Jared the Paramedic III ~ Redemption
Copyright © 2018-2019 Snowblind. All Rights Reserved.
Chapter 10: Shadows of Family
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The sound of the muffler echoing in the trees as it came closer to the rec centre caused the men outside to stop working. Now that spring had arrived, they were outside planting flowers, herbs and vegetables for everyone to share.
Jared stood up straight and turned to the direction of the approaching sound. When he glanced around him, his brothers were all smiling until they saw him looking.
"Stop encouraging him," snapped Jared.
Jesse pointed at himself with both hands and index finger extended, "Who? Me?"
"Yes, you. Grandfather promised me he would replace the muffler, and even stop driving the old Jeep."
"I think he really loves that old car Jared, and mechanically it is in great shape," replied Zane. Jared gave him a dirty look which caused Zane to quickly add, "...except for the muffler."
The vehicle pulled up to the rec centre and parked. It had only rested for a few seconds before it backfired with a sound similar to that of artillery firing. All the young men jumped at the sound.
Zane put his hand on Jared's shoulder and said, "I guess the muffler and the timing."
Jared exhaled sharply before moving to great his grandfather. The old man was already out of the vehicle as Jared arrived to embrace him. The rest of the young men followed to greet and embrace him as well.
It was then the group heard what sounded like a bark from inside the jeep. As they turned to the vehicle, Mathew opened the back door for a large wolf to step out. The animal raised its nose into the air to smell for scents and threats.
Jared stepped forward and exclaimed, "Shadow!" The big wolf turned, saw Jared and lunged. He hit Jared full force, knocking him backwards as he licked his friend's face. Jared was flat on his back, with the wolf on top of him.
Shadow was a large wolf by any standards, possibly a cross with a sled dog somewhere in his history. He stood 42" high at his shoulders, approximately 200 lbs, large solid front shoulders, large bushy tail. His colouring was waves of grey and silver-white long-haired fur with some black tips for contrast. His eyes were what caught everyone's attention when they looked at him. They were light blue, almost white, with a spot of black in the centre. The wolf was an efficient killing machine as a hunter. It could outrun most prey at speeds up to 40 mph, and sustain that speed until its objective tired. When the wolf clamped its jaws, it could crush any bone which fit into its mouth to dig the rich marrow out to eat. Shadow had paws which left a track 5"x 6".
Jared was laughing as Shadow continued to lick him, and toy with the human beneath him. Finally, the man got the huge head of the wolf in his hands and brought it in close so they were nose to nose. "Shadow, you've grown so big. Where were you when we were out for the sweat or visits with Grandfather? I missed you."
Grandfather snapped his fingers, and the big wolf disengaged from Jared to come and sit beside Mathew. "He's been on the prowl in mother nature, growing in knowledge and just being a wolf. Recently, he had been staying with Grandmother Katie for a while because she needed some company as she lived alone. Grandmother Katie walks the next world now, and Shadow returned to me."
When the wolf heard Mathew say Grandmother Katie, he turned his big head and looked up at the old man. The animal gave a quiet whine as he closed his eyes. Mathew reached down and scratched his head.
Liam walked up and stood next to Jared, "Your pet?"
Jared called for Shadow to come towards him, and the big wolf instantly complied. "Shadow, this is my husband Liam." The big animal stood up, massive paws on each shoulder, and looked into Liam's eyes. The big animal's eyes flashed white for just a second before he leaned forward to lick Liam's face.
Liam called out, "Yuck, dog cooties!" as the big animal fell to all four of his feet. Jared introduced Shadow to Jesse and Zane, and the wolf greeted them the same way as he had Liam. As he approached Tyler and Troy, he looked at the two young men.
Shadow sat down in front of them and barked at them. The two men immediately settled to their knees, the three of them nose to nose, sniffing each other. Shadow stepped back and sat. He looked at the other two and barked at them. Tyler and Troy barked back. The big wolf stood, walked behind Troy and wedged in between them, and sat down again.
"Well, obviously Shadow approves of you two," observed Mathew.
Jared looked at the big animal and smiled. "Shadow is a very intelligent wolf, but loves to cause mayhem at times." Shadow responded with a sad who-me-look.
"Jared, he adopted more of your behaviours than you realized," Mathew said quietly.
As Mathew spoke, Liam had bent over to tie his shoe. The big wolf moved so fast nobody had noticed it until Liam screamed in shock. When they looked, Shadow had Liam by the back jean pocket and was pulling him backwards.
"Jared, get your wolf off me," screamed Liam as everyone began to laugh. "I think he bit my ass."
"Usually just enough to let you know he was there, and he could've taken more of a bite," replied Jared through laughter.
The big wolf was pulling Liam backwards until a rip was heard. Shadow had a delightful look on his face, as well as most of the ass from Liam's jeans. The wolf seemed to laugh as he ran a short distance away and then stopped with the jeans in his mouth.
"Jared, what the hell!" exclaimed Liam as he was twisting to try and look at his butt for damages.
Grandfather Mathew moved forward, looked at Liam's butt cheek, "He's getting sloppy, Jared. He left the underwear behind."
"I've never had that happen to me. He usually gets both," replied Jared.
Mathew looked at Liam, "He likes you, Liam."
"Likes me? Likes me?! He just tore the ass out of my pants."
"Liam, he wants to play," replied Jared.
The young man walked over the wolf and stared down at him. "Can I have my jeans back?"
The big wolf turned his head and an angle as if he was thinking, and then spit the jeans out at Liam's feet. With his tongue out, he made gagging sounds as if he had eaten something bad. While everyone was laughing, Shadow moved quickly to Grandfather's side, sat down and nuzzled the old man's hand. Mathew scratched his head and said, "You really haven't changed have you, Shadow?"
The big wolf shook his head no.
Liam stared at the big animal and said, "I've got your number, Wolfie." Liam brought his right hand up to his face, extended two fingers in a V, and pointed to his eyes, and then to the wolf. He made this gesture a few times and said, "I'll be watching, Wolfie."
The wolf looked at Liam, and the young men all swore Shadow made the same wheezing laughter sound made famous by the cartoon character Muttley. Shadow got up and walked over to Tyler. The big animal stretched up and put his paws on each of Tyler's shoulders. Shadow stared directly into Tyler's eyes for a long minute. Slowly he leaned forward, with his mouth open exposing the impressive teeth. Gently, he turned his head, and lightly clamped on Tyler's jaw.
Tyler realized this was a sign of affection from the animal and a bond of trust. After Shadow released Tyler's jaw from his mouth, Tyler turned his head and took Shadow's lower jaw into his mouth. The big animal allowed it. After Tyler released Shadow's jaw, the big animal dropped to all four feet, and then sat down.
Tyler reached over and scratched the wolf's head and ears.
Grandfather Mathew smiled and said, "Tyler, Shadow likes just about everyone but does not do that with people he just met."
"Grandfather, when we were in contact, Shadow told me that he would never be far," replied Tyler.
"Interesting," replied the old man.
"Will you join us for dinner, Grandfather?" asked Troy. "Tyler and I have a big roast with all the trimmings in the big area kitchen."
"Of course I would love to spend time with my children. Can we find some food for Shadow?"
Liam looked at the big animal, "He can stay outside. No pets allowed."
The big animal looked at Liam and made a lunging motion as if attacking. Liam screamed and moved behind Jared. The wheezing laughter was heard again by everyone.
Liam held Jared in a hug from behind. He leaned his head forward. "I'm not going to forget this, Wolfie."
Shadow looked a Liam, lifted his nose in the air in arrogance or indifference and began walking up the path to the recreation centre after passing right by Liam and Jared.
"You have some real competition going on here, Liam," said Tyler. "My money is on Shadow to win."
Inside the dining area, everyone had pitched in to finish making supper. As the table was being set, Patrick, Nikita and Trevor joined them. Shadow was laying on a carpet in front of the huge windows snoozing in the sun. As the young men greeted everyone in the kitchen, Shadow stood and casually moved over to check out the new arrivals.
"Holy shit, that's a big dog," said Nikita as he slowly reached his hand out to Shadow.
Shadow was sniffing his hand as Zane answered him. "That's Jared's wolf, he's not a dog."
Nikita's head snapped to look at Zane," W-w-w-what? He's a w-w-w-wolf?"
"Nick, if he had wanted anything except to meet you, it would've been done by now. Be careful though, he's smarter than Liam," Tyler added.
"Hey! I'm right here," exclaimed Liam.
"That doesn't take much," mumbled Troy.
"Hey, I'm here," he said with his hands above his head and using his index fingers to point at himself. "Right here, people!"
Shadow stopped looking at Nikita long enough to glance at Liam and give his Muttley wheezing laugh.
"He really does sound like that cartoon character. I heard it clearly that time," said Zane.
"So did I," added Tyler.
Grandfather laughed, "I guess we better tell them the story, Jared. And by we, I mean you Grandson."
Jared chuckled, "Shadow and I were inseparable when he was a pup or puppy; however you want to think of him."
Shadow sat down, looked at Jared, turned his head sideways, and growled, 'huh?'
"I stand corrected... pup. He doesn't like puppy."
Shadow straightened his head and gave it a quick nod as if saying 'You got that right.'
"We had some VHS tapes we used to watch in the evening or if it was raining outside. Wacky Races along with Dastardly and Muttley were our favourites. I taught him, or he probably taught himself how to do it," explained Jared.
"I would look outside and see the two of them practicing it and other things for hours," said Mathew with the voice of someone recalling a fond memory.
"What else can he do?" asked Tyler.
"When the time is right, he'll show you," replied Jared.
Shadow's head and under his chin was being rubbed by Trevor and Nikita, but he suddenly moved forward to look at Patrick. He walked forward carefully, sniffing the air, his eyes never leaving Patrick's face. He walked around the young man twice, sniffing the air carefully.
"What have you been up to, Patrick?" asked Tyler.
The young man stammered back "Nothing Tyler. I swear the three of us have been together since I got out of school today."
Patrick looked at the wolf, "You smell my spirit animal." Shadow sat, and used his nose to flip Patrick's hand upwards as a sign to pet him. After being rubbed for a moment, the big wolf licked the back of Patrick's hand.
Shadow went back to Nikita, and gently took the young man's hand into his mouth to hold it with his teeth very gently. The wolf led the young man to Grandfather, and let go. He quickly went back and did the same to Trevor. After doing this, the big animal sat between the two young men.
"Jared, I believe is it time for formal introductions of these two young men to me," said Grandfather.
Nikita looked at the older man in front of him and asked, "How did he know, sir?"
"Two ways, Nikita. The first is my scent was not mixed with yours. The second is that you two are the only ones in the room who do not have the protection of the bear on them. Shadow knows this."
Patrick strode forward but turned to face Jared. "May I introduce my friends to Grandfather?"
Jared smiled and nodded to the young man. Patrick moved forward to Grandfather, stopped and hung his head for a moment. When he raised his head again, "Grandfather, I would like to introduce my friends to you. This is Nikita and Trevor. They both work for Zane at the Drop-in Centre, and we spend a lot of time together."
The young man then turned to his friends and said, "Nikita, Trevor, I would like you to meet Running Elk, the Most Scared Elder, Most Sacred Medicine Man, most knowledgeable Shaman of the people to have lived on mother earth, loyal and devoted messenger of the Creator. Also the grandfather of Jared, and the adoptive grandfather of all of us here."
The old man smiled as he stood. He embraced Patrick warmly, and said, "Tadika my grandson. You do me an honour to introduce me to your friends. I thank you." After releasing Patrick from his embrace, he turned to Trevor and gently took the young man's hands into his. Grandfather closed his eyes as he allowed the memories of the young man to pour into his mind. The pain and suffering the young man had endured were very strong in the memories, but they were being effectively controlled by techniques he had learned from Zane and the Drop-in Centre Staff. His love for Nikita was very, very strong emotionally as was the love for the group of men in the room.
Mathew opened his eyes, locked eyes with Trevor and said, "My son, you have no fear when you are with these men. You have come so far in your life and used all the pain you ever felt to mould your life into the positive lifestyle you have today. I am very pleased to meet you, Trevor."
"What may I call you, sir?" the young man asked timidly.
"The same as everyone else does Trevor. Grandfather or Grandfather Mathew is what I am called by everyone except a very few."
"Thank you, Grandfather."
The old man released Trevor's hands and took Nakita's into his. As soon as Mathew closed his eyes, the images were immediate. The loss of his family in Russia and the uncle taking him in to use as a prostitute. The abuse, and how he met Jesse and Jared. Then the suppressed memories came to the surface. Grandfather took a couple of moments to ensure he understood them as they flooded his thoughts. He opened his eyes and stepped back.
He turned his head and said something in a language neither of the young men understood, Nikita and Trevor unconsciously moved closer together as they took each other's hand firmly. They didn't understand and were beginning to be fearful as everyone formed up on Grandfather to make a circle around them.
Grandfather looked at the two young men. "You have nothing to fear from us. On the contrary, everyone in this circle including Shadow would freely give their lives to protect each other from harm, and you are now going to be included within the protection of the bear."
The two young men relaxed as they listened.
"Nikita, you have had dreams of the old ways. Thoughts of travel on the tundra and through the trees of Siberia."
"But I have never been there, Sir."
"Yes, you have."
"No sir, never in my life."
"Not this life, Nikita. The memories you have are from the beginning of time. You are a messenger of the Creator."
Nikita was shaking his head no.
"Little one, Jared is destined to be Chief Medicine Man of the people, Patrick is the messenger of the western forests tribes, Adam is a messenger of the plains tribes, Zane is a messenger from the mountains tribes. Liam is the keeper of the ancient knowledge of the Celtic lands and tribes. You, my son, are the messenger from the eastern tribes."
"I don't understand," said Nikita carefully. He gripped Trevor's hand tighter.
"It is time you did understand, my son." Mathew paused for a moment. "You two have been getting tests regularly for STD etc?"
Trevor was a little upset at this personal question. "Yes, we both have regularly been tested because of our past. What does that have to do with it?"
"You have been practicing safe sex like was suggested by Zane and Jesse."
"Excuse me, but that is none..." said Trevor
"That was not a question, it was a statement. This is important for both of you to understand."
The old man stared up to the ceiling, closed his eyes, brought his hands together in front of him. "Great Spirit we call the Creator, please guide my hands to do your work so that this messenger and his soulmate may accomplish the goals you have given them."
Nikita and Trevor were watching closely as a glow began in the old man's hands. When Grandfather lowered his head and opened his eyes, they were both glowing white as well.
"What the hell," exclaimed Trevor.
"Trevor, we're safe. Something deep inside me knows we are very, very safe with these people. We've known them for a while now and trusted them. Trust them now," said Nikita reassuringly.
Grandfather approached them and said, "Keep holding hands, my children." The two young men unconsciously gripped each other's hand even tighter.
Grandfather reached forward and took the clasped hands of the two men into his.
The effect was almost immediate. The white glow of Grandfather's hands spread rapidly up the arms and throughout the entire bodies of the two young men. The glow continued to build in intensity until almost blinding the men in the circle around them.
Suddenly, a shadow jumped from Nikita's body. It was a very dark greenish-brown mass of smoke, but it collected itself to form a shape similar to a human being. The mouth began to grow and contort until huge fangs were obvious. The mass moved slowly from above the young man to an area outside of the circle. Jared, Liam, Zane and Patrick were all about to attack the shadow when they heard a tremendous howl from Shadow. He ran and leaped through the air his fangs exposed while howling. As soon as the wolf came into contact, he bit down on the shadow. The shadow screamed in agony before disappearing into nothing. The wolf landed on all four feet, turned, and prepared for a second attack. His lips were curled back, teeth fully exposed, shoulder hair standing up and he was growling loudly.
A shadow similar, but much smaller to the first one jumped out of Trevor. The smaller one flew directly to Zane and hung in front of him. Patrick nailed the shadow with a white orb before it could move again. The scream of the shadow as it dissolved was almost deafening.
The glow in the two men pulled back into Grandfather, and it dissipated entirely except for his eyes. He dropped the young men's hands and stepped backwards. Trevor and Nikita were wavering in their stance as if slightly imbalanced. Tyler with Troy quickly moved forward to help steady them.
The room was very sound proof in construction, but Grandfather's voice had an eerie echo now as he spoke. "I, Running Elk, the Most Scared Elder, Most Sacred Medicine Man, Shaman of the people, loyal and devoted messenger of the Great Spirit we know as the Creator offer you the protection of the bear. Do you accept?"
Both young men were afraid to speak, but speak but nodded their heads in agreement.
Grandfather stepped forward, placed his hands on their chests and said, "These young men are under my protection and the protection of the bear. If you need us, call out where ever you are, and we will find you no matter what world you are in." The two young men felt a warmth grow under Grandfather's hands. After a moment, it disappeared. Grandfather stepped backwards and said, "As it was in the beginning, it is today. So be it."
Tyler and Troy helped the young men to chairs, and they sat down. After a couple of moments, they had become themselves again but had many questions.
Patrick stood next to them, and said, "Remember that tattoo you guys liked on me? Check your own chests."
Nikita had his shirt up first and saw the mark resembling a bear paw and squealed with approval. A second later Trevor had made the same sounds. Both stood and embraced Patrick. The remainder of the group moved in and embraced the two newest brothers.
As the embrace finished, Jared stood back. "I think its time for us to eat dinner and discuss what happened this evening."
The group split quickly to set out the food, leaving Nikita, Trevor, Jared and Grandfather standing together.
Trevor asked, "What were those things, Grandfather? Those things that came out of us?"
"Those shadows were within you two, using you as storage containers until you had unprotected sex. When the two combined as the result of a sexual blending, they would've combined to create conditions of hate, suicide or even the use of a fast-acting disease to prevent you from being found as a messenger. They were specifically designed to destroy you in a way no one would ever see as a suspicious death for young gay men."
Shadow came over, sat in front of Nikita, and looked straight up at him. His light blue eyes looked at the young man.
Nikita finally said, "He knew, didn't he?"
Mathew nodded his head in agreement. "Shadow is a wolf, a protector of the pack. He knows and sees many things from this and other worlds."
Nikita scratched the big wolf's head around his ears.
"I don't understand everything; it's like living in a sci-fi movie," said Trevor.
Jared smiled and said, "It is, but now we can begin to teach you."
"Dinner!" Jesse yelled from the kitchen area. The men all approached and sat down. After a blessing from Grandfather, they started to eat.
Nikita had started to put items on his plate when he stopped, and tears began rolling down his cheeks. Zane was sitting next to him and put an arm over his shoulders. "What's wrong, little brother?"
Nikita looked at his boss, and said, "It just hit me."
Zane looked quizzically at him. "What hit you?"
The young man took a deep breath, "Trevor and I were always made to feel welcome with all you guys. It's always been wonderful to have you as friends, but you guys had each other as a family. Trevor and I had each other, and you as friends, but no family." Nikita turned to his boyfriend and said, "Trevor, we're actually wanted by someone, as family members."
The two young men embraced, and Trevor began to cry as well.
After dinner, the group started a fire in the fireplace. They drank coffee, tea or hot chocolate while they roasted marshmallows. Trevor and Nikita asked questions, and the group or Grandfather answered many of them. But many could not be answered until they had their sweat lodge ceremony.
It was about 11:00 pm when Patrick, Trevor and Nikita left for home. Grandfather left shortly after, with Shadow sitting in the passenger seat of the old vehicle. The rest headed off to their houses and bed as well.
End of Chapter Ten
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