be blooming all over if it weren't for mysterious queasy odd weather, horizon–eating clouds and evil magical entities on flying motorcycles. There, at peace, they hungrily downed the basket twice the size of Heza's head.

It turned out, it contained not only strawberries but also wild strawberries, a few blueberries, black currant and peppermint and some very bitter plant that they spat out as soon as they tasted. How could it taste so bad when it smelled of candies?

"Here you are!" exclaimed the witch when she found them, a kind yet always unsettling smile on her lips. The children shuddered, for they had not heard her come at all. The witch said that she had thought about why they were so defiant of her and all that and that she was sorry she'd taken them away without asking them or explaining them... The siblings weren't really listening.

The worrisome horizon eating cloud had already claimed all the sunlight above their heads. Thunder was already at work, booming and seething like a villain laughing his head off at the success of his evil plans (though the cashier at the villain's local grocery store probably has to bear with the same laughter when the villain laughs at the lame joke on the yoghurt he just bought).

It wasn't long before the first thunderbolt split the air in horrendous shattering noises. The children cowered and knelt into a bundle to keep each other warm (or just hugged out of fright).

"Uewaaah!" cried little Heza. "The lightning's going to deep–fry us!"

Her sister looked at him in disbelief. He was using the last funny expression he'd learnt wrong again! How was lightning supposed to deep–fry anybody? Utter stupidity! The witch looked at them like she hadn't understood a thing– something that possibly transcended her good sense.

"Are you... perhaps... afraid – of the storm?"

- Anonymous