It’s not unnatural to die… I thought with sudden clarity. There’s nothing wrong with a natural death.
I met Lupa’s eyes with a defiant glare, “You cannot ask me to give up half of who I am. I’m dead either way. I’m not afraid to die anymore, so get it over with!” I screamed at her and she lunged. I closed my eyes and exposed my throat for release—
I never felt her fangs pierce me, but the pain vanished.
A gust of cold wind blew snow onto my face, and I frowned. Confused, I cracked my eyes open and saw the tundra field. I looked at my wrists and saw why the pain had stopped.
Lupa held the cord that bound me to my family in her jaws, her yellow eyes locked on me as she fought the tension.
On my left, Qhipe’s arms shook from the exertion of holding the wolves’ cord. “Do you realize what you are asking Jimmy?” he asked, the knife with the antler hilt in his hand. “If you choose this middle road, you will truly walk forever between worlds. You will never—never completely belong to either. Spirit bound to flesh, wolf bound to man, but never wholly one or the other. This is a lonely road that only the strongest can survive. Is this really what you want grandson?”
I closed my eyes as the enormity of my decision threatened to overwhelm me. But really, what choice did I have? I looked up at the moon overhead, and felt a determination I’d never known before settle into me, “Yes… I choose to walk between the worlds.”
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